Monday, December 20, 2010

Zion's Camp Inspiration

Inspirational phrases are like boomerangs--be cautious when you use them, because they're bound to come swinging back in your direction.

About six months ago I was asked to give a talk in church about following the Spirit, or the answers God gives us in prayer. Interestingly enough, I cited the story of Zion's Camp, the account of 500 men called to march 900 miles to redeem Zion. When these men reached their destination, the Lord told proclaimed, "therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion." (D&C 105:13). Or in modern terms: Turn Around, Go Home Boys!

I have found this story applies in our times--oftentimes we are called to go in one direction for a time, only to be told months or years later its time to turn around. We can moan the entire way back, or trust that the Lord has a greater plan and will truly fight our battles (D&C 105:14). Thanks Megan, for reminding me of that power.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

For the Spirit of Christmas

The vibration noise of my phone sounded at 8:15 am, then at 8:20, 8:25, 8:30, 8:35, 8:40 and until I heeded its call at 8:45--I had an appointment with one of Santa's elves, 9 am sharp.

The reason? My never-to-be-released-from-my-heart of a home teacher, Brother Rigby, had cornered me a week ago about fixing the interior door-panel of my parents 1997 Ford Crown Victoria. Although named the-girl-that-would-starve-to-death-if-she-had-to-survive-by-her-hands by my dear mother, I decided to try my hands a fixing the door for my parents.

From 9am until 4pm we concocted a way to resurrect a door panel that resembled the tributaries of the Mississippi River. More than 20 ideas were used in that garage on 6th North and 3rd East. Even more trips were made to the local hardware store. But in the end, every part was attached by screws, glue and zip ties. While the finish product does not resemble the interior of a new Lexus, (more like an armed tank), the door functioned once again.

Such a day will remain within my hall-of-fame of Christmas memories. For twas a gift not asked for, but much needed. Twas the gift of love and practicality.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To the Females of Planet Earth

I couldn't believe my eyes, there it was sitting in his inbox: a hate letter address to one of my favorite guys on earth, my little brother. The something-or-other addressed email that solemnly proclaims before the world: "because you were born I have the right to be miserable," complete with the tears, confetti and embellished invitations to a self-made pity party.

Such an act, was the last on my tolerance list for pathetic girl stupidity. So I declare this bold proclamation in behalf of all males to walk the earth (who at times, I admit, have done me the favor of getting under my own skin). Still I write these words:

Ladies, Let us stop blaming men for not fulfilling our "vain imaginations" created by stuffing our heads full of Twilight, modern-day chick-flicks and evening-sitcoms. Its time we turn off the flick and meet a REAL Nick.

Let us cease to compare their sincere kind acts with the empty, superfluous acts of diamonds, flowers and lustful kisses portrayed on the Hollywood and Halmark screens every day. How about appreciating the awkward phone call, conversation or glance?

Most importantly, let us put a halt to our womanly rituals that force us to cough up all our horrific relationship experiences (obviously souped up throughout the years to satisfy our pride and receive more pity) during what supposedly is intended to be a fun girls night out. Why do we continue to gauge our personal successes with our martial status? Why are the first words between long-lost single female friends, "so are you dating anyone?" Let us love each other for who we are NOW, not the person we will be in 5, 10 or 15 years.

Think about it...Men are looking for princesses, those found in the films we all adored as little kids: Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, Ariel and Belle. Women who were proud to be women: soft-spoken, nurturing and beautiful from the inside out. Sadly, I believe there are far too many women imitating the wicked step-mothers, witches and villains--striking their prey or manipulating circumstances to be admired, pampered and adored.

I guess we all could use a little reminding, myself included, that God created men and women to be equal partners, help meets and companions. One was never intended to spend a life in servitude to the other. Life was never intended to be perfect, but it was intended to be a lab for small and simple changes. Please, let us free men of our foolish and vain romantic and impossible expectations. Let us be the friend even if we desired more.

Most importantly, let us be the women God intended us to be.




Monday, September 20, 2010

GASP....Politics.

There seems to be a negative connotation associated with politics these days. A practice once seen as an elite's liberty, now is replaced by an apathetic sigh: "well, it doesn't make much of a difference."

