Sunday, December 25, 2011

Celebrating the living Christ

Last year Burke and I decided that we would memorize "The Living Christ." It seemed like a monumental task, but we broke it up and memorized a paragraph a week. Unfortunately, around the time we were packing for our move to Virginia, getting ready for Christmas, and finishing up our jobs, we fizzled out on our memorization. This year we decided to pick it back up, and last night we shared it with Burke's family. 

Reciting it may have been the culmination, but we have been immensely blessed through the many months during which we have worked on memorizing. These words have come alive for us as we have grown to better understand who our Savior Jesus Christ is and our relationships with Him. Often, when I am trying to turn my heart and thoughts to Him, it is these words that come to my mind, and His Spirit fills my heart. 

Today on Christmas Day I add my testimony to that of His Apostles. I know He lives and that He is the Redeemer of the world. I know that through Him is all hope and all joy. "God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."


Flourish image for decoration 
As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His "other sheep" (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised "dispensation of the fulness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

"I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father" (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—"built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son. 

Image of the signatures of the First PresidencyImage of the signatures of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

January 1, 2000

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Snow in Wisco!

Burke and I are enjoying a wonderful visit with Burke's family in Wisconsin. We decided to come sort of last minute, so nobody told Clark and Bonnie that we were coming. We flew into Milwaukee a 1/2 hour before Clark and Holly so Burke snuck up on Clark at baggage claim. Then we snuck in the front door and sat on the couch to surprise Bonnie. It was so fun to be the surprise!

3 years ago when I came to Wisconsin for the first time there was at least 1 ft of snow on the ground. This year there was none! Everyone was a little sad because a white Christmas is just completely expected around here. There was only a 10% chance of snow yesterday but sure enough, the afternoon brought some snow.

 It's been a nice week getting ready for Christmas and spending time together. We spent Wednesday and Thursday in Minnesota visiting Burke's aunt and her family. Cousin Anna is getting ready for a mission and so we were able to be with her as she went to the temple for the first time. We followed that up with an evening of Christmas songs and games.

Burke was one of the lucky prize-winners. He won some straw glasses!

It was fun to see Burke's cousins and meet little Lucas. He loves his Aunt Sarah! It was so much fun hanging out for a bit in Minnesota.

We've been playing games and basketball, watching sports, movies and funny stuff, and enjoying it all.
Tomorrow's the big day! It's always different being with Burke's family instead of my own, but it's so awesome that someday we'll be blending the traditions of our two families into our own. I've never been one to have or expect a white Christmas, but for Burke's family and many others it makes a difference having some snow on the ground. So if that's part of your Christmas tradition, may all your Christmases be white! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Season!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving. We got to spend it with my dad's side of the extended family in NC. It's been a good while since I'd been around for Thanksgiving, and Burke hadn't yet been to my awesome aunt's awesome  house in Charlotte. We got to see some of my cousins I hadn't seen in a while and meet their babies; count on the little ones to make a holiday gathering extra fun! It was a fantastic day surrounded by many of the blessings we have to be so thankful for.

The next couple of days were lots of fun hanging out with Mom, Dad, and Dillon. The weather was amazingly warm so we took advantage of it and got the Christmas lights up. Earliest ever for Mom and Dad! :) Christmas music came on, and I even got to play a little bit of Christmas music on the piano. What a great way to get in the holiday spirit.

They had a nice little birthday party for me on Saturday before we headed back home to Norfolk, cause yep, it's that day again! It was super sweet. Today my brother asked me if I was feeling old, and I told him not really. Well, actually it depends. But I'm one of the youngest people in my class at school so usually I feel like a young'un. I wonder how long that'll last.

Anyway, here's hoping you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you're ready to bring in the exciting Christmas season!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm grateful for this place.

And this guy.

I'm grateful for what I learn in the House of the Lord. I'm grateful for my covenants. I have much to learn, but I'm grateful that the Lord will teach me if I ask and seek. I'm grateful that Burke and I are going to be together forever. What beautiful promises.

We have holiday plans figured out finally! We're exhausted just thinking about it. We'll be spending most of Thanksgiving weekend in North Carolina. Then we will be going to both Wisconsin and Utah, so please pray for perfect weather over practically the whole country for the whole 2 1/2 weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years. Thanks in advance. 

Happy week of Thanksgiving! I know we have so, so much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I love this stuff.

I thought maybe I should write about it because yesterday was a breakthrough day.

Burke and I were talking after a long day for both of us, and I said, "Today was such a good day! Sometimes my classes are just so good!"

Burke's jaw just about hit the floor. He kind of freaked out. "What? I have NEVER heard you say that before!"

