Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Logan Utah Temple | 02.11.17

temple #6 of 17 on our utah temple tour was the Logan Utah Temple on Saturday, February 11th, 2017! (:

(i don't believe i had ever been to visit this temple in my life! it's gorgeous :)

those in attendance this day (from L-->R): Kylie Harthun, Mary Riker, Debbie Smith, & me.

such a pretty temple! it was a nice (almost exactly) 2 hour drive up north from provo, as logan is the northern-most temple in the state of utah. it was a gorgeous drive, though! just love love love my mountains. (: there are a couple of photos at the end of this post that attempt to showcase their majesty, but mostly you'll just have to take my word on it. (;

this was a great visit! the weather was pretty great (just crazy windy & a little chilly, haha!), and the view was GORGEOUS.

as you can kind see, there's a building right next door to the "actual" (temple-looking) temple - but we came to find out that both building are actually part of the temple (as a whole). basically we entered through the building that doesn't really look like the temple...and then we weren't sure if we went into the actual temple though, haha.

it was gorgeous. have i mentioned that enough times yet?! hahah. these next two are panoramic shots (so per usual, i recommend you click on them to see them in their full, gorgeous, glory):

front of the temple:

view from the side of the temple:

the session was wonderful! we switched rooms right before the final part of the endowment session, which was way cool and unexpected. the different rooms inside the temple are just so, so pretty! i loved the celestial room in this temple - the chandelier was mostly gold with some crystals, and (my favorite part!) they had "eternity mirrors" at my short girl height (aka mirrors on opposing walls, so you can look into one & it reflects against the one across the room & creates an effect that goes on & on & on & on...forever!). that was beautiful. eternity is where it's at. <3

one of the highlights was as we were walking up to the temple, i told the girls with me to just go on ahead inside & i was just going to send out a text message really quickly (outside of the temple), & then i'd join them inside. such was my luck that as i was sending that simple text, i hear someone behind me say "sarah?" i turn around (not expecting the person to be talking to me because, clearly, i am two hours away from home and pretty much anyone that i even remotely know, haha) - and i see THIS cute face!

rachel olsen (now rachel olsen WATTS :) was a cute little beehive greenie (aka first year) during my first year as a youth leader at lds girl's camp wayyyyyy back in like...2008 (when i was probably 16 and she was 12)?! long story short, she's adorable and we grew up in congregations that frequently met in the same church building back home in ohio (i was in the worthington ward & she was in the dublin ward - so we were in the same stake [aka group of 5-12 neighboring congregations]), so it was always fun to see her over the years!

basically she's adorable & married now & living up in logan and just happened to be entering the temple at the same time as me (in LOGAN, no less!). it was so fun to see her & her husband before entering the temple. #smallworldmoment for sure! God is so, SO good. tender mercies when you get to see people you love at the temple. (: love you, rachel! thanks for saying hello!!

***

after the session, we went outside & i attempted to take a photo of all of us, but my selfie game was pretty off (case in point below hahaha). IT WAS SO SUNNY.

so, one of the girls snapped a photo of me in front of the temple & we left for lunch @ el toro viejo in logan, utah - a mexican restaurant recommended by mary!

and lucky for me, a girl from my mission in recife, brazil (malyssa aka sister bedke!) came to join us for lunch! she didn't join us for the temple session because she had a relief society activity where i think Elder & Sister Oaks were speaking...lame (; so she was nice enough to come & join us for lunch (aka hang out & eat chips with us while the rest of us ate lunch, haha) afterwards! (:

malyssa goes to school up in logan, so it was fun to see her & catch up! i hadn't seen her since the mission (and i left brazil in january 2015, so it'd been a couple of years since i'd seen her last - crazy!). she's adorable and we filled our tummies at mary's favorite mexican restaurant. i got fajitas again but i have to admit - it just wasn't quite as good as the mexican place that debbie took us to in bountiful the weekend before this one (sorry, mary! please forgive me, hahah)! i am still drooling over how good my fajita was there... #fajitalover4ever <3

the girls were nice enough to head back to the temple with me (only like a 5-10 minute drive, so not too bad!) so that we could get a "good" photo of all of us together (aka without my selfie-face taking up a huge awkward chunk of the photo, hahaha) & to check out the view (where i took the panoramic of the view from the side of the temple, as shown earlier in this post).