I recently learned that my Grandfather had great respect for the office of the President of the United States. If someone openly criticized the position, he would politely put them in their place. He knew something about patriotic responsibility. Since I heard this story, as his grand daughter, I feel a stronger desire to understand what drove my grandfather to hold such passion for this country.

My professor, Dr. Kathleen Kelsey also recently posed the question: "Is America a free country?" After receiving several nods from the classroom she declared: no. America is not a free country, we're a democracy--nothing comes free. Its true. We are a democracy--a country that relies on the virtue of its people to determine justice and equality. What a responsibility. If we fail, I guess we have no one else to blame but ourselves. (Wouldn't this make a great headline on CNN.com?)

So, with my new found patriotism, I stumbled upon a Facebook--the new marketplace of ideas--link leading to an speech Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave on Constitutional Day, Sept 17. in Salt Lake City. Consider this concept:

"A constitution gives the people and their elected leaders the opportunity to make many decisions that are unwise or even reckless. When that happens — when the government or one of its officials engages in some kind of action that we consider to be wrong — we should engage in vigorous public debate about it. But we should not use up a constitution by attempting to strike down every ill-conceived act of government or to discredit every unwise official. A constitution is the ultimate weapon, and we preserve that weapon best by using it sparingly and carefully. If we call some action unconstitutional, we should be prepared to explain what provision or principle of a constitution it violates. In this way, a constitution can be used to stimulate discussion and to seek unity.


This quote resonated with me. It made me think of powerful words--Action. Responsibility. Respect. I think these words stirred up the same passion within me that my grandfather held so many years ago. I encourage all to read the full address here

God Bless America.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Food for Thought

Its not often that I direct someone to another blog to read up on another's happenings. However, today, I am going to ask you to take some effort to read a post recently written by Seth Winterton, an agriculturist in the state of Utah. His post corresponds with many of my personal beliefs--Buy local, Build Local.

Read the post here: Ride the Brand


I'm curious to know the opinions of ya'll--why do we support a cheap food system? Are Mom and Pap shops really destined to be a story in history? Does it buying local matter to you? Why or why not?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To My Achiever Within....

&*^%$#!
%$@!&*!
&%@*^%$#@!#%^&!!!!!

"Stress is when your gut says "NO" but your mouth says, "Of course I will"

I believe I am an achievement addict (not to be confused with a recognition addict). I get a thrill out of processing new ideas, executing new activities and seeing other grow and succeed. Metaphorically speaking I am the baker who loves to select and mix all the ingredients for the perfect tasting cookie.

My problem? Oftentimes I decide to double or quadruple the recipe and before long the dough transforms itself into a Watson Eating Cookie Monster. I give 120 percent of myself for 8 strong weeks....and then:

Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! ...
The villain I created comes searching for its next victim...I CRASH.

Someone once said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

As I am approaching my last semester of graduate school, I find myself searching for my baking hat. I've noticed myself dabbling in all the ingredients. I've even caught myself trying to make someone's cookies.

Then I found these great cooking coaches:
1-A Good Scripture
2-A Good Talk
3-A Good Song
4-A Good Movie
5-A Good Friend
And I figure, all that matters is that I keep baking; the rest will sort itself out in the oven.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Creativity Heals the Soul

As you can tell, I've been rather busy. Its been an incredibly good summer full of text book readings, random trips to Utah and photography. In between my crazy schedule I've tried to make some time for horseback riding, fun dinner nights and service. However, this past week was rather stressful wrapping up the final details of summer courses and trying to mentally prepare for Fall Semester.

Honestly, all of us have moments when we think its impossible to go one more step, or have energy to do one more thing required of us. As I've been wrapping up my college education, I've been pondering the attitude demonstrated by Jimmy Morris, the main character of the 2002 Disney Movie, The Rookie. After finding the breaking point working towards his dream, he re-evaluates his motives and discovers joy baseball again. My favorite line happens as he re-enters the locker room after a change in attitude, he says with a big grin: "You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball!"

