Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Personal Proclamation

In light of recent events, our combined Priesthood/Relief Society lesson today was about The Church's Proclamation to the World on the Family:

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Most of those close to me know that the issue of gay marriage is one that I have struggled with for a long time. I have members of my family who are gay. I love them and their partners, and I truly desire their happiness and their well-being. How is there place for both the love for them and the denial of their desire to be married in my heart? It didn't make sense.

Since it's been so clearly illustrated that one judge has the power to overrule the majority in our lovely state, I feel that the time for me to be silent and indecisive is past. The words of my bishop echoed in my head long after he said them today: "Don't make this complicated. It is simple."

The simple truth is that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I value my membership as one of my most prized possessions and I've made covenants to protect and defend it. I understand that being truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ means that I am choosing to accept all of its teachings, not just the ones that are easy or convenient. So, for whatever it's worth, I bear testimony, in writing, on the web, with the leaders of this church that the messages contained in The Family: A Proclamation to the World are true and are the only way to achieve real and lasting happiness in this life. 

As I reread this, it seems like it could be interpreted as "blind faith." Quite honestly, I think at first it was. I have chosen, as Nephi did, to say: "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things" (1 Ne. 11:17). That is enough for me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The holiday season...

A friend of mine posted this awesome video on Facebook today. I'm a huge fan of the original song, and the lyric change in this one is simply beautiful. I can honestly say it's my new favorite Christmas song.

I listened to the song while I was making some mac n' cheese for lunch and I opened the window to see this:

Out my back window

There's something magical about the first snow fall of the season. Ok, technically it's the second, but I wasn't awake for the first one so I'm counting this. I get so giddy when I look out the window to see big flakes falling to the ground. One of my favorite sights is the snow blanketing the leafless branches of the trees. It looks so pure. I watched the storm with lyrics about the birth and life of Christ playing in the background, and was filled to the brim with gratitude. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." How grateful I am for the Christmas season and for the chance to reflect every day on the best gift of all--the gift of a person, a brother, who gave us the ability to repent of our sins and return to our Father in Heaven. Hallelujah!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ok, it's time to start treating our bodies like we're 25...

I had a lot of time to sit and think yesterday. That's sometimes a good thing, sometimes not, but it always makes me want to write.

I got bamboozled into taking a R.I.P.P.E.D class last night. I went to a Relief Society activity having been promised a "fun, light workout" but it was not that. I'm sure I looked pretty sad by the end of it since my butt was thoroughly whipped, but I made it. And I really didn't hate it either. I've also started taking Zumba classes. I average only about twice a week, but it beats sitting on the couch watching Criminal Minds. It's no secret Ian and I have put on quite a bit of weight since we've been married. I take most of the responsibility, since I like to eat crap. Ian likes it too, but it seems like he's much better at resisting than I am. I kind of had a meltdown the other night and we decided it was time to quit making excuses and make some changes.

I decided to pick some motivational pictures out.

Here's some before pictures:

On one of our camping trips this summer.
We're both thinner than we were here, I just love Ian's face in this one.
This guy loves me.

Here's the goal pictures:

I think I weighed about 160 here.
This guy is smokin' hot. 
I think a lot of my new found motivation comes from my dad's efforts the past couple years. I can hardly believe the difference:

This was at my wedding almost 3 1/2 years ago.
One of his FB friends uploaded this a few days ago.
Bud's not even gonna recognize him when he gets home.

I know the 2nd one's not the best quality, but I was trying to find something recent since it seems like someone posts a picture of him and then he loses more weight. We talked about it a little last night when I told him I went to that class, and he told me about how much he's noticed his strength improve and he likes getting sore because it means he's getting stronger. I love my dad no matter what shape or size he is, but it's been fun to brag about him and watch the people who haven't seen him in awhile look at him in amazement. He's pretty much a big deal. :)

So here's some things I've learned so far:

1. My craving for sweets after every meal is mostly habitual. If I don't indulge it, it goes away and I don't really miss it.

2. If it is one of those days where I just need a brownie and no one gets hurt, one will do. I don't need or really even want more than that.

3. I enjoy working out. It's that whole "energy of activation" thing. If I can get motivated enough to get moving, it's no big deal.

