Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Few Thoughts on the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Most everyone who has looked at a newspaper within the last three months will have seen and heard about the recent burst of fighting in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Most everyone who has read as much will have an opinion about who is right or wrong, who is stepping out of line, and possible solutions.

I have opinions. We all have opinions. But there is a marked difference between having an opinion and choosing sides. That is not to say that I am inherently not a chooser of sides, or that choosing sides is inherently a bad thing. I would choose the allies over the axis in WWII and I choose BYU over the Utes in college football. 

The issue of Israel and Palestine, however, is more complex than choosing a football team or knowing that Hitler was a bad guy. I have found that in this issue I cannot truly choose sides, because I have seen both and love the groups and people on both sides of the conflict. I have lived there, I have seen just a glimpse of it. Jerusalem is and always will be home to me, no matter where I live, and it tears me apart to see the Holy Land tear itself apart.

That said, I would like to offer a few thoughts and facts for those who go forth forming opinions about this highly-charged question.

  • Jews and Arabs both feel deep ties to the land they are living on, and feel that their claim to it is legitimate. The Jews have ancient connections to the Holy Land, dating possibly as far back as father Abraham. Theirs is a connection of heritage, and many Jews living in Israel and especially Jerusalem take pride in having been part of the children of Israel returning to their home. The Arab claim dates almost as far back and is no less legitimate. Palestinian people have lived in Israel/Palestine for centuries, and their ancestors were there back in the time of the ancient Jews. Both claims have merit, and neither is wholly false. Both are highly valued and deep-seeded in their respective groups.
  • Both groups have a history of not respecting or accepting the claim of the other. Back in the early days of Israel, some people didn't even respect the claim of the country of Jordan to exist. I doubt that anyone thinks that now, but the history is there.
  • There are more than two distinctions here. There is the state of Israel and the state of Palestine. Then there are Jews, Christians, and Muslims. There are Arabs, Europeans, and others. Israel and Palestine are places. Jews, Christians and Muslims are religions. Arabs, Europeans, and (in some ways) Jews are nationalities and races. No group is wholly on one side of the conflict or wholly on the other--Jews in Israel, Muslims in Gaza, etc. There are Arab Israelis. There are Muslim Israelis. There are Christian Palestinians. One of my teachers was an Arab Israeli non-practicing Muslim. One woman in the Jerusalem branch was an Israeli-born Palestinian Muslim-turned-Mormon convert. You see? It's complicated. Easy version: Israel and Palestine (West Bank and Gaza) are the political entities. The religious and ethnic distinctions fall on both sides
  • Israel is a developed, first-world country. Palestine is, at best, developing--but you won't find it on any lists of developing or underdeveloped countries, whether under "Palestine," "West Bank," or "Gaza." This is not because it doesn't fall under those categories, but because it lacks the distinction of being a country.
  • A few Facts:
    • Fact: Israel has superior weaponry to Gaza and an extensive "Iron Dome" system to protect itself from outside projectiles. Gaza has limited weaponry and virtually no protection. Another fact--the leaders of both Gaza and Israel know that.
    • Fact: Israel has built settlements into West Bank and Gaza territory--really nice apartments, gardens and all.
    • Fact: Gaza  has dug tunnels into Israeli territory. Some have been found to contain weapons, tranquilizers, handcuffs, and other items for military use and/or kidnapping.
    • Fact: Israel has fired on civilian areas in Gaza, including United Nations schools, killing hundreds of innocents.
    • Fact: Gaza has hidden missiles and weapons in civilian areas, including UN schools.
    • Conclusion: Neither side is an innocent victim here.
    • Small additional fact: There are still students at the Jerusalem Center. Yes, they're safe. No, they're not being sent home. The story on the headlines and the actual day-to-day living in conflicted places are not the same thing. All is well for the BYU Jerusalem Center.
  • Another distinction. Islam is a religion of peace. Jihad as we know it--suicide bombers, plane hijackings, military strikes, etc.--were never part of the program. Judaism is a religion of peace as well. Both rely on and pray to God (Allah, Jehovah, as you will) with a devotion unparalleled by anything else I have seen. Do not judge a group by the actions of the uprising minority. Hammas is not Islam. Netanyahu's military actions are not Judaism.
  • Thought: People in Israel and Palestine want peace, and people all around the world want peace for them. It is possible. I hope someday to be able to witness it myself. I cheer for John Kerry, who, in spite of incredible odds, has chosen to continue to strive for peace between the two sides. Peace is possible.
  • Final Thought: God loves everyone. He loves Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians all alike. He does not want His children to suffer, and it is His peace alone that has power to heal the wounds and rifts of generational hatred that have torn not only Israel and Palestine, but countries and peoples around the world and throughout history. All are His children, and He understands more deeply both sides of the conflict than anyone, and loves them entirely. "All are alike unto God."

