Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ashley the Kay girl!

This post is dedicated to one of my dearest friends in the whole world: Ashley Kay Sant.

Dear Ashley,
Today is your birthday!
The whole world is celebrating the day you were born!
Welcome to the age of 22!
It's been a pretty good age for me...I'm excited for you to experience it.
I hope your next 22 is just as exciting as the past 22.
Here are 22 reasons why I am grateful for you being born!Summer 05 - Bathroommates!
1. You have a contagious and happy laugh.
2. You could eat Zaxbys every day.
3. We share a SYTYCD obsession.

Summer 07 - 1st week as counselors!
4. Your love for the Braves runs deep.
5. You know the words to Clay Aiken songs...I thought I was the only one.
6. You have gorgeous eyes and a beautiful smile.

Summer 08 - Braves game during EFY
7. You're always up for anything that's random or fun.
8. You care about your friends and are loyal to them.
9. You are the best co-counselor ever! [Es-cah-pay!]
Summer 08-CoCos gettin caught in a Florida rain.
10. Your family members are the #1 people in your life.
11. You have pretty handwriting.
12. You love your family dog, probably more than people understand. [Becker & Matey will be the best of friends someday. :]
Summer 08-Pizza Night got out of control...even with us in charge.
13. You're the best gym partner.
14. You let me vent to you when I need to get stuff off my chest.
15. You're great to belt out songs with.

Fall 08-SYTYCD Season 4 Tour and we are excited!
16. You've fallen in love with all my favorite SNL characters.
17. You have a wing. Bahaha.
18. We have matching tye dye HHI sweatshirts.

Jan 09-Denver roadtrip!
19. You have an EFY addiction.
20. Your testimony of the gospel strengthens me.
21. You go craaaazy with me at BYU sports games!

Summer 09-Games night in GA!
And Ashley Kay...I just love you because...

Summer 09-Braves game!
22. You're my friend and you love me no matter what!

Fall 09-BYU football
Happy Birthday Ash! Sorry I can't be there in person to give you a squeeze!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 was mighty fine.

It's hard to believe 2009 is almost over! I feel like it was just New Years Eve 2008. Crazy how fast time goes...and this year was no exception! It really did fly by. Which is good considering the first part of it wasn't the greatest time of life for me. I had some definite struggles this year, but looking back on it I have no doubts it was what I needed to make me a better person and to make my testimony stronger. So for that I am grateful! Here are some 2009 highlights:

-Road Tripping to Denver with Ashley for MLK weekend! It was muchly needed!
-Seeing the Denver temple for the first time...can scratch that off the list.
-Trevor Hall concert for the 2nd time!
-Performing for and meeting Benji. [winner of SYTYCD 2]
-Having Leah be my Valentine.
-Successfully throwing Krista a surprise party.
-Having one thrown for me as well!
-Going to Idaho for the first time and seeing the Rexburg & Idaho Falls Temples...scratch off those as well.-Becoming part of the BYU Folk Dance program!
-Sleepovers in the living room with Leah.
-Taking New Testament from Sister Olsen.

-Club Style showcase!
-Braves winning the kickoff game to the MLB season against the Phillies!
-Becoming friends with McKell.
-Britney Spears concert!
-Leah filling my room with 50 balloons. [each one filled with a reason why she loves me.]
-Playing piano for mama's chorus at the Boys & Girls Club.
-Teaching dance camps with Holly.
-EFY for 3 weeks as a BC...getting to hang out with my friends and the amazing youth!
-Braves games!
-Mermaid...once again.
-Going on the Tampa Bay Rays field!
-Stone Mountain for the first time!
-Casey [a kid from EFY] getting baptized.
-Karly & JJ's wedding!!
-McKell's visit!
-EFY Counselor Reunion on Hilton Head!-Road Tripping back to UT with the Sants and stopping in Denver.
-Lagoon for the first time!
-Winning the horseshoe tournament at Kell's cabin.
-Seeing a moose, coyote, and riding/driving a 4Wheeler...all first timers.
-BYU vs. FSU game.-Promotion to Counter Supervisor at Charlotte Russe!
-Being a part of the 50th Christmas Around the World!
-BYU beating Utah!-Getting the EFY Coordinator position!
-Having the most awesome Home Teachers I've ever had.
-Getting a snuggie.
-Getting closer to the Savior.
-Feeling Heavenly Father's love.
-Time with my wonderful family and my great friends!