I'm not really sure what makes one day better than the next. Sometimes the lectures are really engaging and the subject matter really fascinating. My reflection on yesterday was something to the effect of, I don't feel like I have a specific interest in ENT or Gastroenterology, but I loved my classes yesterday so much for a reason.

It's because I really do love this stuff. Even though I complain lots, even though I get awfully tired of taking tests, and even though I get super frustrated at some of the poorly written test questions I've seen....I really love this stuff. Burke mostly gets to hear all of the negative things I say, but that's unfortunate. Sometimes while I'm sitting in class I feel really inspired. I feel that my Heavenly Father is near. And yesterday was just one of those days.

I love that more than once a week I can sit down with some of my friends at lunch and have a conversation about ourselves or someone who's close to us as it relates to something we've been learning. I love discussing real life case presentations in the form of "her sister" or "her husband" or "my mom" or myself (all of whom came up this week). And it's not that we're that excited about studying, because usually our lunch conversations are an effort not to study. It's because we are learning some of the most commonly applicable information that there is.

Health is every day. For everyone. Right now I kind of feel like I just know little snippets of information all over the place. Every time I talk to someone about some symptoms or health conditions they have it seems like they know more about it than I do. But it's coming along. Before you know it I'll be your friendly neighborhood PA, diagnosing your illnesses and prescribing you treatment.

I need days like this sometimes to remind myself why we're here, in this stage of life, when every day I think about how easy it would have been not to. This is something that I needed to do, and yeah, it's something that I want to do too. I'm definitely excited to be done, and wishing it would be tomorrow, but it sure does get exciting to learn such amazing things every day. Our bodies are phenomenal. And I feel really blessed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blue Ridge Mountains and the AT

 Burke and I had the great pleasure of spending a little time in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I'd been wanting to go camping for a long time but we just couldn't fit it in. I had Thursday and Friday off school by some miracle, so west we went. After several mishaps and delays and changes of plans we made it to a campground in Lexington, VA. Our campfire was roaring in no time, foil dinners cooking, and tent set up and ready. It rained a little just in time for us to go to bed. We slept pretty well considering the cold November night. It was fantastic. Much needed.

The next day we drove a little section on the Blue Ridge Parkway, parked, and hiked a few miles on the Appalachian Trail. It was a little late for the peak fall leaves, but we didn't care. It was gorgeous anyway.

It was cloudy so when we got to the top of Bluff Mountain it was a pretty dreary view.

Regardless, it felt amazing to be hiking a mountain again. I loved that we were able to do this and I think a fall camping/hiking trip will have to be an annual tradition.

Oh and, we also happened across a unique site...

It's called FoamHenge. I think some crazy man just had too much money. Whatever, it makes for some fun pictures.

It's Merlin. ?? Don't ask me.

We must be getting old

Friday night was the much anticipated Gavin DeGraw concert with my dear cousin Aimee. (Meanwhile, my dad entertained Burke with a basketball game at Wake Forest.) Anyway, love this girl. And loved this show. So fun. I loved that it was at such a small venue that we could be super close. Unfortunately when we picked our seats we didn't notice where the speakers were. As soon as the opening band started playing we looked at each other and simultaneously put our hands to our ears. Aimee said, "Oh dang. We're right by the speakers. And we must be getting old." The first two bands, Carolina Liar and David Cook, were really guitar heavy. It was still great but I was starting to worry about my hearing. Like she said, old. I didn't seem to notice my ears by the time Gavin came on, but I think it helped that he only had 2 guitars instead of 4. I tried to take a few pictures for proof but they all mostly turned out blurry. It's just because he's such a dynamic performer!

We had entirely too much trouble getting a decent picture. Even so I hope you can appreciate the amazing cuteness of Aimee's haircut... which haircut I've decided is to be my next haircut.

Aimee and Gavin just helped me kick off a fantastic weekend at home, busy with basketball, movies, playing the wii, church, and delicious Mom-made Sunday dinner. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Neither Burke nor I are very big into Halloween. I think dressing up is fun but I'm really not great with ideas. So usually it doesn't happen. And we both pretty well hate all things scary. But one thing we do love about this holiday is pumpkins! Picking them, carving them, lighting them, and especially eating them......!!!

Last weekend we went to the handy-dandy pumpkin patch. It was an hour away. I'm sure there are closer ones but it had a corn maze too and we got groupons with some friends from school. And it was just so much fun! Can I tell you, I go to school with some lovely people that I just adore.

To be honest, the corn maze was a little bit lame, but it's alright. Like I said, I'm not a fan of the scary kind.

We carved our pumpkins the other night and I was wiped out so I was just anxious to get them done and go to bed. But it was fun and I still think they turned out nice! 

As for eating pumpkins, that's probably another story. A really yummy story.

Oh and, I bought a ton of candy yesterday. But, last night we had to leave the church Halloween party before the trunk-or-treat! And seeing as how we don't really live in the most trick-or-treating friendly neighborhood, I'm getting a little worried about where all of that candy is going to go. All I have to say is that if any neighborhood kids do knock on our door, they'll be hitting the mother-load. 

Happy Halloweekend!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Good things to come

Last weekend I was with the sister missionaries at a lesson and we watched this video. Today I taught a lesson at church about hope. They kind of go hand in hand.

As I prepared my lesson I realized something. Hope is just like every other gift of the spirit. Many of us are not perfect at it all the time. Sometimes we may struggle to feel hope, just as sometimes we lack in faith. Yet, just like the other gifts of the spirit, we really must seek to develop it. Without it, we truly "cannot be saved in the kingdom of God," (Moroni 10:21).

If we are down and despairing, we can develop hope by exercising faith, learning more about Jesus Christ, and trying to develop Christ-like love for others. Hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ can bring light to our life that will help us face all our trying times.

"Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. And some don't come til heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust God, and believe in good things to come." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Navy town

Burke and I live near the largest navy base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk. It makes for an interesting dynamic in this town. Last weekend the base hosted "Fleet Fest," a festival on base with ship tours and a car show and live entertainment. We caught the tail end of it and were able to tour the USS Eisenhower, a big aircraft carrier.

Those things are seriously massive.

This is me on the elevator. They move the airplanes out onto the elevator and then it takes them up to the top deck.

It was pretty neat for Burke and I to be able to just drive on base for the festival. It's usually a little more complicated than that. Some friends of ours from church live on base and they invited us over for dinner one time. We pulled up at the gate, Burke handed them his ID, and we had to pull around and wait for our friends to drive up to the gate and escort us to their house. I visit teach this same lady, and it's a bit of a challenge because if I were to go by myself it would be terribly inconvenient for her to load up her 3 kids and come to the gate to get me.

When Burke was gone to Wisconsin for a whole week and I was utterly lonely, I could most certainly not complain to anyone. More than half of the people at church are navy families, and they say goodbye to their husbands/fathers for deployments that are usually no less than 6 months. Besides that they often have other things that take them away for a week or 2 at a time. It's a different world, that's for sure. Recently some ladies at church were talking about when they gave birth while their husbands were deployed. One lady said, "You're not a navy wife until you give birth without your husband there!"

It's super enlightening to see what these servicemen and women and their families go through. It has really helped me appreciate more the sacrifices of those in the military. It's a whole different lifestyle, and it's not easy.

Every once in a while Burke talks about joining the navy. My new response is, "Don't do it! I don't want to have a baby without you!"

Thanks to you all for the sacrifices you make.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


On Sunday I was informed by my dear friend Sarah that if her friends don't update their blogs at least weekly she is sure they are keeping secrets from her. So, for Sarah, here are the secrets I have been keeping the last few weeks.

-I am no longer in nursery at church. I am the new 4th Sunday Relief Society teacher. This is going to be interesting! Oh but on Sunday during conference I learned a lot of great tips for teaching. Good thing. I don't even know what to do with that talk I'm supposed to teach a lesson on.

-Burke has been promoted! They added the word "advanced" to his title and gave him a raise. How about that?!? It doesn't sound like much, but I am so excited for him... he did that within a year even while working from Virginia! They sure like him.

-When the weather cools down I'm more motivated to run. I had the best-feeling run ever today.

-Burke and I went home to NC last weekend. It was awesome. On Saturday morning my parents babysat some kids (it was their donation to a service auction) so we got to join them at the zoo! It was super fun. And even though my parents used to wrestle 6 children, I think they were sure grateful to have a little help with those 3. I got some great pictures, but I will refrain from posting them since they are of someone else's children. 

-I absolutely love the place I grew up and the people there. It is even more perfect in the fall. I haven't been home in the fall in quite some time. Burke and I climbed the chestnut tree that is the best climbing tree in my parent's huge yard. It's a great feeling... you should try it. We decided maybe we'd try to climb a tree every week.

-Yesterday we went to the park and played tennis. And climbed a tree.

-I am learning to suture. It's really fun, but I don't know how I'll feel about it when it's on a real person. So far I've just practiced on pig's feet. Yep. Delicious.

