30 Day Challenges

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Day 6:  Favorite Part of A New Hope




 Day 7:  Best Star Wars Related Story




Day 8:  Attack of The Creepy Stalker Movie




Day 9:  The Music of Star Wars




Day 10:  All Time Favorite Scene From Any Star Wars Movie




Day 11:  My Favorite Jedi




Day 12:  Star Wars Parodies




Day 13:  Disney Buys Star Wars




Day 14:  Favorite Moment from Revenge of the Sith




Day 15:  Favorite Moment from Return of the Jedi




Day 16:  A Scene That Makes Me Happy




Day 17:  Star Wars Fashion Show




Day 18:  Favorite Movie from the Prequel Trilogy




Day 19: A Character You Didn't Like In The Series 




Day 20:  Favorite Movie From the Original Series




Day 21:  Episode 7 Cast Revealed




Day 22:  Star Wars Quotes




Day 23:  Least Favorite Special Edition Changes




Day 24:  Star Wars Collectibles




Day 25:  Han & Leia




Day 26:  Ways the Prequels Screwed Up The Original Series




Day 27:  YouTube Face-Off




Day 28:  The Expanded Universe




Day 29:  Something You Wish Was Different About The Series




Day 30 :  Why I Love Star Wars


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30 Days of Music





Day 2: A Song That Helps You Clear Your Head




Day 3: A Song That Makes You Happy




Day 4: Rock Anthems




Day 5: An Acoustic Song You Love




Day 6: Guilty Pleasure Songs




Day 7:  A Song That Means A Lot To You




Day 8: Songs That Make You Want to Dance




Day 9: Songs That Remind You of Something Sad




Day 10:  What is a Fanilow?




Day 11:  Disney Songs




Day 12:  A Song You Liked When You Were Younger




Day 13:  A Song That Reminds Me of A Loved One




Day 14:  A Song That Makes Me Cry




Day 15:  My Current Ringtone....and Star Wars!




Day 16:  A Song You Like Hearing Live




Day 17:  A Song From A New Album That You Are Waiting To Come Out




Day 18:  A Cover Song




Day 19:  A Song That Reminds You of Your Best Friend




Day 20:  A Teenage Pop Star You Like Better As An Adult




Day 21:  Random Country Songs




Day 22:  A Song You Can Always Relate To




Day 23:  A Song That Makes Me Laugh




Day 24:  Michael Jackson




Day 25:  A Song That Would Be The Theme Song For Your Life




Day 26:  A Song by Your Favorite Band




Day 27:  Musicals




Day 28:  Oldies!




Day 29:  The Piano Guys




Day 30:  A Song You Haven't Heard In A While


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30 Days of TV





Day 2:  A Show That Should Have Never Been Cancelled




Day 3:  My Favorite New Show




Day 4:  My Favorite Show Ever




Day 5:  A TV Show I Hate




Day 6:  My Favorite Episode of My Favorite TV Show





Day 7:  Least Favorite Episode of My Favorite Show




Day 8:  A TV Show Everyone Should Watch




Day 9:  A TV Show I Used to Watch, but Don't Anymore....and Why




Day 10:  A Show You Didn't Think You Would Like, but Ended Up Loving




Day 11:  A TV Show That Disappointed Me




Day 12:  An Episode You've Watched More Than 5 Times




Day 13:  My Favorite Childhood Show




Day 14:  My Favorite Male Character




Day 15:  My Favorite Female Character




Day 16:  My Guilty Pleasure Show




Day 17: Favorite TV Bloopers!




Day 18: Favorite Title Sequence




Day 19: A Show That Will ALWAYS Make You Laugh




Day 20:  Favorite TV Kiss








Day 22:  Favorite Series Finale




Day 23:  The Most Annoying TV Character




Day 24:  Best TV Quotes




Day 25:  Best TV Villains








Day 27:  Best TV Pilot




Day 28:  First TV Show Obsession




Day 29:  Current TV Show Obsession




Day 30:  Saddest Character Death


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30 Days of Me



Day One:  My Favorite Song
This one is simple.  From the very first time I heard it, "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera has been my favorite song.  Cheesy, I know, but who cares?!?

When I was young, my family would travel to my grandma's house in the bay area for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It became sort of a tradition that whenever a bay area radio station would come in clearly, this song would play.

I love the lyrics of this song, and to this day it still just gives me goosebumps.  What girl doesn't want a man who will "fight for her honor and be the hero she's dreaming of"??


Hope you enjoy it too!







Day two is also an easy one to answer.  If you know me, you can probably answer this for me. 

The music, the humor, the characters, the story;  my favorite movie is:
Star Wars

Now, I'm not talking about the prequels that show the story of how Darth Vader came to be....those are HORRIBLE.  (with the exception of the AMAZING fight sequence between Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin at the end of Revenge of the Sith)  I'm also not talking about the Special Edition versions of Star Wars that George Lucas released in theatres in 1997.  He added so many elements to some of the movies, (yes Jabba the Hutt, I'm talking about your appearance in A New Hope!) and most were really dumb! 