There you have it--such are my thoughts, for whatever they may be worth. In conclusion, here is one more. Don't be too quick to choose sides, until you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes--or sandals or burqa or prayer shawl or hijab or kafya or combat boots. Say a prayer in someone else's way, or in your own way on someone else's behalf. Listen to the stories of others, and tell your own as well. Walk a little way in someone else's company, and imagine the road in their shoes. That is the best any of us can do, and it is the pursuit of a lifetime. I am working on it every day. 

How about you? Shall we walk in some new shoes together?


Most of the facts in this article are based on personal knowledge and studies both recent and not. If you want source material or if something doesn't seem correct, please tell me so. Thanks so much, and God bless you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hey fam, 
Sounds like every one is going on crazy adventures without me. That is ok though. I have my own crazy adventures here. No need to worry for me.  
This week was good. Elder Koegler and I got to see the prime minister at the community center grand opening. The ceremony was very... Jamaican, but it all went well. We are excited that it is done so that we can start seeing Paul a little more frequently.  
I went into Spanish Town on Wednesday for Zone Meeting. Zone Meeting was really good. It focused a lot on meeting with the Ward Mission Leader. We just got a new ward mission leader, so I am going to have to do a lot of coordinating and training. I am still trying to figure it out myself. 
We went for a bike ride out toward mexico (a small town somewhere in the bush) on sunday when everything fell through. As far as exploring the area goes, we did not find much.  The valley we rode into was, however, full of orange orchards. The tru-juice orchards spread out across the whole valley. It was green and absolutely beautiful. 
There was one night this week where we got home and there was no power. We had to plan with flashlights. It came back on before bed time though. 
My district has been doing great. We are all working hard here. There is much to be done. I will be going on trade off in Spanish Town tonight. It should be fun. I have not yet taught in Spanish Town. I will be with Elder Ambrose, so I am looking forward to it. Elder Ambrose is great.
Enjoy the vacation everyone. Good luck with Philmont dad. Seriously, good luck. 
I am glad to hear that Mariel is getting married. I also found out today that Gretchen Graham is getting married soon too. 
I am glad that I don't have to worry about anything for another year. Just hot sun, and ghetto gospel. haha.
I love you all!
Elder Pullan

Suit models for the ceremony on Saturday.

My latest artwork. On my desk.

The Zone

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Windsday!

I thought that Pooh's phrase was quite appropriate this week. It is blowy here in Provo! I made the mistake of wearing a skirt to campus today, and both it and my hair were being whipped around all over the place every time I stepped out the door.

