Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Monticello Utah Temple | 04.07.17

temple #8 of now 18 (up from 17 since #LDSconf aka General Conference happened & President Monsoon announced the Saratoga Springs temple - aka one more for Utah!!!) on my utah temple tour was the Monticello Utah Temple on Friday, April 7th, 2017! (:

i'd never ever been to this temple, but oh my goodness i'm pretty sure that 4-hour drive was the most beautiful of any of the temple trips that I've completed so far!! i am so lucky to have such an awesome friend like sam who was willing to spend 8+ hours in a car with me (& even more time in a restaurant & the temple) for this beautiful trip to southeastern utah!

this fun trip & temple Endowment session was just the two of us this time: me & my gorgeous friend Samantha Simon. (: isn't she the cutest!?

*note: yes, it had been over a month since my last (organized) temple trip, when i went to monticello. long story short - i got a liiiiiiittle bit burnt out coordinating so many trips so quickly & inviting everyone along, haha. it's good though because i definitely learned more about the principle of balance & also learned more about myself through that process, and i was happy to resume to my temple tour on this day! i just decided that instead of trying to visit all of the utah temples before i graduate, i'd try to make sure i visited all of them before the end of may - - and a future blog post will explain my reasoning behind that one (: #staytuned!*

i loved walking into this temple & feeling almost right at home! this is the first "smaller" temple that President Gordon B. Hinckley announced would be built around the world (you can read more about that by clicking HERE), and my "home" temple back in ohio is a smaller one super similar to it. case in point:

columbus ohio temple:

monticello utah temple: 

can you see the resemblance!? (;

it may have looked like a gloomy day outside, but it was gorgeous inside & out! love love love those overcast days. (: the monticello temple inside was actually a bit smaller (seriously, didn't know that was possible, but it totally is!) than the columbus ohio temple. so crazy! but still so pretty. (: 

(ps just for fun - the photo below is proof of how WINDY i believe it was while we were there, haha! #crazyhair):

& also for fun, a typical #templeselfie! you gotta see yourself in/at the temple somehow, right?! (;

the session was wonderful! i loved being with sam & hanging out with her in the temple (and during our 8 hour round-trip drive) was just beyond awesome. we have tons in common & get along so well! i especially loved walking out after the session & seeing the beeaaauuttiful but barren land surrounding us as we took some photos outside. that's my little car in the distance! it's amazing how seemingly "in the middle of nowhere" this temple is, but clearly there are enough members of the LDS church in the surrounding areas to have made it be constructed! (: 

so cute. so quaint. and so beautiful! it was fun to FaceTime both mama & daddy while i was down there to show them how pretty it all was (the temple; the scenery; & etc!). i only wish i had taken some photos on the way from provo --> monticello - it was seriously such a gorgeous drive! well worth those 4 hours in the car there & back. (:

i couldn't decide if i liked the overcast (natural - beautiful) photo better, or the second one (with the HDR correction from my iPhone that makes the temple look so shinyyyy and beautiful & bright). so that's why i have both. (: 

we actually went to eat before our session (after driving for 4 hours, we figured it was best to eat before sitting down for another 2 ;), and we chose to do so at pj's restaurant right up the road from the temple in this cute little town!

crazy story: on yelp there is a reviewer that made some kind of comment about this restaurant and how "Apparently this place doesn't get the business it should because they have gone out of favor with the Mormon Church" [via]. what!? lol sam & i both thought that was odd - and we were hungry (and the place we had originally intended to eat at was closed! sad day), so we went in to eat there & didn't see any reason why members of the LDS church wouldn't like it, haha! nothing to necessarily write home about, but yummy food to fill our stomachs before a great session at the temple. (:

this photo of the restaurant was snapped by my phone on the way out of monticello, since i forgot to take one before our session. (:

overall, it was a wonderful trip! sam & i enjoyed counting all of the JEEPS on our drive back to provo (i think we counted over 100 jeeps in less than 2 hours!!) due to the jeep safari that upcoming weekend in moab (about an hour west of monticello). we loved doing that simply because sam drives a jeep and is from florida and long story short we thought it'd be a fun game for our long drive back, haha. (:

funny story though: the pull-off for arches national park is literally right off of that main road that we were driving on to get to monticello, and there is a little stoplight (i'm assuming) to help the people leaving the park get back into traffic safely. well, on our drive back to provo, i see two kids hanging out right on this side of the road by the "arches national park" sign & a dad trying to take their photo, and i immediately pulled off & told sam that i'd help that dad take a picture real quick (since it was so conveniently right off the road!) so that he could be in it, too!

