Wednesday, May 11, 2011

China Here She Comes!!

 My best friend reported to the MTC today. She is going to Hong Kong, China, and I am so excited for her!

Rachel has been my best friend since fourth grade! We had never been apart for more than two weeks until I went to Jerusalem, and now she is going to be gone for a year and a half! I am so excited for her, but I am going to miss her A LOT!

Our Graduation Day
First BYU Football Game
Of of Rachel's funny faces.
Sophomore Year Apartment at King Henry
Yet...another funny face!

Four Wheeling at Angela's House in St. George
Yes...we still play dress up :)

Movie Night
Boston Trip with the Girls
Festival of Colors at BYU

Rachel is one of the most amazing friends! She will always be my best friend, even if I can't call her all the time. :( But...I will see her in a year and a half...thats not long right? the goodbye was a little hard...I just may have cried the whole way home. I will miss her a lot!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Date Night

Ryan and I were able to help with Special Olympics last week. It was an amazing and special experience!
Ryan and I went on a very typical fun date: dinner and a movie!
We loved this movie for many reasons!
1. It was a clean, family friendly movie.
2. It was filmed in Hawaii!! :)
3. It had good actors and actresses
    (AnnaSophia Robb, Denis Quad, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood, etc.)
4. It had a GREAT story line!
5. It was very inspirational!

Anyway, if you want to see a good movie then check out Soul Surfer! We loved it, even though Ryan and I both got a little queasy during the shark attack.

It was a great weekend!!

Monday, April 25, 2011


This Easter was particularly meaningful to me. I reflected on the Saviors life more deeply than I had before. I thought about the places that he would have been during his last week as well as the teachings. There is one place that I thought about more than anywhere else...
When I was in Jerusalem, I would go to the Garden Tomb each Sabbath. I would read and ponder about his life and teachings, but most importantly his resurrection. It was an amazing experience to sit on those sacred grounds and reflect on his resurrection. 

Ryan and I had the wonderful opportunity to be apart of the Easter Pageant this year. It was a great experience for me to be able to reflect on the Saviors life each night as I listened to the pageant as well as testify of him to the people in the audience. Even though it was very busy, I am going to miss going to the Easter Pageant each night. We made some amazing friends while we created lasting memories.
This little girl, Jessica, was in our family group. She became my BEST FRIEND at the pageant. We had so much fun talking and playing together each night. She would make me laugh so hard at the things she would say...

Jessica: "Mom, does he (Ryan) put something on his teeth for the Easter Pageant to make him smile? He smiles a lot."
Me: (laughing) "No he normally smiles that much."
Jessica: "It looks like it hurts!"

And that was just ONE example of the funny things she would say! I love her so much and the rest of my Easter Pageant Family!!

Ryan and I had a wonderful Easter Sunday. I woke up Sunday morning to breakfast in bed. Ryan was so sweet! Then we went to a wonderful church meeting. After church Ryan and I hid our Easter baskets from each other....Ryan had a little trouble finding his!
After we found our baskets, we went to my parents house for a YUMMY dinner! Then we went to the Jacksons for a little fun and games! The Jacksons have a fun tradition of hiding the Easter baskets. JC hid the Easter baskets AMAZINGLY WELL this year. It took us so long to find them!! All of them were in black trash bags so they blended in with the outside environment. Mine and Ryan's was in a flower pot covered with soil, Cami's was in the Chlorine, Hannah's was in the vines under a trash can lid, and Brooke's was in the trash can. It was a lot of fun looking for them. 
We all got fun toys inside our baskets including squirt guns, a football, kites, clothes...etc. We had a good water war before coloring our eggs!
It was a perfect Easter filled with lots of fun, laughter, and family!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

In Remembrance of Him

With Easter Sunday approaching, I have relfected upon the last days of Christs life throughout this week. I have thought a great deal about what today, the atoning Friday, means to me. Elder Jeffer R. Holland states it perfectly:

" Brothers and sisters, my Easter-season message today is intended for everyone, but it is directed in a special way to those who are alone or feel alone or, worse yet, feel abandoned. These might include those longing to be married, those who have lost a spouse, and those who have lost—or have never been blessed with—children. Our empathy embraces wives forsaken by their husbands, husbands whose wives have walked away, and children bereft of one or the other of their parents—or both. This group can find within its broad circumference a soldier far from home, a missionary in those first weeks of homesickness, or a father out of work, afraid the fear in his eyes will be visible to his family. In short it can include all of us at various times in our lives.