4. It's 90% mental. I've learned that our minds and bodies don't like to be out of sync. If I tell myself that I want to eat healthy and I want to go to the gym, I usually do it.

5. Like most people, my mind confuses hunger and thirst all the time. I need to drink water first and then, if I still feel hungry, eat something.

I would say it's all pretty basic, and it's sad that it's taken me this long to start taking it seriously, but I guess better now when I can still do it pretty easily.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waitin' On This For Awhile Now...

It's high time for me to NOT look at those pictures from my last post anymore. Eeesh!

The title of this is a quote from one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, Imagine Dragons. I have followed these guys since they played to small crowds at The Velour in Provo, and every success they have just makes my heart happy for them. They just released the music video this week:

I was thinking about this as it came on Pandora today. I registered for my first semester of nursing school yesterday and I was humbled as I looked at the classes to reflect on just how far I've come. I say over and over again how I knew when I started this that it wouldn't turn out how I thought it would. I'm just not sure I realized how different it really would be. I'm so incredibly grateful for this process, both the "payin' my dues to the dirt" and the feeling of being "on top of the world" (ey!)

I can't even convey my excitement that the holiday season is upon us again. It's my favorite time of year. I joke with Ian whenever I see Christmas commercials or decorations before Thanksgiving. I point to it and say, "Christmas craaaap!" The other day he answered, "What are you talking about? You love Christmas more than anyone I know." It's true. I love everything about Christmas. I love the music; I love shopping for (or making) the perfect gift for each member of my family; I love the Christmas casserole we eat for breakfast every Christmas morning; I love that I still get jammies on Christmas Eve, and I especially love the quiet moments I have to reflect on why we celebrate the season in the first place. I've never been able to sleep on Christmas eve. I'm a kid on Christmas and I get to experience the pure joy of it all.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hi, my name is Cori, and I am a Trypophobic.

I have always had this weird thing with holes. Every once in awhile something will catch my eye and give me the heebie jeebies, but at the same time I'm not able to stop looking at it. It's not any holes it seems; they have to be little and somewhat random. For instance, I have this little basket on my kitchen table with little decorative Styrofoam (maybe? I don't know what they are) balls in it. I bought it in a package and it originally came with Lotus Blossoms. Ya know (gulp) these things:

Ew! Ew! Ew! It makes my skin crawl and makes me itchy all over. My mom suggested I just hide them at the bottom of the basket, but just the thought that they were there was too much. I had to toss them.

I remember one year when we went to see the lights at Temple Square, we went in to the Assembly Hall to warm up and this caught my attention:

See those little, are they horns? I don't even know but they bugged me so bad. I have to make a conscious effort not to look in that direction every time I go back there. 

I was sure I had to be the only person with this weird thing. Talk about irrational fears. Today however, I learned that there's a name for it: Trypophobia. From what I've read, it's not an official phobia that can be diagnosed, like Hydrophobia or Arachnophobia, but a lot of people seem to have it. I wonder if there are support groups out there...

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I won't be looking at this post again.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Because I don't want to study...

I have a Pathophysiology test on Tuesday. I have two more chapters and a study guide to go through, but I'm just not up for it right now. My professor is a doctor, and seems to be very knowledgeable on the subjects he teaches, but he's also one of those "if it has a face or a mother, don't eat it" type of people. Not that there's anything wrong with vegetarianism, but he's a stereotypical vegetarian, and I'm over it. Ya know, just the typical, "vaccines don't really prevent the disease, they just lessen the effects" and our food is "contaminated" with antibiotics garbage. Vomit. The class is mostly just review. I suppose that's a good thing, and a credit to my Anatomy and Physiology instructors at SLCC, but I'm at the point now where I'm just trying to push through these last few weeks.

Wow, that was a little whiny... Moving on.

One of the prompts from Striped Giraffe Stories that I missed before was "Write about a test or exam that you had to take that was critical and life changing." I realized I never really wrote about the Kaplan. Every nursing program seems to have a different entrance exam so I think most people end up taking a few. I took the HESI and the Kaplan. The HESI was pretty easy I thought. I got a 91%. Unfortunately the rest of my grades weren't what they should've been, so I needed to take the Kaplan for Dixie's program. I needed at least a 75% to apply and the range of students who had been accepted the semester before was 75-91%. I was out of my mind nervous about it (Ask Ian. I was a friggin' basket case). I usually don't have test anxiety, but I definitely did on this one. I even had a dream the night before that I got a 74%, just one point too low. But I shook it off and took the test anyway. I felt so relieved with an 85% when it was all over.