I got to go to the Timpanogos Storytelling Conference last weekend.  I committed serial neglect of my homework, harp practice, room cleaning, and responsibilities in general in favor of going down to the Provo Mariott conference wing for two days to rub shoulders with the best of the business. It was so much fun! The storytelling community is like a family. I didn't feel intimidated around the professionals or the other storytellers. They were all so friendly with me, and a couple took me in like a long-lost daughter. I had a great time and learned so much. I did workshops on story programs for kids, telling ancient myths, using storytelling in the classroom, working with masks, creating different characters, telling family stories, telling ghost stories, and more. The tellers who told and gave keynotes were amazing. One was Noah Baum, who is from Israel and uses storytelling to help people see each other's perspective and resolve conflict. My mom and I went to the Orem Library to hear her tell on Thursday night. There were tall tale tellers, ghost story tellers, personal story tellers--every variety. I was convinced yet again that if I could get away with donning a cloak, strapping harp to my back, and becoming a wandering troubadour for the rest of my life, I would be perfectly happy with that career. As it is, there isn't much money with troubadours these days--there wasn't back when they were popular--so that is that. Still, I have come to love storytelling these past years, and I look forward to putting what I have learned this week to good use.

My friend Bethany and I sang and signed a song in Sacrament meeting yesterday--"I Stand All Amazed." It turned out beautiful. My lesson went pretty well (thank Heaven--literally), and after that I caught a ride with Mariel and Jordan down to Riverton for my cousin Henry's ordination to the teacher's quorum. I missed the ordination, but I did get there for the party--and the bestowal of the green tie upon Henry. The green tie has been flying around the family for as long as I can remember. Legend has it that Grandpa Foster passed it on to one of the boys, and it was so ugly that none of them wanted to keep it, so it started being passed between them from time to time. I don't know who started giving it away on special occasions, but that has been the way of it since. It had gone into hiding for a while, but then resurfaced in Uncle Wayne's briefcase on the first day of work after a big promotion last month, and now it is with Henry. I love the Pullan family--we are a fun bunch. At any rate, it was a great afternoon--good food, lots of family and friends, and rich chocolate cake. If the celestial kingdom looked just like that when I get there, I would be eternally happy.

Today, as I said, was blustery. I wore green for St. Patrick's Day and made fruit smoothies for breakfast--my favorite. I made it through a long day in time to go to dinner at the Bishop's house with my FHE group. I am now exhausted, so I will sign off. I have been very stressed with not much sleep these days, which is a poor combination. I intend to get in a full eight hours tonight if I can get away with it. :)

TTFN! Ta ta for now!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

College Life: a Photo Essay (sort of)

This is life, in Provo, in the English Education department, in theater, and in

Sometimes I do things like this:

This is called a sentence diagram. This one was two weeks ago. Guess what? They get more complicated every day. My teacher assures me that I will not have to teach anything remotely this complicated to my students. Thank the heavens above.

Sometimes I dress like this:

Or like this:

I did my play a week ago--"I am Jane." It turned out great, in spite of the frequent disorder and difficulties with casting. We definitely had the Lord's blessings. We were able to tell that beautiful story to a lot of people--the last night we were putting extra chairs in every place possible. We dressed up like angels and pioneers, told stories, sang gospel, and all in all shared our testimonies in song and dance. Also, on one night was had audience members like this:

Yes, that's right. That is President Uchtdorf. His wife and daughter were there as well. When I came out of the bathroom from doing my makeup and saw him standing there, I about died. My fellow actress Malasia and I were looking at each other with eyes the size of dinner plates, whispering ecstatically: "Is that--" "Yes!" "That's HIM?!" "Yes, it is!" "Oh my gosh!!!" etc. Pres. Uchtdorf came into the cast room and shook hands with all of us, and was a very good sport about taking pictures afterwards. It was amazing to have him there. What an honor!

Outside of that, it's same old, same old on the college scene. I am working furiously trying to keep up in all my classes. I gave a mini lesson in my grammar class that went less than stellar, and performed in a scene in my acting class that went far better than expected. Every day has its ups and downs. I visited J. Reuben Clark law school on Wendesday night to explore whether I am interested in getting a juris doctorate at some point (the answer: right now I'm not sure. LSAT, anyone?) I also went to ASL club (always a treat). I even got to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Salt Lake on Thursday night. Well worth the trip if you have the time--it was absolutely amazing. I was in heaven--two full hours to relive my Jerusalem dreams and remember everything I learned about Hebrew, ancient tels, and pottery shards. The boy I was with (Parker) was a very good sport.

I went to ice cream with Hannah, Mariel, and (in their cases) accompanying boys. It was a lot of fun, even more so because chocolate ice cream was involved. I absolutely love my cousins--they are truly my best friends. We only miss having Amanda around the complete the foursome. :)

I also went to help my mom out with Piano festival this weekend. Have I ever mentioned that my mom is superwoman? It's true! The amount of work and service that she manages to accomplish from day to day and year to year never ceases to amaze me. My life's ambition would be fulfilled if I could become even close to the woman that she is. She has taken on so much responsibility with piano festival because she values music and giving those opportunities to the kids in our community. I was glad I was able to come help her out. It was a very successful year. Well done, Mom.

That is all for today. I am about to go off and watch The Incredibles with my friends upstairs for our weekly Disney Sunday movie. I promise to write more faithfully this time. I hope.

Adios, mi amigos i familia!

'Til next time...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm Late, I'm Late, for a Very Important Date!

Ah, the dear old White Rabbit. The way this week has been going, he and I could form a support group for people with "no time to say hello, goodbye!" because that is exactly how I am feeling right now. Run, run, run, get to class, turn in such-and-such, read articles/textbooks for half an hour, forget to turn in something else, grab dinner, rush to rehearsal a few minutes late and jump into a pioneer dress, become frustrated by how close we are to the performance day and how much we have yet to do... lather, rinse, repeat. It's a little crazy here on the home front, yes?

That being so, I am going to focus here on some of the happy moments, blessings, and all around good things that happened this week. I could complain to you from now until the cows come home about the stressful things, but that just doesn't do anybody any good. Therefore, here are some good moments of the life of Rachel.

I went tubing on Monday, first with my family and then with my ward. Most of the members of my ward thought I had just come with them, then were shocked to discover that I do in fact live up there. I spent the night with a couple of friends and had a great time. We caught some excellent air on the bumps a couple of times!

I was asked to sing "There is a Balm in Gilead" for I am Jane. It is a beautiful song, and I have been flattered that everyone likes my voice enough to give me a solo.

I have gotten into Psych lately. I watch it from time to time in the evenings when I can't stand to read another scholarly word. I've also kept up on the Olympics in bits and snatches. The container of Cherry Cordial ice cream in my fridge has also been extremely beneficial for my stress levels. In the way of food, I have lately become a great fan of rose sauce--marinara and alfredo mixed together. So delicious.

We've been having a balmy spell of late. Blue skies, temperatures way up in the forties and fifties, bright sunshine... it's like the groundhog was wrong for once and spring came early. I actually studied outside a little the other day. I don't have enough confidence in Utah's late winter weather to assume that it's going to last, but I will enjoy it thoroughly until the next snow/rain/sleet/hail storm comes our way.

I am looking into moving into a house next fall-winter. I'm kind of excited about it.

I get to read YA novels for home work. Yes, you heard me. I can justify myself for reading because  I'm getting a grade! Hooray!

I got to see the musical of Little Women with my mom and sister the other night. It was a little long, but a really charming story with a fun cast and good music. Still not my top favorite of all time (nothing beats Les Mis, Aida, or Beauty and the Beast), but it was fun.

I went to the temple on Saturday with my ward. Baptisms took three hours and I didn't care. It's been over a month since I have been. There is nothing like the peace and spirit of the temple to revive and refresh and make things better. It was perfect.

Saturday was also my friend Bethany's birthday, so we and some others beat a path for Panda Express for some birthday lunch. I had a great time with my friends, as I always do--nothing makes me happier. I also got to converse with Bethany's older sister, who also made the decision not to serve a mission because she felt she needed to stay (no fiance or anything like that). With so much pressure for girls to get up and get in the MTC these days, it was a blessing to have her encouragement and know that I am not the only one who has made that choice--who has been called to serve at home.

