My beautiful and wonderful family!

My beautiful and wonderful family!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grandpa

I have been thinking about my grandpa a lot today and I was playing through some old tunes on the piano this morning that he and I would listen to together. I cherish the time I had with my grandpa and every time I think of him now I just have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the person that he was and the example he set for me. He is wonderful! And I just wanted to add some pictures of him on here, mostly for my benefit, and because I just love him to pieces and it's fun to remember good times!

Pres. Monson was my grandpa's mission president. Here's my grandparents visiting him in Salt Lake.

This was one of the most tender moments with my grandpa. I wanted more than anything for him to be at my jazz concert this last fall. He made it! I was so grateful. It was a very emotional moment for the both of us. He passed away one week later.

I love this picture! We surprised my grandpa and met him at Disneyland with the whole family. Here we are getting on "It's A Small World."

Grandpa was all about Uncle Remus stories! He did all the voices and sound effects. It was so fun to listen to him! Benny got in on it too this time.

I love this pic too! My Grandma and Grandpa are on the Roger Rabbit Ride. They are so awesome!

This is when Grandpa first got to Disneyland and we surprised him. He couldn't get over that we were really all there with him!

My birthday party with the family. My grandpa and I looking at one of our favorite old records. John Gary rocks!!

Ha Ha! My grandpa was the best marshmallow warrior you could ask for! He hid himself pretty well from our enemies!!

This picture brings back lots of memories. He was a thinker and this place we were at (Jarskey Springs) was a place where many a memory has been made. I can only imagine his thoughts as we were there.

On our family vacation to Greer. My grandpa was a huge reader!! He LOVED books! That was something that was really special to him and I. Here he is reading with my grandma.

Christmas at my grandparents house is always so much fun and we have some great traditions and lots of fun laughs!

My grandparents came to Thatcher for when Josh was ordained an Elder. This is taken in front of my college house.

Oh man! My grandpa was so strong! Here he is with Preston trying to teach him how to link arms and then stand up. It was always fun to watch him do stunts like this.

Change is good....at least that's what I'm supposed to say...

I have this amazing friend. His name is Ryan. I met him my first semester at CGCC and he has truly been a wonderful friend to me! One of the best I've ever had! When I first came to Chandler-Gilbert Community College he was one of the first people that actually talked to me and wanted to get to know me. I had him in a few classes and I could tell he was just one of those top of the line kind of guys. He came to me at a really tough time in my life. I had just found out my grandpa had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and it was very difficult for me to deal with. I was very close to my grandpa and at the time I didn't feel like there was really anyone I could talk to about it or just hang out with to get my mind off things. Ryan was a real blessing! He and I were in A Capella and Jazz Choir together and we always had a lot of fun in those classes! I don't think it was until spring semester though when I finally was able to get to know Ryan really well. He is an incredible person! He has been there through lots of rough spots and he has been my go-to when I just need to talk or let go. We have made some great memories together, some of which I will never forget the rest of my life. He understands alot without much being said and I appreciate that. Well, Ryan is leaving on Saturday to move to Flagstaff for school. I am so happy for him! He is going to do amazing! He is majoring in music education and he has so much talent that he is just going to have some incredible experiences! He gets to be apart of the top Jazz group at NAU called "High Altitude" and he also made the top choir. I am so pumped for him! He really has worked hard! But I am going to miss him so much. He has touched my life in so many ways and there really isn't any way that I could possibly convey my gratefulness to him. But he has changed my life for the better and I will be eternally grateful to him. Yeah, we'll get to see each other every now and again, but as in all things, there must be change and now is the time.

Some of the greatest memories and things that I appreciate about Ryan are:
*His sense of humor
*Ability to Listen
*Crazy arranging talents
*Lunchtime in the car
*Listening to random songs
*Going to his cabin for General Conference
*Being there for a friend no matter where or when
*Living his testimony
*Chivalry :)
*Takes t he initiative
*Is patient enough to teach me things
*Winks
*"I'll Be Home For Christmas"
*Duke Ellington Concert
*My official introduction to jazz composers
*Barnes and Noble
*Jaramillo Sodas
*Beef Tongue
*Good long talks about life
*Song of the South ("A Dolla A Minute" Ha Ha!)
*No qualms about totally ruining a chick flick or any "moment" in a movie
*Wall-E
*Snow Ball Fight
*Flan (and the exploding pan!)
*3-day affair with facebook
*Mr. Bean
*Teen Girl Squad
*The funniest joke in the world
*Jazz Concerts
*Making dinners
*His birthday
*Conducting
*Secret Garden
*Recitals (especially our last Broadway one)
*Ultimate Frisbee
*Volleyball
*Climbing on the jungle gym
*Teasing

Oh and there is soooo much more I can think of, but these have seriously become some of the funnest times I have ever had! I am so grateful for Ryan, for the wonderful person he is and for what I have learned from him. He is going to do amazing things in his life and I can't wait to see what awaits him!


