Sunday, September 22, 2013

temple trip.

The Orlando temple is BEAUTIFUL, wouldn't you agree?

The only problem is that it is a 3 hour drive to get there. I have always been spoiled because the San Diego temple is about an hour away and Rexburg? Psh, that was down our street...literally. But. Serving in the temple gives you the same peace and blessings no matter what temple you go to. They organized a trip for yesterday and we got to take a bus down there! I was so excited, and I was going to go even if I had to go by myself. Luckily I didn't. James took off work along with his parents so we got to go as a family.

It was amazing. Everyone in the ward paid $10 to rent a pretty nice bus and drive down there together. We left early in the morning to make it to the earlier sessions so that people could be back home by 5pm. James slept the whole way there (on my lap--so cute) and I was enjoying watching the city wake up through the windows. The quietness of the early mornings is the most peaceful time I swear.

When we got there, almost everyone joined again for the first session. But then, James's parents and the two of us got do some sealings, which was special for everyone. James and I both had never done them before so it was something we got to experience together (and fumble through juuust a little) and it was special for his mom & dad because we got to do family names! We also ended up having lunch in the cafeteria together too and I was surprised how inexpensive all of their food is! Thank you tithing! ;) However, I did end up eating a lot more on the bus on the way home. I mean, I can't pass up ham sandwich rolls and Fig Newtons!

I can't believe how strongly I felt the spirit the entire time. I mean, for some reason, it really stuck with me and still has not left. I love that the temple can do that. I love that everything happening outside of those doors doesn't seem to matter. I'm never worried about the time I am spending in there. Everything is clean and happy and pure. I don't have to harbor all the worries that I have outside the temple--appearance, money, job-hunting. None of it matters. It is just a place I can go and spend time with the Lord.

I can't believe I am so lucky to be a member of this church. Nothing in the whole world brings me greater joy than to serve in the temple alongside my husband. It is something that definitely blesses you and you can feel the rewards from doing so. I am so grateful for the Atonement because without it, I would never have been able to be there with my family yesterday. I was so proud of myself that I can hold a worthy temple recommend and everything that means. And I have the chance to help out my ancestors. What other church allows that?! It was something that I really tried to keep in mind throughout the day. I was literally standing in place for someone in heaven and allowing them to do the things they have been waiting soooo long to do. I felt such a connection with each name I held and I can't wait to meet them someday and thanking them for that experience. I also can't WAIT for the Fort Lauderdale temple to be built so we can visit that one too! (Ironically, it is the almost the exact same distance as the Orlando temple, just in the other's possible Heavenly Father is trying to teach me a lesson!)

Sorry about the awkward posing.
James thinks we look the same in all our pictures but apparently, it's all I know how to do!
And by the way, we ended the day with you know it was a good day. James was suuuper cute and had mentioned ice cream earlier, but since I have been a little obsessed with it lately (I have Kiwi Loco withdrawls) so I didn't want to get my hopes up. But he came through, like always! He told everyone he promised and so he made it a priority. I love my husband.

After we spent a little time at the auction, which was a bust, the four of us (James, me, Zach, and Ana) all went to this local place that everyone loooves. Obviously, I HAD to try it!! I got the banana pudding ice cream and I never wanted it to end. It was seriously the most dreamy, yummiest ice cream I have had in a looong time. MMM. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Anyway, it was one VERY good day and I cannot wait for the next one!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

go gators!

Ok. You caught me. I'm not the biggest sports fan, mostly because I don't play them and sometimes I get bored. But! I married a sports fan, so that had to change. And to my credit, I do love to do other fun things for games: I rock an outfit in team colors, I like to have game-themed food, and if everyone else is super into it, I get into it too!

So the four of us went over to Ana's friend Sarah's house to watch the Gator game and it was actually fun! I made sure both of us looked the part before we went...

(Yes, James had to let me borrow one of his t-shirts) and we had awesome food--Ana made a chicken pot pie dish and Sarah had made all these yummy appetizers!! I don't even remember if we ended up winning or losing (I know!! I'm terrible!!!) but I do remember playing BananaGrams and Monopoly Deal afterwards, and how much fun that was! That part of the night made me laugh so hard. And I loved getting to know Sarah even more and having everyone chat together over two competitive games! That is my kind of game night. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

never forget.

