Monday, December 30, 2013

"Beauty Is" by Jenny Phillips

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My eyes were open wide as I read Truth, Lies, and Your Self-Worth by  Mindy Raye Friedman in the January 2014 New Era last week. You know those talks and articles that feel like they were written just for you? This was one of those for me.

With the New Year comes many hopes and goals regarding what we wish to accomplish in the future. But as the article points out, "it also brings a wave of worldly messages telling you that a new year requires a new you. These messages say that you can only be happy if you lose weight, get new clothes, find more friends, and so on. You hear these messages in the media, at school, and sometimes from those closest to you."

The idea that happiness and beauty come from the outside is as wrong as putting sardines on your ice cream sundae.

Sister Friedman further explains:

"Changing your physical appearance or material possessions may make you feel better for a little while, but it doesn’t really do anything to change your worth or your eternal happiness. That’s because your worth is already established."

When I read that, the words lept out at me like a Tigger on a sugar high. [There's a weird yet effective anology for you. haha]

It's easy to feel like you're not important if you don't look like the girls on Pinterest or the models in the magzines. The world is more confused about real beauty and true worth than ever before.

Even though the world is confused, we don't have to be.

I love this quote from President Monson that the article shared:

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God loves us no matter what we look like, and when all is said and done, His opinion is the only one that matters.

Beauty Is by Jenny Phillips continues to explain what it means to be truly beautiful.

As you're making goals for this year, remember to focus on what really matters. True beauty is more beautiful than any nose job or make-up application. It is deeper than any hair-do or shade of eyeshadow. Real beauty is pricesless.

This year I want to become truly beautiful.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What Shall We Give?

What shall we give to the babe in the manger,

What shall we offer the child in the stall?

Incense and spices and gold we've a-plenty-

Are these the gifts for the king of us all?

We watched this Mormon Message in Seminary last week and it really got me thinking.

Christmas is a celebration of Christ's birth. Essentially, it's like a giant, world-wide birthday party for our Savior. No birthday party is complete without presents, so what can I give to the one who has given me and all mankind the greatest gift imaginable? 

Surely the King of Kings is't interested in toys, new socks, or even fine jewels. He, the creator of the world isn't seeking material goods. What He wants is my heart. And that is something I want to be willing to give.

What shall we give to the babe in the manger? Maybe it's an old habit you've been wanting to break. Maybe a good habit you want to establish. Perhaps it's speaking with more love towards your family or being more gentle with yourself. Worrying less? Trust God more? Praying day and night? Reading scriptures every day?

Whatever it may be, I encourage you to think about what you could do to better yourself. I'll be doing the same. Truly, the refining of our hearts is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

My new years resolutions came a little early this year, but I'm okay with that.

What will your gift to the Savior be this Christmas?

Wishing you all the joys of the season [and peppermint ice cream],


Monday, December 23, 2013

The Story Behind I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

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I always thought I knew the story behind this song. That is, until I went to mutual.

A few weeks ago our ward had a combined gift exchange party. You know how white elephants usually go-- a guy opens up coconut perfume, paper towels are disguised with care and chosen by an unsuspecting victim, and somebody is bound to end up with the blinking Christmas tree glasses. [You should have seen them. They were beyond epic.]

But after the presents were opened and the game was over, one of our leaders shared this Christmas message with us. I loved it so much I just had to pass it along.

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As you may be aware, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at the time of the Civil War. Now, obviously the war was anything but peaceful. However, there was more raging in the heart of this dear poet than many people realize.

About six months before Christmas, Longfellow's wife was burned to death. She had just given their child a haircut and wanted to preserve some of the hair as a keepsake. As she was dipping the locks in wax, there was an accident and her dress went up into flames. Longfellow tried in vain the extinguish them with his own body, but it was to no avail. His dear wife passed away, and he was left with horrible burns that made him so sick he could not even attend his spouse's funeral. 

To quote an article written by Tom Stewart:
The first Christmas after Fanny's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." A year after the incident, he wrote, "I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace." Longfellow's journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me." 
How deep was the pain that Longfellow was experiencing! No wonder it was hard for him to find the joy in Christmas!

But it gets worse.

A year later his son died while fighting in the Civil War. Now his wife and one of his children were gone. How could there be peace on earth when his heart was racked with such pain?

