Sunday, November 18, 2007
I must first give credit to Jake for the turkey...
As you can see, we have some weird friends who like to play with our napkin holders. Crazy Crocketts!
And then it was time for the boys to play Epic Duels (a Star Wars game that all boys seem to like and I just don't get the point) and the girls to do mud masks...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The next two months seem to be months of excitement with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all packed together. We can rejoice in a lot of things: Thanksgiving feast is coming up, Jake will be rejoicing in getting Lord of the Rings for Christmas, BYU winning the football game. But today I’m going to discuss rejoicing in things that have eternal consequence, specifically rejoicing in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s pretty bleak to imagine what our existence would be like if there was no God. In High School I sang a solo for my choir’s musical review; it was John Lennon’s imagine. In this song he talks about what I find to be a bleak life:
Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us, above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
I didn’t actually realize what I was singing about at the time. I tend to listen and sing the melody of songs without realizing what the lyrics say unless I make a conscious effort to listen to the words. One day I actually sat and listened, and I realized that I was singing about a world without God. Although this song paints it out to be quite an ideal existence, I think it would really be sad. In such a world, I don’t see much to rejoice in.
So now the question is: Knowing the truths that we talk about every Sunday, what do we have to rejoice about?
First, I rejoice that we have a loving Heavenly Father. There is an overwhelming peace that comes when I really think and reflect on this truth. It’s the peace of knowing that no matter where I am or what is happening in my life, I am not alone. God is real and watches over me. He listens to my prayers. I remember when I was going through an especially lonely time in high school and I went into the bathroom and prayed. I had never thought to pray at school before, and it really calmed me. God also answers my prayers when I fly. Ever since I left for college I have gotten anxiety when riding on a plane. I think it’s the realization that I am so far off the ground that I would totally die if anything happened to the plane—admit it, you’ve thought it too. So now every time I get on a plane I pray, and I also pray especially fervently when there is a lot of turbulence. There is something about being only a prayer away from communicating with God that can really comfort me in those moments.
Have you ever asked the question: Does God really love and care about me? I’ve asked that question, and the answer that pops into my head is that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God loves and cares about your and my soul so much that he sent the Savior to this world knowing that he would suffer pain and death. It was inevitable. And yet, he wished it to be. That is His love. I rejoice and thank God that he is merciful and sees my soul as something worth saving.
Secondly, I rejoice in the Spirit. When I find myself rejoicing in the gospel of Jesus Christ is when the spirit gives me realization and understanding that what I believe is true. The Spirit shows me the beauty in God’s plan. It’s one of those boggle the mind experiences where the Spirit is allowing my soul to grasp an idea that my mind can’t possibly comprehend. I like how Elder Cook simply stated this concept in his address last General Conference: “Joy comes when we have the Spirit in our lives. When we have the Spirit, we rejoice in what the Savior has done for us.” And in these moments I rejoice in the Spirit.
The third thing I rejoice in is what every author of scriptures has rejoiced about. While preparing these talks Jake and I did a search in the scriptures for rejoice, and it is all over the scriptures. Nearly every time rejoice is mentioned in the scriptures it is in relation to the Savior, and subsequently our salvation. Ammon rejoiced after returning from spreading the gospel when he says: “Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name” (Alma 26:16, 35). And for an extreme scriptural example of rejoicing in salvation, King Lamoni “sunk to the ground” twice because he was so overcome by his new understanding of salvation.
Not that we have to faint to the floor every time we speak about the Savior’s atonement, but are you in awe when you think about this gift? Elder Cook said that “…the Resurrection and Atonement wrought by the Savior and the promise of eternal life with our loved ones are of such overwhelming significance that to not rejoice would demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Savior’s gift.” Do the blessings that Christ has presented us with if we have faith in him and submit to his will ever blow your mind? He promises life in heaven with God for eternity. He promises peace and joy FOREVER. Now that’s something to rejoice about.
