Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great Speech by Elder Oaks!

This was posted on a friend's blog. It's a speech by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, given just this past Tuesday, October 13th, at BYU Idaho. It's on "Religious Freedom," and I definitely recommend reading it.

Very well said!

Monday, September 7, 2009

5K Finished!!!

After two months of training, I ran my 5K on Saturday, and wanted to make sure and write about it while it's still fresh.

I spent an hour or two preparing my MP3 player with a perfect set of about 11 songs to run to. Slower songs in the beginning, to set my pace. Then alternating upbeat and inspiring through the race. Then, crossing the finish line with Andrea Bocelli's "Because We Believe." It was perfect!

I got to run the race with six family members. All three of my brothers, Will, Sam and Joe. My mom. And two sisters-in-law, Shauntell, and Melissa. So, I was well supported. However, we had a strict "no talking while racing" rule between us. We knew that some of us have similar paces, and didn't want to get distracted. So, we promised each other we would not talk. We'd each listen to our own music, and concentrate on our own races.

My goals for the race were few. I originally wanted to finish the 3.11 miles in under 40 minutes. But, my practice 5K took me over 44 minutes, so I threw that one out the window. My only goal for the race was to not walk any of the race. I wanted to jog the entire thing. I didn't care if I placed in my age category. I knew I wouldn't. Having only been a "runner" for two months, I knew I'd be up against people who love this kind of thing and have been running for a lot longer. So, all I wanted to do was finish the race - and not walk at all.

I did well on the race. Tried to ignore my tiredness. Actually didn't notice being tired as much as I thought I would. I had good music, and actually felt exhilerated by the whole atmosphere. My mom and I ended up running basically side by side the entire time, so that was pretty cool. And, as much as I didn't want to compare myself to other runners, I was very relieved to see other runners after passing the half-way point (it was an "out and back" race, so we turned around, and passed people after turning around). I turned to my mom and said "we're not last!!!" Early on, my brother actually told me that there were hundreds of runners behind me. Even knowing he was just wanting to make me feel good since we were in the last group of runners, it helped to visualize that.

As we neared the end of the race, my brother Sam (who finished 5th in the whole race), came and ran next to me. I sprinted as much as I could. I saw Jacob, waiting just before the finish line, waiting to get a picture of me, and I actually got a bit choked up. It was such an emotional moment. Everyone cheering. Running for all I'm worth across the line. I had a friend tell me that if I'm gonna run, I better be careful doing a race, cause I might get addicted to them. I can see why. There's something about running with that many people, all striving for the same goal. All pushing ourselves. And crossing that finish line was amazing. I put my hands up in the air, and almost collapsed after crossing. Such a cool moment.

(I know, I know. It was just a 5K. But for a, a running HATER like me, it was quite an accomplishment). I was proud of myself. I was proud even before finding out that my time was almost 5 whole minutes shorter than my practice run. AND, I made my goal! I ran it in 39:50. Not great when you compare with other people. But it WAS great when you compare me with ME.

I learned a lot. I feel healthier for running these last two months. And, I just might keep it up. Next goal: 10K in the Spring!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Will I ever enjoy this???

Recently I started running. Well, not running exactly. My family calls it "slogging." A slow jog. Very slow, in my case. But, at least it counts. (My friend Julianne would be proud.)

My brother emailed me about two months ago, wondering if I was gonna ever run a 5K. I never have. And several of my siblings have. Two of my brothers have run a marathon - a few years ago. And my mom recently got into race running, and did a 10K this summer. Then, on the 4th of July, three more of my family members joined the running crew, and they all did a 5K together. So, my brother Joe wondered when it'd be my turn.

I'm not a runner. I've never liked running. I've always considered it somewhat of a torturous activity, and usually break into a sweat and severe panting just running up and down the street! So, I never thought I'd run much. But, when someone puts a challenge in front of your face...well, let's just say, I took the bait, and agreed to do a 5K on September 5th, here in Spanish Fork.

So, I gave Joe the job of being my trainer. He tells me how long to run, and checks back with me after every run. I run three times a week (nights, after Lexi goes to bed). I started running just a mile each time. Then, got up to 1.5 miles, and then 2. I don't run long each time. Just one long run a week, and the rest shorter. So, this week I was assigned 1.5 miles Tuesday, 1 mile Thursday, and 2.5 miles tonight. Tonight is my long run. I did 2.5 miles last week also, and it about killed me. But, I did it. No walking. I slogged the whole time. And I can do it again.

Next week I'll do 3 miles for my long run, and then again on RACE day! I'm so proud of myself! but I'm not LOVING it yet. But, I do feel invigorated after my runs. I do feel good about myself, and I'd love to keep it up. But, I wonder if I'll ever get to a point where I actually look forward to running? How long will it take?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Two Loves

Judging from the title, I'm sure you're all thinking I'll be writing about the two loves of my life. My Jacob, and my little Alexia. Well, they ARE the most important loves I have. But, I am going to write about two others.

