The People I Find: Krista

This week’s story is about a girl I grew up with. She lived in the neighborhood next to mine and we often found ourselves in the same classes from elementary school up to high school. There were always two things that I admired about Krista, her beauty and her kindness. In the 15 years that I have known her, I have never seen her be mean. She has always looked out for the underdog. Krista and I were the only two from Capital who chose to go to Utah State. So we continued to run into each other on campus and I was always excited to hear about what her future plans. As most of my readers know, I am a huge advocate for ending the r-word and sticking up for those with disabilities. Krista went out on a limb to stick up for her students and faced resistance from the administration. She also had a news story done by Maggie O’mara, you can see that here. Her story is inspiring, take the time to read it.

 

kristaHer Unknown Story:

My story isn’t anything remarkable by any means…I haven’t solved world hunger or established world peace. I simply pursued my passion. I started as a social work major at Utah State University. My passion quickly shifted when I was introduced to a social work division specifically for people with disabilities. I knew I was meant to work in this unique population. I began teaching in a high school Extended Resource Room in Boise, Idaho in the fall of 2012. Like anyone else when they begin a new job, I was overwhelmed. There were many long nights at the school trying to get programs in place for my students and completing all the necessary paperwork. By the end of my first year teaching, I had learned the “ins and outs” of my profession and was ready to move forward full force by year two.

When you have spent time working with people with disabilities, you quickly learn how complicated their life can be. Things as easy as entering a building can be tricky when you are in a wheelchair. Many of my students are non-verbal… how frustrating it must be to not be able to express how you are feeling or what you need at that time. Many of my students desire to have normal friendships and relationships with their peers; however, their disability may prohibit them from doing so. I could go on and on about the daily challenges they face, but that would make for a depressing read. So knowing the challenges that they already face, I wanted to make a memorable night for them. A memorable night that each student in high school can participate in… Prom! Typically, students yearn for the day they get to dress up as their best self and enjoy a night out with their friends. Why would it be any different for a child with disabilities? I contacted people in the community to help. Hope Blooms, a local florist, willingly donated all the corsages and boutonnieres and Hawkes Motors donated the vehicles to transport the students. Both companies were extremely supportive when it came to helping our students.

Prior to Prom night, I was informed that two of our special education students had been nominated for Prom King and Queen. They were nominated based on the faculties input. A few days before Prom, I was approached by our school administration and they shared their concerns regarding the two special education students who were nominated. They expressed that they were nervous that our student body would not respond well to them and that they would be mocked instead of praised. I was told that our school was not ready for this and that I should have thought about our school as a whole. I left the office that day frustrated… If the student body wasn’t ready to welcome those students as their Prom King and Queen, we haven’t done our job as educators within the community and they needed to start being ready! I tried to put aside the concerns the administration had because I still wanted to create a magical night for the students, regardless of who won Prom King and Queen.

On the night of Prom, my staff and I set up stations around my classroom where the girls could come get their nails, hair, and make-up done together. A local photographer came to take formal pictures individually and as a group. After everyone was ready and pictures were taken, the staff and I drove the students to a local Italian restaurant for dinner. As a department, we truly wanted the students to feel like they got to experience Prom entirely.

While at Prom, our students danced and enjoyed the company of their peers. I briefly went up to dance with them and immediately noticed how mortified they were to have their teacher dancing with them. I couldn’t blame them… I knew the Macarena was not a cool dance move anymore. The time came to announce the winners of Prom King and Queen. The students formed two lines that ended at the stage where the sash and crowns were laid. To our surprise, BOTH our students were crowned Prom King and Queen! The student body chanted their names and applauded in celebration. I couldn’t have asked for a better student body to welcome our students.

I did not write this hoping for praise for a job well done regarding Prom. I wrote this to advocate for those unique individuals. Sometimes as a society, we get caught up in our own lives and the politics of everything and we forget about the important things. People with disabilities deserve to have the same opportunities as anyone else. They have wants and dreams just as you and I do. They desire to be a part of their community and I hope that our community will embrace that special opportunity. Each of my students has changed me for the better and I am eternally grateful to each of them.

 

