Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter! & Thomas is a BYU Grad!

We are so thankful to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died for us and was resurrected! What a wonderful event to get to commemorate and celebrate!

To turn our thoughts to our Savior, we started out the week with a small Seder at our house with a couple of friends. We talked about the symbolism and the traditions of the Jews. It was a bit tight space-wise in our teeny kitchen, but it was enjoyable to talk and eat with our friends and experience something new together. I even roasted a little bit of lamb, to remind us of the Lamb of God.

Grigsbys, Childs, Bradshaws
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Thomas and I finished up our finals and gladly ended the semester. While I still have several semesters to go before I attain a degree, Thomas is officially a BYU graduate! He's now on the hunt for full-time employment and is glad to be done with school (at least for now). He decided not to walk in the commencement ceremony, and instead we hiked the Y on Friday afternoon.

Lisa and Thomas on Y Mountain
The white in the center is the Y
We saw several paragliders - we actually watched 2 take off, starting about 20 feet above the Y!
Hiking the Y (and beyond, at least a little bit) is something we like to do once in a while when the weather is nice. Although the trail is steep and is a physical challenge for sure, we both enjoy getting out of the house together and seeing Provo from a different perspective. Sitting up there, you can see the entire BYU campus, the temple to the north, and my workplace to the south. Even when it's smoggy, you can see Utah Lake and other landmarks. From the top of a mountain, it is much easier to prioritize and put day-to-day life in perspective!

Lizard we saw while hiking
Y from above and to the south. You can see the Provo temple in this shot, on the left about centered vertically.
Orange moss
BYU Campus. Stadium (north) on the right. Utah Lake can be seen in the top 1/3 of this photo.

Here are some pictures from a walk we took earlier in the week:
Those are ants....ew.
It's hard to tell, but this is a branch of a rose bush that extended far above the rest of the plant - it was probably 7 ft tall with many thorns.
Can you spot the bird?
Friday night, we had the pleasure of babysitting our friends' cutie-pie infant daughter. We found out just how strong her lungs were, but managed to get her (almost) back to sleep before Mom & Dad came home. We got to attend her baby blessing last Sunday. Saturday night they had us over to dye Easter eggs! They are getting ready to move out-of-state for a few months and we are sure going to miss them.

Ellie, again. She liked being in the spotlight!
some of the eggs
some more of the eggs (do you see any secret messages??)
Saturday we had the opportunity to take Christ's counsel and do some service. We were reminded of the importance of doing so as we attended the Mountain of the Lord (Provo Temple). We felt particularly thankful today for the opportunities afforded us in the temple because of Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice. The covenants and ordinances that are so important to us are available only by, through, and of Him.

We hope you remember the Redeemer in your own way today!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

That's right, it's time to roll them out! School is winding down and it will soon be dead around Provo. Mind you, that's not always a bad thing: less crazy pedestrians and crazier drivers will be wildly welcome. Anyway, sorry for all the photos, but they're more interesting than our ramblings...

We found a balloon Cosmo the Cougar in the BYU Bookstore 

Along with our normal cooking activities (most recently added are French bread and biscuits from scratch, and we have many more recipes backlogged (popovers and pumpkin soup, to name a few we've cooked since last we wrote)...along with several more we'll be trying next week), we've cleaned the chapel, Lisa attended a fireside at which former Relief Society president Bonnie D. Parkin spoke, we attended an excellent devotional by the director of BYU broadcasting on the wise use of media.

Daffodils, also known as Narcissuses. Be careful, as the bulbs are poisonous! 

To all readers: please identify this or get your favourite gardener to do so for us! (identified: common hyacinths)

Another mystery...please help! (identified: grape hyacinths)

A nice little bird that posed for us.

We also got to attend a BYU-hosted Senior Celebration, where we won lots of free prizes and had free food (including double helpings of ice cream) and live entertainment.

After a satisfying (and free) dinner.

Who should we see there but a happily engaged couple!

BYU's International Folk Dance Ensemble...

...renowned worldwide...

...and supported by an AMAZING band, the Mountain Strings (not pictured here).

Our spoils (you can't see the '08 covered up by the Y on that shirt).

