Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Greatest Moments of 2013.

It's that time of year again! We spend time with family and friends, we watch the ball drop in Times Square, we make resolutions that we'll never keep, and of course, we reflect upon the last year.  Well I'll tell ya... 2013 was a monumental year! After several late-night musings and reflections within my shower, I have compiled a list in order to demonstrate why this year has been unforgettable.

1.  In the Spring semester of 2013, I forged the best student-professor relationship ever. One of my English professors was named Kate Frost, and that woman is an absolute gem. She's intelligent, she's passionate, and she is so sensitive to the needs of her students. I loved attending class and office hours with Kate. I still visit her all the time, and she has definitely served as a mentor as I progress through college.

2.  In February, some students had the opportunity to go to Disneyland for $60. Sure... the line to buy such tickets was obscene, but it was so worth it, and I had a great time with my roommate. I still like to think that a giddy child still lives within me, and I hadn't been to Disneyland in so long! Everything was as special as I remembered, and the World of Color was absolutely amazing. I know that if my mom were there, she would be bawling her eyes out. I'm pretty sure that Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth!

3.  In January, I met two amazing girls from China -- Bonnie and Lily. I cannot imagine being in a completely different country by myself, but these two girls were strong, smart, and so accepting of change. I invited them to Institute, and they felt the Spirit so poignantly. And before I knew it, they were attending missionary discussions and getting baptized. They always say that I helped them... but they helped me, too. I learned so much, and it was humbling to see them move forward with so much faith.

4.  I saw the Easter Pageant for the first time at the Mesa Temple.  AND I had the best company -- Sister Coombs/Abernathy and Mr. Jim.  They are, probably, my favorite people in the world, and I've shared many special conversations with Sister Coombs/Abernathy at the Tempe Institute. Seeing her all the time always made my day, and then her husband, Mr. Jim, is a total winner! The Easter Pageant was wonderful, and I am grateful for the experience.

5.  On June 29th (I think), Kristin and Jon got married at the Mesa Temple. Everything was perfect... people were happy, the sun was shining, and we roasted in 118 degree weather. Kristin and Jon have one of the best relationships I have ever seen. Their marriage was like the cherry on top for a great summer.

6.  On August 4th, we went to Washington D.C. I have decided to use the Library of Congress as a model for my future home. That place is an absolute dream, and I could spend hours... no days within that library.

7.  The beginning of Fall semester for 2013 called for a lot of new changes. I moved to a new house in Mesa, I got a new car named Chico, and I changed my major to English Literature, and I moved to a new YSA ward. Most importantly, however, I made new friends... friends that would help me more than I could have ever imagined.

8. Dad got a new job at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. He's the Vice President of Academic Affairs. And with that job, he was given a new salary of $13 million a year. Just kidding... that's the budget he has to work with for the school. My dad is out in Utah right now. Meanwhile, I'm helping Mom and Brigham prepare for the big move. We've been packing, cleaning, and within a couple of weeks, this house in PA will be vacated. We'll miss this place, but we are ready for a new adventure.

9.  In October's General Conference, Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk called Like a Broken Vessel. I have never felt the Spirit so strongly during a session of conference. His inspired words truly resonated with me. His council answered the prayers of so many individuals around the world who suffer from emotional or mental disorders.  The prayers of those family members who want to help their loved ones were answered, too.  Once again, it was confirmed to me that Heavenly Father is aware of our sincerest desires.

10. This past semester, I took a class that focused on young adult literature. We read an incredible book called It's Kind of a Funny Story which is about a teenager's battle with depression and his life-changing experience in a psychiatric hospital. Our class had the opportunity to Skype with the author, Ned Vizzini. I thought his story was inspiring, especially as it was taken from his life. He was wise, funny, and he offered a fresh perspective. Just a couple weeks ago, however, Ned Vizzini committed suicide.  His death deeply saddens me, and I wonder if he realized the profound effect he had upon readers all over the country.

11.  My friends... you can just call me super. In November, I believe, something absolutely crazy happened to me. On Wednesday nights, I took a Shakespeare class, and I would always walk back to my car in the dark. I was in a remote area of campus when I saw this sketchy guy trying to steal a bike. I freaked and called the campus security... usually they're patrolling at night. But then... the guy started riding the stolen bike away. I, possessing wonderfully good manners, politely asked him to STOP. Obviously... he didn't. But I was holding a rather large textbook in my hands. I chucked that book, and miraculously, it smacked him across the head and he came tumbling to the ground. But then he wasn't getting up and I thought, "Crap... I killed him." By the time he got up, security arrived and apprehended the criminal. He looked at me with bewilderment, and I merely smiled thinking, "Yeah. You just got schooled by a girl with a textbook."

12.  This holiday season, my whole family spent Christmas in Collegeville, PA for the last time. It was a good Christmas because we were all together, and we got to visit our favorite places.  We all grew up here, and leaving is really hard.  But this is life, and life brings change that we have to embrace!  Without a doubt, this was my favorite Christmas.

13. And last but certainly not least... I have changed so much.  I know that sounds so cliché, but it's true. This year, I encountered some of the greatest challenges of my life, but with those trials comes refinement. I discovered that despite my weaknesses, I am strong. I discovered that anxiety does not define who I am, and while I may struggle to control it for the rest of my life, I will press forward with faith and determination. I discovered that Heavenly Father gives us challenges because He loves us, and He wants us to become the best we can possibly be. I discovered that all it takes is gratitude and humility to see how Heavenly Father has richly blessed us.

It's 2014 everybody... and I am so excited for a brand new year!!! I speak on behalf of my family when I wish you a better and brighter year. And while we pursue our goals and dreams, let us show more love, patience, and compassion towards those around us!

Please marvel at our astonishingly good looks.

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