Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I can tell you I was not looking forward to blogging. I am not that technologically savvy. I prefer the texture of pages, the smell of old books and the warm, natural lighting of the sun upon words. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for technology! I've been able to keep in contact with my family across seas because of it! It's just that some things I like to keep old and simple.
I enjoyed reading others' blogs. Though I was not particularly fond of writing in my own, I did love reading what others had posted. You see, even as I look at others' final conclusions, I admire their wit and creativity. I have simply titled my post CONCLUSION (with all caps, so as to be radiate importance). Perhaps blogging isn't exactly the thing for me, but I've enjoyed the chance at writing. I've also kept a journal for BOM for more spiritual aspects of my life, so combining the two I think would be an interesting project!
Over this semester I've been extremely busy. I think if I had more time I could appreciate and begin to experiment with the blog. I liked playing with the design. Visual rhetoric is something I am very interested in. (My mother is an interior designer). I was thankful for the chance this semester gave to be introduced to blogs. Hopefully sometimes in the future I will pick it up again and be much more consistent. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Innocence of Children

Over the weekend I had the sweet pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving with my cousins and their children. Adorable and all blue eyed, they radiated innocence and sweet testimonies. I have never felt such joy then when I hold little Brooklyn in my arms. About 9 months old, she is the epitome of perfection and I   marvel at her little spirit. She seems to be so connected to her Father. My mother has often confided in me her belief that infants are not kept within the veil. As they grow older, that distinction grows, but newborn infants still seem close to heaven.
    I've recently read in Moroni about the abomination of infant baptism. As I peer into the blue eyes of my little cousins, I know they cannot sin. They are without fault and they radiate Christ's love. I've often wondered how it is one should become like little children. I've realized now that they possess so many qualities of a great disciple. They are humble and teachable, but also curious and eager to learn. They do not pass judgments, but rather love as Christ loves.

All the Leaves are Brown

All the leaves are brown.
And the sky is gray.
I've been for a walk, on a winter's day.
I'd be safe and warm, if I was in L.A (or Thailand)
CALIFORNIA dreamin' on such a winter's daaaay.

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way.
WELL, i got down on my knees
and I pretend to pray.
YOU KNOW THE PREACHER likes the cold. He KNOOOWS I'm gonna stay.
CALIFORNIA dreamin' on such a winter's daaay...

(California Dreaming, The Mamas and the Papas)

The Mamas and The Papas have it right. WHERE ARE ALL THE COLORS? it's so GRAY and FORLORN here. I look outside, everything is DEAD. DEAD I SAY. There is no LIFE. I feel my own life being sucked away greedily. I cannot stand a world without color. I once had a dream that was in black and white. You may think it would have been fascinating. Nope. Rather, it was just depressing. Much of my happiness is dependent upon the sun. But where is it? What is this layer of smog doing here anyway?! Gaaahhh...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Isaiah- Look Through New Eyes

    It shames me to say that I’ve only read the verses of Isaiah sparingly and rather grudgingly at that. Though Isaiah was brilliant, for a young mind like mine he was quite impossible to understand. Just reading about him in the Book of Mormon was enough for me. Fortunately, my ignorance regarding the wisdom of Isaiah would soon be revealed. In just 45 short minutes, Sister Ann N. Madsen changed my perspective of the enigmatic Isaiah.
 Sister Madsen conveyed such love for the book of Isaiah. It was infectious, I must admit. As she positioned herself upon the pulpit, her grandmotherly eyes seemed to see all. “It’s quite a challenge to open Isaiah in 45 minutes,” she stated “but let’s scratch the surface.”  She began by stressing the importance of noticing the related history and politics of Isaiah’s time.  Isaiah draws from his environment and prophesies to the people of his time, using experiences available to all.
     Isaiah speaks using metaphors. He prophesies boldly and in poetry. Unlike English poetry rhyming merely words, Hebrew poetry has rhyming ideas, also known as Chiasmus. When one reads Isaiah, imagination must be used. As Sister Madsen said “[The book of] Isaiah is a repository of gospel truths revealed to a man of great intellectual power who uses symbols to make it accessible to all.” Metaphors speak to people on an individual level. Experience alone can change the understanding one takes from a metaphor.
     I delighted in Sister Madsen’s explanation of Chapter 6 of the book of Isaiah. At this point, Isaiah has seen Jesus Christ. From that moment on, you can feel Isaiah’s deep devotion for his Savior that can never be shaken. Isaiah is a prophet of hope, and he invites his people to “walk in the light of the lord.” Like all prophets, Isaiah must call his people to repentance. However, he does not despair as, Sister Madsen jokes, Jeremiah does in Lamentations.
    Though I cannot write all that I have felt in this great lecture, I felt the spirit so strongly in that room. As Sister Madsen said, “the adversary will tell us to not read the book, but if we don’t open Isaiah then we are kept from his marvelous witness of Christ”

