Thursday, October 28, 2010

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I am thankful for moments where I laugh so hard I can't stop, and the harder I try to stop the more I laugh.

There are a million bajillion quotes about laughter out there and most of them are corny and a little silly but I am a sucker for them anyways. A few ones I found were
"Laugh as much as you breath and love as long as you live"
"Nothing shows a man's character more than what he laughs at"
and finally
"Always remember to be happy because you never know who's falling in love with your smile."

Today I laughed harder than I have in a long time, all because of this character:
Although both make me chuckle I'm talking about the character on the left

Her name is Brittany Bly and she can make me laugh harder than anybody I know. We have had a lot of memories together from high school orchestra and early morning seminary, to mishaps while texting and summer daycamp. I love this girl to pieces. Today she had me laughing so hard I got a case of the giggles and just couldn't stop. I love those moments, the moments when my ab muscles are sore because they have been contracted for five solid minutes as I have been trying to compose myself. It reminded me of the time we did laughter yoga in my Theories to Therapeutic Recreation class. For thirty minutes we sat in a circle and we looked at each other and just laughed. It is amazing the power of laughter, you should try it.

All of this laughter reminded me of my all-time favorite game, which happened to be recorded during my Rock Climbing class field trip and has become one of my favorite videos to watch. I thought for sure I was going pee my pants. (Thanks Daniel for being such a great sport!)

I guess it is really true, laughter is the best medicine!

P.S. I know this is a weird confession but I on my IGoogle homepage I have two pet turtles for some reason it makes me feel more domestic and caring even though logically I know that there is no purpose for them. I often play with them before I go to bed and make sure they get enough exercise. Perhaps it helps me reminisces about the days of my youth when I had a monkey giga pet and I kept it alive for 32 days. The turtles are 10 times better though because I don't have to feed them and when I am tiered of playing with them I close my laptop. Just thought the world would want to know about my abnormal obsession with my two pet turtles. I haven't named them yet and am open to suggestions.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life is to be Enjoyed

As you might have guessed from the last post and the change in the title I am going to change the tone of this blog from one of pessimism to one of optimism. Instead of using it as a free therapy session where I talk about all of the things that are going wrong in my life I am going to focus on things I am thankful for, big or little, significant or insignificant. After all life is to be enjoyed not just endured.

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

I have erased the beginning of this blog almost 100 times, the reason.... I'm trying not to let negativity cloud this blog. There is enough negativity in the world, I don't need to contribute to that. So I have spent all day trying employing various strategies to help myself keep a positive outlook. This week has not been a good one, my internship has been challenging, I have gotten in trouble for something that I didn't do, it's been hot (and therefore I've been miserable), I looked at a picture from China and thought, "if only I can look like that" (those who have been to China can understand how sad that statement truly is), I have looked through pictures of Spring Summit and realized how much I miss it. I have forgotten what it feels like to be in such a loving, caring environment where I have the opportunity to be so physically and emotionally close to Heavenly Father's creations, I have gotten sudden waves of sadness as I think about my life and friends I have left in Idaho, I get even more sad when I think that just a year ago I was in China with 10 girls who love me and who I love dearly, and most of all I have felt more alone and isolated than I have ever felt in the past 8 weeks.
Today's activities have included a lot of positive self talk, a conversation with a good friend, some pondering, watching any Mormon Message video that have the word "trial" or "adversity" in it, a few tears, some Josh Groban, and lots and lots of sugar.

I have found myself frequently watching this video by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. Even though it won't take away my trials and adversity, it does give me hope that there are good things to come. I love when he says "every one of us has times when we need to know that things will get better. My declaration is that that is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us especially in times of need." Being here has put my newly acquired testimony to the test. I have spent much of my free time reading the words of the prophets and apostles as well as communicating to my Heavenly Father, because I need to know that there are "good things to come." This quote found at the end of the video is what has kept me going through the hard times I have been faced with, Elder Holland states, "Don't quit, keep walking, keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead, some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ they come. It will be all right in the end, trust God and believe in good things to come."

I watched this video a million times today, reminding myself that I have much to be thankful for. 