Today, I had such an Epiphany. I spent the afternoon designing in Adobe Photoshop. After about two hours, I felt my mind relax and I found joy in my work. Then I thought, Wow, Tamra, you know what you get to do for the rest of your life? CREATE!

Here's my favorite creation that brought me joy today: Enjoy :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ahem...A public safety announcement:

A good reason one should wear shin guards:

but I still love soccer just the same, go figure.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I admit it, I cried...

Yes, I did...I cried during a recent viewing of Pixar's new movie, Toy Story 3. I've heard many other girls proclaim they did the same thing. So what was it about the new movie that moved us all to tears? I give you my top ten reasons:

10-Excessive dust in the theater?

9-Allergies?

8-An oversensitive nature?

7-Humidity: its so hot my eyes decided to sweat?


6-Too much time reading my thesis material, am I going insane?

5-Too much time working on a website, am I really going insane?

4-Saying Goodbye to Woody and Buzz and all the other Toy Story 3 characters I grew up watching

3-Oozing over priceless memories of Chocolate (my favorite cabbage patch kid) and all my other favorite toys

2-Remembering the power of carefree playful imaginations

1-Recognizing I'm all grown up and there's no turning back.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ahem...Pardon my Soap Box

Since I was old enough to drive I have been puzzled by road construction.

Today, as I was driving to Dallas, I hit three different traffic jams because the freeway was "under construction" and had closed one of the two lanes. However, it is not the closure of the lane that makes such a situation a citizen of my pet-peeville. Rather, it is the absence of workers or actual work at these sites. Two of the three congested areas I passed through this afternoon looked like the abandoned gold mining towns of the 1860s.


So, my question is: if you don't have the man power to finish the project in a couple of weeks/months, why close down the lane? In any other form of business, such extended projects are thought to be absurd. Consider the doctor: oh, sorry, I'll have to put your stitches in one year from tomorrow; or the farmer: well, I don't think I'm going to plant your favorite crop for another two years. Most businesses are driven by consumer demand, therefore naturally responsible to get the job done. Well, on the same note, we pay the tax dollars to repair the roads. Why don't we demand more?

Could someone please enlighten me on this situation? Until then, I'll step off my soap box.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My current state:


So I'm going to Utah. Nuff said.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

To the Director of Mosquito Incorporated

Dear Sir,

I wish to file my complaints against the prejudice demonstrated by your domestic and international employees. I write this letter to serve as a testimony against the unjust actions of your blood collectors.

1st Offence: Alfalfa Fields, Sanpete County, Utah:
When I was just a nymph I followed my father into the beautiful green alfalfa fields; my duty was to help him by unhook the ball from the socket in the irrigation pipes. Yet, as I did so there was a constant buzzing in my ear. Soon the humming turned into gnawing small bumps appeared on my skin. I found my job difficult as I tried to scratch and unhook the pipes simultaneously. At first, I figured if I treated your folk nicely they'd would leave me alone after a year or two; however, they only increased their demand for the volume of my blood. I escaped your collectors in 2002 when I left for college. Still, on the occasional visits to fields since then I find your employees more vicious, as if I had offended them by my absence.

2nd Offence: Sao Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil:
I arrived in Brazil about five years ago. I planned to serve others and go about doing good. When I moved to a new city, Summer was showing itself to the city of Sao Leopoldo. My apartment (described by the Elders as the best ever) had a moldy fridge, no dresser or closet and only one bed. While I do not blame my poor circumstances on you, I do use it as a framework to show how heartless your employees were to me in my helpless state. The first evening I spent there, the heat was unbearable; yet, to make things worse the familiar buzzing and gnawing returned like a childhood nightmare. I had about 20 bites by morning. My colleague (native to the country) none. The following night, I received 100 more! Your employees refused my pleas to "go away!" They caused me embarrassment as the natives believed I had pugas (fleas). Still, the person I lived with continued to receive no bites. Luckily, I was saved by a fan and blew your employees away.

