This is my beautiful sister Laura. Today is her birthday and I can't wait to brag about her :) She has blessed my life in so many ways, whether it was by giving me hand-me-downs or writing me little notes of encouragement, she was always there to make my life easier. I have always looked to Laura as an example. She was close enough in age that I always felt like she could understand how I was feeling and give me good advice. I have saved all of the little notes she wrote me growing up. Some were thank you notes, but others were just random "you're great Rie" notes. Those meant so much to me. She'll never understand how cool it is to have your older sister say nice things about you. Especially, an older sister as accomplished, beautiful, and talented as Laura. I will always be grateful to her for taking the time to write those little notes.
Laura graduated from BYU with her degree in Fine Arts. She is an amazing artist!! Her final art show was displayed in the HFAC. I loved walking around and seeing strangers marvel at her talent. I was one proud sister that night! The painting above is probably my favorite from the show, but it's hard to choose. Someday maybe I'll be lucky enough to have one of her paintings in my own house.
Laura is now married and has the cutest daughter named Brynlee. She and her husband live in Huntington Beach, CA aka paradise! Laura is the best mom. She is always making cute crafts and outfits for Bryn. She has already taught Bryn what sound each letter of the alphabet makes and Brynlee just turned 2!!
I'm so glad Laura is my sister. We've had so many good times :) LOVE YOU!!!
For the past few weeks, it seems like just about every lesson, every fireside, every scripture study has somehow led me to reflect on consecration. It's not a subject I think about too often, but it has been on my mind a lot lately and I don't think it's just by chance. Earlier I was reading a talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson from the last General Conference that gave me a lot of new insight about this topic. Whenever I hear the word consecration, I automatically think about the law of consecration that some of the early members of the church practiced. For a short time, while Joseph Smith was the prophet, the law of consecration was revealed and put in place for the members of the church. They were asked to give all their possessions and property to the church, which would then be distributed back to the people according to their specific needs. This is just amazing to me! These were new members of the church that had already been asked to sacrifice so much. They had so much faith in the Lord and faith in Joseph Smith, their prophet, that they were willing to consecrate everything they had in order to build the kingdom. Other than consecrating earthly possessions and property, the early Saints were also asked to give of their time and talents. Today we are not asked to live the law of consecration in its fullness, but we are asked to pay generous tithes and fast offerings and dedicate our lives to the Lord. Elder Christofferson says, "To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives - that is, our time and choices - to God's purposes". Consecration is what runs this church. Countless men and women across the world consecrate their time and talents in order to fulfill the callings that allow this church to function. As members of the church we know that everything we have here on earth ultimately comes from God. We have been given much, so much is required. "We tend to think of consecration only as yielding up, when divinely directed, our material possessions. But ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God. Heart, soul, and mind were the encompassing words of Christ in describing the first commandment, which is constantly, not periodically, operative (see Matt. 22:37). If kept, then our performances will, in turn, be fully consecrated for the lasting welfare of our souls (see 2 Ne. 32:9)" -Neal A. Maxwell I've been thinking a lot about what I can do to more fully consecrate my life to the Lord and through lots of prayer and studying I have received some very specific answers. I know that one of the most important things we can do is to give him our hearts. If we have pure desires to serve Him and build His kingdom we qualify ourselves to be instruments in His hands. He will give us opportunities to serve. I know that consecrating our lives to the Lord will not only help us, but also those around us.
A few months ago I wrote a post about how I would love to have a library full of books in my house someday. Well, I've made some great progress toward that goal! Although I did receive lots of great gifts for Christmas, I have to say that I was most excited about the 6 books I received. My family does a sibling gift exchange and this year Jae chose my name. Jae is a great gift giver. I'd say it's one of his greatest attributes. He really should win an award or something. To be a gift giver of the same caliber as Jae, you have to have a memory as sharp as a pencil on the first day of school. Let me tell you why. This summer our family went to Yellowstone and got to spend some time exploring the little shops that line the streets. I found a bookstore and probably could have spent the entire day there. The front of the store was full of current books and bestsellers. The back of the store was FULL of shelf after shelf of antique books, artwork, and sheet music. I was in heaven! I had never seen so many beautiful books in one place before. I met up with my family and told them all about it even though I don't think anyone else found it remotely interesting. I don't think I have spoken about it since then, so I was SHOCKED to open the present from Jae on Christmas and find three antique books. He had remembered how much I loved them and had gone to a little book shop in San Francisco to get them for me. They are BEAUTIFUL! A few minutes later I opened three more books from my parents. One of the books was part of a joke my mom played on all of us. She had gone to DI and picked out a book for each of us to open as a joke. It was so funny to read all of the titles! Mine was, How to Survive the Loss of a Love. Maybe someday that will come in handy :) The other two were Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; two classics that I've been wanting to read for a long time. Those six books currently reside on the shelf in my room and make me happy every time I look at them. Thank you Jae and thank you parents for giving me books!!
"In reading, a lonely quiet concert is given to our minds; all our mental
faculties will be present in this symphonic exaltation."
My Dad just turned 50 on December 25th, Christmas Day. I love him so much. I feel so blessed to have had such a solid, worthy priesthood holder as the patriarch of our home. He has been such a steady example of righteousness my whole life. All growing up, I saw how hard he has worked to have a very personal relationship with each one of his children. When I was little, my dad would come to all my soccer games. I loved being able to look over and see him smiling from the sidelines. Soccer games were just the beginning. He came to my piano recitals, jazz band competitions/concerts, Jr. Jazz games, and track meets. He did this even when he was busy with work and various church callings. He also took time to have personal interviews with each child in the family every fast Sunday. The advice and words of encouragement that were given to me in those interviews has really helped me in my life. In addition to all this, he is one of the funniest people I know. He can make me laugh at any time, even after bombed accounting tests :) Thanks Dad for always being there for me. I love you!
...not really. I'm back at my apartment wishing I was at my real home. I'm the first of my roommates to come back to school so I came home to an empty, FREEZING apartment. After a while, I noticed that there was a really bad smell coming from the kitchen. I mean BAD. I opened the fridge and felt a wave of stench wash over me. There was brown celery, moldy grapes, moldy leftover soup, and other perishable food items that were left in the fridge over the two week break. I learned an important lesson about cleaning the fridge before you leave for two weeks. Luckily I'm getting over a cold and have a stuffy nose, so I wasn't able to smell the stench at its full capacity. Even so, I was holding back the gags as I poured the moldy soup down the sink. Turns out our sink pipes were frozen. Fun! The moldy soup/water mixture remained in the sink causing its smell to dance its little way around our apartment. After running a lot of hot water into the sink, the pipes defrosted and finally let the soup go down. I washed the soup dish and was putting it in the dishwasher when I realized there was about an inch of yellow-brownish water in the bottom of the dishwasher. So fun! After taking care of THAT, I thought I had gotten rid of the sources of the stench. I left the apartment briefly, came back, and was hit again by the same stench. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from! I did a thorough search of the fridge and found two opened cans of re-fried beans covered in foil. I've never seen mold like that in my entire life. Another trip to the dumptser, more febreeze, and orange peels down the sink (thanks Brooke, Bailey, and Zach) made the situation much more tolerable. After having a brief dance party in the apartment across the hall and being introduced to Cody Simpson (the next Justin Bieber), I finally called it a night. What a great way to start the new year!