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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Music Land

For quite a while I have been meaning to write a blog post on that magical place many people refer to as the "ASU School of Music." The first thing that struck me when I walked in that very first time is how big it is. The west wing has a lobby that has a terrace on the second level. I have since spent many hours on that terrace reading and/or studying. This is also an opportune spot because you can easily access both the east and west wings from here. The west wing second floor has the music therapy classroom and the music lab.

The classroom is a big classroom with a piano. The biggest detriment it has is that I can see Chipoltle's so clearly from there. Not good when I'm hungry. The lab on the other hand is amazingly cool. The books are all right, more geared toward education then therapy, but there are some good songs for teaching. What makes it useful for therapy is all the instruments. We have guitars, omnichords, autoharps, recorders, violins, tone bells, all sorts of drums, and a whole bunch of instruments that I don't know what they are. They are for people to play and enjoy.

If I want good music related study material, I go to the music library. It takes up the west wing of the 3rd floor and both wings of the 4th floor. The 3rd floor has all the recordings, videos, computers, and all written documents, as well as cd players, record players, tape players, head phones, and anything else one might need to access recorded sound. The 4th floor of the music building is all sheet music. Both wings are packed to the brim. I get lost in their so easily because they all look they same to me, but they hold so much good stuff. You can get full orchestral scores or solo parts, you can get chant or rock and roll. Basically anything a music student could want is there.

For the times I want to make music, not just study it, I go to the practice wings. Yes, that is plural. There are two practice halls on the first floor, and they are unique because they do not all have pianos. Some do and others don't. They also have really big windows and that throws me off because it distracts me when other people can see me play. I usually go to the 3rd floor east wing. These all have pianos, either uprights or baby grands. Some even small grands. For piano performance majors there are the practice rooms in the 2nd floor west wing. I can't get in because they give piano performance majors a key and then keep those locked. I can get to the 5th floor east wing practice rooms though. They are almost as good as the second floor ones and usually not as crowded as the 3rd floor ones. There are almost always lines to get in the practice rooms, even with 4 wings of them. What I like most is when 5th floor is when all the rooms are filled and I can practice in the recital hall.

There are 4 venues in the music building. The one that gets used the most is the 5th floor recital hall. It is the smallest and it has a balcony reception area right outside. It has both a grand piano and an upright. I use the upright when I'm there because I have the distinct feeling that I'd be in for a sever dressing down if the profesors caught a therapy undergrad messing with the really good piano. For all the pretty big performances, we use Katzin. It holds a lot of people and is basically the same idea and technology as the recital hall, though there is no outdoor balcony or lobby. My favorite to attend is the Organ Hall. It has wooden benches and very little soft surface. This makes it a little more uncomfortable, but it also makes it so the music really does vibrate inside you. I love the fullness of sound in there. Last but not least is the Smith Musical Theatre Auditorium. That's where all the musical theatre stuff happens (go figure!) It looks almost like my high school auditorium, but the decline is steeper. I really haven't been in Smith very much so I can't say any more about it.

Most of the east wing is the teachers offices. My favorite thing about officies here is that they all have upright pianos, and some of them actually work in the ethnomusicology library. Never been there, even though it sounds like the coolest spot in the whole building. I have my lessons in the east wing and all my teachers offices are there. Each one of them have a piano. I want my office to have a piano in the future. That would make a great office.

The social center of the music building is the fountian outside. It is pretty and I enjoy the sound of the water. I even enjoy being splashed a little on windy days. When I'm thinking and/or putting my hand in when I'm waiting. When I get out of class my back hurts and the most helpful thing is to lay flat on the fountian and feel my back pop. I've even dozed off there. People do homework, talk, and jam. I love to lay there and just listen to the general comings and goings.

Last but not least, my favorite place to hang out in the music building is the hidden hall. For some reason there is a balcony in the 3rd floor hall. When the weather is nice it is the best place to be, and relitively private. I can have a private conversation there, or just relax. I can use the tiny window holes to watch the art studios, of hide and relax.

Music people do have their own special insanity, and putting them all in the same place makes for fun times.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Quit school. Buy a chihuahua.

When I tell people I want to be a music therapist I get one of 3 reactions. 1) What's that? This is the most common, and my main goal is not to make people sorry they asked because I could go on for weeks. 2)Music therapy is so amazing! I love this reaction and I always ask how they came to this conclusion. 3) (here's the fun part!) Like pet therapy! I've given it some thought and decided since having people pet a cute little dog has all the same healing properties as music I should stop spending all this money and time to become a highly trained perfessional.

Wait...come to think of it my dream of working in a mental health facility wouldn't go so well with pet therapy. One, my little dog would be in danger from violent clients in an inpatient facility. With pet therapy there is very little cognative stimulation and mood alteration. Any cheering up that might take place ends once the dog is gone. Though it might make people a little less uncomfortable, it does nothing to get them out of there.

I could always take my puppy and help out in neonatal intensive care unit. Wouldn't it be so cool to help babies who don't know how learn to breath and regulate their own body temperature? Even better, I could teach mothers to bond with their children. The most tender and rewarding part on NICU is helping parents remember the babies that don't live. Recordings and memories become more precious than gold. Where does the dog come in? I'm not sure, but I'll let you know when I figure it out.

I could make a world better that has always been difficult for me. Anesthisia! I could help people relax before surgery with a carefully prepared mix of their favorite songs calculated to relax and lower heart rate and resperation rate. I could also help people wake up with music that is both comfortable and stimulating. I could reduce the need for drugs by using a natural tool and therefore minimize the risk of any side effects. To bad nothing with dander would be alowed in pre or post op.

I could work in oncology! The truth is there is a great deal of pet therapy in that arena. It can help with making the hospital envioronment more healing. The pet therapy also allows for socialization. It would be nice if there were a therapy that could teach the kids what they are missing in school and gives the adults a medium to express themselves. What if there was a therapy with proven evidence to help with the pain during and after bone marrow transplants. Music might help, especially according to the American Music Therapy Association. Maybe they need both.

I could work with developmentally disabled and autistic children. Even though a dog couldn't teach scoial or academic skills it might be able to put the children in the moment. Some of them. It can't however give them control over their environment the way improvisation can, and with an excited little puppy, there wouldn't be very much structure either. Music can reach out and alter brain chemistry and also allow for more positive behavioal control experiences. Music also gives nonverbal people a medium of communication.

What about plaliative care (hospice)? A dog could give some people in that situation something to love. Maybe give peole a chance to reminice about their lives? Or help the patient and the family go through the greiving process and give all involved a chance to create of beauty and meaning? Good thing puppies hold still and listen to sick people.

How about nursing home? Pet therapy is used there. It gives the people in the nursing home something to look forward to. I wonder if dogs help with mobility. Can you combine pet therapy with motion for the patient and teach them how to walk again? How about memory, can they provide short term and working memory stimulation? And while I'm at it, I can use my dog to provide the residents with communication skills. I just don't know how.

