Probably the Best Devotional--Ever

About a month or so ago, I was talking with this guy in my FHE group who's in one of the univeristy choirs and he told me that President Hinckley was coming for Devotional on the 31st and that day was today. They didn't publicly announce that the prophet was coming until yesterday, but it spread pretty well by word-of-mouth. On my way to my 8 o'clock class, I saw that the parking garage right next to the Tanner was already completely full and traffic was already backed up on the road up by the Marriott Center.

After my Book of Mormon class (of which only half the class attended), I made my way to the Marriott Center in the continuous stream of people from campus. I got there and not surprisingly it was already way packed. Fortunately, some of my friends from the ward went early and there were still seats next to them, so I got super stellar seats--we were sitting seven rows up from the floor on the side that President Hinckley came out of!!

I've never had an experience like it: as soon as the people on the stand stood up when the prophet came in, the entire, and I mean all how-many-ten-thousand people, in a second were completely silent and stood. Just like that every person in the Marriott Center was dead quiet. It was awesome (in the literal sense of the word). Instantly the entire spirit of the room changed. Once the prophet was on the floor and sitting down, there was little talking and everyone just listened to the prelude music from the organ. There was a focused intensity in the room, everyone fixated on the center of the floor where our prophet sat. We sang "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" and normally it gets off a little (probably because of the acoustics), but this morning everyone was together. The Hinckleys' grandson gave the invocation and then President Hinckley stepped up to the podium.

He is such an amazing man; he got up and made a joke about it being Halloween and then directed our attention to his festive tie--it was so cute! He then proceeded to tell us stories that impacted his life, stories running the gamut from personal experiences to historical events. Some were funny, some somber, but all contributing in some way to President Hinckley's life. He concluded by encouraging us all to record those experiences and thoughts and impressions that mold our character and create our lives, to write down those "experiences worth remembering." He also emphasized that this time as students is the best time to find an eternal companion, one with whom to share those shaping experiences.

As he was leaving, he waved with his cane to all the sections of the stadium (is that what it is?) and was smiling the whole time. As he left, once again everyone stood. He left through the portal closest to our section and since I was so close to the floor I got an up close view! He was still smiling and waving as he left and right before he walked out sight, he looked up to our section, caught my eye, and smiled!!!! It was so amazing! I got that feeling I frequently get whenever I think of our prophet, the feeling that he would know my name if he saw me. I know he doesn't, but I feel like he would, like he loves me as Charlotte, as opposed to loving me as a member of the Church. President Hinckley is such an amazing man, he really is. When he entered the stadium and when he left, tears came to my eyes because I'm so grateful for him, so grateful for a living prophet on the earth. I'm so grateful for his love, for his stalwartness, for his personality and Halloween ties!

He truly is an emissary from God and when you're in the same room as President Hinckley, you feel his power, you feel his spirit. When we all stood in respect for the prophet, when everyone fell completely silent, I couldn't help but cry; there was such a spirit of unity, of oneness. I felt so safe and so loved by the prophet and by our Heavenly Father. This was such an amazing day for me. This was an experience I want to tell my children, I want to always remember. I mean, seriously: how many people can say the prophet looked them in the eye and smiled? There's just something about being in the same physical space as a prophet of God that is so overwhelming and humbling. I can't even begin to adequately describe it. I purposely dressed up (no not for Halloween) for the prophet today (and while my feet are killing me, I figure it was worth it!). I'll never forget today, never forget those feelings I felt in the Marriott Center as the prophet addressed our campus. It was so amazing. Just amazing.

Have any of you had experiences when general authorities have come to speak?


this could be a problem

I don't have much time, so this will be probably my shortest post ever. Whenever I come back to my dorm after work and Brittany has been there during the day, the thermostat is turned up to 80 degrees. Um . . . this could be a problem. That's all I'm saying.



