Sunday, June 17, 2012

Quote that rings true to my heart... especially recently

Recently, this statement has rung more true in my life than I can remember in the past. It is so true and I am so GRATEFUL for revelation and quiet promptings from the Spirit!
"The distinction between this great Church and that of all other churches from the beginning has been that we BELIEVE in divine revelation; we believe that our Father speaks to man today as he has done from the time of Adam. We believe and we know—which is more than mere belief—that our Father has set his hand in this world for the salvation of the children of men.
It is not only because we have faith in these books [the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price] that we are considered a peculiar people but also because we CONFIDENTLY believe that our Father in heaven has spoken in this day and age. In fact, we know that there is communication with the heavens. We believe that Jehovah has the same feeling towards us, the same influence over us that he had for and over his children who lived in this world in times that are past.
President George Albert Smith, Former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Jersey/New York... Round 1!

I've had plans for a while to go to NYC next weekend with a friend to visit another friend living there for the summer! Very excited for that.

BUT, last weekend I had the last-minute opportunity to go to The Big Apple as well... and everything just worked together in my favor in order for me to go, that I just couldn't pass it up!

After playing "mom" for most of the week while the kids' parents were in Paris, I was ready to leave them on Friday evening! I didn't realize how much I needed to get away until I was sitting next to Bekah as she drove us north on 95. It was fun to catch up on her fabulous life and I updated her on mine as well. We drove to her house in Pennington, NJ, where we were staying. It was dark, and pretty late, when we arrived but I got to meet her cute grandmother whom I love! She is 94 years old, but she's full of life and was fun to talk to!

I was exhausted, so I went to bed pretty quickly, but that then meant I was up early on Saturday morning. I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity and go for a run. Bekah and her dad had given me some suggestions on where to go, but I just took off and figured I wouldn't venture too far.

But, as soon as I got out there I was just in awe of how beautiful it was. The sun was just coming up and Pennington NJ is mostly... dare I say... farm country?! On my run I saw horses, cows, a few neighborhoods, a lake, AND a lot of green pastures with just a feeling of nature all around. I had to stop a few times and take pictures.
My first time in Pennington... and I LOVED it.
Loved the sunrise
As many of you know, I REALLY don't like to run outside. But, maybe since I don't do it very often, I really LOVE it when I do! I just felt so much gratitude for my ability to run, my ipod and fun music, and for nature!

After I returned home, it was time to get ready for our adventure in the big city! We took the train in, and I was so glad I was with Bekah because I would not have been able to navigate NYC on my own as successful as she did!

We went to the church building at Lincoln Center where they were having a singles conference that day. We saw some friends from DC and went to three classes, which were actually much better than I expected. After lunch, I scooted out to meet up with a good friend from Boston, who now lives in NYC with her husband and two kids! Sarah Jensen Clayton!!!
Sarah is still as fabulous as she always was and we had fun catching up. I hope that on my next visit to NYC I can meet her husband and two kids!

After we parted ways, I had plans to meet up with another friend who's living there for the summer. He had been at a museum on the other side of Central Park, so I got to walk through the park to see him. I'm always amazed at how much is in Central Park and how BIG it is! It was a beautiful day... so he and I set off for some of the places I wanted to see. Not all of the pictures below were taken by me... sad to say my phone was getting low on battery and I wanted to make sure it was still working for when I headed home later on...

One of my FAVORITE places in NYC is Rockefeller Center! Simply because that's where the TODAY show is filmed... and so Braden stuck it out with me while I peeked in the windows of the TODAY show studio and was in heaven! I've seen people standing in this very spot while I've been watching the TODAY show! So Exciting!
We also went inside the main building there and saw these A-mazing murals. Each told a story and we tried to figure each one out. There were so many symbols and stories being told. It was fascinating!
We also got some A-mazing macaroons at a store nearby. Oh my goodness - they were good!

Before going to Rockefeller Center we stopped by St. Patrick's Cathedral. A couple had just been married and were leaving. We were able to walk inside this beautiful church and look at the windows and intricate architecture. I learned that it was neo-gothic and the ground breaking was around 1850's. Very cool!
It was so big on the inside!
And, all I could think about was the couple that was just married inside... how would I feel about people continuously walking in and out of the church while I was getting married?!

Another place we visited was the New York Public Library. Again, a building with such history and the inside was very cool as well!

Would I be able to focus better if I studied in one of these rooms? 
I think I would feel smarter if I did!

Most of our walk was down 5th avenue, and I just thought this APPLE store was so unique. Evidently you walk inside the glass doors and then go down the escalator to the store. Very cool!
Our adventures also took us to Grand Central Station for dinner where we saw another unique Apple Store and then back to Penn Station. It was A LOT of fun and I am excited to go back in a few days!

New York isn't so scary and mammoth if you're there with people who actually know what they're doing... or they have very cool apps that help you find your way!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Great Quote!

I read this quote yesterday and LOVED it!

"Of all the arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as "Careful! This might lead to suffering!"... When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. 

If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. 

If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in a casket of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; It will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable." 

CS Lewis

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A little family time

The first weekend in June my two brothers and their families came in to town. 

It was fabulous!

Not only because I didn't have to travel to see them :) but just to have us all together once again! And, we had fun! The beautiful weather helped as well. 

Evan, Madison and Holland had their Friday evening flight from Boston canceled because of the storms, so we all met up on Saturday morning and our first stop was the zoo! I was excited to see my nephews and little Holland again (who's adorable!) 

