Today I’m assigned to give a talk on family, and since you guys can’t make it, I figured I might as well post it on here for you to read if you want. :^)

                Good afternoon, brothers and sisters. I am truly grateful to be able to speak to you this beautiful Sabbath day, and I pray that the Spirit will be with me as I share my message with you today. I was asked to speak on family.
            While pondering on what to speak about, I read Sister Mary N Cook’s talk from the October 2007 session of General Conference, entitled “Strengthen Home and Family”. In her talk, sister Cook stresses the importance of a line from the Young Women’s Theme: “we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.” Sister Cook then goes on to explain that while this is in the Young Women’s theme, it applies to everyone. We can each do our part to aid the family, be a peacemaker, and bring the family closer to Christ.
            As I was writing this talk, two of my siblings got into an argument. As it got more and more heated, I struggled to keep on writing. How was I supposed to write a talk on family when mine was arguing so much? In desperation, I texted my parents about my predicament, and my mother sent this back:
            “The point isn’t that families should be perfect. Living in families teaches us.” What a perfect response to my message! It brought peace of mind, and helped calm me down. As the saying goes, “we may not have it all together, but together, we have it all”. These words are so true in regards to families. So many of us may feel pressured to have the perfect family, or we may compare our situation to others, misguidedly comparing their strengths to our weaknesses. The reason Heavenly Father put us into families wasn’t to see who could be the best family, or the strongest family, or the most attractive family. He gave us our families because He knew we needed each other to make it through this life. He gave us hard times to make us stronger and to make the good times that much sweeter.
            In regards to strengthening our families, Sister Cook spoke about how that strengthening can come from you, individually. Strive to be the peacemaker in the home, strive to help the family draw closer to Christ through righteous examples, and serve each member of your family with your whole heart. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but small, simple acts of love add up.
            Sister Cook also mentioned the importance of prayers. She posed the question, “who in my family could benefit most from my personal prayers?” and “what could I do to support and encourage family prayer?” Praying may seem like a small thing, but by doing it daily with your family and on your own it will help the Spirit stay in the home. Pray for your family members; they may need it more than you think.
            In the hymn, “Love at Home”, the second verse reads: “in the cottage there is joy when there’s love at home, hate and envy ne’er annoy, when there’s love at home.” I have noticed the power and truth of these words in my own home when we are living in a way that is harmonious with Christ’s teachings. When we are each genuinely trying to be loving and kind to one another, the atmosphere within our home changes, and there is a noticeable Spirit in the home. Habits and sayings that would usually irritate become less of a bother, and we’re just… Happier! I dearly hope that each of you has or will experience that peace at some time or another. I know it’s definitely not easy, but it will pay off temporally and spiritually for sure.
            As I read M. Russell Ballard’s talk from the October 2005 session of General Conference, “What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest,” he speaks about how in times of crisis we turn to our families for strength and for comfort. They are our rock, our foundation, and if we weren’t blessed with a family, we would have almost no one to turn to in times of trial.
            Some dear friends of ours recently lost their home in a devastating fire, and while they do not have any of their temporal pleasures, they have the most important thing: their family. When I heard of this tragedy, the thought that stood out most in my mind was that every member of their precious family was safe, and at the end of the day, that’s all that mattered. Possessions aren’t forever, but family is. How grateful I am to know that in times of peril, I have the loving arms of my family to turn to, and how wonderful it is to know that we will be together for eternity, with our immediate family members in addition to our ancestors.
            I would like to bear my testimony of the blessing of eternal families. I know that even though they may sometimes frustrate me, I will never be more loved than I am when I’m with my family. I’m blessed to have wonderful parents who love me and teach me through righteous examples. I’m grateful to have such sweet siblings who love me and challenge me to be a better person. I know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally and wants nothing more than for all His children to make it back home safely. I know that my family will be together forever through covenants made in the temple, and I truly testify of the peace that comes when we live in harmony with the Spirit. I say these things in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, amen.


Prom 2013!