(C)LVB-2014

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2048

2048-WinI have an obsessive personality, there is no hiding it. When I find something I like, I make sure to squeeze every ounce out of it. When I discovered that I could buy pop tarts and eat them for breakfast, I was in heaven. I have eaten pop tarts for breakfast, with the RARE occasion of cereal, every day for the past 2 years. No, I don’t switch them up, it is always the brown sugar and cinnamon just a little bit burnt. Two years ago it was spaghetti and meatballs, literally every time I went to a restaurant that is what I ordered, it’s what I made for dinner when I didn’t have to hurry, it was what I craved all of the time. The reason I tell you these things is because I want to paint a picture of how dedicated I am to my obsessions. Another example is this week, I had a craving for Harry Potter. In my limited time, I have managed to watch all 8 of them this week, and felt a little empty when I wasn’t watching it. Okay, now that I have buttered you up and convinced you of my weird quirk I will tell you of my recent obsession that almost drove me mad. I wasn’t the only one participating, it was all of my family members. 2048. It’s a game app you can download on your phone, but I must warn you… It is the most time-consuming, frustrating, and rewarding game (only when you win). To be honest, I have only been awarded a winner screen once, because after I accomplished it, I vowed to not pick it up again. The game is all about doubling numbers that match until you reach 2048, when the board fills up all the way the game is over. I was introduced to the game just days prior to our honeymoon cruise, and let’s just say we learned to share by taking turns playing it. As we like to say, we played for days. I was becoming even more frustrated when I couldn’t solve it and most of my family members had. It was like every day someone would announce in the family group text that they had reached the blessed number 2048. Envy grew inside me, and I began to dedicate myself even more. I woke up early one morning to play and found my self just a little late to work. I would play while I browned meat on the stove, and even while I was in the bathtub. My supportive husband could see how dedicated I was and kept reassuring me that I would win soon. It was June 9th when I fell asleep just a little bit early, and my husband stole my iPad. He stayed up late and finally won the game. He waited all night for me to wake up. I woke bright and early on June 10th and looked over to see my husband staring at me. He said he had to show me something. I had no idea what was coming. He grabbed the iPad and showed me the winning screen. I wanted to cry, yell, and be mad, but I couldn’t it was his birthday. He tried to convince me that it was a birthday miracle and that is NOT something you can argue about.  So I let him have his glory. He could tell I was jealous and continued to reassure me that I would finish the game. I honestly felt like I was inside Ready Player One. It was later that night or week, I can’t remember when, but I finished the game. I HAD WON! It had taken me almost a month, and honestly all I felt was relief. Mr. Bird can have his wife back now. Well, until two of my sister-in-laws sent me a screen shot of the 4096 last night…. The question is now… to game or not to game?

(C)LVB2014

The People I Find: Miss McRae

I am going to be honest with you, I teared up reading this post. I remember this event, it was a few days after I had received my mission call and I was on my way to class. I had texted my brother Mitch a picture of something stupid I had caught on camera… Instead of texting me, he called me and said “Clare, Uncle Royce died, can you come over?” I told Mitch that was a cruel joke, and he reassured me that it had happened. I didn’t get off the bus for class, but road it back to my house, got in my car and headed to my cousin’s house. This story is written by my cousin, who is going to go by Miss McRae. She is the most well-rounded individual I have ever met. She is 4.0 student, Irish dancer, and heart-throb amongst boys. After she lost her dad, it was amazing to see how helpful she was to her mother and fellow siblings. She may be young, but she is wise. If you don’t, follow her blog! She is going to be America’s next best seller.

Here is Her Unknown Story:

royceWhen I was thirteen, I lost my dad to an aortic dissection. It was a sudden, unexpected, and tragic event that changed my life forever and continues to affect my family and friends today. My story is only one side of the experience—I lost my dad, but the people around me lost a husband, son, brother, uncle, friend, and bishop. My voice is only one of many that grieve the loss of my dad. However, no one person experiences grief the same way as another, so I will only relay my experience.

The day that my life changed forever began as a cool morning in October, normal as ever. My brother and I were at an early morning piano lesson. I was looking forward to school, thinking about the boy I currently had a crush on and getting excited to join the new girls’ rugby team after school with one of my best friends. When my grandpa pulled up to take us home, I didn’t think much of it and my brother and I clambered into the car.

Grandpa was quieter than I had ever seen him, almost nervous.

baby royceThe first thing he said was, “Your dad died last night.”

I was shocked, to say the least. A chilled stupor ran over my whole body, a kind of numbness I find hard to put into words. The ride home felt like a downward spiral of tears and uncertainties as my life as I knew it ended. I tried to form questions in my mind as I faced my mom and my other siblings. But it was too confusing to think. My world was falling apart around me and I had no idea what to do.

We were blessed to have so many supportive people around us to help us process what was happening. Friends and family began to arrive to comfort and help us function. As can be imagined, various foods in different colored Tupperware containers began to pile up on the counter tops. Over the next few days, flowers arrived in bulk as well, a welcome reminder of the beauty still around us.

At first I tried to put up a strong front, to be a positive ray of sunshine and make everyone feel better. I was going to make everything okay and restore the status quo RIGHT NOW. After making breakfast, opening the blinds to let in the light, and putting my younger siblings in front of mindless but comforting television I was exhausted. Even though I thought I was ready to be okay again, I realized I couldn’t skip the grieving process. And later I would further realize that that was completely okay and even healthy!

The answers came later. My dad, who had been hunting with friends in Wyoming, had suddenly collapsed and died immediately by way of an aortic dissection. Only much later would I learn of his extraordinary last day in this life. He had spent the day before climbing a mountain and enjoying the majestic scenery around him. The day of his death was spent serving others as he completely ignored his own hunting endeavors to help a complete stranger locate, shoot, and pack out his first deer. These actions themselves explain what kind of a person my dad was: always willing to lovingly help and see to others needs and always looking for an adventure.

Knowing what had happened provided some closure. I never really questioned why this had happened to me; all my life I had been taught that trials were given to us to make us stronger. I’ve come to accept that while I hate that my dad passed away, I’ve been able to better understand the Plan of Salvation, help others cope with loss, and come closer to Christ. I hope that someday I will be able to look back and identify even more lessons learned throughout my life.