Now I don't want anyone to misundersand me. I like pet therapy and if I were in the hospital or a nursing home I would want it. Contact with another living being and physical contact have strong healing properties. I hope there is an increase in the use of pet therapy in the near future. I'm just sayin' that music therapy is not just a helping hand, it is a medical treatment for all populations. The practicioners study and intern with all the population and most of them have minors in psychology or physiology. They have to certify on four different instruments and take a class and a practicum on all populations. I think pet therapy is wonderful, but I think that the uses of music therapy are different and far more diverse. I chose my field so I can help people in all these populations, and possibly more.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One Song

Hi there friends and family. I appreciate all who take the time to read this.

Okay so this post is going to be comtemplative then the last one, but I've been good at keeping it light, so indulge me. I have an assignment for intro to music therapy that is one of the hardest I've had in that class. I have to pick a song that is meaningful to me, have the class hear it, and explain why it is meaningful. How do I pick just one?

  • There's Never by Jenny Jordan Frogley, and then there's

  • Hold On the Light Will Come by Micheal Mclean. Both of these are religious, but I think in the conversation we will be having could be appropriate (honestly, how many people are going to pick the hokey pokey as their meaningful piece?) I might go with something more common like the

  • Circle of Life from the Lion King or

  • Hold On from the Secret Garden. I could even go instrumental and use the

  • Handel Cassedeus in b minor second movement or the

  • JC Bach in c minor third movement. Both are really meaningful to me and have helped me through rough moments. When I think about special performances I think of

  • Domine Adajuvadjume.

  • Finally there is "One Loaf of Bread" that was written in memory of my Grandma Christensen or "I Believe in Christ" which is the song that lets me feel connected to her. Any votes should be posted in replies. I can't find the songs to post, sorry.

Seriously, how do you pick one song that means the most to you.? I could pick the first one I ever performed. Unfortunately the major is Mormon heavy, so the teacher knows Popcorn Popping very well.

What is it about music that is so trancendent? People say it is a universal language, but that is only true in a limited sense. Music from accoss cultures does not translate very well, but music we understand can be life changing. I think it is because creating anything requires body and spirit. We create with our souls, so the experience always goes beyond the body. But then why does listening to it mean so much? I guess because we listen so rarely. Think about it, when was the last time you listened with your whole soul? And music touches brain on so many different frequencies and the heart in so many different ways. In all my darkest moments it was listening to music that got me through (and playing, but I have a larger listening than playing repetoire.)

Never (the first one on the list) was the Savior speaking directly to me. If I sing One Loaf of Bread I would bring bread for the class. That's too much work. The main reason I am leaning towards "Hold On, thhe Light Will Come" by Micheal McLean is the way I feel connected to him when I listen to it. I have never met Brother McLean, but if I ever do, I will already feel comfortable because of what I learned from that song. Only someone who has truly coped with depression could write that.

I think the class period is going to be about what makes music meaningful. I've dedicated my life to it because every time I feel strings underneath my fingers it feels like coming home. When I sing I know that many beyond the veil are listening. I have been passionate about the study of technique since high school because I wanted to learn all there was to know about it (still working on that one.) I feel like the luckiest person ever to be surrounded with music every day. I could not get by without it. I don't think anyone could.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A lot of nothing

Hi all!

I love keeping in touch with everyone and getting comments make my week (hint hint) but I'm not always sure what to write that may be of interest. I promised myself that this blog won't get too serious. I used the space to philosiphize last week, so this week I will keep it a little more timeline oriented. The second week of shchool went well. I'm enjoying my classes. I have this one called music in recreation and we have fun all period. This last time we had to lead the class in a movement activity. 5 of us used songs out of the children's songbook and another girl did a girls cam song. As there is only one male in the entire classroom, I thought it was appropriate.

I'm also learining to play the guitar. I can strum and I can play 2 chords. I feel good about me! To those of you who have never tried it, I must say the down up up strum pattern is harder than you think, or at least than I think. I can sing and play a little guitar. I feel like a music genius! Now if only I could play the recorder too I might pass the class.

All my other classes arew more of the pencil and paper veriety, but I guess learning is always good (see RS message for August.) Life is going pretty well right now.

My one serious note (I promise) is what makes September contemplative for me. My Grandma Christensen died September 22 2003. I can't believe it has already been 6 years. I feel closer to her now then I did before she passed away. In mortality all her time was dedicated to reaching out to others and bringing them to Christ, especially her family. I can't imagine she is doing anything different now. My Grandma Terry died the saturday of Labor Day weekend last year. Again, it is hard to believe it has been a year. I found a recording of our last conversation with her recently. She was (and is) an amazingly smart woman. Smart and funny with her head screwed on straight.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Motto for school

I have been overwhelmed all week long. Kudos and gratitude to my beautiful roommate Katie because I wouldn't have been able to pull through as well if she were not there listening, encouraging, and just being her wonderful self. I decided what I need for this year is a good attitude, and I think I found it. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and press play so you can hear how cool it is.

David walked into the valley
With a stone clutched in his hand
He was only a boy
But he knew someone must take a stand
There will always be a valley
Always mountains one must scale
There will always be perilous waters
Which someone must sail

Into valleys, into waters
Into jungles, into hell
Let us ride, let us ride home again with a story to tell
Into darkness, into danger
Into storms that rip the night
Don't give in, don't give up
But give thanks for the glorious fight

You can tremble, you can fear it
But keep your fighting spirit alive boys
Let the shiver of it sting you
Fling into battle, spring to your feet boys
Never hold back your step for a moment
Never doubt that your courage will grow
Hold your head even higher and into the fire we go
Are there mountains that surround us?
Are there walls that block the way?
Knock 'em down, strip 'em back boys
And forward and into the fray
Into terror, into valour
Charge ahead, no, never turn
Yes, it's into the fire we fly
And the devil will burn
Someone has to face the valley
Rush in, we have to rally and win boys
When the world is saying not to
By God, you know you've got to march on, boys
Never hold back your step for a moment
Never doubt that your courage will grow
Hold your head ever higher and into the fire we go
Let the lightning strike
Let the flash of it shock you
Choke your fears away
Pull as tight as a wire
Let the fever strike
Let the force of it rock you
We will have our day, sailing into the fire
Someone has to face the valley
Rush in! We have to rally and win boys
When the world is saying not to
By God, you know you've got to march on, boys
Never hold back your step for a moment
Look alive! Oh, your courage will grow
Yes, it's higher and higher and into the fire we go
Into fire!
Onward, ho!
Since the phrase "out of the frying pan and into the fire" discribes my life this semester, I thought this song appropriate. (For those interested it is from the musical "The Scarlet Pimpernel" when he is forming his league. Track 6)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

School Days!

For me tomorrow is the big day, as I'm sure it is with many of you. I have butterflies, as always. I hated shoping for clothes in Utah, but it feels so good and right to start a brand new year with a brand new outfit. For most of the world you get new clothes because it is the begining of fall. Unless fall meand "over 110 degrees" that is not the case in Phoenix. For me it symbolizes a new begining.

There's just something about studying things you have never learned before. I won't lie, I'm more excited about some classes than others, but starting a new class is always exciting for me. I broke the bank yesterday when I bought my textbooks, but then I did what I always do with new (and new to me) textbooks. I read the table of contents to see what exactly I was supposed to learn in that class. I must have studied the scientific method a couple dozen times now. Somehow that makes it into every textbook for me, and sometimes I can't even figure out what the experiment is! But it is always comforting when I buy a book to know it will make me smarter.