3rd Offence: Stillwater, Payne County, Oklahoma:
Now, it has been many years since the last serious offence. For the past four years I have been nibbled on occasionally, but I have not minded making occasional donations to your company. Yet, when I decided to go play soccer with my friends last Saturday, once again your collectors seemed to select me above the rest. I received more than 10 bites in less than an hour and have been relentlessly scratching ever since. I have bumps on my arms and bumps on my legs. Since then I have noticed I receive more bites as I walk to work in the morning. I must demand that such injustice cease. I have paid my dues, please remove me from your collectors list.

The victim of your employees,
Tamra Watson

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Because I asked...

I'm sure one of my readers has experienced the beginning of a bad day. Sometimes it rolls out of nothing: the whole wake-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed syndrom. Other times, its justified by unrealistic expectations placed on oneself or another in authority. Its during these times we want to find the nearest exit equipped with automatic doors.

I was heading for the exit door this morning; the biggest reason being I have not let myself sleep long enough this week. Yet, as I paused for my morning study, I asked for some help--something to give me the motivation to press on and remember I was capable of doing all things as long as I had the help of the Lord.

I logged on to lds.org, for just a moment and watched this encouraging video.



Not only was this video encouraging, but it also reminded me of a strategy I used as a missionary in Brazil. Like Elder Holland, I used to envision myself as an older person encouraging my younger self. I like him used to say:

"Don't you quit! You keep walking! You keep trying! There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."

"Trust God and believe in good things to come"

For all that have bad days, there is help around the corner. Oftentimes all we need to do is veer quickly from the self-destructing exit door of self-pity and look towards the heavens to ask for help. We may feel uncapable, unworthy or unwilling.

Yet, there is help, "for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Because Being a Watson Means Something

Recently I had the chance to get together with some friends and play some games. I began the night playing Skip-Bo and eventually joined another game called, A to Z, which I soon discovered is like playing Scattergories on too much caffeine. There were two teams, boys verses girls, and the game began instantly competitive.

For the first round, the girls had 30 seconds to name things to describe us, using the letters A to Z. I, instantly screamed out "Watson" as an adjective. While the guy-team accepted the descriptor, it became the example of mockery for poor-words used for the rest of the game.

I admit the first few times Watson was mentioned mockingly, I brushed it off. However by the tenth time I was starting to feel my blood rush to my cheeks and my heart beat accelarate. One can imagine my shock as I heard these words shoot out of my mouth:"If you say that one more time, you're going to see the Sanpete Girl come out in me."

People gave me some blank stares, my bishop muttered for me to calm down and I felt a bit surprised I had threatened someone I barely knew. As I pondered the experience later in the evening I realized the reasons for my anger.

The word "Watson" to me holds so much more meaning than a regular adjective. Its dictionary meaning reads: son of the leader of the army. In a way, I see my family as part of an army. One who believe duty and honor are important virtues not to be forgotten. Watsons have fought for freedom, both political and religious. Watson believe in getting a good college education. To be a Watson means you learn how to work hard to get the job done, regardless of how many hours it takes.

Still, when I think of Watson, I think of all the amazing people I know who bare the name. My parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas; and it has been their amazing examples that have taught me: To Be a Watson Means Something.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Falling in Love and Saying Good-bye

In my life I have often wondered why we fail to recognize how much we love someone or something until the unanticipated good-bye approaches. This month marks my one-year anniversary at Oklahoma State University, land of orange t-shirts and cowboys.

Prior to moving to Stillwater, Okla. I had never seen campus, nor did I anticipate how beautiful it would be. I spent this morning wandering campus and taking pictures of my favorite spots. I hope to cherish these scenes forever, as I look to say good-bye to Oklahoma State University in December.

















Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Change

I sat through a class this morning and discussed the diffusion of innovation theory; more simply defined as the power of planned change. According to the founder, Everett Rogers, planned change has 5 steps:



Awareness: spreading the knowledge about change
Persuasion: helping others to form an attitude
Decision: adoption or rejection of change
Implementation: execution of planned change
Confirmation: acceptance of consequence--reward or punishment


The largest or smallest changes in the world use to some extent the thoughts outlined in this theory. However, each starts with the awareness: a knowledge of the need to change.