I'm talking about the good ole' original versions of A New Hope, The Empires Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

I don't know why I love these movies so much, I just do.  In the early 90s books began being published providing new stories about what happened to these famous characters after Return of the Jedi was over.  I became completely hooked on them and they're probably a reason why my obsession grew.     

But I love these movies because of the story.  Good vs. Evil, love, friendship, etc.  I see parallels between Star Wars and being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The concept of the "Force" reminds me a lot of the Holy Ghost, and let's face it:  Darth Vader and the Emperor are like Satan's right hand man and Satan himself!

If I were asked what my favorite part of these three movies are, I don't know if I could pick just one.  So, here are a few:


Be still my beating heart!  And the coolest part is that Harrison Ford came up with that line himself!

Two minutes in is where my favorite part begins.  Among other things, the music completely sells this scene for me, it is amazing!


And finally, a tribute I found to Star Wars.  For those of you who are still paying attention, this video is pretty cool!!!!



Day Three:  My Favorite TV Program
This topic isn't as easy as the previous two.  I don't have just one favorite TV show, I have many.  Here are a few of them:



 Alias was on from 2001-2006 and was the story of a woman who was leading a double life as a spy.  The main character, Sydney Bristow, is a female James Bond.  I love this show.  The cast was terrific, the storylines were always incredible, and to this day it's the only TV show I have every season of on DVD!




Burn Notice.  The story of Michael Westen, a "burned" spy.  Gee, I see a pattern here, do you?! 
(What can I say, I enjoy action/romance shows!)
Along with his friend Sam, and ex-girlfriend Fiona, they help innocent people who have problems in their lives, while Michael tries to find the people who "burned" him.  And it doesn't hurt that Jeffrey Donovan, the main actor, is very nice on the eyes!!



Whose Line is it Anyway? like I said before, is the show I watch to laugh away the stress from the day.  It ran for about 8 years, and is an improve show that is simply hilarious! 

One side note:  I'm going through a major mourning period because the network that has been running this show in syndication has just changed their line-up and Whose Line isn't on it anymore!!!  I also don't understand why almost every TV show ever created can be found on DVD, even if it only lastest one season, but this show only has season 1 and 2, and a "best of" DVD....NOT FAIR!


However, if I had to choose  just one, my favorite show of all, is without a doubt, the following:


Need I say more?



Day Four:  My Favorite Book(s)
I decided to put this post into three sections:  my favorite fiction, children's, and non-fiction books.  I've also included the official reviews for each book.

My Favorite Fiction Books 
When I was in high school, an author named Timothy Zahn wrote a trilogy of books that took place 5 years after the movie Return of the Jedi ended.  Because of their popularity, those three books began a whirlwind of Star Wars books.  I've included four of these Star Wars books because I believe they are the best of them all, staying true to the characters and stories millions of people love.


Shadows of the Empire by Steven Perry



From Booklist

The story takes place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and those of Return of the Jedi, with Luke continuing his self-training as a Jedi knight and everybody else trying to track down and unfreeze Han Solo before Boba Fett delivers him to Jabba the Hutt. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is looking for his son (Luke--remember?), to turn him to the dark side of the Force, and a nonhuman criminal mastermind who makes Jabba look like a shoplifter--Prince Xizor of the Black Sun--is also after Luke, to take vengeance on Darth Vader for killing his family. We see a good deal of Vader's ambivalence toward both his son and his emperor, which led to the conclusion of Return.


Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command (The Thrawn Trilogy) by Timothy Zahn 


Product Description

It's five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor's warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale--in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars.


My Favorite Children's Book(s)
Back when I had money, I would always get books from the book orders at school.  I continued to do that the year that I was a long-term substitute teacher and that's when I encountered these next two wonderful books.  Written and illustrated by the same two men, they are hilarious!

 


Amazon.com Review

If geese had graves, Mother Goose would be rolling in hers. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales retells--and wreaks havoc on--the allegories we all thought we knew by heart. In these irreverent variations on well-known themes, the ugly duckling grows up to be an ugly duck, and the princess who kisses the frog wins only a mouthful of amphibian slime. The Stinky Cheese Man deconstructs not only the tradition of the fairy tale but also the entire notion of a book. Our naughty narrator, Jack, makes a mockery of the title page, the table of contents, and even the endpaper by shuffling, scoffing, and generally paying no mind to structure. Characters slide in and out of tales; Cinderella rebuffs Rumpelstiltskin, and the Giant at the top of the beanstalk snacks on the Little Red Hen. There are no lessons to be learned or morals to take to heart--just good, sarcastic fun that smart-alecks of all ages will love.


 

Amazon.com Review

Did the story of the three little pigs ever seem slightly biased to you? All that huffing and puffing--could one wolf really be so unequivocally evil? Finally, we get to hear the rest of the story, "as told to author Jon Scieszka," straight from the wolf's mouth. As Alexander T. Wolf explains it, the whole Big Bad Wolf thing was just a big misunderstanding. Al Wolf was minding his own business, making his granny a cake, when he realized he was out of a key ingredient. He innocently went from house to house to house (one made of straw, one of sticks, and one of bricks) asking to borrow a cup of sugar. Could he help it if he had a bad cold, causing him to sneeze gigantic, gale-force sneezes? Could he help it if pigs these days use shabby construction materials? And after the pigs had been ever-so-accidentally killed, well, who can blame him for having a snack?


My Favorite Non-Fiction Book

If you want a book that will simply make you cry, this is the book.  If you're a figure skating fan, you are probably familiar with this story.  Watching Ekatarina skate solo for the first time in her life during a tribute show to her husband was one of the most heartwrenching acts I've ever seen.  Make sure your tissue box is handy while you read this one...it's worth every tear! 

 

From Library Journal

Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were one of the finest ice skating pairs in the world. Born in Russia, they won European championships, world championships, and gold medals at two Olympics. They married in 1991 and continued to perform after the birth of their daughter. Sergei died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 28 while rehearsing with his wife. Gordeeva here describes their skating and personal life in Russia and the United States in poignant, caring detail. Equally captivating are her descriptions of her childhood, her family, and her life as a champion and professional skater. Unlike recent tell-alls about figure skating (e.g., the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding spectacle), this biography is not sensational. It simply tells the story of two hard-working, competitive young people who fell in love and whose love ended too soon. For all collections.


Day Five:  My Favorite Quotes
Ok, I don't do quotes!  I'm not one who has a lot of quotes spinning around in my mind, ready to be spoken when the moment is right. 

However, since I knew this post was coming, I've been trying to come up with SOMETHING.  I could quote Star Wars for you all day, but I think that would be beating a dead horse!  So, I've complied quotes that are from movies and tv, with the quotes first, along with a picture showing you where it's from: 


"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return"





"Try not.  Do or do not.  There is not try."





"I know a lot of people without brains who do an awful lot of talking"





"Life is like a box of chocolates:  you never know what you're gonna get"





Ross Gellar:
"First divorce: wife's hidden sexuality, not my fault.


Second divorce: said the wrong name at the altar, kind of my fault.


Third divorce: they shouldn't let you get married when you're that drunk and have stuff drawn all over your face, Nevada's fault."



Ok, I changed my mind.  I simply can't do a posting about my favorite quotes without adding in the quotes that I know the best, the quotes from my favorite movie on the planet...Star Wars.  Below is a picture of a poster that I have.  Right now it's hanging on the wall of Brandon's bedroom. 


It says:
  • Try not.  Do, or do not.  There is no try
  • Anger, fear and aggression lead to the dark side
  • In seeking your destiny, patience is your ally
  • Always let the Wookie win!
  • When judging people, size matters not
  • Traveling through hyperspace isn't like dusting crops
  • There is no such thing as luck
  • Don't underestimate the Force
  • You must follow your own path; no one can choose it for you
  • Keep your promises, even if they take you far, far away
  • Pass on what you have learned
  • If it smells bad on the outside, it's worse on the inside
  • The possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1
  • Wars do not make one great
  • Faith in your friends is a strength, not a weakness
  • In your pursuit of peace and justice, remember, the Force will be with you...always!


Day Six:  Whatever Tickles My Fancy

A Letter To My Mom

Dear Mom,

I wanted to tell you how much I love you and appreciate all you have done, and continue to do for me.  You are my cheerleader, my medical Savior, my friend.

Thank you for fighting for me when it came to my health.  I will be forever grateful for your "mama bear" instincts.  Without you, I would be dependant on everyone to do everything for me. 

You are such a WONDERFUL grandma.  Brandon loves you like no other.  When he's upset with mommy and daddy, "I want my grandma" comes out of his sweet mouth.  You put a smile on his face like no one else can.  Thank you for providing a roof for Brandon and I to live under when I couldn't do it myself, and for always supporting my decisions when it came to putting my family back together.
      

Brandon LOVED mowing the lawn with Grandma!

Moms and Daughters

Anonymous
You can see it in their eyes,
in tender hugs and long good-byes,
a love that only moms and daughters know.

You can see it in their smiles,
through passing years and changing styles,
a friendship that continually seems to grow.

You can see it in their lives,
the joy each one of them derives,
in just knowing that the other one is there...

To care and to understand,
lend an ear or hold a hand,
and to celebrate the memories they share.


I love you mom!


Day Seven:  A Photo That Makes Me Happy/Laugh
I'll choose a picture that makes me laugh, and you'll see why in a minute.

First, a disclaimer:  in the event that the people involved in this story actually read this blog, I've changed names to protect their identity!!!!

On with the story:

When I was in 8th grade, our school did a production of The Sound of Music for it's annual play.  I was lucky enough to be cast in the role of Maria.  Having lost the part of Annie in 6th grade because I was too tall, and looked older, this was a glorious triumph for me!

The boy who was cast as the Captain, (we'll call him "K") was my friend, and he also had a girlfriend who we'll call "E".  She didn't like me at all (you'll find out why in a minute).  I found that ironic because she was also in the play, cast as the nun who always sticks up for Maria!

While reading the script, everyone discovered that the Captain and Maria were supposed to kiss.  Some people thought this was very funny, others weren't bothered by it, and some were VERY UPSET.  After K and I had talked about it, we decided that we would "fake" the kiss.  However, upon rehearsing the "fake" kiss, we were told by our director that it looked too fake, and decided to go ahead and kiss for real.  I don't recall it being that big a deal for us.  But it was a BIG DEAL for other people.