Clouds. And Painting.

First things first. It's so funny to me when everyone around me is SO ANXIOUS for the rain to stop, and wanting the sun to come out, and the skies to clear up. To me, a beautiful day is one with clouds all over the sky. I look up at a plain blue sky and think BOR-ING!!! And frankly, the sun drains me sometimes. It's an energy zapper. But clouds have the opposite effect. They totally rejuvinate me. I could lay and stare at a sky full of clouds for HOURS. And I'm not talking about when the sky is overcast with just a big blanket of one big cloud. That's cool and all (pun intended), but not my type of clouds. My favorite is when the sky is teeming with clouds - all different shades of blues, grays, yellows, purples, whatever. And all different kinds of clouds - stratus, cirrus, cumulus, and any combination of the three. Sometimes, we'll be driving somewhere, and it'll suddenly hit me that the sky is gorgeous.

If I'm driving when this happens, watch out...I may crash.

But, when I'm not driving, I probably make Jacob go crazy by whipping my head around in every direction and craning my neck to see every single cloud in the sky. A couple of years ago, I started enjoying traffic jams because it'd give me a chance to watch the sky for a long time while driving. Crazy, huh?

In the last week or two, I have been reading the Tennis Shoes Adventure Series, by Chris Heimerdinger. In one of his books, his main charactertalks about his obsession with clouds too. I love the way he describes them. "I'm entranced by clouds. I especially love to watch them after a storm, when the billowing mass begins to break up, coil in on itself, and release the spiked rays of the sun... Few things take my breath away more than clouds. Not a canyon or a mountain or even an ocean can fill human vision with such immensity and power...To me, nothing in nature is more majestic."

I completely agree. He described my feelings perfectly.

Now for my second love. Painting. I love to oil paint. Haven't done much, but I love it. Growing up, I always wanted to be Bob Ross. It's still my dream to be able to paint. I'd love to be outside and just see something that inspired me, and then be able to paint it! Someday, when we have unlimited money, maybe I can pursue it. It's just such an expensive hobby to have.

But, I watch Bob Ross every Sunday afternoon, and I'm keeping all of the episodes on DVD's so I can refer back to them, and learn how to paint things. Bob Ross is so funny. He's such a happy-go-lucky guy. Every tree has to have a friend. There are no mistakes, just "happy accidents." Make it your world, and all that. (All you Bob Ross watchers know exactly what I'm talking about). But, besides his fun attitude, I'd say Bob's trademark is his love affair with big trees and mountains. He's a nature painter. (He's said himself how he can't paint people at all...)

Another painter I LOVE is Thomas Kinkade. I could spend several hours in the Thomas Kinkade store in the University Mall, just looking at every detail on his paintings. They're amazing. Anyone familiar with his work knows that he is the "painter of light." Most people know him that way.

So...merging the two:

Someday I'll have time and money to take classes and practice painting. And someday I'm gonna be FAMOUS...(I know, dream on, right?) I could paint beautiful scenery, and copy some of the things I've learned from Bob Ross. I could learn to paint portraits, jor become the next Liz Lemon Swindle. But it wouldn't be me. I've gotta paint something I'm passionate about. So, I'm going to be the SKY PAINTER. That'll be my very own trademark. I'm gonna paint rain. Sunshine rays through the clouds. Lightening storms. Billowing clouds that cover the entire sky. Rainbows. Breathtaking sunsets. And everything else you see in the sky. Mostly clouds, though.

Now I just have to learn HOW!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm Finished!!!

Caution: In comparison to my last several posts...SERIOUS subject ahead:

Jacob and I had to talk in church last month, and for part of his topic research, Jacob had James E. Talmage's book "Jesus The Christ," out. I have always known that I'd get around to reading that book someday, but didn't know when. I'd always figured it was a little too "grown-up" for me, and that I'd wait a while to read it. But, after we spoke in church, and the book was left out on the arm of the couch, I just really wanted to read it right then! So, I started at the end of last month. And I FINISHED it Monday morning!!! So, I was able to read the almost 800 page book in just under a month. I couldn't put it down! I initially intended to just read a couple of pages a night, and have it be a summer-long endeavor to read it. But, I'd find myself reading during the day whenever I could. While Alexia was napping. While I was feeding her. While I was eating lunch. And any other time I could catch a snipit or two. I was SO asorbed in it. (Hopefully I didn't ignore Alexia too much while reading...) But I must say, I'm pretty proud of myself for a) reading the book in the first place, b) being able to get through it as fast as I did, and c) enjoying it as much as I did.

It was SUCH an amazing book! And I learned a TON from it! I now know why my Jacob can make very intelligent comments in Sunday School. Many of his insights and knowledge expoundings come from that book! He read it while he was on his mission, but somehow he still remembers a lot of the little details from it. So, while I was reading it, I'd stop in the middle of a concept or story, and Jacob and I would have some great conversations about things I had read.