Knowledge is powerful. With it, one can convince the non-healthy person to start eating right, help the misbehaved child learn manners, or bring tumultuous nations to peace. Sometimes knowing the "why" behind the "do" can perform miracles. I think that is why the scriptures declare, a man cannot be saved in ignorance. For life eternal is to KNOW the only true God and his son Jesus Christ.

How often do we truly seek knowledge? I don't believe knowledge is necessarily connected with a higher education. One can have a four-year degree and still be clueless in knowledge. For to obtain true knowledge once must actively seek to know and apply truthful principles. For example, consider the child learning how to speak. The first couple of words they learn are simply people or objects: mommy daddy, kitty, tractor; they learn to speak by observation and repetition; however, when they finally connect the meanings to words, they learn application. Words like NO! and MINE! become powerful in application.

How many of us in adulthood have forgotten the power of application? To read or talk about something and use it to our benefit; not necessarily to achieve prestige or a wonderful grade, but to serve our fellowmen. To be curious for curiosity sake.

I think such an attitude brings about true and long-lasting change. For knowledge applied is power.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The P-Town Sliders


Memorial Day was named to honor those who had gone before; especially those veterans who had passed on fighting for our freedom. Oftentimes it is so easy to forget those honored men who dreamed and lived for liberty.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been involved with another dreamer; one who believes freedom should be remembered through music. He and his buddies met together to form the P-Town Sliders, a trombone-band dedicated to making patriotism personified. They play old arranged tunes like Yankee Doodle and God Bless America. Mostly, they just play so others can remember the songs that helped create the feeling behind freedom.

Its been fun to be a part of such a group. I created their logo and I thought all of you'd like to see. For a video of their first performance click here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A First for Everything....

I have a small cermanic sign displayed on my desk that reads:

Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is watching.

I love how it reminds me to do the right thing every day, especially when no one is watching.

However, tonight I had different experience. I decided to attend a popular movie with some friends. The movie sounded great, but within the first 15 minutes there was enough violence to cover both World Wars. I got sick to my stomach and covered my eyes. Then I did something I never have done before: I got up and walked out.

You know I have always wondered what feeling one would get after walking out of a no-good movie. I always thought I would feel embarassed, or wonder what my friends were thinking. Instead I felt the exact opposite: I felt incredible. As soon as I left the theatre, a sweet feeling of love and gratitude swept me up.

And I remembered, sometimes integrity to the Lord is doing the right thing when everyone is watching.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Memories have interesting characteristics. They can move one to laugh, cringe, sigh or cry. I had a weekend full of memory recall.

I spent the majority of Thursday and Sunday evening packing up my old room. As I folded my FFA blue corduroy jackets with "North Sanpete" and "Association" listed on the back, I cried. The tears were a bit confusing; for they came not from a longing or regret, rather, I believe they were shed in the sweetness of gratitude.



Today, was full of more memories. I spent the day cleaning and oiling my old saddles. As I scrubbed, I thought of all the places I had been in them. Flashbacks on pre-show nerves fluttered in my stomach as I brushed circles of dirt off the english dressage saddle. It was the first expensive saddle I ever (or probably will ever) own. With its help and a lot of pratice, Exacaliber (my valiant thoroughbred-quater horse cross) and I won a 5th place ribbon at the state english show. I spent five years working for such a placing.



As I started on my western saddle, I easily saw myself racing up green-alfalfa fields on a fat black and white pony with the wind rushing by my cheeks; I could fly in those days. As I completed my task, I could not help but long for the carefree summer days I spent in those saddles. I also thought of all the blue ribbions Oreo and I won in a used $100 saddle. I guess it taught me one didn't need the fancy saddle to win.



Still, I had to say goodbye. The FFA jacket is packed in a box and the saddles will be sold tomorrow.

Yet the memories I made will endure forever.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spontaneity Gone Bad

Call me a perfectionist.

I wanted the fairy tale sort of a day. I would be the fair maiden waiting at the top of the mountain.

As you can see, my truck had a different story line.



Meet stutters. He's a full cousin to Mater off of the Pixar movie Cars. He's a manly sort of truck, so obviously he wanted a more masculine encounter.

As I was driving on 9th East in Provo towards my favorite spot, Stutters decided to sacrifice part of himself to transform me into the Damsel in Distress. His clutch busted into pieces, leaving me helpless.


