Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hoppy Easter!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Insider Tips for BYU Women's Conference

I posted this last year, but with Women's Conference just over a week away, I thought some of you might need to read it again.

It is one of my favorite times of the year-Women's Conference at BYU. I have attended faithfully for the past five years. Over the years I have gained a wealth of information on how to make those two days really count.  And I will now share this treasure trove with all of you.   This is a must read for anyone attending for the first time.

DON'T be late to the Thursday morning opening meeting. Every year Mary Ellen Edmunds and Sandra Rodgers put together the most hee-hee-larious videos on the etiquette rules of the conference. It is definitely MUST SEE TV. And as far as I know, you have to be there to see it. It doesn't seem to be rebroadcast anywhere.

DO take the time to get some spiced roasted almonds. They are to die for and taste as good as they smell. Don't pass by thinking you'll get some next time, for they may be gone. Trust me, you won't be sorry.

DO go and listen to classes at the conference center. It is just behind the Marriot Center to the east. They have service station rooms set up where you can work while you listen. It is very fun to edge a baby quilt or color ABC kits. Plus it is not that far to walk.

DO bring lots of spending money. As much as Women's Conference is about soaking up the spirit and eating lots of yummy food, it is about the shopping. Be prepared to shop til you drop with all of the "deals" every where you turn. Check out the tent just outside of the Marriot Center if you don't want to go all the way to the bookstore. From books, music, artwork, to tote bags, good deals are everywhere.

DO plan on standing in lots of lines. You could use this time to read one of the books you just bought, or better yet make a new friend with the person standing next to you. It will help the time pass and nothing says bonding like waiting to empty your bladder with 30 other women.

DON'T forget your camera. This is a prime time for stalking and you want photographic evidence. I like to think of it as Disneyland and the General Authorities as the princesses. Someday I hope to have pictures of all of them.

Don't be afraid to go up and get your picture with any of the teachers. Over the years, I have had my picture taken with Julie Beck, Elaine Dalton, John Bytheway, and Susan Tanner. Besides that I have snapped pictures of Boyd K Packer, Jeffery R Holland, Thomas S Monson, and all of the general auxiliary presidencies.

Try it, it is super dee duper fun. *Portal Q is the best place to sit for stalking opportunities. This is right next to the opening where the leaders enter and leave. It is prime real estate for photo ops.

DO wear your most comfortable shoes. This is not time for making a fashion statement. You will be walking and standing a lot. Don't be foolish, choose comfort over style.

DON'T plan on getting any rest. If you are exhausted and are hoping this vacation will restore your sleep debt the size of the deficit, well you will be sorely disappointed. You can sleep anytime, this is the time for visiting with friends and family and soaking in the whole experience. Thursday activities will go from 9 am to 11 pm. And then Friday will start back up before you know it. Try to come as rested as you can.

DO be prepared for a spiritual feast the likes you don't get every day. Wear your spiritual eating pants, if you know what I mean. Any physical exhaustion you will experience will be somewhat compensated by the spiritual rejuvenation you will feel.

DO eat as many mint brownies as possible. They are manna from Heaven and remember calories don't count at Women's Conference. It is part of the magic.  Not to mention the spiced Almonds.  Equally delightful.

So there you have it, my insider tips. Now go and enjoy the benefits of my experiences.

Your welcome.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Lewis's

We all know how much I love to stalk people.  Usually of the General Authority or BYU football flavor.  As stated in my last post, my recent trip to a BYU basketball game left me empty handed in the photo op department.  But this weekend was something of a cornucopia of opportunities, if you will. 

It has been so long since I have had a successful stalking situation, but stalking skills must be like riding a bike, because it all came right back to me, so not to worry.  I know you were all worried, right?

The young men and young women in our stake had a youth conference this weekend and the key note speaker was none other than Chad Lewis.  You know the BYU footbal star from 1993-1996, who later played in the NFL, culminating in an appearance in the Super Bowl in 2005 with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Yes, that Chad Lewis.

There was an hour long break between dinner and the fireside and it was amazing to be able to rub shoulders with Chad and his wife Michelle.  Of course I wormed my way right into the circle of people standing around visiting.  Here is the picture I got with them.  In one of the more disappointing moments of my life, the batteries in my camera died.  Woe is me.  So we have to be content with this picture taken on my phone.  Thank goodness I have a 4 megipixel camera on my phone, because this picture is not half bad as far as cell phone pictures go.  Can you get a sense of just how tall these people are?  Can you say giants?