Alma the Younger rejoiced in the realization of Christ’s mercy. He says that he “was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins. Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell…[and after remembering his father’s teachings about Christ he says] I cried with all my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of god, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more…yea; my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!” (Alma 36:12-20). This is the rejoicing that comes from the cleansing power of repentance through Christ’s atoning power.
I also rejoice in day to day things, such as my husband singing in the shower. I rejoice that there is a heaven and that we can live each day of our life knowing that there is more out there after today passes. I think that the rejoicing I feel every day is largely due to the peace I feel from the gospel. Last conference Elder Uchtdorf told about his experience living in post WW2 Germany. He said, “In the middle of this despair, my family learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the healing message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This message made all the difference; it lifted us above our daily misery…The plain and simple truths of the gospel warmed our hearts and enlightened our minds.” When it comes to day to day challenges, and even difficult long-term trials, it is the optimism and peace of the gospel that can sustain us through those rough times.
I like how Elder Uchtorf put it: “[E]nduring to the end is not just a matter of passively tolerating life’s difficult circumstances or ‘hanging in there’. Ours is an active religion, helping God’s children along the strait and narrow path to enduring to the end is exalting and glorious, not grim and gloomy. This is a joyful religion, one of hope, strength, and deliverance. ‘Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy’.” (2 Nephi 2:25)
I thank God for the moments that I recognize his hand in my life and feel happy. I hope that we will all recognize the peace and rejoice in the great goodness of God.
And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Luke 17:11-19 - The 10 Lepers
2 Kinds of Gratitude
1. Gratitude because life is good (The 9 Lepers who were glad to be healed)
- Everything seems to go our way and there are no major obstacles in our path. Living is easy and we become prideful. We enjoy blessings but fail to recognize their source
2. Because God is good (The 10th Leper)
- Although we enjoy our blessings, we are able to see past them to a loving and caring God who provides good gifts to his children. We are grateful to the giver rather than just being grateful for gifts.
Nephi warns us against being grateful solely because life is good
HEL 12:1-2 – We forget the Lord when we are blessed materially
- All 10 lepers recognized Christ as a Savior while they were yet afflict
- Afterwards only 1 remembered from whence his healing had come
Nephi’s point is made painfully clear when we compare the Church in 4th Nephi to the City of Enoch. Both had progressed to a state of spiritual and temporal abundance but while the Nephites set their hearts upon their wealth and sank into apostasy, the City of Enoch “had no poor among them” and were taken up into heaven.
Warnings similar to Nephi’s have been offered by the prophets of God in our day…
Brigham Young once said, “The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear . . . is that they cannot stand wealth.”
Rather than focusing solely on what we have been blessed with, we should lift our eyes to giving thanks to our God who as provided those blessings.
Micah 7: 18-20 – Who is a God like thee?
2 NE 9:8-10 – Oh the wisdom the mercy and the Grace
2 NE 4:20-24 - He hath been my support (How often do we give God credit for day to day things?)
- “He hath helped me pass my exams, He hath taught me to be a good spouse…”
If you’re struggling to find gratitude, may I make a suggestion? For me, the times when I have felt most grateful to God have been when I was most conscious of my weaknesses. I like the story of Enos in the Book of Mormon (Enos 1:3-6)
What are your needs? What is your spiritual leprosy? In what way is your soul incomplete?
I would exhort us all to bring our needs before the Lord that like the leper and Enos, we too might be made whole. ITNOJCA
Sunday, October 28, 2007
One couple that we got to know a little better was Jordan and Erin Barret (I hope I spelled that right guys) from Wheaton College near Chicago. Jordan led groups out to BYU for five years to interact with students there and to learn more about the LDS. We talked a lot about religion and heard one another's perspectives on different doctrinal issues. It was most enlightening. There's even a chance that we may live near one another next year. If they stay in Chicago and I end up going to Northern Illinois University we would only be a short drive apart. I think that would be pretty cool!