Okay, I just need to vent for a second. My roommate Brittany has a couple of her friends from the floor come into the room a lot, which is fine. The problem I have, is that whenever they come in, regardless of when I'm there, they sit at my desk, sit on my bed, and touch all my stuff. How is that possibly okay?! Like tonight for example, a girl from down the hall, who's always nice to me, came in to talk to Brittany and I came out of the bathroom and she was just sitting on my bed and playing with stuff on my bedside shelf. She said "Hi Charlotte" and was perfectly fine except for the fact SHE WAS ON MY BED AND TOUCHING ALL OF MY THINGS!!! This is the same girl who gave herself permission to sleep on my bed one night over Conference weekend when I was at Jessie and Timm's. Yesterday after church (two separate times last night), another girl was over and just made herself comfortable at my desk and was fiddling around with some jewelry on top of the desk and even though I was in the room and had nowhere to sit to eat my bowl of Froot Loops (don't cringe Mom :) ) she didn't even acknowledge me. She never acknowledges my presence anyway, but when she's sitting in my desk and touching my stuff--now that's just plain rude.

I mean I understand looking at pictures and looking at things, but not touching unless you have permission. I just don't understand how other people think like that. I just really needed to get that out. If you stuck around to read it--thanks.

I feel like I have the right to say something, but I'm not sure how to bring it up without coming off as a possessive brat. Any suggestions? I don't want to come off as rude (however I don't think my feelings exhibit any kind of rude tendencies in this situation--I am the victim here). Once again, I marvel at the thinking processes of others; I just don't get it.

Please solicit any advice you may deem
helpful in either coping or confronting or both.
Good grief.


taste testing

One of the perks of working in the science building is that on a regular enough basis, you get a little card with an appointment time for you to come to the Nutrition Sciences lab and taste test for money. It's very simple actually: all you do is go in at your appointed time, go into a little cubicle where they slide trays out to you through a cool portal thing and then you proceed to answer questions about the various food samples like the appearance, the smell, the taste, the texture, and the overall evaluation. You usually have to go in for two sessions per testing day and you get $10! Score!

Today was margarine testing day and I must say it was not exactly enjoyable. I taste tested 20 different samples today and it was quite the experience let me tell you. Some of the margarine samples were a sickening pastel orange with the consistency of Play Doh while others were a frightening, almost neon-y, yellow with the texture of semi-melted butter. Eew. There were even a couple of samples I rated "dislike extremely" for appearance and taste. They provide you a saltine cracker and a small glass of water to refresh your taste before each sample and I'm not going to lie, that was the best part. I learned to take small bites so the lard-like taste on some wouldn't last as long. All is well though because today I earned $1o and tomorrow will be the same, except I get to taste test shortbread cookies instead! This is definitely a fun job sometimes! (I get to do more taste testing next week!)



I got so caught up in school this week I forgot to post about the best part of the semester thus far: my 36 hour visit home! Last weekend was Sarah's baptism and I got to fly out (flights are so cheap from here to Denver) for a couple nights. I just love Colorado and I love being with my family. It was so weird though because as soon as I got home it felt like I'd never left. Sure there were screams of delight and big bear hugs with all, but I just slipped back into the swing of things. I'm so glad going home is like that because if it was too much different I think I'd be scarred.

Sarah's baptism was nice and I was so glad I got to be there for that special occasion. Emily and I haphazardly threw together a musical number that we faked ourselves through most of the time, but I think it worked out and afterward there was a dinner for all who came to the baptism. It was so nice to come home, even if it was only for a little while. Also, with the baptism, I got to see a bunch of people all in one shot! My other super exciting perk of the weekend was seeing Rachelle because she came to the baptism! Like with my family, things just picked up where they left off and it was like we never left for school. I love it when you have relationships so strong that you can feel secure in knowing that distance won't change them.

Also, the parting this time wasn't nearly as bad as when I left initially--not by a long shot! It makes sense though; I mean, now I have a definite life here in Provo and so I'm not going into the unknown and my family has their life with all the craziness associated with that. When I'm home I easily slip into that organized chaos, but now me and my family are all used to the fact that the chaos of family isn't such a part of my everyday life. Well, off to delve into some homework after a successful watching of this week's Lost and Gilmore Girls (and can I admit I think I'm starting to like Christopher for Lorelai? I don't think Luke and Lorelai are meant to be--the writers messed that up last season).


quintessential autumn moment

I love autumn. It is without a doubt my most favorite season and right now in the beginning of October, it's perfect. And yesterday I think I had a quintessential (I love that word--it's one of my favorites!) autumn moment.

