Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!
What a great holiday Thanksgiving is!! I'm thankful for THANKSGIVING! It basically gives us blessings automatically because when we are showing our gratitude, we're being blessed, and Thanksgiving means showing gratitude for what we have.

I was discussing with a co-worker Thanksgiving plans and he said, "Thanksgiving is just the best holiday. There's no pressure like there is on the other holidays, you can just stay home and relax. Eat, sleep, relax." Indeed. I'm enjoying not having to do homework, not having to work, and being too far away from home to clean my room. It's great.

If you're wondering, that little clip thing above was something I did for D&C. I had to select a section from D&C and kind of CONNECT to it. This was one of those. My favorite D&C scripture is D&C 58:21: "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hands in all things, and obey not his commandments." Pretty self-explanatory - BE THANKFUL! Recognize that everything wonderful and joyous and even those trials that strengthen to you were given to you by the Lord.

Last year I wrote a blog of 50 different things I am grateful for, this year I wanted to do fifty MORE things which were different from THOSE. To save you some reading time, I'm going to stick with expanding on the things I mentioned above.

I know we don't LOOK so happy as we sing our Les Miserables, but it was sure one of the highlights of my youth and music is one of the highlights of my young adulthood. Trina, Adrianne, Janna, and I loved to sing, and it was fun because we all were BLESSED with talents in that area. Not only did we get to do something we enjoyed, but we were blessed when we shared it for others.

I have three callings, all of which have to do with music, and it was essentially the same in my last ward. I am the ward music co-chair, RS music coordinator, and stake music co-chair (I basically train myself). There are some months, like last month, when things feel like they are crazy busy and a little overwhelming. I was writing the Christmas program, planning musical numbers, meeting with my ward and stake, training the co-chairs, and planning choir numbers for General Conference. This was also when Trey was getting off his mission, and I was spending time with my family. I love it. I love being busy. I love that I can work in something that everyone appreciates, encourage others to share their beautiful talents, and strengthen my own testimony of revelation for my calling. It's super great. :)

Ward Family
On Sunday I had a moment during Sacrament Meeting where I heard a part of a talk I'd been needing all week. It made me burst into tears. After Sacrament, many members of my ward family converged on me with hugs and tissues and concern. It was sweet. It's nice to know that when my parents are an ocean away, I still have a secondary family 200+ large to turn to (after my siblings of course).

Education at BYU
I was so excited for this semester to end because it's been rough. I gave up like a month ago and have just been hanging on by my fingernails while I waited for it to end. Now that it's ending, we're hitting the crux of the learning in each class. This involves writing papers - and those papers make me realize how much I really do love what I'm learning.

I'm thankful that I can learn those things at BYU. I'm grateful that BYU has such a great Editing program. I'm grateful that I don't have to worry about having my values questioned or constantly worry over offending someone by talking about my faith. I love that most (if not all) of my classes can talk about some principle and then relate the gospel to it. And we can say it out loud!

I'm writing this on a laptop. I play word games with friends on my phone. I check my email and Facebook while in a car for seven hours. I can listen to one of my favorite books while dozing (though I'll admit it doesn't work very well). I can read my scriptures on my phone. Our stake president says to take advantage of the great technology around us, while not letting it distract us from the important things. I'm thankful for the technology making my life easier - writing a ten-page paper by hand would not be comfortable on my weak wrists.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Firstly, trains are comfy and fun to sleep on. Nuff said. Secondly, going to work and school would be HORRIBLE without my car.

Finally, my parents are coming for Christmas. On a plane. It'll take them 24 hours to travel 8,000 miles. Planes are awesome.

Job/Financial Stability
I have a great job, with great people, which gives me great money to pay for my needs. Each member of my family has jobs they're happy with, and no one is struggling financially. That in itself is just one major blessing everyone wants and sadly not everyone has.

Growing up in China was one of the biggest blessings for my family and me. We're super close, we are not ignorant about the world, and the ease with which we could've not lived the gospel in the Land of Few Mormons just boosted the blessings for choosing to live the gospel with happiness. People ask me how different it was living in China - it wasn't different, the USA is different! Because China is my home. That's where my parents are and that's where I grew up physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

DUCKS! (aka God's Creations)
I get an inexplicable joy from seeing ducks. Walking across campus and seeing two little mallards waddling around just makes me hop around with excitement! I nearly flipped out when I saw a little family of ducks waddling across a road once. SO CUTE!

Extending this to "God's creations" -- which things bring you inexplicable joy? Just looking at it? The mountains? Horses? Babies? God created all of those and he did it so we would have joy from them.