Professor Megan Sanborn Jones- Lecture on Shakespeare

       I sat upon the balcony early this Thursday morning. Peering down at the heads of those seated below, I saw in the corner a woman seated erect and confident. Professor Megan Sanborn Jones spoke with power and spoke to her audience. Her lecture was titled “Shakespeare: form Pages to Stages” and within it, she illustrated the transformation of Shakespeare throughout the ages.
       Professor Megan Sanborn Jones began her lecture quite unlike most others. Quotes were distributed throughout the audience, and Jones would call on them to heighten the interaction between audience and lecturer. Professor Jones inquired about our views of Shakespeare; what comes to mind when his name is heard. Much of society’s respect for Shakespeare exists simply because it is what we were taught. For those who admire Shakespearean work, are merely echoing the thoughts of the generation before. Is Shakespeare truly the master we know him to be? And what is this universality that demands our upmost respect? As Professor Jones demonstrated, Shakespeare was just another writer scraping to get by; the equivalent to today’s sitcom writer. So what exactly happened to transcend this man above the ranks of mere mortals?
The canonization of Shakespeare was brought about by many events. The gathering of his works, undertaken by Ben Johnson, legitimized Shakespeare’s work. Prior to this, Shakespeare’s plays were written on sides in haste. What we have today is a selection and alteration of lines and may in no way reflect the original contents. Shakespeare was not celebrated until the Germans picked up his writings during the German Romantic period. England, upon seeing the popularity Shakespeare obtained in Germany, ‘reclaimed’ Shakespeare in the mid 19th century. A national movement commenced, and Shakespeare became England’s export.  Essentially, because we were taught that Shakespeare was great, we believe it.  Though there was much more to Jones lecture, I admired her words and her intelligence. Professor Jones was passionate about communication through performance and allowing the audience to find meaning. Professor Jones practiced what she preached. Her lecture was an incredible performance, encouraging each present to find meaning. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Personal Narrative

All too quickly, sacrament meeting had ended. My mother hugs me fiercely, stifling my futile pleas for home. With a whisper of support and a kiss on the cheek, she sends me on my way, like a lamb to the slaughter.
I enter the menacing hall. It overflows with saints searching for class. I look to the shrinking figure of my mother. She seems so far away and with each passing second, I feel more alone and forgotten. Fighting back my fervent tears, I lift my chin and gulp back a cry of despair. Not this time, I tell myself. Not this time. As the reality of my decision sinks in, I quickly glance to a nearby window and assess my swollen, puffy eyes. Scrubbing them with shaking hands, I turn to face the throngs of searching people.
Like a piece of driftwood carried by the current, I am born by endless ebbs and flows of the river of people.  Disoriented and frightened, I struggle in vain. I am carried to a door: the door of my class. With a sigh of submission, I glance inside to the room that haunts my Sundays. Sheer horror fights for control of my body. I want to run and never look back. Scarring memories of Sundays past seep to the surface and I struggle to maintain composure. Others push past me, unaware of the turmoil that rages behind my blue eyes. It takes all of my courage to step into that room- courage that drains me dry.
I stagger into the room as the clock rings twelve. Its chimes echo in my skull. A picture frame hangs alone. Nailed to the wall, the Savior’s eyes stare down at me, searching my very soul. I look away, ashamed of myself.
Amongst the flawless faces, my own smeared makeup and runny nose stick out like a sore thumb. My heart begins to sink. Why did I come? I demand of myself. Deeper into the pits of despair I plunge and wallow in self-pity. My lips quiver traitorously, but as I look around at the faces that surround me I realize I’ve assembled an audience. Aware of others’ eyes, I meekly smooth my dress and gather my disarrayed hair. Desperate to be ignored once again, I maneuver myself through the plethora of chairs and sit myself down far in the back.
My eyes return to the picture of the Savior. If He knew the thoughts that lie behind my weary eyes… he would not be so willing to atone for my sins.
The door shuts abruptly, releasing me from my thoughts. A pink vision has entered into the room.
“Good morning, my beautiful young women!” gushes the radiant being. Outfit styled meticulously and hair pinned to perfection, she exudes confidence. I shrink mournfully into my seat, fiddling with my frizzy mop of hair. Surely she doesn’t mean me. I’m no beauty. She looks eagerly upon the young faces that shine back at her. “Our lesson today is about…” She pauses for effect. “Individual Worth!” she cries, throwing her arms elegantly into the air.
Excited voices ring throughout the room, like silver bells on a winter’s day. Inviting words float to my ears but I keep to myself, unwilling to comply. Like an ugly duckling, I sit awkwardly amongst the beautiful swans. The giddiness continues to amplify and though I worried my silence would be sensed, I am quickly ignored.
A question is asked, but I am deep within myself, too downtrodden to notice. My cruel mind degrades myself further and further as deeper and deeper I sink. In the pits of despair, my happiness is silenced and I sit quietly, defenseless against my own thoughts.
Playful banter continues to erupt from the young women throughout the lesson, their smiles gleaming on their faces. My head falls forward and I tuck my body in tight. No one must see my tears.  
 “Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of our Lord,” answers a nearby miamaid.  Tears form in the corner of my eyes as I count the minutes until my deliverance.
I am worthless. I am worthless. I am worthless. The thought echoes cruelly in my soul. God does not watch me. He doesn’t even know I exist.
The teacher comments upon how we must look at ourselves through God’s eyes.  “Imagine God’s eye.” she sweetly hums. My eyes mist over as I enter the realms of my imagination. 

Imagine God’s eye.

In a flash, my thought would transcend the heavens to rest upon the ear of my Father. With care and compassion, His watchful eye would turn to seek me.


With a blink, our universe would come into view. The size simply inconceivable to even my imagination, it gently swells and billows, forever extending its reach. The supernovas scorch, the black holes devour and all abides as it should. There it sits, peacefully tended by an omnipotent observer.


The benevolent figure would then focus upon a single galaxy. Our Galaxy. A particular spinning mass then catches the eye of the omniscient being- Earth. Our giant blueberry suspended in space. Inhabited by 6,697,254,041 people and counting, my Father would lovingly search for just one.


The observer then zooms in and rests his eye upon America, the Land of the Brave. With a gentle smile, He watches the workings of the young nation. Great battles, strong men and blessed land, he savors the growth of the people.


The mighty observer would not stray from his task, though, for he is needed elsewhere. With love, he continues in his search. His watchful eye soars through hills and plains. Ever vigilant, the Heavenly Being seeks. 


Buried in the chapel, he enters the Young Women’s room. He passes the rows of faithful daughters and finds the doubting soul seated at the very back. His quite, gentle voice whispers softly in her ear, “You are mine, never doubt your worth.”


With a start, I blink into awareness. The girl seated next to me held out a handout tied with ribbons and bows. Her caring eyes ponder my silence as her hand gestures again.
“You okay?” she asks, sincerity and true concern touching her voice. I mumble a fitting response and grasp the handout. I am a bit shaken by my imaginings. It seemed all too real.

 A prayer is quickly said and the girls begin to stand. Class had ended. I can go home. Relief floods my system and I hurry to find my mother. As I gather my things, I look down at the ornate piece of paper.

As my eyes glance at the paper, my heart leaps in recognition at the words written near the bottom. Etched in simple black letterings were the tender whisperings of my Savior; You Are Mine. Tears form in my eyes. These are different from the sorrowful tears before, though. These are tears of joy.

The teacher, seeing my state, comes to my side and wraps her arms around me. “Lauren,” she whispers, “I had a strong feeling I needed to give that lesson today. I’m not sure why, but I think somebody special needed to hear how much they’re worth.”

I manage a simple ‘thank you’ and turn to look into the eyes of my teacher. For a brief second I am transported back into my imaginings. My teacher’s eyes now become the eyes of my Savior, gentle and loving. In a flash, the vision is gone and I am looking again into the youthful face of my Sunday school teacher. She gives me a hug goodbye and as I watch her go, I feel her arms around me still: a vestige of her warmth.

With tears cascading down my cheeks, I turn to the picture on the wall— the picture of Christ. He smiles at me sweetly and seems to whisper, “You are mine.” For a blessed moment, I seem to be enveloped in his arms. Nothing can harm me when I am held by my Savior.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Carl Bloch's "Garden of Gethsemane"

Christ’s atonement is a delicate matter to paint. Sacred and powerful, it is has the potential to be expressed beautifully or simply fail to inspire. Viewings of Christ’s atonement have seldom been depicted in accordance to my own understanding.  At times Christ manners are lacking in grace and form, while the blood that some artists feel necessary to include take away from the holiness of the act. Though none know exactly how the sacrificial act was completed, I’ve never been more touched by an artist’s depiction than I was by Carl Bloch’s. “Christ in Gethsemane”, painted oil on canvas in 1878-79, is a portrayal of the great Redeemer’s atoning act of love. As written Luke;
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (22: 43-44)
In a traditional depiction, the angel Luke speaks of would be bringing Christ the bitter cup. Bloch, however, paints with greater sensitivity. The anger, full of tenderness and compassion, embraces her Savior.
            The composition of the piece enhances the power manifested to the audience. Carl Bloch portrays Christ in a state of submission and frailty. The Savior’s hands are folded in submission and his eyes are weary from exertion. Dressed in red, Carl Bloch delicately conveys the blood shed by our Savior. Christ leans in weariness to the lustrous angel. Seeking strength and comfort, the Savior seems collapsed upon the heavenly being. Both positioned on a rock formation, Carl Bloch alludes to Psalm 95, “let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation” (1). Bloch does not belittle the Savior’s atonement, but rather continues to touch upon Christ’s power and redeeming goodness.
Furthermore, in contrast to the wearied Christ, the angel exudes power and strength. The angel comforts Jesus as best as she can, with her hands holding up his limp hands and her head laid upon his weary brow.  The illustrious being’s face is serene and heavenly- it’s purity enhanced by its glow. Crowned with golden hair and dressed in flowing garments, the angel’s attire contrasts from the Savior’s blood red garb.  Light cascades down upon the angel. Her wings are lit by a tangible aura- the illuminating goodness of the atonement.
Though not as paramount as the relationship between Christ and angel, Carl Bloch depicts masterfully the background of the Savior’s atonement. Dark and despairing, the scenery depicts the darkness closing in upon the two. Christ is the light of this world, and Bloch enhances this idea in allowing all light to shine upon the pair and the pair alone. Carl Bloch refers to the wickedness of the world around Christ in his depiction of the natural background. There is little vegetation around Christ and the angel. Nothing grows or flourishes as though corrupted by the wickedness of society. What life does exist is shriveled and dying. A twisted tree is split above Christ. Its ominous and warped nature mirrors the disposition of Satan, wicked and corrupt. Christ takes upon him the sins of all mankind. As the darkness encloses upon him, the struggle between good and evil becomes ever more pressing. All who view Bloch’s painting watch in pain as our Savior battles the sins of all. Moreover, to the lower right, a faint gleam of fire flickers foreshadowing the Romans coming to take Christ away. Stars glitter in the night sky as though other angels look down upon Christ and long to strengthen him as well.
Carl Bloch offers a depiction of the upmost power and beauty. Christ, who is our support has given of himself fully. This poignant portrayal captures my very perception of Christ. My Savior embraces me daily; much like the angel supports him. His atoning sacrifice shines upon me despite the darkness of the world.  I feel such gratitude for my Christ. In this depiction, all I long to do is embrace and support my Savior. He has been my constant support and I long to help in anyway I can. My heart aches at Bloch’s portrayal of my struggling Savior. I must do all I can to not allow his suffering to be in vain.
As I sit in the presence of this powerful painting, I never want to leave. I want to sit in the glory of my God and bathe in the love that emanates from the pair. I wonder and hope that angels are present strengthening me. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Professor Jeremy Grimshaw- The Presence of Ramé

Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw spoke on the presence of ramé in a cremation ceremony on the island of Bali in Indonesia. He spoke on the Gamelon, a percussion ensemble that represented community: the art and devotion behind the music. The music of Bali manifests a connection between the beautiful and the spiritual. Despite the island’s small size, Bali is filled by a unique concentration of art, music and devotion. As Professor Jeremy Grimshaw quoted, “In Bali, we don’t have ‘art.’ We just do everything as beautifully as we can.” For the Balinese, life is art; every movement, every action exists as art. Grimshaw further illustrated this unique and devoted culture through his experience with the cremation of the head of the Ubud Royal Family.
The ramé that Professor Jeremy Grimshaw identifies refers to a fullness of being. The Balinese culture has an aversion to empty space for they can possess evil spirits. To fend away any malignant presences, the people of Bali fill this space with virtuous things, be it offerings, arts, decorations or music. In regards to the manifestation of ramé in Balinese music, their music is composed of layered melodies, paired tuning and interlocking parts. Excerpts of music were presented, and Professor Grimshaw identified the aspects of ramé with each new method.
Today, I had the magnificent sensation of being brought back to my home in Thailand, even if just for 50 minutes. The Balinese music that he played triggered within me nostalgia for a time since passed. Memories of my beloved Bangkok resurfaced and I dreamed sweetly of home. The pictures that he took of the instruments and procession reminded me so sweetly of the Thai’s culture and traditions. I was nourished by Grimshaw’s talk for it filled me with memories of my home. The lecture fulfilled my deep longings for home and I sat contented with a smile of my face. 

Rita Wright's lecture on Tissot

Rita Wright’s lecture spoke on the incredible story and work of French artist, James Tissot. As luck would have it, Tissot’s work is exhibited at the MOA this November: a blessing for all who attend. In preparation for the November tours, Rita Wright spoke on Tissot’s life story and his remarkable conversion that influenced much of his later work.
            A recurring parable that Tissot portrayed was that of the prodigal son. As Wright would explain, Tissot was France’s prodigal son, returning to his religious roots later in his life. Much of James Tissot’s life was encompassed by conflict. He struggled with his identity: in his past, his career, and his religious beliefs. Born in France, but with a heavy influence in Britain, James Tissot struggled between his career and success. Both countries displayed an influence upon his religion- Catholic vs. Protestant. As a man impacted by many areas, Tissot manifested a great complexity in his artwork. Inspired by many things, Tissot depicted a glimpse into the past. Though his earlier works were beautiful, Rita Wright’s words on his religious pieces struck me deeply.
            Tissot’s conversion experience was incredibly moving. Sitting amongst the worshipers at St. Sulpice, James Tissot had a vision unlike any he had ever experienced. What he saw was a depiction of Christ leaning next to an impoverished couple. From this time forth, Tissot devoted the rest of his life to the painting of the Savior. Tissot aimed to capture the mystical and divine Christ in his watercolors. Tissot wished “to receive and grasp every impression.” He dedicated his time and efforts into the study of the Gospels hoping to identify deeply with the life of Christ.
Throughout our life we are given incredible opportunities to expand our knowledge of the world around us. Tissot’s exhibit at the MOA is one such opportunity and it within our reach. It would be foolish to ignore such a chance as this. I shall have to tour these incredible depictions of Christ’s life. 

Dr. Prater's Lecture

As soon as I walked into the lecture hall, I could tell today was something different.  For one thing, I couldn’t get a seat despite being 5 minutes early.  Whoever was speaking today must be greatly esteemed. As I scanned the heads of students and guests, my eyes happened upon the wonderful surprise positioned on the table.  Filled with books that I had loved as a child, the table peeked my curiosity. Who was the speaker? And where shall I sit? Hastily, I searched for a seat and opened my notebook with bursting eagerness.
Dr. Mary Anne Prater was a woman of love and devotion. Her speech, rightly titled “A Portrait of Dolly Gray,’ was a beautiful and perceptive lecture regarding literature’s position of disabilities. She began her lecture by illustrating her own journey and the source of her passion for this topic. As a child, Dr. Prater was not an avid reader. With a smile on her face, Dr. Prater described herself as a “late bloomer” having discovered her love for children’s book in college. Continuing her occupation, Dr. Mary Anne Prater used children’s literature as a special education teacher. Eventually, this love transformed into a professional decision to analyze characters with disabilities in children’s literature. With wisdom she relayed to her audience this adage: “Find something you really enjoy and then find a way to get paid for doing it.” Dr. Mary Anne Prater wholly enjoyed her work and this devotion helped inspire her work.
Dr. Mary Anne Prater emphasized the need for analysis in literature regarding disabilities. Why is the work important? As Dr. Prater explained, analysis can help to catalyze a change in attitude and general knowledge about the disabilities; it can be used to teach about disabilities. Dr. Prater intends to use her analysis as a way to ensure that accurate information regarding disabilities is promoted in society. Not only does the analysis allow those without to relate, but this work can also be used as a form of bibliotherapy by allowing those with disabilities to identify with a character who is experiencing much the same situations and emotions. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Laughter is the Best Medicine- An Excerpt from my Research Paper

      Winston Churchill once said, “A joke is a very serious thing.” Stop chuckling; Winston Churchill wasn’t pulling your chain. Humor is indeed a very grave matter. Why is that, you might ask? Put aside its daunting power, and humor still has all of humanity hanging on its very whim. Laugh and the world laughs with you; In other words, world domination. There’s no escape either! It pervades our homes, our communities and even our institutions. Everyday, humor seizes the minds of the youth and exploits the wisdom of the elderly. It has even affected our infants; little children giggle for no reason whatsoever! What can be done about this spreading obsession? Well, I suppose laughing never hurts.  
In order to comprehend the significance that humor plays in therapy, a concrete definition must first be acquired. Despite composing a significant aspect of all human life, humor is somewhat enigmatic. Across all intelligences, cultures and passions, humor has been manifested. Its definitions range from the simple and unadorned to the more enlightened interpretations. How can such an abiding yet unbounded notion be defined? Perhaps it would be best to start at the beginning. Originating from the Latin word for fluid, humor was first described by the ancient philosophers. Deemed to be the liquids that operate inside a body, humors were fluids that determined an individual’s temperament. An imbalance of these liquids resulted in an altered state of being, often to an unusual and laughable degree. For example, an increase of the humor blood resulted in a person behaving overly sanguine. Ultimately, as the ages passed, the word humor evolved to be associated with ‘oddness’ or ‘eccentricity’ for the peculiar temperament an imbalance would cause. Following such colloquialism, a ‘humorous’ man was one who exhibited the radical behaviors of disproportionate humors. After much transformation, humor finally became to be identified by modern society as the ability to find amusement at the oddities and incongruities of life.  From obscure beginnings, humor transcended both time and cultures, yet maintained its initial purpose: regarding the health of mankind.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Issue's Paper