Well, I think I've said enough. Even if I did keep going I don't think I could really convey how great and important I think these kind of discussions are. Religion really can be one of the hardest subjects to discuss but that shouldn't stop us from trying to do it in an open and understanding way. Okay, so there was my little soapbox. I'm now getting of it and sliding it under the table. Until next time!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Next, I really liked this elephant. He (or maybe she?) would scoop grass into little piles with his/her trunk and then eat it. Can you imagine doing all that with your nose? I thought it was pretty cool.
Another fun part of the day was getting up close and person with this Giraffe. It was munching on a branch near the wall where we were. I never realized how weirdly shaped their heads were. I think they look like big birds.
Finally, while hanging out with Daniel and Heidi at their place their pup, Roxy, figured out what suckers Jo and I are for dogs and took full advantage of the situation.
Afterwards we went to Famous Daves which, for those who know my history with the institution (Graham, nudge nudge, wink wink...), can always be a dangerous adventure. It was tastey of course.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This isn't the first time that Jake has talked in his sleep. It makes me want to put a pad of paper next to my bed so that I can record any other crazy episodes. I'll keep you all posted if this happens again.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
1. How long have you been together? We've been together for almost 3 years. However, we've been married for a little over 2 years.
2. How long did you date? We dated for 5.5 months, and then got married 3 months after Jake proposed. However, we talked on the phone for a month and a half before we were officially dating.
3. How old were you when you got married? I had barely turned 21, and Jake was 22 years old.
4. Who eats more? Jake claims that he wins the cake on this question...or rather eats the cake. However, I can pack my cookies too. I think Jake is just a little more "uninhibited" in his eating.
5. Who said I love you first? After we had been talking on the phone for a month and a half, we were finally going to meet each other. In the phone conversation before that crazy event occurred, Jake asked what my feelings were about using the "L-bomb"--as he put it. Take into consideration that we'd yet to have our first date!! As far as who actually said "I love you" first, we can't remember.
6. Who sings better? No contest, this would be me. Not to brag or anything, but... Jake says it's debatable, but I think he his vocals have improved greatly.
7. Who is smarter? This is such an awkward question. I choose not to comment for the good of our marriage.
8. Whose temper is worse? Jake can get pretty testy if I don't leave him alone if he is trying to do something. And I get pretty miffed if I need attention and he doesn't give it to me. You can see where this is going. And yet miraculously--against all odds--we have a wonderful marriage.
9. Who does the laundry? We usually do the laundry together. But if we don't get it done Saturday, Jake usually does it during the week.
10. Who does the dishes? I'll admit, I have to give Jake props for this one. I'll do the dishes, but Jake does it more often because a full sink of dishes makes him more stressed.
11. Who pays the bills? I do. For shnizzle.
12. Who mows the lawn? Don't got one.
13. Who cooks dinner? We usually cook Sunday dinner and lunches together on Sunday. It's one of our best bonding times. As far as dinners during the week, we just scrounge or eat left overs.
14. Who drives when you are together? Jake always drives. I only drive when I pick him up from something.
15. Who is more stubborn? Jake is more stubborn when it comes to winning debates, but I'm sure I more stubborn about most other things.
16. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Jake is really good at admitting when he's wrong, even when he's right. However, once I've admitted I'm wrong, I REALLY admit it and Jake has to spend the next few hours convincing me that I'm still a good person.
17. Whose parents do you see the most? It's about even. We spend smaller amounts of time with Jake's parents, but it's more often. When we go to California to see my parents we are there for a longer amount of time, but we go less often.
18. Who kissed who first? I gave Jake the kissy eyes--as he calls them--but he made the first move.
19. Who asked who out? After our phone courtship, we both new that we wanted to check each other out in person. We figured out that I'd fly into Salt Lake at the same time Jake was in Salt Lake with his family for Thanksgiving. He picked me up from the airport, so the first time we met was in the airport. How dramatic.
