Sunday, April 29, 2012

Life as of late

I'm just loving it these days. Things haven't exactly turned out the way we expected but it's good. It's great even. Not being in school the last week has been awesome. We're just enjoying having very few responsibilities for the last time in a long time. Graduation was just as exciting as I had hoped it would be, and then the fun was extended for another week with Andrew's parents staying in Utah. My mother-in-law and I went to women's conference at BYU and it was just fantastic. I had always wanted to go -- all those ladies storming campus with their cute raincoats, holding little notebooks and travelling in groups of two or three looked like they were having the time of their life. Now having done it myself, I can say it was definitely a blast. I'd make this a yearly tradition if I could. Maybe someday.

We attended classes on "avoiding the entitlement trap", virtue and chastity for adults (we actually kind of fell asleep in that one... ahem), true beauty, bridging differences in marriage... this one was one of my favorite: it was`taught by a marriage therapist from Utah and her husband, a pioneer in the Church in Ghana. They certainly came across a lot of challenges together, and they had some great stories and advice. My favorite part in that session was the wife's answer she received to the question of whether or not they should marry: "if the Gospel of Christ is your culture, your marriage will thrive."

We also attended one session called "You can either laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache" - it was plenty of fun. It was essentially about meeting life's challenges with humor, having a positive attitude about things. Of course, we laughed a lot. We also attended a service night, where I tied my very first fleece blanket.


And some poor kid is going to have a messed-up blanket...


Whoops... I guess it's the thought that counts? Then there was a concert on Thursday night, and that was tons of fun. One thing is for sure: Mormon women love Alex Boyé!


It was hilarious, the crowds went wild! And we also got a surprise visit from Eliza R Snow herself :)

I think my absolute favorite talk though was one that Lisa & Matthew Richardson gave (Br. Richardson was just called as a counselor to the general Sunday School Presidency). They spoke together as a team (with those little mics that attach to your ear) and the way they played off of each other was hilarious. They were so much fun! And their enthusiasm was contagious. They spoke about being "armed with principles that never change." They also talked a lot about how work is actually a good in and of itself, not just something we do to get out of the way. That was kind of a theme I got from the whole conference in fact, that work is a blessing not just a duty. They used the example of Adam and Eve's marriage and life throughout the talk and Sister Richardson said something that really struck me: they were talking about how Satan told Adam and Eve to hide themselves when they had eaten the fruit, because they were naked. God comes and asks "who told thee thou art naked?" They didn't even know they were supposed to be ashamed, really, until someone pointed it out - and she paralleled that with today, when we are ashamed of our choices or feel inadequate because of what we think others expect us to do or be. Similarly, she asked the following question: "Who told thee thou art inadequate? Who told thee thou art not enough of that or too much of this?" We shouldn't be looking for the World's approval, we should be thinking about what God cares we do. I suppose I knew that, but putting it in those terms really hit home for me.

Who told thee thou art inadequate?


What an incredible reminder of who we should really strive to please, where we should set our sights. I'm posting my notes from the conference here, if you're interested -- they're kind of all over the place but there are some good bits :) This conference was a wonderful experience; the talks were inspiring and reinvigorating, and the company was absolutely delightful!


In other news, if you're still reading: I'm getting some dental work as well as getting all four of my wisdom teeth taken out Thursday. Wish me luck. The dentist promised happy gas, so at least the operation itself won't be too bad; it's the aftermath I'm really scared about. Voilà!

Women's Conference 2012 Notes

This is all over the place. If this is of use to you, great, if not, just ignore it. Quotes may not be perfectly exact, so don't quote me on this. You just had to be there :)


Women's Conference 2012
Theme: 1 Nephi 14:14


Avoiding the entitlement trap
Julie Barfuss
Entitlement = deserving things just because, selfishness
God's ways vs entitlement - we are all indebted to God
World has forgotten where our blessings come from
Stop and remember our Savior
Entitlement is Satan's plan in the pre existence
Sometimes we get so close to the situations we're in, focused on details, we need to step back and look at the big picture - perspective of our lives is important.
Is this the path I need to be on or am I on the path the World want me to be on? Ask God
Work, gratitude and service - to fight entitlement
Work is a gift from God - many blessings require more work (boat story)
"It is better to dig a hole and fill it back up again than to do nothing at all" - BY
Gratitude is a precursor for humility
Nephi and Laman and Lemuel viewed their trials drastically differently. OMG.
We are here to love, encourage, strengthen to bring each other back to HF
Google service ides :)
"The Lord can only guide our footsteps if we move our feet" - Marion G Romney
One step at a time
Motherhood isn't just a season of our lives - it's eternal
Open the scriptures and teach them the words of the prophet

