Sunday, January 27, 2013

the latest and greatest. ERR!

lesson learned and relearned.
if you don't, it will inevitably be closed.
i'm bad.
so since this temple was closed and we were stuck here...
with no desires to do anything on the strip (except that rollercoaster. i really do love them!!! but there was just no way).... so we magically wound up at an old mormon fort. random. but hilarious.
that's me. (i'm not quite tall enough to look through the look-out...i'd be a terrible defensive army person.) 
and we also found this huge cactus.
as i anxiously awaited my friends that left me over the long holiday break to visit the zócalo and eat tacos al pastor while gloating towards me all the while. how dare they!

it was a joyous reunion!
and it only got better.
we passed the weekend in san diego and it. was. UNREAL.
hermana mendoza and i did WORK in la mesa when she first arrived to SD as a missionary. we stayed in a cute apt directly across the street from the battalion and loved our lives. and SOMEHOW we were fortunate enough to stay in that same now-vacant apartment again when we visited together. it was surreal. i relished every tiny detail of it!
the kitchen with the white cabinets hermana adams had scraped clean...
the door with the faded grey-red bow i'd put up from christmas....
the piano sister lewis would tocar frequently...
the pictures i taped on the wall that are still up there...
the heavy bookcase we painstakingly dragged across the room...
the tape remnants from the christmas lights across the kitchen counter...
the clean but empty closets...
the welded-open shower window that now suddenly magically closes...
the tiny bathroom with its messed up/backwards shower handles...
that clean white fridge...
so many memories. 
december to august of my mission and life spent in that apartment. 
my heart quería estallarse. just explode. so happy.
slumberparty. pijamada!
speaking of exploding hearts...
we woke up to a spanish tour at the mb. best way to rise and shout.
bring on the up after christmas at the battalion...
feeling grateful for my ancestors.
loving this familiar and cherished view from the battalion's tower.
hello dear friend, colonel cook, aka jc.
touching the sandy beachy ocean of coronado, san diego for the first time in my life.
felt too good.
the water almost frost bit my tots off but someday i will return and meterme. i will also kayak these waters, mark my word.
dream come true=
mexican food+mariachi serenade+mexican company+latin dancing.
squared. times infinity. let's do it again?!
when heaven met earth as my besty married her best man.
love you, kels.
oh, praise the day. beautiful forever friendships meet carne asada.
familia solano.
well, after we attended three different ramas at three different times all day sunday, we raced back to utah in a speedin' 9 1/2 hours. believe it. sooo worth it i tell you. there is nothing like being in branches you served in on a fast sunday. especially the first fast sunday of the year... no no no, seriously. those rooms were PACKED, people's hearts were full, and the spirit was strong. my life was complete.

i must say, however, that being able to stand in front of my Linda Vista third, one year after I'd done it the last time, and thank my father in heaven for the blessing and privilege of having done so... was so meaningful. even more meaningful, however, was what i'd learned the week before. remember new years? remember how i yelled from the depths of my lungs outside grandma's and then it was 2013? and then dad was like..."why aren't you out partying with your friends?" and i had no answer for him? (i didn't tell you that part.) the point is that after the yelling and the huge symbolic exhale, i felt like i needed to get home and read my journal. and boy, did i. i fast forwarded backwards--wait a sec. digo...i mean rewound--one year to the day and was RIVETED, literally RIVETED, at what 2011 almost 2012 tawny wrote. 
----->random sidenote: i just want to testify of journal writing. i tell you, the things she (aka i) wrote back then were really for 2012 almost 2013 tawny...aka me ahora. i needed them for NOW, and i needed them hard. i forget things so easily! even things that are so important and meaningful! it's the exact same way with another journal, the ancient one called the BOOK OF MORMON. i am SO grateful for records that we have to read, study, treasure, and remember the past--to remember the Lord. the home teaching message this month talks about that, too--the second question at the end of the message says,
 "The Doctrine and Covenants is filled with answers to questions asked by people in prayer. What if the answers to their questions (the revelations) were never recorded? 
the point is that had i not been sitting indian-style on my now less-hard bed in orem with my tear-stained face, learning and relearning lesson after lesson that new years eve, i would not have been able to approach my dear saints in Linda and promise them that I will honor them forever and always by choosing to be happy. it was fast sunday, and everyone seemed to be testifying of happiness, literally. i was fortunate enough to close the meeting with my testimony.  i promised them that i'll make 2013 better than 2012 because it's MY CHOICE.  i made this fool-proof connection in my mind that links to my favorite scripture that ties into everything everywhere everytime:
 21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the away; and there is bnone other way nor cname given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the ddoctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of theeFather, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is fone God, without end. Amen. (2 Nephi 31:21)
so now here's the proof (think geometry, people):

