Thursday, September 29, 2011

9:30 and ready for bed

Congratulations to me! My wake-up time has stayed consistent at 4:30 am. This week I have woken up before my alarm at least 3 times. I don't know why I'm not sleeping very soundly, but oh well. I have only snoozed a few times this semester and 4:40 is the latest. Yay! My college roommates know that this is an incredible accomplishment (the no snoozing thing, I mean). Unfortunately, I HAVE been snoozing my bedtime, pushing it later and later each night. It hasn't gotten terrible, but after a few nights with just 5 hrs, I am totally pooped. So here's me going to bed at 9:30 pm - something that feels like a great accomplishment, but in reality will only give me the 7 hrs of sleep I need. Sweet dreams.

(PS - I can't think of anything more wonderful to dream about than seeing my best friend/handsome husband tomorrow night! These two weeks apart have flown by, but I'm so anxious to be together again.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

September Summery (spelling intentional)

I just read a friend's post entitled "September Summary" but I thought it said "Summery" at first and thought it was odd. Then I decided it was genius (and not what she had written) so I decided to steal the idea.

September is almost over, and boy is it summery. As in summer-y or summer-ish or summer-like. It is still so hot. So far in September there have been...
* 7 days at or above 100*
* 13 days at or above 90* (many of which were 95+)

Seriously? At least is has been cooling off a tiny bit at night. Sheesh! Summery indeed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Among Friends

Since Bret and I didn't get to see each other this weekend I wanted to try to make it as relaxing as possible. Usually our weekends are a blast, but because it is our only time together I don't like to spend to much time crafting or watching TV. This weekend, however, I did both.

On Saturday morning I led a warm-up for the "Walk to End Alzheimers" (one of the ladies who comes to my broadway fit class invited me to help out). We didn't have music (the radio station bailed), so it was a rather pathetic warm-up, but who really needs to warm up to walk a mile?! Then I sat at home and watched HGTV for much longer than I intended :)  I decided I was being incredibly lazy so I went to the gym, showered, and ate a late lunch. I spent the rest of the afternoon sewing a new pencil skirt. I really like it. I finished it just in time for the Relief Society dinner/social and General Broadcast. I would choose my husband over friends any day, but I must admit that spending time with some of the women in my ward was just what I needed. My spirits just felt so lifted. The broadcast was also wonderful, especially President Uchtdorf's talk. He reminded us of 5 things to "forget not"...

1. Forget not to be patient with yourself.
2. Forget not that some sacrifices are better than others.
3. Forget not to be happy NOW.
4. Forget not the "why" of the gospel.
5. Forget not that the Lord loves you.

President Uchtdorf is such a wonderful leader. I feel that he is truly a window to our Heavenly Father's love. What a good appetizer for General Conference next week. I can't wait for that spiritual feast!

Today I sat with the Jeppsons at church. Meg sat on my lap the whole time and Kate was right next to us. I just felt so happy and content. I am grateful for good friends who let me be a part of their lives and their family. I think the best part of my day was when Meg asked if it could be her turn to draw a picture. (I had given Kate a notebook and pen and asked her to draw a picture of Jesus to help her be quiet during the Sacrament.) I told Meg that we should let Kate have another turn because Meg and I were having snuggle time. She paused a minute to think, then nodded and then wrapped her arms around me. I know it sounds so silly, but that little 6-year-old did so much to bring me joy and comfort today in a way that nobody else could. Thanks Meg for sitting on my lap and giving me hugs.

Some other sweet friends have invited me to come eat dinner with them in a few minutes. Is there any way I can ensure that we always live in a ward like this one? I feel like we really are becoming a ward family and I love that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Growing Pains

Growing Painsby Dayle King Searle

Dear Lord, please forgive
my foolish, selfish tears.
Please understand
and wipe away my fears.
I know that this will help me grow
and reach a higher plane,
But growing isn’t easy,
and I’m having growing pains.

(found on from the August 1980 New Era)

Last night I gave into a moment of weakness and let myself have a pity party. I tried to end each negative sentence with, "But its ok. It will all be ok. It's not that bad."  And while I meant those words, what I really felt was, "This is hard. I don't know how much longer I can keep doing this. I don't know if I want to keep doing this. Its too difficult. I'm tired."