Millie Dadson - from Ghana
Anansi the spider stories
We are entitled to God's blessings and power and spirit
But we are also responsible to obey - it's conditional
Generation "Y not"
Sense of entitlement is greatest threat to our children
The more we have the more we want.
A faithful steward is responsible for his own
We are only stewards and caretakers of all that we have
Those who work hardest at finding themselves will continue to wander
Pride cycle
How to fight entitlement:
Pray for gift of Charity - the more we share it the more it grows
Fill the void - entitlement creates an appetite, replace w love of God & others, service therapy, and wise denial
2 Nephi 9:51 - feast upon that which perisheth not
Extend our sphere of influence
Serve for what we give, not what we get
Live in thanksgiving daily - humility
For kids:
Heaping presents at Christmas doesn't help our kids; helps develop the "gimmies"
Recognizing rewards for doing good things (point them out)
Teach that they may not be the best at everything in this world - they may feel entitled to be good at it, and that it isn't worth it if they can't be perfect at it
Encourage them from time to time to serve each other in chores rather than each do their own bed only
Indiscriminate compliments are bad: "oh you're so awesome" just gives them a reward for existing. Rather, compliment specific actions.
Teach them to which source they may look for redemption

Avoid living on the edge: Strengthening chastity and virtue in adults
Shelley Nash
What we do in our everyday lives helps us to be women of virtue
You are the guardian of your heart
Evaluate how much time we spend on media - it can damage/replace family relationships - can intrude in a sacred place: our heart
Modesty is also important - be modest as an example for our children
Leave the television off sometimes.
Guarding our hearts from the things of the World - we will come to a point where we have no more disposition to do evil
Wise virgins: took the holy ghost to be their guide
Spiritual promptings will never lead us to do anything that will make us feel uncomfortable, afraid or ashamed
Courage to leave movie, put down book
Virtue brings light, indulgence brings fog
Line between Lord's territory and Devil's territory. Which side of the line am I on?
Banana pants! - alternate swear word mom came up with when daughter blurted out her mother's language in primary :)
Lines are there to keep us safe
Fill our lives with goodness - choose to be virtuous: we will find more charity and stop focusing on ourselves so much
"I'm so glad it's not about me!" on bad hair days

Jana Staples
Commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ
World today teaches the gospel of ease - causes discouragement
This life is meant to prepare for the dream, not be the dream
We have a god-given identity, embrace it
Media, clothes speak of who we are inside, testifies of our level of conversion
Avoid things that would draw the Spirit away
How do we spend our discretionary time?
Evaluate activities and simplify life with priorities - place emphasis where rewards will be the greatest and the most enduring. - sis Belle Spafford
Sometimes we are content w being a wood chopper. Stop focusing on chopping wood, focus on the most important things
We are expected to be a self-correcting people, because our worthiness is between God and us
It is for you to lead the world in everything that is uplifting

Afternoon general session
Lisa & Matthew Richardson - Armed with principles that never change
Spoke together as a team :)

Most things in the world change, but some things never change, like the divine principles of salvation
God gave to man to act for himself - agency is God-given responsibility
Satan's plan is to destroy man's agency - focuses only on the choosing
Fear not to do good - whatsoever ye sow that shall ye reap - law of harvest
Doubt not, fear not and proceed in faith
choosing the right is the ultimate goal - "choice is a method, not a goal"
What one person feels is right for herself can not be judged wrong or sinful by another
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 58)
Adam & Eve had the power to act even before they had mortal bodies
You have the capability to bear hard things
Christ knows it's hard, yet still asks us to move onwards and upwards - he knows we have the power within us
sorrow also means toil - having children isn't sad, it's hard work
Work brings a lot of glory. It brings change for good, strength and character
Don't remove the blessings of toiling from your children!
Do we wear the worker's seal?
Some must push and some must pull - pioneers
"I can truly say I never felt to murmur, for my Heavenly Father has given me strength" - pioneer ancestress
Never-changing principle of work
"not so bad, not so bad" is the Czech translation of "all is well, all is well" in "Come come ye saints" hymn!
We value our marriage because we work at it
We value our testimony and the gospel because we work hard at it
Set our feet irrevocably upon the path He has marked - Pres. Kimball
"Who told thee thou art naked?" (Adam and Eve looked to Satan for an opinion/counsel, they tried to please him. Similarly, don't we look to the world?)
"Who told thee thou art inadequate? Who told thee thou art not enough of that or too much of this?"
Heed the counsel of the prophets, no matter how simple it may be. Face the voice of the Lord and away from the voice of the World.
Teach AND live the principles of the Gospel
"Be a man of your word"
Don't you dare give up on teaching, edifying and supporting your family
"strengthen thy brethren" applies to family, friends, etc.
"Always stand for truth and righteousness, you are special" Sis Ardith Kapp
Stance of exaltation with enthusiasm - pioneer woman painting
Hosanna = "save us"
Our only hope is to be armed in Him - we must act as Christ acts