-Burke and I are looking for a new apartment/house. I made a pros/cons list about this apartment and seeing as how the cons list is like 6X longer than the pros list, the beach factor has been outweighed. However, we have so many factors to consider in a new place that we can't decide what the top priorities are! Plus we are having a very hard time finding time to look. But it's in the works, anyway.

And in other news, we are happy. How could we not be? Did you hear that fantastic general conference? I'm excited for October. I loooove this time of year.

Secrets out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Comfort zone

Tuesday evening I came home to my empty apartment (after a crazy embarrassing time at my first kickboxing class) with a bruised and swollen arm and my first parking ticket. And I got to thinking, "Man oh man is it hard to be outside of my comfort zone." 

Most recently my comfort zone has included things like: driving the same way to school and home every day; parking in the same wide spots in the parking garage; attending lectures for 4-6 hours a day; studying the same way for every test; going home, making dinner, and eating with my love; doing yoga in my living room and jogging for exercise.

Things that are outside of my comfort zone are things like: having to drive a different route or to somewhere I've never been; parallel parking; sticking a needle into someone for a grade; getting needles stuck into me for someone else's grade; not being able to successfully study the same way for a test; trying new ways to exercise that I have never done before (and/or that I'm horribly bad at); and being home alone every night this week. 

Sometimes I would much rather just stick to what's comfortable.

I have to keep reminding myself of how amazingly good for me getting outside of my zone really is.

The whole grad school thing really doesn't give me much room to get comfortable. It's a continuous challenge. There have been many-a-day when I look up from studying and say "Why am I doing this to myself? School is HARD!" But whatever. Now phlebotomy, on the other hand, was an extra challenge! (I got it first try for the test, by the way! However, my friend, who drew my blood, had a little bit of a harder time..... resulting in that bruised and swollen arm I mentioned.) 

I've been trying to get exercise other ways too. Trouble is, I'm no good at any of it. Swimming, racquetball, cycling, Pilates, kickboxing, etc... but I've decided to keep doing them anyway because it's so rewarding to see improvement every time I try! (That's easy to do when you've got such a long way to go!) And I do think that all of those things are fun, too. Just... embarrassing.

And the parking ticket... I suppose I should know the parking laws in the state/city I live in, but the only other place I've really parallel parked was Provo, and in Norfolk there are no red painted curbs to tell you where you can't park. Trust me, I looked for it. I saw that blasted fire hydrant. I just didn't know you had to be a whole 15 feet away. The whole situation might not have happened, though, if I was comfortable with my parallel parking skills ('cause actually, I have none). I would have parked long before I even got to that "spot" that put me within 15 ft of the fire hydrant. So what I'm saying is, it's time for some dreaded parallel parking practice. Practice practice practice.

But as for the home alone thing? I could really do without that one and be juuuuust fiiiiine. No more business trips for a while, hon, okay?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Labor, learning, and love

I don't know why Labor Day has to come at the beginning of September. Why not at the end, when I'll have a full month of this new semester under my belt, instead of just a week? As it is there are no more days off until Thanksgiving. Now, that was poor planning on the part of the holiday-deciders.

Anyway, to celebrate labor (?) we spend part of the long weekend at Lake Kerr with Mom, Dad, Beth, Dillon, and Dill's pal Josh. I really loved getting out on the lake in a canoe; it's just so fun and brings back so many memories. While the boys played basketball us adventurous girls went on an eventful bike ride.

Looks harmless enough, right? Blah--that stupid trail was covered in knee-high weeds and big tree branches and I'm quite sure nobody had been on it in at least a year. See?

That was one excited me.
Not to mention the swarms of mosquitoes and that it was a one-way trail, NOT a round trip like it said. But, all in all, a happy memory to look back on.
We're so happy:

Then on Labor Day we enjoyed another free-to-us sporting event: the Tides baseball game! I've never been the biggest baseball fan but I think these minor league games are so fun! It was an exciting, high-scoring game with like 5 home runs. That's what I'm talking about.

Then it was back to school for me. It was fun-filled week of endocrinology (love it!), surgical dressing practice, and phlebotomy! Our education in venipuncture consists of 1 one-hour lecture, a 40-minute practical session with a little practice on dummy arms, and then a 1-hour practice session on each other! Friday was an exciting day to be sure. I actually had a couple of unsuccessful attempts and a couple of successful attempts, so I wasn't feeling super confident. (I mean, compare this to the training phlebotomists get...). So, all in the name of learning, I brought home some stuff 

and practiced on the only willing subject I could find on a Friday night. 

(He was willing, I promise!) Ok so I don't have a perfect record, but would you? 

 Thumbs up=I did successfully (eventually) draw his blood. And he got brownies in return.

This guy loves me.