lo & behold, when i pull off, i realize that that dad is none other than my beatles bff jeff from my sophomore year at byu! & his lovely wife reesa was hiding behind the sign, i think, haha, holding up one of their two beautiful kiddos (wendy & walter)! SUCH a small world! we three (jeff, reesa & i) were all in the same ward my sophomore year at byu & i'm so grateful to have them as friends & to have been able to see them wayyyyyy outside of provo (where i believe we all live, haha) on my monticello trip. (: #smallworldmoment for sure! plus, aren't their kiddos adorable!? gorgeous family, inside & out. (:

so, of course, sam took a picture for all of us to document the experience ;) long story short - i feel like on so many of my #utahtempletour2017 adventures that i've run into longtime friends & other people that i haven't seen in awhile, either on my way inside/out of or somewhere around the temple/on the trip (planned & unplanned). basically, God is great & His tender mercies are really real. i know it. (:

sam & i made it back to provo before too long (okay, so after 4 hours of driving...hahaha) - & this probably goes down as my longest #utahtempletour2017 day trip, but it was totally worth it & wonderful to get to spend it with one of my good friends! so grateful that sam was willing to put up with me for that long that day & still want to be my friend after. (;

well, this makes temple 10/18! only 8 more to go!

& per usual, our final insta-worthy photo of the day:

#lifeisgrand & #ilovetoseethetemple (: (: (:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Salt Lake City Utah Temple | 02.25.17

temple #9 of 17 on our utah temple tour was the Salt Lake City Utah Temple on Saturday, February 25th, 2017! (:

i'd never been inside this temple, besides to look at the baptistry when my friend daysa from brazil came to visit to do baptisms! so it was wonderful to finally get to go inside & participate in the live endowment session. (:

those in attendance this day (from L-->R): me, Debbie Smith, Kara Wigginton, & Mary Riker. Debbie's sister & brother-in-law were also present (her BIL was a part of the live session, which was way cool & he also gave us the inside tour after the session - amazing!!).

i pretty much took a billion photos of this temple because it's so pretty & i love it so much! even though it was FREEZING outside that day, haha! we walked alllllllll the way around this temple to find the true entrance, and were definitely plenty frozen by the time that we made it inside, haha! #WORTHIT 

i love lovelovelove to see the temple! 

lo & behold, my hilarious attempt at a panoramic photo #mybad. i promise that temple square is way more beautiful than this poorly-taken photo shows hahaha: 

we had a lovely time inside! i loved switching between all the different rooms during the session & taking it all in. plus, seriously, debbie's BIL is amazing & showed us all around like no one other than a temple worker probably can. it was really neat to get to see inside one of the first temples ever constructed in these latter days (the fourth in utah)! after our session, the four of us main ladies headed to the yummy gourmandise in SLC for lunch. it was SO cute inside & out (even if we were still pretty cold, haha)!

also the food there was AMAZING. so much yum on one plate! minus the pickle obviously. (; 

deb & i took our typical bff selfie before she left to go back north/home to bountiful & the rest of us (kara, mary & i) headed back down to provo. 

it's been so long since we went (has it seriously been almost 3 months since then!? hahah #oops) but i still am so grateful that we were able to go to this temple together as a part of my tour. it was super special. (:

well: this makes temple 9/17! only 8 to go!

& per usual, our final insta-worthy photo of the day:

#templelove :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cedar City Utah Temple | 02.18.17

temple #8 of 17 on our utah temple tour was the Cedar City Utah Temple on Saturday, February 18th, 2017! (:

i've never been to this temple before - it's currently under construction & will be dedicated this december! :)

this temple was a part of our overnight trip to st. george (temples = two for one!)

those in attendance this day (from L-->R, as though we were standing in a single row): Mary Riker, Kara Wigginton, Luke Mangum, Mackenzie Swapp, Debbie Smith, Keaton Olsen, me, Shelby Luke, & Lexi Rich (Trent Dahlin was with us in St. George but he was feeling sick, so he headed home between St. George & before we went to this temple).

i don't think i mentioned this in my st. george post, so for the quick run-down of who came on this trip:

mary, kara, luke, mackenzie, keaton, & lexi are all friends from my singles ward in provo.
debbie is my bff from when we lived at sky view apartments for two years in a row before we left on our missions in 2013. :)
shelby is a friend from my byu theatre major days - when we both worked on byu's production of peter pan way too long ago ;) she was the costume designer (i believe) & i was one of the dressers for the show (aka i mostly just helped people get the right costumes and made sure they checked them in each night!).
trent dahlin = shelby's male friend who came along :) both of them live in the cedar city area!

so so so pretty on the outside - i love the blue details on this temple!!

#ilovepanoranicphotos - click on it below to see it bigger!

