i'm lucky enough to have a friend like mary who drove all the way back from bountiful, utah with me today & was willing to help me take notes on all of our (5!) utah temple trips so far so that i could catch up on blogging about them (:
to bring anyone up to speed who doesn't know what this is all about:
*there are 17 LDS temples (15 operating, 1 closed for renovations, & 1 under construction) in the state of utah.
*i have been to see/do temple work in a handful of them, but never to all of them (though i've thought about it!).
*long story short...starting student teaching this semester = no excuses (aka no homework so i can do whatever i want to on saturdays now!), so i finally decided that this was the semester that i was finally going to visit (& do an Endowment session in) each of the temples in Utah! especially since i have no idea if i'll still be living in provo or utah by the time graduation rolls around since i'll hopefully have a big girl teaching job secured for the fall before graduation in april! (:
my main motivation behind starting up my Utah Temple Tour 2017 is found in a personal story a little ways down in this post. so without further ado, here's my documentation of the start of our tour!
so now, on to temple #1 of 17 on our utah temple tour! the first trip that started it all off was the the original Provo Utah Temple on the first saturday of the new month & year: Saturday, January 7th, 2017.
those in attendance this day (from L-->R): TJ Thomas, Mary Riker, me, Andrew Schwartz, & JT Carden.
sadly i don't remember a ton about our earlier trips at this point (hence why i want to be better at blogging about them once they happen! #notetoself), but i do remember the experience that i had leading up to the start of this utah temple tour for the semester.
basically, it was the second or third day of january, and i had been feeling for like, over a month that i should read & study my Patriarchal Blessing (thanks to a friend of mine who had suggested we both study ours back in december...and i never did). i always feel that studying it needs to be this big event, super time-consuming, & etc...which basically ends up meaning that i never actually read it. however, i have decided to focus on #SIMPLIFY as my resolution for the year 2017: aka get rid of the non-essentials in my life & focus on simplifying the essentials to make for a much happier me. (: long story short, that second or third day in january, i finally buckled down & started reading my blessing...& almost immediately, i remembered a special line in that blessing & felt the urgency to plan out this utah temple tour right now.
(our instagram photo for the day):
so, i did. and within an hour or so of researching & planning it all out, i had a plan. although my plan has changed around a bit since i first posted about it on Facebook, i've been going consecutively for the past five weeks (since the beginning of the new year!). and every single time has been with mary (and some other friends who have come & gone on different trips).
going to the provo temple as our first temple just seemed fitting...especially since i live in provo and i think it will be cool to have the two provo temples be bookends to my utah temple tour for the semester, as provo has kind of been home to me for the past 6 years (with a slight break in between the years when i was on my mission). (: this was a special visit because mary had just taken out her own Endowments over the winter break, & so this was her first time going through the temple on behalf of someone else. i'm so glad she's been coming along on each trip since then - a different temple every week for the first 15 weeks or so after you're endowed is a pretty stellar experience to have!
moral of the story = i'm so so grateful for Patriarchal Blessings. and for great friends. and for personal revelation. and for inspiration, and for temples, and so so so much more. i know that (even after simplifying things) it can definitely be time-consuming to do pretty much anything in life...including
good great things like studying my Patriarchal Blessing or going to the temple (especially the ones that are farther away). but i know that when i really work hard & try to focus on those things that really matter most, the non-essentials fall out of my life & i realize that the essentials are what truly make me happiest. i know that God has a plan for me & when i take the time to really listen to what He has to tell me & seek after what He wants for me - i am a billion times happier than i ever could have been just doing things on my own. i have loved going on these temple trips so far & i have loved how much closer i feel to Him and all that i have been learning about myself along the way, as well.
basically i just feel so grateful right now. i feel so lucky & blessed to have a loving Father in Heaven who knows & love me, to have the friends that i do, & to have the incredible opportunity to attend each of these beautiful temples over the course of this semester - my very last one as a student at BYU!
we made it a tradition after that very first trip to get something yummy for lunch, either before or after our temple session (the plan is to do an Endowment session in each of these utah temples unless otherwise noted). a short, 10 minute drive to orem for in-n-out was definitely worth it for that yummy cheeseburger & neapolitan (my favorite!) shake. we took our food to-go & ate at the boy's apartment back at our complex. this day was both spiritually & physically filling...& our utah temple tour 2017 had officially begun. (:
(stay tuned for a post about each individual trip as they happen each week. :)