debbie was nice enough to take our now-traditional goofy/adorable selfies together in front of the temple, too. (;

i believe these are some photos (taken by my co-pilot on this trip, mary) from our drive back - love love love my snow-capped utah mountains! so so so sosososo gorgeous. (:


basically the moral of the story for me this week = God is GOOD. just so, so good. I am so grateful for Him & His influence in my life. also, Alma 37:36. i want to be better about trusting in God & letting "all [my] thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let[ting] the affections of [my] heart be placed upon the Lord forever." #workingonit. i'm so grateful for these reflective blog posts to help me remember that - aka the things that matter most. God is present in our lives. He is present in my life & I know He wants to be present in yours, too (whoever you are!). You are His child & He LOVES you. so, so stinkin' much. trust in Him. ask Him for help. He's always always always always there & listening. just start talking. <3

***

another saturday, another beautiful temple: temple 6/17.

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

<3

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bountiful Utah Temple | 02.04.17

temple #5 of 17 on our utah temple tour was the Bountiful Utah Temple on Saturday, February 4th, 2017! (:

those in attendance this day (from L-->R): Debbie Smith, Lexi Rich, Mary Riker, & me.

& just as a side note: pretty much everyone that is going on my #utahtempletour2017 temple trips/are in these temple trip photos = a member of my current singles ward/people who live in my apartment complex here in provo, unless otherwise noted. (:

***

i know i have been to this temple before, but i think the last time i went through for an Endowment session was with debbie back in fall of 2015 before she left for england! here are some photos to prove that #throwback:

see? told ya so. (; now back to the present (ish)!

***

basically, saturday, feb. 4th = my awesome news reporter sister ANNA's bday!! so it was mega fun to go to the temple to celebrate her special day (while the rest of my family was spending her bday with her in illinois). one of her college bffs, kimmie, joined us for the session, but had to leave to take care of her babies before we all i made it out of the dressing room. i always take way longer than everyone else, hahaha #oops. sorry about that kimmie! it was great to have here there in the session with us, though. (:

we got there nice & early this week (mostly due to the terrible experience of rushing to brigham city the week before, haha!) and as a result, we were not rushed. which was AWESOME. i highly recommend going to the temple with enough time to enter peacefully, reflect meaningfully, & feel relaxed & prepared for the session to begin.

(ps this next photo is a panoramic so click on it to see it in it's full glory):

i drove up just mary & i from provo, because debbie lives in bountiful (so she met us there), kimmie lives in bountiful (same story), & lexi was in herriman for the weekend with her family, i believe (which is closer to slc than provo, i think), so she also met us there. we had an awesome (& peaceful) time.

we parked underground (this is the only temple besides the provo city center temple that has underground parking - that i know of!) & walked inside. i was able to speak in portuguese to two women in the locker area before the session began, which was awesome (and i totally wouldn't have had time to do if i had been rushed)! i don't remember a ton about the session itself, but the celestial room had mirrors on opposing walls (it is my FAVORITE when they have mirrors on opposing sides! #eternitymirrors :) and they had a big chandelier in the room, as well. very bright walking in to that room - it's such a pretty celestial room!!


after the session we took some photos & then headed out. i practically stopped my car on the side of the road after the session so that mary could snap this photo on our way leaving the temple. it was a gorgeous day!!