Holland and I at the elephants!
Madison kept trying to tie her hat on 
but Holland refused and always pulled it right off
So we kept her mostly in her stroller in the shade. 
She's such a happy, happy baby! 
And, she sure does love her bottle!
Becca, Justin and Jace
Madison and Holland!
Becca had a book event at the Arlington Public Library, so she and I left everyone at the zoo and went over to the Central Library. I was shocked as to how many people were there and to hear that some had come all the way from New York and New Jersey! I felt like such a celebrity because I was her sister-in-law! I had also never seen Becca do a book event before, so it was cool to see her presentation and hear more about her writing. For someone who used to dislike public speaking, she has an amazing talent for it!
After the book event, I went back to meet up with everyone at the airport park. They had a picnic and were throwing Frisbees around. Madison and I just chilled with Holland on the grass and chatted :)

It was such a beautiful day so we decided to take everyone swimming back at my complex. Becca returned from her book event with cupcakes, so they were enjoyed by all.
 On Saturday evening, I volunteered to watch my nephews and niece while the parents went to dinner. Holland loved being around her cousins... even though she was SO tired and needed to take a nap! She just wanted to stay up and pay with them. I made pizza for dinner and basically the boys just wanted to watch TV since we had them on the go all day long. ... so I got my forever fill of Power Rangers and what ever else they thought was cool!

On Sunday morning, we all met up again and decided to walk around the monuments. Fortunately it wasn't too hot and humid. It was just fun to all be together!

It was SUCH a great weekend and I am so grateful for my brothers, their wives and their families! I look forward to future family reunions!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Utah Part 2

So, this has taken a bit to post, but life's been busy!

I left off the last post with my Friday afternoon visit to Julie. Well, from there I went back to Nancy's for some more time with her, Josh and the girls! Nancy's twin daughters are such girly-girls. I love it! They get all dressed up with nice shoes, hair neatly done, a very PINK coordinating outfit... and are just adorable! I need to take fashion tips from them :)

I had such a fun time reminiscing again with them (well, mostly just Nancy), and talking about the joys of my single life (in regards to guys/dating)! Such memories of doing the exact same thing at BYU. I wish I could sit in her kitchen every afternoon and just talk. It was so much fun! We took a picture and her two adorable girls jumped on in. They didn't want to be left out! Pink is definitely a favorite color in their family :)

Well, on Saturday, the weather was MISERABLE for most of the day. I had really wanted to go and do a session at the Mt. Timpanogos temple since that is the only one I have been able to walk through before it was dedicated and I have just always thought it to be very pretty! ... But, thanks to Nancy I learned it was closed for cleaning. So, my next choice was the Jordan River temple. 

I set off to the temple in the morning and it had just started to drizzle/rain. I was hoping and praying that the rain would hold off till later in the evening... or just not come at all because I wanted to go to the SLC REAL game later that evening. Well, the session was lovely (except I had NEVER seen so many cars and people at a temple! I guess that's normal in UT, but I was blown away by the sight!). When I left it was pouring. When I got back to my hotel it was chucking it down. OH NO! I love soccer in the rain... but not that much rain!

Well, luck was on my side! The SUN miraculously came out for a bit in the late afternoon and managed to stay dry until after the game! AWESOME! But, the wind did NOT get the message. It was INCREDIBLY windy. And cold! It was probably in the 50s but with the wind, it made it seem colder. People were decked out in their ski hats and jackets! I was OK though. My hands got a little chilly near the end, but I just remember getting back to my car and having to sit in it for a minute to adjust to not having the wind whirl all around me! I had given up on my hair right from the start. It was nice to be inside something and not having it blow everywhere. 

The game was SO much fun! I had never been to a professional soccer game or this stadium before and I am pretty sure Braden hadn't either. The soccer players have a lot of muscle/endurance and a lot of talent! The REAL ended up winning, but it got very exciting next the end. And, I fell in love with their theme song that everyone would sing when they scored a goal. It sounded very Scottish, but I know it wasn't. They are a South American team. But, everyone would stand up and clap while singing it, and there's just the excitement that comes from cheering on your team. I had SO much fun!

Afterwards Braden and I decided to go for something warm to eat... and I have a special place in my heart for cornbread... so he used his handy, dandy iPhone to ask Siri where we should go. And, she came through for us! She recommended 5 or so places in the area and Braden chose a diner near his house that he had never been to. And, it was the perfect choice!

The Black Bear Diner! It was close to closing time, but we were seated and I imagine our waitress was a little surprised when all we ordered was 5 corn bread muffins. She said they were small, but they were the biggest corn bread muffins I had seen! And, she warmed them for us so I just held one in my hands for a minute or two to warm them up! Then, it was on to my plate for some butter and honey... 


Can I just say it again?
Such a fun, fun night!

On Sunday it was sunny in the valley, but I could tell that there was snow falling in the mountains. So after attending a random congregation for church, I took a drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was such a pretty drive all the way up as I went from sun down at the bottom of the mountain, to increasing clouds, and then snow when I arrived at Brighton Ski Resort! Not thinking, I had worn flip flops and so my choice of footwear was not ideal. I really wish I had been able to get out and make a snowball or snow angels, but Oh well! It was just pretty to be up there!

 I absolutely LOVED my trip to UT. It was wonderful to get together with friends I love, relax a little, and to just get away from the daily challenges of life :) I look forward  to going back!