After a few tears and some deep breaths I realized that I just needed to go to bed and everything would seem much better in the morning. Things did seem much better this morning. But they aren't fixed. They aren't supposed to be fixed.

Today my thoughts are about growing pains. We were sent to the Earth to grow into the beings that Heavenly Father wants us to become. We are here to realize our potential to become just like He is. He is perfect and all-knowing and wonderful and kind. That requires an awful lot of growing. It is only natural that with that much growth there will be some element of pain involved. I knew that when I accepted the calling to teach Seminary that my days would be long and busy and that at times I would undoubtedly feel tired, worn-out and discouraged, but I accepted the call because I knew such challenges would force me to rely on the Lord.

Today I read these two quotes from the talk "Followers of Christ" by Elder Walter F. Gonzalez in the April 2011 General Conference. Following the quotes are my personal thoughts.

"As Christ followed the Father under any circumstance, we should follow His Son. If we do so, it matters not what kind of persecution, suffering, grief, or 'thorn in the flesh' we face. We are not alone. Christ will assist us. His tender mercies will make us mighty under any circumstances."

Right now, the most comforting promise is that we are not alone. Since a lot of my current frustrations center around dissatisfaction at work, my jam-packed schedule, and being without my best friend, there isn't really anything that others can do to help me fix my problems. When I want to vent or need a hug, I should not try to dump my burdents on another but should go to my Savior. I know that He will help me not to feel alone. I also love that as I try to become a better teacher and leader that he can make me mighty under any circumstances, no matter how weak I am.

"Truly loving Christ provides the required strength to follow Him."
I am trying to help the Seminary students find principles and patterns in their scriptures. I see a pattern here:
If I find it difficult to follow Christ (whether that means obeying His commandments or just trusting in Him daily) I should work on loving Him more. If I need help loving Him more, I must get to know Him better. To get to know Him better I have to study the scriptures, pray, and experience some of the pain that He endured. "Christ chose to experience pains and afflictions in order to understand us. Perhaps we also need to experience the depths of mortality in order to understand Him and our eternal purposes" (Elder Kent F. Richards, "The Atonement Covers All Pain," May 2011 Conference). In essence, by going through this challenging time of life, I am coming to know my Savior, love Him more, and thus recieve strength to follow Him more faithfully.
I just want whoever reads this to know that I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that this is an exciting time to be on the earth and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today with the same doctrines, covenants, and ordinances that have existed since the world was created. I know that somehow in the midst of His myriad of creations, the Lord knows me and He cares about who I become. I love my life, my husband, my family, and I am truly happy about the opportunities the Lord has given me so far in my life. I look forward to the joy that will come with further growth and know that the pains required will be minimal compared to the blessings I will receive in return.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

1/2 Way and Happy

Bret's first clinical is officially half way over. YEAH BABY! We can be tough for four more weeks! Especially when we have three more fun weekends to look forward to. I think we may have done a verbal run-down of the next 4 weeks about 20 times....

Bret: "Okay, so this weekend has been awesome. And then nothing next week... are you sure you're going to be ok? Because if not let me know and I'll make an emergency visit to see you." (I pause to insert that I have the sweetest husband ever.) "So that means two weeks without seeing eachother, but then I'll come home for conference. Maybe we can make a nice dinner or go to Fuentes before Priesthood session. And then the week after that you'll come to San Antonio and we'll do a temple session at 11:00. Jarom and Becky will probably come. Did you tell them what time the session is? Maybe we can take them to the Japanese Tea Gardens. And then then next week I move home for good!"

We had this same conversation over and over and now I'm writing it down and I'm sure we'll keep saying it over the phone... I guess it is just reassurring to break it down like that and know that even though the time apart is hard we have so many fun things to look forward to.