it was a great visit. much needed, for sure. i'm learning to love and appreciate the blessing that going to the temple each weekend provides! i was impressed to read the scripture found in philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me." and i also thought about the movie/music from Moana - specifically the line "I am Moana!" from the song of a similar title: "I am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)." it's a beautiful song, & somehow both of those thoughts were really precious to me & helped me think through some things as i was inside the temple this day.


i have great worth as a Daughter of God & I know that I really can do ALL things through CHRIST, which definitely strengthens me! & to quote Moana, "I know the way!" since reading that scripture from philippians in the temple that day (& striving to apply its teachings more fully into my life), i have found seriously great strength - including through fasting (which is something that is really hard for me to do sometimes) & weight lifting (which is also hard sometimes). moral of the story? me + Christ = I can do ANYTHING. (: i love that! & i love (& am so sososososo grateful for) my Savior! <3

also, do yourself a favor and listen to that song above right now (if you haven't already). if you have, listen to it again. and again. and come see moana with me again in theatres before it's out on dvd, k? (:

after the session, we headed to debbie's favorite mexican restaurant in bountiful - LORENA'S. i kid you not, i had the BEST steak & chicken fajita of my ENTIRE LIFE at this place (and it fed me for multiples meals afterwards, because it was so big that i had to take most of it home with me!). amazing food, crazy good price, hiiiiiiiighly highly recommend it. aka if you ever go to bountiful - take me with you. and let's get some lorena's. (;

& that was our trip! the highlights, anyway. (: debbie & lexi headed back to their (respective) homes, & mary & i made the trek back to our dear provo.

another temple done: number 5/17! & per usual (just missing kimmie!), our final insta-worthy photo of the day:

xox! <3

Monday, February 20, 2017

byeeeeee, january! (:

so i was getting all caught up on my blogging about my temple trips...and then i realized i hadn't caught up on the REST of my life in january yet, haha (#whoopsie). so, i figured since i caught up on my january temples, now i can update y'all on my remaining january adventures (from where we left off last, which i think was january 15th)...

remember how i said i'd start being a mormon runner girl sometime soon? (; well thanks to my awesome running buddy, sarah (dunn), i've been out running more this winter than arguably any winter that i've spent in utah! we got four miles in this one day...

...on relatively dry ground! ps aren't running shoes the cutest!? i love all the bright colors. (:

literally a dream running partner. pushes me just enough, but not so much that i feel like my lungs are going to implode. (;

in other news - i bought a new temple dress!! mine was pretty old & needed replacing (mostly because the zipper kept getting stuck & the material it was made out of just wasn't as comfortable for me to wear, at least not anymore). i debated posting these photos on my blog but honestly it's not like it's anything secret, hahaha. for those of you who aren't familiar with the lds faith, here's a brief explanation of why we wear white inside of our temples (from lds.org):

Those who attend the temple go to a dressing room to change from their street clothes into white clothing. This change of clothing serves as a reminder that visitors are temporarily leaving the world behind and entering a holy place. White clothing symbolizes purity, and the fact that all are dressed alike in the temple creates a sense of unity and equality.

i love that description! leaving the outside world behind. purity, unity, equality, and i think for me it's also an outward sign of respect for my God & also for my Savior, Jesus Christ - as the temples really are the Lord's house here on earth! (: i love love love temples, guys. seriously! (:

so, long story short: i bought a new white temple dress (this is my "i said yes to the dress!" excited face :). and i absolutely love it!

#honestymoment --> it's mega hard for me sometimes to find dresses that fit & are flattering to my body type. this dress is the london, size XXS from white elegance (they make you feel reeeeal good about your body size with their sizing in that store, lemme tell ya ;). i love the empire waist - i feel like it's probably flattering for most body types!

and though it might be a little awkward to have a chest shot on here, i wanted to show off the lace design up-close. it's only on the chest/arms - and i absolutely adore it. the dress is mega comfortable and i feel beautiful wearing it! highly recommend it. (:

sidenote: i also went to deseret book to pick up my newly engraved scriptures! i had two separate scriptures before (one Bible, one Book of Mormon/triple combination), but i like being able to put them into my purse...and that kind of destroys the binding after awhile (if there is no snap closure). so i paid the money to get a big beautiful brown quad that has a snap closure - and now i don't have to worry about the binding getting torn or anything when i put it into my purse or anything. (: love it!