20. Who proposed? That is definitely a man's job. Jake had dropped some hints, and I had been quite clear that I would welcome a proposal of the matrimonial kind. I don't think there was any fear of rejection. Actually, come to think about it, Jake threw out a couple of fake proposals to psych me out. Unfortunately I fell for it a few times, much to my chagrin.
21. Who is more sensitive? I am more sensitive. End of statement.
22. Who has more friends? I think it's pretty even. Most of our friends are mutual friends.
23. Who wears the pants in the family? Honestly, we share power and responsibility pretty evenly. But seeing how I am currently the suga' mama, I think I wear the pants at this time--which is unfortunate because Jake doesn't have very attractive legs.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Ah, if only the life of a psychologist-to-be was that exciting. Instead of utility belts, cool jet-engine cars and masks we get to attend conventions and present research. Oh well, we've all got to battle evil in our own ways I suppose.
Going to the conference was actually a really awesome opportunity that not many undergraduates get the chance to do. Plus the convention was in San Francisco so I got to stay with my wonderful in-laws across the Bay in Oakland. Part of the fun was hanging out with Wiley, the Criddle's Shi- Tzu. He only weighs ten pounds but he thinks he's a Saint Bernard. I grew up with a big Rottweiller and never really thought I would want a small dog but if he was as cool as Wiley I just might change my mind.
Also, due to the generous benevolence of BYU's CCC (Kudos Dr. Chapman!) I got an allowance to spend on some grub while I was in SF. The beautiful part was that since I staying with my in-laws I could go out to some swank restaurants and still come in way under budget. Apparently, John 's Grill here was the setting for the 1930 novel Maltese Falcon (eat your heart out Graham) which later became the more well known film noir. Either way, the steak I had was awesome. Culture and cuisine!
Finally, I got to hang out a bunch with my cool sister-and-brother-in-law and their two kids, Christian and Elizabeth. Dan and I got up and went on an early morning hike through the redwoods and later in the visit we all went to this cool park and rode a kid-size steam engine. Christian was loving it (obviously). All in all, another great trip to the Bay Area, although the best part is always coming back home to my bodacious wife.
Yeah, we're pretty excited about it. After 18 months of missionary service in the land (way) northward, our dear friend Susie Baer has returned to us. We attended her homecoming and she (and her mother who served a mission concurrently with her) gave a wonderful address. We love you Susie!
Sunday, August 05, 2007
2. I fantasize about having a dog--currently a pug.
3. I grew up in Piedmont, California.
4. Red Vines are far better than Twizzlers.
5. I was planning to go to Thailand to teach English through music until Jake came into my life and ruined that plan.
6. Jake and I used to be the proud parents of a pet snail named Polk.
7. I killed around seven fish in the space of 2 weeks while doing a 3rd grade unit on the environment while student teaching. The unit was ironically supposed to be about living vs. non-living things. One day I came in from recess to find yet another fish dead, and I ended up having to teach my kids about death impromptu.
8. I have had 13 teeth pulled.
9. I have been to Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, China, Scotland, Ireland, Caribbean, and Canada.
10. I graduated from BYU Cum Laude.
11. If I had been born a boy I would have been named Peter.
12. I hinted to Jake that I would marry him over a game of basketball.
13. I eat Rice Krispies--otherwise known as cardboard--every morning for breakfast.
14. I have eaten eel, and it was actually quite good.
15. I had to have braces twice.
16. My biggest weakness is chocolate.
17. I try to exercise everyday, although I'm not always so good about that goal.
18. I have a freckle on my eye lid.
19. I love art and enjoy sketching.
20. I graduated in Elementary Music Education and Elementary Education.
21. I enjoy Evangelical-LDS dialogues.
22. I won first place in the musical theater category of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singers) in the Bay Area.
23. My concentration for AP Art was distorted faces--not the sort of art that you would want hanging right above your bed at night.
24. I love shitzus, especially my dog Wylie.
25. I believe that couches should be purchased based on comfort.
26. I cried like a baby when I first went off to a two week choir camp when I was 5 years old. My parents sent me a stuffed animal rabbit. I wrote them a letter saying: "Thank you for the rabbit. I used its ears to wipe away my tears."