As he began to heal from these tragic events, Longfellow penned this poem about one year after his son's death.

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

I know we hear this song a lot, but how often do we really stop and think about the lyrics? I really encourage you to jump on Youtube, grab your iPod, whip out your hymn book, or aquire whatever means you enjoy listening to music by and think about the background of this wonderful song. Think about what it meant to Longfellow and what it means to you.

No matter what happens around us, we can still have peace within our hearts. Because our Savior lives, the message of "peace on earth, good-will to men!" is still ringing strong. Wars will happen and tragedy will inevitably strike each of us at some point. But as we turn to Christ, we will find true and lasting peace.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oh, Finals Week!

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Oh, finals week!

A Super Cheesy Poetic Composition by Sarah
[Sing to the tune of Oh, Christmas Tree.]

Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
They perils are unchanging.
Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
Your agonies are ranging.

Not only when the tests have come.
But studying also makes me glum.
Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
You make me lose large amounts of sleep.

Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
Such tension do you bring me.
Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
How do I not particularly love thee.

For every semester the study guide,
Stares at me until I cry.
Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
You make me want to hide. 
[Forever. In a box with an unending supply of ice cream and cartoons.]

Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
When you're over I feel glee.
Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
Your completion makes me feel justified in an ice cream spree. 
[Yes, there are too many syllables in this line, but I don't care. :D]

Just two more days until we're done.
And then we can have lots of fun.
Oh, finals week, Oh, finals week!
Thy perils are unchanging.

Thank you for enduring my awkward poetry. Hopefully your ears aren't permanently damaged from the agonies of my goofy rhymes.

As much as finals scare me and as fun as they are to joke about, it is so comforting to know that if we study hard and do our best, Heavenly Father will help us. He isn't just concerned with church-y things. He cares about every aspect of our lives. 

Did you know that the scriptures have some advice for studying for finals? I know it may seem crazy, but it really does work.

2 Nephi 32:9 reads:

I have discovered that when I say a prayer before I start to review, I am able to focus and learn much better. I have also found a lot of guidance in knowing what topics to study. Truly, when we involve the Lord in our study habits, the blessings are plentiful.

But even with this extra help, there have been many times I have struggled to remember things I worked hard to learn just because I was tired or nervous.

In these situations, I try to focus on the words of John 14:26:

As long as we have worked hard to study and learn the material in our classes, the Holy Ghost can help us remember the things we have been taught. 

Don't get me wrong-- just because you pray doesn't mean you're guaranteed to ace everything. These are just some tips that I've found improved the anxiety that I used to feel during finals week and helped me study better. You still have to work and you still have to try, and even then sometimes things won't go your way. However, the comfort of knowing you tried your very best is worth more than any grade.

Remember to get plenty of rest, drink enough water, and eat a healthy breakfast this week. [Wow, I totally sound like my Mom. Maybe I am maturing after all. :D]

May the academic odds be ever in your favor!

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Silent Night

What happens when kings and queens make an entrance?

This is what usually comes to my mind:

"dun dun dun-dun!" [What is the onomatopoeia for trumpet noises?]

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And of course in Disney's classic way, an elephant and fleet of trumpet playing monkeys never hurts anything.

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However, when the Savior was born He didn't have any of this earthly fanfare.

Written in 1818 by assistant pastor, Joseph Mohr, this song explains the beautiful happenings of that first Christmas.

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace;
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

Isn't it interesting that of all the entrances the Savior could have chosen to celebrate the beginning of His divine mission, He chose a peaceful night of Angels singing and poor shepherds visiting rather than the praises of worldly Kings and the luxuries of earthly goods? Truly, our Savior is the supreme example of "laying up treasure in heaven". (Matthew 6:20) 

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The Savior didn't come to earth to win the approval of men. It is important that we, too seek for the approval of Heavenly Father rather than that of the world. Yes, grand entrances with trumpets and adoring subjects can be nice, but it is seeking the glory of Heaven that is truly important.

I love the final verse of this beloved song.

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth;
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Christ didn't need the praise of men when He was born. He had His own glory and love "beaming" from His "holy face". The glory of the Father. The glory of His mission. The glory of His love.

Merry Christmas,


P.S. This movie from BYUtv tells the story of how Silent Night was written. You can stream it for free, here. It is super awesome.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sweet Finds Christmas Edition

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

A partridge in a pear tree.

Forget wildlife in foliage-- just give me ice cream. ;)

Here at The Sprinkles on my Ice Cream Blog, I am all about the sweet things in life, be it partridges, golden rings, drummers drumming, or dairy laden sugar. Since the 12 days of Christmas have officially begun, I thought it would be fun to do a giant sweet finds post with 12 things that I love. I know usually people would do one a day until Christmas, but I just don't have that kind of patience. In case you're wondering, I also have been known to cook all my food with the stove turned up on high, even if that means pretty much inevitable burning. [Don't take cooking advice from me.]

So, without further ado....

Sarah's fabulous list of awesome Christmassy things. [Is Christmassy a word? Now it is.]

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I just finished this amazing book by fellow LDS blogger, Rozanne Packman and let me tell you: it is amazing. This collection of short stories is sure to fill you with the Christmas spirit and teach valuable lessons at the same time. The first story is about a military veteran and his journey to forgive himself. Next is a wonderful modern-day relation of Dicken's A Christmas Carol with a fabulous, unexpected twist. Finally, a beautiful story a young mother and her experience serving an older man next door shows just how remarkable the Lord's hand is in our lives. I enjoyed reading each story and pondering them afterwards. If you're looking for a great Christmas read, check it out. It's available in Kindle format, here for only $0.99! Just be sure and grab some tissues, too. :)



My favorite Christmas carol played by some of my favorite musicians? Yes please!


I have an obsession with psychology, personality tests, and the like. Thus, this Studio C sketch hit home with me. *help...cant. stop. laughing.


I found this pic via LDS Smile, and now I'm pretty sure I need a sweater like this. Just think of it. I could meander the school hallways and grocery store aisles shouting "Meowy Christmas!". I think that is officially on my bucket list now.


I found this Mormon Message the other day, and I just love it. How they ever got the presents to do that cool thing at the end [sorry I can't give more details. I don't want to spoil it. :D], I have no idea, but I am seriously impressed. But what's even more impressive is the amazing message this movie has. Christmas is so much better when we remember the true reason for the season.


Aren't Christmas quotes the best? Here are two of my faves:

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9. ELF

As you probably already know from Sunday's post, I love Elf. It makes me laugh every time. Plus, I love candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup, so I'm pretty sure Buddy and I would be best friends. ;)

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I read this great book by Jason Wright last year and loved it. Starring a young girl stricken with cancer and a caring Grandma yearning for love, this book is definitely a tear jerker. [In a good way.] The message that the spirit of Christmas should carry on throughout the year is profound.  If you liked Wright's Christmas Jars book, then you'll love The 13th Day of Christmas. You can snag it on Amazon, here.

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I love all the new branches of the Church website that are being released! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a great page filled with Christmas music, quotes, art, articles, and ideas for spreading Christmas cheer. This is a great resource for more fully incorporating Christ into Christmas celebrations. You can find it, here.


Of course, the peace brought through our Savior Jesus Christ is the best present ever. Better than any number of partridges in pear trees, Christ's love shines like a beacon unto all.

May your Christmas season be filled with His love,


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas

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I wholeheartedly agree with Buddy the elf. Smiling is totally my favorite thing to do [well, besides eating ice cream. But eating ice cream does make me smile, so....]

As you've probably guessed, I watched Elf  last night. After I finished laughing my head off at Buddy making meals of spaghetti and syrup and then chopping down a Christmas tree from Central park, I really got thinking about the end of the movie.

About ten minutes before the film is over, Buddy is walking through New York City when he sees Santa's sleigh start to malfunction and fall to the ground. He runs to help and learns that the sleigh's turbo engine has fallen off. Santa's sleigh used to work solely off the Christmas spirit, but with the recent hustle and bustle that had begun to fill people's lives, spirits had been low across the world. Without the engine, the sleigh couldn't fly. That is, unless people started believing again. 

After an awkward encounter with a news reporter, the discovery of Santa's list, and some spontaneous Christmas caroling, people's hopes returned and the sleigh was able to fly once more, and this time without the aid of the engine. 

So what does this have to do with anything?

The fact that the sleigh ran off of the fuel of "Christmas Spirit" was really intriguing to me. The more I thought about it, the more I started wondering what the Christmas spirit really is.

