Monday, January 31, 2011

What's That?

I can see the sun today! Not only the sun, but a blue sky, no clouds, and the mountains in the distance! I took some pictures of our scenery which you can access here. Hopefully for some who have already been to school here it will bring back some fond memories. Even though the sun is out, it is still around 10-15 degrees outside. You know though, I'll take it!

I'll also include a book review- I just finished it! The Book of Mormon and DNA Research was a pretty thick book. Not literally of course, it is comprised of 10 essays written by very smart people that is all very intellectually written. One essay could be anywhere from 10- 50 pages so that's why I say it is thick. The essays all provide very good information about migration patterns and about the technique of mtDNA research in general. I'm just going to write the explanation on the back of the book here but as far as if you should read it- of course! Just expect to spend good time reading it. "In the last few years, the topic of how DNA research fits in with this text and the people of the Book of Mormon has become increasingly diverse. Now for the first time in one volume, faithful and respected DNA scientists, geneticists and Book of Mormon scholars provide their views on DNA and the Book of Mormon."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Exercising Faith...ish

My new hour by hour schedule insists I work out every day for on average an hour and a half (aka doing my P90X routine). I've tried to invite some women I've met to join me and when they hear I'm doing P90X they aren't so interested. I know the feeling. I feel it when I don't want to work out. Doing an hour of push ups is pretty intimidating at 7:00 in the morning! But once you get into it, you've done 3 sets of push ups at 15 reps each (25 if knees count..). Then you push through a little harder and realize you're on the last exercise of the work out and you can't just quit! And the more you go through this crazy regiment the more pumped and excited you get that you were able to do 5 yoga reps before you go to knees on during cobra.

Oddly enough, all this has made me think about the Gospel. From the outside, the Gospel sounds pretty intimidating! There's church and visiting teaching and institute and reading the scriptures and praying and going to the temple and rearing your children in a righteous way and trying to work and hold down a house and... that you find yourself skipping a "work out" here or there because it gets all too intimidating. You might find yourself looking at the woman next to you and thinking "I wish I had x, y, z, like her but I ...". I know my analogy is a little corny but stick with me. I've been on both sides. I have looked at skinny girls the past year of me trying to lose weight and be healthy and think "they must have just been born that way" or "they have probably been working out their whole life- they're more advanced than me" or whatever else. I've also seen wonderful examples within the church of women who are very learned in their scriptures, or conference talks, or very patient with their children and I think "they must have had something I didn't and that's why they are the way they are".

Our spiritual lives are just like exercising in that it is irrelevant to compare ourselves to others: "If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 1 Cor. 12: 15-18" How can you really compare the foot and the hand? Both are equally important and serve two completely different purposes. If the person beside us in the gym can run 3 miles without stopping and we're only on 1 mile (or less..) are we any less of a person? No! If Susie can read the whole New Testament in a week and we're still on Genesis is our faith any less strong? Absolutely not. Our progress is just that, ours individually. We do not know where others have been in order to get to where they are and it is not really relevant to our success or salvation. Work out buddies are always fun to have however. I guess in my analogy the gym could be like church... well, I'll work on that part.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Blues, Books, and Micky Ears

Have you ever heard of Seasonal Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder? It is a type of depression which occurs at the same time every year usually during the winter months. Some call it the "winter blues". I self diagnose myself with this! I don't mind so much that it's cold outside as long as the sun is shining or even it it's cloudy and snowing. But when it's just cloudy outside? I feel as though I can't do anything. And it has been cloudy all week so all week I have barely done anything. I decided yesterday I have to snap out of it because eventually I will be in school and I will HAVE to do things. So I decided to make an hour by hour day by day schedule for myself. I think PJ thinks it's a little excessive, but I needed to get it on paper to make it an official "plan". Today I woke up and my room seemed a little bright and I opened my eyes and there was yellow light shining through my blinds! I felt so grateful to Heavenly Father for this tender mercy.