Mio and Jordan came and picked me up yesterday night to go to The Chocolate for Hannah's birthday. Jordan paid for my dessert--his girlfriend's random cousin!--even though he didn't need to, which made me feel very cared for. He is a great guy, and I am so glad he and Mariel are dating. He managed to take on the whole family reunion experience a few weeks back, so he's won a badge of honor in my mind. It was also great to see Hannah again. I have become so much closer to her as we have been through school together the past year, and I am so grateful for her friendship.

Now it is Sunday, the highlight of every week. I never appreciated the value of a day of rest until I got to school. I still wish sometimes that I could run away from Provo and go camping somewhere peaceful and solitary, but I know that I am blessed and have a wonderful life. Things are crazy, but I am happy. "Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? Tis not so--all is right!"

That's all for today. Love you all!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hip Hip Hooray for Valentine's Day!

Hi, my name is Rachel, and I like Valentine's Day even though I don't have a boyfriend. So there. :)

It has been a good week. I am slowly getting through my credit load, though it's hard--I always have something I can be or should be doing. I have decided that I need to become better acquainted with my student planner. With seven classes and music lessons, I feel like there is always something I am forgetting to do or neglecting when I'm not working. I think I will try keeping my schedule on paper more often so that my brain can have a break.

The Olympics are on, and I am enjoying them very much. Figure skating is always my favorite, but I've also been getting into slalom and slopestyle this year. I am pleased that Russia is managing thing so far. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, I know--there were major problems with the athlete's village, I'm told, among other things--but it's been good to see it coming off OK. Heaven knows, Russia could use some good PR on the international relations front.

I am Jane continues well. Our choir (eh hem, ensemble) is very small, and we don't know all of the songs very well. Hopefully we can start nailing it this week. At our last practice, I got to sing "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" for a scene. Brother Joseph is supposed to sing it, but when I was though half the cast decided that I should do it. I don't know if the director agrees, but we'll see. I was flattered, anyway. It's such a beautiful song and has such meaning, especially with the actors on stage mourning the death of the prophet.

Valentine's Day was great. I went up to Heber to watch the kids so that my parents could go enjoy being each others valentines at the Grand America in Salt Lake. Meanwhile, the kids and I had a party. We went to the library "pajama-rama" to hear fairy tales, brought home a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's, read our valentines from our parents, and watched a cute movie ("Smooch," a modern frog-prince-type story) while eating Mom's delicious sugar cookies. I love hanging out with my siblings. They are my best friends and I love them more than anything.

The next day we drove to Salt Lake to see Grandma and Grandpa Pullan and meet with my parents. Part of me hopes that my mansion int he Celestial Kingdom can look a little like my grandparents' house--Molen or Pullan. I can't help but feel at home when I'm there. Grandma sent me away with a bag full of packages of oreos and peanut butter crackers to keep in my bag at school, and Grandpa contributed a few books he didn't need to my growing classroom. My Grandparents take such good care of me--and the Molens, too. I hope that someday when I am a grandparent, I can hit some magical combination of both, because I think both my sets of grandparents are the best in the world. Not that I'm biased or anything, of course. :)

I had a Valentine's party at my place that night. My mom helped me get the apartment ready, and I put together some snacks. A few friends from my ward and one from my high school came and joined me. We dipped things in warm chocolate (bananas, strawberries, cookies, pretzels, marshmallows, etc. The fruit is always my favorite. Who knew bananas and chocolate would make such a magical combination?). We also watched The Importance of Being Earnest, which is easily one of my favorite movies ever. "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be counted as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness." It was a great time--I always love spending some time on Valentine's day with my girlfriends. As long as there's a holiday going on, we might as well celebrate, boys or no!