These two went on the give one of the most amazing firesides I have ever attended.  They both talked about how important it is to never give up and how no matter what struggles we face, they can be over come with the help of the gospel in our lives.  They gave an amazing testimony and there was a powerful spirit present.

Of course I showed Chad the published proof of my crazy love for all things BYU football.  He admitted that there could be no denying my BYU Super Fan status.  How cool is that?  Chad Lewis said I was a Super Fan.  I may never wash my ears again.   It was a wonderful evening to say the least. 

And then today I went and heard Jeff Lewis speak at an event at the World Market Center, where I work.  If you have never heard of him, he has a reality TV show on BRAVO called Flipping Out.  It is about his business in California where he buys and flips houses.  In the recent bad economy he has turned more to designing homes.  He gave a talk about his background and about his show.  It was very interesting especially in stark comparison to the fireside the night before.  He talked about how the most important thing in his life is making money.  He too had faced some obstacles but unlike Chad, he did not have the peace that the gospel brings.  When the economy went bad, he lost a lot of money, and he was not prepared for that to happen.  And thus he faced a lot of stress.  On the other hand when Chad had disappointments he was OK because no matter what unexpected events happened to him, nothing could touch his testimony.  I don't remember the last time I have seen such stark contrasting examples of the the World's way the Lord's way.  Not hard to see which way brings the most peace and happiness.

First Jeff was interviewed, and then his assistant Jenny came up on stage and answered some questions.  And then after the presentation they let anyone who was interested stand in line and get a picture.   I admit  to being a bit star struck.  It is the first time I have ever met in real life some one I have watched on TV.  It was a bit crazy and surreal.  So here I am with Jeff and Jenny.  What the what.  And this time I made sure I had batteries.  Sheesh.

I have to say that they were very nice and accommodating.  And then after the pictures, Global Views, the company I used to work directly for and still work indirectly with, had a little luncheon.  During that luncheon, Jeff and Jenny came in and actually just hung out for a while.  Of course the whole time they were filming for their upcoming season.  The producers had everyone sign releases so that they could be on the show.  The season will air sometime this summer and it will be crazy to watch and know that I was there when it was filmed.  At one point during the meet and greet, I stood in a circle with Jenny and a few other people and we just chilled and chatted away.  It was beyond insane.  And she was so funny and told us about other Bravolebrities.  It blew my mind to talk with other people who share my same ridiculous obsession with reality TV shows on Bravo. 

And thus another chapter in my  "Stalking for Dummies" book comes to a close.

I think my  title as "Stalking Champion Extraordinaire"  is safe for a while longer. 

Which is good because I have become attached to the crown and sash that go with the title.

And doesn't it seem too random that both of my stalking victims this weekend would have the last name Lewis? 

What does that mean? 

And in a week and a half, Women's Conference.  Bwahahaha!

I think this was a good warm up staking exercise.

That was my super stalking weekend.  How was yours?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Me and Jimmer

 When the BYU Basketball team came to Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Championship, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go and see them play in person.

It was very fun walking into the Thomas and Mack amidst all my fellow Cougar fans.  All of us wearing our BYU Blue.  I felt very at home, if you will.
 I had purchased a cheap seat up in the rafters.  But there were a lot of empty seats down near the front, so I figured what was the point of sitting in the nosebleed section.  I got there in time to watch them warming up.  Look Jimmer is in my picture.
 Ok every one stretch it out and get ready to play.
 Even Jimmer needs to stretch.
I have to admit to being slightly disappointed that I didn't get close enough to touch any of the players.  I did see Tom Holmoe but I resisted asking to get my picture taken with him.  Also seen but not molested, BYU President Samuelson.  I had great seats for the first half that were about 3 rows from the front.
People did keep showing up and needing their seats, so I spent the second half up near the top of the bottom section.  Sadly it was not that great of a game, and the team struggled but did eventually win.  I wish that I had bought a ticket to the Friday night game where Jimmer went crazy and scored 50 points.  It would have been fun to be there for that.  But it was also fun to watch it at home on TV.

So now I can say that I saw Jimmer play in person. 
And Friday night Chad Lewis (former BYU football player) is
coming to speak out our youth conference.  And they needed volunteers
to be chaperones.  Don't worry I only knocked over 3 people on my 
way up to the sign up sheet.

So look forward to more stalking pictures. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Imaginary Burden

Usually when I post, it is something that has been on my mind and I want to share.  This post is very unexpected and I did not wake up this morning intending to pour my heart out to the blogosphere.  