There are two things nobody expects to happen on Prom night:

  • The first is, nobody expects their Nana to have a minor heart attack on their stairs.
  • The second is, nobody expects to cry.

That’s just a given! Nobody thinks to themselves, “Gee, I’ll probably have loads of scary drama happen tonight. Better grab the tissues and a paper bag, in case I need to hyperventilate!”

For the record, you guys are way lucky I’m writing about this now, instead of yesterday, otherwise you’d have an angsty, whiny post about how much my life sucks, but now I’ve got a better hold on things as they really are, so this won’t be as awful. I narrowed my mood swing down to two things:

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. PMS. It’s great, y’all. I’m just glad my uterus waited until the day AFTER Prom to wreak havoc on my life. No seriously. Think how horrible that would be, my fellow female readers. Let the terror sink in just a little bit. There we go. 
Back to my story of misery and woe  funny misadventures and cute guys!
For the past three weeks, I have been more stressed and panicky than I’ve ever been in regards to a dance. This wasn’t just any dance. This was PROM. The morning was spent in a nervous haze, dashing to and fro, going to stores in search of just the perfect detail, etc. I was scared to death, but excited as well. This was going to be so awesome!
As the day wore on, I got my nails done, panicked some more, and got the rest of my dress back from the seamstress. I was ready! Except for one little thing: I still needed a clutch to hold my little necessities, and a necklace. We were going to borrow them from my mom’s friend’s little sister (so in other words, a total stranger), and she was still at school, being a good girl and not answering my text. Finally, around 3:45, she answered and said I could pop right over to fetch my desired accessories. I was really stressing out, and to make matters worse, I had to pick up the clutch and necklace in the Smoke Wagon. 
The Smoke Wagon is so named because of the atrocious stench within it’s Canadian walls, but that’s not the worst part: aside from having various mechanical problems, the Smoke Wagon has no AC. So here I was, still in the preliminary stages of Prom Prep, and I had to drive the Smoke Wagon in the heat. Oh heavens.
As I drove, I fought to keep my temper under control- when I’m stressed, I become somewhat of a @#$%&. Sad, but true. So I rage-drove to her house, and when I knocked on her door, nobody answered. I rang the doorbell. Nothing. I walked back to the car, called my mom, and asked her to text the girl to let her know I was here. I didn’t have her number, so this was important. This time she answered, handed me her things, and wished me luck. I drove as fast as legally possible, and got back home in record time. I flung myself down onto the chair in the bathroom, and let Mom work her magic on my hair. Trying my best not to make snippy remarks, I did my makeup and tried to tune everybody out. Suddenly, I was finished! With mere minutes to spare, I finished my eyes and tried not to shake. Then my date called. My mom answered, and after a brief conversation, said goodbye. 
“He’s going to be about 15 minutes late,” she said. I squealed in delight. Every girl needs more prep time! I finished getting ready, and then got ready for the pictures to be taken. Mom and Nana took a bunch of pictures of me, and then I headed into my room to try to breathe.

The doorbell rang. My heart leapt. It was a neighbor. I relaxed. The doorbell rang. My stomach squeezed. It was Geneal’s friend. Things got relatively quiet, and my Dad readied his shotgun to greet my date at the door,  and then everything took a turn for the worse.
 My Nana started screaming for help. This was nothing like I’d ever heard from her before; she sounded terrified. Dad rushed to her, collapsed on the stairs. She wheezed, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe”, and Dad hollered for someone to call 911. Alicya ran into my room, crying. I held her close, and we both said a prayer, begging to let Nana be okay. They got her downstairs into the recliner just as the ambulance showed up, and I stayed in my room trying not to cry. I was so stressed, I was so scared, and I was so embarrassed. What was he going to think? I know I shouldn’t have been thinking about that, but I couldn’t help it. It was involuntary. My Dad pulled me aside and said he’d decided against the whole shotgun thing. I agreed, but it still made me kinda sad. I was excited about that, morbid as it was, and I knew my dad was as well. 
Then he got there. I heard my Dad answer the door and welcome him in. I figured he would just wait on the couch for me, but he headed straight for my bedroom, and as soon as he saw me walking out, enveloped me in a hug. I really, really needed that, because I was so frazzled. I pulled back, and saw something horrible. I had gotten LIPSTICK on his SUIT. Why me??!?!?!?!?! I ducked into the living room, hoping it would magically disappear, but that was not to be. My parents, of course, noticed, and gave him a tissue so he could try to wipe it off. My face on fire, I sat down on the couch and provided an envelope that Ryan had dropped by earlier with a weird message on the front. Inside was directions to everything, so we chuckled and put them back in the envelope. Then came the part I was dreading. The boutonniere. I canNOT do those things. It’s so embarrassing! I tried weakly to do it, and then gave up. My mother fixed it. Thankfully, he laughed it off and said, “Moms are pretty much always better at anything, right?” I agreed, and then we had the ceremonial pictures taken of us.