#templeselfies :)

after our quick stop by this temple to snap a dozen or so photos, we headed to (nearby) shelby's home, as shown below (isn't it/she so cute!? love that red door!):

she was awesome & let us all change into more comfy clothes (kind of like clowns coming out of a clown car by the way we all jumped in & out of the bedrooms/bathroom that were available to us to change in! haha) to prep for our loooOOoOOOong 3-ish hour trip back up north (thankfully a little shorter since cedar city is already farther north than st. george).

shelby showed us some of the pretty artwork that she has done while we waited & we had a good ol' time. she draws some seriously gorgeous temple art!! check out her etsy shop by clicking HERE. her etsy shop name is "BelbCorinne" :)

love love love catching up with old friends! ps aren't her dress & hairstyle so pretty!? and shelby in general is just gorgeous, too, obviously. :)

& per usual, happy goofy photo for the day with my lovely deb!

so there you have it! we did it. temple 8/17. before heading on our lOoOoong trip back up north! 2 temples in 24 hours is now a personal best, i think ;)

& per usual, our final insta-worthy photo of the day:

Friday, April 21, 2017

St. George Utah Temple | 02.18.17

temple #7 of 17 on our utah temple tour was the St. George Utah Temple on Saturday, February 18th, 2017! (:

those in attendance this day (from L-->R): Back row: Shelby Luke, Trent Dahlin, Luke Mangum, Keaton Olsen, Mackenzie Swapp, Lexi Rich. Front row: Debbie Smith, me, Mary Riker, & Kara Wigginton.


quick story before i get into this particular trip (with some old photos):

i have been to this temple before - for baptisms, with Micae, where i had a really special spiritual experience (you can see photos from our trip in 2011 HERE).

i had already told my family that i was planning on going on a mission, and had finished pretty much everything except for my final stake president interview - which was scheduled for just a few days after this trip. while i was inside the baptistry, i had a distinct impression that i should wait a year before going on my mission...this was in the fall of 2011.

so...i went home at the end of that weekend, cancelled my stake president interview, told my bishop & parents & everyone else that i was postponing my mission for another year. ((i'm pretty sure they all thought i was just not going to go on a mission at all).

fast forward to the following fall, october 2012, when i climbed a mountain and camped overnight in a canyon above Y mountain with some friends. i had always heard "go into general conference with a question in mind" but had never really done it...but while climbing this mountain, i remembered that it had been just about a year since i had felt that i should wait a year to go on a mission. i went with the question in mind - is now the right time for me to go on a mission? 

we listened to the saturday morning session of the october 2012 general conference via radio broadcast, when president monson (the prophet of the lds church) announced the age change for full-time missionaries (sisters could now go at age 19 instead of 21; elders could now go at age 18 instead of 19). although i would already be 22 by the time i entered the MTC, i had another distinct impression: i wrote in my journal that morning, "now is the time to go on a mission." and i re-started my papers (aka started all over again since i think they are only valid for like a couple of months!), submitted them in february 2013, got my call in march, & left in july (still in 2013). one of my best decisions to date. God is good & definitely answers prayers. i am so glad that i left when i did! :)


okay, back to the present(-ish). basically, we drove down to st. george lateish on friday night in two separate cars (we met shelby - a friend from my byu theatre days - & her male friend, trent the next morning @ the st. george temple since they live close by). we arrived in st. george around 10-11pm & spent the night at mary's (great?) aunt's home. they were awesome & even fed us yummy breakfast in the morning! so so awesome. then we packed our bags & headed over to the temple! 
it was a rainy day, but beautiful nonetheless!

extra special (i keep having these unexpected #smallworldmoment experiences on my temple tour, haha!) was running into ellen brotherson in the locker room inside! she was my second co-sister training leader when we were in the MTC (here's another throwback picture from september 2013 in the MTC for you because we didn't snap a photo inside the temple since that's not allowed :) -

totally awesome. love those small world moments! :)

k back to the "present":

we had a great session (even though i was kinda stressed out during the session, to be honest, because i was trying to plan out in my mind the driving/other arrangements while i was in the session and this ultimately led to my putting my multi-friend temple trips on a temporary *hold* hahaha #toomuchstress. i want to be able to enjoy my time in the temple & this trip/session inside the temple helped me to remember that for sure. so hopefully everyone else had a less-stressful session  :)

this was my attempt at a group selfie since it was pouring rain & i didn't want to make anyone else stand outside in the rain to take our photo hahaha:

SUCH a pretty temple - even in the rain!!

panoramic photos of the temple & visitor's center to the left for the win (click to make them bigger):

we went out to eat lunch after our temple session & rainy photoshoot outside, and while the food was okay, it was a loooOooOoooong wait for seating & also for the food, so we spent a liiiittle more time in st. george than we had originally intended, haha. but all is well! everyone was a pretty good sport about it, & after we ate, we headed to see the cedar city temple (stay tuned for the next post about that!) & eventually to change into more comfy clothes & head home! one big highlight for me on this trip = at lunch i got an email stating that my final exam grade for my LAST INDEPENDENT CLASS EVER was posted....the one i was so crazy worried about failing, hahaha. but i passed! B- isn't the best grade, but with how terribly i thought i did on the exam, i was pretty content with that (especially since it meant passing the course with an A-!). wahooo! :)

so! like i said, we headed to another temple (to stop by - since the cedar city temple isn't dedicated yet!) after this one, but lo & behold, we visited temple 7/17 this day. & per usual, our final insta-worthy photo of the day:

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