Meanwhile PJ took me on a tour of the BYU library and the dork in me got so excited! I have always loved reading, but eventually I had to buy books and take the risk that they might not be that good and I judged books that much harder since I could have spent that money on something else. I also read pretty fast so I could be done with a book in a day or two and once again, was it worth whatever I spent on it? So being able to go into a three story library and look at rows and rows of books- too much fun. I checked out 4 books and have finished 1.5 of them so here's a review of one. Setting the Record Straight: Mormons & Masons was interesting, but I didn't learn a whole lot I didn't already know. This book was more of a date overview than a book that got into a whole lot of discussion. I found it interesting the Saints purchased land in Nauvoo that no one else wanted because it was a mosquito infested swamp land and if you've ever been to Nauvoo you know it is still pretty mosquito infested! There is certainly a very strong Spirit of the Saints in Nauvoo however so lather on your Off! and go. Oh, and we're seriously considering the Disney internship during next winter- you know because of my disorder and everything :).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Week 1: True/False for Rexburg

We have survived our first week at BYU-I! Survived is being a little dramatic because things are going pretty well. We're still really out of our element, but taking one day at a time is always a good way to start. PJ got a job on campus the first day we were here and I got a part time job which started Thursday (Thank Heavenly Father!). We don't really have any furniture in our apartment and it's nice at times. At other times it's annoying/embarrassing because we know when we meet people we'll have to go to their house, unless they really want to sit on the floor. Also, sitting on the floor hurts your bum. I thought we would be able to go without a microwave, but we broke down and bought one today. Not only do people around here like to hold onto their stuff, they want close to the money they paid for the stuff when they get rid of it. Microwaves on craigslist were anywhere from $15-$700! And craigslist only shows things for "east idaho" which includes places which are an hour or further from here so if we found a microwave for $20 an hour away it's not really worth the trip. We'll get some furniture here and there, but we know we're moving in 4 years so only enough to be comfortable until then. PJ's talked about possibly doing his computer engineering internship at Disney so that is certainly something I'm looking forward to. We're looking at me starting school next semester but I'm not sure which major yet in that I've heard Psychology majors don't get as many perks as Sociology/Social Work majors, but I'm not so interested in what I've read about the Social Work major.

On orientation day I went with PJ to one of the lectures and a speaker asked how many in the audience were from the east coast and we among a good amount of others raised our hand. He then told a story about how when he was visiting the east coast a girl approached him and asked "can you buy make-up in Rexburg?" he jokingly answered "yes there's a truck that comes by once a week" and the girl got all excited as she ran and told her mom she could buy make-up. He then said apparently you from the east coast thinks Rexburg is pretty rural as though he thinks it's not. I have seen more rural cities, but especially compared to where we lived in metro atl, this place is rural! It took a week for Wal-Mart to start to re-stock their shelves after the back to school rush. There's only one thrift store here and the nearest mall or other shopping outside of Rexburg is 30 miles south. Not that I'm complaining- the last college town we were in only had a Hardees, Subway, CVS, and a grocery store in it but I'm letting Mr. Man know- this town is rural indeed.

Also the weather and such isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It is very snowy- but that's because after each snow the snow doesn't melt. There are piles of snow in parking lots and on the sides of the street that look like tiny mountains where they dump it after they plow it. PJ found out there are actually semi-trucks which come and pick up the snow if it builds up to high and dumps it somewhere. They plow the roads and sidewalks and parking lots pretty well and pretty often so you're not actually walking through snow or driving through snow. I haven't seen a blizzard (and neither do I want to) but as long as it's not like this year round, I can deal. Lastly, we heard a lot that westerners don't have much of a sense of humor and we thought we saw that when we were driving through, but today we saw it first hand. Sarcasm is (on most people) lost on them, and even if your laughing they don't always join in. All in all though most everyone is very nice and after all, this is only week one!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

On the Road-Day 4

We made it! We made it! We made it! I do not think I could have done another day of driving, especially through snow covered mountains (the snow had mostly cleared off the roads...mostly). I am thankful to be here and I'm so excited I can't stop talking to people. We asked for and got directions from the guy at the front desk, then found the neatest little place to eat "Da Pineapple Store" and talked our waiters head off and I'm sure had I not been embarressing PJ I would have rolled down the window and waved people down to talk to them. Today's drive was much easier- only about 300 miles or half as much as yesterday. We also drove through the mountains of very very western Wyoming (on the Wyoming/Idaho border) and it was beautiful! There was this lake all surrounded by mountains I wanted to stop and take so many pictures, but I was more excited to get off the road. Even a minute delay is too long! So tomorrow we really get to rest and enjoy Christmas (with me not being sick anymore)/New Year/being-married-without-anything-to-do. Some pictures I snapped in the car while going over the mountains: