Holy Cow! I was thinking today about how much I miss writing! I haven't really had an opportunity to do it since school started last semester! I forgot how much I love it! This last school year has been incredible! My life has been changed and gone on a completely different course than I had originally planned. The last time I wrote, my plans were to go back to Thatcher and start school again at Eastern Arizona College. I had a scholarship, I had a place to live, I had a job, I had everything ready for me. But right after Josh left on his mission I had the strong impression that I needed to stay in Gilbert with my family and go to school. Talk about a last minute, crazy change in plans! It was a bit scary to do, but I knew that the Lord was guiding me where I needed to be and it was all going to be ok.
The week before school started I figured out my schedule and I tried out for the A Capella Choir. At the same time as my audition for the choir, I was offered a scholarship. WOW! Talk about a blessing! I was sooo grateful! The week that school started I decided that I was going to also try out for the Vocal Jazz Choir. I was incredibly nervous! Singing in a jazz group has been something I've always wanted to do. I tried out and made it! (Now of course I won't mention how many people actually tried out for it, otherwise it might be anti-climactic, but it was exciting nonetheless!) So now I was a part of two AMAZING choirs which I absolutely loved! And the people I associated with in these groups and my music classes were proving to be incredible people that I absolutely love to be around!
School has been absolutely incredible!! I have come to understand what I am truly passionate about I am going for it! No stopping me! I LOVE my music classes! My music theory and aural perception classmates can't figure out why I like counterpoint and 7th chords and phrasing and composing so much, but let me tell ya, I love it! My instructors are wonderful! The thing I love most about them is that they are all so passionate about what they do. They all have their niche and they do so well at helping us understand and apply the things we're learning in class. They are all incredibly talented! It is such a joy to be taught by them.
When I felt that I needed to go to Chandler Gilbert Community College (CGCC) I didn't really understand the reasons why. It wasn't making much sense to me. But I knew I needed to follow the spirit. As the semester went on I began to realize my purpose in being here at this time. At the end of August, my grandpa was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was a huge blow to me. My grandpa was my buddy! One of my dearest friends in the whole world. He had given me a love for music, he had encouraged me in every aspect of my life, and he was an example to me of true Christ-like living. I could never ask for a better example! As he progressively got worse and worse, I was given the opportunity to serve my grandpa. WOW! What a life changing experience! Here was a man whom I absolutely adored, who gave of himself constantly and was always serving and thinking of others. Now I had the opportunity to serve him. I will never forget the experiences I had the last month and a half before my grandpa died. They are precious and sweet, and I know that he was part of the reason I was to be here in Gilbert with my family. The thing I wanted more than anything else in the world was for him to go to my choir concert where I would be performing with the jazz choir for the first time. He was the one that got me into jazz and we shared that love. When I had told him about making it into this group he was sooo excited for me. I wanted to share that with him before he died. He was able to be at my concert. I will never forget my excitement as I waited to perform with the jazz group. This performance was for him! I was going to give it my all and this performance was going to be amazing! I felt so good after performing that concert. As I walked out into the audience to see my family I went straight to my grandpa and I hugged him and asked him what he thought. He told me how "good" it was. It meant the world to me. He then shared a tender moment with me me and told me how wonderful he thought I was. He started to cry and at that moment I knew that I wasn't going to get to do this again. This was it, and I was completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I had to have him there with me. My grandpa passed away one week after that concert. I am so grateful for the experience I had to be with him through the last few weeks of his life and for the relationship that I had cultivated with him, for his incredible journey through life that will forever be a light to me.
Another thing that that I have been blessed with here is amazing friends! I have always had good friends, but coming here has been incredible! The people that I am around every day just make me happy! I love being around them! I have grown in many different ways through those I have come to associate with and care about.
When I decided to stay in Gilbert I was called to be the Laurel Advisor in my ward. I was completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the awesome responsibility of being these girls' leader. I was 20 years old, and I felt like I had just graduated myself and was still in the same stage of life as these girls. What could I offer? As I have spent time with these girls, served them, and taught them, I have grown an incredible love for each one of them. They each have something incredible to offer. We have the greatest time with each other! Some of the funnest times are when they want to have "girl talk" and they ask me to tell dating stories or they want to know the latest in my love life. Ha Ha! Oh goodness! We have definitely had some great times! Lots of laughter, but also some of the most amazing spiritual experiences that have helped our testimonies grow and brought us closer together. I think that more than anything this calling has helped me (as every calling usually does) to prepare myself for my future family. I have strong convictions about how I want my family to be raised and my testimony has been strenghtened as to my capacity to accomplish these things. It has been an amazing and humbling experience to be in this calling.
The Lord puts us where we are for a reason. He loves us and He is indeed mindful of us. I have always known that, but through the experiences I have had this last school year, I have become increasingly aware of just how close the Savior can be. He is my dearest and best friend! I am so grateful for the love and care He has taken for me. I have felt of the love our Savior has for each one of us. It's incredible and I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had to make me who I am today.