Friday session
Sandra Rogers - BYU Women's conference committee & Relief Society Board Chair
When answering a reporter about why the Church doesn't use crosses as a symbol: "The lives of our people = the symbol of our worship" President Hinckley
To follow = to accept as an authority, to use as an exemplar
Our discipleship is manifested in the things we do and the traits we develop, in the way that we are the Lord's instruments
We're trying to be like Jesus
Mary and Martha cooking vs listening - Jesus understands women. He knows they'll be happier if they chose the good part
When the world tells us we're nuts for doing everything we do to follow the Gospel, (raising children at home) all we need to remember is the Lords words: "them that honor me, I will honor"
As hope endures, faith increases... We begin to experience a change of heart, then receive His image in our countenances.
Jesus saw a need and responded.
Disciples invest in others when they meet needs
True disciples do anything to find a way to be obedient
Charity = Simply give each other the benefit of the doubt and be quiet, expect the very best of each other
Capacity to have mercy
Unmerciful servant story
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself
Disciples never think they have it made
Preach the Gospel in the way we live each day
We're never off-duty when it comes to being disciples of Christ

You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache
Karen Whiting
"Just go home and don't worry about it"
Reece's rainbow: http://reecesrainbow.org/
Do random acts of kindness - it's important
"Find something that makes you happy, then throw yourself into it"
Laugh about things that may be frustrating or embarrassing or event terribly awful
It takes thunderstorms to see the rainbows

Duella Williams
BMW = Big Mormon Wagon
Mr What-you-ought-to-do
Enjoy the scenery
"The reason we have traditions is to know who we are and what God expects us to become" Tevye, in Fiddler on the Roof
1) don't sweat the small stuff 2) it's all the small stuff
Kids rolling down hill in van - stopped by rock that has now fulfilled the measure of its creation :)
Reset your gauge but keep your family intact
Life is to be enjoyed and not just endured
That little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine

Some things we have learned together: Bridging differences in marriage
Thomas & Katrina Appiah
(she is a relationship therapist, he's a financial consultant, pioneer in Church in Ghana)
It's their wedding anniversary, he gave her a gift! - a check! (ah, it's a reenactment of their first anniversary)
The best gift ever in his family! But she didn't really appreciate it, and ripped it up.
Understand and embrace differences
Sis Appiah was impressed to say two things: give a sense of hope, as well as some perspectives, skills and principles that will help us to cope and succeed in our marriage
Bridging differences, not avoiding or eliminating them.
A bridge connects two different locations, opens up a new world.
John Gottman - excellent source for strengthening families and marriages http://www.gottman.com/
Be open to the influence of your spouse- Gottman
"You can either be right all the time or you can be happily married"
"Positive sentiment override" - focusing on what you love, admire, appreciate about your spouse. Take a 3x5 card and write down what you love about your spouse.
Find something positive in that which is irritating
Punctuality story - he is extremely punctual and never waits past five minutes :)
Focusing on what you love about your spouse increases your love for him
Happy and unhappy couples have the same number of disagreements, but the difference is in how they resolve conflict (or it doesn't even go to conflict stage)
First: extend and make attempts to repair the relationship, and accept your spouse's attempts to repair it too - no matter how botched those attempts.
You must be willing to make e change first.
Second: address issues gently - make the time and find a place. Schedule a time for your disagreement, rather than letting it crop up in the midst of emotions, uninvited
Recognize that in every relationship, there will be perpetual disagreements
"As long as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is your culture, your marriage will thrive"
Micro-iniquities/micro-righteousness - small acts that, added together, cause great pain or bring about great good.
Micro-iniquities: Judging your spouse without looking to understand their point of view, gossiping about him.
Knowing who you are and extending that same love to all around you.
Building a relationship on honesty, trust and love will help us bridge any gaps.
Thus, Experiences in your marriage will make you better, not bitter. One letter separates the two: i-internal perspective vs e-eternal perspective.
Whether or not you are exalted depends on the man who stands at your side and the relationship you establish with him. (And vice versa) Treat your spouse with respect and even reverence, because your very life depends upon it.