Of course, at the time it was not so easy to see the good. I needed time to cry and to be heartbroken. Watching my mom try to plan a funeral and grieve at the same time seemed so final and so miserable. I hated that I had to find something to wear to my dad’s funeral. I couldn’t stand the sight of hideous floral tissue boxes that invited more tears to come. Nighttime was the hardest for me to face; I couldn’t sleep even though exhaustion from crying and constant numbness had drained me during the day. One night I watched TV until five in the morning. Even when I was so done with crying that I was sick to my stomach, there were still more tears to let out. I am grateful now that I kept none of that bottled up. I am also grateful to the people around me who cried with me or who were simply just there.

mcraesThere were fun moments as well. I soon figured out it isn’t a crime to have fun when something sad is going on. My dad loved to have fun and I am sure he still does! I never felt like I was insulting his memory or his passing by being happy. Memories weren’t hard to hear; I loved hearing stories about my dad’s rambunctious childhood from my aunts and uncles. I remember looking through scrapbooks one night and laughing at pictures and good times in my parents’ dating and newlywed years. One night I watched Uncle Buck with one of my cousins and a delicious hamburger and the movie’s dumbness set us off for a few hours. I even set out for a haunted corn maze to celebrate a friend’s birthday, scared to death that I would be the center of attention and under the scrutiny of my friends. I was so wrong! For a few hours it was if nothing had changed at all, and being surrounded by my giggly, boy crazy best friends provided me with a lot of peace.

The viewing was difficult for me. I was afraid to look inside the casket and see my dad, to have a final and unsettling image of him that would stay with me always. But the calm and peaceful look on his face didn’t disturb me like I thought it would; rather it was a reminder that someday my dad’s spirit and body would be reunited in the Resurrection. I was reminded of the Plan of Salvation and the importance of mortal life. I knew that the spirit that had been occupying the still body before me was busily serving Heavenly Father and living on in Spirit Paradise. I also knew that my dad was never far away, always looking out for my mom and us kids and anyone else who needed him. I know he continues to do that today. As people began to enter the mortuary, I was amazed at how many people my dad had influenced during his time on earth. In my restlessness I decided to see how long the line really was. The line wound around through the massive room of the mortuary, out the door and curved around the building. I was so grateful at that moment for the life my dad had lived; I decided to try to be a good influence like him right then and there.

Mt RushmoreOn the day of the funeral our stake center was equally packed with people. A cousin escorted me into the chapel and our family sat in the front for the program. My cousin showed me how to make good use of the tissues that came in those ugly floral boxes—by scrunching them up. So that’s what I did as I listened to the talks and musical numbers. The dedication of the grave was moving. Afterward I gathered my favorite flowers from the various arrangements around the casket and made a bouquet to dry. I am happy that I have no regrets about that day or any experiences with my dad—knowing I can always think of him with a smile brings me peace. As we drove away from the cemetery that day, it was hard to not worry about the future. But I knew that Heavenly Father would never put more on my shoulders than I could carry, so I tried to be brave.

Through all of this, I encountered a lot of different people, some I had never met before, that were a part of my dad’s life. One cousin and I were horrified to watch someone taking pictures at the cemetery and the luncheon afterward. We never said anything and nothing good or bad ever came of it. The lesson I learned there was that people cope with tragedy in different ways. Some like to be alone, some like to cry, some hate floral tissue boxes and hide them from other people so they don’t have to look at them, and apparently some people take pictures. I’m not offended that the person took pictures—I hope it made them feel better. That experience made me sensitive to the different types of people that we all need to be thoughtful of and respect.

For many people, their direct experience with my dad’s death ended with the funeral. But for my family, healing took a lot longer than that, and in some ways I think that the process still continues even now. We had to return to school, church, our hobbies—LIFE in general without my dad. As much as we wanted to have my dad with us, the fact was that he wasn’t there. And the world around us kept turning. And somehow we had to jump back in it.

The first year of trying to create a “new normal” was definitely the hardest. So many things changed. We had to learn to do a lot of the things that my dad would have done for us—from yard work to getting smart about cars and packing for scout camp.

For me personally, I had a rough start to my new year. I began to struggle with anxiety. I constantly worried about my health and an early death. I also felt the need to know where my family members were around the clock. Life was dark, I was scared, and I exhausted myself trying to keep up to everyone and myself.

Over time, however, I learned to cope. I turned to my Heavenly Father in prayer, begging for peace and solace. I made a constant habit of reading my scriptures and writing in my journal every day. I asked my grandpa for priesthood blessings. I listened to music for comfort, from hymns, EFY tunes, and Enya to Simon and Garfunkel. That summer I turned to writing, escaping to my own world of short stories to make my family and friends smile. I’m also not ashamed to say that I attended therapy for a while. My therapist helped me to understand my anxiety and how better to combat it.

I found that as I did my part, Heavenly Father and the Savior helped to heal me. It wasn’t an overnight event (as much as I would have liked it to be), but as I turned to Them and let go of my fears with faith, I gained a better understanding of my identity as a daughter of God and what I needed to do: go forward with life. The Savior truly knows each one of us and what we go through.

I’m reminded of Mosiah 16: 7-9:

7 And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

This dark time in my life really gave way to new light that I have thrived on ever since. The Savior has taken the sting out of death and has helped me to heal, and every day I gain strength from looking to Him for light. Because of what the Savior did for us, there is ALWAYS hope.

Nearly four years later, my family is happy and living to the fullest. We are all busy and well taken care of. We haven’t forgotten, and never will forget, my dad and his life. I love how open my family is about him. We celebrate the life he lived because we love him. We look forward with faith to the day when we will all be together again. And we still miss him. There are still good days and bad days—and that’s okay.