In college starting a new year has a couple more levels for me. Yesterday was my first day living with my roommate Katy. We spent the day putting up pictures of the Savior and our families plus the miscillanious trinkets we collected. I love being able to take a little apartment and make it a home. Katy and I knew each other last semester, but I was still shocked to see how much we have in common. We love the same authors and shows. She is a psychology major and an amatuer musician and I am a music major with a psychology minor. It felt so good to begin filling our new home with beautiful art, music, words, actions, and love. I'm sure over time there will be days that tempers are shorter, but for now everything here really is perfect. We are not finished setting up and when we are I promise to post pictures. Another roommate, Taryn, will be moving in soon and we just can't wait to have her.

Today Katy and I went to church together. It felt so good to go to church with someone again. While we were there we got to meet a whole bunch of new freshmen. I loved seeing their nervous little faces and imagining how wonderful college can be for them.

New knowlege, new home, new family, new friends, new beginnings all around. I guess this is my new year. It is nerve reacking because every school year since I moved away from home forced me to grow in ways I never imagined. As a result I am mindful of and greatful for blessings I never before recognized or needed. When I first moved away from home one of the most educated people I know, my aunt, emailed me and said that I would learn more about my self and my Savior than I realized there was to learn. That proved to be prophetic. I don't want to take the time now to write out all the major life lessons I learned in college, but the list is substantial and I hope I will sometime.

Fall 2009 here I come...Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Ride

So sometimes I feel like a complete dork because I want a roommate. Yes, it is cheaper, but I want to share a room because I like it. I had a roommate that snored, (very softly, never obnoxious) and when I woke up in the middle of the night I would hear her and then I knew everything was fine and I could sleep safely.

Yesterday my family and I went from Tucson to Salt Lake. I must admit that my knee and I were not getting along so well. 13 hours in a car will do that to you, especially if you and your knee are not exactly on friendly terms to begin with. But after being completely by myself in an empty apartment all day every day it was wonderful to be so close (in every way) with my family.

Usually we take the van, but it is not in tip top shape at the moment, so we took the car. I always take the very back seat of the van but then I can't really hear anything my parents say in the front. One year Trev and I pooled our money and bought an inverter, so we could plug stuff in and use it in the car. Trevor plays games the whole time and watches movies and since I can't see the tv and don't like games I just listen to my music. My dad and I like a lot of similar music, but we sit so far apart that it doesn't matter. In the car we could all talk to each other and spend time together for real.

Trevor and I shared the back seat. I remember when I was younger I used to come up with all these ways to avoid my brother for the whole trip. I wonder what changed/ I loved sitting next to him for the 14 hours. We watched 1 1/2 movies together (until all bateries died) and talked and slept and we didn't get in even one disagreement. It's really nice to have a snugglebug for a brother. Whenever Trev and I are sitting together, no matter what we are doing, he will put his arm around me. Trevor and I are also to the point that we can coverse with each other and enjoy it. He is pretty smart and very funny. He also doesn't have anything mean to say about other people. He is in to marine biology, Shakspeare (bet a lot of you didn't see that one coming!) and musical theatre.

Every time I tell people about the drive to Utah I get looks of sympathy. Soome of them are deserved because this trip is physically uncomfortable for a few different parts of my anatomy, but I look forward to the drive. True I don't do any driving, but I look forward to the togetherness and the sightseeing. I also look forward to getting out of the car.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Morning

Okay so I promised myself that I wouldn't philosiphize in this blog too often, but today I just want to compare and contrast the Sunday monrnings I have experienced and why I like them.

1) The Fam! Breakfast is done and Mom and Dad are putting the finishing touches on thier lessons and Trevor is "encouraging" us very brusquely to get out the door. Then I get to church 30 minutes early and enjoy the time visiting with people I've known and loved for years.

2) Guac house Sundae! I get up and showered before the rush starts, then one by one my roommates stumble out of bed and into the shower. Then they begin these elaborate beautification rituals. As I have only meager skill in the makeup applying and hair perfecting scene I finnish mine within 5 or 10 minutes and observe them and the time. Then we (sometimes) all walk to church in a line and sit together in Relief Society. We cut it close, but we made it to all 3 meetings. When we got home we would often make a Sunday breakfast with eggs, pancakes, bacon, juice, and other such things. The whole day we would have soft music playing to keep the Spirit in our hearts and minds.

3) ASU dorms. I would get ready and tiptoe out to the front room to grab a quick something to eat. My roommates were usually still passed out from drinking or drugs. I would walk the short quarter mile to church, then walk in and get the overwhelming sense of security that comes from being among friends and fellow Saints. I would linger as long as I could and avoid leaving any way I could. Eventually I would return home where I would proceed to make a Sunday dinner for Danica and myself.

4) My own apartment. Now I live completely by myself. I get up and turn the Sunday music on full blast. I warm up my voice and shower and ready myelf for entering the Lords' house (and all the cute boys I might find there.) I make myself a decent breakfast of eggs and toast and run out the door. I usually get their 5 minutes early and enjoy the spirit of being with others for about 15-30 minutes after the meeting, then come home and take a nap.

I have not gotten to be the mom on sunday morning, but I was thinking today how that would be a whole other category. I like my Sunday mornings. Sometimes they are quiet and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are restful and sometimes they are not. I think I usually end up at church ready to be edified. They are always an experience apart from the rest of the week for me and a Heaven sent blessing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Proof I'm Still Here

It's been a while, but in my defense my day to day life has not been interesting enough to merit much interest from anyone besides myself. That being said, there were a few highlights.
  • My first kitchen fire! I was making a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner and trying to watch something on TV at the same time. In my defense, that had nothing to do with the fire starting, it merely made me a little slower on the uptake. There was something under the stove, but my roommate, a professional had not seemed to concerned when she cooked on it a day or so before. One of the times I looked back at the sandwich to check on it I noticed that the stove flames were getting a little high, especially considering that our stove is electric.
  • Voice lessons have started. I'm doing all right, and I'm having fun in the process. The audition may go better than I had planned.
  • My apartment will have two new roommates next semester and I am so excited to live with those girls. We sign the lease tomorrow. It will be a blast!
  • Trev's birthday was yesterday and my whole family came up and we went to the temple together and then we hung out at my place. I owe my parents (literally) for getting me little knick knacks to make the place a little more luxurious (such as a shower curtain and light bulbs.)
  • Today I got to teach in church for the first time since I moved here. It is always a little scary to be up front, but I was glad to have the opportunity.

Other than that I go to school, practice, read and eat. All is going well. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Secret Garden

Okay so I will admit that I read a lot. I will also admit that many of the things I read don't rank to high on the "literature scale." Star Trek novels and the like are really easy ways to fill time while I am waiting for Trevor to get off work or waiting for a class to start. That being said, there are many books that I think have shaped me as a person. Most of them I read when I was young, and I want to discuss the most edifying piece of fiction I have ever found. Guess what book it is! (Hint: Look to the right.)