Yes...2009 was eventful. It had its ups and it had its downs...but it was a good year that holds many dear memories! Here's to 2010! Let's see what life will bring!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
I hope your day is filled with stockings and food, sugarplums and laughter.
Call your family [or skype as we did.]
Say "I love you."
& always remember why Dec. 25th is called "Christmas."

"This is a season of rejoicing! A season of celebration! A wonderful time when we acknowledge that our Almighty God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world! To redeem us! It is a season of charitable acts of kindness and brotherly love. It is a season of being more reflective about our own lives and about the many blessings that are ours. It is a season of forgiving and being forgiven. But perhaps most of all, let it be a season of seeking the Lamb of God, the King of Glory, the Everlasting Light of the World, the Great Hope of Mankind, the Savior and Redeemer of our souls. I promise that if we unclutter our lives a little bit and in sincerity and humility seek the pure and gentle Christ with our hearts, we will see Him, we will find Him—on Christmas and throughout the year." -Pres Uchtdorf

And now I will leave you with some Christmas photos of the past.Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Goodnight!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ward Family

Hilton Head Island is not Utah. It isn't thriving with members of the LDS faith. It isn't common to hear conversation about Stake Conference, Primary, or the temple while you're in Subway. [which still weirds me out while at BYU.] There aren't 5 temples within an hour drive...or even 1 temple for that matter. So with all of these different circumstances, the members that are around, get very close. When my parents first moved here they were 1 of 2 families and they met in various places including living rooms, ice skating rinks, and hotel rooms. Then we upgraded to the trailor, then to two connecting trailors, and finally when i was about 8...we got our beautiful building! And now, 14 years later, we have outgrown that and we have been a ward for about 9 months. It's cool.

Needless to say, when I go home I love it! My ward is my family. A lot of them have seen me grow up. Some since college, some since high school, some since elementary school, and some since diapers. They are from everywhere. Some have been deep rooted in the south and some have migrated over from the west. But we have one thing in common: we love each other. And going to church today, I felt of that love. It's like a grand event when we come home. Hugs and kisses go all around...there are no such thing as handshakes. It's great.

My heart is forever threaded in the Hilton Head Ward.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Can I just say that I love home?!
Ok good...cause I am going to...
Here it goes...
You would too if your home was this...or this...and maybe this too...Well ok...maybe Hilton Head Island is not quite this gorgeous now because it's "winter," but still...nothing puts me in my happy place more than the sight of water and marsh.
My skin's liking it too. No more cracked knuckles.
Oh yeah...and being with family is pretty great too. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Forgotten Carols

So on Saturday night I went to go see this beloved show up in Salt Lake with Cody. Cody dances with me on 10RB...good times. I have heard the story and listened to the music for as long as I can remember. I have seen the actual stage play 5 times and yet..."The Forgotten Carols" amazes me every time. It does not matter how many times I've heard the songs, they still give me chills. I kept thinking it about that all today. I'm not sure why, but those songs were stuck in my head and I kept humming them to myself. I love them so much. I think I love them because they remind me of home and my family. I can remember very vividly sitting with my mama one December afternoon in middle school while everyone else was gone. We read the book and played the music when indicated. I remember Krista singing the shepherd's song, "He Was Here" at sacrament meetings with daddy playing the piano. I remember thinking the guy that sang the 3 kings song on the soundtrack sounded like my daddy and loving when daddy would sing it. I remember feeling the magic that comes with the story and music. I've been feeling it for years and I felt it once again while I sat in that auditorium on Saturday night.

As always the 3 Kings song, "I Cannot Find My Way" got me. My favorite part of the song says, "We're not alone we have a star and it shines today. The love that He gave teaches how and shows the way. That light is clear to see if we have faith and believe, 3 kings found the Lord and so can we. And if you've lost your way, that light burns bright today and it will shine eternally. 3 kings found the Lord and so must we." Gosh I love that! If there's anything I've learned [and I seem to have to learn it over and over] is that I am not alone. Even though it feels like that somedays, I have to remember that the star that appeared in the sky 2000+ years ago to mark the birth of the Savior is still here.'s not a physical star, but we have the gift of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And if we follow the gospel and have faith, the path to the Savior is easy to see. And we must find Him, as the song says. I truly understand the significance of putting a star on top of the tree.

Michael McLean always ends the show by showcasing his own personal carol called "Arise and Shine Forth" which makes me want to be in a Southern Baptist Church because it just makes you jump up and down because you feel the spirit so strong! Music is powerful and truly testifies of the Savior. My favorite line from that song says: "And the torch that's a standard for the nations all to see, Is the light of the world shining through me." I can only hope that I hold my testimony as a torch so everyone can see the love of Christ through me.