The problem I think I discovered during that test is the reading. It's so much harder to read and try to absorb information from a computer screen rather than something in print. I felt myself having a hard time concentrating. But I must've done better than I thought at the time, because the score got me in. And now I never have to worry about entrance exams again. Yay!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Google will take over the world

The writing prompt today was, "Google search your own name.Write about the search result that is the closest to your name but isn't you."

Well, first I discovered that I am most definitely on the grid. I even found a profile that I didn't do... Hmmm...

The only thing I found that wasn't connected to me was some names on One I was looking at had seven children and the youngest was born in 1879 and Corinne died in 1882. I'm so glad I didn't live in that era.

Ian's name is far more interesting. Apparently there's an Ian Harwell in Arizona that owns a brewery. He was named one of the most "beerfluential" people in AZ.

He looks like a good guy, right?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Good news

Who is the first person you tell when something good happens to you?

Ian is usually the first person I share good news with. He usually tells me good news (like his pending promotion next week. Yay!) and I have to tell him to tell everyone else. If for some reason I can't tell Ian, like he's at work or something, then I usually call my sister or my mom.

Speaking of good news, or rather things in the news that are good, have you read this? This sweet boy who is battling Leukemia gets to be "Batkid" for the day in San Francisco. I wish I could go be one of the volunteers. How cool is Make-A-Wish? I love it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Out my window

The blog post from Striped Giraffe Stories today is, "What's outside your window?" Whenever I think of this, I always remember our awesome apartment in Corpus Christi. It was on the 3rd floor and you could see Oso Bay from our balcony. Ian and I would go out there almost every night and breathe in the sea breeze. I don't think I realized how good we had it... Anyway, I posted this photo to Facebook the other day from looking out into the back yard:

The storm that gave Salt Lake its first snow fall of the year had moved in and it was a perfectly crisp, chilly fall day. Today, the sun is out but that same golden tree is losing its leaves out back. I'm having to remind myself that it's getting colder. It is November after all. October is perfect weather in St. George, and it's kind of sad to see that go away for awhile. At least the sun stays around. I suppose I can't ask for much more than that.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Apparently November is "blog post month". Who knew?

My cousin has a blog that's all about writing prompts. You can find it here if you're interested. I thought it would be a good opportunity to write. Today's prompt is: What is your strongest sense?

Ya know, like these senses. I had to think about this one for awhile. Lately it's been my sense of smell. I don't know what it is (not pregnancy, don't get any ideas) but my sniffer seems to pick up everything lately. Ian made empanadas for dinner on Saturday night and I picked up the onion smell from upstairs on the opposite side of the house. I guess onion is kind of a bad example since it's such a strong smell, but there are others that I can't think of. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Well, my sisters both blogged, so I guess I can to

Ian's playing a round of DOTA 2, and I'm all caught up on my studying (for now anyway) so it seems as good a time as any to blog.

St. George is beautiful. The red rock set against a seemingly perpetual blue sky never ceases to take my breath away. The leaves have finally started to change over the last couple days. As I was driving today the wind was blowing the fallen leaves and I could have sworn they were pieces of red, orange and gold construction paper. The colors were so vibrant. I can honestly say I am growing to love it here.

That being said, something about Southern Utah seems to bring about a refiner's fire in my life. When I lived here during my freshman year of college, it was the adjustment of being away from my family. They were all living their lives and having fun and I wasn't a part of it. It was a difficult adjustment to say the least. Also, my experience with student housing was... well... kind of a disaster. I think most of that had to do with my own expectations, which were unrealistic. But I digress.

This move has brought its own set of challenges, which I don't really feel the need to list. Suffice it to say these last 2 1/2 months have been a roller coaster. I feel like Ian and I are (mostly) taking it in stride, and we've been incredibly blessed in the process, but that feeling of, "C'mon... SERIOUSLY?", however momentary, sneaks its ugly head in.