YOU GUYS. I STARTED TAKING A WEIGHT TRAINING CLASS. i've always been such a lame-o when it came to "lifting weights" at the gym. AKA i never had any clue what i was doing, really. taking this class at BYU as my last "real" class (in my last semester before graduation!) has been an amazing decision. i have felt stronger already & am so excited to get stronger & feel better about my body as a result! note: i love & am grateful for my body, but there's nothing wrong with getting stronger & fitter, & feeling more confident as a result, right? (:

enjoyed some amazing cinnamon roll sweet potato waffle fries & sweet potato cheesecake thanks to bff jt, who was nice enough to bring some by after work at SPUDS one night (everyone go there! and take me with you so i can eat some more of those heavenly waffle friessss <3 :). thanks jt!!

i introduced myself officially to my students through the use of (YOU GUESSED IT) - BOOKS! it was awesome.

basically i lined up 10 books/sets of books along the dry erase board in my classroom & put a number above each book/set of books. then when the students came in, i had them each vote (up to three times) on books that looked interesting to them, as each had a story behind them from my personal life. the top 3-4 stories were the ones that i shared the story behind. the students were engaged in listening to my stories & it was a fun way to introduce myself to them (and a great segue into turning it around on them afterwards so they could tell me a little bit about themselves!).

we had our ward missionary reconnect night, where we get out our laptops, head over to bishop's house, & start trying to get in touch with people and share the gospel through social media. it's an awesome program! one week we had some leaders of our church come down from salt lake city & give us a brief devotional about the work we are doing. i love love love missionary work. (:

here are some fun photos from that evening (lots of ward members, visitors from church headquarters in SLC, & pizza!):



awesome as always to see bro. walz at these events, when he comes to visit! he's anna's (my awesome tv news reporter sister) like, favorite byu professor from the broadcast journalism program. he's so stinkin nice and always willing to take a selfie with me to send her way. (:

celebrated bff arielle's BIRTHDAYAYAYAYYY! we celebrated by going to the black sheep cafe & eating what was the single most delicious buffalo burger i have ever had in my liiiiife. SO. YUM. 

k, so it was also the ONLY buffalo burger i've ever had, but srsly, it was amazing. plus look how cute she is with her birthday ice cream! (:

confession: we went through the chick-fil-a drive-thru after dinner because we both understand the need of CHOCOLATE in a good dessert and we were seriously lacking after that vanilla ice cream #thisiswhywearefriends hahah :) she's so cute! i love you arielle! <3

we continued celebrations by heading back to her apartment & her artsy-fartsy amazing roommates dayna & brennan gave us a mini art show of their work! these are some of my favorite drawings that they showed us:

dayna:

bren:

get in touch with me if you want some artwork from them & i'll get you in touch with them (;

i saw la la land! aaaand...i didn't love it have grown to like it a lot more after talking/thinking about it a lot since seeing it. i think i'd need to see it again to decide how much i really do like it, but i think people just hyped it up a little too much for me, haha! we went with a monster huge group from our ward (like 17-20 of us, i think?) and that was an adventure.

I CELEBRATED FINISHING THREE WEEKS OF STUDENT TEACHING! with two krispy kreme donuts. because why not?!

also it's insane to think that this is from when i had only finished 3 weeks...now i've already finished SEVEN. WHAT. time is flying!

that night i went to my first hefy networking event, with my amigos (L ---> R): Jordan Ramos, Sydnee Taylor, & JT Carden. love these dudes.

i love HEFY! it's also so crazy to think of how much i wanted to to this way back in january when i had no clue if i would be selected as a trip leader or not!! you can read up about this amazing program more by clicking HERE.

drove in practically a blizzard to get to the mt. timpanogos temple with some awesome amigos as a part of my #utahtempletour2017!

you can read my post about that trip HERE.

per usual, awesome to see & hang out with my bff, deb!