This weekend was wonderful. I took the day off on Friday... let's call it a "mental health" day. It worked wonders. Then I met Bret at Enchanted Rock, a state park right outside of Fredericksburg. We got there about an hour later than expected due to Bret getting let off late + my faulty mapquest directions, but we got there nonetheless. We set up our tent as the sun faded from dim to dark. I wish we had taken the camera, but I forgot it, along with the hammer. I'm not sure which one I am more sad about not bringing. The tent was impossible to set up without a hammer for the stakes (yes, we tried it without stakes and yes, the whole tent fell down). Luckily an LDS scout group was camping near us and we borrowed a machete from them which did the trick. It was perfect weather and we slept with the tent "window" and "door" open (screened for bugs of course). In the morning Bret made an awesome breakfast while I slept in a bit. Then we packed everything up and went for a hike around/up Enchanted Rock. It was actially pretty cool. Nothing compares with the mountains, but the hill country is very pretty and we loved the view from the top of the rock. The breeze and overcast weather were perfect! We can't wait to go back with friends - hopefully when the burn ban is lifted - and camp for a little longer!

After camping we drove into Fredericksburg, went window shopping on Main Street (where I did give in and buy some really pretty fabric to make a shirt). Then we checked into our hotel, cleaned the camping smell off of us, and decided to go do dinner and a show before the BYU/UTAH game. We ordered some delicious pizza and ate it outside where we could people-watch and enjoy the breeze. Then we went to a show that was SO FUN! It is called the Rockbox Theatre and they put on performances of different styles of rock music but they do it in a way that it is really fun and entertaining and totally family friendly. When Bret called to get tickets he asked for a student discount and the lady on the phone felt bad that they didn't offer one, so she gave us front row seats for the regular price. I haven't sat on the front row of anything for a long time, but this was awesome! We liked it so much that we took advantage of their "cheap tickets at intermission deal" so now we have tickets to use sometime within the next year. Unfortunately we went home from this awesome show and watched BYU get smoked by Utah. Sigh.

Today we went to church at the Fredericksburg Branch and loved the speakers' messages. Then we took a little drive out of town past some orchards and wineries to the Lindon B. Johnson State/National Park. We didn't know what to expect but it was actually pretty cool. They let you borrow a cd for free that guides you, in your car, past LBJ's birthplace, little schoolhouse, gravestone, around his ranchland, and to their "Ranch Whitehouse". You can stop and go in, but we chose not to (you do have to pay a small fee to see the "Whitehouse"). The land was gorgeous (although we were sad everything looks so dry and brown in this drought) and we liked learning a little about President Johnson. Then we ate a picnic lunch (aka-granola bars and "extras" from the continental breakfast at the hotel) and went for a walk before heading our separate ways. What a fun weekend. I'm sure glad we will have so many fun memories to run on for the next week.

(And to Bret: "Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow." [from "Romeo and Juliet"]  Thank you for everything. I love you.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Satan's Candy Coating

Ever bitten into a caramel-covered onion? Daniel Dixon and Andrea Rodriguez would suggest you don't! Ever. Not even one bite. (Unfortunately, even the multiple sticks of gum I gave them won't get rid of the flavor and smell for quite a while.)

Just like the candy-coating on a caramel onion completely masks the potent vegetable underneath, its sometimes hard to see past Satan's candy coatings. He likes to make bad things look so darn good. By good I mean appealing, but sometimes even wholesome and right.

An onion is an onion. Don't let Satan trick you into taking a bite, no matter how enticing the outside looks.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Job is a Joke

7:15-10:00  Supervise 4 kids as they fill out job applications and play free online games. Occasionally I get to help them answer a question, spell a word, or tell them that the site they are looking at is not school appropriate.

10:00-1:30  Sit in the small lobby area at Howard College and attempt to plan seminary lessons or do something productive. Lots of distractions. Hard to focus. One boy who ALWAYS has his dirty rap music playing for all to hear (go figure- he sat down just as I started typing this sentence). On Tuesdays and Thursdays I get to feed Ashley. Usually I wait outside for the bus with her.

1:30-2:30   Sit at a Credit Union and watch girls in the Vocational Education program shred paper (they are special ed but very high level). They don't need my help or supervision. So I just watch and try not to fall asleep.

2:30-4:00   Either go back to Howard to wait for the bus with Ashley or go back to the High School to watch the clock for an hour and a half. No duties. Plenty of other teachers and aides around for the kids to do absolutely nothing with.