27. I have a tendency to lose something, ask Jake if he has seen it, and then find it the next second.
28. I have a deep faith in God and Jesus Christ.
29. I got my ears pierced as a reward for getting a perfect score on my spelling test in 5th grade.
30. I think there's something beyond this life--and I believe it's something beautiful.
31. I have climbed to the base of Half Dome. I was too chicken to climb the rickety ladder up to the top--I was young. Although to be honest, I may still be too chicken.
32. I stared as Fern in the play Charlotte's web in 3rd grade.
33. I was shy as a child and socially nervous in adolescence.
34. I'm excited to have children--as my husband will attest.
35. My favorite kind of Ben and Jerry's ice cream is Wavy Gravy, but I don't know if they make that any more.
36. I worked at the BYU Creamery for one year and ate way too much ice cream.
37. My husband is my best friend.
38. I got a C+ in 6th grade math. I remember being so confused.
39. When I sing and get really nervous I feel like saliva is accumulating at the back of my throat.
40. I own a violin and can only play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. One day I will take lessons.
41. I watched Grease 9 times in one day when I was a young teenager.
42. Lisa D'Annunzio and I had a dance and lip sink to Summer Days from Grease when we were in 8th grade. I was Danny.
43. When I was a sophomore in college I would eat a banana sandwich almost every day for lunch.
44. I threw up both times that Jake and I went to California to visit my family while we were engaged--one of which was right next to the plaque that is by Coit Tower in San Francisco. Remember me next time you are there.
45. I can crack my hips really loudly, even if I don't mean to.
46. My favorite kind of flower is a red Gerber Daisey, and Jake brought me one for our first date.
47. I love it when my husband ambushes me with kisses.
48. I was entranced by the 7th Harry Potter.
49. I have a love for children's books: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Bronze Bow, StarGirl, Enchantress of the Stars, Harry Potter, and Journey to the Other Side of the World being some of my favorites.
50. I have conducted a children's choir.
51. I love Cafe Rio salads.
52. I went through a candle kick while decorating.
53. Jake and I get really competitive while playing Othello.
54. I go to BYU football games for the atmosphere and friends, not so much for the game.
55. Somehow Jake and I managed to spend $20 a week on food for the first year of our marriage. Looking back we have no idea what we were thinking.
56. I am the suga'-momma in the family for the time being.
57. Mr. Bean is classic.
58. I am fanatical about my dental hygiene. Every time that I don't want to floss I just think about losing my teeth when I'm old.
59. My love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, and physical touch.
60. When I want Jake's attention I will put my hands on his face and turn his head so that his eyes are starring right into my eyes. Then I will smile and say "hi".
61. My maiden name is Criddle.
62. My grandfather invented Astroturf.
63. I am currently obsessed with Brian Regan.
64. It took Jake and I until two months ago to come into the twenty-first century and get cell phones.
65. I have committed my husband to dying a day after I do. Not one day before or after that.
66. I am offended at my husband's wish to have his childhood dog greet him in heaven--what about me!!!
67. My house was almost in a Will Smith movie.
68. I have an alligator head on my entertainment center--not of my choice.
69. I'm an avid fan of So You Think You Can Dance.
70. I fall asleep while watching any movie--my husband suspects narcolepsy
71. I'm married to a Transformers addict.
72. We are trying in vain to stop talking like babies. It's twoo.
73. I laugh at my husbands jokes even though he doesn't laugh at mine.
74. Sometimes I have way too much energy for Jake to handle.
75. The best season is Fall.
76. Winter in Utah lasts way too long.
77. One of my regrets so far in life is not knowing people better in high school.
78. I like saying "Sir, I say Sir" in a deep southern accent like Foghorn Leghorn.
79. I constantly improvise songs and lyrics and sing them to Jake, but for some reason this doesn't bring him as much joy as it does to me.