Apparently K and E hadn't kissed yet, and she didn't want him kissing me and not her....oooo, drama!  Remember, this was 8th grade and everything was always overdramatized, and not because we were acting in a play!  This is also why E didn't like me.  I guess she felt threatened by me and worried that I would take her place.  Me?  "Steal" a boy away?  Yeah, right!!!  This was hilarious to me, and it still makes me chuckle. 

So, what picture have I chosen?  A picture from the "wedding" scene.  



There was so much drama surrounding this picture, and we looked ridiculous!  Instead of displaying "passion and fire" like E and so many of her friends were afraid of, we look like the gawky 8th graders that we were!  

This picture is simply hilarious, and it makes me laugh each time I come across it.


Day Eight:  Something That I Crave A Lot
This minute I saw this was the topic for today, I knew EXACTLY what to write about.

I have a horrible sweet tooth.  Chocolate will one day be the death of me. 

What do I crave a lot?  Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards from Dairy Queen.  I am so addicted to these that I think I keep the local Dairy Queen in business!  Hey, it's a great way to maintain my "girlie figure"!!!


 Wish I had money, I'd go and get one right now! 

"Honey, do you have any money?"



Day Nine:  A Photo That I Took
I attended BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho from 1997-1999 when it was still called Ricks College.  I still consider those two of the best years of my life.

Sunset was always my favorite time of day.  As you'll see from the pictures, the colors in the sky were incredible.  I took these pictures from my dorm room.

This has always been my favorite of the sunset pictures.


Have you ever seen so much pink in a sunset before?!?

Or purple, for that matter?!?




Day Ten:  A Photo Taken 10 Years Ago
I graduated from BYU-Idaho in May of 1999.  Yes, that might be 11 years ago, but I think it's close enough.  This picture was taken by my roommate the day of graduation, right outside our dorm room.  It was also one of the last times I had long hair.  The weekend I moved back to California, I cut it very short!





And just for fun, here's a picture from a lot more than ten years ago:  1986, when I was in 2nd grade!  Thanks for the cute hair, mom!!




Day Eleven:  A Photo Taken Recently
More photos?  Man, haven't we seen enough photos of me?

Since I think we have, and it doesn't say it has to be a picture of me, I'm going to take this post literally.  It says to talk about a photo taken recently, so that's what you're going to get!!!



I took this picture of Nick and Brandon riding on the outside of Grandpa's truck back in August



Grandma snapped this shot the day we took family pictures at the CSU Stanislaus campus in the beginning of October


And I took this picture a few weeks ago.  Daddy and Brandon wanted their picture taken while eating apples together!



Day Twelve:  Whatever Tickles My Fancy
Reality Television.  These shows have so many people glued to their television sets each week.  I am one who enjoys reality television, but only some of them.  I hate the reality shows that rely on the people deciding who goes and who stays each week.  Many times people have NO IDEA what talent is and the wrong people leave and stay.  For example:



Clay Aiken should've won, not Ruben Studdard.  Clay was, and still is SO MUCH BETTER.  Adam Lambert should've won instead of the guy who did win.  The fact that I can't remember his name should say something!  I will give Idol some credit though:  at least their judges (up until this last season; I mean really, Ellen DeGeneres?!?) are involved and have credit in the music industry.  I gave up on this show last season.  I'm not too comforted by the new panel of judges, but at least they went back to the 3 judge panel.  I might check it out just to see how crazy Steven Tyler gets!!


That brings us to the next show:


AGT makes blood shoot out of my eyes!  This is one of the most ridiculous reality competitions on television.  They send the DUMBEST acts through to the next round of the show, giving the people false hope that they could actually win the competition!  I gave up on this show after the second season.  They were smart, got rid of David Hasselhoff but replaced him with Howie Mandel?!?  Where are his credits in the industry?




This is my favorite of the "people decide" reality competitions.  There are three legitimate dance judges, whose own personal score is added together with the votes from the people.  Where this show works is that the majority of the time the best dancers make it to the end and win (with the exception of a few years ago when Cheryl and Giles should've won!)

However, I have a few problems with this show.  First off, as the weeks go by, and there are less dancers, the Monday show should be cut down to one hour.  They put so much "fluff and stuff" in to fill two hours, it's ridiculous.  Second:  the results show needs to be cut down to half an hour.  Again, they fill it with so much "fluff and stuff" that it's faster to just check the internet to discover who's going home.  Third:  more often than not the people continue to vote for the WORST DANCERS, forcing the rest of the world to continue watching them each week. 

A few seasons ago, Cloris Leachman was around for way too long.  She was beyond horrible, difficult to watch, and had the mouth of a sailor.  But she stuck around because people thought she was funny.  Kate Gosselin from Jon & Kate is another example of someone who was around way too long!  Luckily this season the people seem to be making the right choices.  However, Florence Henderson and this Kyle guy need to go soon!

(Breaking news:  Florence Henderson was sent home last night!  The people seem to be getting it right this season!)


The reality shows where the judges decide who stays and who goes, or the shows where the contestants themselves decide, are my favorite. 