It makes me sad to think that my dad can’t physically be there for my high school years, talks in church, dance competitions, and cross-country meets. I hate that he has to miss birthdays, Christmases, soccer games, dance recitals, family reunions, first dates, and hunting trips. I hate knowing that he won’t see me get married or see my kids grow up. I know that he would’ve loved to be there for all of those moments.

But “what if” is a dangerous game to play. I don’t let myself think of what could have been, only what is and what will be. I know that my dad passed away and that I will always deal with that loss. But I know that he wants me to go on and make something of myself so that someday when I see him again he can be proud of the life I’ve lived as his daughter. When we visit his headstone in the cemetery as a family, I see the words of one of his favorite mottos, something he lived every day: “I will go. I will do.” I’ve determined that is what I must do with my life. And as I go on and try to do good things, I always remember to smile and laugh and to have fun, because I want my life to be one full of joy!

Soon after my dad’s funeral, I received a Facebook message from a complete stranger. It was a letter from a girl who had lost her mom a few years earlier from cancer. She told me about her own experience and then encouraged me to move forward with faith. I’ve kept the note in my nightstand ever since. My hope is that as I share this part of my own story, I can help someone else like a complete stranger helped me.

Losing my dad is the hardest thing I have ever experienced and continue to experience. But if I’ve learned anything from this defining event in my story, I know that God is in our lives. He loves us and wants us to be happy. All things are possible, even healing and moving forward after tragedy strikes, with Him.

Follow Miss McRae’s blog HERE.

Haven’t liked The People I Find Facebook Page? It’s okay, today’s the day… Click HERE!

(C)LVB-2014

The People I Find: Middle East

This week’s post was written by Armen Sultanian, who is from the Middle East. I met Armen while serving a LDS mission in Rochester, New York. She left her country for 18 months so that she could teach people about her Christian faith. She was always the life of the party. The atmosphere in a room would always be brighter with her in it. When I asked her to write this she was hesitant because she didn’t know if she could write it well enough. I haven’t changed anything because I thought she did a wonderful job!

Here is Her Unknown Story:

armenn

I noticed when I was in the USA when people would ask where I’m from, when I answered from the Middle East (Hashemite kingdom of Jordan) they would have a couple of thoughts in their mind; the first one is from the song Arabian nights of the famous movie Aladdin that says:

Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
where the caravan camels roam
where they cut off your ear
if they don’t like your face
it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home

When the wind’s from the east and the sun’s from the west
And the sand in the glass is right
come on down
Stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night

Arabian nights
Like Arabian days
More often than not
Are hotter than hot

The other thought would be pretty much related to the first one that is we all live in tents and cover our heads, no water or a modern life, riding camels, simply living Bedouins life

And third one is that our countries are always in war and there is no peace.

I don’t want to generalize but most of what I witnessed was related to these preconceived ideas.

 

For those who don’t know Jordan it is located on the East Bank of the Jordan River, and extending into the historic region of Palestine. Jordan is pretty much similar to USA not much difference it’s a melting pot of many cultures like Circassia’s, Armenians, and other Arab nationalities,we have people leading normal life having jobs family’s and schools, everyone is busy making a future for their lives in order to achieve the good life and Arab dream..

However there are some differences in this Arab dream compared to American dream for example our dream is manly focused on peace and maintaining good relations with other countries, one of the hardest moments in my life and my country was (2005 Amman bombings) were a series of coordinated bomb attacks on three hotels in AmmanJordan, on 9 November 2005. The attacks killed 60 people and injured 115 others.

I remember this event like it was yesterday, typically our country is considered one of the most peaceful countries in the middle east from the time of biblical historical event until now so this bombing took a huge impact on us and especially me, I remember it happening  the same day as my birthday party was supposed to happen, one of those hotels was 2 blocks away from my house when suddenly in the middle of the party we heard the big scary sound, at first we were very confused and upset as in why these horrible things happen only in our country’s ,even in the places where it supposed to be joyful like the hotels, I remember watching on TV one of the guys sharing his story he says: he leaned against a car and punched the keys of his cell phone with trembling fingers. His brother Aref, 50, had been in the wedding party, he said, along with dozens of other family members.

“My cousin called me and said, ‘Your brother is dead.’ But I want to know for sure, so I came here,” said Zerkia, wearing a pinstriped gray suit, his eyes welling with tears. “He’s my big brother. He’s like my father. I try and try but I cannot reach anyone in his family.”

Since then, thank God there have been no any other bombs in the country.

 

On other note I would like to talk a little bit about the history of Jordan included historical sites and human rights,

Yes in Jordan we don’t have Disneyland or Hollywood but we have a lot of historical places and tourist attraction like Petra, Jarash, Jordan River, Mount Nebo, dead sea etc.

These are Great places that combine religious and cultural history, not to mention the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth which is a major tourist destination.

QUEEN AND KING OF JORDAN with their children

king and queen

 

 

Roman theater (Amman)

theater

 

Regarding women’s right in Jordan in general it is mainly dominated by men and the street is effectively a man’s domain, however  it has been improved over the last few years as in new laws has been implemented for example in the past we had a very sad and rather disturbing law that says:

This law allows rape charges to be dropped if the perpetrator agrees to marry his victim for a period of at least three years, despite no existence of clear procedures to ensure that the woman consented to the marriage. There are probably few experiences in life more terrifying than being raped, but being subsequently forced to marry the perpetrator of the rape probably ranks up there. Just ask the victims.