And don't get me wrong, I did get valentines. As always, my Grandma Pullan sent me a card. Amanda sent me a cute letter (how do you write like that, Amanda? It's like a font!). And once again, my daddy was my valentine. Mom and Dad left each of us kids a valentine letter, and Dad left me a bottle of bath and body works lotion. I am so blessed to have such amazing parents. I realize what an incredible blessing it is that I have never ever had any doubt that my parents love me. I have always felt loved in my home.

That is all for now. I love you all! Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Rainy Weekend

The forecast said snow. It didn't--we got a rainstorm that made it look like my mom's home in Washington. In the meantime, turns out that northwestern Washington got snowed on. Mother nature, she has her jokes.

The weekend was much like other weekends--very pleasant, and much less productive than I intended from the off. Then again, what's a weekend if you don't mess around and waste time a little bit?

Friday started with harp practice early in the morning, which is when my practice happens most of the time. Nobody likes to get up at 8 in the morning to snag a practice room, so if I go early enough I can have my pick of the harp rooms. I am currently playing a song that has so many pedal changes it makes my head spin trying to get back and forth from my feet to my hands. It's a lot of fun, though--a Scott Joplin style ragtime piece. I think it will turn out after I've had a few more months to wrestle with it.

After I practiced I hurried down to the RB for Adaptive Aquatics. Every week I go down there to play with little kids with special needs from nearby schools. Usually I play in the gym--Gym Kids--but Friday I figured, that since I had more time I could swim. I swam with a little girl named Destiny who was always smiling, was terrified of not having someone to hold on to in the water (even with a life jacket) and who loved squirting other people with guns or rubber ducks. Consequently, my good intentions about keeping my hair dry didn't get very far. Fortunately I only had one class (Performance Studies, in which we played a game and talked about the concept of "Play"), but I was still embarrassed when my hair started to dry funny.

I am in a play at present called "I am Jane." It is the story of Jane Manning James, a black woman who was one of the early saints. Want to know more? KSL will have all the details because at our Friday rehearsal we were interviewed for a radio show! Well, actually it's a radio podcast, but exciting nonetheless. If you want to hear me and the other cast members talk about our characters and ourselves and the play and so on, go to and type "Cultural Connections" into the search bar, and click the first link that comes up (KSL podcasting or something like that). On the right hand side there will be a long list of all the podcast shows. "Cultural Connections" is a ways down under the "Sunday Shows" heading. Voila! It was fun to be interviewed--I kept imagining the NPR radio shows I listened to during the summer and felt very important.

There was one downside, though--the dress the director had put me in for rehearsal was owned by a woman who has cats, which meant that I reacted to it. Whoops. I hadn't had the dress on fifteen minutes before I realized that my eyes and skin were starting to itch and I was getting asthma. At first I thought I must have developed a new allergy to muslin or cotton, but turns out its the same old animal hair deal. It was new, though--I've never had an allergic reaction to a dress before. I managed to rub off most of my mascara before the interview was over, which made me look a little less nice and a little more puffy in the face than I had hoped, especially since I had a date right after that. Rats. The date was fun, though--dancing and mocktails--and most of the irritation and swelling had gone down by the time I got there. Whew!

Saturday was busy. Harp practice, a noir mystery movie version of Shakespeare's virtually unknown play "Cymbeline" (I saw a fairy tale version earlier in the week that I liked better, but that's more for another day), and practice again, in which we were taught to sing gospel. I was told a good half a dozen times that afternoon to stop singing like a Mormon. What can I say? Old habits die hard...

Our coach/fellow actor, trying to teach us to sing like Baptists
I hurried home to do laundry, finish some reading very quickly, and throw on my Arab-Israeli dress to go to a birthday party for a friend in my acting class:

Shannon is a Theater major emphasizing in costume design, so she decided to have an ancient civilizations party and went to town tying everybody's toga (or other such garment). She could name each person's style of dress, the country it came from, and the socioeconomic class that would have worn it. I was impressed. We had pizza and cupcakes and talked for a long time--longer than I expected because when I tried to go home I found myself locked out of my apartment (no pockets in the arab dress, so I neglected to bring my keys).