Project Runway is so fun to watch.  I love watching the contestants create clothing so quickly, and often with the strangest materials.  What cracks me up about this show is that during the runway portion of the program, I'll be commenting about how awful something looks and the judges will be in LOVE with it; or I'll like something and they won't!  I'm not the most "fashion forward" person, but at least these are legitimate judges who have been in the fashion industry their entire careers!  And they are the only people who decide who goes home. 




I'm relatively new to this show, having only watched it the past three, maybe four times they've started a new show.  Survivor gets it right because the contestants on the show are the people who vote each other off.  Players will end up "loosing it" at tribal council and the team will vote them out.  No one is safe.  And you never know what's going to happen.  Villians can make it to the end, good guys can as well.  This is such a fun social game to watch as people play mind games for their own benefit. 




And finally, my favorite reality show where the judges are the only people to decide who leaves:  Top Chef.  I want to be inside the kitchen with these chefs.  They make me want to eat all the food they're cooking.  I get frustrated at times because I can't just stick my hand through the television set and grab the food!  I get jealous of the judges as I watch them taste the food.  Even when the judges say it's bad, I want to taste it myself to see if I agree.  Is my pallet like theirs?

So, there's my take on reality television.  It has it's flaws, but people are hooked on it because it takes us away from our own reality and into another world, helping us forget about our own problems for just a little while.


Day Thirteen:  Your Beliefs
I'm going to assume that most of the people who read this blog know all about my religious beliefs.  For those of you who may not know, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The 13 Articles of Faith, written by Joseph Smith, are the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and are located in the volume of scripture called The Pearl of Great Price.


Here they are:

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression


We believe that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel


We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ;  second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost


We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof



We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth

We believe the Bible to be the words of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God


We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same priviledge; let them worship how, where, or what they may

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul.  We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.  If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things


Day Fourteen:  Your Siblings
I am SO EXCITED about this post because I get to brag about how I have the GREATEST sister on the entire planet! 

Though she is 3 1/2 years younger than me, I've always wondered if she was really supposed to be my older sister and somehow we got switched around one day in the pre-existance!  Wise beyond her years, she has always been a shoulder to cry on, my therapist when times are bad, my cheerleader, and often my best friend.

My sis is probably the smartest person I know.  Constantly educating herself about what is happening in the world, having political coversations with her is mindblowing..in a very good way!  Working on her Master's Degree, she wants to help people with the problems in their own lives. 

She is absolutely HILARIOUS, by far the wittiest person in the room, and constantly keeps people smiling.  A wife, mother of three AWESOME KIDS, (I'm not biased at all!) a sister, and aunt; she holds many roles in life, and finds a way to balance them all.

And don't even get me started about how talented she is!!!  Her musical ability is amazing.  Years ago I challenged her, saying she couldn't play a piece of music on the piano because it was too difficult.  That's all it took:  she was determined to learn how to play it.  And holy cow, not only did she learn how to play it, but to this day is the best pianist I've ever met.



Grandma, my sis, two of her three children (youngest had "ants in his pants" and wanted to run around!) and her husband 



Day Fifteen:  My Favorite Restuarant
Day 15, the half way mark!

Since I'm not rich, and money doesn't grow on trees, (how cool would that be!) I rarely get to eat at my favorite restuarant. 

Well, turns out this week I'm lucky.  With my birthday coming up, this is one of the maybe two times a year I get to go and indulge in the wonderful food that is found at this glorious place.



The amazing snow crab



The endless shrimp


All you can eat garlic bisquits that are so good it's almost worth going to this restaurant for these alone!



My favorite restaurant is:





Lobsters, you will live to see another day since I can't stand the way you taste, but endless shrimp and snow crab, I'm coming for you!!!


Day Sixteen:  A Song That Makes Me Cry
I don't know of a song that makes me cry.  There are a lot of songs that are touching, sweet, etc.  But a song that makes me cry?  That's a tough one.

So, off to YouTube I went, in search of a song that fit today's topic.  I spent a while looking around at different songs.  I watched Everything I Do (I Do It For You) by Bryan Adams, but no tears.  I found a few other "love songs" that I enjoy, but still nothing.

And then it dawned on me.  There is a song that makes me get goosebumps every time I hear it, and has the ability to sometimes make me cry.  Back in 1997 James Horner wrote the song My Heart Will Go On for the movie Titanic.   Now, I know what you might be thinking, "She only likes this song because of the movie, and cries because she thinks of Jack and Rose!"  No, not true.

Celine Dion always performs this song like it's the last song she's ever going to sing.  The emotions she conveys while performing this song are one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.  I have an incredible appreciation for music, and the artists who perform beautiful music.

Below is one of her many, many performances of My Heart Will Go On.  I picked this version because I'd never seen her perform this song with a grand piano.  I think being able to hear the piano adds so much to the song.




Another reason this song is so wonderful is because you can take Celine Dion's powerful voice away and still have an amazing song that gives people goosebumps.  I have the movie soundtrack and this song is played constantly in a simple instrumental form.  James Horner is an amazing composer.  With or without the beautiful lyrics, it quickly became one of the biggest songs ever written.

Below is the instrumental version heard throughout the movie. 



