Saturday, December 25, 2010

Seeing the Light

I awoke to my youngest sister's excited squeals. I groaned and rolled over, trying to go back to sleep. "Merry Christmas Eve, Kate!" she kept saying as she jumped up and down on my bed. I looked up at the blinding light coming in through my window and coved my head. It was too early...alright it was 9:30...but still, I was tired, and I lingered in my bed trying to hold on to my last dream.

Eventually I gave up going back to sleep and joined the rest of my family in the kitchen.  She kept insisting it was time to open presents, and my mom kindly took her aside and explained that presents weren't opened until Christmas day. Liz still kept trying to get her way, but mom wasn't having it. There was talk of getting a few last minute items and dropping off gifts for friends of the family. I had a sour expression on my face as I skimmed the morning paper.  "What are you doing today, Kate?"  my father asked.  I gazed back and glumly replied, "I'm working."  I tried to think of a million excuses not to go in to work, but eventually, my responsible half won.

As I got ready for work, Mom could sense my frustration and she took me aside.  She gently told me that I could chose to be happy, and I could decided to do my best to serve people today. I brushed off the thought as sleepiness and the impending afternoon weighed heavily on my mind.  It was December 24th, and I wanted to spend it at home with my family who I rarely got to see anymore--since I'd gone away to school.

Nonetheless, I made it to work with not a moment to spare...literally.  Every single check stand was open.  I had never seen that, and I sighed as I went to clock in.  The day danced by slowly as we dealt with the many shoppers looking for last minute gifts.  Most of them were upset when they found out that we were sold out of almost every "hot ticket" item.  "Serves them right for waiting until the day before Christmas," snickered a few of my co-workers.  As I pushed a particularly heavy flat bed of merchandise, I kept feeling sorry for myself.  Several minutes later, a guest passed by me and wished me a very "Merry Christmas."  I stopped for a second and appreciated the greeting, but then got back to work as the store was literally a mad house. It was so busy that I  kept forgetting that it was Christmas Eve until I saw someone wearing a Santa hat or carrying a million rolls of wrapping paper down my freshly organized aisles-- knocking over all of my hard work.

Finally the store closed, and we were all anxious to get home.  Almost everyone was impatient and tired of looking at the many aisles that were littered with toys and wrapping paper.  We got off right around 8pm.  I got in my car, and was delighted to hear the Christmas music on the radio, and I sang along to the many new age Christmas songs, until "The First Noel" came on the radio and reminded me how many times I'd thought about 'me' today.

It sunk in.

All day in a store had made me think of the materialism of Christmas-- and the "me, me, me" mentality it can bring upon us--leaving us feeling empty and low. For the first time all day, I smiled as I thought of the true reason for the season. 

I started to notice all of the lovely lights on homes and Christmas trees as I drove into my neighborhood.  I wondered why people put lights on their homes and trees.  That was easy; It could symbolize the Light of Christ-- or perhaps the star that led the wise men and the shepherds to Bethlehem on that holy Christmas eve so many years ago. Then something that I'd never thought about occured to me.  If the lights represented the star that led those who wanted to come unto Christ in Bethlahem, by putting lights on our trees and homes, we are in a sense saying, "Christ is within."  He lives within our homes and our hearts if we'll but accept him. More and more people think about the gifts, the tree, and all the decor rather than what we should be remembering-- We wouldn't be anything without the greatest Christmas gift of all--God's son Jesus Christ. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Upside Down...

I work at Target, and one of the things that I do is cashiering.  The other day, I was ringing a lady up, and I saw that she had the new Jack Johnson CD. I told her how much I liked him, and then I asked if if she was a fan. I expected her to say, no, it's for my grandson or something like that... Instead, she smiled and said "Actually, he's my nephew." 


Mind blown.

Love this song. Curious George reminds me of my little sister, Lizzie. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Love and Marriage

The last week of May, I got to go to Kentucky for a wedding.  Alex's older brother Kyle, was getting married. It was also my first time meeting Alex's family.  They were so much fun! Stuart with his "flirty face" and Hilary catching the bouquet and then tossing it to me. Alex and his mom dancing was fun, and I heard that his dad does a pretty mean air guitar. ;) What a fun family!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We've got More Bounce in California...

After battling ice, snow, and finals,  I am finally back home in Modesto!

It's nice to be able to wear short sleeve shirts again... and see the sun for that matter! Yay for sunny California!

I've mostly been helping my family with their many projects and helping to care for my little sisters.

Alex visited last weekend and met the family. :)  That was a really neat experience to have him here.  He was very sweet and made a great impression.