To all such, I speak of the loneliest journey ever made and the unending blessings it brought to all in the human family. I speak of the Savior’s solitary task of shouldering alone the burden of our salvation. Rightly He would say: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me. … I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold [me].” 

As President Uchtdorf so beautifully noted earlier, we know from scripture that Jesus’s messianic arrival in Jerusalem on the Sunday preceding Passover, a day directly analogous to this very morning, was a great public moment. But eagerness to continue walking with Him would quickly begin to wane.

Soon enough He was arraigned before the Israelite leaders of the day—first Annas, the former high priest, then Caiaphas, the current high priest. In their rush to judgment these men and their councils declared their verdict quickly and angrily. “What further need have we of witnesses?” they cried. “He is [worthy] of death.” 

With that He was brought before the gentile rulers in the land. Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, interrogated Him once, and Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor in Judea, did so twice, the second time declaring to the crowd, “I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man.”  Then, in an act as unconscionable as it was illogical, Pilate “scourged Jesus, [and] delivered him to be crucified.”  Pilate’s freshly washed hands could not have been more stained or more unclean.

Such ecclesiastical and political rejection became more personal when the citizenry in the street turned against Jesus as well. It is one of the ironies of history that sitting with Jesus in prison was a real blasphemer, a murderer and revolutionary known as Barabbas, a name or title in Aramaic meaning “son of the father.” 5 Free to release one prisoner in the spirit of the Passover tradition, Pilate asked the people, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?” They said, “Barabbas.” 6 So one godless “son of the father” was set free while a truly divine Son of His Heavenly Father moved on to crucifixion.

This was also a telling time among those who knew Jesus more personally. The most difficult to understand in this group is Judas Iscariot. We know the divine plan required Jesus to be crucified, but it is wrenching to think that one of His special witnesses who sat at His feet, heard Him pray, watched Him heal, and felt His touch could betray Him and all that He was for 30 pieces of silver. Never in the history of this world has so little money purchased so much infamy. We are not the ones to judge Judas’s fate, but Jesus said of His betrayer, “Good [were it] for that man if he had not been born.” 

Of course others among the believers had their difficult moments as well. Following the Last Supper, Jesus left Peter, James, and John to wait while He ventured into the Garden of Gethsemane alone. Falling on His face in prayer, “sorrowful … unto death,”  the record says, His sweat came as great drops of blood 9 as He pled with the Father to let this crushing, brutal cup pass from Him. But, of course, it could not pass. Returning from such anguished prayer, He found His three chief disciples asleep, prompting Him to ask, “Could ye not watch with me one hour?”  So it happens two more times until on His third return He says compassionately, “Sleep on now, and take your rest,”  though there would be no rest for Him.

Later, after Jesus’s arrest and appearance at trial, Peter, accused of knowing Jesus and being one of His confidants, denies that accusation not once but three times. We don’t know all that was going on here, nor do we know of protective counsel which the Savior may have given to His Apostles privately, but we do know Jesus was aware that even these precious ones would not stand with Him in the end, and He had warned Peter accordingly. Then, with the crowing of the cock, “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord. … And [he] went out, and wept bitterly.”

Thus, of divine necessity, the supporting circle around Jesus gets smaller and smaller and smaller, giving significance to Matthew’s words: “All the disciples [left] him, and fled.” Peter stayed near enough to be recognized and confronted. John stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus’s mother. Especially and always the blessed women in the Savior’s life stayed as close to Him as they could. But essentially His lonely journey back to His Father continued without comfort or companionship.

Now I speak very carefully, even reverently, of what may have been the most difficult moment in all of this solitary journey to Atonement. I speak of those final moments for which Jesus must have been prepared intellectually and physically but which He may not have fully anticipated emotionally and spiritually—that concluding descent into the paralyzing despair of divine withdrawal when He cries in ultimate loneliness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The loss of mortal support He had anticipated, but apparently He had not comprehended this. Had He not said to His disciples, “Behold, the hour … is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” and “The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him”?

With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christ’s determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, finally and mercifully, it was “finished.” Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness, and despair. With faith in the God He knew was there, He could say in triumph, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” 

Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”

My other plea at Easter time is that these scenes of Christ’s lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial and abandonment and, at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. Now, may I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without our aid and assistance, that never again will He find only unresponsive onlookers when He sees you and me along His Via Dolorosa in our present day. As we approach this holy week—Passover Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb—may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,”  for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, None Were With Him)

Catching Up...