These things are pretty similar in their bringing me joy. Quite literally, reading the scriptures daily keeps me from slipping into depression, which obviously keeps me happy. The gospel makes me feel love for those around me, for Christ, and that brings me joy. The gospel makes me feel loved. I don't think there's anything more wonderful than feeling loved. Which leads me to my final, and far from least gratitude...

I have to divide these guys into their own.

Daddy-O: I don't think I know anyone smarter or harder-working than my dad. We were discussing recently how he gets a new job and quickly becomes an EXPERT on what he is doing. He goes from boxes to tire repairs to lettuce to cleaning supplies and he learns everything about each of the fields and does his best job. And he does it for our family. I don't think he's ever worked harder than when he didn't have a job, searching daily for new means to support his family. Not only is he just AWESOME that way - but he's super cute. We love to play with our daddy, and be spoiled by him, and snuggle with him. I love my Daddy.

Ewemama: My mom may not realize how patient she is. She deals with small children, stupid adults, and rebellious children (that's me) and she does it all with validation, love, and listening. She's the most creative person you'll ever meet. She claims all her ideas come from the internet, but not everyone is intelligent enough to actually take those ideas and create them into the awesomeness my mom does. I'm thankful that's she taught a little of that to me. I love my Mama.

Tristan: He's very forgiving in nature. I'm pretty much a jerk, and he still wants to hang out and go to dinner with me. I love to spend time with him when I can manage it, watching movies, Ponies, eating McDonalds, etc. I love me some Big Brother.

Trina/Stephen: These guys are nutso and in love but in a way that makes me enjoy watching them and not being sickened. I'm thankful for my big sister who is a good example and guide and who still likes to play and watch TV shows - and I know she may not be, but I'm thankful for the moments when she finds bugs in her hot chocolate and comes squealing for comfort. I'm thankful for Stephen because he is pretty much an awesome big brother, and he cleans the house, and he serves my sister. They're great. I'll be sad when they move, but I'm thankful I've gotten to live with them for this long. I love em.

Trey: My other big brother. He got home from his mission the same guy, albeit a little more patient and loving and understanding. It's been great to have him at church with me and when I burst into tears he just puts his arm around me. I think he's seen me cry more since he has gotten back than my family has while he's been gone, poor guy, but it's been good for him. I'm training him for when he has a nutso wife he won't be surprised. I love Trey! And I'm thankful he's finally home.

Basically, I love my life. I love my family. I'm grateful to the Lord for putting me with THEM and nobody else. I'm thankful for Thanksgiving when I can reflect on all of this and make everyone else reflect on it with me. :) SO, Happy Thanksgiving! Remember, as you're being grateful, Who it is that gave you everything you have.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Late night thoughts on rubber ropes...

I'll try to be brief since it is 1am and I would like to get back to attempting to sleep, but I wanted to share these thoughts.

These thoughts are in regards to those little strings or lines that people imagine in their minds connecting you with those around you. They connect you to new acquaintances, to your family, to your friends. I would like to take it further though.

It isn't just a "string" - it's what I would like to call a "rubber rope" kind of like a super rubber band. And the better you know the person, the thicker it is. I consider it like a rubber band because these aren't just ropes that can be cut and dangle away. These are relationships, and relationships have constant tension, no matter what they are. Sometimes those relationships are thick rope lifelines, which I would say would be the ropes connecting me to my parents and my relationship with my Savior. I need the tension so that when I ask, they can pull me up with their love and their words, when I may be sinking in the trials of life. Or they're just a simple thin rubber rope, probably connecting you to a good friend, and you can tug it back and forth, testing each other, playing with each other - I don't know. Just think RELATIONSHIPS.

Now I come to the other side of these "rubber" ropes. The better you know a person, the more "tight" you get, the tighter that rubber band gets pulled. Have you noticed that it is with the people you love most that you can have the most tension (or should I say CONtention?)?

Here's my main point. Imagine that rope gets cut. Someone makes a mistake or choice which removes them from those relationships. With a simple snip, they cut all those rubber relationship ropes. What happens when you let go of a tense rubber band? The person on the other end gets a painful snap. The bigger the rubber rope, the more tension, the bigger the snap. And remember, all of your relationship ropes have at least some tension, so everyone that gets cut gets a little snap.

I was pondering why the action of someone I barely know anymore could cause me to cry myself to sleep at night. It's because that person cut the ropes connecting themself to me, my family, and their family. All people I love. We all got a little snap from that. And even though it seems confusing and I don't understand why, something that barely affects me really hurt me.

You never know who your choices will affect. That can have an up-side and a down-side. On the one hand, some decisions you make can affect others for the good that you will never know about (life's cool like that). And then on the other hand, you never know what one choice will seriously hurt people. Obviously, you can't control how others react to your choices, but it really should make you rethink some stupid decisions.