Then of course Michael's very last thing he does is make us all link arms and sing "We can be together forever someday." Cody's and my neighbors weren't too keen on that idea and denied our we just had each other. And even though it may seem cheesy, it's so true. We can be together forever. All of us. Yes we think of it more in terms of our spouses and families, but as friends and members of the church we can all be together forever as well. This gospel is a gospel of happiness. And that makes me happy. Knowing I'll be not only with my family, but my best friends as well...those people that make me want to be better.

Thank you Michael McLean for sharing those messages of the forgotten people in the Christmas story. For reminding me to let Him in, that He came to this earth and will come again someday, and that I am not lost if I follow the star. It officially feels like Christmas...Dec. 25th can't come fast enough.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ringing in the Holiday Season!

Hopefully if you are reading this blog you know that i love to dance!
I am not sure if love is even enough to describe it.
I am obsessed with it! I think about it all the time.

I am so grateful my mama put me in dance classes since I was a young tot.
I am grateful I experienced so many different types of dance by the time I had come to BYU including: ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, irish, and modern.

One type of dance I had not done yet was folk.
My freshman year I took an Irish class and gradually started taking more classes in the folk department. I loved it but for some reason I never auditioned for the folk teams.
Maybe I thought I was too busy.
Maybe I was too involved in Club Style.
Maybe I was just scared to audition.
I think the last one wins. It's true. I was scared.
And I can't tell you how much I regret not auditioning sooner than January 2009.
All of those people I was taking classes with my freshman year are now on PAC [Performing Arts Company] and traveling all over the world. That could be me. Even though I am progressing fast in the program, time is still against me. Unless I go to grad school or prolong my undergrad [both sounding appealing right now.]
Anyways...this is not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that Christmas Around the World will forever be ingrained in my mind, soul, and heart.
It was one of the most amazing and fun performances I have ever done.
It was the 50th Anniversary of CAW so it was a really special show.
We had alumni come back and they either danced with us or watched us from the audience.
I met people that danced anywhere from 1960-2004. It was so fun to hear some of their stories and memories and realize I was doing the exact same thing...just at a later time.
Mary Bee Jensen was a huge part of it. Mary Bee is the founder of the folk dance program at BYU and she is one of the cutest ladies I have ever met. She is 92 years old, but I have yet to see her without her heels and pearls on. She's classy and inspires me to be as alive as she is.

My team did a dance from the Philippines called "Tiniklin." We had to dance in and out of these bamboo poles that were slamming together in rhythmic patterns. I have many a bruise from my feet being in the poles when they clanged together. But it was worth it. [We also did Mexican in the show opener and I got picked for a special dance they brought back. They used to do a girl's Ukrainian dance every CAW, but they haven't done it for the last 25 years. The alumni wanted it so they brought Kozachak back and only picked 12 girls to do it...and I was picked! I was so privileged!] Preparing for CAW really brought my team, 10 RB, together. We had to work together, spend time together, and move forward together for the same cause. I love my team and I am so sad that we're getting split into different teams next semester. I've met amazing people on that team!

However, the highlight of CAW was the spirit I felt. Oh gosh...I might start crying thinking about it. it comes...
Wow. I can't explain it.
The folk dance program is so into BYU's mission statement of being spiritually inspiring. There is not one practice that doesn't start and end with a prayer. Not one rehearsal that doesn't have a devotional. And every CAW rehearsal I heard how we are celebrating the birth of our Savior and it is our job to convey that to the audience. CAW is a celebration of the most important event in history, minus the Atonement. I felt the spirit constantly while being at the Marriott Center. This program has a special spirit about it. The people, the dancing, the music, the relationships, the testimonies...everything contributes to the spirit I felt there and I am so grateful I was able to be a part of it!

You always get the question: "What is your biggest regret in life?"
There could be a couple options to the answer for me.
But none tops me not getting involved in folk dance sooner.
That really is my biggest regret.
In that same breath though, I know everything happens for a reason.
There was a reason I didn't do it sooner.
There were obviously things I had to learn that were vital to my life that I would not have had if I had been in the program sooner.
So all I can do is enjoy the time I do have and be grateful for the opportunities I already have had.
I performed at the Marriott Center for thousands of people in one of the biggest dance shows BYU has to offer! Me...I did.
My testimony has been strengthened, my love of dance has grown, and my gratitude for my Savior has increased.

Hoorah for folk dance!