So many times I have found that book in thrift stores and many times I have felt I needed to buy it for battered women's shelters or mental hospitals. The parallelism in that story always makes me think. The garden was locked up for 10 years, Colin and Mary were hidden away for the same amount of time. When the garden let them in they let others in their hearts.

One of the quotes in the front of my scripures comes from that book. "Where you tend a rose a thistle cannot grow." I have a testimony this is true. When we work hard to tend roses in our lives we will do a lot of weeding. My favorite thing about this analogy is that it can be applied to almost any good thing. When I spend my time with good music bad music will not find its' way in. When I fill my stomache with good, nutritious food junk food will cease to be on my menu. I also testify that when we fill our lives with light darkness will leave us.

This is also a good metaphor beause, as any gardener can attest, the minute you stop tending the rose the thistles will sprout. It is all well and good to have a healthy breakfast, but it does not give me leeway to skip lunch. One Mormon Tabernacle Choir cd does not mean I am set for life. Most importantly when we pray we have light, but the moment we stop praying Satan launches his attack. This is a constant effort, but just like Mary we have our own Dikens and Ben Wetherstaffs and Marthas to guide us and help us correct mistakes and console us when life is hard. Most importantly we have a master gardner who knows what our "bit of earth" aka our lives could be and will do everything to nurture the roses He Himself has given us.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Feaver

Okay I must admit that my vacation has been wonderful, but enough is enough. It's time for me to put my nose back to that grindstone and I can hardly wait! I am still hoping the apartment works out but I need to get back to practicing and studying. I know I'm going to be crazy homesick for the first little bit, but now that I have an apartment I like and a ward I love I have a lot to get back to. Everybody in Tempe, I'm almost there!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mother and Daughter

Today I once again had the rare privilege of sitting with my mother in relief society. This is still a new thing for me because until December she was everywhere but RS. Primary, Young Women, Nursery, all those places. Now I get to sit next to her and be a partner with her in learning the things of the gospel.

Recently I've thought a lot about the legacies mothers pass to daughters. Maureen, a new friend of mine, discussed with me what it meant to her that her mother taught her how to sew. Even though parents eventually pass on the skills we gain from them keep them in our lives. I want to use this space to say thanks to the mothers in my life

My Aunt Dorthea wrote this song in memorial of my Grandma Christensen.

One Loaf of Bread
There is one aroma that fills my mind with memories of home
It comes from out of the blue, like the lines of a lyrical poem
Learning to serve one another in our kitchen sweet and warm
Daily reading the scriptures on our small family farm
When Mom is busy in the kitchen, cooking up service and love
Lifting the load of another, like a ray of sun from above
Quietly leaving a treasure at the door of a neighbor in need
A little act of kindness, a cheerful word or deed
All of her life she has taught us
How the Savior fed more than 1,000 people
With one loaf of bread
There were thoughts, pictures, and poems to read, decorating the walls of home
We loved flowers and trees, butterflies, music filled all our lives with a song
A garden full of vegtables, a picnic in the park
Old mem'ries flood my mind with peace, sing on as a bright meadow lark
When Mom is busy in the kitchen, cooking up service and love
Lifting the load of another, like a ray of sun from above
Quietly leaving a treasure at the door of a neighbor in need
A little act of kindness, a cheerful word or deed
All of her life she has taught us
How the Savior fed more than 1,000 people
With one loaf of bread
My cousins and I have often discussed how we remember her best when we smell bread baking. She passed away when I was 15 but one day I hope to be the hopemaker and type of woman she was.
My Grandma Terry died over the past labor day weekend. I miss her, but I think I have her with me a lot. Our personalities were shaped by similar circumstances because she had a stroke that left her left side paralyzed when she was 49, and that was well before I was born. Whenever I complained to my mom about it not being fair that I had my disability she would say "talk to your grandma" and when I did Grandma would say "You're telling me! Well since there is nothing we can do about it why don't we just enjoy a game of cards instead?" She taught me that life has challenges and the sooner we accept them the sooner we can be optimistic about them. No use complaining about what you can't change
When I first moved away from home I missed my family terribly. I needed a mom more than anything, but I had moved away to get away from home and learn to live without her. Fortunately Heavenly Father knew I had that need and placed me in a ward with loving Relief Society Mentors. One in particular opened her home and life to me. I think she is the most gracious person I have ever met. I still lived in my own place and enjoyed being on my own and making my own life, but I always had that safe haven and someone to steer me back on track when I felt lost (and no, I will not comment on how often I get lost.)
I don't know even where to start talking about Kathy Christensen, my real mom. We tended to butt heads when I still lived at home, but now she has become the best friend I could possibly have on this earth. She taught me to cook, manage money, get along with others, do laundry, and take care of my hygiene. I would not have survived without her and that is a fact.
All of these things are important but the most important things I know I learned from all of them. One of the hardest for me, then and still, is loving my self even with my faults. I am so greatful for the time that they watched me make unwise choices (sometimes with sorrow and sometimes with amusement) and loved me through my tough time. This is true charity. The most important lesson I have learned from any of the aforementioned people and all of them combined is a love of the Savior. I have seen every one of them open the scriptures and reverently study the pages. I can't count the times I have seen any one of them with their heads bowed in sincere prayer. At every juncture in my life each of these have steadily pointed the way to the Savior. Heavenly Father gives us mothers (in my opinion at least) because they are close enough to the veil to do His work in guiding us home. That is the true legacy of motherhood and I am greatful to have shared in it thus far.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wedding Day!

So I have something to talk about now. I went to the wedding of Jessica McMurchie and Ethan Eager. This has been anticipated since I talked to her on 1/19 and it finally arrived. The only problem was that we had to get there first. The best solution? Party it all the way up to Denver. Caralee, Shalee, Kalene, Megan, and I rode in a van together for the 12 hour drive and alternated driving. It was long, but the dvd player and catchphrase made it barable and even fun. When we got there I was dead on my feet and did not here the others say they were going to help Jess. I was selfish and slept.

The next morning I got to see my buddy Jeff for the first time in a few weeks and we went as a group to help Jess and Ethan set up the backyard for the wedding. But first we must get manicures and pedicures, how could we work with chemical cleaning agents without those!?! After much work (and play) we went to the Olive Garden and then home to take a nap before the rehersal dinner. I didn't go to that since I was not in the wedding party (Kalene, Caralee, and Jeff were, the rest of us were just enjoying the ride) but I was okay with that since I needed more sleep anyway.

The next way we got up and did our hair and tried to keep Ethan calm as he was with us at the time. When we got to Jessica's house we blended right into the chaos. There was Jessica's hair to be finished and everyone's makeup to be done. Thre was the bridesmaid and wedding dresses to be put on. Ethan was a nervous boy on the biggest day on the biggest day of his life so far, but he was nothing in comparison to Jess. She had dreamed of this her entire life and now just a couple of hours had to live up to a lifetime of dreaming.

