a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten years later....my September 11th

I was at my house getting ready for school. The TV was always on in the mornings although I rarely paid attention to it. I walked into my parents’ bathroom to grab something when the news caught my eye. One of the Twin Towers had been hit by a flying plane. Slowly I approached the TV to watch and hear more. It was then that I watched as another plane hit the second tower. I yelled for my parents to come and watch. We didn’t know what was happening. We were glued to the TV screen. Then bright red words came across the screen…

“America is under attack.”

My dad took me to school late because we didn’t want to leave the TV screen. I walked into my first period and the TV was on. All day long the TVs were on. The Pentagon was hit by another plane. The fourth plane landed in a field, obviously not reaching its destination. We didn’t know how many planes there were or when the attacks would be finished.

The day of September 11, 2001 was burned in my memory. I was 14 years old.

It would take weeks and weeks to sort everything out. Everyday the news reported something new, people that were missing, firefighters that had sacrificed themselves, the hijackers and their sinister plot, the terror they had created, and the American unity that ultimately prevailed.

I remember the day when they reported that ground zero had finally stopped smoldering. I remember watching over and over the video of the planes hitting the towers and the people in the streets trying to escape the dust and debris that clogged the streets and filled the air. The stories emerged, the dead were mourned, the survivors honored.

Weeks turned into months and months into years.

Slowly we picked ourselves up. Americans came together and we took revenge. We realized the value of our freedom. The masterminds behind the attacks were found and ultimately put to death.

Every year on the anniversary of 9/11 I would watch on the news as a bell was chimed for each of the people killed on that day. Every day for nine years the same act was repeated. Ground zero was cleaned up and the Freedom Tower was cleared for construction, a symbol that Americans will not back down, we will not forgot, and we will not be the same.

I didn’t know that on this day, September 11, 2011, exactly ten years later that I would be living in the nation’s capital. It is a privilege and an honor to be here. It is a privilege and an honor to be an American and to call this nation mine.

So today we will ring the bells again. We will continue to honor those who have fallen and those who were sacrificed. We will yell from the housetops and sing in our hearts. We will fly our flags high in the red, white, and blue

We will be proud to call ourselves Americans, for this country is ours, and no one can take that away from us.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Unity and Love

One year ago my brother married his sweetheart in the Los Angeles temple. They were sealed for time and all eternity through a man holding the priesthood of God.

Four years ago I went through the Timpanogos temple and received my endowment. I made sacred covenants with God that I would be obedient. I came one step closer to making all the required covenants needed to receive exaltation in the world to come.

In one year's time my youngest brother will go through the temple and receive his endowment in preparation to serve a mission for the Lord. It will be the first time we will be able to gather in the temple as a family all together. I can't wait for that day.

Today I visited one of my dearest friends, Amanda Harrison, in the hospital and saw for the first time her newest child, a little girl named Avery, the newest spirit brought to this earth. I held her other daughter McKayla in my arms and talked to her husband Kyle. Because Amanda and Kyle were sealed together in the temple of the Lord their beautiful and precious daughters will be theirs for time and all eternity no matter what happens on this earth.

The temple has been on my mind lately. Priesthood ordinances that bind families for eternity, covenants that require sacrifice and remind me of Jesus Christ, gathering as families in the temple of the Lord, unity and love which brings ultimate happiness and joy.

My heart has been full, almost to bursting. My appreciation has grown for the fortune of being born a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm so glad my family is mine.

I await the day when I have the privilege of entering the temple hand in hand with my own sweetheart to be sealed to him forever. I await the day when I can create my own family unit, bound and sealed together for this life and the next. I await the day when I become a mother.

So I'll wait. I'll save myself for that special day knowing that it'll be all worth it, because it will be.

Click here to hear more of what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Riding in a Jeep on a cool September evening

I experienced something new last night that's never happened to me.

I was riding through Provo laughing with my friend Scott Rowley in the back of his sister's Jeep Wrangler, enjoying the cool night air and reminiscing about our last semester in school and all the fun activities that we did together when..


I was hit in the face with a water balloon.

Are you kidding me? Do people really do this kind of thing still?

I looked down and saw that my entire shirt front was soaking wet. My hair was sopping wet and my face was dripping. Even though the water balloon had hit me smack in the face Scott had been drenched too. Must have been a huge water balloon.

I guess I could have been mad and made the driver turn around so we could find the punks who still think that kind of thing is funny but instead I just erupted into laughter. Something got a hold of me and I couldn't stop laughing.

It was SO funny.

I couldn't believe that that had just happened. I mean, I've heard of people actually getting the idea to fill up water balloons, sit by the side of the road, and then throw them at unsuspecting passery-bys, but to actually get caught at the end of the prank was a very new experience.

There's only one person that I would've wanted to get hit by a water balloon with and that was Scott. He laughed right along with me.

In the four years I've known him we've had some great experiences. From mission prep in 2007, to Bro. Colvin's Spanish 302 class in 2009, to sledding at the dunes last winter, the Alphie Boe concert in the spring, and now to water balloon collision in the fall of 2011, Scott has been an amazing and dear friend.

Who knows what we'll get to experience together next? I'm sure we'll be laughing all along the way.

I survived HurriQuake 2011

Growing up in Utah, I was always aware that someday Utah would be hit with a huge earthquake because of the fault line running along the Wasatch Front. We had earthquake drills in school where we learned to get under our desks as quickly as possible or get under a stable door frame if we were caught in an earthquake.

I guess I never really expected to experience an actual earthquake, especially once I moved to DC.

It was a Tuesday just like any other. I was sitting and staring at my computer screen in my office on the 10th floor when I felt a little rumble coming from the floor. Knowing that the front of our building was undergoing lots of construction I wasn't scared. But then comes the second when one realizes that this is no construction. I am experiencing an earthquake. A nod of my head and I saw the buildings outside the window swaying back and forth. The whole world was shaking and rolling back and forth.

My first reaction was not to dive under my cheap plastic Ikea desk but to find a door frame. But I didn't want to stay there. I was afraid that my entire building would cave in on top of my head.

Then came the true test of my character. Instead of staying in my door frame, instead of rushing back to my COO's office who just announced her pregnancy and making sure she was all right, instead of doing anything smart, I bolted for the office door and flew down ten flights of stairs and out to the street.

FYI, that's the last thing you're supposed to do after an earthquake.

Oops......I promise I'm not that selfish but my instincts kicked in and all I could think of was getting out.

At least I was not alone. Almost everyone else had the same idea I had and rushed outside. Come to find out a couple days later that DC flunked the earthquake. We did everything wrong, everything you're not supposed to do during and after an earthquake.

I know, I know, the earthquake ended up only being a 6.0, but for me it scared the junk out of me. All the fears of a little 4th grader learning about earthquakes and waking up at night crying because I was afraid of one resurfaced that day.

So all you Californians can just keep your mouths closed. I know that you feel them all the time. I know that a measly 6.0 earthquake in the United States where all buildings are capable of withstanding an earthquake such as this shouldn't scare me so bad. But it did.

So I survived the East Coast earthquake. I came out unscathed. I got to feel the earth rumble and shake beneath me. I got to experienced what it's like to go through a natural disaster in a big city and all the chaos that ensues immediately after.

And I never, I repeat, never want to do it again. I've experienced all the earthquakes I need to in my lifetime thank you very much.

(The streets after everyone flooded out of their buildings immediately after the earthquake)

(The debris in a grocery store)

Okay so that was the earthquake.

After all the commotion that accompanied the earthquake on Tuesday we turned around to find that Hurricane Irene was heading straight to the East Coast and was scheduled to hit the DC area on Sunday morning.

At first I didn't think this was as big of a deal. Once again, I never really thought I'd actually be caught in an actual hurricane, but then again, I've never lived on the East Coast before. Before I knew it I was receiving e-mails from the church on how to prepare and everything that needed to be done to stay safe and protected during the weekend. I realized that this was becoming a big deal.

By Friday there were reports that stores in my area were out of water and flashlights. We kept on receiving emails on how and when to evacuate.

Irene was preparing to unleash its wrath on the coast and we had no idea what would happen around Arlington, VA. I wasn't about to be caught unprepared.

My roommates and I loaded up on water bottles, non-perishable food, flashlights, first aid, and of course, movies.

Everyone was preparing to "hunker down" which became the go-to phrase of the weekend.

And we waited.

Part of me wanted some excitement (obviously hurricanes don't scare me as much as earthquakes) thinking it would be fun if everything flooded and we had to gather in our church chapel for a couple days and live in sleeping bags and emergency food storage. The other part of me knew that we were stationed too far inland and all that would happen would be some hard rain and wind and maybe a power outage.

Well folks, our lights didn't even flicker. No, not even once.

Yes there was some intense rain and I think around 3 am I woke up to some heavy wind around my apartment, but that was about it.

Unfortunately the coast did get hit pretty hard and Vermont is still recovering from some major flooding, but Hurricane Irene passed DC without so much as a blink of an eye.

What a week huh? On my mission I drove through a tornado, and in one week in DC I got to knock off two more natural disasters off my list of life experiences, an earthquake and a hurricane, now affectionately known as HurriQuake 2011.

Who knows what will hit us next. Whatever it is we now have a lifetime supply of water bottles, wheat thins, and tuna.