Someone else who was spoiled rotten... ;^)

We attended BYU's closing forum—rather, its Unforum—which also had some performances.

BYU's Ballroom Dance Company, also critically acclaimed...

...and BYU's Vocal Point, an a cappella group most recently known for their latest video!

We attended both the BYU band concert and the BYU choir concert, the latter in which Thomas was an active participant.

We've got classy and talented friends!

We went on a few walks, including one to the famed J Dawgs, which neither of us had been to...

Not bad. Just about the perfect number of options, and quality food.

A new administrative building and conference hall for all the wards in the area will soon be built here.

...and a stroll along the new South Campus Stream and Trail! Supposedly it has been completed since Thanksgiving weekend last, but it hasn't. Regardless, we're glad for the peaceful area they've created. We're also glad they've finally reopened the main route to campus from the south, which had been closed for 6 months (or, you know, while students were actually in town for classes).

Duck, duck, goose! I wonder what their rules are...

Everyone seems to like our shirts!

Looking west (there is a grass field you can't see very well to the left)

The stream and path looking to the west

Oh, and either we've seen to much Remington Steele or the firm's on a case across the street...

See here for more shots of Laura Holt's car...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Preparation and Spiritual Edification

I just asked Thomas what I should blog about. His answer? "Oh, I dunno. The usual."

This is what we woke up to on Sunday...
Last week went by pretty quickly because we were busy! I had to take two tests and I'm still trying to pump out a gazillion final assignments. Thomas is a great support even though he is also busy with school and browsing job opportunities.

At last Tuesday's music devotional
For Family Home Evening last week, we decided to sit down and plan out a 72-hour kit and family emergency procedure. After the emergency preparedness fair last week and both of us feeling like we should focus on preparedness a little more, it was comforting to talk about exactly what we would do in case of an emergency at home, in the neighborhood, or in the region. We went to Walmart on Friday to pick up some survival goodies like a compass, emergency blankets, and a tarp.

The key lesson to learn in emergency preparedness and self-reliance is that should you and your family encounter an emergency, if you have prepared yourselves emotionally and physically for it, you will be ready not only to take care of yourselves and your situation, but also to assist others in your area. Also, even if you are not affected by an emergency yourself, you could have the means to help people who have been displaced by natural or other disasters.

Provo has a program called CERT that we are thinking of getting involved in this summer. "By using the training learned through CERT training, new members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help." We think it looks like a great way to get involved in the community and become more valuable citizens. If anyone is interested in doing this with us, let us know. I think there is a $40 fee to purchase a backpack/hardhat/other gear for it.

A little robin we saw on our walk yesterday
This weekend we had the privilege of taking part in General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints via internet streaming. We are so grateful to know that God loves His children and that He has a prophet and apostles on the earth today. We loved hearing the inspired messages and music this weekend. Here are some of the "pearls" I found in the talks we heard:
  • we can make Christ the centerpiece of our lives by keeping the Sabbath holy
  • we can measure how we are doing in following Christ by 1) how loving we are and 2) by making and keeping covenants
  • Christ chose to suffer (atoning for our sins and pains) so that He could understand us; perhaps we must endure hard times so we can better understand him
  • our faith now becomes part of our posterity's faith later
  • "Preach the Gospel at all times; and, if necessary, use words"
  • it seems like some trials we face are "laser-guided" at our weakest areas, but this will only make us stronger
  • "Be kind to the poor"
  • rejoice at opportunities to serve
  • revelation has properties similar to light
  • marriage helps us overcome selfishness
  • accept correction of God so we can become what He intends
  • focus on BEING not just doing
  • the Atonement of Christ is real, we just need to apply it to our lives
  • salvation only comes through Christ
  • be good citizens & neighbors by living with honesty and integrity!
If you would like to hear these messages for yourself, click here. There are videos of the talks as well as audio, and in the next few days there should be text if you would rather read them.

Did you have a favorite talk? Let us know in a comment after you scroll down for some pictures!

Cinnamon rolls made Sunday morning conference even Sweeter!
Between Sessions we took a Stroll in the Snow
We Saw Signs of Spring
And Snow on the Summit
...And So on...
...and So on!
Recent photo of the Provo Tabernacle #1
...And #2