Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick vacation plans, anyone?

My family’s selling a couple weeks of a timeshare for next month at some great prices. They’re such nice resorts, we don’t want them to go to waste! Let me know if you or anyone you know is interested!

Royal Caribbean Resort in Cancun, Mexico—June 12 to 19, only $75/night
Marriot in Branson, Missouri—June 18 to 25, only $60/night
I want a vacation.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Do you know any kid heroes?

I work at a Provo-based, children’s educational company called Imagine Learning, and we’re on the lookout for local heroes—specifically kids.

We would like to create two original books to be included in our online book series, read by children across the world, that are focused on heroic kids between the ages of 8 to 14. We’re looking for young people who have done something courageous, shown compassion, or overcome difficulties or disabilities. Each book would include the young person’s real identity, real name, family pictures, and quotes. We would want non-exclusive rights to publish the child’s story as written by our in-house writers.

We know Utah is full of young heroes, and we just need to get the word out. If you know someone who qualifies as a young hero and who might be interested in having his or her story inspire other children, let me know or email us at as soon as possible.

Spread the word!!

To learn more about Imagine Learning, click here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why small city living isn't so bad

I have a tendency to lock myself out. To quote a never published blog post from this past summer (when Ryan and I lived in Houston and I worked from home):

"I've only been here a few weeks, and already I've locked myself out three times. And I don't even go anywhere. I work from home. I eat at home. I sleep at home. And I lock myself out at home."

It's that bad.

Just a couple weeks ago, I was bringing dinner to a family with a newborn across the street. I was a little late, so--this being the first dinner I'd ever brought to a neighbor and expecting that the entire family would be waiting around the table, utensils clenched in fists--I decided to drive there instead of walk it over. First mistake.

I arrived at the house and, since I was in a hurry, decided to leave the keys in the ignition to save myself some time. Cause you know, I could use all that time I saved to patch a quilt or something else really important that takes 2 seconds. Second mistake.

I grabbed the food, reached for the door, and shut it behind me. I started walking up the steps. Then I stopped, feeling uneasy but not entirely sure why. In my mind I replayed the last few steps in slow motion. Graaaab theeee fooood... reeeeach foooor theeee doooor... shuuut theee dooo--no wait. What was that? Rewind. Now slower. And there it was. One flip of my force-of-habit, door-locking finger, and I was locked out.

But no big deal, right? Call Ryan, he'll drive back from campus with his spare, and all will be well. Unfortunately a.) my cell phone was also locked inside, b.) Ryan would now be stranded on campus since I had just locked the key into our only functioning car, and c.) I had just locked our ONLY key into our only functioning car.

I went ahead and delivered the meal, deciding not to bother them with my dilemma because I hardly knew them and--hello!--I was supposed to be the one doing the serving at the moment. That was when my luck started to turn around.

I walked home (only one block!), used my neighbor's phone (she was home!), and called the police (they had nothing better to do!). Within five minutes, an officer cruised up next to my car, pulled a MacGyver with a balloon and wire, and I had my key back. This never would have happened in a big city--just imagine what a flop that NYPD Blue episode would have been...

So thank you, city of Orem. You may not have that Big Apple excitement, but you sure do keep me out of trouble.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy graduation!

Yes, that's right. He's done it. And after one more term of classes, Ryan will officially finish his undergrad. Lest you feel sorry for him and his anticlimactic finish, let me give you a run down of this classes for the term:
  1. Fly Fishing: 60+ people signed up for this class of 15, but Ryan made the cut. After a couple classes, he now describes fly fishing as a martial art. He's always loved it (back when we were dating he caught fish for us to grill for dinner on a regular basis--even if that meant fishing until well after the sun went down to catch our meal), and now he's got all the latest gear to help him in his endeavor.
  2. Golf: I once won a chipping contest (as well as the best golf attire award) on a group date years ago. And now Ryan's an award-winning golfer too: He won his class's chipping contest after getting a hole-in-one from 60 yards back. Make me proud.
  3. Scuba Diving: He's not actually taking this one at BYU, but rather from a local scuba shop down south--the same one I certified at. He's trying to get ready for our big Tingey family Hawaii trip this summer.
  4. History of Christianity: A fascinating class, starting with the very beginnings of Christianity, including the First Council of Nicea, and ending with the restored gospel. His professor grew up Orthodox Catholic and is so full of passion that he spends the class jumping off the walls and on top of the piano (true story).
  5. Electrical Systems: Can you guess which class was required by his major? By the end of the class, they're supposed to know how to wire a home. Ok, so it's not super fun or adventurous, but still. Pretty cool.

Anyway, back to graduation. Ryan was the last one to sit down on this side of the Marriott Center. The graduation committee miscalculated how many seats to save, so the rest of the graduates had to sit where we were, behind the speakers. (But what a great view of those hoods!) Ryan was also the first one to lead the graduates out of the Marriott Center, and the first of his graduating class to ring the victory bell.

Congratulations, Ryan! We're so proud.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Midnight thoughts on a book I love

This past weekend, we drove up to Idaho for Mother's Day, and after church I was greeted with a special request: the Sunday school teacher's daughter was teaching a Hungarian woman in Italy about the gospel but was having a hard time communicating with her because of the language barrier. I was asked to write my testimony in Hungarian and send it her way.

So tonight, I sat down at the computer to type up my feelings on Christ, the plan of salvation, eternal families, and other wonderful things that have brought me hope and taught me to love. I struggled a bit to remember that language that came to me so easily five years ago, and finally decided to reach over to our bookcase and pull down my Hungarian Book of Mormon from the shelf.

The cover is worn completely away, and the pages are soft with well used edges. That book was my constant companion during my year and a half in Hungary. Its pages still carry the marks of my mission--there was the occasional smashed bug,* language notes made in my earlier months, highlighted scriptures, and spiritual commentary on verses that spoke to my soul.

I loved that book. I once tripped and fell in the rain, and, rather than use my hands to catch myself before hitting the unforgiving cobblestone street, I held my hands high in the air to protect this book from hitting a puddle. (And today I have a rather unattractive scar on my knee to prove it.)

As I opened it again tonight, for the first time in quite some time, my heart was flooded with a feeling of familiarity. Of love. Of power and strength. I flipped through it, remembering how many of my prayers had been answered within its pages. I felt incredibly grateful. I know that it is another testimony of Christ. It is a second witness to the Bible that He is our Savior. I know that prophets taught of Christ hundreds of years before his birth and made records of their people. And the testimonies they wrote have strengthened my own.

With these things on my mind, I typed up my testimony in Hungarian, sent the email, and crawled into bed next to my sleepy husband. "I know it's true," I whispered to him. And what my words can't always explain, my heart confirmed.

*The summer always brought hoards of extremely fragile, microscopic bugs. All you had to do was walk into one--slowly even--and you'd find it smashed against you. So they inevitably made their burial grounds on my clothes, in my hair, on my face, and--when I shared a scripture outside--inside my Book of Mormon.

For your own free copy of this special book, or to read the text online, click here.