Which version do you prefer?  It's a tough call, but I prefer it with Celine Dion's powerhouse voice!


Day Seventeen:  An Art Piece
The art that I love is very simple, tells a story, and is usually church related.  Greg Olsen, Simon Dewey, and Del Parson are three of the most recognizable names in LDS art.  The following are a few of my favorite pieces, some of which I am lucky enough to have hanging throughout my home.   

Be Not Afraid
Greg Olsen


Forever and Ever
Greg Olsen


In His Constant Care
 Greg Olsen


 Living Water 
Simon Dewey



Christ
Del Parson


The last four pieces of art come from a collection of paintings that depict different scenes from the lives of Joseph and Emma Smith.  I am blessed to have all four of these paintings in my home.  All painted by Liz Lemon Swindle, I included the stories about what event inspired each painting, as written by Liz.  These are my favorite pieces of art.
My Beloved Emma

"What unspeakable delight, and what transports of joy swelled my bosom, when I took by the hand, my beloved Emma – she that was my wife, even the wife of my youth, and the choice of my heart."

"Many were the reverberations of my mind when I contemplated for a moment the many scenes we had been called to pass through, the fatigues and the toils, the sorrows and sufferings and the joys and consolations…"

"Oh what a commingling of thought filled my mind for the moment, again she is here, even in the seventh trouble, undaunted, firm, and unwavering- unchangeable, affectionate Emma."

-Joseph Smith, Jr. 1844
Father's Gift

After losing a son, Joseph and Emma knew tragedy again in Kirtland, Ohio, when their newly born twins died within hours of birth. Losing children a second time was almost more than they could bear.

A few miles away, tragedy also struck the Murdock family. After bearing twins, Julia Murdock died, leaving her husband not only with the newborn twins, but five other children as well.

Brother Murdock heard of the Smiths’ great loss and called the prophet to his home. There, out of grief and selfless love much like that of our Heavenly Father’s, Brother Murdock asked Joseph to take the twins and raise them as his own.

With difficulty and humble gratitude, Joseph carried the twins back home and placed them in the arms of his weak and grieving wife Emma.
While Emma Sleeps

The adopted twins of Joseph and Emma, Joseph & Julia Murdock, were now eleven months old and had been suffering with a difficult case of the measles. Shortly before midnight on March 24, 1832, Joseph sent his exhausted wife to bed with their daughter Julia. Joseph stayed up to care for his infant son, Joseph Murdock, and it wasn’t long before they were both asleep.

Suddenly a vicious mob of more than 25 men burst through the door awakening all within and dragging Joseph outside by his hair. Emma ran behind screaming, but was powerless to stop the mob. Amidst the confusion, the front door to the home was left open and the twins were exposed to the frigid night air. This was too much for the already sick Joseph Murdock, and five days later he died.

Going As A Lamb

Can any of us imagine how it felt on that fateful summer morning when Joseph said goodbye to this family on the front lawn in Nauvoo before heading to Carthage?

He must have known he would never see them again because he said, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me – he was murdered in cold blood!" – D&C 135:4


Day Eighteen:  Whatever Tickles My Fancy

Brandon

My "love bug", "buddy", "Honey Bunches of Oats", "bubba".  Whatever nickname I use, he's my precious baby boy.    

Brandon's birthday:  March 27, 2007

6 weeks old, the day of his blessing


Look at those chubby cheeks!


Oooo, I LOVE that smile!


almost one year old

Easter 2009:  hunting in the house...it was raining outside

Brandon loves his grapes

He took a nose dive at school and scratched his face up pretty badly.  Apparently he was a trooper though, and just got right back up and started playing again!

He's my little helper.  He loves to help mow the lawns, uses the dust buster to vacuum up when I sweep, and always wants to vacuum.  Let's hope he continues to enjoy these things!!

Yes, he's wearing grandma's headband while making a spaghetti mess!


Brandon LOVES to perform for people.  He's always singing and dancing.  When people come over, he becomes a "ham" and wants all the attention in the room.  The following video is from his daycare's Christmas Concert last year.  Brandon is front and center, wiggling around in the grey reindeer shirt.  The boy who keeps trying to start the songs!  He knows how to work a room, don't you think?!?



July, 2010

September, 2010


I'm so proud of my little boy.  He's so smart.  I'm a Kindergarten Aide and this 3 1/2 year old knows more about the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and colors than most of the kids in the 2 classes I aide in!!! 

I can't believe that he'll be four in March.  Watching him learn and grow each day is such a priviledge.  And where I'm not perfect, I do my best each day to be the best mom I can be for this sweet, sweet spirit.


Day Nineteen:  A Talent
A talent..... umm, I don't like this topic!  But I'll give it a try.


Music has always been a HUGE part of my life, so I'll focus on that.

When I was young, my mom taught me how to play the piano.  I've been playing in church ever since.  Not a very exciting story, but it's a talent!



My mom, sister, and I used to sing together all the time.  We'd sing in church, in the car, around the piano at night, basically anywhere we could.




In high school all my friends were in marching band, but I didn't play an instrument that could be in a marching band.  Could you imagine trying to carry a piano?  Doesn't work.  So, I decided to try out for the auxiliary team and twirl flag behind the band. 