So I called an Elder from my mission...He was my district leader 5 years ago. He played the part of hero. Not exactly the prince that I envisioned, but I was grateful.

We hiked the mountain together, he thought I was crazy.

What a fairy tale.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The phase before dating...

Since I'm on the "just so you know" phase, I thought I would update my married friends on the new pattern of dating.

Phase #1: Facebook Creeping

If a girl finds a guy attractive these days, she checks out his facebook page. She pours over his pictures trying to figure out if the girl standing on his left is a friend, sister or true love. After she proceeds to his profile page to make sure he has the compatible characteristics. If all things look good, she'll talk to him at church or school.

Phase #2: Texting

Once the potential is approved on facebook, the texting game starts. Instead of flirting face to face, one has to be witty with his/her texting words. Emoticons such as :) or ;) can help give feeling to the text. But be careful ladies. No boy wants an annoying texter. Its all about strategy. If you text one day, he has to intiate the next text. If he ignores your texts, its time to move on.

Phase #3: First date

Finally after one has waded through all the technology hoops a formal date is set up. Most people have things to talk about on the first date due to the texting and facebooking. At the end of the date, if one or the other is "interested" they will send a text to their date informing he/she had a wonderful time. If the date replies, it generally guarantees a second date.

I find this process fascinating. Fifty years ago, people met each other at the town dance. If the guy liked the girl, he walked her home. Twenty-five years ago, you could met the girl at the local hang-out spot or high school football game. If the guy liked the girl he asked her out. Ten years ago, you e-mailed or instant messaged the person a date invitation.

It makes me wonder, will people be living virtual lives in 25 years? If so, consider me a 5'10 slender brunette with perfect intelligent living on a cattle ranch.

Any cowboys near by?

Nuff said.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just so you know...

I HATE moving.

In the past 4 years I have:

1-Moved to Logan
2-Moved to another house in Logan
3-Moved to an apartment in Logan
4-Moved back into the house in Logan
5-Moved to Spring City
6-Moved to Oklahoma
7-Moved to a different house in Oklahoma

And now...I'm moving again, to a different apartment. I think I've switched apartments more in the past four years than I did my entire time on the mission--while I was in Brazil I only was transfered 5 times.

Yet I think the oddest part about my whole moving experience is: I never have time to do it. In all the moves listed above, I don't think I've ever had more than a day to get packed up and moved in. I'm always super busy be it work, school or family activities. So let's just say my organizational moving skills are horrid.

I'm ready to put down some roots. Move and stay.

Anybody got any good grass seed? I want to plant a lawn and watch it grow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Slooooow, sloooooow, quick! quick!

Last night during Family Home Evening, a bunch of young single adults got together to learn some ballroom dancing. I have to admit I have an obession with watching ballroom dancers. They all appear to be so graceful and beautiful.

Yet, as I began last night I couldn't find grace at all--My knees were equal to a new born calf, my face was the color of a tomato and I was laughing like an hyena. Me?! Ballroom dance? You might as well ask an elephant to willingly step into a freezer.

As the night progressed, I found myself getting a little better; I prefered to lead I admit it. It was a lot easier if I knew where I was going, when I was going to turn, etc. However, the ballroom dance teacher spotted my pride and came over and asked to be my partner. He repeated the instructions to hold a good frame and pay attention to his movements. I obeyed and soon I was dancing gracefully across the floor in perfect sync with him and the music.

As I found the perfect sync, my memories were flooded with images of my parents dancing in the kitchen, at weddings and church dances. I felt as though for a small moment, I had found my mother's grace. I was finally dancing the rhythm of sloooooow, sloooow, quick! quick.

Miracles happen every day.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Few Short Moments


Today started out in the nightmarish way--didn't hear the alarm, late for class, got a parking ticket, late for institute, forgot my lunch, etc, etc, etc. In fact by 2 pm, I had a throbbing headache--the imtoooverwhelmeddonttalktomesortofheadache.