I know it seems like I'm complaining, but I'm more just trying to give some details to illustrate my point. My mom sent me this the other day and I think it applies:

Often we wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?” or “Why did God have to do this to me?” Here is a wonderful explanation!

A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she’s failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, “Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.”

Here, have some cooking oil,” her Mother offers. “Yuck” says her daughter.

“How about a couple raw eggs?” “Gross, Mom!”

“Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?” “Mom, those are all yucky!”

To which the mother replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!”

I used to ask Ian all the time, "Why don't we seem to have any challenges?" Not that I was hoping for anything different, but things were so easy. We both had great jobs and always made ends meet with some left over; we lived in a fantastic neighborhood/ward and lived by lots of great couple friends, and any "challenges" that came up were small and easily corrected. What I realize after reading that is that was the sugar and the butter. Now we get a little bit of the raw eggs and baking soda that are going to make the cake that will eventually get us in to the celestial kingdom. (You like that? Clever, huh?)

There's a lot of beauty in the mayhem of the raw eggs and baking soda, however.

First of all, Hello! I got in to one of the toughest nursing programs in the state on my first try. I tell people that and their jaw hits the floor.

We went to a football game at Dixie and saw some of the coolest lightning I've ever seen.

We live among some of Heavenly Father's most beautiful creations,
sights that people come from all over the world to admire.
Our townhouse is adorable, thanks to my mom and sisters, and is in the ward boundaries
of another fantastic married student ward.

Living in a college town means community events like a drive-in movie with free popcorn.
And of course, this guy. Raw eggs and baking soda mean we get to grow closer than ever.
And any challenge is worth that pay off. 
As I've tried to focus on this part of it, I've realized that there's still a lot of sugar and butter. It may not be as easy to see, but it makes that raw egg a little easier to wash down.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Something uplifting for today

This is worth the 2 minutes and 49 seconds to watch.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Do Not Fear

I am saddened and frustrated over the events of the last few days. I struggle with the admonition of the prophets to replace fear with faith when things like this happen. I say to myself, "Well, this has, after all, been prophesied," as the knot in my stomach tightens. I think about my future babies, and how I'm going to raise and protect them in such an awful place, how I'm going to help instill good values and a hearty work ethic when so much around them seems to suggest otherwise.

I came across this article from April 2004 conference from Elder Boyd K. Packer:

"A few weeks ago our youngest son and his wife and family stopped to see us. The first one out of the car was our two-year-old grandson. He came running to me with his arms outstretched, shouting, “Gwampa! Gwampa! Gwampa!”

He hugged my legs, and I looked down at that smiling face and those big, innocent eyes and thought, “What kind of a world awaits him?”

For a moment I had that feeling of anxiety, that fear of the future that so many parents express to us. Everywhere we go fathers and mothers worry about the future of their children in this very troubled world.

But then a feeling of assurance came over me. My fear of the future faded.

That guiding, comforting Spirit, with which we in the Church are so familiar, brought to my remembrance what I already knew. The fear of the future was gone. That bright-eyed, little two-year-old can have a good life—a very good life—and so can his children and his grandchildren, even though they will live in a world where there is much of wickedness.

They will see many events transpire in the course of their lifetime. Some of these shall tax their courage and extend their faith. But if they seek prayerfully for help and guidance, they shall be given power over adverse things. Such trials shall not be permitted to stand in the way of their progress, but instead shall act as stepping-stones to greater knowledge.

As a grandfather and as one of the Twelve, I will give you some counsel, some caution, and a lot of encouragement. I could do this much better if the grandmother in our family, my wife of 57 years, were standing beside me. Mothers know much more about life than fathers do, but I will do the best I can.

We do not fear the future for ourselves or for our children. We live in dangerously troubled times. The values that steadied mankind in earlier times are being tossed away.

We must not ignore Moroni’s words when he saw our day and said, “Ye [must] awake to a sense of your awful situation” (Ether 8:24).

We cannot take lightly this warning from the Book of Mormon:

“The Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him … doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.

“And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him” (Hel. 12:1–3; emphasis added).

Have you noticed that word terror in that prophetic Book of Mormon warning?

The moral values upon which civilization itself must depend spiral downward at an ever-increasing pace. Nevertheless, I do not fear the future.

World War I ended only six years before I was born. When we were children, the effects of the war were everywhere present. World War II came only 15 years later. And dark clouds were already gathering.

We had the same anxious feelings that many of you do now. We wondered what the future held for us in an unsettled world.

When I was a boy, childhood diseases appeared regularly in every community. When someone had chicken pox or measles or mumps, the health officer would visit the home and place a quarantine sign on the porch or in the window to warn everyone to stay away. In a large family like ours, those diseases would visit by relay, one child getting it from another, so the sign might stay up for weeks.

We could not blockade ourselves inside our homes or stay hidden away to avoid those terrible contagions. We had to go to school, to employment, to church—to life!

Two of my sisters were stricken with very severe cases of measles. At first they seemed to recover. A few weeks later Mother glanced out of the window and saw Adele, the younger of the two, leaning against a swing. She was faint and weak with a fever. It was rheumatic fever! It came as a complication from measles. The other sister also had the fever.

There was little that could be done. In spite of all of the prayers of my parents, Adele died. She was eight years old.

While Nona, two years older, recovered, she had fragile health for most of her life.

When I was in the seventh grade, in a health class, the teacher read an article. A mother learned that the neighbor children had chicken pox. She faced the probability that her children would have it as well, perhaps one at a time. She determined to get it all over with at once.

So she sent her children to the neighbor’s to play with their children to let them be exposed, and then she would be done with it. Imagine her horror when the doctor finally came and announced that it was not chicken pox the children had; it was smallpox.

The best thing to do then and what we must do now is to avoid places where there is danger of physical or spiritual contagion.

We have little concern that our grandchildren will get the measles. They have been immunized and can move freely without fear of that.

While in much of the world measles has virtually been eradicated, it is still the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in children.

From money generously donated by Latter-day Saints, the Church recently donated a million dollars to a cooperative effort to immunize the children of Africa against measles. For one dollar, one child can be protected.

Parents now are concerned about the moral and spiritual diseases. These can have terrible complications when standards and values are abandoned. We must all take protective measures.

With the proper serum, the physical body is protected against disease. We can also protect our children from moral and spiritual diseases.

The word inoculate has two parts: in—“to be within”—and oculate means “eye to see.”

When children are baptized and confirmed (see D&C 20:41, 43; D&C 33:15), we place an eye within them—the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost (see D&C 121:26). With the Restoration of the gospel came authority to confer this gift.

The Book of Mormon gives us the key:

“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. … Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you [and your children as well] all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:3).

If you will accept it in your mind and cradle it in your feelings, a knowledge of the restored gospel and a testimony of Jesus Christ can spiritually immunize your children.

One thing is very clear: the safest place and the best protection against the moral and spiritual diseases is a stable home and family. This has always been true; it will be true forever. We must keep that foremost in our minds.

The scriptures speak of “the shield of faith wherewith,” the Lord said, “ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (D&C 27:17).

This shield of faith is best fabricated in a cottage industry. While the shield can be polished in classes in the Church and in activities, it is meant to be handcrafted in the home and fitted to each individual.

The Lord said, “Take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand” (D&C 27:15).

Our young people in many ways are much stronger and better than we were. They and we should not be afraid of what is ahead.

Encourage our young people. They need not live in fear (see D&C 6:36). Fear is the opposite of faith.

While we cannot erase wickedness, we can produce young Latter-day Saints who, spiritually nourished, are immunized against evil influences.

As a grandfather who has lived a long time, I counsel you to have faith. Things have a way of working out. Stay close to the Church. Keep your children close to the Church.

In Alma’s day “the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it … had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God” (Alma 31:5).

True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.

Find happiness in ordinary things, and keep your sense of humor.

Nona recovered from measles and rheumatic fever. She lived long enough to benefit from open-heart surgery and enjoyed years of much improved health. Others spoke of her newly acquired energy. She said, “I have a Cadillac engine in a Model T frame.”

Keep your sense of humor!

Do not be afraid to bring children into the world. We are under covenant to provide physical bodies so that spirits may enter mortality (see Gen. 1:28; Moses 2:28). Children are the future of the restored Church.

Put your homes in order. If Mother is working outside of the home, see if there are ways to change that, even a little. It may be very difficult to change at the present time. But analyze carefully and be prayerful (see D&C 9:8–9). Then expect to have inspiration, which is revelation (see D&C 8:2–3). Expect intervention from power from beyond the veil to help you move, in due time, to what is best for your family.

Alma called the plan of salvation “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8; see also 2 Ne. 11:5; Alma 12:25; Alma 17:16; Alma 34:9; Alma 41:2; Alma 42:5, 11–13, 15, 31; Moses 6:62).

Each of us came into mortality to receive a mortal body and to be tested (see Abr. 3:24–26).

Life will not be free from challenges, some of them bitter and hard to bear. We may wish to be spared all the trials of life, but that would be contrary to the great plan of happiness, “for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Ne. 2:11). This testing is the source of our strength.

As an innocent child, my sister Adele’s life was cruelly interrupted by disease and suffering. She and all the others so taken continue the work of the Lord beyond the veil. She will not be denied anything essential for her eternal progression.

We also lost an infant granddaughter. She was named Emma after my mother. We receive comfort from the scriptures.

“Little children need no repentance, neither baptism. …

“… Little children are alive in Christ” (Moro. 8:11–12).

Remember the Atonement of Christ. Do not despair or count as forever lost those who have fallen to the temptations of Satan. They will, after the debt is paid to “the uttermost farthing” (Matt. 5:26) and after the healing which attends complete repentance takes place, receive a salvation.

Follow the leaders who are called to preside over you, for the promise is given: “If my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place” (D&C 124:45).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward “until it has filled the whole earth” (D&C 65:2) and the great Jehovah announces that His work is done (see History of the Church, 4:540). The Church is a safe harbor. We will be protected by justice and comforted by mercy (see Alma 34:15–16). No unhallowed hand can stay the progress of this work (see D&C 76:3).

We are not blind to the conditions in the world.

The Apostle Paul prophesied of “perilous times” in the last days (2 Tim. 3:1), and he warned, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

Isaiah promised, “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee” (Isa. 54:14).

The Lord Himself encouraged, “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come” (D&C 68:6). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

It was nothing that I hadn't heard before, but I found a lot of comfort in his words. I thought how remarkable it was that even Elder Packer expresses his anxiety, even if it was just for a moment. Also, anyone who knows me knows that Elder Packer speaks my language when he talks about being "spiritually vaccinated".  I thought of the process of being vaccinated. It hurts, it sometimes makes us sick, and it's usually regarded as a very unpleasant process, even to adults. But it's a small amount of pain for a lifetime of protection. Being immunized also doesn't mean that you'll never be exposed to a disease again, it just means that your body 1) recognizes that disease and 2) knows how to fight it. The same is true of a spiritual immunization. You'll still be faced with temptation and trials, but the spirit will be with you and will help you recognize it and fight it before it harms you.

So, since I'm being physically immunized for nursing school, I guess now is as good a time as any to continue with my spiritual immunization. What a blessing it is to have somewhere to turn when things like this happen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

For there ain't no doubt, I love this land...

I've had a moment to reflect as so many of us do on this day each year. I decided today that I don't think of 9/11 as a day of sadness, because as a naive 13-year-old, the words "World Trade Center" had just entered my vocabulary. The memory is associated with a lot of fear and confusion for me. I came across this video this morning:

It took me back to that night as I was sitting in my living room watching with the rest of the country. At that moment I remember my fear and confusion being replaced by peace. My heart swelled with gratitude because the man we had elected to lead this country was quoting the bible, and offering condolences to an entire nation. As I think about it now, that day, and the following days after, as a nation we showed what it meant to be strong. Not because we went to war, but because we remembered our neighbors, our freedom, and our God.

President Monson wrote a feature in The Washington Post on the tenth anniversary of 9/11:

"There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.

Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well"

One of the frustrations that comes with this recollection, is the realization of how far we've strayed. How the "renewal of faith has waned" as President Monson put it. How expressions of charity have given way to a society of entitlement. Some have even gone so far as to say that the founding fathers were, in fact, not religious or that their beliefs had no effect on the constitution. Now is when the sadness comes for me.

So as we remember where we were 12 years ago, let's also keep in mind the feelings of patriotism, brotherly love and faith we felt.

Friday, September 6, 2013

As of Late...