"Good looking" is a verb,  not an adjective
Michael Adams
(psychologist - BYU)
Negative body image is an effective tool for Satan to distract us with our small imperfections so we can't focus on the things of eternal importance.
Three Cs, Comparison, competition and criticism keep us distracted
First step is seeing the lie for what it is
There are healthy perfectionists and unhealthy perfectionists (high shame and low pride or vice versa)
Righteous pride helps us recognize our beauty by seeing the divinity within us
Cultivate caring - Jesus is the prime example (adulteress brought before Him)
To treat yourself kindly: how would you comfort a friend? Apply the same method to yourself then!
Self-compassion: being touched by and open to one's suffering
1) show kindness to yourself rather than harshness
On judging: "Sometimes I wonder if the final judgment will be a breeze compared to what we've put each other through here on earth." Sheri Dew
2) be aware of imperfections, but not over aware
D&C 64:2

Diane Robison
YW General Board
"The beauty of holiness" Psalms 96:9
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 we see through a glass darkly
Virtue = Beauty
Sis Dalton beauty video https://www.lds.org/youth/video/deep-beauty?lang=eng
The Spirit of the Lord is the Mormon beauty secret
It's right and proper to want to be beautiful
The death of pretty - Catholic blog post http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archbold/the-death-of-pretty
The most dangerous message the adversary sends to women: that the only mark a woman can make on mankind is through seduction.
The end of innocence: the cost of sexual king kids http://www.deseretnewsservice.com/#!/entry/the-end-of-innocence-the-cost-of-sexualizing-kids,264
"You can't lead your life worrying that the world is staring at you" Elder Holland
"One would need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with the beauty portrayed in the media around us" Elder Holland
Mormon women need to be lionesses at the gate of our homes
Chewie the cat
How to transmit this to YW: Teach, exemplify, love
- Teach the doctrine by the spirit (vs speaking of behavior and hemlines)
"you have a HF who loves you and a Savior who died for you, your body is a temple, you were created in his image" teach it over and over and over
- Exemplify. BE the virtuous women. We have to radiate so they can't misunderstand who we are. Show we can be beautiful on our own terms
- Love. Tuck them close to you. Express you love. See them with clear spiritual eyes

Closing session
Elder & Sister Andersen (Apostle. Former Bordeaux mission president!)


Musical number performed by Dallyn Vail Bayles - Oh hey, I found it on youtube!


Elder Andersen
"Young men speak of the future, because they have no past. Old men speak of the past, because they have no future."
All that we have is dependent upon the goodness of God
"We're neither traditionally Christian nor straightforwardly secular. Instead, we’re a nation of heretics in which most people still associate themselves with Christianity but revise its doctrines as they see fit, and nobody can agree on even the most basic definitions of what Christian faith should mean." (New York Times editorial)
We are all enlisted 'till the conflict is over
While the battle rages, we need not fear
You are absolutely critical to the cause. Your talents, your faith, your unselfishness and your discipleship are needed.
You can speak about the future with optimism, joy and confidence.
"Things will get better and better and better as we spread over the earth.
As darkness increases, the sunlight of the gospel will grow brighter and brighter.
He will not forsake us if we do not forsake Him" - President Hinckley
"Heaven's blessings await us" - President Monson

Sister Andersen
"it's kind of like primary"
Our prayer for our granddaughters is:
That they will be armed with the power of God, and that they will know throughout their lives that their Hd knows them and cares for them
That they will believe and have faith in the words of those called of God
Hadley, little girl born without ears, to little boy in a wheelchair without legs: "when Jesus comes, I will be able to hear, and you will have legs. He will make everything right."

Elder Andersen
As you devote yourself to Him, His reality will burn like nothing else inside of you.
I bless you, with gifts of teaching the gospel, that this conversion of Christ will sink deeply into those around us.
Look forward with faith, be worthy to bear His name.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Graduation

Well we did it. We walked, and we got our pictures taken, and we threw hats.



Broadcast people - before the majestic climbing of the walkway.


