This isn't a very good SP, but I wanted to show my outfit, and would have felt like a dork asking my roommate to take a picture of me so I can post it on my blog. This SP is supposed to be conveying success--I don't know how well that came out. And it's blurry.

Hallelujah! Today's the last day of January! I am stoked that tomorrow is February, and in celebration of January ending, I decided to dress up, and be super productive today. I woke up early to get up to the HFAC so I could find a practice room for a bit to practice my violin (now that I'm taking lessons, I need to make time for actual practicing--my whole point of taking lessons was to get better, so I guess neglecting practicing would be a little stupid). Tonight for my dinner night, I'm making chicken with scallion lime sauce and sweet carrot rice, and I'm going to hardcore study for my grammar and physical science tests tomorrow. I'm going to write articles, and all this exciting planning productivity isn't even the best part of the day. Tonight, LOST starts up again, and so I'm going over to Diana's for a party!! Yay!!

So, there is another best part of my day that's happened since I wrote the beginning of this post. Instead of having class today, my British Lit professor met with each of us individually for 10 minutes to grade our paper. He graded it right then and there, which is new for me, and then we discussed it. I got an A-, which how well I thought I did, so I'm glad I'm on the same page with the professor! And then, my professor went on to say that he thinks I'm a really good writer, and that since I'm going into publishing, he can give me articles that other people send to him to edit, and I can get paid for it and practical experience! Plus, he said he'd like me to go over some stuff that he's writing because he said he values my editorial judgment! This is a total score in every way: it's a potential money maker, good editing experience, and it's a little ego boost (which we all need every once in a while!). He also told me how much he values what I have to say in class, and that he admires the honesty of my comments. I've always thought I talk too much in discussion classes, so at least the teacher likes what I say! This was a score of a 10 minute meeting.

See ya later January!!


best friends (and 100th post!!)

A few years ago, when my family was visiting my aunt, Patricia, for Thanksgiving, we were all around the kitchen talking, and out of the blue, Patricia asks my sister and me, "Are you girls best friends?" We stop for a moment, taken off guard, look at each other, and smiling simultaneously answered, "Yes!" I love being best friends with my sister!

just being silly with yummy-yet-disgusting Pillsbury pre-cut sugar cookies--a favorite with us

Over the weekend, Emily came out to Provo for her music audition, and got to stay with me for a couple of days, and it was a blast! I got to play the Proud Parent role, and tell everyone that Emily was my sister. I went up to campus with her Saturday morning, and stayed with her throughout the whole audition process. When she was practicing before her playing audition, I was sitting outside the room doing some homework, and this student (he looked like a BYU student) walked by, glanced in the direction of Emily's practice room, and smiled at me. He made a second go-around a few minutes later, and this time he went up to the door of the practice room, looking in the small window at Emily playing her virtuoso pieces. I put my head around the corner, and proudly tell him, "That's my sister! I think she's amazing!" I'm SO proud of her!

This is us in the warehouse of the dinosaur museum (courtesy of Katelyn's geology-major brother)--you can't really see the bones too well in the background

me, Emily, and Katelyn at Pizzeria 12/7 Saturday night

Emily came into Provo late Friday morning, and so we got to hang out all Friday afternoon, all Saturday, and Sunday morning, and I had such a fun time. Especially being away from my family for the majority of the year, realizing really how much I love them, it was such a blessing to be with Emily this weekend, and to be with her and support her for her piano audition. I was afraid that her coming out would derail me in my attempts to conquer my homesickness, but was surprised when I felt more strengthened by her visit than sad about her leaving. The bond of sisters is a great one, and one for which I am eternally grateful. We took multiple self portraits, and just had a fun time being best friends.


God Be With You Till We Meet Again

So, I'm following in the vein of so many other blog posts today, and I feel the need to express my own thoughts and feelings about this. Our beloved prophet of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley, passed away last night, and when I found out, my emotions were a mix of shock (even though he was 97--go figure), sadness, and excitement for him. His life's work is finally finished! He is finally reunited with his wife! This is such a significant event for me, because President Hinckley is the prophet of my youth, the man who was prophet when I realized my own testimony, when I ascertained for myself the reality of God, the Atonement, and living prophets on the earth today. I remember having President Benson and President Hunter as prophets; I remember their deaths, but when I was only 6 and 7, their deaths didn't really mean anything to me. I feel such a special connection with President Hinckley (as I'm sure the rest of the world does) and I feel such a deep and personal love for him. I always felt that if I ever met him face to face that he would know my name and know me, even though I know he wouldn't. I felt such a personal love from him, like he loved me as Charlotte, and not just as a member of the Church. Last night I wrote in my journal all my initial thoughts and feelings, and I want to write that here:

I really want to write in my journal tonight because today is a significant day. President Hinckley died this evening and I have so many emotions coursing through my mind. It's bittersweet, really; I'm sad that he's no longer with us, but moreso I'm so that his life's mission is fulfilled and that he's reunited with his wife. I am so grateful that I was blessed to live during his administration as prophet. I am rendered almost speechless when I realize what an amazing man he was and still is.

I love him in such a personal way--I am just so incredibly grateful for him and that I could live on this earth at such an amazing time.

The best part about this is that my testimony doesn't change or weaken because of a change in leadership. The Church is always true and my testimony is not based on who the prophet is, but on the Gospel itself, on Christ and His Atonement. It's so amazing to live at this time; I feel so blessed. I feel so blessed to have the testimony I have. I feel so united in the Church; millions of saints all over the world will be mourning and rejoicing together--the Gospel is so unifying.

I know this Gospel s true, that the Church is true, that Christ is our Savior. I've always known it and will always know it. This is true, this is real, this is eternal.

Today at school, many people decided to wear white in honor of President Hinckley, and many people were also dressed up to show respect. The flag was at half mast, and everything has been a bit subdued today on campus. There is an Italian class next door to my grammar class and they sung "We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet" this morning, which succeeded in bringing tears to the eyes. In Living Prophets, it was really cool, because the chapter that we read for today, and the subject that we just started studying, is the doctrine regarding succession of the Presidency, and so that was just really neat to be able to study that and know that even though the leadership in the Church may change, the truthfulness of the Gospel doesn't, and that's what's important. With the death of President Hinckley, I'm glad to re-realize that my testimony is not based on who is leading or who is in charge, but rather on the truth, on Christ.

For some reason, today I've listened to the BYU choir's recording of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" a few times, and I feel it quite appropriate to represent President Hinckley's life. The ending lines state Here's my heart, now take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above, and that is exactly how I know Gordon B. Hinckley lived his life. He gave his life, his heart, his entire person to the Lord, gave his heart to Heavenly Father so it could be sealed in the heavenly courts. I love President Hinckley so much and will greatly miss him. Now, I pray not only for the Hinckley family, but for President Monson as he takes up this mantle. The Church is true, regardless of who is leading, and the system is perfect. I love it so much.

There's an excellent slide show of pictures of President Hinckley regarding his relationship to BYU on the BYU website if you want to check it out. It has him talking and it made tears come to my eyes (yeah, so much for no-crying-since-Thursday) to hear him speak again.

Well, dear President Hinckley, God be with you till we meet again.



So, here's an update on the homesick situation. Things are way better. The weekend was a good turning point, and I haven't cried since Thursday. One of the things I decided to do--and while it sounds dorky, it's true--was to not listen to Harry Potter all the time. It's definitely an indulgence thing, but I thought I'd had enough indulgence and so I've been mixing HP listening with upbeat, boosting music. It's been working. I've been keeping myself busy and productive, and I am so thankful for Katelyn who has been so helpful and supportive while I've been ridiculously emotionally unbalanced. So, yeah. Things are good. I'm feeling good about school and church and life. I really want to enjoy this semester, not just endure it, so that's what I decided to do. At the beginning of the week, I told myself, "Charlotte, get over it. Suck it up and enjoy your life." It didn't have immediate effect, but it's slowly been working its way through my system.

I've been listening to my Pretty Much You Rock My Socks mix, the High School Musical 2 soundtrack, and John Mayer. It's been good. So, onto another subject, school is going well this semester; I already have midterms next week, so that's no fun, but at least January is almost over. I'll have to do a celebratory post about the end of January when it comes. Well, off to write more articles and do some homework, and then par-tay away the rest of the weekend!


I wish I could steal from the BYU library

So this is a book from the BYU library and it's pretty dang cool. For an assignment in my grammar class, we got into groups and had to analyze the philosophies driving two different grammar books, and this was the one I checked out. It was published in 1913 and has the original binding, the original pages, and it smells super, super good. (For those of you who love the smell of books, you can only imagine the magical, musty book smell of this one).