OH. MY. GOODNESS. i woke up one morning (for student teaching) and my eye was just a mess, hahahah. i had my fair share of eye problems on my mission (losing eyelashes, swollen eyelid) and so when it got to the point that i couldn't even blink without being in pain (!!!!), i knew i had to take a day off of student teaching so that i could see an eye doctor. basically it was "just a sty" - so i put a warm compress on it like, once, and got a TON of sleep, & went back to school the next day. crazy crazy.

hung out with madison & talked about the joys of dating in provo... (; i love this kid. he's like the cousin close to my age (& living close to me!) that i've never really had. he's my sister ruth's husband's cousin (can you follow that? hahah. my brother-in-law's cousin.), but we have become friends over the years since we're about the same age & both live in provo! always a fun time with madison. we ate at the yummy good thyme eatery (i just realized that i eat a LOT...lol i guess i'm really getting to know yummy food places around provo/utah this semester! ;) & then got hot cocoa at denny's after. great times. (:

channeled my inner anna & elsa & braided my hair on a not-so-great hair day while student teaching (hence the high school bathroom background ;). per usual, i sent the braids photo to my sister to show my 3-year-old niece, annabelle! she (& my childhood bff sara henderson) are the only ones who really understand my love for braids (;

bffs (from the HEFY photo above) jordan & jt bought me a love fern some flowers because they're adorable and they thought i was mad at them, hahah. long story short - it was probably mostly just a rough day for me. but they're awesome to do that nonetheless. even if i am not used to taking care of plants (remember how i accidentally killed my succulent plant, ruby, earlier this year?) and all of the flowers died within a week because i forgot to water it...#oops. haha it's the thought that counts though! thanks again guys. (:

did some lesson planning...and more lesson planning (for my two classes that i teach: 7 sections of English 10/sophomore English and one section of Sports Literature - an English elective)... #thatstudentteachinglife

APPLIED FOR MY FIRST JOB EVER. which i later found out that i didn't get (or even get interviewed for) because they filled it with an intern, lol. but it's all good! it was good to get that experience nonetheless. (:



FINISHED ANOTHER WEEK OF STUDENT TEACHING! 10 weeks down (get it!? ;) & only 4 more to go (at this point)!!

celebrated by going on another 3-miler with running bff sarah - a liiiiitle bit icier than our last run (see earlier in this post), but we made it through nonetheless!

#utahtempletour2017 temple #4 of 17 - brigham city utah temple - happened at the tail end of january (the 28th).

you can read more about that trip HERE.

seeing debbie = seriously one of the highlights every week. (: (: (: #bestiesforever

found out that the cedar city temple (currently under construction) is going to be dedicated before the end of this year!!! AKA it is totally possible for me to go inside & participate in an endowment session in there before the end of 2017, which will mean that i have done an endowment session in 16 of the 17 temples in utah before the end of 2017 (instead of only 15)! fingers crossed that the jordan river temple will be done with renovations before the end of this year, so that i can go inside all 17 of the 17 temples in utah before the year is through...! (:


my sister (famous tv reporter) anna sent me this photo & i couldn't help but share it.

