Saturday, December 26, 2009

So, This is Christmas

Christmas has always been very exciting for me. I love seeing the first of the lights hung, the first of the trees decorated, and the first sound of music wafting from stores and cars. For a while though, Christmas was getting, well, boring. My mom is a nurse so naturally the hospital doesn't close on Christmas day and I got older and was more interested in getting money than presants. Eventually I was the only one in the house on Christmas so even though the tree was up, decorated, and lit, I would still sit and watch the Christmas specials or whatever was on TV and go back to school the next week.

When I started dating PJ, I spent Christmas with his family and even though they were very welcoming, it still wasn't my family. It's really hard to get into the whole Christmas spirit when it feels like you have no one to share it with. But this year, this year was different. This year, I have been in PJ's family for a year and a half not counting the 2 Christmases before that when we dated so people are used to having me around. Even though last year we had our own apartment, we knew we would have to move by the time Christmas came around because our jobs weren't working out, so this year we had more job security and that's a really great thing when you're thinking about spending any money on presants. Above all though, this year I really felt the Christmas spirit loud and clear. Every time I heard "What Child is This", or "O Come O Come Emmanuel", and especially the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, tears streamed from my eyes. I could feel the spirit testify of this child's miraculous birth, testify that He is in fact our Saviour, that this life is not for naught, and I could also feel that He knew I knew these things. This year, it really wasn't about the presants. I found myself telling PJ "it's okay if you don't get my anything" and meaning it. It's truly been a wonderful Christmas season. I am so thankful for the best presant of all; the Saviours birth. "Wonderful! Counselor! The Prince of Peace!"

I also want to add in a recipe I made for Christmas with PJ's grand -parents. Really easy and turned out really good! I got already made pizza crusts, cut them into circles and baked them for 10 min. to get them crunchy, sliced some tomatoes and fresh mozzerella cheese and assembeled it like this: some pesto brushed on the crust, layer a tomato, fresh basil leaf, and finally mozzerella on top. They were so good- even PJ liked them! Christmas colors too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What does wind, a mouse and cheese polenta have in common?

Disney World! For Christmas PJ's mom took us to Disney World (very generous) and we had a blast! We wore ourselves out for sure. Let me lead you through: Thursday after work we left and got to Orlando at 4:00AM (I usually go to bed every night around 9:30...) and got up around 9 the next morning to go to MGM or now known as Hollywood Studios. The Christmas decorations were very 50's inspired and somehow I got a sunburn in 70 degrees cloudy almost rainy weather. I finally got to see the car stunt show and it was amazing! We watched the HGTV special on Christmas at Disney before we went and we were so excited to see the streets light up with millions of lights and dance to Christmas music and at the end of the "show" it was supposed to "snow"! But because of the rainy weather the lights didn't dance nor did it snow, but I still got some awesome pictures of thousands, millions of lights!

This night we also got to go to our favorite resturant, The California Grill. It was amazing. We got some sushi for an appetizer, PJ tried the Ostrich filet (it was really good!) and I got their famous pork tenderloin. The first bite I could barely move because it was so wonderfully delicious. When I booked the reservation they asked me what we were celebrating and I said our anniversary since we went to Disney on our honey moon, so we got a special table with a view of the castle and fireworks while we ate. During the fireworks our waiter came up to us and asked if we were 21 and I said yes and then looked at PJ wandering why he had asked us this when not a moment later he brought out 2 on the house, $14 a glass champaign. I was so embarressed. We gave it away to the table next to us and went on with the night. Disney being wonderful also made a few things out of gingerbread and this was the display at the Contemporary Resort.

Saturday we went to Magic Kingdom and while it was beautiful, everyone and their children plus their uncles decided to go that day. It took us an hour to get into the park, an hour to navigate and get some lunch, 30 min. to get to see Philharmagic, and an hour to get out. Yes! It was really that crowded! We ended up napping until dinner with the family that night.
Sunday we tried to attend a local ward but good ol google gave us directions to the Orlando temple and it was beautiful! I only wish we could have walked around the grounds. I love how in any city you can identify a temple of the Lord. It was simply beautiful. After reading some Ensign, we trecked into Animal Kingdom for a little while then headed home. Like I said, we wore ourselves out, but it was great to see Disney at Christmas and take a walk down memory lane. A year and a half! Already! More Christmas stories will come, but I'm pretty sure this deserved it's own blog. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Was Warned pt.2

To sum up a lot of drama read this and then know that our van (yes... PJ has been driving it for the last month but! There was a problem with it before then so don't blame the PeeJ) is broken. Is it Christmas yet??

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Perfect Plan

LOST's last season is premiering in February, so to keep our minds fresh (and because we can't go 6 mos. without LOST) we have been re-watching all the past seasons. The huge theme within LOST is fate vs. choice or free will. We have also had a similar discussion with PJ's dad about whether we are free to choose, or since God knows how everything is going to end, has he already chosen for us? Of course there are great suggestions and scripture quotes for both, but I believe in the Perfect Plan, or better known as the Plan of Salvation. When we go teaching with the missionaries, this is my favorite discussion. In essence: we lived with God before the earth was built (Job 38:7, Jer 1:4-5, Eccl 12:7, Eph 1:4) and while we were there He presented a plan to become more like Him which required us to come to Earth to gain a body(Titus 1:2).

In this Perfect Plan, now that we're here and Jesus Christ our Saviour has already given His life for everyone's sakes, wicked and righteous (Acts 24:15), we now choose our destiny. We choose to give our lives to God and follow His commandments, for how else can we become like Him and come to know Him? (Romans 2:11-13) As we live our life, righteously or unrighteously as we so choose, we will eventually die and be judged. What I believe happens is we have "preliminary judgement" and are sent to either spirit prison or spirit hell. In the scriptures this is also referred to as Abraham's Bosom (Luke 16:22) where those who believe in Jesus will dwell in paradise and those who don't believe will dwell in prison. This is where those who don't believe in Jesus Christ, whether it's because they chose in this life not to follow him, or because they never heard of him, will be taught (1 Peter 4:6). Then eventually Jesus Christ will come again and it will be time for the final judgement. I'm going to sum this up really short- in short all those who live on the earth that don't commit the inpardenable sin (denying the Holy Ghost) will go to a degree of heaven (John 14:2, 1 Cor 15:40-41), where, there, in the highest degree of heaven, we will continue towards perfection- towards becomming like our Heavenly Father (Romans 8:17, John 5:19)

This is truly a Perfect Plan! All things are taken care of, justice and mercy both play a part, and best of all it makes sense. Now, alternatly in a Plan where we don't choose would be utterly pointless and unfulfilling. If God made us, chose for us our personalities, traits, habits, talents, it would be God's fault that we end up being murders, bad parents, drug addicts, good parents, the president, a celebrity, etc... There's no returning to God because you were never with him in the first place, and for those who got picked to go to heaven they would get to...

Now how this ties into LOST- it does! Either the consequences in life that come to us are of our own accord, or something or someone are choosing them for us. Either you can be a bum and change your life around (to give credit to God- with God's help) to become a CEO of a company or you must always stay a bum, knowing that's what destiny wants you to be. A theme in LOST is haveing a course correcter; if you walked out in front of a car and were supposed to die, but someone tried to change the charts and pushed you out of the way, then the next day scaffolding would fall on you, or if you escaped that, maybe your house would burn down and you'd be trapped inside. Common sense tells me if you walk in front of a car and died- survival of the fittest. In all seriousness, I hope we really will choose this day whom we will serve and take accoutability for our actions, and fit ourselves in with God's plan- the Perfect Plan.