There are many lessons I can (and have learned) while being in Hawaii and I will never regret the decision I made to come here. I have been able to meet many wonderful people and I have had the opportunity to solidify my testimony and grow closer to the Lord through my trials. As Elder Oaks says, "Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality." 
And just when you thought I would make a whole post without making a list here is a list of events I am thankful for that have helped me become who I am today

1. I am thankful for Tim and Virginia and their family. For all of the support and opportunities they have given me to grow. I think of them as a 2nd family. Words cannot adequately express how much I love them. 
2. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to be the group leader of 10 amazing girls in Changzhou, China Fall 2009. These girls were so patient with my shortcomings as a leader and they allowed me to grow so much. I love each and every one of them. 
3. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to live in Changzhou, China. It was here that I had a mighty change of heart that is spoken of in Alma. I learned about the principle of sacrifice and the blessings that can come from it. I sacrificed to go to church, I sacrificed my time, I sacrificed resources, I sacrificed sleep, not because I had to but because I love the children, I love the girls and most of all I love my Heavenly Father. 
4. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to go on Spring Summit. This experience (combined with China) has made me who I am today. This gave me confidence in myself and my abilities. It also gave me 14 wonderful friends who have all had a hand in shaping my life at one point or another. These wonderful people know me better than anybody else in the whole entire world know me, they've seen my good days and they've seen my bad days, they have seen me succeed, and they have seen me struggle, they have been there for me when I wanted to give up and just when I didn't think I could make it any farther they were there to give me the strength and confidence I needed, and at times they have even saved my life.  They know what I am capable of and they are constantly pushing me to be better and I love them with all of my heart!
5. I am thankful for my career choice. There have been many tender mercies throughout my life that have led me to Therapeutic Recreation (none of which I realized at the time),  nevertheless I am grateful for every single one. 
6. I am grateful for the wonderful teachers I have had at Brigham Young University-Idaho, they have all been wonderful and have helped prepare me for the "real world" I am grateful for the many unseen sacrifices they make and continue to make so that I can be successful in life. 

Elder Oaks states, "God offers us opportunities for blessings and blesses us through our own adversities and the adversities of others we can understand why he has commanded us again and again to thank the Lord thy God in ALL things."

I don't know why I am here in Hawaii, I don't know what I am supposed to learn, I don't know why I have had to struggle so much, but I am so grateful for the people I have met, the lessons I have learned, and the opportunity I have had to grow close to my Heavenly Father.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Here I sit in the warm humid weather of Hawaii, just wishing for a snowy day so I can sit all bundled up and listen to Christmas music all day while smelling the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg. So I figured I'd make a list (because after all that is what I'm good at) of all the things I love about the Christmas season.

Favorite Christmas Movie:
I was introduced to this movie last year at Christmas time and it has forever changed my life! I don't know how I went 22 years without watching it. 

Favorite Christmas Album:
I remember that this CD would always be playing at our house during the Christmas season. 

Favorite Christmas Memory:
Our Christmas Tree
Last year I was able to spend the Christmas season with 10 girls who I loved so dearly. The weather in Changzhou was much colder than any of us could have ever imagined and we were always cold, no matter where we went. On the first weekend of December we hosted a Christmas party and invited our friends from the ward. Jessica and Brandon (who also invited his friend Luca) were the only ones that came and we had a blast!! We played Christmas jeopardy, had a white elephant exchange and then went to KTV. I even made cake in the rice maker for dessert! I love those girls so much!!!
The gifts
Some of the recipients of the white elephant gift exchange

The cakes made in the rice cooker... not too bad!
Favorite Christmas Song
Sarah McLachlan: Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas

Here are some other christmas joys that didn't make the list....
Miracle on 34th Street,
Drinking hot chocolate while laughing with roommates,
Making Christmas crafts,
Looking at the ornaments in the Christmas isle at target,
Hearing Christmas music everywhere I go,
Christmas morning,
Pumpkin Pie,
Decorating the Christmas tree,
Wrapping presents,
While You Were Sleeping,
Making snow angels,
Josh Groban Christmas album,
I can't wait until Christmas!!!

P.S. For those wondering I have 5 weeks left here in Hawaii, I'm going to miss it but I'm ready to move on and be close to those I love!

Monday, October 4, 2010

What a Wonderful Day

Reasons why today was wonderful
I passed my Therapeutic Recreation certification exam allowing me to become a CTRS at the  end of the semester,
It was a beautiful cloudy, windy, rainy, autumn day,
I got to talk to many of my dear friends (thanks to the fact that I passed my test),
I laughed so hard with my bestest friend Brittany over a silly voice message and the fact that I am plucking my own eyebrows (a job she is usually enlisted to do),
I talked to one of my good friends for the first time in 2 years,
My roommate bought me a pie to celebrate,
I am halfway through my internship,
and I discovered this song....

what more could I ask for