This law is under review from the parliament now thanks to people reactions and their protesting either personally or through social network.

In conclusion and generally speaking Jordan is a very beautiful country full of history and mysterious places it combines the modern culture with the history and has a very unique culture and its people are very hospitable and nice.

On opposite what people think we welcome outsiders to our country and treat them equal if not better than local.

 

(C)LVB-2014

 

The Temple Garments

modestyWhen it comes to the Mormon Temples a lot of people have questions and think it is a bunch of secrets. I have written about it before and you can read it here. I know this subject is sacred and so I will do my best to maintain that. I also am not pinpointing anyone in particular, just sharing some thoughts. Today I want to write a blog for those who have been through the LDS Temple or are preparing. I received my endowment in 2010. It was while I was still in college and was preparing to go on a mission. One of the things that happens when you go through the temple is you begin wearing special garments or underclothing. Many people refer to them as “g’s,” “special underwear,”  “my religion,” etc. I am always saddened when I hear those terms because I feel like it is degrading its sacredness. I don’t go around calling God my “homeboy,” I always use his name respectfully. My mother and the temple worker instructed me to not give such a sacred thing a degrading nick name, but to call it by name. Ever since, I have called them garments and have never lost sight of the meaning.

When my mom called me to talk about what day to go through the temple, my first thought was I should wait until after the Howl, the largest Halloween party in the west. I thought it would be my last hooray to wear something a little more skimpy and not feel too bad about it. While discussing dates with my mom, the idea that I wanted to wait until after the big party had slipped out and she was appalled…As she should have been. That was the night I realized my heart was not ready for the temple. At that point I poured over my scriptures, the pamphlet that explains the sacredness about the temple, and prayed. I wanted my heart to change before I entered the temple, and it did. Receiving my endowment was a wonderful and peaceful event. I won’t go into detail, but I was happy that I had prepared myself spiritually. From that day forward I began wearing the garment. It’s not very often that I go with out it. We are instructed to wear it as much as we can. I only take mine off when I wear my swimsuit, go rock climbing, or  pretty much when I exercise. At the beginning it was an adjustment, but as I have continued to wear them I have seen them as a blessing in my life. There were a few times that I would throw a pair of shorts on and realize that they were too short and so I would change, or a shirt that didn’t cover everything. Instead of taking off the garments so I could wear the outfit, I took off the clothes that didn’t work and gave them away.  Now as a missionary I heard many things said about garments but mine haven’t stopped a bullet from penetrating my heart, they haven’t stopped a stab wound, or been fire repellant… What they have done is constantly reminded me of the covenants I made in temple and the blessings I have received.

templeNow, I want to talk about the HOWL again. I went ahead and received my endowment in the middle of October. The HOWL was coming up and I wanted to have an exciting costume. I made a promise to myself that I would wear my garments no matter what.  That night my costume was not Mean Girls like, but I was fully clothed. I had a comforting thought pop into my head, I wouldn’t be the only one dressed modest that was at the party. As I went to the party I was so disappointed to see many of my LDS friends who had served missions or been endowed decide to leave their garments at home. There were many males and females that had decided that a night of showing off their sad-looking faux six packs and nice looking coconut bra would be worth it. I was even more shocked by the boys who had decided to just take their tops off and wear the bottom half of the garment when we are specifically instructed to wear both parts together. Many of these people had pictures taken of themselves and they were plastered over Facebook. That night I added to my list of MUSTS for a husband, “respects his garments” (I found one:)) I was heartbroken that so many people were willing to violate their covenants for a night of fun.

That night I went home feeling great about the decision I had made to stick to my covenants. As I have continued to wear my garments, I think back to that night and think about what an internal battle I had over something that seems so plain and simple to me now. If you have been through the temple or are preparing to enter, I urge you to prepare yourself spiritually and physically. What I mean physically is prepare your wardrobe (even though your wardrobe should be pretty close to what it needs to be anyways). We all have our agency and we are instructed to use it. The question is what will you do?

(C)LVB2014

Putting Our Best Foot Forward…

DSCF2011 Well a few months ago Mr. Bird and I put a cat in a bag… Now it’s time to let it out! Mr. Bird and I will be moving to Glendale, Arizona in the middle of July. He has been accepted into Midwestern’s Podiatry Class of 2018. It has been a roller coaster of fun figuring out our future, but we are excited about our decision. We have been very blessed through this process. When Mr. Bird accepted his interview to Midwestern we were told there was a spot available. So we decided it would be worth the trip to fly him out there and interview. When he arrived, he was told that it was false information, and he would be put on a waiting list. We wondered why we would be told that. We felt our chances might be slim in getting into Midwestern and so we accepted at a school in Ohio. Last Thursday Mr. Bird was told that he was number 1 on the wait list and the candidate had not deposited or contacted them at all. We felt a little piece of hope flutter in. Arizona was our top choice because it was closer to Idaho, warmer, and had a smaller class size. We were told we would know Monday morning. It was a long weekend, but we learned patience. We were pleased to hear this morning that Mr. Bird has been accepted. We knew that if someone had told us it was only a wait list spot in the beginning Mr. Bird would not have interviewed there. God works in mysterious was. We are very excited to begin our adventure together. I will continue to work for the same company doing social media remotely. It is an exciting time, bring on the heat (literally) and the scorpions!