For the record, yes, he looked mind-blowingly adorable. And that’s actually the boutonniere box in the picture, because he forgot the corsage at his house- we’d just retrieve it later.
We went downstairs so Nana could meet him, she gave us her stamp of approval, and we were off like a Roman candle!
We chatted and made small talk as he drove, and pretty soon we were (supposedly) at our destination. Which was a house. Then I realized that I sucked, because I’d jumped the gun and led us to the right place at the wrong time. We called Ryan, who was of no help at all, and then we set off once again to find the correct destination. We missed the turnoff a few times, but finally we got there. Everyone else had already arrived, and so they glared at us menacingly. I defended our position by telling them what happened back at home, and how it held us up- because it did. Guess what?
Nobody believed us. Uh, hello? Why would I joke about that? I brushed their disbelief aside and we headed over to the park to take pictures. It was actually really fun! Aside from walking around in high heels in the gravel,  of course.
After pictures, we headed over to Charleston’s to have dinner. When we got there to request seating, a hostess came up to my gentleman and handed him a box. He turned to me and gave me my corsage! It was beautiful, and I loved that he gave it to me there. It was a stylish touch. :^) The wait was long, and by the time we were seated, Prom had started 30 minutes ago. :^( We hurried through dinner, and then jetted off to the dance.

While we were there, I found out that we had craptastic DJ’s who only played fast, bad songs and dubstep (which you can’t even dance to, btw), with the occasional slow song thrown into the mix. We decided to get in line for pictures, and after discovering how pointlessly long the wait was, headed back inside. We danced to a slow song, and I noticed something weird. My date started out dancing with me in closed dance position, but then moved so we were lightly holding hands while dancing, and pretty soon we just kind of swayed, not really touching anymore. Then the song ended, and we went back to awkwardly dancing to the crappy fast music. We made the necessary rounds, hugging people and telling them how wonderful they looked- which they did. Everyone looked like a star- and went back to awkwardly dancing. We even photobombed a picture!

We’re cute.

After that, Prom royalty was announced, and we headed back to the hallway so we could wait for pictures without the huge line. Just my luck- of course Prom royalty had to dance a slow song, and since we were in the hallway, there was no slow dancing  for us, which, frankly, bummed me out. I wanted to dance with him! Geez!
We went back in after deciding the wait was stupid, and he went to get a fancy drink. I got some water, and then another slow song started. Hurray! I would get to dance with him at last!

