Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the GOOD, the bad, and the ugly

I really probably should wait until I have pictures to put up, but...when do I ever do things in the right order? I just could not wait until I have that kind of time to write about the awesomeness that I have been experiencing for the past week. Yes, a whole week now. I have lived in Tempe for a whole week now!!! And what a glorious week it has been. Yes, it has been full of trials, but the good times certainly outweigh the bad ones. I am so incredibly blessed! I am living with Ashley Jungbluth and Madison Taets...two of the most amazing girls I have ever met. Seriously, it was absolutely ridiculous for me to believe that I couldn't get any closer to them than I already was...because I feel closer and closer to them every day. They are my family--my sisters. (Okay, so sometimes I call Madison "Mom"...but only sometimes.) And I know the best is yet to come. I love them more than I can even express.

And Abby is back from Florida! I am extraordinarily happy that she is back. She makes my life 500 times happier....especially when she laughs (which seems to be a common occurance). As was the same with Ashley and Madison, I have grown even closer to Abby since she has gotten back. (Shoot, our little crying sessions do us wonders!:)

Along with moving back to Tempe, however, there comes the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know it is a little early to say, but I am a little concerned about the excitement factor of this semester. I have yet to find a class boring, but psychology research methods is the closest it's come. Granted, today was only my second day attending that class, but....I am definitely concerned. I love psychology, but research methods? I know it will help in the years to come (as I move on to graduate school), but this semester will be very interesting (in the least interesting sense of that word). Oh well! I love learning, so I'll just try to soak it all up and be content. Institute, of will be absolutely amazing. As always. No worries there.

In a nutshell, there are some things that I have already determined about this semester, the first being: it's not gonna be easy. In fact, it's going to be really, really hard--and that's classes aside. The second thing I've determined: even though it's gonna be really hard, it's going to be completely worth it. I am already learning so much. And the main thing I've determined: God is in control....He really is. So why am I worrying anyway?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

shooting guns and shooting stars

Two FHE's ago, I had the opportunity to do something that I absolutely love....but hardly ever have the chance to do. I was able to go shooting--shotguns, no less. I know that might sound very strange and/or twisted (especially to my Phoenician friends), but what can I say? I will always be a small-town girl at heart. It was so, so fun! My only regret is that I didn't get pictures.

Two Tuesdays ago, I got to go tubing down the Salt River with Briana Bluth, Kailan Anderson, Raquel Higgins, Gary Fenn, and Ambre Martin (now Ambre Fenn!!!). I had a blast. It was so, so fun. Unfortunately, I got very sunburned (since the tube with the sunscreen in it was almost always about a hundred yards or so down the river), but that didn't really matter much. One of the funniest things about the whole trip was watching Kailan float around in her tube. HAHA I could not stop laughing. Her dad had generously donated two tubes to our cause, but when we got to Tempe and put air into the tubes we realized they were pretty tiny. We put the ice chest in one of the tiny tubes, and Kailan ended up with the other. Watching her paddle around in her tube (while she was almost fully immersed in the water) is a sight that I hope never leaves my memory.

For the last couple of weeks, I have just been working....and getting sick. :( Although I don't actually feel that sick, I sound far more sick than I really am. My voice is almost completely gone, and since I work in a country club snack bar, I always wonder whether our customers are thinking, "Do I really want that girl touching my food?!" Don't worry, though, I am constantly washing my hands, and I ALWAYS wear gloves when handling food. I am stoked that I have been getting so many hours at work but am pretty disappointed since I have to work next Sunday. :( I am going to go to a family ward in the morning before work, but I am really going to miss my last Sunday in the Prescott Singles Ward. I LOVE those kids!

And as of 8-8-08, Ambre is married!!! I am so, so happy for her and Gary! I love them both so much. It's still something I'm having trouble comprehending--that one of the girls I grew up with is married--but it's awesome! And they got married in the temple, which just makes it 500 times better! :)

Last Monday for FHE, we hiked P-Mountain. The whole walk was pretty dang gorgeous, as the sun was setting behind the mountains and cast a light across the valley. I was super stoked the whole time. I tried to get some pictures, but my little camera did it no justice. I guess sometimes memory must suffice. Another amazing thing happened when I got to look through a telescope for the first time!!! Oh my gosh, I have been missing out on life. I got to see the moon, Jupiter, and Venus. Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. As strange as it sounds, I felt so important. As small as I am compared to everything else in the universe, Heavenly Father cares about me! It was an incredible experience.

Last night, I got home from a movie and glanced up at the sky. OH my, it was amazing! I have never seen clouds like that in my life. So, of course, I had to get out my camera and try to capture the moment. Again, I certainly didn't do it justice, but the pictures still came out pretty cool. Then, after I was done with my picture-taking, I spent several wonderful minutes just looking up at the sky and thinking about my life and about Heavenly Father. It was wonderful. And then, to my complete and utter awe, I saw a shooting star--below the clouds! It was so, so beautiful and an experience I will never forget. My heart is so full with gratitude to our Heavenly Father.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


So...quite a lot has happened recently. Although I should have just written about everything as it came, I didn't. Dumb thing to do. Now I have a lot to write about, and I'm a little daunted by the enormity of the task. I apologize up front if this narrative turns out to be a novel.