"MEN TO THE LEFT...BECAUSE WOMEN ARE ALWAYS RIGHT." #bathroomsdoneright (; hahahah. love it. (: thanks, anna!

for our final & 5th sunday of the month for january, we staged our own "Face-to-Face" event with the members of our Bishopric & their wives. basically, we all got together in one big room & any of us young single adults could text in questions (or have submitted questions in advance) for topics that they wanted discussed or answered by our church leaders (some topics included dating/marriage, scripture study, personal challenges, & etc.), as moderated by myself (the relief society president) & braden (our elder's quorum president) - aka the two of us who are basically the leaders of the young single adult female & male groups in our congregation. it was way fun. (:

you can see examples of face-to-face events that the LDS church has done (which was our inspiration for this one, though it is not affiliated with/endorsed by the LDS church in any way) by clicking HERE.

back to school again on monday...and we started doing a ROOT WORDS study. basically root words are words (or word parts) like "bio" or "phon(e)" or "sym" - and each of them MEAN something that helps make up part of a word! for example, SYM (means "together") and PHON(E) (means "sound"), so the word SYMPHONY literally means "SOUND TOGETHER." which is basically what a symphony is!! how neat is that!? #ilovewords :) 

we did a little activity for students to mark how well they knew different words relating to our study of root words as an introduction into this study (root words instead of standard vocabulary words). each student had a blue, red, & green marker, and they had to go around to these different pages (all with a word/phrase that had something to do with the study of root words) and mark in that color on the page how well they understood that word (green = they understand the word/phrase, blue = they've maybe heard of it, red = they've never heard of it). it's fun to let my students be able to exercise STUDENT CHOICE - aka doing things in THEIR OWN WAY - so i love activities like this that let them show a little bit about themselves (because i let them draw whatever symbol they wanted to on the page, as long as it was in the corresponding color!).

that all probably sounds super confusing to anyone who isn't me or my cooperating teacher, hahaha. but moral of the story = it was AWESOME and the kids seemed to enjoy drawing all over these pages that were hung all around the room. and i LOVE the study of root words wayyyyy more than standard vocal words, because root words help you understand way more words than just ONE. ya know? #iloveenglish. (:

oh - i took my second to last BYU final (for my weight training class) - and got 100%! i did NOT buy the book (even though it was open book) because i did NOT have $84 to spare...LOL. instead, my friend (from my ward & this class) had the idea of going to the library, where we checked out the FIRST edition of this book (as opposed to paying for the 5th edition!) & used it to both successfully pass the test. (: #winning!

went out with my teacher friends from my major for "tacos and tears tuesday" - aka we got mexican food (except for me, since i showed up late & my ward was having dinner right after) & talked about the woes & joys of student teaching. oh, and it was a monday. LOL. but it was still great to catch up with these awesome girls from my major!

america's future english teachers:

bff dayna braided my hair (you better believe i also sent this photo to my sister to show my niece ;). #ilovebraids

i think i got these dove chocolates from a stake relief society training on sunday & then i ate them during lunchtime at school. "try something new today" & "take a moment for yourself." two things that i definitely love to do. (: #thanksdove!

ah, & finally - I LOVE TEACHING. I LOVE SPANISH FORK (where i'm doing my student teaching :). & i love love love love LOVE (seriously, i could go on ;) living in utah & seeing these gorgeous, breathtaking, incredible mountains just about EVERYWHERE i go.

so, one day, i took a photo of all of my favorite snow-capped mountains as i was driving away from spanish fork high school & back home to provo.

<3 <3 <3

i may or may not have taken a few of these while driving (sorry!), but the photos don't even do the mountains/clouds/sky/everything justice. THESE MOUNTAINS are a huge part of the reason why i could be happy living in utah forever & ever & ever.

 i remember way back during my freshman year at byu when i was living in helaman halls, i was talking with my daddy on the phone about how i LOVED seeing the mountains on my walk up to campus every single day. he responded by saying something like "just remember how much you love them and don't take them for granted - it's easy to forget you love them when you see them every day after a few years!" 

i am happy to report that i have lived in utah now (on & off) from 2009-2017, and i STILL love seeing those beautiful mountains when i'm out driving around - especially on my morning commute to spanish fork, when the sun is at varying points of peaking over the mountain tops to the east. (:

I. LOVE. UTAH. fingers crossed that i do get a teaching job here for the fall....!!! i could happily stay here forever. (: (: (:
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