President Monson explains it perfectly:

All of those feelings of charity, love, joy, and peace that come with Christmas are from our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

He is the true reason for the season. He is the spirit of Christmas. He is our Savior and Redeemer. The joy and love that He brings does more than power a sleigh. It powers lives. As we invite Him into our homes and hearts I know we will be blessed.

Merry Christmas, and remember: we elves like to stick to four main food groups-- candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. ;)


P.S. Don't forget to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional tonight at 6 p.m. MST. You can stream it live from

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Symbols of Christ

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you're probably aware that I love searching for symbols and weird analogies all the time. From porta-potties to hair spray, I believe pretty much anything can be turned into a gospel lesson.

As you can imagine, my analogy making habits get put to good use during the Christmas season. Everywhere we turn during the holidays it seems that there is some kind of decoration or tradition that points our minds and hearts to Jesus Christ.

I found this poem by Valerie L. Plowman on this blog and thought it was just too awesome not to share.

Remember Christmas

by Valerie L. Plowman

Red reminds of the blood He spilt
to wash away and cleanse all of our guilt
White is for His actions, most pure.
Through sinless perfection, He did endure.
Green is for the life eternal
we can obtain through our Lord supernal.
The star shines like the one so bright
that twinkled above that first Christmas night.
The fir tree is for many things:
the tree of Jesse--the father of kings,
and for the needles pointing to the Lord--
that little babe we all adored.
The wreath shows one eternal round;
the begin' of the Lord cannot be found.
The lights remind us that this babe
is the light of the world, and born to save.
The candy cane is for the crook;
not one sheep or lamb the shepherd forsook.
The Christmas bells we love to ring
proclaim joy! The birth of a newborn king.
These symbols remind us that we,
more like the three wise men all now should be.
Earnestly seeking to find the new babe
who humbly in a manger laid.

It is all too easy to become wrapped up in all the material aspects of Christmas and forget that it is really about celebrating our savior, Jesus Christ. Finding meaning in decorations and symbols we see every day is a great way to keep Christ in our hearts all through the year.

What do you do to keep Christ in Christmas?


P.S. I'm working on finishing up a couple of Christmas books to review pretty soon! Stay tuned... :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Story Behind "Joy to the World"

I have a bit of a nerdy habit-- I love to discover the stories behind songs. Due to this odd fascination, I thought it would be fun to learn some of the stories behind favorite Christmas carols for Music Monday during December. What better place is there to start then the first Christmas song in the hymn book, #201 Joy to the World ?

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I have always loved the wording of Joy to the World. I think it so so cool that of all the words that could have been chosen to describe the emotions associated with Christ's coming, joy was chosen. Not temporary happiness or mediocre gladness, but lasting joy.

How did the composer, Isaac Watts come up with this beautiful phrasing? According to this article, the joyous song [haha see what I did there? Pun intended.] was based this passage in Psalms 98.

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises."

I find it very interesting to note that this scripture is actually about Christ's second coming. Watts realized this and wanted to relate the prophesied joy of the second coming to the Savior's first coming long ago on that night in Bethlehem. 

I love this song because it shows how joyful celebrating the Lord's birth is, and how wondrous it will be when He returns again. Truly, both comings bring true and everlasting "joy to the world". 

This hymn sounds lovely no matter who sings it, but this arrangement performed by David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of my favorites. 

May your days be filled with Joy this Christmas season!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Seeds You Plant

I have very mixed emotions right now.

I am elated that my Chemistry Homework is finally finished, but I am currently in the process of mourning the loss of Thanksgiving break. School starts in just about 36 hours! <cries profusely>

To be honest, this morning I spent about an hour stressing over what I had to get done and feeling really sad that vacation was coming to an end. But despite my gloom over school's impending arrival, I am thankful for what I was able to accomplish today. Would you like to see my list?

- Washed hair [It sounds lame, but if you could see how much hair I have, you would understand why I am proud.]

- Fed my kitty cat

- Helped put away groceries

- Learned how to calculate molar mass

- Discovered the wonders of the quantum theory

- Ordered our Christmas cards [It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!]

- Added a Holiday channel to my Pandora account [Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can finally listen to Christmas songs without a drop of guilt! Cue the Hallelujah chorus!]

- Finished off the Rocky Road ice cream. [Wasn't I such a kind person to make this sacrifice so my family could have more freezer space to put away the groceries? ;)]

- Read the scriptures [An even better feast than ice cream.]