Two weekends ago, my extended family (on my mom's side) gathered together in my little town to celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary (quite an accomplishment!). My aunts, uncles, and cousins traveled from all different areas of the country to celebrate. My aunt Kim, uncle Steve, and cousin Ryan arrived first from Montana. It was awesome to see them, and Ryan has grown up so much since I last saw him! (Ryan is my younger brother Eric's age--15.) Ryan and Eric decided to set up camp in a tent on the deck of my house...and when I say camp, I definitely don't mean that literally, other than the fact that they were sleeping in a tent. Inside their tent, they put together a large array of electronics, including (but in no way limited to) a TV, a game cube, and a wii....all inside the tent! Haha, my little brother cracks me up. Geek.

Next to arrive were my uncle Burnell, aunt Lynn, cousin Tracie, and Tracie's baby, Colton, who all hail from Connecticut. I had never met Tracie's baby before, so this was awesome! He is so, so cute. I kind of wanted to steal him from her, but I eventually decided against that idea due to the great amount of resistance from his mother. And finally my cousin Meagan, her husband Kirk, and my cousin Courtney arrived from Utah. Meagan and Kirk are settling down in the Salt Lake area, and Courtney attends BYU (which I try not to hold against her).

Unfortunately, the next day, I had to work while the rest of the family went canoeing. :( However, it sounds like they had an amazing time. That night, when I got home, I had to hurry and get ready for my grandparents' anniversary party (which turned out to be a huge success). We ate dinner, cake, and candy, followed by my grandparents giving "marriage advice." The advice to me (from my grandma) was to marry at least five years younger than me since women are expected to live longer. I laughed so hard, picturing a little 14-year-old boy. Next on the agenda was watching the movie that Tracie had put together of all the kids and grandkids talking about their favorite memories of Grandma and Grandpa. What I learned from that experience: I HATE watching/hearing myself on camera. Yuck. But the movie turned out really cute despite my presence in it, and my grandma and grandpa loved it. At the end of the night, both of them declared independently that this was one of the happiest nights of their lives.

The next day, we went hiking (near Granite Mountain) with the whole family (minus my grandparents and my mom), which was also a lot of fun. It was awesome to have some one-on-one time with each of my cousins and hear some of their life experiences. I absolutely love talking to all of them, partially because it reminds me that I'm not alone in all of the things that I'm going through. That night, we had a BBQ at the base of Thumb Butte. It was gorgeous weather; we had some very minor rain, thunder and lightning in the distance, and then a very beautiful full moon. We also had a pretty big bonfire, which seemed to me to be the hit of the evening, haha. Everyone liked the fire.

My mom, cousin Courtney, and me at the BBQ; Some of my cousins, aunts, uncles, G&G

The next day, everyone except Lynn, Burnell, Tracie, and her baby headed out. After everyone had left, Lynn told stories about their family, which was honest-to-goodness probably my favorite part of the whole reunion. I loved listening to her. She is an amazing storyteller, and it gave me such insight into every member of that family.

The following weekend, my grandma Joyce and aunt Ginny (on my dad's side) came to visit. I am especially close to both of them, so this was really fun. They also brought their dogs...a 14-year-old border collie (Missy) and a 10-month-old black lab (Cody). LOL, Cody sure kept me on my toes. (I'm lucky I have any toes left after what he put them through.) He is 110 pounds of pure puppy. Gotta love it. (I am convinced that the spelling of labrador was originally "lap"ador; this dog's favorite place to sit was in my lap--a bone-crushing experience.) Later on in the trip, I could tell my dog was getting sick of Cody and Missy. He wanted them out. Missy kept biting him to "protect" her food (which was actually MY dog's food). Finally, he gave in and bit her back...only when he bit her, he bit her hard, and she ended up needing stitches. As horrible as it sounds, I didn't feel too badly for her.
My aunt and I went shopping on Monday! Yay! I LOVE shopping. Especially with Ginny. This was definitely a highlight of my last two weeks. :) Two days after our shopping excursion, they went home. :( I miss them!

On Wednesday night, I was feeling kind of restless. I had been very busy with work and family but had had very little time to just hang out with friends. I needed to get out of the house! Travis Moore invited me to go with him, Eric Campbell, and Natalie Bonnett to go cave exploring. Although I very badly wanted to go somewhere, I wasn't sure this was the place I had been hoping for. However, I eventually gave in...with awesome results! I didn't think I would be the cave-exploring kind of girl (if there is such a genre of girls), but I surprised myself and LOVED it! In fact, I loved it so much that I went again the next night with 15 other kids. The cave is pretty big--and when I say big, what I really mean is long, because you have to crawl through most of it. There were some awesome stalactites and stalagmites, and basically...the whole thing was just pretty cool.

Natalie and me on the first night; Part of our group the second night

There were only two things that semi-scared me. The first was on the first night when Natalie and Eric went ahead of Travis and I in the cave. As I was crawling through a pretty small opening, I felt something touching my back that did NOT feel like rock. I think I screamed; I can't be sure, but I must have made some sort of an I-am-uncomfortable-with-whatever-is-touching-me kind of noise, because immediately afterward, all three of my spelunking buddies started laughing. It turned out that Natalie was sitting on the rock above me and thought it would be uncommonly funny to touch my back to freak me out. It worked. And they DID think it was uncommonly funny.

The second was on the second night when someone scared a bat into flying immediately by my left temple. Now, I would just like to justify myself in saying that I do like bats. Really. I even did a report on them in the 7th grade. Despite this, I do not particularly enjoy when one touches me, or even comes close to doing so. I think I screamed then, too, but...again I can't be sure.

That in a nutshell (a very LARGE nutshell) is what I have been up to the past few weeks. I'll try to be more regular about blogging, because otherwise I'll probably end up with a novel or two every time I sit down to write. And I don't think ANYbody wants that.

P.S. There will be more photos on facebook later if you want to see more of my adventures.