It wasn't easy.  During the practices before auditions, my brain just wasn't understanding how to twirl a flag at all!  I was just about to give up when it finally clicked and I was able to make the team.  I really enjoyed it, and I'd like to think that I was pretty good at it.  By my senior year of high school I was one of the top girls on the team.


So, I hope these qualify as talents.  This is all I got for ya!!


Day Twenty:  A Hobby
A hobby:  really?  Well, I'm not into scrapbooking, I don't read a lot, (I read the Twilight series, but does that actually count as reading?!?)  and I don't actively play any sports.  Man, I am SO BORING!!!

The biggest hobby I have right now is blogging.  I have had SO MUCH FUN figuring out how to create and use a blog, adding pictures, and making the blog look fun and inviting to friends and family.  Since I'm not "computer savvy", figuring this out with minimal help has been something I'm very proud of.

I enjoy keeping up with friends by reading their blogs, using the blog as a way to keep a journal, and talk about life.  I don't think that my life is all that exciting, but blogging is a great outlet.  I joke with Nick because he doesn't read my blog--ouch, the knife cuts deep on that one!!!





Day Twenty-One:  My Favorite Sport
My favorite sport became that way for a really stupid reason!

Back in the spring of 1995 I was watching TV one weekend and stumbled upon an Atlanta Braves baseball game on TBS.  I usually didn't watch baseball, but something about this game caught my eye immediately.  I thought a lot of the guys were really good looking and decided to watch the game.  Besides being really good looking, they played really well....I was completely hooked.  (Hey, I was 16, I told you it was a stupid reason!)

Chipper Jones

David Justice

Tom Glavine

I spent the remainder of the baseball season glued to my TV.  TBS broadcast the majority of the games, so it was easy to become a devoted fan.  I learned all about the sport simply by watching it;  all the termonology  (sp?), how to play the game, etc.

1995 was a great year for the Braves because not only did they make it to the World Series, but they won!  It was a great year to be introduced to baseball.



Day Twenty-Two:  A Website
An old college roommate recently started a website called:


It's all about fixing up your home without using a lot of money.  This is a wonderful website.  She is so very creative and has wonderful ideas to help you save money.  Because let's face it:  even if you have money, it doesn't mean you have to needlessly spend it!!

See her latest creation: 



Day Twenty-Three:  A YouTube Video
I don't like YouTube videos about stupid animal or people tricks.  So finding a video for this post meant going in a different direction. 

When I was in college, one of my roommates and I shared a common interest:  our favorite actor was the same man.

While looking for a video for this post I stumbled across something that reminded me of those days, when we constantly watched the movies of this actor.  Handsome, rugged, talented (and sexy!):  our favorite actor is the charming Harrison Ford.


I LUV my husband but, oh, those lucky women!!


Day Twenty-Four:  Whatever Tickles My Fancy
Okay, so I found this really strange YouTube video.  Apparently every year Disneyworld has a weekend where they celebrate Star Wars.  They have some weird character parade, and this contest called Dancing With The Star Wars Stars.  I can't decide if I think it's funny or the dumbest thing I've ever seen, degrading Star Wars and how awesome it truly is!  Either way, at least watch it until 3 minutes in.  That's when the best part of this video takes place...if there is a "best" part!!!


So, what did you think?  The ending was definitely the best part!  And I agree, it is the dumbest thing I've ever seen, but because I love Star Wars, I laughed anyway!


Day Twenty-Five:  Something I Miss
Yeah, once again an easy topic!

There are a lot of things I miss, but what I miss the most is being able to fit into all the clothes in my closet!  When I was 23, I worked my butt off and lost 70 pounds, putting me in the BEST shape of my life.  9 years later my body has put all the weight back on.  Now, in my defense, I've had a baby, and I don't have the body that just "snaps" back into shape post baby (ooo, those women make me crazy; I hope they realize just how lucky they are!) 

Last year I began loosing weight and right as I was getting into a wonderful routine a heel spur stopped me dead in my tracks.  9 years later it's harder to exercise.  I'm older, I have a 3 1/2 year old to keep up with with, I work, keep a house in order.  But let's face it:  I love food too much to not eat it and I'm lazy!

I keep trying to loose the weight, but it's not going to happen until I'm truly ready:  which means no more excuses, and basically giving up the foods I love! 

I'm very grateful to have a husband who loves me and all the giggly parts that come with me!  He gets frustrated with me when I make comments about how chunky I am.  I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that this is what I look like until I'm really ready to change.  Until then I tell everyone that eating the way I do helps me maintain my giggly parts!!   

So, instead of looking like this:



I look like this:


The other part that sucks about this:  Nick hasn't changed a bit...so unfair!!

A girl can always dream, but as long as Dove chocolate candy and Dairy Queen Blizzards are around, I don't expect to be loosing any weight anytime soon!!  Oh, how I miss those days!