Well, now it's back to work!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
The last few weeks I've been on a constant quest to make myself truly happy.  I generally try to be a happy and optimistic person... but I also know life isn't perfect.  I've tried all kinds of things, and recently, I always feel like there's a little something missing. However, for the longest time, I couldn't put my finger on what it was.

I started off by learning more about myself... Such as my likes and dislikes.  I decided to make a list of silly little things that make me happy:

Kiwi Strawberry Snapple
Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers 
Starburst Jelly Beans
Pictures of fun memories
Colorful sharpies
Minty gum
My HOT PINK laptop
Zupa's sandwiches
A nice text message
Sweat pants
Writing (blogs, news, etc.)
Meeting new people
Dancing around for no reason
Smiles from strangers
Sunshine and warm weather
Good songs on the radio
Hot chocolate
A good book
Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
Cookie dough
"Miss Me" jeans
My senior sweatshirt
"10 Things I Hate About You"
Cinnamon sugar or blueberry bagels
A song with clever lyrics
"My Life is Average"
Orange Juice
My 3 glow fish
Ted (my childhood teddy bear)
Belting the lyrics to a favorite musical

It was great to realize things that I like and that will make me momentarily happy.  That got me thinking though... what about when I'm not happy?  How do I make myself happy then?

Here are a few simple things to keep in mind:

You can't change a lot of things... so build a bridge and get over it!  It's easier said than done (believe me, I know),  but it's a lot healthier than holding on to a lot of unhappiness and negativity.

Negativity... is unattractive and unbecoming. Stay clear of it.

Mind your manners... A lot of times if we're having a bad day or something doesn't go the way we planned we take it out on people around us. This can make you look rude, but more importantly, it can ruin someone else's day.

Take a deep breath... Don't confront someone when you're angry or upset.  Wait to cool off.  Nine times out of ten, once you're calmed down, you'll regret the things you said and did while you were angry.

The Golden Rule... Sometimes we like to gossip or talk about others behind their backs... especially if we don't like someone or if we feel like we've been wronged. We're all guilty of this, but it doesn't make it right. If someone starts it, diffuse it by saying something nice about the person that is being talked about. Don't you hope someone would be courteous enough to do the same for you?

Mind your own bees wax.... You don't need to go looking for a reason to be angry or gossipy.

Learn from others' mistakes... Remember that time someone did or said something that tore your heart in two?  Don't do it to someone else in the future; That's called being a hypocrite.  We go through a lot of things so that we can be prepared to serve others in the future.  Don't make the same mistakes as those who hurt you.

Give the benefit of the doubt... A lot of times there are people around us who do things that hurt our feelings.  However, half the time, they aren't thinking, and years down the road you won't care anyway.

Staying happy, even when it's hard, and remembering the little things that keep us happy are both essential.  However, there is one sure way of being truly happy, and I was slightly embarrassed that I hadn't thought of it before.

It's so simple that it's sometimes easy to forget...

It's not all about me... After some fasting and praying a few Sundays ago, I came to several conclusions about what I was missing.  I was focusing on what made me happy...what made me feel good... what made me look good... I'd forgotten what I had been counciled by a wise friend to do... to go forth with great love and joy in my soul... to serve others.

The key to happiness isn't about my favorite flavor of jolly rancher or if the sun is shining today.  Though those are nice things, there's is so much more to it. It's about how I used my day. It needs to be about blessing the lives of others.  The thing that was missing was service.

Matthew 10:39 it says: "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

These videos are from the "Mormon Messages" YouTube site, and they are great reminders of what we need to be doing.

I've found that my quest is ongoing and that I will seek many things throughout my life.  However, I feel blessed with the knowledge that true happiness can only come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and by following his council:

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." -John 15:9-12

I don't know about you, but starting tomorrow I'm going to "wake up, and do something more." :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bring it on 2010!

"Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family."
-Thomas S. Monson

The new year is seen a shining opportunity to refresh the page, turn over a new leaf, to start a new chapter in your life. It is customary on New Year's Eve to reflect on the previous year and to make any improvements.  

Since I was about fourteen, I have made a list of resolutions, and I carefully post each list on the bulletin board in my bedroom.  A small stack has accumulated over the years.  This year, I decided to reflect on the last several years rather than just 2009.  Several examples of past resolutions include: "Be on time to everything (FYI Seminary.)" "Be the kind of friend/companion I want to have."  "Try new things." "Delete my myspace." "Listen and learn more from Mom and Dad."

The idea of a fresh start and 5-10 new goals seems quite exciting at first.  However, a slap from a sibling and one alarm clock malfunction later, and those resolutions are going, going, and gone. 