"Hangin" out in the hammock

Buddies! Me, Ryan, and Jillene

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Talk...

So yesterday I gave a talk in my single's ward! Scary, mostly because I don't really know many people yet, but it turned out well nonetheless. I know that most of you won't read this but I wanted to put this on here for my benefit. I actually wrote out my talk which I NEVER do. I just felt that there were some things I really needed to say that I wanted to have written. So here's my talk:

This time of year our thoughts are turned to those who have come before us. The pioneers. What a source of inspiration they have become to the members of this church! They are an example to us of faith, courage and endurance. Pres. Monson shared this thought, “Can we somehow muster the courage and that steadfastness of purpose which characterized the pioneers of a former generation? Can you and I, in actual fact, be pioneers today? A dictionary defines a pioneer as “one who goes before, showing others the way to follow.” Oh, how the world needs pioneers today!”

Today I want to share with you one way that we can become converted and become pioneers for future generations, through our hymns.

The song that reminds me most of the pioneers is “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” This hymn was written by William Clayton. In a talk by Elder David B. Haight, he explains that William was a convert to the church and traveled to Nauvoo from England to be near the prophet and the saints. Soon after Joseph Smith’s martyrdom he traveled with Brigham Young’s company to the Salt Lake Valley. After 3 long months of slow and discouraging travel, he wrote this song. “hoping it would encourage and give some renewed hope and faith to the Saints."

Read "Come, Come, Ye Saints" (pg. 30)

Can you imagine the tribulation these saints had to go through? Can you imagine walking day in and day out through treacherous weather and land? Can you imagine burying members of your family, as one buy one they leave this mortal life? Can you imagine giving up everything for the gospel of Jesus Christ?

How did they do this? How could they endure the endless abuse, struggle, and trials that came upon them as members of this church? The answer is simple…they believed. They believed in every word the prophet spoke to them, and they believed in the words they sang as they made their trek west. It gave them hope. This song has become an anthem in our church. And we can follow the truths found there in our own lives too.

Last week in Sunday School we were talking about becoming converted. Our teacher was relating a story about a time when she felt the converting power of the spirit. She talked about the song “I Am A Child of God” and how she came to realize the truthfulness of that song. We then started to joke about how from an early age we have been brainwashed with primary songs so that we definitely know that the church is true! Even though we were having some fun with that, there is definite truth in the primary songs and the hymns we sing every week.

We all go through trials. We all have questions. We all have a desire to grow closer to our Savior. How many times can you think of when a hymn has touched your heart, or brought the spirit into a room, or brought peace to your soul? Through these experiences we have grown closer to our Savior. We have become more converted.

The hymns create an atmosphere that invites the spirit, which leads us to conversion. How much different would sacrament meeting be without a sacrament hymn? What are the words in those hymns speaking to each of us? Are we internalizing the message and doctrine that ultimately will save each one of us and bring us back to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? The power of the atonement is infinite and if we allow ourselves to listen to the spirit during those hymns, our testimonies and understanding of the Atonement will increase and we will feel of the love the Savior has for each one of us. I testify of that!

I want to share something personal with you in regards to a hymn that has brought me much comfort as I have struggled through trials and hard times in my life. “Where Can I Turn For Peace” has become a hymn that I turn to, to remind me that no matter what I am going through, no matter how much I’m aching, I can turn to the Lord. I know that He is there for me. (Read lyrics if time permits)
I know that as this hymn says “He answers privately, reaches my reaching.” He is my Friend, my Savior. He succors me and brings peace to my heart. He is always there for me and he understands. He is constant and loves without end.

Last year around this time, I wrote something in regards to the pioneers that I would like to share with you.