Wow, what a whirlwind this last little while has been. It seems like the day has just started and it's time to go to bed. We've been busy and truly blessed.

Our last weekend in SLC, we actually left town to go to Shelley, ID for the Harwell Family Reunion. It was great to reconnect with the Harwell cousins. Despite our tent and everything in it getting soaked by the sprinklers, it was a great little trip.

What's not to love about this photo? The Harwell "kids" with Grandpa Stan.
Back row: Scott, Susan, Alan. Front row: Bill, Grandpa, Curtis and Loretta.
The Harwell crew. It's so fun to be part of such a great family.

We zipped home on Saturday night to go to church in our ward one last time and to finish packing before moving day on Tuesday. I was overwhelmed with the amount of people who showed up to help move us out. Either they like us or they were excited to see us leave... I'd like to think it was the former. I think I told Ian about 100 times that I couldn't stand to leave such a wonderful place.

Ian's parents helped us drive down to St. George. We packed up our four vehicles and drove caravan-style. After a few days of job hunting and trying to make a place for ourselves, we hit the road again to Palisades State Park for the 1st Sanderson Family Reunion. We weren't sure if we were going to make the trip until the day before, but I'm so glad we did. I have a lot of fond memories with my Sanderson cousins and we stayed up until late at night (ya know, like 11:30 or something) talking and laughing until our stomachs hurt. Such good times.

Megan and I rowing back to shore. Does anyone else think this is as hilarious as I do?
This was the only way we could sit without tipping that teeny raft over.

We're missing a few, but I freaking LOVE these people.
My dear Grandma Bills let us stay in her house in St. George for the first couple weeks. We weren't sure about our employment situation and how much we could afford for rent, so being able to use her empty house was a LIFESAVER! I don't know how we would've made it without her.

I started school two days after the Sanderson reunion, and that same week, I got this in my email:

"Dear Cori,
Congratulations!  You have been accepted as a student in the Dixie State University Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program for spring semester 2014.  You will be allowed to continue through the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program as long as you remain in good standing. Classes will start Tuesday, January 7, 2014." 

I read it a few times to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me, and then I called Ian to tell him. He said, "Yaaaaaaaay! I told you!"

I walked out into the muggy day that is so uncharacteristic for St. George and called my mom. The dam burst at that point and she couldn't understand me through my tears as I told her I got accepted. I felt like a 100-lb weight had been lifted off my shoulders as all the uncertainty about what the next couple of years would bring melted away. I remember as a sixteen-year-old sitting in a class at EFY, a teacher named Brother McKeoen talked about living the life The Lord has in store for you. He related the story of his life after his mission where he decided in a matter of days that he was going to move from The UK to The US, and how everything fell into place because he was following the spirit. He stood and spoke with an intensity I had rarely seen before, or since for that matter, and said, "When you get to the point in your life where you're standing in front of two doors, and one says 'lose your life' and the other one says 'find it', (referring to Matt. 10:39) you run through that first door and don't look back, because you will see some amazing things happen." I remember just hanging on his every word but really having no idea what he was talking about. I've spent the last two years learning that lesson, trying to "lose my life" and have faith that I could do this really hard thing. Reading that letter was the perfect manifestation of the fact that Heavenly Father truly moves mountains when you're living the life he has in store for you.

It's hard to believe, but we've been in St George for almost a month! It's been a bit of an adjustment (mostly avoiding heat stroke) but we're loving it so far. After watching in amazement at even more tender mercies that came our way, we moved into a townhouse on Tuesday. Ian snapped a pic right before we signed the lease.

Our place. #78
We like the extra space, but the stairs have proven to be slightly annoying. I swear I go up and down about 50 times a day. I just stand at the top for a few seconds and decide if I have everything I need before I go down so I don't have to hike back up to get my phone charger or something dumb like that. I now know why it was such a big deal for my mom when we moved from our tri-level in West Jordan to our rambler in American Fork all those years ago.

For the time being, I'm just finishing up a couple last minute classes and getting ready to start the nursing program. Now that I know it's happening for real, I just want it to be here! Ian's starting nerd school in the spring at SUU. He's decided to change his major from Business to Math with an emphasis in Actuarial Science (See, I told you. Nerd school). He'll hopefully start his career as an Actuary about the same time I get done. The words don't do justice when I say how grateful I am for this time in my life, and amazed at how it's all come together.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Only Constant in Life is Change


I'm not pregnant.