So the question is WHAT EXACTLY AM I BEING PAID TO DO? I get that they kind of need someone to supervise these kids, but in all honesty, I think my job is totally expendable. It has been 3.5 weeks and I'm ready to scream (I already tried crying... it helped some). I just don't know how I can take 8 more months of this.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN THIS SITUATION? Honestly - I'm interested to know! How would you deal with the situation?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Confessions of a 23-year old Drama Queen

I was left the house at 5:30 am and got home at 7:10 pm. I want to go to bed at 9:30. I need to plan a couple lessons for seminary. Would you like to know what I am doing? WATCHING "BATCHELOR PAD". What the heck is this show? The Batchelor + Survivor? What? I am so confused and intrigued that I keep watching. Seriously WHAT IS THIS? It is the stupidest, pettiest thing... and I'm secretly feeling like this is the perfect cure for my long long day. :)

(Have you lost all respect for me? If it makes you feel better, I have never followed Bachelor or Bachelorette and never plan to do so in the future. This is purely a one-night, waste-time, think-of-something-other-than-seminary kick.)

Okay, and last thing: How pathetic are these seemingly super-romantic relationship? Luck lukcy me. I have the world's best husband!

Wonderful Weekend #3

*  "True Grit" at the free downtown outdoor movie night that San Angelo puts on (How did we not know      about these movies? It was way fun and perfect weather!)

*  College Game-Day while eating French Toast and creamy caramel syrup

*  Tennis  (we are really lousy, but it was fun to get out and move around)

*  Watching the BYU/UT game with friends & eating yummy food

*  Holding hands at church :)

*  Making a big breakfast for lunch

*  Sunday naps

*  Giving Bret a haircut in the kitchen (actually turned out pretty darn good!)

*  Planning out the next 5 weeks of this long-distance relationship. The good news is that Friday will mark the half-way point. We've found a way to see eachother all but one weekend.

Today's seminary lesson was about the Flood in Noah's time. We talked about how merciful it was. Everything God does, even when it initally seems unkind, is for our good. I know that although this time in our marriage seems painful and frustrating, we are seeing the blessings and growth.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Football Season is Back!

Poor Cougars. What a great start and lousy finish to a game we so wanted to win. Either way, we were proud to be BYU fans in Texas today.

We ended up watching the game with the Kings and the Caldwells, two families in our ward that are also in the Physical Therapy program at ASU. The Kings also graduated from BYU and the Caldwells are from AZ but they have family ties to BYU and are cougar fans just the same. It was fun to watch the game and be in the company of friends we haven't hung out with for a while.

And can I admit something? I actually are really excited about it being football season. I'll never be as into it as Bret, but I'm feeling giddy about the slightly cooler weather, the school fight songs, the team spirit, the voice of the announcers, the green grass, the stadium lights. What is happening to me?!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Things are Looking Great... and They're Only Gettin' Better!

Bret and I had a really fun weekend in San Antonio. The Livesy's are taking such good care of him and were so nice to let me stay over the weekend. We went to the temple,  ate delicious food together, did a river-walk boat tour, went shopping, ate more delishious food, watched "Tangled"... it was such a great long weekend and we really did take a rest from our labors on Labor Day!

I love having Mondays off because not only do you get a free day, but when you go back to work/school the week flies by. The last two days of seminary have been super fun. I do and will always have lots to improve on, but the one thing that I am really happy about is that we have a feeling of safety and comfort and fun in our class. I think. I feel like we all legitimately enjoy being there together. And guess what?! No sleepy-heads yet! (Probably because I'm such a spastic teacher that they don't want to miss the next stupid thing I'll do!)

Well, that's basically my life these days... work, seminary, dance, prep, wait for the weekends. Its a busy, fun, wonderful experience and since we've already got 1/4 of Bret's clinical done, I only forsee things getting better and better.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thank Goodness Its Friday!

This been a long week. NOT A BAD WEEK; just a long week. I am so excited that at 6:30 pm (in 6 hours and 15 minutes) I'll be on the road to see my best friend and spend a long weekend in San Antonio. I am really excited to go to the temple. We've been studying the Moses, Abraham and Genesis in seminary - the chapters that cover the creation, the fall, agency, the purpose of mortality, the role of the Savior, the plan of the devil, etc. I'm really excited to feel enlightened by what the temple has to add and offer. I'm excited to feel the special peace that pervades the temple and I'm excited to sit by my sweetheart and remember the covenants we have made with our Lord.