Coming to a Realization...
Over the last few days there has been a certain focus on the pioneers and the ones who have gone before us. As I watched the commemoration that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square put on, I was filled with a different spirit than I have ever felt before. I had a sense of reality settle upon me as I contemplated the sacrifice, faith, drive, and complete obedience to will of the Lord that these early saints had. What an incredible legacy we, as the restored church of Jesus Christ, have. I really had to stop and think about what I would be willing to sacrifice at this moment to be able to have the gospel as a central part of my life. What am I willing to do to show the Lord my love and devotion to Him and His work? Would I give up everything I have? Would I be willing to possibly have to sacrifice the lives of my family in order to attain the goal? Is my testimony built on a solid foundation, one that will not falter under constant criticism and taunting. Would I hold true "if the very jaws of hell [should] gape open the mouth wide after [me]?" How much faith would it take to put my life completely in the hands of the Lord? It is a truly remarkable task to even fathom the amount of faith those early pioneers had in the Lord and in their beloved prophet.
Today in Sacrament Meeting as I listened to a special number, "Those Who Came Before," I had a sort of epiphany. Though it may seem of small consequence to some, the understanding brought me much needed peace and a brighter understanding of my mission here in this life. I am going to be one of "those who came before" someday and I will be leaving a legacy. What am I going to leave behind for my posterity and those that I love? Will I be an example of faith? Will I be looked to as an example of "standing as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9)? So, my epiphany was that I am here on a mission. I am meant to be an example and a light to my posterity and to strive to accomplish all those things that the Lord would have me do. I want my children to have someone to look to. I want them to understand the incredible importance of gaining a testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ and His servants, the prophets. I am making a commitment at this moment that I will hearken to the counsel that I have been given through our prophets and other church leaders. The stirring that I have felt today could be completely described by the scripture in 2 Nephi 25:26:
"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy
of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know
to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
We are a part of an amazing work and legacy of faith. What are we striving to accomplish and conquer in our lives to show our gratitude and love for the Lord and this glorious gospel? Is it worth anything? Or is it worth everything?


Bare Testimony

That's it! There it is. Take it or leave it, but I felt really good about it. It really pulled together for me and I actually enjoyed doing it!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Full Day of Happy!

Today was so much fun! This morning I went to my brother Ben's bagging competition. He already won $100 for being the fastest bagger in his store and today there was a competition for his store's division. He went against 2 other people and there was also a big bagging contest in Tucson with the rest of the division. Whoever had the best score out of everyone got $200 and a chance to go up against the other 3 division champs. It's kind of a big deal at Bashas'. Then the person who wins for the company goes to the state bag off and then the person who wins that goes to nationals! Can you believe that?! A NATIONAL bagging competition?! Anyway, Ben won the divsion competition this morning even against everyone in Tucson! He was pretty pumped about that! So now he is debating on what he wants to spend his $200 on. A Wii has come to mind and he also really wants to put some money into his truck. So now he is just so pumped to compete for the company! He has his master training plan all mapped out! Oh I just love Benny! He's just great!

After the bag-off we went shopping at Food City. I was really excited to go because I needed to buy green chilis for a dinner I am going to make soon. I am really excited about it! I haven't old my family what it is yet, but I'm going to make Chili Rellenos. I made them one time when I was living on my own in Thatcher. I was just experimenting but they ended up turning out really well and so I want to make them for my family. I'm pretty excited! While we were there my dad took us to their restaurant inside and we had lunch. It was amazing!! I got carne asada tacos and taquitos. Oh my! WOW! Very impressive! It was lots of fun!

We then came home and I took a nap! Oh my! I don't get those very often anymore so it was nice! Then my mom and dad and I went shopping and I got some new clothes. That's always exciting! After that my whole family went to the movies (It's been a long time since we've done that!) and saw "Journey To The Center of the Earth." I liked it! It was a fun show! Then we came home and my cousin came over to chill with us for a little while tonight. And now I am writing a talk for church tomorrow!

In all it's been a fun day! I love being with my family and it was nice to just get to be with each other and not have to worry about work or anything else! It was just good! I love it! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's a Small World!

So my friend just e-mailed me a couple of pics of Josh on his mission!! CRAZY!! Her mom is on vacation in France with a friend. They went to a ward there this last Sunday and Josh was singing a solo! He sang it in French and then he sang it in English for them. They took a couple pics afterward and my friend was so excited to tell me her mom had seen him. So cool huh?!


He looks so good!

Miss Mallory

So I have to say that there is an amazing girl who came into my family's life about a year and a half ago and this morning she flew to Idaho so that she can start school at BYU-I. Even though it has made all of us a little sad and we all miss her lots, we are all very excited for her to have this amazing experience! We love you Mal Pal!!