Wedding Day

It’s been over two months since I married Mr. Bird. Things are settling down…Just kidding, I don’t think that will happen for the next seven-ten years. So I promised that I would share some things from my wedding day. I decided I would get it done at least before our 1 year anniversary. Our wedding day was perfect. We were surrounded by family and friends. We were sealed in the Boise, Idaho Temple at 10:30 by Grandpa Ray Bird. After the sealing, we had a wonderful lunch in. Mr. Birds brothers gave me a pearl necklace to welcome me to the family. They are smart men! My siblings did a whole speech which include the use of hashtags, just cause they know I love them. The whole week my sister Emily had been trying to get me to tear up and it just wasn’t happening. Before her wedding, she bawled… I finally shed a tear when they all started singing “Where you lead” a the Gilmore Girl theme song. That show means more than the mindless banter that is thrown around, it was a show I grew up on, I bonded with my sisters and family over, and it was where I learned how to be best friends with my mom. My siblings and in-laws said just the right things. Both of our dads gave a toast and we were thrilled. I was so happy to share the day with all of my family, mission friends and college friends. I was even excited that two of my three childhood best friends were able to come! Later that day we had a reception and were humbled to be supported by so many. We enjoyed Sub-Zero ice cream and a Greg Marsh Cake. My flowers were done by Blooms Flower Studio, it was her first time doing a wedding bouquet and it all turned out beautiful. My dress was from a consignment store and I wouldn’t change a thing. I got it for $300 with no alterations needed from Revolve. We had our reception at the Esther Simplot Performing Academy.  I had literally the cutest invitations and sign in board because of Diana Tueller. Overall, it was the perfect day 🙂 The perfect day was capture by Tara Jensen, I am so happy with how my pictures turned out!

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(C)LVB2014

Elizabeth Smart: My Story

my storyI remember sitting in front of the television when my regular show was interrupted and it was the “breaking news” that Elizabeth Smart had been found. I hurried and called my mom to tell her, she didn’t believe me. I am not shocked she didn’t believe me. Usually those who are kidnapped are usually killed after 24 hours. Elizabeth’s situation was not one that would be considered normal. It was an awful, life altering, 9 month journey through hell. While on my honeymoon cruise, I finished reading her book My Story, written by her and Chris Stewart. Her story has always been one that has captivated me. I was able to meet with her in a group setting while at Utah State and ask her questions and hear some of her story. As many of you know, when it comes to a kidnapping, death, murder, ect. I need to know all of the details, and I will go looking for them. I was glad that Elizabeth took the time to share her story. She gave a detailed description on the night she was taken, and the days following. She was raped everyday, and forced to drink. She doesn’t go into detail when she talks about being raped, but detail or not, you can sense how horrific it really was. I was one of those people who prayed for Elizabeth Smart. I prayed she would be found safely. I always wondered where she was and what she was doing. This book showed me exactly what she was doing. She was living in awful conditions with captors who deserve the imprisonment they got. Overall, I felt the book was worth reading. It had a few too many exclamation points for me, but I guess when your being held captive you will take all the excitement you can get. It was written very simply and is an easy read. It did include some LDS references because Elizabeth is a member of the LDS faith. If you are not of the faith, it is still worth the read. It’s not a book to convert, it’s a book to inform you of her kidnapping. All I can think after finishing her story is what a wonderful woman Elizabeth has become. She has not let this “bump” in her life hold her back. She has become someone. She is changing the way we look at victims, we are beginning to acknowledge them as survivors. Let me know your thoughts on the book!

The People I Find: P.A.U.H

This week’s post is about an ex-roommate of mine, and one of my favorites. When I met Chloe, it was the middle of the school year at USU and I was moving in and taking her best friends old room. I walked in and she looked at me and walked straight into her room without saying anything. At first I was a little bit concerned… Later I learned, it was just who Chloe was. Throughout the semester we became friends, I helped her with her vegan movie project, and listened to her play her guitar (she is amazing). I had never been friends with someone like Chloe, she introduced me to true awkwardness. I thought I was willing to talk about anything or do anything, but she definitely one upped me there 🙂 I will warn you this post does have “bathroom” talk, but is worth the read. Chloe knows how to be herself through and through! She majored in English at USU and is currently working on her Masters in English.

Here is Her Unknown Story:

 

PAUHThere is, within all single people, male, female, gay, straight, trans, and so on, a subset of people who, regardless of past romantic success, personal appearance, and vastly different personality traits, all label themselves as “perpetually awkward, un-dateable humans.” Yes, I just made up that particular phrase, but I think it adequately covers the basics of this as-yet unorganized group (though if they start having meetings, I would love to sit in.) Basically, these people, for whatever reason, have decided that they are not capable of gaining romantic favor. Usually, their reasoning boils down to “I’m just like, so awkward. And like, so weird. No one likes the same things that I do, and no one ever will, cause I am so weird.” Inevitably, months or years down the line, each of these people discovers they are not the only person in the world who likes cosplaying and watching cartoons (or whatever else they like to do), and they’ll settle down with a person they didn’t think existed. Then, later in life, these people will look back at the time they were convinced they were #foreveralone and they will roll their eyes. I know this because I am one of these people, and this is my tale of redemption.

