Monday, April 2, 2018

M*A*S*H Got Me Into Grad School.

It's true. The TV series got me into NNU, a pretty university in Nampa, Idaho. Admission committees must be so tired of reading "it's my dream to be a counselor - here are my qualifications" essays. I try to tell a story that discusses my educational and professional experiences without sounding like a laundry list or a Miss America bio. So I wrote about M*A*S*H. Specifically, I wrote about Sidney Freeman, the smart, witty, and refreshingly authentic psychiatrist who has the respect of everyone in the unit (minus Frank). Sidney made a deep impression when I first saw the show, and I wanted to emulate his ability to help the wounded, all while showing that he was compassionate and human.

I interviewed at NNU a few weeks ago. The interviews went well, the other candidates said that I was scary, and I discovered that the library has a Starbucks. But the faculty member who interviewed me said that the committee was blown away by my essay, and reading my piece prompted a trip-down-memory-lane conversation about M*A*S*H.

I was accepted to NNU... and then I declined their invitation. The campus and faculty seemed great, but their website failed to mention that this was a three-year program with classes every night and on Saturdays. When I learned about this at the interview, I felt crushed because I loved Boise so much but didn't want to commit to a program that was intended for working professionals.

So I chose Idaho State, which also means that I chose Pocatello—the armpit of Idaho, the claustrophobic town with rundown buildings where Marty McFly could make an appearance at any time. At least the nearby town, Chubbuck, has Starbucks and Panera. Even though I'm not thrilled about the town, I am excited for my new program, and I'm excited for a change in my life.

March was an incredibly busy but delightful month for the Hood family. At the beginning of the month, Kylie, Alex, and Ollie came to visit from Georgia. In Mom's eagerness to feed and nourish her grandchildren, she went to get some groceries and brought home this haul:
And notice the recipient of the goodies is quite happy.

A couple weeks later, the Burgoyne family joined us. Theo and Alex enjoyed play/fighting with each other while the rest of us played with Vivi and made ridiculous noises and faces to make her smile. Spending time with Vivi meant constantly holding her, taking her on walks in the nice weather, and sitting on patio with her. I swear... if I were to approach my mom with a severed arm, she wouldn't notice if Vivi was charming her with a sweet, gummy smile. 

We all celebrated Kylie's 27th birthday.

The kids decorated Easter eggs.

We played AND WON the weird, HQ game. We won a grand total of $7, but judging by our reactions that day, you would have thought that we won the lottery. 

The kids went on walks, played with the neighbors, ran in the backyard, saw farm animals, and went on wheelbarrow rides. 

We got 4 new chicks, and I'm in love with the gray one. It's a shame they get so ugly. 

I got an Instant Pot, and I'm in love with it. I've always had my eye on the handy appliance, but I feel like it got a lot of unfortunate attention. At first, the Instant Pot made me think of those "authentic" and "candid" blogs where women wearing copious amounts of hair product and make-up take a thousand pictures of their culinary creations and tell 10,000 word narratives about their Nana who fed a hoard of orphans with a home-cooked meal. Just get to the damn recipe. 

So to keep it brief, I'll just tell you that the Instant Pot is worth the hype, and it's an incredible time-saver. And I'll only show you a single picture of my favorite creation, a classic cheesecake, and I'll spare you the long story of how my great-great-grandparents smuggled the recipe into the US while escaping a tyrannical regime... because that never happened. 

And finally, General Conference weekend was wonderful. I'm guilty of falling asleep through conference on several occasions. Sometimes, my eyes are open, but my brain is half dead. Needless to say, I'm grateful that the talks are available soon. The new changes excite me, but I'm happiest that we are going to involve the Young Women more in the functions of the ward. We want these girls to feel valued and appreciated, but our actions speak otherwise when we don't give them consistent opportunities to grow, learn, and serve. It already bothers me how we don't make a bigger deal out of the Personal Progress program. The PP program is a massive undertaking, and it's a significant achievement when these girls finish all of the requirements of value projects. I know the YW can get the job done, and I can't wait for them to have more chances to shine. 

I told my dad that my favorite part of conference was the solemn assembly—specifically, when we sustained President Nelson. I consider Thomas S. Monson one of the prophets of my childhood, so although I knew that he would be reunited with his sweet wife, his passing deeply saddened me. But my heart swelled when I raised my hand to sustain Pres. Nelson, and I knew that the prophetic mantle had been passed to him. I have a weird relationship with the Spirit, and it's difficult for me to discern whether or not I'm receiving a prompting or if my brain is just hyperactive... or a combination of both? But I've noticed that, since I was a YW, I receive consistent confirmations that we're led by a prophet, seer, and revelator. So despite the questions that I constantly ask about the Gospel and my frustrations when I cannot understand eternal principles while stuck in mortality, this confirmation about Pres. Nelson means everything to me, and it makes me feel safe. 

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