Just kidding. He came up to me and asked if it would be okay to dance with another girl for this song. I said okay, and watched from the sidelines while holding his drink to make sure it wouldn’t be discarded. I thought that maybe the same weird thing would happen, where he’d slowly let go of her, but nope. They waltzed all over the dance floor, doing tricks and spinning, and having a grand old time. I felt a twinge of sadness, because I really wanted that to be me in his arms being twirled around the room, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I sat dejectedly in the corner, holding his drink. When the song ended, he found me again and I handed him his drink, and we chatted while he sipped at it.
We got in line once again for pictures, and finally got some taken! We got back into the fray, and danced to the crappy music some more. We had just started dancing the bachata when someone from student council dragged him away for more pictures. I started talking to a girl and mentioned how I wished they would play more slow songs. She started laughing and said, “Just so you can dance with your date?”
Well, yeah. He’s my date, and this is Prom. You’re supposed to dance at Prom. It’s not because he’s the cutest guy in school, it’s not because I want to make people jealous, it’s not because I have this huge crush on him-because I don’t-I just want to dance with him to see if he’ll actually touch me this time. I want to be danced with. I want him to tell me I’m beautiful, because I did all this work for him. I want him to really touch me, not just put his arm around me flirtatiously and then back off as soon as someone starts talking to him. I said this in my head, but just smiled, and said, “Well yeah! He’s my date!” I started walking up to the DJ’s to let them know, but just then my date showed up from getting pictures taken. A slow song started, and we began dancing.

He held me close, and we swayed to the music. THIS was what I’d been waiting for. THIS was what I wanted. I was finally having a dance with him, when he said, “Do you mind if I cut in with her for a little bit?” I looked over and noticed a girl was on the sidelines, while her date spun someone else on the floor. She wasn’t sad, she was smiling, because even though her date was dancing with someone else, it was obvious that he’d been spending time with her, and no doubt he’d made her feel beautiful- which is what every girl deserves. Every girl spends countless hours preparing for this dance, and they need to feel appreciated and beautiful when the moment finally comes and they reveal their dress and their hair and their makeup to be judged by the boy and everyone else. But I digress. I said okay, and he twirled me away from him and began dancing with her. I stood all alone by a table, and watched as everyone danced with their dates.

The same girl I’d been talking to previously came up and said, “I loaned my date to somebody”. Smiling, she turned to me, as if asking where my date was. I smiled half-heartedly, and she said quietly, “did your date loan himself?” I nodded and looked at my shoes. I began to realize that he hadn’t hardly touched or danced with me at all the whole time we were at the dance, and once the realization hit, I felt downright awful. I looked at her and said, “We should ask for one more slow song, because I heard someone say this was the last slow dance.” We went up to the DJ’s and asked for one more slow song. the DJ looked at me and said
“No, we’ve got two minutes left- and we’ve got a song lined up already. Why, you want a slow song?”
Not even hiding my irritation, I said, “Well, yeah. You guys have played, like four slow songs this whole freaking time. It’s the last song! I want to dance!” He shrugged and turned back to his table.
Mentally kicking him, I walked away. With a screech, the last song began to play. The last song. I couldn’t believe it. Prom was over, and I hadn’t danced a full song with my date. My heart sunk down to my shoes, and as he approached, I tried to smile. He said we could try to slow dance to this last song even though it was fast, and so we did. For approximately 30 seconds. Then he asked if I wanted to find our group, so I said sure, and we found them. Obviously nobody was slow dancing, so we stopped and stood in a circle the rest of the song.

Then it ended, and we left. We sang “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” on the way to the car for some reason, and then said goodbye to our group. We got in the car, and he said, “I feel kinda bad for ditching you on the last slow song,” and I laughed weakly. I made sure not to say “It’s okay”, because it wasn’t. He hadn’t danced with me all the way through for a single song. He didn’t touch me hardly at all. He never said I looked beautiful. He told other girls they looked nice, but he never said anything to me. My heart plummeted. Why wasn’t I good enough for him? What did I do to merit this? I thought I looked okay, why didn’t he say anything? Why wouldn’t he touch me? Why, why, why? All the girls who’d talked to me about it all said the same thing: he’s the best date, he’ll dance with you for like every song, he’ll stay by your side the whole time, blah blah blah. Why was I the exception? Why would he do that to me? Why wasn’t I good enough for him? I kept these thoughts in my head the whole way home, and we made more small talk. We talked about the play, and being a lead character in it, and other things, but my heart still hurt. To add on to everything, I was worried about Nana, and I was embarrassed about getting lipstick on his suit and leading us the wrong way when we were supposed to be at the park, and I was really embarrassed about having made such a huge deal about everything for three weeks.
But I never said anything about this. He had a good time I think, and if he’s happy, I’m happy-ish.