Then I remembered, a simple thing I had forgot to do: Start my day with my thoughts towards the heavens; I call it paying my tithing of the day. Heavenly Father has given me so much between jobs, graduate school scholarships, family and friends, I figure I owe it to Him so I give Him part of my day by reading my scriptures.

When the repentant thought dawned on me this afternoon, I had a to-do list the size of the Panama Canal--Papers, Presentations, Peeps: you name it. However, I did a rare thing today. I shoved the overwhelming feeling aside and gave 30 minutes to God. I opened my study manual (Preach My Gospel) to the previously marked stopping point--Today, I was lucky enough to begin chapter 4. I was touched as I read this sentence:

God loves you and all His children. He is anxious to support you in your practical and specific challenges. You have been promised inspiration to know what to do and have been given the power to do it.


Here was the answer I had been looking for on my nogoodhorriblebadday--An answer knowing I had Divine Help to conquer the impossible--that regardless of the events, papers, research projects and a pending thesis, God would guide me through it all. Why? Because I am His daughter, and any loving father is anxious to help his child.

Today, I was reminded that it is during the most stressful time in our lives that we need to give time to Heavenly Father, even if the time is as short as 30 minutes. I moan when I think I could have easily continued working.

Then, I remembered a woman who also paused in her day to look towards the heavens. Her name was Mary Magdalene. On a particular bad morning she was grieving the death of a very good friend, even Jesus Christ. She could have easily ignored the inner prompting to leave home and visit the the garden tomb; she could have proclaimed "I'll attend to the dishes, or help with a feast." However, instead, she separated herself from the world for a few short moments.

Her experience was miraculous. Upon entering the garden she found the tomb was empty. She started to cry, until she heard a voice, "Woman, why weepest thou?" (John 20: 15) As she turned toward the man's voice, she witnessed one of the greatest miracles of all time: Jesus Christ had risen.

As we approach the Easter season, let us remember that Jesus Christ rose on the third day. More importantly, let us follow the example of Mary to leave life's turmoils for a few short moments and turn our heads towards the heavens to discover miracles.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Curses....

Hey all,

You will never believe that my paradise trip was cursed again. I arrived at the airport on Saturday, happy to head back to the land of the free and the home of the brave. When I arrived at the airport, the line hardly moved. I really was not worried, until I saw person after person leave the desk frustrated. I began to wonder if my flight had been canceled.

My belief was confirmed when I arrived at the desk (after an hour of waiting). She informed me that I couldnt leave Belem until 6:30 that night, making it impossible to catch my international flight. Since I have traveled to Brazil before, I knew that international flights only leave at night, making it impossible for me to catch another plane that night in Sao Paulo--I would have been stuck. Therefore, I asked the representative if I could delay another day, so that I wouldnt have to spend an entire day in an international airport. Luckily the lady was nice enough to try to accomdate me.

We spent another hour trying to figure things out. As amazing as it may seem, the only available flight was Tuesday (tomorrow). UGH. All of a sudden, everything that I had planned to do when I arrived home went POOF*--to do lists, papers to write, work, etc.

So, peeps, Im heading home tomorrow. I hope Im not cursed again. Pray that all goes well!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blessings of Brazil

After complaining about my horrible airline experience, I thought I might share a little bit of the blessing it has been to be here in Brasil again.

#1: Brazil has reminded me of the power of sisterhood. I believe God intended women to become friends to help one another support the trials of life. As Joelma and I have spent endless hours talking about life and its joys and discomforts, I have been uplifted and inspired to become a better person. I have been reminded that no distance or years can separate true friends.

#2: My trip has taught me I need to enjoy life more. I love how Brazilians stop in the middle of the day to sit down together for lunch. After the meal, they do not run off to work or to study, instead they enjoy each others company. They laugh, talk and eat some more. I think I´ve learned once again that it is more important to enjoy the people around us, than to ensure everything on my ´to do´ list gets done.

#3: My travels have allowed me to serve. Last night an American Elder passed by Joelma´s house. As incredible as it may seem, I had brought extra packages of american food not knowing why. Im sure you can imagine this missionary´s happiness when I handed him a brownie mix, a faijta mix, brown sugar, and chocolate chips. He arrived tired and left smiling. Its amazing how through small and simple things, God blesses our lives.