Unfortunately it's due three weeks from last Tuesday, but I would keep it if I could, because it's just so awesome. They have books even older than that in the HBLL and it's just cool for us bibliophiles. Wouldn't this book be undeniably awesome on a mantle or something??


i don't even know how to explain this one . . .

This is my Bear wearing the hat that Sarah knitted me on a loom for Christmas. I've been sleeping with them this way for the past week. I combine them for optimal crying comfort. Ha.

hanging on

I don't know why, but going back to school this winter has been unbelievingly hard for me this year. I've been monstrously homesick ever since I got back and it has not been easy. Dad called me the other day and basically as soon as I answered, the tears started streaming and the pathetic sounding "I miss you," squeaked out into the phone. I've been just hanging by a thread since school started and I try and keep things under control, but then usually at night, I just let it all go. Yesterday I was actually doing okay--I shed a few momentary tears when I got back from work, but overall, I felt I was making progress toward emotional functionality; then I got an email from my brother, the subject line reading: 'I hope this doesn't make you cry as it is for me.' And the waterworks . . . I was way excited to get an email and so not surprised that it made me cry. Good grief. It's a weird emotion actually--I hate feeling so homesick and lonely, but at the same time, it feels good to cry sometimes. I am hoping however, that things will improve this week.

Something I was thinking about last night actually that really helped me feel better, was that I know my family is praying for me and that (thankfully) prayer works. Miles don't matter when it comes to prayer effectiveness. Even my 14-year-old brother is remembering me in his prayers (which naturally merited another wave of tears) and it's amazing to feel that strengthening power. So, here's to the beginning-ish of a new week and hopefully one that is less teary.



So, Michelle and others chose a word for 2007 and I chose a word for myself last year, but didn't ever do a post about it. Last year, my word was 'happiness.' I wanted to be able to be happy wherever I am regardless of what else is going on. I fully believe that happiness is something you can be regardless of whatever is going on. Sometimes it's harder, but it is possible, so that was my goal last year. Overall, I think I succeeded. Sometimes I had to check myself and make sure I was on the right track for choosing happiness, but I think I made good strides toward choosing to be happy wherever I am.

So now for my 2008 word.


I thought of this last month during my religion class after reading Dallin H. Oaks's talk "The Challenge to Become." (check it out). Elder Oaks says that "the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become." I think I always knew this, but cementing the truth that the Gospel is one of not necessarily doing, but becoming, really helped me realize better what this Gospel truly is. Heavenly Father knows ultimately who we are and he sees all the potential in us we may not recognize in ourselves. The Gospel and the Atonement are here to help us become who we're meant to be. When we're living the Gospel and God's commandments, we are individual and unique, we're more who we really are, if that makes any sense.

So, when we live as God would have us live, He helps us become who we're meant to be, and who he wants us to be. That's my focus this year. I want to become more who God wants me to be and I want to fulfill my potential as much I as can right now at this point in my life. Sometimes that's hard, but I know it's possible. I know that He can change my heart and that with the help of the Atonement, I really can become whom I was always meant to be.



So, when I quit life and went home for break, I basically quit many things, including blogging. But, I'm back and kind of ready to jump back in the saddle. My frustration expressed in the last post subsided and I made it through finals relatively unscathed. Break was so good--I needed it bad. I spent most of my time with my family and watched movies, slept in, watched "Monk" marathons, scrapbooked, and relished every moment I had with my family. Sunday was a hard day when I left. I was pretty teary, as were Mom and Emily. I made it back to Provo however (thanks to Michelle! My flight was delayed, so I was going to just ride back with Katelyn, but then Katelyn's flight was delayed, and thankfully Michelle could come last minute--thanks :) )

Yesterday was alright--classes went well and work was pretty normal. (Well, as normal as the Physics Dept can be). I was a little blue last night when I knew the family was eating homemade pizza and celebrating John's 14th birthday, but I sure am glad I have Katelyn and good roommates. I woke up today feeling a little down, but said a prayer to feel better and so far today I've been doing okay. I don't know why it's so hard for me to come back this time, but it is. It does make me feel better though that everyone else is getting back to real life too.

Tonight, Katelyn and I are going to see "Dan in Real Life" at the dollar theater so that should be fun, and this weekend we're going to see "27 Dresses." I'm slowly making my way back into real life, but it's a bit difficult. Break just was too short. That's why I listen to Harry Potter on my iPod, watch Gilmore Girls, and see movies--the escape into alternate realities help me merge back into my own.
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