I was thinking of writing on the Mozart Affect on Infants. Whether they can identify classical music and if so, whether it stimulates their brain development... yep, that's about all I got!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Elder Christofferson's Application of all Three Aspects of Rhetoric

General Conference offers a remarkable chance for the members of the LDS Church to hear the words of inspired leaders.  Just last week, the 180th Semiannual General Conference occurred, uniting disciples around the world.  The Saturday Morning Session was an incredible meeting composed with spiritual and inspiring messages. Within Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk Reflections on a Consecrated Life, the Apostle used examples, Bible references and listings to cohesively, emotionally and authoritatively persuade the Church members to consecrate their lives to God’s purpose. 
Elder Christofferson depicts several examples throughout his message to appeal to the passion and reason of his audience and establish authority. The Apostle begins his message with an example from his own life. As a young man he “visited the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.” Later in his speech, he refers to an example of Christ’s perfect life to provide the ultimate model from which to emulate. Nearing the end, Elder Christofferson illustrates the story of his grandparents: a wonderful example of a life dedicated to God’s will. In defense of integrity, Elder D. Todd Christofferson portrays the story of two families who forgo integrity to further their professional reputation. Elder Christofferson’s portrayal of personal examples appeals to his audience, both logically and emotionally. The Apostle speaks with heightened familiarity, establishing trust and friendship between the members. He brings them in to his confidence, persuading them to give heed to his word. Elder Christofferson also provides examples to further establish his authority and knowledge of the subject.  Through his examples, his readers will see the reason of his word and rely on his wisdom.
Along with examples, Elder D. Todd Christofferson also provides Bible references to enhance the authority and logic of his speech. The Bible holds great weight in the Church, and by depicting these references he further magnifies the power he holds- the power of God.  The scriptures are the words of ancient prophets and the lessons given from the Lord.  Knowing the Bible can help in the perfection of the saints, members will listen in earnest to the righteous words of an apostle. By quoting the word of God, Christofferson enhances the appeal of his message.
In addition to examples and references, Elder D. Todd Christofferson establishes a list of advice that the members can follow. Speaking on the powers of a consecrated life, the Apostle depicts 5 elements of such a life: Purity, Work, Respect for our bodies, Service and Integrity.  By creating a list, Elder Christofferson enhances the logic of his word, furthering the appeal of his speech.  With his advice, Christofferson creates something that is applicable to the audience: something they can take into their own lifestyles. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

General Conference

Have you ever read a series of books from first to last? There is something so unique about an experience such as that. It's different then reading a book here and a book there. You become a part of the series: woven into the very characters and plots. The stories come alive. Well, the same experience happened to me at General Conference. 
Back in Thailand, General conference would go something like this: A week after it had occurred in the States, we would watch it one Sunday together as a family. Though this may sound normal, it wasn't as planned and precise as this. It was rather sporadic. We'd watch an hour here, an hour next week. Sometimes two hours on one relatively free Saturday. It was as though it were a chore to complete conference. (I'd like to point out that this was mainly a fault of the children. My parents would watch it and try to have us do the same, but something always came up... something always did, as tragic as it sounds) When conference came around this year, I didn't know what to expect. 
There was a electricity in the air before saturday. People were talking about it at school. Think about it- People were talking about General Conference at SCHOOL. Already I was rather perplexed by the state of things. When I sat down with the wonderful Mortensen family on saturday morning, I realized just how beautiful Conference can be. 
It was a blessing. Just like those books I can't put down, Conference enveloped me in the spirit. I wanted to time to stop and leave me submerged in the wonder of those talks.  I've never experienced anything quite like that. It was a spiritual high, you could say, and experience I cannot wait to repeat. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Being with the Mortensens