I had tears in my eyes several times that day, but the first was when I walked in to find Jessica wearing her wedding dress. She was beautiful. Then I started to cry as Ethan teared up at the sight of his bride. The ceremony was very simple and heartfelt. First Ethan walked in with both moms, one on each arm, then the bridal pary, and finally the radiant Jessica attended by her sister and lifelong friend Allison. They wrote their own vows and in simple words expressed eternal love and devotion to one another. The unity candles were lit and the march back down the aisle was set to the song "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher.

Now enough of the teary stuff (mostly) and time for the fun stuff! We had an outdoor lunch and I got to meet a lot of Jessica's family and enjoy their company, their humor, their wisdom, and their hospitality. Jessica changed into a t-shirt and blue jeans and still looked as gorgeous as ever. After I had been outside long enough to have the life sunburned out of my arms and neck we went inside to open presents.

They got the pots and pans and housewarming stuff and the vaccum that Jessica must now learn to use. (Just kidding, she knows how to use cleaning materials.) The most important part was that it was fun and that all the presents were stuff the couple enjoyed having. The last teary moment of the day for me was when Jessica's younger sister Allison hugged Jess goodbye. They were both in tears and that got me going. I enjoyed the sweet relationship those two have. It is a good thing family relationships extend in to eternity, because they are one of the few things it is worth having for eternity.

That night I went to spend time with my cousins John and Charlotte. I had not had a real chance to talk to them since they moved from Phoenix three years ago. They are both fun, funny, and caring. I enjoyed getting to know Eden and Miles, the two little ones and being out of the hotel room for a few hours and in a real home. Good food, good company, who can ask for more? I hope to go back to Denver and visit all these people again soon!

The ride home was more than we had barganed for. We got all the way to Albequerque before the car overheated. It was Sunday, but thank goodness Safeway was open to buy some coolant. We overfilled the compartment and it boiled over not ten minutes later. Shalee, the brains of this particular operation, instructed us to turn on the heater so the coolant would circulate better and roll down the windows so we didn't die of heatstroke. We didn't die, but we did sweat our rear ends off, litteraly. I'm sure we each lost some water weight. But the important part is that we all made it home safely. Next Caralee and I git to head to Phoenix. I can't tell you how much I dreaded the idea of another 3 hours in the car after the 12 we had spent, but again we got there safely and that's all that matters. We rolled in at 10:30 and I promptly made my bed and got in it.

Now I'm back in Tucson for the next little bit and enjoying the kid's birthday season. This is more than enough for one post. I'll type more later.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


So I am still not doing much of anything so I thought I would take a moment to get something off of my chest. This will be a more testimony oriented post, but I think this needs to be said. Today I was in Relief Society with my mom (I Love it when that happens!) and we were discussing what "provident living" means. During the course of the discussion the women brought up the need for an education. As always they began discussing all the things that could happen to force a woman to work. I know that is true because Christ Himself taught that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, but I think so many people miss the bigger picture.

See, this is what makes the Church so great: There is always more to learn. While having the means to support oneself in whatever may come is very important, it is more important to become like our Father in Heaven. I very firmly believe that every bit of truth we recieve adds to our spirits. My favorite class this past semester was "psychology of music." I love studying neroscience in that and my other classes. That is mostly brain science and what the brain does to our body. With an enlarged understanding of the way I operate I can more fully understand the way Heavenly Father operates. I still don't undertand how the celestial brain works, I don't even understand how the temporal brain works, but I have a much better idea because of what I learned from a school class.

One of the most testimony building classes I ever had was anatomy and physiology. If ever any of you feel that Heavenly Father is not mindful of you, look at your body. The greatest testimony of divinity I have ever found is the microscopic detail of our physical temples. They are so beautiful and they are made to withstand so much. I am amazed that we live through life. Not only are we created so perfectly (in spite of our imperfections) but we are guarded night and day. Constantly in that class people would ask "how did I survive this, that, or the other?" and the teacher would say "I don't know." Every day I came out of that class I knew my omnicient Father in Heaven loved me.

One of my passions is psychology, or the disection of the human spirit. It never ceases to amaze me how similar we all are. All humans have the same basic needs and uprotection mechanisms. The human mind works in a fairly predictable way, which is why counseling can work. However for all our similarities we are infinately diverse. We all have the same needs and a lot of the same perceptive abilities, but we are all so different. We all gain testimonies in different ways and bring different likes and dislikes. We all overcome trials with different outlooks. We have been designed to compliment each other and given the tools to build each other as well as recieve edification. I know this because of what I have learned in a colection of psychology and socioiogy classes.

No, I am not going to leave out the most important one in my life. I know music is a spiritual power. Because of the music history I learned in the assistant principal viola chair I know that J.S. Bach was inspired. He was the first to write with a thing called the triad. The notes are symbolic of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I feel music places me where I can communicate to my Father in Heaven all the feelings of my heart that are beyond words. I know how to place music to a setting that is beautiful and inspiring. I have arranged many LDS hymns over the years and enjoyed it very much. I can learn music quickly and effectively. Because of this I see some beauty in the hymns that those without this training miss out on. My knowledge of musical resonance has helped me understand how truth enters and changes our hearts as well as how to listen to everything, including the Spirit. None of my viola teachers were ever LDS, nor my orchestra conducters, but music gave them access to special truth to prepare them for the fullness of the gospel.

Okay, this was kind of a long winded way to get my point accross, but I want to testify that we are not called to get an education only so we can provide for ourselves. Spencer W. Kimball (at least I think it was him) said that it was more impotrtant to get a spiritual education than a secular one, but we still need both. I like to think of it this way. Spiritual education is like water. We need lots of it every day. Secular education is like food. Going without that is not so urgent, but we will die without that too. I testify that my secular education is one of my greatest spiritual strengths, and I admonish everyone to learn every thing they can. It doesn't have to be school, it could be reading, or even the discovery channel, but I know our salvation is dependant on taking opportunities to learn.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm Singin' in the Rain

Tucson has been blessed with a 3 day drizzle and I am loving it!!! I went on a half our walk with my dog this morining and enjoyed every minute of it. Every time I smell a storm in the air I think of the primary song we used to call "The Rainbow Song."

I like to look for raimbows
Wenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty
Of an earth made clean again

I want my life to be as clean
As earth right after rain
I want to be the best I can
And live with God again

I know when I am baptized
My sins are washed away
And I can be forgiven
And improve myself each day

I want my life to be as clean
As earth right after rain
I want to be the best I can
And live with God again

Rain gives earth a clean smell and feel. I have always loved being out in the first real storm of the year. This one doesn't count because it is only a drizzle. I mean when I stand outside and get soked in under 5 minutes. This was closer to getting "misted." It still gave me that special energy that I only seem to have during a storm, and a certain desire to make "mess and mischeif" that doesn't come out too often. (It is way too easy to make both when outside is wet.)

I think he liked getting getting wet a lot less than I did. We dried off when we got home and I curled up with a book and enjoyed the good weather in front of an open screen door and my puppy Charlie curled up at my side. I have been very blessed in that I have never been afraid of thunder, in fact I wished for it today.

I love curling up with a good book and listening to the thunder. There is a danish word I have discussed with my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Mike at length. If I picked the right one out of the dictionary it is hjertelig (I think it is pronounced here-ta-lee but I can't really understan Uncle Mike, or anyone else for that mater, when he speaks Danish.) That is a wedding picture of them just because I think they make an adorable couple!