happiness is the GOAL
happiness is a CHOICE
we are happy WHEN we live the gospel
if we want to be happy, we HAVE TO LIVE THE GOSPEL

so. if 2013 is going to be the best, i've gotta live the gospel. and you've gotta, too! 
and i promised them i would. and i promised heavenly father i would. because as a wise sister...
...recently said--without knowing how much i needed to hear it--that we literally mock heavenly father, jesus christ, and all the blessings they've given me if we choose to not be as sublimely happy as we should be.
i don't want to mock them.
they've given me too much.
i'll follow the motto of my wonderful ancestor and those of the mormon battalion of 1846, trekking thousands of miles across the united states to demonstrate faith in the Savior...

"despite their difficult circumstances, they chose to be happy."

let's all do so.
do you commit?

continuing on.
then this cutie pie also got married. congrats!
then WE were suddenly the ones reporting on our in-country internship experience. crazy!
it's just amazing how there's a plan for everything. i didn't see it or even dream about it when i sat in this same room listening to the previous interns last may, preparing to embark to costa (somewhat grudgingly on my part)...but now i see why.
...well, at least part of the why. :)
and i'm so grateful!
and now? well, now, my friends, we're "up to speed." whatever that means.
yep. winter semester 2013. and guess what? i have no idea what will happen come april. none at all. but i do know that time is short-lived and that we've gotta enjoy what little and what precious we have. 
so bring on the ski class..
and the spanish classes,
and the pink tights/black leo/leather shoes.
i'm ready to live it and LOVE IT.
a very happy 23rd to this sweet compa/roomy of mine. sure love ya, whit. 
what on earth would i do without you?!
(first cafe rio in años. ha ha. pure satisfaction right there!)
and, finally, let's just talk about joyous reunions:
sister lewis tackling sister burden over our couch after her surprise entrance to our abode before our movie night.
sister burleigh at her homecoming. :)
sister newman at her homecoming. :)

told ya. the latest is the greatest errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Monday, January 21, 2013

the charge

"During the past few years a number of resources have set in place in the Church to help us. New editions of the scriptures have been published--are we taking advantage of them? More temples are located closer to our people--are we going to the house of the Lord more frequently? 
The consolidated meeting schedule was set up--are we taking advantage of the increased time with our families?
A special home evening manual was provided--are we using it? 
A new hymnal has just been published--are we singing more songs of the heart? 
And the list goes on and on. 
We have received much help. We don't need changed programs now as much as we need changed people!" 

-President Ezra Taft Benson
"Cleansing the Inner Vessel
1986 April Conference

take a look at this, too:

"And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written" (Doctrine and Covenants 84:57).

how's that for a call to repentance?
it's a new year. it's time for us to go and DO.
will you?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

i know i know.

i can't even believe it's been since november. 

i know that no one really cares and that no one even reads this garby and that there's really nothing suuuuuper consequential (is that the opposite of inconsequential? ha ha) happening in my life, but freak. for my sanity, there needs to be some organization of all the goodness going on in my vida. sorry for my silence. it hasn't been for lack of activities. hit it:

kind of awhile ago, i went on a roadtrip to blessed san diego with some dear sweets of my life. 
FOUR GENERATIONS BABY!!!!!!! there we are, great-grandmother to great-granddaughter. :)
while there, we got to see a whole bunch of loved ones...
but we went for the sealing of this precious family...
the Pattersons--who we had the privilege of working with during our missions. we feel such a special love for their family, and being able to be in that room when they made covenants and sacred promises to be an eternal family was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
the church is true. there is no other way. 
i'll proclaim it till' the day i die.
a few weeks after that blessed experience, i got to go back to the land of fruit and honey and endless waves and sunshine with my FAMILY. 
toooooo good. i thought of them someday coming back with me, and then we were finally there...together! it was exquisite.
and now, these are a few pics from our reunion. i know. that was around conference. i'm bad! terrid at blogging!
we had the best time at conference with these friends and many more who made the trek northeast to come listen to a prophet's voice. 
the truth is what unites us!
(even this cutie pie was in town for conference. so good to see you!)
i've had some of the world's best/most prepared missionaries on the planet. my testimony has been infinitely strengthened and i have been ultimately humbled to see that the Lord is hastening his work. these are the last days. these are the missionaries that are harvesting the elect for the second coming. these missionaries are arriving at the training center more prepared than any missionaries ever have before, with more zest and zeal and courage to preach the restored gospel of jesus christ in a profound, far-reaching and long lasting way. they are dedicated, they are humble, they are beautiful, they are FUNNY, they are personable, they are obedient, they are smart, and they are READY to GO. CRY. REPENTANCE. and invite our brothers and sisters to make covenants that will bind them to the Father and the Son. 
and it is a profound privilege to associate with them.
this was my first district. i felt soooooo privileged to be their teacher. the Lord had it ALL planned out...he knew we needed each other. there were some incredibly sacred experiences shared in that classroom, and i am thankful for eternal friendships forged in the work of the Lord.
my gangsters. they're going to LA baby!
this district of elders...ah. they'll rock the world.
my trial by fire district. they endured a wave of change but held out firm. what a remarkable group of missionaries and what a joy to grow irreversibly close to them during the holidays. 
how fun it's been to see hugo aka elder medina roaming around the MTC--especially in the referral center! he's a stellar missionary alright!

my chile district. they're too good!
ah, sweet sweet hermanas gorge and monarrez. i served with hermana monarrez's sister in sd and loved her more than life itself. coincidence that i was her sister's teacher? i think not. gotta get me that monarrez goodness in my vida.
elder callister--killing it in russia. go get em'!
around thanksgiving, i did the TurkeyTri and LOVED MY LIFE--even though the air was brisk and there was snow on the ground, we ran, did burpees and swam. (yes, i am in a wet swimmer at the moment pictured below.)
here's some roommate love at the creamery:
i'm loving my life in provo. super grateful for chill roommates!
got to babysit these cutie pies for a weekend and had toooooo much fun. family is just the best.
then we missed the Callejas family and Costa Rica all day errrrrr day and felt slash continue to feel so indescribably grateful for a summer of trial and growth and fun. 
then school ended and i felt incandescently pleased to be done with my major classes and counted my blessings after i counted my books and the small stack of cash i got back for them before...
...the first annual burn party at Ingleside--which, by the way, was the best, most therapeutic thing that's happened to a sizable handful of BYU students since ever.
then it was CHRISTMAS BREAK and it was time to bring on the 
holiday cheer!
need i say more?
building our house on our first date? dang.
a fully-fledged and outfitted nativity scene with the Hunsakers...
grandpa with his winnings from the white elephants party.
you can tell things got a little crazy...
the break was beautiful. we got to see some long-lost family in salt lake and have a fun shrimp-coctail-filled meal with them at the roof (and with this vista. imagínense!)
and i got to organize our food storage. FINALLY. i have been dying to do that for aeons.

and then this... was a landmark moment for me. 
we all went in front of grandma's house and made noise to bring the new year in in style.
and i've gotta tell you--i yelled.  really yelled. at first, i screamed just a little started off as me just humoring my cousins, but then i found it to be really therapeutic and i let loose. i meant it. and i felt all the 2012ness leaving my body in one huge, long, meaningful, misty exhale as i faced the foothills. and i knew. i knew that 2012 had been a good year, a GREAT year--a year that Heavenly Father and I had planned out as a year of testing and trial and thought and indecision and hurt and mending and happiness and exploration in all senses of the words. and i thought of the board that hangs in my room from my sweet mother after i returned home from my life-shaping experience in lake powell years ago that says, 
"On to a brighter day."
and you know what? we truly are. we reeeeally truly are making our way on to a brighter, better day. i know it. 
so 2013...i welcome you! with open arms! i know you'll be good because i'm going to CHOOSE it to be so. and i'm excited. i have no idea what you'll bring. i know it'll be a riveting roller coaster. i anticipate the pulls heavenward and the unexpected plunges that stretch me in new, hard, exciting ways. i'm anxious for the thrill. 
i always have loved roller coasters, you know. so here we go.