My family is close. REALLY close.  We're like a chubby child in spandex close. (I hope that wasn't too terrible an image) I'm not sure how it came to be, but for as long as I can remember I've always been a homebody. I have a built in best friend (my twin sister), two darling, doting sisters, a protective older brother and the dynamic parenting duo of my vivacious mother and father. I guess you can say, i've never found myself wanting anything more. Oh, we've had spats like any family, but life has always seemed better in the arms of my loved ones.  To find myself in college without them has been tough. REALLY tough. Like beef-jerky tough. (mmmm... beef jerky.)
So how have I managed? Truth be told, some days I don't. My heart aches for those precious moments with my family that I had taken for granted. My arms long to wrap themselves around my mother's caring form. It physically hurts, some days. On days when it hurts the most, I find myself at the Mortensens, my second home- my family away from family. 
Something about their family makes my heart swell with joy. They are heaven sent. When I miss my Sophia, I have Elijah and Joseph to play around with. When I miss Lane, Naomi plays with my hair. When I need someone to laugh with, Jacob and Emma are there. And they are there unconditionally, with Sister Mortensen's arms wide open... I hope they never get sick of me. For I am there A LOT. 

I suppose this post may seem odd and unnecessarily personal (and I suppose it is) but I simply wanted to thank Heavenly Father for his tender mercies. The Mortensens have been a gift to me, just as I can be a gift to others. 

The Horrid Weather

I woke up this morning, my alarm clock buzzing in my ear. With groggy eyes, I glanced at the dreadful device that is my clock. "7:10" it said. Waaaaiiiittt.... 7:10?! It can't be 7:10! It's DARK... where's the SUN?! ... With frozen thumbs fumbling for my robe, I quickly swathed myself in layers to oppose the chill that permeated my room. Shuffling with socks to the nearest window, I peeked outside, only to prove my former assumption. Nope, the sun was not yet out. So it couldn't possibly by 7:10... Right, back to sleep.
A couple of minutes late, eight short, sweet minutes to be exact, and my alarm clock sprang to life once more. Oh joy... This time, with robe still hanging from my arms from my previous excursion, I set forth to find a clock... a DIFFERENT more RELIABLE clock then my absurd little alarm. Off I went, into the frozen tundra to the stove clock. To my dismay it was indeed 7:10... WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SUN?
The point of this blog, though it may seem as though I am simply complaining, really is just that. I dislike this weather. I loathe the lack of sun. I despise the frost on my finger tips and dripping mucus from my nose (sorry for the imagery)... And I hear it's only going to get worse? SEND ME BACK TO THAILAND. I'd rather tan then be stuck in this horrid, horrid weather...

Vivaldi- Four Seasons

In class the other day (as to what day, I am at a loss... My mind is quite incapable of recalling anything so detailed) we were listening to the Four Seasons, by Vivaldi.  Though we listened to only a short excerpt from each, each section clearly portrayed the season through Vivaldi's eyes. His piece, Spring, was laced with short, staccato melodies wonderfully depicting the carefree, whimsical mood of the season. With gentle, fluttering flutes and joyous violins harmonizing melodiously, Spring was a pleasure to hear. Vivaldi continued on to Summer, a distinct contrast to the cheery season prior. Arduous and sweltering, Summer was composed of heavy and somber melodies. This differed from my expectation, though I suppose without air conditioning and refrigerators, summer would not seem as lovely to me either. Vivaldi continued on to Autumn, a time of harvest and celebration. Like Spring, Autumn was a merry and jubilant composition. The melodies echoed the dance and joy of the farmers. With Winter, Vivaldi orchestrated a mournful collection of bleak and burdensome melodies. There was a suspense in the air generated by the strained 'heartbeat' of the minor melodies. The solo violin seems to plea for respite.

This got me thinking. What if life, like Vivaldi's Four Season, came with background music? Ever notice the shirts depicting the phrase "I come with my own background music" and wished it were so? I have. Constantly. Oh to be flanked by an orchestra portraying musically my inner thoughts and emotions. It sure would make awkward silences less painful.

Disney Songs

What is about disney songs that keeps me coming back for more? Though you may be doubtful,  as I am writing this, Disney's Aladdin plays exotically in the background... "Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face. It's barbaric but hey, it's home!"Man, what a line! Where else can you find this mixture of childish charm and wit? Is this some sort of obsession? My roommates and I have daily dance parties to the Jungle Book and bake to the melodious sounds of princesses.
I like to think that perhaps Disney songs remind me of a simpler time. A time when the weak overcame the strong- when good triumphed over evil. A time when my parents were there to protect me. I miss those days. I miss the easiness of young life. I think of  my little sisters now, completely enveloped and sheltered at home. I envy them.  Though I realize life is about growing up, I didn't think it would come so fast. My obsession with disney songs is a manifestation of that reluctance. I don't want to grow up. I want to be a child forever, like Peter Pan in Neverland! But alas, that is not reality. And though dreams can come true, I simply have to grow up. But that doesn't mean I can't keep the child in my life.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I don't generally consider myself a sarcastic figure. Though, I must admit, sarcasm is displayed all around me. My sister alone has been given to say that her whole humor is based on sarcasm and cynic. As such, I decided to interview the sarcasm queen, my twin sister Haley. Here it goes: 