I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Sitting in my 7th grade computer class, talking to my friend Jeremy. He was telling me about his favorite band, the Gorillas, and some of their lyrics, which I thought were hilarious. We were going through our computer lessons, which were all about typing so it was easy to get distracted and the whole class was abuzz with chatter. Suddenly, the phone rang and my teacher picked up the phone. Anyone who went to school knows that it can be exciting when the phone rings--it means there is a possibility that someone is going home. But the teacher's face was full of confusion and just the tiniest hint of fear. He turned his face away and hung up the phone. He immediately told us to quiet down and that we were waiting for an announcement. Suddenly, our principal came over the whole school, telling us in a nutshell what had happened. I was old enough to know that something bad had happened, but young enough not to realize what it meant. I was confused, shocked, and it just all seemed like a news story, but I couldn't see what that meant for me. I just kept thinking I'm all the way in California! Why did our teacher seem so horrified? Nothing was happening to us! We are ok! He continued to talk, but it was like he was speaking another language. I felt like I had missed something. Something terrible.

Then we had a moment of silence. I still couldn't understand why everyone was so upset. We were ok here! I looked around the room during that moment. Heads were bowed, some looked afraid, we even had some people praying. I felt numb. I didn't know what to do. The moment of silence ended and our teacher turned on the tv.

That's when I saw it.

The videos flashing across our screens. It looked like some special effects movie someone had filmed. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I didn't want to believe it was real. My mom ended up taking me home early, what I had been hoping for suddenly was so depressing. I remember spending the afternoon watching the news with Rachel on the couch while my mom was laying down. Eventually, I thought it was just too much and turned it to anything else.

It wasn't until years later that I understood what it was all really about, what it all really meant. I may have felt so safe being so far away, like it would go away and we'd all move on. But not everyone felt that way. It was the precursor to a war that affected thousands of families. It affected politics and the people would look to for years to come. People still feel the pain of a loss every year on that day, even 12 years later. However, it was the day a new America was born. One that was caring and helped each other. One that was strong and truly "home of the brave." One that was united.

It's been tragically inspiring. People have shared the good that came from it on websites like this one and this one. As for me, I will never forget the day I came to love my country. The day I became a true American.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

empty bowls.

There is this fabulous project they do here in Florida. It's called "Empty Bowls" and I was so excited that James & I (and his family) got to be a part of it!

“Empty Bowls” is an international project to fight hunger. Here's what basically happens: clay bowls are created & personalized by community members, or "artists" as they like to call them, and art organizations on a community level. The bowls are made, painted, and then auctioned at the main event where they are filled with a small cup of soup (donated by local restaurants) and accompanied by a chunk of bread & a bottle of water. The empty bowls are to remind us about the hunger that is going on in our communities. The money goes directly to our community (not the organization, not any other community) for that specific reason.

Tonight, we got to participate in part one. We were given a big hunk of clay and tools to make any bowl we could dream up. I had seen one online (yes, I did my research for inspiration) that looked like an elephant and the bowl made up his back. I wanted to make something like it so I turned my bowl into this!!

It was actually a lot of fun to do and it was awesome I got to play with clay for charity! Plus it was free. I mean, you really can't beat that. And we got to do it together as a family! Some got a little frustrated, but I think everyone's turned out beautifully!

This is the bowl that James made (on his third attempt). James is really really artistic. I mean, he is super talented. So his first attempt looked like a cool shoe, but he wanted it to be a banana. So he started over. The second one was better, but not perfect according to him. So he ended up with this one. I think it makes a fantastic taco bowl. :)

I was really happy that so many people came! The place was PACKED!! We had to steal chairs to even sit down!

Everyone's finished products...don't you think they turned out awesome!? Plus, when James was done with his, he helped me perfect mine! I love crafting with such an art-east! Plus, we got Dairy Queen afterwards, so you KNOW it was a great night. (Cookie Dough Blizzard? BEST way to top off the day.)

 Here is our final product! Let's hope it goes for some BIG money!!