Despite all the little things I got done, I was feeling pretty guilty for not accomplishing more. [Does laundry ever end?]  Then I remembered this quote I found on Pinterest the other day.

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It is so easy to beat ourselves up over the could haves and should haves of life rather than focusing on the good things we did do and what may result because of it. Never underestimate the power of what you do each and every day.

Yeah, my laundry isn't folded and my room is in dire need of a good vacuum, but the seeds I planted today cannot be numbered.

What seeds did you plant today?

Happily yours,

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I guess what it mostly comes down to is I'm thankful for Heavenly Father. It is such a comfort to know that God knows me, loves me, and is aware of my needs both big and small. I have felt His hand in my life so many times. I will always be thankful for the patience and love He offers me.

Whether you are traveling, staying home, eating turkey, devouring ham, or enjoying some other amazing celebratory food, may your Thanksgiving be filled with love, joy, and laughter.

I am so thankful for each and every one of you. Thank you for giving me a reason to write.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Songs for Thanksgiving

Can you believe we're only about 48 hours away from eating turkey? I can hardly wait!

Almost nothing can get a message across to me better than music. So, without further ado here are some awesome songs to help you get in the Thanksgiving spirit.

Happy Listening!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Magnifying the Good

I am thankful for the frosty air that nipped at my nose and finger tips.

I am grateful for the Sacrament and the opportunity I have to have my sins washed away each week through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for the ice cream that is in my freezer.

I am grateful for the nap I got after church.

But most of all, today I am thankful for the ability to be thankful. [I know... paradoxical, right?]

Really, how gloomy would our lives be if we never felt gratitude for anything? Truly, as cheesy as it sounds, being thankful is the key to happiness. As this quote so eloquently states: 

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There are so many hard things that everyone has or will have to deal with in this life. Heartache, pain, and suffering are everywhere. However, when we choose to focus on what we do have instead of what we don't, we gain power to rise above our circumstances and become the people God intended us to be. 

I love this quote from President Uchtdorf:

It's super easy to get caught in the trap of "magnifying the negative" in our lives. How would things change if we focused on the things we have to be thankful for instead?

If anyone is guilty of magnifying the negative, it is me. I'm the queen of getting caught up in the woes of something stupid and forgetting all about the blessings that surround me from every angle.

That, my friends, is going to change.

Let's take President Uchtdorf's challenge. Are you in?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Makes You Beautiful?

Warning: 1D fan girls may experience stomach pain, nausea, ice cream throwing urges, and extreme dislike towards's Sarah upon reading the introduction to this post. But stay with me. I promise you won't regret it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A few weeks ago I was listening to "What Makes You Beautiful", and the lyrics really got me thinking.

The song starts off pretty sweet:
You're insecure,
Don't know what for,
You're turning heads when you walk through the door.
Don't need make-up,
To cover up,

Being the way that you are is enough.
That's nice and encouraging. [And, it says right there in the song that I don't have to wear make-up. Perfect excuse!]

But then the chorus happens.
You don't know you're beautiful,
That's what makes you beautiful.
Talk about misleading.

Is not knowing we're beautiful what makes us beautiful? [That is a lot of beautiful's in just a few sentences. Sorry for my lack of synonym usage.]

Don't get me wrong--I get what the song is trying to say. There is absolutely nothing beautiful about being stuck-up, prideful, or boastful. But isn't it okay for a girl to know she is beautiful and have confidence in who she is?

According to this quote from Elaine S. Dalton:

Notice the words she used. There is nothing more beautiful than a young woman who is confident. Nothing more lovely than a daughter of God who honors her divine heritage and lives a virtuous life.

One Direction Fan girls, please don't hate me or shove ice cream in my face like Mia does to Lana at the end of Princess Diaries. [Acutally, just kidding. You can totally shove ice cream in my face any time you want. Yum! :D]

I'm not trying to bash the band or the song. Honestly, I like them both. The point is, don't let the message of the song throw you off. It's bad to be rude and conceited, but it is okay to be confident in who you are. 

So what makes you beautiful? Remembering your divine nature. Knowing who you are. Being virtuous. Having confidence in yourself because you live close the Spirit. 

It's what we say in the Young Women's theme every week:

We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him.