It is the feeling of watching a blizzard outside and being warm and safe and comfortable inside by the fire. Missionaries use it a lot to discribe feeling the Spirit. The sensation always hits me stronger during a monsoon thunderstarm, but I was contemplating it today. It is a nice feeling and I am glad to know that there really is a safe place during every storm, no matter how strong the wins, hard the rain, or loud the thunder.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When You're Hot, You're Hot!

I certainly am hot. I am in Tucson with a swamp cooler that works like it is in a union. However, it is good to be home. I can't complain about the cooking or the company. There is not much to tell becase I have mostly been resting. I made it through finals week and got As and Bs on my term papers and didn't do half bad on my finals.

I signed up for a busy schedule next semester and I can already tell that there are going to be days where I'm not sure how I will survive (they will be called Tuesdays) but I will be learning a lot of great stuff and making serious progress towards my degree. I am in two chouirs and various academic classes. I am looking forward to it

One thing I can do right now to pretend I am productive is watch DVDs in spanish to brush up on a skill I once had. It is suprising how much I remember and how fast I can drive certian members of my family crazy that way. The downside is thaht there are a lot of movies that have a french language track, but not a spanish one. It makes me wonder, what's so great about french anyways?

Talking about spanish made me think of the bitter sweet spiritual experience I had today. Elder Claudio R. M. Costa came to our stake conference to release our stake presidency of ten years and put a new one in place. That release was hard on everyone I think, but especially those like my brother and I who don't recall any other stake presidents. I'm sure he will grow to love ths stake presidency. I'm not sure I will be around enough to get to know them.

I love listening to Elder Costa. I like his accent, but I love the words he speaks. He talked about going to the temple to get to know the Father. I think all of us could improve our attitude towards the temple.

Okay, I think that is it for this week. Thanks for the time spent reading this!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Better? World

Someone told me earlier this week that "The world would be so much better if everyone smoked weed because then no one would care enough to start wars." No wars sounds good to me, so I started thinking about a world where everyone is high on a depressant. What would it really be like? The answer I came up with is clearly portrayed by the Eloi in H. G. Well's "The Time Machine." Really the novel is a protest against capitalism, but I think it's also about people who are high.

It takes place 802,301 ad. When the time traveler gets there he finds a civilazation that is perfectly peaceful and lives in perfect luxury and contentment. At first this sounds utopian, but soon he finds a library full of rotted books that have not been touched since before anyone there can remember. When the time traveler starts reading from the Bible and no one understands or cares about the concepts of time, eternity, or mercy. Not one of them can read or write and their language is very limited. There is a decaying museum in the city with a whole bunch of artifacts considered useless by the population, which has no clue what any of them are for. Some of them are weapons but others are pieces of art and history, completely useless to people who just don't care.

Some drugs cause people to get billigerent, some cause them to hallucinate. Maijuana just relaxes people and places them in a state of passive euphoria. They are very rarely criminal. They sit around and enjoy colors and sounds. No class, no conversation, no work. They just sit around and "be happy" just like the Eloi. Is it worse to have wars or to have nothing worth fighting for? I'm interested in your opinions.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The ongoings of Jana

This last week was intense! Not too exciting I'm afraid (except for the parts that were) but it was intense. It has been the week before finals. I had a take home test, a project, a two papers due this week. I got it all done to some degree of satisfaction (I hope to the satisfaction of my teachers, but that remains to be seen.)

Amidst the studying I got a chance to do some fun things. The first of which was FHE on Monday. It was the "friendship dinner" and everything about it was amazing. The food and the company were both wonderful. On Tuesday I got to spend some quality time with Chef-Tess. I do this every Tuesday and I love it every single time. I even got a tag on her blog. I shall be known forevermore (at least on her site) as "String Cheese." I like it. And I got to be a hand model. That is going on my resume from now on.

Thursday was an all day/ almost all night study session. I got a lot done. I had to write the two papers in APA style after using MLA up until now. I got through it and (who knows?) I may have learned something in the process.

Friday I got to spend time watching some basketball. My ward's girls' team won the championship and the boys came pretty close. It was a lot better of a friday than studying that way. My one and only complaint was that the cultural hall was too cold, but otherwise it was fun. Good friends, good game, who could ask for more?

Today was fast Sunday and it was an amazing spiritual feast. The perscribed focus of the meeting was missionary work. It is humbling to hear the modern miracles that are taking place here and all over the world. The testimonies of my ward family were edifying and inspiring. Each one left me feeling a desire to draw closer to Christ. Now I am at the house of one of the angels I visit teach (and her fiance) listening to good music and giving thanks for a wonderful day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week(s) in Review

Hi there! Now I'm going to take the time to tell all the things I haven't writen in the last 3 weeks. On March 6 I had surgery to take metal plates out of my right arm. Pre-op went very well because I know the drill and I got the best anesthesiologist. It was a little disconcerting to wake up with a cast. It was bright red. My surgeon said he needed to make a snap decision and he decided to go with the red cast. He hoped I was okay with that. At that point I really didn't care. It went from the base of my knuckles to halfway between my shoulder and my elbow, holding my elbow at a 90 degree angle. I couldn't play so I had a lot of time to do "homework." I did homework, slept, and generally took it easily.

In this time I got to go up to conference. No, I didn't go to the conference center. but I did get to spend time with family and just be away from all worries. It was much needed time to relax. Thanks to aunts, uncles, cousins, and new friends it was a wonderful time.

The next week I completed a term paper on "The Affect of Music on Mood Disorders." I focused on bipolar disorder anddepression. It is a facinating topic and I want to continue to study it in the next few years.

The cast came off and the x-rays show that I can't study stringed instruments any more. If I try my arm will break since there is only a single twig of bone and a metal plate holding it together now. Now I am preparing for my voice audition. I want to sing the song "Without You" from "My Fair Lady." It is sassy and fun and I have always liked it. I need another song in a forgien language and I'm looking for something in Spanish or German. This will be fun and I will get to waive some class requirements if I go with voice.

It is fun but a little scary to see this semester begin to end. I made it through and even made some friends. I will be very happy to come back next year and I will even enjoy my summer classes I think (especially since they are air conditioned.)

Oh! Funny ward mission story. I was going to visit an inactive member alone, one who seems to have dropped off the radar, until Colby asked to go with me. When we got to the address on the ward list some Asian guy in boxers answered the door and asked what we wanted. I was really glad to have a companion right then. We acertained that he was not the person we were looking for, nor did he know him, so we will send this person's membership records to the "lost sheep pile" for inactives that no one knows where in the church they are. It is sad that such a pile exists. I still love my ward missionary job and overall I think we have more success than anything else.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Message

Hello everyone. I know I have a lot to catch everyone up on, but I want to take this partcular entry to share my testimony of my Savior in honor of His holiday.

I know my Savior lives. I know that he completed the atonement for me and for every one of Heavenly Father's children so that we could gain the experience and grace needed to return to our heavenly home.

As Elder Holland and Elder Packer have both testified in the past, Christ created us, therefore He is also the one who can fix us. I have seen Him fix broken families, broken lives, and broken hearts, including mine. There is no one beyond His reach or His love. He brought life to Himself on Easter morning and now brings physical and spiritual life to each and every one of us.

I do not understand how Heavenly Father could watch His Well Beloved Son suffer and die 2000 years ago, but I know that He did. I can't even begin to imagine the love that took. The scriptures tell us that Christ and Heavenly Father participated in this so Christ could "succor us according to our needs." The dictionary tells us to succor means "to run to, to aid without hesitation." Christ does succor us according to our needs. Time and time again my needs were met before I saw I was in need.

It saddens me to see that some refuse to accept the perfect love and truth we have through the gospel, but it gives me great comfort to know it is never too late for them to come to Christ. The gospel will still be right here the day they accept it. Repentance is real. When Heavenly Father and Christ promise us we can become clean again they mean it. I seen and felt this process in my own life and I know it is true.

I testify that God the Father and Jesus Christ did truly appear to Joseph Smith in the sacred grove in response to his prayer and to the pleas of all Gods' children who are seeking for truth.

They had inspired valliant men to write the Book of Mormon so that there would be an anchor of truth in turbulent times. The Book of Mormon is scripture for our day. It is a testamony of Gods' wisdom and love.

I know the preisthood has been restored and is active today. The sealing keys are in use, as is the power to admnister to the sick and afflicted. If Jesus Christ were present the Church would continue the same work that is taking place now. Even though He is not physically present He does oversee the church and Thomas S. Monson does speak as directed by Christ, whose church this is.

Most importantly, I want to share that I love my Savior with all my heart. There is nothing I would not do for Him. I am still human and make mistakes but I do know that He loves me and suffered for my mistakes. Because of that I do my best to avoid mistakes. I will not alow the suffering on my account to be in vain. I will return to the celestial kingdom and thank my Savior. He set out on His mortal life and on his atoning journy to bring me to Him for eternity. Whether or not He is successful now depends entirely on me and I will not fail Him. I love the prophets of God and will follow their counsel as if it came from the lips of Christ himself, because they are His words.

I testify of this in His name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Groundbreaking Week!

Hi all! Yes, the title was right, it was the groundbreaking of the Gila Valley Temple. That was yesterday and it was great. It took a while getting there though. I'll get to that story eventually.

Monday thru Wednesday were challenging. I was behind schedule constantly, and various other mishaps followed everywhere. Then on Thursday I got to go to the "newcomer dinner" held by the Mathesons and it was beyond belief. I got to meet some new friends and get better aquainted with some people I've already met. I also got a ride from Ian, a golf cart driver who has been too sick to work, but he was there and back to normal (at least he seemed like it.) That made my day.
Sister Phelps is on the left and sister Matheson on the right.

Friday was good mostly because of the anticipation. I knew that Sara (my amazing cousin) was going to be dropped off in Phoenix and then she and I would proceed to Thatcher. The best place on earth, as far as I'm concerned. It was just the two of us the whole ride there. We traded off whose iPod was playing and listned to a great veriety of music from the beautiful to the bizzare (we both tend to favor the latter.) Sara and I got there around nine after a harrowing ride through Superior and a few moments for Sara to figure out an automatic (she only drives stick.) But we made it safely and were very happy when we got there.

We showed up at Clel and Serri Flake's at 9 and got to se them and the 4 grandkids. A merry family adventure was had by all. As was ice cream. Sara and I went to bed around 10. We stopped talking sometime much later. The alarm went off when we told it to. They have an annoying habbit of doing that. Then Clel, Sherri, Sara, and I went to see the groundbreaking broadcast to the Safford Stake Center. Nothing was said that I have never heard before, but everything struck me on a deeper level. I realized again how greatful I am that I live so close to the temple and that my friends in Thatcher will soon have the same blessings. I found it ironic that I did not go to the temple for the first time since I moved to Phoenix because I went to the groundbreaking. I was very glad I did.

The rest of the morning I spent with Ethan and Jessica. They are a very open and adorable couple. A lot of spirit between the two of them. They make quite the pair. Go them. I also got to visit Sara Knudson, one of the true music dorks on this earth. She and the rest of A capella sang very well at the dedication. I stopped by Bishop Stapely's, but he wasn't home. Oh well.

Then we (Sara and I) had lunch with the Flakes and wished them farewell. I was homesick for them again before I even left. We got back in time to have dinner (pork roast sandwiches) and go to Trevor's play. Santa Rita's advanced drama department put on the "Taming of the Shrew." He was the Pedant. He nailed the part perfectly. Everyone did a very nice job. I know they all worked hard, and you could understand what they said most of the time. More importantly they did. Not only that, but they understood it too. That doesn't always happen in high school productions of Shakespeare.

I will soon be going back to Phoenix and preparing to start another week. Things are stating to pick up, assignments are coming due and tests are happening. I think I'm still on top. My dad installed Microsoft word on my computer, so I don't have to type papers on here to get them in the computer. To that end I am taking my communications essay off here because it was not all that interesting to the average reader.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

week 2

Wow! I made it past day 2 into week two. Go me! This is going to be more of a journal than a blog because I never remember to take pictures until it's too late and if I do remember I don't have my camera on me. Today for instance today I went to an organ recital. The organ is framed in redwood and it sounded so beautiful. I love organ music because you can just close your eyes and looose yourself in it. I really enjoyed the performer, Dr. Martin Jean. It was obvious by the way he slid on to the bench that he was having fun. All the notes sounded like they were playing with each other as the sounds interwove. The problem was that watching them made my head hurt. I couldn't see his fingers but the way his feet were moving was mind boggling. But it was a wonderful experience. I really enjoy music that does not have words because it gives me a chance to meditate on a different and more meaningful level. As I was sitting there listening I was thinking about all I have been learning about acoustics lately, and I wondered "how is it that vibrating air molecules can enter our ear canals and end up changing who we are and how we view life?" Bruce R. McKonkie said that music is part of the language of the Gods. All I can figure is that there is a lot about those waves of vibrating air that acousticians don't know.

On Saturday I went to the temple very early to go do baptisms and meet my parents there. They went to the 7:30 am session. I did not have a sleep in day this week, but I did fun stuff, so that's okay. Then we came back to my place. As usual my room was less than clean. While my mom was surveying it I said "Saturday afternoon is my cleaning day. That's my excuse." She looked right back at me and said "Jana, I lived with you for 18 years. There is no excuse." My dad looked at her wide eyed and said "Kathy, that was blunt." and she responded "Well it's true." There's no disputing that, but I have been very good about cleaning up after myself lately, in my opinion at least. They agreed. After my parents left I went to lunch. I intened to come home and clean even though I was whining to myself that I needed a nap. When I came in my roommate Phoebe was cleaning and organizing the kitchen. It was great. I got my nap after all, thanks to a wonderfully service oriented roommate. Then in the evening m roommate Alexa and I went to McDonalds and came home to watch a movie and just had a grand ol' time. Before I went to bed I put up some of the pictures that Mom and Dad brought to brighten up my room and make it look like less of a cell. I think I have a nice start so far, and I have some other pictures that I am in the process of de-rolling.

Friday was good (yes I know I'm going backwards, but the recent stuff is easier to remember and probably more important anyway.) I got an 80% on my first math quiz. I was so happy I squeeled for joy. Come to think of it, for my own sake I shouldn't squeal. A music therapist is limited in what she can do for deaf people, so I need to stop making those around me deaf.

Thursday I was supposed to visit my cousin Stephanie, but I got lost on my way to AJ. I got lost on the 60 and on the 202. That takes some talent, I must say. Finally After driving around for an hour I found Mesa drive and from there I made it to the temple and then I got home okay. It never ceases to amaze me how easily I get lost.

Let's see, I already wrote all I'm going to say about my breakup with Reagan, so midweek is covered. No big events there. Wait! There was the cooking class on Wednesday. Sister Matheson, my bishop's wife, taught us how to make "quick and easy chicken meals" at the church. It was enjoyable. She is a good cook, and in sharing with us some "tricks of the trade" I feel like I could attempt some of the things she does.

I was very glad I got to the cooking class because on Monday night there was an FHE at the same building and I almost didn't make it. My mom had to get on mapquest and give me step by step directions over the phone. For those of you who know my mom, you know that getting on the internet and finding something was truly an act of love.

Okay. If you are reading this in the first week of febuary 2009 you are up to date on my life to this point. I wsh I could say the same.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Reagan and I broke up. I still like him a lot, but it is not the right time. Neither one of us is ready for a serious relationship. The long distance relationship was beyond stressful on both of us. I think we still like each other, we just need more time to learn who we are and what we want from life. Maybe we will get back together in the future, but in the meantime I'm not holding my breath. I'm going to enjoy being here with all these new people and experiences.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cullinary Adventures

Yesterday I attempted to cook. As my roommates can testify I have tried before with varying results. I did succeed in making chocolate pancakes. (See for the recipe) One of the first things the recipe calls for is melted butter. that's all well and good, because you just put the butter in a glass bowl and put it in the microwave on a low power setting for 30-45 seconds. One problem. I don't have a microwave. I have never had that problem before. It's almost like saying "I don't have air" or "I don't have my teeth" It's just not something I've ever thought about before. so I put it in a glass bowl on the stove. It worked, and in my book that's all that counts. They were messy and oddly shaped, but they tasted good. I was especially proud of myself for doing it without measuring cups. I just got a small cup and eyeballed it. I couldn't believe it actually worked. The produced some dishes too, but I did them before I went to church. Hold the snide remarks about me and dishes please, I've heard them already.

The fun part was when I made dinner. I started at 4 to have it done by 6. I made Mexican Quiche. It only takes 35-45 minutes to bake, but I figured since it was me making it I needed to leave room for mishaps. The first mishap was the cheese. I bought the least expensive block of Colby jack cheese I could find. The problem, as I discovered was that the cheapest block is equivalent to one cup and the recipe calls for two. The only answer I could figure was to grate my Colby jack cheese sticks. It was too bad because I really like those cheese sticks a lot. That took some time. The rest went well, until I needed to put in the Green Chile. It suddenly occurred to me that a can opener is very useful when one wants to open a can. Unfortunately the only numbers I had of ward members were the ones on my church program. Fortunately I went on a date with the elders quorum president last Monday. I called and he remembered who I was. Even better, he had a can opener. I invited him over for dinner after, but he had already eaten. The good news is that the quiche turned out very well. Danica, my dinner guest, agreed as well. And I pulled it out of the oven at 5:55. Is that good or is that good? I agree , it's good.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 2

So I got up this morining and I knew where I was! I felt very accomplished. I got up to shower and get ready for church since my meetings are still at 9. I got all my stuff and took it in the apartment bathroom, stripped (that's what you are supposed to do when you shower) and got in. When I got in I knocked a cockroach off the shower curtain, then looked down to see another one in the drain. I squealed, then with all the courage my 6'1 body posesses I stepped out of the shower. I missed Mom, Dad, Trev, Kalene, and Jessica more than I can say in that moment. I dresses, then woke my roommate up and asked how she felt about bugs and she said "if there's a roach don't even tell me!" I said "okay I won't." and stepped out of her room. That was all the answer I needed. I ate breakfast and decided not to shower before church since I don't like showering with company. Then I remembered I was going into the Lord's house and decided that being clean was important. I would walk to the shower, look at the bugs, give a breathless squeal, then run away. I'm pretty sure they were deaf, just not dead. Finally my roommate got up the pity to call the "community assistant" to take care of it for us. No, I did not take pictures of the roaches.

I got to church almost on time. On the way there I met a girl from my dorm who is in my ward. We walked to the institute together. Sacrament meeting was good. It assured me that I was in the right place. The one thing that caught me a little off gaurd was that they had couples who got engaged over winter break stand up and announce it. I wondered how that would work if the person's fiance lived in another town. I also loved the pipe organ in the chapel. It was beautiful physically, aurally, and spiritually. Then I got to go to "newcommer sunday school" so they could have me fill out an info sheet and get my picture, as well as make sure I was in the right ward boundries. Then I went to my home class a.k.a. Gospel Principles. I never get sick of those. We talked about missionary work and how anyone who is truly converted cannot help but share the gospel. Relief Society was taught by someone who returned from the Italy Canagna mission around two years ago. We discussed Zion. All in all I must say I love this church. At least when I go to intitute I know how things work and it feels the same as at EA, even though I am still homesick for all of you in Thatcher.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

ASU & Me

Okay, I'm going to be good about writing from now on. And if you believe that I've got a bridge to sell you. I promise to try. I moved into my ASU dorm earlier today. It was filthy and stinky. There were dishes and trash that predated Christmas break, I'm sure. My roommate seems nice, but she does not live my same standards. That's no reason why we can't be friends, but it lead to some akwardness because I don't like swearing, and she has never needed to watch it before, but she is nice and perky and cute. She was here three minutes, then left. I have not seen her in the 8 hours since. It was a relief when I was here alone. With the help of a vaccum, mop, inspired music, beautiful knick knacks, and scented oils this dirty littledorm room may yet become a home. The clock was a birthday present. It is amazing how much I love clocks. Not the digital ones, the timepieces. This one is a real work of art. It has a quote from the poem "Footprints" on it. "...during the times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." I love it. The biggest problem I have here is that I miss people. I miss my awesome roommies. I guess I'll just have to get used to my new ones here, but you guys (girls) will always be my sisters. I miss the Flakes, of course, but oh well, they aren't here, and I guess there are good leaders everywhere. I miss my UH-mazing boyfriend Reagan. At least we still have phones. Even though I am homesick tonight I am excited to learn all that ASU has to teach me. I miss EA, but this new season of my life will be sweet and fun and all around enjoyable. Here are some pictrures of my new place.

My books, one of the few comosities I can't live without. I would die without these ones, we haven't been apart for more than a week at a time.

More books. Can a person ever have enough? No, you must be insane to even ask!

Gotta love the brown stuff in the sink. I'm not gonna deal with it now.

The beautiful quilt my mom made me for Christmas, along with the novel I finished this afternoon and my ipod.