It all began a week into my freshman year at Utah State. One of our neighbors, a boy named Sean who wore skinny jeans cuffed at mid-calf and who was, by my estimation, a “bad boy” became the object of my interest. It was lucky for me that we were as good of friends as you can be with someone after only knowing them for a few days, and my roommates hung out with his roommates pretty consistently. It was on one of these occasions that we all decided to take a walk around campus. During the walk, Sean got talking about Geocacheing. I have no idea how the subject came up, buuuut it did. Apparently, Sean, who was from Chicago, had geo-cached in his high school gym class. Just to clarify for those of you who might not know, geocacheing involves searching for hidden items with something similar to a metal detector, then digging those items up and re-burying them, or at least, that’s how Sean described it. He had found a little plastic horse while geocaching, and I asked him whether or not he’d kept the horse. Sean said no, he’d had to bury it again. Now, the subject could have been completely dropped at this point. I could have said literally anything else, and it probably would have been socially acceptable. However, what I chose to say was something along the lines of “oh, if it was me, I probably would have taken a dump on it. Then the next person would be like, ‘oh wow, I found something,’ and it would be covered in poop.”

Needless to say, I did not date Sean. The incident, which lives in the lore of room 401E, is hilarious in hindsight. At the time, however, it propelled me into the world of perpetually awkward, un-dateable humans, henceforth referred to as PAUH’s.

It was as an active believer in my PAUH status that I got my first kiss when I was 18 years old, almost 19, in fact, sometime in February, in the dorm room that four years later became my little sister’s room, a fact which she found “super gross.” I used to know the exact date because I had it written down in my phone like some kind of appointment reminder. Unfortunately, I dropped one of those gushy stress balls, the kind that you can get for free from booths at summer fairs (usually the not-so-fun booths, like booths set up by banks) onto my phone, shattering the screen and erasing a bunch of the data that wasn’t saved to the sim card, just a few months later. We were watching CSI on his computer, and when he went to the bathroom, I snooped through his open browser tabs and was shocked to find an eHow article entitled “How To Get The First Kiss.” I would venture to say he did not follow the advice given in said article, because it took him thirty minutes of sitting, his forehead pressed against my forehead, me subtly hinting that he should kiss me by saying “you’re going to regret this later” and then not answering when he said “regret what?” to finally kiss me. It was much, much more wet than I had anticipated kissing would be, and I started laughing while our lips were still touching. He did not take it well, and our kissing days ended shortly thereafter. He wrote Star Wars fan fiction and watched lots of How I Met Your Mother. I had been, until that time, convinced he was the only person in the world who could appreciate my weirdness.

After Star Wars Fan, I was interested in a long string of boys. There was the boy with the degenerative eye disease who I guiltily stopped seeing after he called me “babe” in a facebook chat (even PAUH’s have standards of awkwardness, and “babe” was where I drew the line), the short, pompous boy whom my sisters affectionately called “The Bridge Troll,” and the boy who had recently lost about 100 pounds and had long, black back hair. Inevitably, though, no matter how awkward the boys seemed, they weren’t ready for this jelly. So it was that I wallowed in my PAUH-ness, waiting for someone to come rescue me like I was a princess stuck in a tower, or something.

Ocean        On my first date with James, we were supposed to go see Logan Out Loud, a local improv group, with some friends. I think we were both in the too-scared-to-ask-out-on-an-official-date phase. Come to think of it, I don’t know that we ever really became the type of people who ask each other on official dates. Anyway, I had gone to see my friend Hillary, and she and our friend McKay convinced me to come to dinner with them at Buffalo Wild Wings instead, a set up that worked much better, in my opinion, because it seemed more date-y. Besides, James was running late. At the time, he lived out in Trenton, and I didn’t realize just how long it can take to get into town. Dinner went pretty well, with the exception of an awkward appearance by the friends we left behind at Logan Out Loud, who sat down and made sure we knew that they were not pleased with our coup d’etat. We made a quick exit, and in the parking lot I invited him to “come over to my house and see my guitar.” *Note: asking a boy if he wants to see my nice, Taylor acoustic/electric guitar was one of my only effective flirting moves at the time. James said he would like to come and play my guitar, and I told him to follow me home. I watched him from my rear view mirror, in fact I probably should have been looking forward more often, to make sure he didn’t get lost. Then, right before we got to my street, he turned right at a stop sign. At first, I thought that maybe I had been watching the wrong car, but then, after half an hour at home by myself, I had to concede that he had not followed me as planned. I was a little irritated, to say the least, so I texted him to let him know he had not, in fact, made it to my house (as if he didn’t already know.) He told me not to worry, he just had to do something and he’d be there soon. Then he asked for my address.

It took James over an hour to get back to my house. I can’t remember exactly what I thought he was doing. Dealing drugs? Having a date with another girl? Whatever it was, the truth was far, far better than anything I had imagined. When he finally came in, I, of course, immediately asked where he’d been. He kept telling me he “just had something he had to get done.” Of course, his statement made the whole situation so much more interesting to me. Whatever he had done, I figured it had to have been pretty bad, since he wasn’t willing to give me a straight answer. Finally, after about 5 minutes of prodding, he told me. He had gone to Smith’s to go poop. For whatever reason, Bdubs always makes James’ stomach a little sick, and the night before, he’d had Betos, which is notorious for passing through a person with great force. It was the perfect poo storm, and he had been sucked into it despite his best efforts.