But when I read my name mentioned in this post , it kind of opened the floodgates and this post came pouring out.  If you don't know about the story of Camille, the foster daughter I loved and lost, you can read about it here.  

To experience any loss is a horrible thing.  But the thing about the loss of a foster child is that it seems like maybe the whole thing really didn't happen.  There are no funerals.  The child was never yours in any legal way, so if it wasn't legal then what is the big deal?  The whole world goes on and life happens.  The problem is that no one ever tells your heart that it wasn't real.  To most women, the very minute a child is given to them to care for and watch over, well that bond happens instantly.  And it is nothing legal or even logical, it is emotional.  In fact apparently, it a divine gift we are given so we can carry out the mission our Father in Heaven intended for us.   And that is why this loss is hard to explain and acknowledge, and grieve over, I suppose.

And in my case the fact that I moved the day after my loss doesn't help either, because most people in my new life don't know why this horrible event is so horrible.  To them Camille is, well imaginary, because they never knew and loved her the way I did.  It is hard feeling like I am the only one who is sad about this event.  Even my husband does not share my pain because he was gone working for most of the time that we had Camille, and perhaps it is just that men grieve differently then women.  It is not right or wrong, it is just a fact.  

And so I do not suppose that I will ever get over the trauma of having a child I cared for, ripped from my life in an instant.  Most of the time I think I do a pretty good job of pretending that I am OK.  But just every now and then this grief sneaks up on me and over takes me like a Tsunami of pain that I am never quite prepared for.  I have learned how to go on living, but I imagine that just like someone who looses an arm or leg, things are not the same and never will be.

It is strange.  To say the least.  At times I am pretty sure that I am crazy.

As Elder Johnson said in conference, "It should come as no surprise that the trials [we have] can be very personal, almost laser guided to our particular needs or weaknesses and no one is exempt, especially not those striving to do what it right."

Elder Orson F Whitney's counsel was referenced twice in General Conference "No pain that we suffer, no trial we experience is wasted.  It ministers to our education to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and  humility.  All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God...and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we came here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in Heaven."

And so it is not to say that I am not aware that my Father in Heaven loves me.  I do realize this and have a testimony of the Gospel.

Most of the times knowing these things, I suppose does help, but sometimes I wonder if this pain will be the end of me.  In fact  it already has been the end of the happy, carefree me who believed that the world was my pearl and dreams were for the taking. So I not only lost a child, I lost myself.  And I am still trying to find the person I used to be.  Maybe that is just life and growing up, but I still find at times that I wonder where I have gone and who is the shell of a person I find myself watching my life from.

Like I said, it is strange.  And most of the time I try not to think to hard about all of it.

But today the wall I have built around the pain to keep it back, came crashing down.  And maybe that is a good thing every now and then.

So to my good friend Debbie, I say a big thank you for just understanding, acknowledging, and helping me carry my pain. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Top Chef Shout Out

If you don't watch Top Chef this post may bore you.  Sorry, but you have been warned and there will be no hurt feelings if you choose not to read on.

I am a total reality TV junkie.  It is bad, people.  B.A.D.  Need for an intervention bad.  But I am not really ready for the cure so I will just continue on with the sickness.  And one of my most favorite shows has got to be Top Chef.  I love that show.  I don't know what I would do without my BRAVO TV.  It is must see for me, for sure.

And this season of Top Chef was the BEST.  I don't even know how I will ever watch anything again, because nothing will ever be that good.  It was chuck full of drama, emotion, the agony of defeat, and finally with the finale last week, a triumph of spirit and well a win for someone I have been rooting for all along.

I loved every last episode this season, whether there was a Jonas Brother and they were doing the Night at the Museum, or Elmo and Cookie Monster screaming for better cookies.  They really outdid themselves.  I loved it when Carla got to make Chicken Pot Pie for Jimmy Fallon.  I cried when the families were brought in on the Ellis Island episode and they celebrated and learned about their heritages.  I was on the edge of my seat when they cooked head to head at the tennis open.  And I loved watching them compete on the fishing trip challenge.  I felt the urge to hide in the bathroom and spend the night at Target when I watched them running up and down the aisles filling up their carts with cooking equipment.  Who knew you could make a great grilled cheese sandwich with an iron? I was shocked when the kitchen caught fire at the cook for royalty challenge.

Over all I give the season a big two thumbs up, and ten toes also.  Can't wait to watch the reunion show tonight.  Thanks guys for the past few months of entertainment on Wednesday nights.  I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob.  What can I say.

How about you what is your favorite show?