Sure, you'll accomplish maybe 2-3 of the list, but what about the other 7-8?  Aren't they just as important?  Is there a surefire way to try and knock out 9-10 of your resolutions?  

Where there is a will, there is a way! This year, I made my usual list of ten resolutions.  However, I am not going to try and tackle them all at once.  Each is a stepping stone to one large goal or motto that I want to keep.  One of my favorite quotes is one by the Prophet Thomas S. Monson, and it reads:  
"Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family."
This simple quote embodies all that I wish to accomplish this year.  With joy, love, and an optimistic outlook, who is there to stop me?  NO ONE! 

BRING IT ON 2010!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Welcome to Finals Week

I just keep waiting for the elephants to show up...

The Harold B. Lee library at BYU is a circus tonight... and I mean that quite literally.

Friday will mark our first "reading day" before finals. I can just smell the stress and desperation hanging heavily in the air.

Something is different.

Tables are full.

No light music greets my ears as I sit on the second floor in the history section.

The regularly hoppin' periodicals section which is known as a social haven is silent.

This is a bit freaky...

Just when I thought all hope was lost, the circus rolled into town.

I saw the monkeys- I was met with freshmen running around in Santa hats... dropping pens then making farting noises.

Tide rope walkers-Next, I felt like I was surrounded by the fifty million engaged couples that push their chairs together and attempt to cuddle. Look, I see a sign next to them! It reads: "Please don't feed the engaged couples, they will bite...or hold your hand." Man, I don't know what's worse...

Here are the tigers-Then note to my left the married Asian couple that fights in Chinese. The wife slaps her husband several times as he tries to move her computer. They then proceed to storm angrily in and out of the library.... over and over. Get over it people!

I'm in a quiet zone, and I keep busting up... probably embarrassing my boyfriend. Everyone turns their eyes to give me annoyed looks. I cover my laugh with a cough...

It's not my fault! I guess they don't know we're in the middle of a circus...

As my boyfriend and I were leaving he put on his HUGE coat. With me being a California... and it being 5 degrees outside... I put on my first two jackets. I then put my HUGE jacket on.I was so chubby, Chad had to put my backpack on me. Then we left....laughing....

And there you have it folks, the finale... the elephants. :)

The circus is leaving town...

Wow! Harold is on a role tonight!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Learning Life Lessons

In the past week, I have been looking for something meaningful to blog about. Something that has come up with several of my close friends is something that I myself went through last year. It was something I did not really address publicly, and I do not wish to do so at the present time. However, looking back over what seemed to be one of the gloomiest times of my life, I gained several valuable messages. One of them was a message that the most important thing to do in every bad situation is to take a step back and to see what you can learn.

Sometimes our closest friends are the ones that hurt us the most. They have the most power over us of any of our other friends. Letting someone in is hard to do. Watching them run out is even harder. However, when a bad situation arises, we need to learn from it. Pick ourselves back up and try to stand; Even when all you want to do is fall back to the floor. Let the wound heal, and meet other people. Most importantly, let it go. Forgive the wrong. Someday, when the time is right, they'll remember what they did. Maybe you'll be friends again... maybe not. Either way, you get what you take from it. So, take away a lesson in life and a learning experience.

In order to do this, maybe it's just time to pray about it. The Holy Spirit is the way to gain closure. The Spirit can give you closure when you are in your darkest hour.

He's a great friend.

Though these experiences are hard, and it seems like you might not ever get over them you will. These experiences make us who we are and shape our personalities. They give you gifts. Gifts range from compassion, empathy, knowledge, a listening ear, maturity, charity, and many others. Everyone gains unique insights and gifts.

So, if you're having a hard time, pray for strength and look for the silver linings. There's always at least one.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Party at our pad in Provo...

So, most people think the end of summer is a sad time. Not for us! BYU is the most amazing university in the world! Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to move into my new apartment with five other amazing BYU students: Sarah Cluff, Elise Seniki, Susie Ingoldsby, Melissa Calkins, Sarah Duke, and me!

A picture's worth a thousand words

So, most of my summer consisted of working. However, I did have a few fun moments. A picture is worth a thousand words. So, here are some highlights from summer 2009. :)






Thursday, July 23, 2009


Yesterday, I was grocery shopping for my mom, and I decided to take my siblings with me. At the end of one errand, I let them each get a piece of candy. As we were walking out of the store I was stuffing Milky Way in my mouth, and I said to one of my sisters:

"I think I have a problem. I think I'm addicted to chocolate..."

She said in a very joking manner: "I'm so proud of you... you're admitting you have problem."

After this my youngest sibling pipes in and says "Congratulations, Kate!!"

Congratulations to me...