Now, normally, this might not be the type of statement that would endear you to someone who you don’t know very well. In my case, however, it was basically the most perfect thing he could have said. I am the girl who, through no fault of my own, ends up talking about poop on the daily. I mean, here I am, blogging about poop (kinda.) And now, here was my PAUH counterpart: the boy who had pooped for an hour in a grocery store because he was afraid I would be grossed out if he “wrecked my bathroom.”

Chloe   On May 27th, 2014, James and I celebrated our one year anniversary. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings, where we had our first date. The staff got a little confused about what we meant by “anniversary” and brought us paper crowns that said “Bride” and “Groom” on them. We also got free chocolate cake. Unfortunately, we had not thought ahead, and we’d eaten Taco Bell for lunch. In a ridiculous repeat of our first date, we spent the night sick on the toilet.

Is this too much information? Maybe a little bit. The point is, I am so grateful to have found my human, my person who doesn’t care that I talk about bodily functions and plays Dungeons and Dragons with me on the weekends. The person who will have long discussions about everything from The Lord of the Rings to our favorite novels to what outfit I should wear to work. This is my message to past Chloe and all the other PAUH folks out there. Tis a message of hope. I want to assure you all, PAUH status does not exist. It just means you haven’t found your person yet. But you will. When that day comes, you can talk about poop all the time. It will be beautiful.

(C)LVB2014

The Honeymoon.

kaxwellI have been absent on the blog for a little bit. Don’t worry I have a good reason! I have been traveling with my husband for our honeymoon! It all started with the #Kaxwell wedding in Houston, Texas. It was a glorious event, with a beautiful bride. Max, my littler brother, and I have always grown up doing things together… at the same time. We always got the same birthday gifts, Christmas presents, we were even in some of the same math classes. We served missions together, we got engaged within a week of each other, and married within months… So obviously we took a dual honeymoon… Just kidding, I couldn’t bring myself to share my honeymoon with my brother! #Clott went on one cruise, and #Kaxwell took the other. They drove us down to Galveston, Texas were Mr. Bird and I boarded the Magic Carnival. This was Mr. Birds first time out of the country, and first time for both of us on a cruise. We found our room and discovered we would be living in a room with no windows, a mini bathroom, and a television that only played The Proposal and Monsters University. We decided to explore the ship. We were excited to spend an entire week together and get to experience new cultures and places. The boat had a water park, hot tubs, mini golf, pools full of sea water, and bars. One of our favorite things was the diversity of those working on the cruise ship. Mr. Bird was excited to use some of his Thai and speak with our stewardess. We started calling her “Patty-Cakes,” she loved it. Every time we would leave our room, she would accept and remake our bed and make a new towel animal. Sometimes we would just leave so she could do this…

DSCF1966DSCF2001The first few days at sea were difficult for us to grab a hold of. Because we don’t drink, gamble, or buy excessive amounts of diamonds, there was not much for us to do. We went a littler stir crazy on the ship. We both finished our books, and were looking forward to our shore excursions. Our first one was in Honduras, we were able to drive around the island and see how poverty-stricken it was. It was humbling to see the living conditions on the people on the island. For this excursion we went zip-lining through the jungle. It was impressive, the views were beautiful and definitely worth the trip. After we finished, we got to see some monkeys. I said yolo and let one get on my shoulder… That was a huge step for this animal hater. The boy holding the monkey, kept calling me lady, and would say “lady, don’t grab the monkey.” I can promise you, I was not trying to grab the monkey. After we went to the beach, where I ran into my MTC companion Motra Read! It’s a small world….

DSCF2042Our second excursion was to Belize. It was beautiful. We took a 30 minute boat ride out to a private island where we were able to snorkel. Snorkeling is not easy, well it wasn’t for me. I had the hardest time trying to breathe and make the whole thing work. Once I started to figure it out, it was fun. We saw a sting ray, needle fish, and tons of tropical fish. After we hung out on the island and made good friends with one of the guides. Hopefully he will be posting on The People I Find soon 🙂 Oh and YES, I got my hair braided!

 

DSCF2091The third excursion was in Mexico. This was interesting… Turns out the island we were on was the island of fertility. Not the thing you want to hear on your honeymoon. We enjoyed seeing the Mayan Ruins and learning the history. After we went on a drive and stopped next to some rather large coral formations and fell in love with the waves crashing in. That moment, Scott and I were in heaven. As we both stood in the sand and let the waves crash against us, we forgot the world and were able to just enjoy the moment.

DSCF2128After the excursions we were held captive once again by the ship. As the trip came to a close, I started to get very sick. I had taken off the motion sickness patch that was hidden behind my ear. I don’t recommend them to anyone. I was hopping I would feel better once we got off the boat, but that was wishful thinking. Flying while unable to keep anything in your stomach, it literally the most miserable thing. Mr. Bird was so kind to take care of me. It was a long day and we finally made it back to Boise. We decided no more flying or cruising for a while. We enjoyed our honeymoon, but decided a 7 cruise was too long. We would have enjoyed more excursions, but felt like hostages on the boat. The one thing I realized was, I married the right guy for me. After spending the entire week together, all I wanted to do when I got home was spend more time with him #winning.