The sabbath was lovely--I fasted (I missed last week thanks to being home for stake conference), gave a lesson on Noah and the Ark and the Tower of Babel, made rolls that didn't rise but tasted fine, and collaborated on a group dinner with my friends up in #22 (Bethany, Audri, and Cami) and a couple of guys. Anything tastes good after fasting, but the spaghetti really was fantastic.

I also got to see Adrianne's baby twins for the first time.

The top two pictures are of Elise, the bottom two are Michelle. They were born in December but just came home last week. Today was their official due date, actually--fun fact. The girls were angels and Adrianne was enamored with them. It made me feel 1) rather old to have a friend with children already and 2) very happy, because I haven't held a baby that small in years.

I then walked home--a beautiful walk both ways, especially because of a really beautiful moon with a huge ring probably caused by inversion. I got back in time to enjoy Disney Sunday (this week's feature was Despicable Me 2) and no-bake cookies at #22.

I never want Sundays to end. I could do with more days like that.

Love you! Ciao!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Fresh Start

Greetings, everyone!

Everybody makes some New Years Resolutions. I did, for sure. Below is a write up of how that's been going for me.

Goal: Exercise twice a week.
Success rate: None. At least, not in the sense I had been intending. I was thinking along the lines of doing the gym a couple nights per week. Instead, I have been walking half a mile and going up and down the stairs south of campus once or twice every day (at least). Required, yes. But still exercise.

Goal: Read the scriptures every morning.
Success rate: Pretty good. I wanted to get in a good half hour a day, and that hasn't necessarily happened every day. I have read and prayed every day, however, and that is what matters most. I also wanted to get to the temple every week, and that is a work in progress at the moment.

Goal: Keep my journal every day.
Success rate: Flat failure.

In light of the response on that last one, I am now taking another stab at this happy little blog. I was reading back over my wonderful Jerusalem chronicles, and I have lately been keeping up to date with my dear cousin Amanda's blog, and it made me want to become a more consistent blogger. My handwritten journal has been going OK, but not great. I am going to make the attempt at doing some blog journaling. Every other day to weekly basis, maybe with pictures...

Here goes nothing.

This week has been insanely busy. One of my many definitions of "College" is "a time of life in which every second of the eight-hour workday is planned...if not more." I am taking 17 credits this semester, which is a workload that is small enough to be possible but big enough to occasionally be a pain in the neck. I finished a huge project this afternoon that involved mapping out in explicit detail every element of the Great Gatsby (theme, plot, character, etc.), how complex it was, and how to approach it with high school students. Granted, I procrastinated working on the project a little bit, so I was doing a lot at once. It was a good experience, but a real headache at the same time and I am glad its over and done with.

My dad came to pick me up from campus, as he does every Thursday. I always look forward to seeing him and talking with him for a few minutes. He always asks me how I am doing--and he really wants to know. We talk about my homework and classes and his schedule and calling. Sometimes we go for dinner, sometimes not. He always ends up dropping me at my apartment, giving me a hug, and telling me that he loves me, that he's proud of me, and that I am awesome. I am so glad I live so close to home and can see him so often--his encouragement and support and our weekly visits have been a great blessing all these years.

Tonight I had him swing by the creamery so I could pick up some groceries. He gave me a few dollars and told me to get a treat. So I did--cherry cordial ice cream.

Side note: my cousin Amanda unknowingly introduced me to the creamery Cherry Cordial when she mentioned it on her blog. I tried it not long after and have been in love ever since. Thank you, Amanda!

I finished some reading and am now seated on the couch, watching Psych (after the figure skating in Sochi was over on KSL) and eating cherry cordial ice cream. When life gets as busy and stressful as it does here at school, it's the small pleasures that keep me happy. :)

That's all for today. In the words of the irrepressible Tigger, "TTFN! Ta ta for now!" Or in my words, 'til next time... Good night!