You know when President Hinckley challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in the fall a few years ago? Jacob and I took the challenge back then, and am forever grateful we did. Reading the Book of Mormon faster than I was used to, did a WORLD of good for my understanding of the stories, the sequence of events, what group faught who, and went where, and who taught who, etc. It brought a whole lot more meaning to the rest of the scriptures that we read over and over - the scripture mastery scriptures, the ones we always share for spiritual thoughts in meetings, etc. You know which ones I mean. I've always appreciated those nuggets of wisdom. But, having more background around them, and knowing the stories behind them better, and understanding the book as a whole, made me appreciate them so much more!

Reading "Jesus The Christ" this past month has done the same thing for me and Christ's life! But not only did I get a really good overview of His life, but I know a lot more details about what miracles He performed when, which lessons He taught when, which lessons were parables, and which ones were from His experiences. (Always confusing for me to remember what was a parable and what wasn't). I learned a whole lot of background insights into Jewish history, (bringing up more questions that I want to talk about with my sister, Emily, since she knows more Jewish history than anyone else I know). I learned more about the Apostles, and their personalities. The book had great clarification on a LOT of doctrine. It helped me to see Christ's life in a different light, and I learned so many wonderful things about our Savior!!!

There's an AMAZING spirit in that book, and I highly recommend the book to anyone who needs a good read. Although, after that wonderful brain STRETCH, I'm gonna need a "light and fluffy" book to read next!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh, how wrong I was...

I am SO STINKIN' EXCITED that Kris Allen won American Idol tonight! He so deserved it. My whole theory about how the show was contrived was just a tad off....but it was still fun to speculate. (wait...maybe I WAS right, and the show got wind of my email, and Adam was really gonna be the winner, and they changed it, so it wouldn't look like I'd caught on...)

Nah. I don't have that much power. And thank goodness. If I had that much power, I don't know what I'd do with it! And I'm seriously SO happy for Kris, and his cute wife. I can't wait for his first album!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

Disclaimer #1: Long post ahead...

Disclaimer #2: Take no offense from the following blog. I'm just writing my "wouldn't-this-be-funny-if-it-were-true" thoughts. I don't even believe what I'm writing...

Several weeks ago, someone sent me an email that talked about a theory going around that the American Idol top 4 had already been "fixed" for this season. They'd already fixed Adam, Danny, Alison and Lil' to be the top 4. As much as I don't like to believe that my precious reality shows are in any way manipulated or contrived, I seriously think they COULD BE. You might look at me funny and say, "Becca. Look at who was in the top four! Lil' didn't make it! So, it wasn't fixed." And you're right. In Lil's place, Kris made the top four.

However, here's a theory: Someone gets wind of the show fabricating the results, and they send out an email that gets forwarded, and forwarded, and gossiped about, and blogged about. (The e-mail I mentioned.) Then, the show decides that they can't lose credibility, and they can't lose viewers. So, they decide to manipulate the top four so that the results that were widely emailed about, aren't EXACTLY the same four. Just close. That way, they figure they're in the clear! They didn't plan on me figuring their sordid plan out!!! (Insert evil laugh here...)

So, they start picking on Lil'. We all know she has an AMAZING voice. We've all heard the judges say in seasons past, and even a time or two in this current season "You can sing the phone book.... I don't care what you sing, as long as you sing your face off..." that kind of thing. But, did you notice that with Lil', they kept telling her that she was picking the wrong song. Over and over and over. They'd tell her that she's not being original. So, she'd come back and do something different. Then they wouldn't like it. They kept telling her that she needed to do a certain kind of singer, etc, etc, etc. The fans ended up listening to the judges, and ultimately, she got voted off.

Kris got some good treatment. And don't get me wrong. I LOVE Kris. I think he's adorable. He's a cutie patootie, and I'm so glad he's in the top three. But, the judges totally gave him amazing treatment. Praising everything he did with the guitar. Even when he did the same type of thing two or three weeks in a row, he could do no wrong! I totally think the judges replaced Lil' with him, just so they wouldn't look like they'd fixed the results.

Also, all year long, my mom and I have noticed how Paula seems to be very composed, and intelligent sounding. My mom gave me the idea that she might be getting her lines fed to her. Makes sense. We all remember last year, and in years past when Paula will make some off-the-wall comment. Or when she forgets who just sang. Or when she forgets what's going on. Drunk, drunk, drunk. So, maybe this season, to make Paula look more credible, they are feeding her lines. They had her predict who the final two will be SEVERAL weeks ago. They want her to look credible. And if after tonight's results show, we see Adam and Danny in the finale, then you'll all know that I WAS RIGHT.

If I'm not right, and Kris makes the final two do I explain myself? Well, I'd say that someone from the network found this blog...and they hurried and changed the results to contradict my prediction.

Either way, I end up looking like a GENIUS!!!