"Sarcasm isn't just a sense of humor, it's a way of life. A philosophy, if you will. Many people who think they are hilarious, generally think they are able to be sarcastic, but this is not the case. As the saying goes "practice makes perfect." You have to work REALLY hard to be as successful as I am. I wake up each day and look at myself in the mirror and say something along the lines of;
      "Why, hello Medusa... glad to see your hair is still as luscious as ever"
"Sure, I use myself as a victim sometimes... it's painful, yes, but necessary. It's important to begin your sarcastic attitude at the beginning of the day, so it peaks by midafternoon. It's like waking up on the wrong side of bed... It's good to be cranky."
"Some people find sarcasm slightly offensive, but I say, 'hey, it's your choice to be offended, I'm just stating the obvious'. Note, friends may lessen. Luckily, I have a twin who is legally obliged to stay by my side through thick and thin... She is my punching bag, blood is thicker than water. It's also thicker than grapejuice, which is quite delicious... hmm... I want grapejuice" (at this point, I roll my eyes)

Well... There you have it. The truth of sarcasm from the queen herself. (Haley looks at what i've written and responds "I'm so awesome, aren't I?... thank you, I'll be here till Thursday" ) It's true. Sarcastic people are rather awesome. But what has driven society as a a whole to resort to such humor? Undoubtedly, it takes a true master of wit to be sarcastic, but has it not decreased in skill over the years?  It seems now that everyone is doing it.  Well, should I say, everyone TRIES. And society's feeble attempt at sarcasm has lowered it's infamous reputation. Not only are the more superior attempting sarcasm, but the lower intellects too... WHAT IS THIS?! And what does Haley, the Queen of Sarcasm, have to say about this quandary? "Everybody thinks they're sarcastic, but only the truly sarcastic are able to be loved at the same time... like me... you love me, right?"

PS: Haley would also like you to know that she has mastered the arts of playful banter, cynicism, slapstick comedy and general hilariousness... her phone number is 801-512-totally joking. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thai Ruby

Without the presence of any Thai paraphernalia, I have been able to fool myself into believing that I did not miss my Thailand. Unfortunately, as I walked into the Thai Ruby, my loss hit me like a brick wall. Oh, how I've missed my Thailand. How I have dreamt of the sweet succulent fruits and the spicy meats. How I have missed my Asian culture and spirit houses. The shadow puppets of another life smiled at me warmly and opened their wooden arms to accept me. I was home. Or in a home away from home. *Sigh* I never wanted to leave.
Reality snuck up on me as my group sat at the table in the corner. They stared at me expectantly, wondering why I was immersed in the silly little puppets on the walls. "Right" I thought to myself "I'm here for class... I should get back to work." Sullenly, but still boosted by the Thai environment, I sat down. I opened up the menu that was handed to me and found, to my immense joy the writing of the Thai Language! Oh, I WAS home! I greedily looked at all the foods before me, eager to begin my feast. A slight dent in my back pocket reminded me, rather nastily, that I only had 7 dollars and would be sharing my meal with everyone else. "Ah... I suppose that means no spicy food..." I thought to persuade my group to try the chili-infested beef stir-fry, but something held me back. Be it compassion or just cowardliness, I know not.

A Reflection of Elder Eyring's Speech

May I be frank? Hah, I suppose I can. What is a blog, if not a blatantly truthful medium? Alright then.Now that we've got that settled, let's proceed.
I am not a fan of annotating. There, I said it... Annotations? Not my thing. Scribbling down my unintelligible chicken scratches doesn't exactly float my boat. I prefer the flow of the story. The push and pull of the lines mingled with the defining examples of literary devices. To read is to be swarmed with the author's story. To immerse oneself into a world unlike your own. Annotating halts the flow. This perhaps would be why I approached my English homework with such reserve. And yet, as I opened the first page of Henry B. Eyring's speech titled "A Child of God", the words filled my soul with peace. He spoke with such familiarity and with such humility that softened my soul.
Something that struck a chord with my own learning, was Elder Eyring's mention of of the plan of salvation. If I may quote, he said "Life at its longest is short. What we do here determines the rest of our condition for eternity." Though this statement is simple it is immensely profound. I have often thought of this myself. God gives us everything and all that he asks in return is to "give him all we have to give." Though to a human mind, enduring to the end sounds very arduous, think of the rewards in heaven. As Elder Hale spoke in his devotional "get an afterlife!" I try my very hardest to learn all I can, not for my personal gain, but rather so I can make my Heavenly Father proud.