First of all I was wearing my way cute new fall outfit from Old Navy. The outfit comprised of a white tank underneath a navy cable knit button up sweater with big buttons, dark green sporty-ish pants, with cute new sporty-ish trendy shoes with stripes from Target: this whole ensemble screamed autumn to me. So to continue with my perfect fall morning: at my 10 o'clock break I went to the Bookstore where I spontaneously bought a new leisure-reading novel, 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith. (I like it pretty well so far, but then again I'm only about 50 pages in--I'll reserve my final verdict for later). After the Bookstore I purchased a cup of hot chocolate and proceeded outside and sat on a bench underneath some pretty trees with yellow leaves and I drank my hot chocolate while reading my new book and the leaves were falling, the air was crisp and chilly and it was just perfect.

I know this is a short post, but I felt the need to blog about my perfect half an hour (which was rudely interrupted by the fact that Sociology starts at 11)


not good, but great mail update

So, since my arrival in mountainous Provo, I've been the lucky recipient of multiple waves of great, yes not just good, but great mail and I think it's about time I post about it. I receive regular cards and comic strip mail from Rachelle and my mailbox is constantly full of sunshine as a result! (Comic strip is mail containing primarily funny comic strips with commentary by Rachelle). Here's a sampling of the many cards I'm lucky to find in my mail slot. The one on the far left though is a birthday card from Melissa which such package will be discussed in later detail!

My first package while here was from Melissa as a belated birthday present, but it wasn't belated because she forgot; rather, it was late because one of the gifts wasn't available until after I left. What joy filled my heart when I saw the little yellow slip in my box, indicated I received something too large for the 4x4 slot. I didn't think to take a picture of the box and no longer have it, but it was covered in stars and cute writing--a sure sign of cuteness inside. Melissa gave me a movie night kit complete with microwave popcorn, M&Ms, hot cocoa, two cute hot cocoa mugs (pictured below), and the dancing movie "Take the Lead." It was definitely a score! Later that week a few girls on our floor got together in our room and we watched the movie and ate the popcorn! Also in this package were a few things I forgot when I left like a notebook and my iPod cable and a pair of socks.

My second package I received Monday last week and it was fun because I picked it up at the same time I was talking to Mom, my kind benefactress! The most exciting part of this package was the discovery of two, yes two, loaves of pumpkin bread! SCORE! I also got a really cute sweater, some super Halloween socks, a Fall Flava' mix (courtesy of Emily), some Halloween Peeps, and other funny miscellania. The box was just as much of a treat as its contents. Making the desk worker chuckle, the box featured a huge Ariel cutout and was said to be from "Ursula and the Blue One," funny reminders of my mermaid-filled childhood. This package was a stellar beginning to my week!

And now we're caught up to today's mail. I'm expecting a package from Mom with some Mary Kay stuff I need, and once again the magical package slip was in the box amid the other cards and such, and when I got the package the return address was not from Colorado, but rather from Florida. That meant only one thing: I got mail from Rachelle's Aunt Nancy and Uncle Randy who we stayed with over Spring Break in March. This was another major score of a package. Inside I found not only a belated graduation card with a check for $50, but also a really warm throw, Crayola magic markers, beef jerky, lotion, Silly Putty, a scarf, cute mini clicky colored pens, and a Finding Nemo psuedo aquarium where the fish acutally move inside! When I get packages it feels like Christmas when you're going through your stocking--it's neverending with fun surprises!

So there's my great mail recap of the school year thus far--I love mail. I love sending mail and receiving mail and I think that mail is sometimes Heavenly Father's way of brightening a Monday. The packages of late definitely help stave off waves of homesickness and I just love it!
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