Yeah, it's ok to laugh! Here we are having the famous "feet bath"! Don't worry if you don't get it! It's a Chapman thing!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Family Ward to Single's Ward!!

Oh boy! So as of this last Sunday I was officially fellowshipped into my new ward. A single's ward!! It's been a little over a year since I was in a single's ward because I moved back home frome EAC last summer. I must admit that I was a bit leery about going back. I have loved being in my family ward! I had two callings while I was there: Junior Primar Pianist, and Laurel Advisor. Oh my goodness, let me tell ya I just loved my callings!! Those little kids were absolutely adorable! It was fun to see their minds going a hundred miles an hour (and their mouths going about that fast too) during sharing and singing time. And that the answer to every question was "Jesus!" no matter what we were talking about. What cute kids! I had fun with them! The calling that was closest to my heart though was being with my laurels! They are all so wonderful and doing what they know they should. I had four of them and one of them was actually not a member when I was first put in. She had been coming to church since she was 13 and her parents finally gave their consent for her to be baptized. So she was baptized in January and she has grown leaps and bounds since then! She was just put into the Laurel class presidency and I don't think I've ever seen a girl so nervous and excited for the opportunity. She is wonderful! We had some pretty fun and crazy times that year I was their leader!

*Learning to make pies
*Singing Christmas carols on a hayride (We were frozen!!)
*Writing out tons of signs for Youth Conference
*Seeing the Reflections of Christ display at the Visitor's Center
*Going to Kaley's baptism
*Hangin out at my house for a pizza and movie night (Pride and Prejudice rocks!)
*Going to a homeless facility and playing with the little kids
*Girl Talk! (My girls were hilarious! They always wanted my love life update! Umm...I don't think there was much to tell ever but they would just about die at every little happening with a boy in my life! Funny funny girls!)
*Asphalt bowling
*Gingerbread Houses with our hands tied together
*American Idol party!! (One of my girls went to EFY with David Archuleta!)
*Graduation dinner for Kelly
*Lessons- where some of the most spiritual experiences happened in our class and I could see the testimony in each of them growing.

It was an incredible and very humbling experience to be one of their leaders! I feel like I probably learned more from them than I taught, but isn't that what callings are for?

But it finally came time to move on! I went to a single's ward with my cousins, just to check it out, and I fell in love with it! I felt like that was where I needed to be. I didn't want to tel my bishop about it too quickly because I was still kind of debating when i was going to do it, but my mom mentioned it to him adn what do ya know! I had a meeting with the bishop and we decided that it was a good move for me. He told me that I was going to be released from my callings that coming Sunday. I was ok with it...until Sunday hit and then I was a baby! I was so sad to leave my girls! That day was Fast Sunday though and I was able to see one of my Laurelsm the one that was baptized in January, go up to the pulpit and bare her testimony for the first time. It was a neat experience and she just glowed! I was so proud of her and I was just truly grateful for the opportunity I had to be her leader.

So now I am officiall in the single's ward and they've already asked me to speak! WOW! I must say that I am excited abou thte topic! I was asked to speak on the hymns and the role that they played in the pioneers lives and how they can play an important role in our lives as well. I am very excited about this topic! I think that it will be a lot of fun to prepare for. I am weird and actually love to speak, so this will be fun!

I went to my first single's ward activity. FHE!! It was a good time! We played volleyball adn ultimate frisbee and it was a blast! The park we went to had some sprinklers that wet the sand we were playing in and everyone had a lot of fun turning them on while we were playing and getting soaked! There are some really fun people that I am getting to know. I actually just made friends with a girl from Russia. Her name is Victoria. She is not a member of the church but she had talked to the missionaries while in Russia and came here to America to learn more. She is also going to be studying English while she is here for the next 6 months. She is so funny! We really hit it off and she has officially dubbed me her friend! Long and funny story, but she is just great. I believe that she is going to start the discussions soon, and I am so excited for her! She is just full of excitement for the gospel and I can't wait to see how things turn out for her! If anything she is helping me to understand how blessed I am to live in this country. She has opened my eyes to some things and I am grateful for it. Helps me appreciate life just a little bit more.