80. As of right now we want to name our first born boy Luke Owen Farnsworth and our first born girl is still up for debate.
81. My favorite lotion right now is Midnight Pomegranate.
82. I completed 196.5 credit hours to enter the work place in a field with no relation to my degrees.
83. I sang with John Denver with my children's choir growing up.
84. My nickname growing up was Joanna Banana, as well as Joanna Bean.
85. My favorite color is red.
86. The first and only time I tried to give blood I nearly passed out.
87. I steal all the covers at night.
88. I will do almost anything for a foot or forehead rub.
89. I never really learned to swim. I can doggy paddle and keep from drowning, but I can't get anywhere very fast.
90. My favorite kind of pizza has artichokes, blue cheese, and mushrooms.
91. My husband and I are constantly debating the meaning of "in moderation".
92. I'm more of a Christmas Story than It's A Wonderful Life person.
93. I'm really bad at keeping in touch with people.
94. Grocery shopping is one of my favorite past times.
95. I have never had so much fun in my life as I have with Jake.
96. My husband intimidates me by making snakes out of his hands and pretending to bite me. I have absolutely no survival instinct.
97. I have a husband that for the life of him can't remember which pants to put in the dryer and which not to, even when I remind him right before he leaves to change the laundry.
98. My hardest classes at BYU were Music History.
99. My greatest fear about going to the mid-west for grad school is having frizzy hair from the humidity.
100. I am Frisbee inept.
101. Life is a beautiful event worth living.
eaten for dinner. While we were watching this horrendous scene we heard one little girl start to cry and ask her dad what was going on. Her father replied, "It's just the food chain." That little girl must be scarred for life.
Jo's sister in law, Anika, stayed with us last night as she was in Utah for a family reunion and some other fun stuff. Anika also brought along her daughter Elin who, despite being in a different state apart from her dad and brothers and surrounded by strangers, was a lot of fun. That day we'd gone shopping and picked out a HUGE watermelon. I didn't quite realize how big it was until we got to the check out and it maxed out the scale. Apparently, if your produce weighs more than the scale can measure then you just get it for the max weight the scale can give. Sweet! Anyways, we took a picture just to show how big this mega-melon was compared to our niece, Elin. We could have hollowed it out and made a canoe out of it for her.
So, the other night Jo was feeling restless. After a second, the idea came to her that mud masks were the answer to her plight, and guess who got brought along for the ride? I'd never had a mud facial before (obviously) and apparently my time had come. I don't know if I would have gone along with it though if it had been some kind of vegetable thing where I would have put the cucumbers over my eyes. But it's just smearing dirt on your face. Heck, I did that all the time when I was a kid. So why don't I have marvelous skin now if mud's the answer to beauty? I guess it doesn't matter, I didn't do it for the glory... I did it for the pictures.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Once upon a time there was a girl named Joanna (Jo for short) who was growing more and more disillusioned with the male population. Sinking into despair, she had almost resigned herself to the nunnery when her neighbor Heather and the glaring reality that she was not Catholic presented her with another option. Lo and behold, Heather's strapping young male cousin Jake--who had just returned from wrestling alligators and serving the Lord--was seeking a little lady to scratch his back and stroke his tummy.
When Heather insisted that she had kin who might tempt Jo away from a life of celibacy, Jo immediately took the initiative to make contact with the prince charming. Needless to say, it was a success. They talked, and they talked, and they talked on the phone. Some of their deepest conversations included motherhood, the size of wedding rings, whether or not Jo would actually be goofy--boy did she show Jake--and family dynamics. Everything clicked. All that was left was for them to actually meet.
The perfect opportunity arrived when Jake picked Jo up from the Salt Lake Airport on her way back form Thanksgiving break. Jo was to be wearing gray corduroy pants and a purple shirt, and Jake would be wearing a light blue shirt and--in his own words--would be dashingly good looking. It was love at first sight....
...MORE TO COME...