Knowing and believing this truth is what makes you truly beautiful.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Tale of Three Stumbles

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Once upon a time, a tired looking, sleep deprived teen named Sarah went to school. After enduring many non-riveting tales of algebraic expressions and classic literature of the romantic era, a bell sounded and the peasants of her place of academic nourishment scattered into the dark, frigid air of the early dawn. [Okay, so it was 10 am, but that's pretty early in my book. ;)]

Frantically scrambling to zip her overflowing backpack, Sarah stumbled out the door and galloped quickly down the hall. [I know, people don't usually gallop. However, saying I was walking would be a lie. Perhaps limping is a better word?]

Trying to walk gracefully as she bore the weight of the books upon her back, she pictured a beautiful princess walking through a brightly colored path speckled with a plethora of wildflowers covered in morning dew. [I honestly don't remember what I was really thinking...probably something about what I wanted to eat for lunch. ]

Soon, Sarah noticed that her backpack felt a little odd.

"Oh, no! I hope I didn't leave the front pocket unzipped like I did yesterday. That was a little awkward." She thought to herself. "I should take my backpack off and check just to be sure."

So, she slid her backpack off her weary arms and frowned as she almost dropped it.

"Phew, that was close!" she thought in vain as she stumbled and clambered to catch the falling parcel.

After checking to be sure that the troublesome pocket was indeed shut, she began to embark on the ever difficult journey of donning her burdensome pack once more. But instead of thrusting it onto her back like a buff superhero as she had planned. she twitched as it fell to the ground with a thud of solemn defeat.

Not wanting to give up so easily, she tore her bag from the grabby hands of earth's gravity and finally managed to balance the pack again.

However, Sarah's day of adventure was not yet through. Having become so absorbed in the apparent strenuousness of putting a backpack on, Sarah lost her footing and fell down three steps.

Miraculously, she caught herself and transformed the clumsy happening into a sweet dance move. Just then, a representative from "So You Think You Can Dance" came walking down the hallway. He saw her amazing skills and recruited her for the show. She later won a million dollars and a trip to Europe. [Okay, so this didn't really happen. The only people who saw me were the smirking peers. I still can't figure out why they were staring at me oddly...doesn't everyone dance with their backpack between classes? ;)]

And so, with a dumb smile on her face and feeling oddly proud of herself, Sarah continued on her merry way.  She made it safely to Chemistry class without any broken bones. How this happened, she will never know, but she will forever be grateful that she didn't have to go the ER for dropping her backpack and tripping down the staircase, because that wouldn't be an exciting story at all.

The end.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Have I Done Any Good?

Hey guys,

Have you seen this new music video from the Mormon Channel yet? We saw it in Seminary the other day and I'm totally loving it. When two of my favorite singers sing one of my favorite songs, I just can't help but jump for joy. [Well, I didn't actually start jumping in class. I contained myself and did a mental happy dance instead, but you get the idea. :D]

I wish I could say more, but homework is calling. [If only it was a real phone call and not just a figure of speech. Then, I could reject the call and hang up on my school work. That sounds lovely... :D] But alas, the looming doom of finals forces me to bid thee adieu.

Blog to you soon!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanksgiving Armor

I am so ready for Thanksgiving.

Stuffing. Turkey. Gravy. [Lots and lots of gravy. :D]  Mashed Potatoes. Cranberry Sauce. Green Bean Casserole. Ahh, my mouth is watering now. To put it in the words of Campbell's Soup, that sounds mmmm mmmm good!

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Besides having irrational early food cravings, I am also super glad for the opportunity Thanksgiving provides us with to remember the things we are grateful for.

One of the best things about being thankful is how happy it can make us. Life truly is better when we focus on the good in life instead of letting the bad things drag us down. We talk a lot about how being thankful brings joy into our lives, and for good reason. The principle that a grateful heart yields bounteous joy is undeniably true. But there's another thing that gratitude does: It protects you.

I had a little bit of time between classes at church today, so I flipped my topical guide open and looked up "Thanksgiving". After I realized how rusty I was on my ABC's [what does T come after again?], I found this phenomenal reference to D&C 46:7.