My Missionary Brother


So this morning we just got an e-mail from my brother Josh who is on his mission in Switzerland. It was such a great e-mail! Well, usually all of his e-mails are wonderful but today was very heartfelt as he explained to us the happenings of this last week. He expressed a great love for his companion. His name is Elder Cadeau and about a week and a half ago he broke his foot while at a "piquenique" with some ward members and investigators. Well this last week they found out that because of his injury he will have to be sent home a transfer early. His last day on the mission is this coming Monday. Josh expressed the heart wrenching reality that hit his companion when he realized his mission was going to be cut short. They cried together as he expressed his great love for Josh and that Josh had become his mission miracle. Josh has had some deep spiritual understanding since he's been gone, but it seems like these last couple of months you can really tell how much his testimony and life has been changed by this experience.

As I was thinking about all those things this morning I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Josh is amazing! I've always known that, he is my dearest and best friend in the entire world, and it has been the most amazing opportunity to see him grow so much. He also wrote individual little notes to each of us in his e-mail. I was grateful for the wisdom he shared with me and the way that he taught me today. I love being able to have his "eternal perspective" hit me upside the head sometimes. Life gets crazy and I don't always think about the big picture but Josh brings me back down to earth and helps me grasp onto the things I know. I appreciate that!

There has been one experience he's had (from a whole slew!) that has really stood out to me and made me really think. It was about a month ago now that Josh wrote us and told us about a rendezvous he had with a woman and a couple of Jehovah Witnesses. The actual "getting there" to her apartment was a story in itself, but when he and his companion finally got there he had a wonderful experience. This woman had her bible ready and Josh's companion went right at it with the bible bashing. Josh said that as all of these people started pulling out their bibles he posed a question. "Is this all you do at your church, find ways to prove other people's doctrines wrong?" At that moment every one of them shut their bibles and as Josh explains it he began to testify "up the wazoo" that this gospel is true, that he knew it and that nothing could take that away from him. The spirit was strong and they left immediately after he testified. As I imagined Josh doing this I was just so proud of him! He has so much courage and faith and I think that this experience he had really brought home to me how converted he is. It was just neat to think that he is blessing people's lives just as much as he has blessed mine. I know how grateful I am to him for his love and friendship that we have always shared and I am so grateful that he is having these wonderful experiences!

Monday, July 21, 2008

FAMILY VACATION!!


Beautiful country!

Me at "River" Lake

Me and my sweet cousin Bailey. I was making her laugh...her little laugh just melts me!!

I helped take Ben's senior pics! What a handsome guy!

MARSHMALLOW WAR!!!

My beautiful family! (Minus Josh of course who's in Switzerland) On our hike!

Preston caught his first fish!! (Don't be deceived! I think the fish was only about 4inches long! But a fish is a fish!)

Quelf Penalty!! Oh so fun!! Love the look boys!!

Me wrapped up like a mummy! What can I say? It's Quelf!!



So I just got back from a wonderful vacation with my family!! Every year my family rents a cabin in Greer, AZ and we stay up in the mountains for at least 4 or 5 days. It is always a blast! Well this year my grandma, aunt and uncle, and cousins also came with us! We rented a cabin that had 2 stories, plus a balcony and a deck that wrapped around the whole back side of the cabin! It was so much fun! We always have a blast when we're together but I think we have even more fun when we're up in the mountains with no everyday worries. We definitely kept ourselves busy! We went on hikes, went fishing, went exploring, went shopping (of course! How could the girls resist?!), making meals together, and playing lots and lots of games! I think that one of the highlights of each night was sitting around the table together and playing games with each other! One of the games that my family just discovered is Quelf!! Oh my goodness! Can I just tell you that it is the most random and crazy game I have ever played! And I love it!! It can't even be explained to you just how ridiculous it can get and what insane things you have to do, but it is definitely a winner in our family! I think we've pretty much become addicted! I would recommend it to everyone!! Here's a link so you can check it out! http://quelf.com/ You definitely won't regret it!! This is s video of Ben doing a Quelf stunt:
video

I know that you won't be able to understand anything Benny is saying! Neither did we! But I was cracking up trying to figure it out!

It rained every afternoon that we were there and it just made everything so beautiful and clean! I loved being outside in the mornings after a rainstorm and we just soaked it all in before we had to come back home to Gilbert.

The mountains are seriously my most favorite place in the world! I absolutely love the feeling that I get when I am up in the mountains and enjoying the beautiful landscape and creations that were created just for us! It's amazing isn't it?! I feel closer to my Savior as I sit and ponder on the mysteries and teachings of this gospel. I am grateful for it! And I am so grateful that I was able to go on vacation with my family and make great memories that will last forever!