I found out last Friday that I didn't get accepted into the nursing program at SLCC. I knew it was a long shot, so I wasn't really surprised by the rejection letter. 

A few months ago, Ian and I spent a weekend in St. George. As part of the trip, I met with Alice Clegg, the nursing advisor at Dixie State. I've met with a fair share of nursing advisors in the course of my education, but Alice was the only one that made me feel like I had an advocate in this process. She had a 3x5 card with the range of scores of the people who had just been accepted, and she looked at my transcript and showed me exactly what I need to do to get accepted. She even took the time to show me what the nursing program schedule looks like. I left her office feeling that, not only was this possible, I was going to do it!

So, it is with excitement and a whole lot of nerves that I announce that we're officially going to be Southern Utah people. 

It hasn't been an easy decision for me. I've gone back and forth about it in my head over and over and over (and over). I absolutely love my job. My coworkers are like family to me and the kids I interact with brighten my day. I feel important and satisfied in my job, and I have "What in the world are we doing" moments all day long at work.

The ultimate decision-maker, however, is that we both really feel like this is where we're meant to be. There are a lot of reasons for this too. The biggest one is that sunshine makes me a different person. The weeks of inversion in the winter turn me into a not nice person to be around. We're in a good position in life right now where we have the ability to relocate relatively easily, so really why the heck not? I do find it funny, too, that I'm finishing my education (well, for the time being. Are you ever really finished?) right back where I started it. 

I'm truly am excited about the new adventure we're about to embark on. There's always some anxiety associated with a big change, but it's time. I'm in the process of applying for the nursing program at Dixie, and, after retaking some classes this summer, I feel like I have a good shot at getting in. So, we'll see.

So...that's that. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ok, I guess I can be done with my blogging hiatus

Wow, how can it 10 months have gone by so quickly? I pulled some pictures off my phone to highlight the adventures over the last little while.

We had our annual Summer bash in Shanna's backyard in Santaquin. It was a night of dancing, food and fun!  It was so good to connect with my cousins that I don't get to see very often anymore.

The band

The crew dancing the night away
 We bought a new car in September. Ian decided he didn't want the Jeep to be his daily driver any more because of the less-than-ideal gas mileage. We found this 2005 Civic and just couldn't pass it up. We're blessed and grateful to be able to afford all three vehicles. :)

The family took a trip down to St. George for my cousin Ricqui's son's baby blessing. We stopped in a ghost town called Frisco, west of Beaver. Here's the remnants of the old mining town. Dad brought his metal detector and we were able to find some treasures.

Halloween came and went this year without too much of a fuss. Quite frankly, I don't even remember what we did. We did carve some pumpkins on the Sunday before.

I don't know whether to laugh of be creeped out.
Wendy became the 4th of the 5 ding dongs to get married on November 3, 2012, and now lives in London with her husband, Tom. It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony on a gorgeous day! We were the "backup" bridesmaids, and had a blast reconnecting.

Ian got to take paragliding lessons in November. He spent the next few days researching paragliding equipment online...
After a flight

We resumed our family tradition of going to TSO the night before Thanksgiving. I can't believe how they manage to outdo themselves year after year.

After 3 months of Ian driving the Civic, it got hit by a school bus in the high school parking lot. Of course it had to be the newest, nicest car that we own... It was just a little fender bender though, and it was fixed well.

 Christmas Eve was spent at the Capua's. Santa (Chris) made an appearance, and the grandkids were thrilled. I love the magic of Christmas, and I might as well be one of them.

Ian got me a sewing machine for Christmas, and I've had lots of fun being "Martha Stewart" as one of my friends calls me. Here's a few of the things I've been working on:

an overnight bag

A receiving blanket

a pillowcase that I ended up sending to Japan for Ian
 There's a lot more than that, but these are the ones I have pictures of.

We made a trip to St George at the end of March. The blossoms were out, and the temperatures were in the low 80s. It was the perfect trip!

Well, there's the highlight reel. I feel like we have some pretty exciting things on the horizon, so I'll blog more as it all pans out. Life is good!