I don't know about you, but as I walk down the hallways of my school, sometimes I feel like I'm being "seduced by evil spirits" and "doctrines of devils". Even if it's not as direct as a punch to my face or a kid offering to sell me drugs or something, the temptations are still there. Values I hold dear such as dressing modestly, not swearing, staying vitreous, and even just being kind to people are attacked every day.  Even in the midst of all of that, the promise of this profound scripture shines forth like a beacon unto all. If we walk uprightly before Him and do all things with prayer and thanksgiving, then we will NOT be seduced by the doctrines of devils or commandments of men. The temptations we face will not have power over us. How cool is that?

I've shared this quote here before, but I love it so much I just had to share it again. 

What better strength for getting through the muck and scum of this life is there than the love of a merciful Father in Heaven? When we remember the things we have been blessed with and thank Him for them, we become nearer to Him and thus receive strength beyond our own.

As you grab your shield of faith and take the sword of truth this week, I challenge you to also put on the armor of gratitude! Suit up! Armor up! Go forth mighty, grateful soldiers!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Laugh for Today

I wish right now I exemplified the perceived image of a has-it-all-together blogger, but as of now, I am sitting on my recliner with runny eyeliner and crazy just-woke-up-from-a-nap hair. But I have a relatively decent excuse. I have a sinus infection. The good news is I have antibiotic and should be on the mend soon, but the bad news is for the time being I feel like somebody threw a bunch of hungry termites into my ear canal and nasal passages. haha

So, anyway, I could use a good laugh right now. How 'bout you?

Here are some things that made me smile this week.

I think we may need to adapt this one a little bit. Love is when someone asks me for a Starburst and I give them any. haha

Yes, this is how I feel when I eat Nutella. [And I probably look like that, too. :D]

Choosing a favorite Studio C sketch would be almost like choosing a favorite child, but this one is high on my list.

The elemelons would be so cool! [Well, except for maybe the air melon...that might not have much flavor...]

Signing paper like a boss. This permission slip might not get the student on the bus, but I say he/she should get an A+ for ingenuity. 

What has made you smile lately?


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Beauty in the Blur

Usually when I think of stunning photography, my thoughts turn to crystal clear, remarkably sharp pictures. However, there are times that blurry photos can be even more dynamic.

But let me tell you, it takes lots of practice. Let's start with an example of how not  to do it, courtesy of yours truly. <blushes and hangs head in shame>

Presenting Exhibit A: The mystery elephant.

I took this picture [that can hardly be called a photograph] at my local zoo. Upon first glance, it looks like a very poorly composed photo of an elephant. However, my zoo does not have elephants. Trust me-- I'm just as confused as you are... ;)

As you can see, it is obviously important to keep most of your picture in focus so that people can tell what in the world you are taking a picture of. On the other hand, despite my oft failed attempts, there are times when blurry is better.

For example, I'm sure we're all familiar with the wonders of bokeh. Doesn't light do gorgeous things when it's out of focus?

But wait! There's more blurriness can do! [I think I must be unleashing my inner infomercial actress now. Sorry you had to hear  read that. :D]

I have a small [okay, pretty big] obsession with taking photos of water. I love the different effects that can be achieved by varying the sharpness of my images.

This first one of the waves is in focus. I really like how this photo captures the energy and wildness of the sea. The water is frozen in time giving the photo a sense of action and movement.

Now, let's take the same subject and throw it out of focus a bit.

Completely different mood. Rather than ravenous rage, this photo has a sort of dreamy, slow motion feel to it. Using focus to your advantage can really help you convey emotion in your artwork.

The same concept goes for this waterfall. In the first image, the water if crisply frozen. The water droplets almost give it a furry look. [Personally, I'm not exactly a fan of this pic of mine. It reminds me of those scary monsters on the Matterhorn ride at Disney land. haha]

To create the second photo, I lengthened my shutter speed a bit to give the water a stringy effect. Once again, you get a whole other feel to a photo. While the first one alludes to fast movement, this one feels oddly tranquil. 

The final example I have for y'all is one from my trip to the Oregon Coast this summer. The fog in the background combined with the somber blue tones just seems to scream mystery. I don't think the photo would be quite the same if it were crisp and sharp. I think the blurriness adds a nice touch to the dreary mood of the piece.

What can you do with blurry pictures? Try it. You might just be surprised. Just don't go too overboard like I did on my mysterious elephant. ;)

[Now, if only we could convince Disney to make a new version of Beauty and Beast for photographers. Beauty in the Blur. I can see it now. :D]

Happy Tuesday!

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