#4: Brazil reminded me of inner beauty. On my second night here, I had the chance to do everyone´s hair using my hot rollers. Every lady left feeling more confident and more like a princess.

#5 Brazil helped me to remember that it doesnt matter our circumstance (single or married, rich or poor, American or Brazilian),God still loves us all. More importantly He helps us feel of his love by allowing us to have maravelous experiences. His tender mercies are all around us, and if we look more diligently for His Hand in our lives, we will feel more fulfilled and sastified with our lives.

Brazil has definitely been a blessing, and Im looking forward to seeing the beautiful United States once again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Family Curse

Im not one to complain, but my current situation calls for some online murmuring. I am sitting at the Sao Paulo Airport. I am suppose to be on a plane headed for Belem; unfortunately, my USA flight decided to be 1.5 hours late, and I missed my flight by 5 minutes. Now, my 21 LONG travel hours just turned into 30.

Why the murmuring? I think my family is cursed with airline travel. Let me cite a couple examples to convince you of the reality of this horrible plague.

#1-When I was 18, I traveled to Michigan with my family to attend my brother´s wedding. When we arrived at the airport, the luggage with all the wedding apparel was missing.

#2 When I was 20, I traveled to Ohio to visit my brother and sister in-law. On the way back, Delta lost my luggage. They offered to deliver it to my house, and i agreed to it. My bag arrived at 3:00 a.m. in shreds. My steel curling iron was in halves and my pictures and scriptures needed ironing.

#3 When I was 22, my parents traveled to pick me up in Sao Paulo from the mission. They lost their flight by 2 minutes. When we went home, they cancelled our last flight.

Ah the joys of travel. Yet the funniest part is, I keep getting on airplanes. Because despite the trial that comes with airline travle, the blessing of visiting loved friends far out weighs the los baggage and cancelled flights.

Plus, its 90 degress outside, so how can I complain?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Facelift of New Things

I did it. I got a face lift room lift. I felt like it was appropriate for the new year. As soon as I got home from the holiday break, I switched my desk and my bed. My bed now sits on the south wall, and my desk on the north wall.

I'm excited for the changes my new room shall give me. For one, I no longer have to share the wall with my housemate, which gives me more independence. Plus, have you ever tried to go to asleep at night while your housemate and her boyfriend are whispering sweet nothings to one another? Its not on my recommend "Ten-Things-You-Should-Do-Before-You-Die" list. Especially when conversation stalls and the intermission of musical slurping starts. The visual image is not "G" rated.

In addition to the rearrangement, I bought new sheets and pillowcases--cute ones with poke-it-dots and stripes. They're light green, blue and brown. Housed in my pillowcases are two brand new pillows. I figured, new year, new sheets, new pillows. Sounds like a motivational book title :).

Still, my favorite part about my new room is the new hope and energy it has instilled within me. Its serving as a symbol of the new semester and a newer and happier life. Its going to be filled with independent walls and poke-it-dot crazy days.

Heck, my friend and I are even planning a cruise for the next new year. Boo-yah. I like new things :).

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year - Endless Possibilities

New Year = Excuse to think of anything and everything that maybe can happen in 2010.

On my top ten:


10-Go to Brazil (I've been in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, so why stop the tradition?)

9- Buy a place of my own--8 years of renting can really be taxing. Although I don't think my salary will allow for anything other than a tent in my parents back yard. :)


8- Get a cat. I admit it--I'm more of a cat person than a dog person. I like something warm and cuddly to curl up on my lap that does not drool. Cats are calming.

7- Trade in the practical small Honda Civic for a country-girl pick-up truck (sadly, my practical side can't justify it.

6- Lose the _____ # of pounds I put on from stress eating (you thought I was going to reveal that number?! Ha!). I did it in 2008, so why not this year?

5-Stop caring about grades. Wouldn't it just be wonderful to soak in the vastness of knowledge? To be able to progress through a semester never panicking about this paper or that quiz?


4- Be content to live in the present, without wondering "why?" about yesterday and "what if?" tomorrow.

3- Serve more

2-Love more

1- Be Happy :)
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