Day Twenty-Six:  A Habit That You Wish You Didn't Have


For as long as I can remember, I've been a nail biter...fingernail, NOT toenail!!  Over the years I've tried many times to try and rid myself of this habit.  I've only found one thing that keeps me from biting my nails:




If my nails are painted, I don't bite them.  However, since I am poor and can't afford WONDERFUL manicures, I have to do it the old fashioned, cheap way:


I paint them myself.  That's half the reason I still have this horrible habit.  Usually I'm really good about keeping my nails painted and filed, but this past summer I've let them go and gone on a nail biting frenzy! 






Isn't this the cutest picture?  It makes nail biting look adorable!


Day Twenty-Seven:  My Favorite Superhero and Why
Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman...why are most superheroes men?!?

Anyway, this is a fun post for me because my favorite superheroes aren't conventional superheroes.  They don't wear suits that provide protection, or have gadgets that give them awesome powers.  They don't even have a vehicle that goes very fast.  In fact, it breaks down more than any vehicle I've ever seen!  They have a horrible sense of direction, often finding themselves lost and in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Two of them could eat their way out of any situation, and they all love a good mystery.

My favorite superhereos are four teenagers and their dog.  That's right, my favorite superhereos are:

Daphne, Shaggy, Freddy, Velma, and Scooby-doo!

I have LOVED Scooby-doo my whole life.  Not the Scooby-doo cartoons or movies that are made today, but the old school Scooby-doo from 1969-1972.  Before Scrappy-doo and A Pup Named Scooby-doo were created and nearly ruined the franchise.

This show simply makes me laugh because of how ridiculous it can sometimes be!  The crazy "traps" they make to catch the bad guy (that Scooby always manages to get caught in), how everyone (the audience) knows who the bad guy is except the five of them, the kooky songs that are played during the chase scenes...what's not to love?!?

And I love that Brandon also loves Scooby-doo!

Below is one of the kooky songs that Brandon and I dance to whenever we hear it.  The words are just plain silly, talking about being in love with an ostrich.  All Scooby-doo songs are weird, but they have catchy tunes!  The song is titled "Daydreamin", and it comes from one of my favorite episodes of the show:  Jeepers, it's the Creeper!  The sound is a little slower than the animation, but you get the idea.  It was the best version I could find!




Day Twenty-Eight:  Songs You Listen To
Today's post wants to know what songs I listen to when I'm happy, sad, and mad.  If I listed every song that I listened to when I felt these emotions, this post would be VERY long.  So I'll just pick one song from each category.

When I'm frustrated, upset, or angry about something that has happened in life, I love listening to the song "Stand" by The Rascal Flatts.  The lyrics help me remember that life isn't always going to be easy, but "when push comes to shove you taste what you're made of".


When I'm sad, and need to be uplifted, I enjoy listening to the song "A New Day Has Come" by Celine Dion.  There are two versions of this song:  one is fast, the other is slow.  I love the slow version.  The lyrics remind me that after the crying and hurt has faded away, a new day will come.


And when I'm happy, there are so many songs I listen to that picking one is almost impossible!  So, I've chosen a song that simply makes me smile each time I hear it.  "19 Somethin'" by Mark Wills.  Any song that starts with the line, "I saw Star Wars at least 8 times" is awesome!



Day Twenty-Nine:  Year in Great Detail
Since I lead a relatively boring life, and don't have a great memory, this potentially long, detailed post will be quite short!

November, 2009:  Started working as a paraprofessional in a kindergarten class

December, 2009-February, 2010:  Normal, boring, day-to-day stuff

March, 2010:  Brandon turned 3; Nick and I began slowly dating again

April, 2010:  Sprained my ankle at work in front of 130 kindergarten students!  Began physical therapy for my ankle and wore a cam walker while it healed.  Nick and I decided to remarry

May, 2010:  Brandon and I moved into the apartment that would be our new family home

June, 2010:  Nick and I remarried.  Brandon's wonderful daycare closed due to the crappy economy.  I began potty training Brandon so he could attend a new daycare in August


July, 2010:  Attempted to survive the summer at home with an active 3 year old...it wasn't easy!  Went to the county fair for the first time





August, 2010:  Conquered potty training!  Brandon began his new daycare, work started again for me

September, 2010:  Brandon finished a summer soccer program.  I began our family blog

October, 2010:  Took family pictures.  I turned 32...ew!



November, 2010:  We are both actively seeking new employment, and considering relocation

All in all, not a very interesting year!!


Day Thirty:  Whatever Tickles My Fancy

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound is a group of men who sing Southern Gospel music.  My mom found them one day while flipping channels on the TV and the rest is history.  She hooked me, my sister, and Brandon who LOVES to watch and sing with them!

The video below is of the first song by Signature Sound that mom played for me.  It's titled, Until We Fly Away.  The lyrics to this song melt my heart and it is my favorite of theirs to this point.  I've been lucky enough to see them perform in concert three times, and they've done this song each time.  It's incredible.

This group, along with Gaither Vocal Band (another Southern Gospel group) often make changes to the members of the group.  In this video you'll see:

Doug Anderson, Ryan Seaton, Ernie Haase, and Tim Duncan



Since that performance, Ryan Seaton has left the group, pursuing a solo career.  He was replaced by Devin McGlamery; the young blonde on the left




For more information about them, click here

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, and Gaither Vocal Band will be making appearances on YouTube Friday in the near future.



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