We also ate a lovely dinner and enjoyed the company of friends and family.

Magleby's -- they catered our wedding, it's only fair
we have graduation dinner with them too :)

I'm going to miss the Heaps!

Last silly time with Haleigh for a long time :(

Elder Oaks


"The mark you receive as a BYU graduate is neither involuntary nor self-imposed. You sought this mark, and it is put upon you by proper authority. After today you have more than a new line on your resume. You have been marked. As a BYU graduate, you are, as we say, a marked man or woman.

...

“We all have marks or labels upon us. Our names and many characteristics of our appearance, such as family similarities, are marks. So is our speech. These marks are involuntary. Other marks are voluntarily assumed, like religious symbols that various faiths use on their apparel, which we honor, and tattoos, which we discourage. Our Savior is the model for the self-imposed mark of the utmost significance.”

...

‘You all have a mark upon you after today — you will be known as a graduate of Brigham Young University, which is part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The people who know you and see you will judge the Church by you. Your great mission is to hold the banner high.’"



Just striking a pose, you know

I did it Ma!

Where's Andrew?

That's Master Andrew to you!

Brother Curtis, News director extraordinaire


And best of all: we graduated!



"Are we done taking pictures yet?"

No way! Yay pictures!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Here we go

Well, here we are: commencement day. Tomorrow, we get our degrees and then it's off to...


That's right: Casper, Wyoming!

Andrew accepted an internship with the city's budget office that they very strongly suggested will turn into a job offer at the end of the summer. And I'm going to haul myself on over to their TV station and demand a job.

Is it out in the middle of nowhere? Yup.
Is it somewhat... savage country? Yup.
And don't start me on the fact that Casper, Wyoming is ranked at the very bottomy-bottom of the reporting food chain.

BUT considering the fact we wanted to go somewhere we both have job opportunities, it's actually not a bad deal. In fact, it's not a bad deal at all: we'll have jobs in the same city (which is AWESOME considering what we were starting to look at) and it might be kind of fun to live it up with the cowboys for a while. You gotta start somewhere! We also just found out what Andrew's starting salary would be, and we're both feeling really good about that... :)

Off we go to the Wild Wild West!

Hey look, we're grads:


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You'd give this girl a job, right?

Right?


I did a photo shoot with the multi-talented Lizzy Early last week. I needed to send in a good head shot for the journalism competition, and then we sort of got carried away... I didn't mind, cause I've never had senior photos. There, that's a first for me!


Hmmm, I've got a good feeling about the next round of this competition.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The final result

Voilà, ladies and gentlemen. I present to you my sweat, blood and tears from the last four months. These are the four stories I'm submitting to the competition. Pray for me that the judges will think I'm awesome and send me a ticket to San Francisco in June!





Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Awards submission: done

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

My last story aired today and they are all DONE! My news director sent it all off today. Now, we wait. My letter says they'll make a decision early May, hopefully it's actually early May cause I want to know now! Even if I don't make the cut (there are ten students nationally competing, only five make it to San Francisco), I'll have  a very much improved resume reel which is awesome. And I can definitely be happy about that -- it won't have been in vain.

Here's the final installment:



And now, I'm basically done with school! I still have a few papers/forms to send in, and my internship goes until the 25th, but otherwise that's it! I can't believe the end is here. Right now, I just want to take a nice, long nap. For two days.

Oh, and you should watch this incredible video about the Kimanguiste Symphony Orchestra -- beautiful music in the midst of terrible violence and poverty.
It will give you much joy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reporting

can be maddening. Especially when everything goes wrong because of stupid technical problems. Ugh. And there's still so much to do!


Oh hey, I look blissfully happy here, when in fact I was probably running on empty and stressed out of my mind about a story. Blegh. Almost done.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Progress.. and awesome video

So I'm making progress. Finally. I'm praying that a woman I just talked to on the phone will agree to an on-camera interview -- she would be PERFECT. Everything else is actually close to wrapped up, which is miraculous at this point.

Also, my grandmother was called to be the primary pianist in my home ward -- and my aunt caught a piece of it! I love it :)
She was a concert pianist and taught children and adults for many years, but in the past years she couldn't play anymore for various health reasons. Lately though, she's started playing again, and it's a wonderful thing to see.

video

And check out my latest story -- a feature on community-supported agriculture.


Nothing too serious, but this is meant to be a feature, not an investigative report. The next two are the real deal though -- and I'm close to done on both of them! Hallelujah!