He walked me to the door and hugged me, and I apologized once again for the terrible navigating job. He said, “Haeley, I’ve already totally forgotten that! Don’t worry! The directions were dumb, it’s not your fault”, then he hugged me again. That made we feel a little better, and I thanked him again for asking me, and went inside. My parents had waited up for me, and I told them my story. I went in my room and fell apart after that. Prom is supposed to be special, so why was I crying? I was tired, I was worried, I was embarrassed, I was crushed.
I sent one of my friends a picture of my date and I, and eventually explained everything to her. It felt good to vent, and it felt good to have someone listen. I went to bed and tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. I still hurt.
The next day I had to explain everything to my siblings, and I had to try very hard not to cry. When I told Geneal though, I lost it. I just cried and cried, and she listened sympathetically. I really have the best people on earth surrounding me and loving me. Everyone has been so kind and caring to me, and I really appreciate it. Sorry this story ends sadly, but I figured I needed to write down everything. I feel better now, now that I know that most of my emotions have stemmed from lack of sleep and menstruation, and I understand that he’s is a popular boy, and popular boys need to tend to their flock of followers, so he did. He just forgot to tend to his date sometimes.
Overall, I did have an enjoyable time, and even though the dance itself was lackluster, I’ve decided it’s because he’s popular, and popular people wear masks around multiple people.
I’ll post more pictures soon!
Thanks for reading,


The Egg And I *UPDATED*

I am a self-proclaimed failure when it comes to kitchen craftiness (unless you count macaroni and other easily boiled pastas), and I often joke about how sad it will be when I get married and my husband finds out I can’t cook. But lately, things have started to change. I discovered that I make gnarly deviled eggs, and today, I made another discovery. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present you with…

The Omelet.

Oh my word. This was so good! I have never even attempted anything like this before- seriously guys, boiling eggs makes me nervous, and scrambled eggs make me really nervous. But surprisingly, this wasn’t bad. I just needed to keep checking up on how the egg was settling, and then carefully, carefully flip it. I was so proud of myself! This was definitely an achievement. Plus it looks beautiful, if I do say so myself. I put Greek yogurt, dill, and chipotle pepper on top, and after the pictures, I decided to try some lemon pepper- of course. I love me some lemon pepper. It turned out surprisingly tasty! This is definitely something I want to try again. But next time, I think I will add some milk to the egg mixture, as the recipe says. I didn’t add the milk simply because we didn’t have any. I’m sure milk will lend itself nicely to the dish. I was also thinking of adding some Italian dressing to the mixture as well, for some added color and flavor. We have a couple large flats of eggs (not counting the plethora’s in the fridge), so I’m sure I’ll get a LOT of practice in the art of omelete-making. It makes me happy, cooking. I love presenting my work to others so they can taste it, and I love it even more when THEY love it. It’s a satisfying feeling to know that you make other people’s tastebuds  happy. 
It’s also comforting to know that I’ll eventually be a good enough cook to house a husband and even a few little kids.
I can do this! Long live womanhood!
Since this post, I’ve been making omelettes nonstop, because I want to perfect my approach, and they’ve been pretty good. Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten them to flip very well, until today. It flipped perfectly, and I think the trick is to make sure the egg is evenly spread out on the bottom of the pan. I added some new seasonings to the mixture; namely chipotle pepper IN the mixture, not just on top of the finished product, more salt and pepper, and garlic salt. After the omelette was finished, I put sundried tomatoes in the middle, freshly sliced tomato on the top, a dab of Greek yogurt, Italian seasoning, and, of course, lemon pepper. I like to make things look beautiful, and the color was so rich that I took more pictures. I think this one in particular was my favorite!

It really does look gorgeous, no?


The Bright Side.