I know, I know....I need to get better at updating my blog quicker. 
I am a beginner at the blog world, so it takes me a little more time to figure things out. 

Ryan and I have been having a lot of fun these past couple of months visiting a few places. Here are a few things we did....

California Trip

In March, we went with the Jackson family to California for Spring Break!
 It was a lot of fun visiting Brik, Ash, and Trey as well as seeing the sights!

Aquarium of the Pacific

The first day we were in California we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. It is the most amazing place! I loved watching the sea lions, sharks, and otters! We had a great time!


We had a lot of fun playing all day at Disneyland, even though the lines were a little long. It definitely is one of the "happiest places on earth"!

Beach Day

We spent a wonderful afternoon at the California Beach! It isn't a California trip until you make it to the beach!

So You Think You Can Dance

Ashley scored AMAZING tickets to the "So You THink You Can Dance" audition show. It was the first time they have had an audience doing auditions. We saw a lot of TALENTED dancers as well as a few interesting ones. Also, we saw a few famous dancers from past seasons, including Twitch, Charity, Aday, Lauren, and the list goes on. There was about 15 of the best of the best in the audience watching the auditions with us. They were so fun to be around. I got to talk with Lauren, who won last year, for a little while we were in line for the bathroom. Great place to meet right?

Lunch at Corner Bakery

I loved this little bakery! It had the most amazing sandwiches and cookies!! MMMMmmm!

Griffith Observatory

We went to the Griffith Observatory too! It was a really cool building that had a lot of information about the plants and stars as well as some amazing telescopes. After we finished our tour of the place, Ryan, Cami, and I decided to take a "fun walk" down the hill. It was quite an adventure because we got a little lost and the walk turned into more of a hike. 

It was a fun trip to California with the family! I enjoyed being able to get to know Jacksons a little more and creating lasting memories! Thanks Ash, Brik, and Trey for showing us the sites and making our California trip a blast!!

Utah Trip

Last year for Christmas Ryan gave me one round trip ticket to visit my Jerusalem friends in Utah. It was the best present ever! I went to Utah on a Wednesday to play with the girls while Ryan went to his medical school interview in Pomona, California, and then he met me in Utah on Friday. It was so fun to see my Jerusalem friends again and reminisce on our days in the Holy Land. We had a blast eating out, staying up late to talk, playing April Fools jokes, and laughing until our stomachs hurt!

A few of the girls and I went to the most AMAZING desert place called The Chocolate. If you live in Provo and you haven't been then it is a MUST! the poozokies are DELICIOUS!!
I was also able to see some of the Mesa girls too! It was fun to see their place and catch up with them. Ryan and I finished our week watching conference with my cousins. It was good to see family and listen to the words of the prophet! I LOVE General Conference!! On the way home, we drove with Brig and Emily Nicol (one of my best friends). It was fun to be able to spend time with them! They are such a cute, fun couple!!

Thank you everyone for an amazing week in Provo! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Birthday! 21!

3:30 A.M. Finally going to sleep after the LONG DAY!!! Pageant...homework...homework...homework!

It was a great birthday even with ALL the homework! Thanks family and friends for making my day great!

( documented pictures because I was too busy in the books :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

BuSy, BuSy, BuSy

Life has been a little busy these past few weeks, but a lot of fun! Last week I went to Utah to visit some friends! {more on that later} This week Ryan and I started our intense practices for Easter Pageant...rain or shine...every day from 6:00-10:00. {more on that later as well} As a result of all of these fun events, I am lacking in a lot of areas...especially sleep! Because I went to Utah last week and I have Pageant practice every night, I have been getting a litte (ok..REALLY) behind on my school work. I have tried to stay up late at night until I finish, and I have tried to wake up at 5:00 to finish my homework before math at 7:00 am, but it just DOES NOT work. I need my sleep.

This morning I again attempted to wake up at 4:45 to finish homework before I left for school at 6:45. I woke up, dragged myself to the living room, and fell asleep on the couch doing homework. By the time I woke up, it was already 6:00. So...I decided to take a mental health morning. I didn't go to school. I stayed home and slept for a good couple of hours before I went to work.

As a result of missing school today, I am even MORE behind. Oh, well! Sometimes it is good to take a little break and sleep a little. Sanity is more imporant than straight A's right?

**I will update my blog more often now because Ryan just got us INTERNET!!! Yeah! So...more to come on my Spring Break in Cali, Trip to Utah, and Easter Pageant!**

I guess I should probably be doing homework instead of blogging...back to the books. :)