So with all this stressing about Prom and my dress and my date, etc. etc., it’s been pretty hard to really enjoy the whole process. I’m sure you guys know all about this, because of my obsession with posting about it, and talking about it, and dreaming about it- four dreams, to be exact- I’m sure to be annoying you all to death, but I just can’t help it! I’m so excited and scared!
The one person who’s been keeping me sane this whole time is none other than my wonderful mother. I seriously do not know what I would do if she wasn’t by my side throughout all this. She’s been so excited for me this whole time, she hasn’t complained that I’m boring her nor does she tell me to chill out. She’s as excited as I am, I think! Last night when we were picking out my fabric, she kept squealing and saying how exciting this was. I love you so much, Mommy.
It makes my day to come home and have a mom who’s every bit as excited for Prom as I am, and it makes her just that much more dear to me.
I can’t thank this woman enough for all she’s been doing for me, and I hope that she knows how appreciative I am.
And for the record, I am in LOVE with the fabric we picked out. It’s a lovely, understated color.


The day I discovered my life’s calling.

Last night, I dreamt that I went to outer space for a choir field trip, and it was the COOLEST DREAM EVER. I really like being in outer space, apparently. I thought about it periodically throughout the morning, and just as I was pulling in the driveway, still pondering my future as the first ever midget-woman-astronaut, an ice cream truck was making its rounds through the neighborhood. We commented on how irritating the song that played on repeat through the speakers was, and I started to think how ghetto the ice cream trucks that come here seem to be.

That’s not the truck we saw, but they pretty much look like that.
Then I thought to myself, why aren’t there any CUTE ice cream trucks?

 They always seem cute in the movies. I guess Arizona is just underprivileged…..?
Then it hit me.
Not the ice cream truck, of course. But an IDEA. A FABULOUS idea. I quickly dismissed all thoughts of being an astronaut and focused on what was really a realistic, smart idea.
Just yesterday, as my mom, my sisters and I snuck some healthy/sugar-free ice cream, I decided that the world needed a cute, healthy, sugar-free ice cream parlor, and how I should run it. I of all people know how irritating it is to not be able to have ice cream simply because of the ingredients, and how smart it would be to have an ice cream parlor that was entirely sugar-free AND healthy. No Splenda, no aspartame, no scary sweeteners. Just the pure, good stuff that you can feel confident about eating.
Ice cream is one of my absolute favorite desserts, and I remember the few times in my childhood when the ice cream truck came to our neighborhood, I would always beg my mom for the chance to have some. I even had dreams about ice cream trucks, for heaven’s sake! I seriously love ice cream.
So my thought was this:
why not run an ice cream truck? And why not make it something sugar free, healthy, and above all, CLASSY? I don’t feel very comfortable about those scary trucks, so I might as well make my own and make it something a mother would be okay with. 
So then I came up with Classy Cream, an innovative, healthy, and fun ice cream truck! You’ve seen those adorable food trucks, yes?

 Great. So basically it would be set up like a food truck, only with ice cream, and a dash of vintage class that I adore. Add cutesy candy-striper uniforms, business cards, a website, a phone number (to schedule catering events. Duh), and even hours! I don’t know about you, but I don’t love having the ice cream truck show up only on Sundays, and at such unpredictable times, to boot. I would get rid of that. Plus, as previously mentioned, I would carry only sugar-free things, so you wouldn’t have to feel guilty about eating my ice cream all the time! I never really loved the ice cream from ice cream trucks anyway. They always tasted cruddy, and the random gumballs they’d stick in the ice cream pops were NASTY. My approach would be more tasty, naturally. For starters, no gumballs. Also, I would serve the ice cream in cones that I would scoop for them. None of this pre-frozen cone nonsense. I would be the real deal, folks. It’d be an old-fashioned, fabulous treat! Maybe I’d even have specialty items, like sundaes and banana splits.
In regards to having music, I’d probably come up with something cute and not annoying. I’d have to work on that, but isn’t it genius?? WAY better than being an astronaut. Although I’d still like to go to space. Maybe I could cater for a space shuttle?