Friday, February 21, 2014

Orlando, Orlando, Wherefore Art Though Orlando

Ok, so yes I know that Romeo and Juliet are supposed to be two young teenagers who don't know what love is and tragically kill themselves over foolish notions of eternal love. But come on!!!! Orlando Bloom as Romeo!!!!!!!! I will play a ditsy Juliet to his Romeo any day.
Alright, calm down fan girl. but seriously it was an interesting take on Shakespeare. It was kind of a modern style of dress and interpretation of Shakespeare's words. There wasn't much to the set or staging. Very low key with the props and such. Not much for wardrobe changes or anything. Loved the red socks and purple underwear Orlando!
It was also kind of fun to see Justin Guilian perform as Paris. Haven't seen him since the movie From Justin to Kelly. Eyeliner suits you Justin.

Now I have to say that I am much more of a musical fan than I am a play fan. I need music to help me express what I'm feeling. I find that music just touches my heart in a way that words don't quite express. Maybe that is because people today say exactly what they mean with little feeling behind them. I know that I am terrible at trying to express what I am trying to say. I don't feel like I have an original thought in my mind but I am a great copy cat.

The story of Romeo and Juliet is not new. It has been around for many years with several interpretations or copy cats if you will. I found on IMDB no more than 8 movies that have been mad with the title Romeo and Juliet. That's just movies with the same name. This doesn't include alternative interpretations like West Side Story and how many different stage productions of Romeo and Juliet. Crazy! Makes me think that the line "what's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." True doesn't matter what you call it, the various colors, blooms, designs you make it, or call it, it will still be wonderful and having meaning to someone. So maybe it's okay to take up ideas from someone else, put your own take on it and share it with others. I guess that is what Pinterest is for right?

So bravo to another great interpretation of a classic tale.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Single Awareness Day

I was actually looking forward to Valentine's Day this year. I wasn't really thinking about the fact that I'm still single and don't have a significant other to "Love" this year. I was actually thinking of all the great people in my life who I love so much. I have a great family, great friends, a job (as boring as it is sometimes). I was really looking at this day as almost a day of thanksgiving. Who needs to be in a relationship to love Valentine's Day.

I'm sitting at work feeling all happy and satisfied with life when I get a text from my sister. The test went something like this:

Kami: "What is the difference between you and a calendar?"
Me: "A calendars has dates :( "
Kami: "Happy Valentines day!! We love you!"

While yes I can appreciate the humor of it, deep down you kind of feel like a failure at life in  your families eyes. My family had never been one to give me a hard time about being single until I went home for Christmas last year. I swear we couldn't go anywhere without them pointing out all every single man we came across. Example: we went to the temple and there was a single guy in the session. My mom pointed him out to me several times during the session and my sister pushed towards him at one point. Dad had a guy from my parents ward that he was trying to arrange to have come meet up with us in Illinois when we went to Lincoln's home there. At the hockey game, my sister was looking at the roster of all the players to see who was single and what their ages were.

I appreciate the concern for me and the help they are trying to bring, deep down it kind of stings. I start to doubt myself and my worth as a daughter who cannot give her parents what they truly want. Grandkids! Trust me, I want to be married with a family and raise kids. I have had moments when I've gone to church, looked around at all the couples and felt like a rejected daughter of God. It's hard to be happy in a church that focuses so much on family. Singles wards are not the place to go for a self esteem boost. I leave every week feeling more alone sometimes than I do uplifted. I'm working on changing my perspective of Sunday worship from being one of going to church to see friends and try to find a date for the week (since that has not worked in the 6 years I've been at Langley), to going to church for Him and building my relationship with Christ.

Being single for as long as I have has not been easy and has caused me to shed many tears in my time. Having this reminder thrown at you by those you love only makes it harder.

But don't you fret. I didn't let this get me down that day. Instead I took to my online friend Pinterest and created a board called Every Single Day. I found every possible quote about being single I could find. This actually cheered me up quite a bit reading all the fun quotes and comebacks of other single people in the world.

Here are some of my favorites

Happy Valentine's

Temples of Old

I really like my calling as a Temple Prep teacher at church. At first I was a little intimidated because I felt like there everyone in the class had so much more knowledge than I do and that my co teacher is a much better teacher than I am. But the temple is one of my favorite topics to talk about so this calling really is perfect for me and I am able to grow in my ability to teach other adults.

This weeks lesson, my co teacher and I decided to discuss ancient temples from the Old and New Testaments and the Book of Mormon. I focused my part of the lesson on Moses Tabernacle. To give a little background, Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and on Mt. Sinai he received Gods law for the children of Israel. This included the Ten Commandments and the ordinances of the Temple (Exodus 25-30). Due the children of Israel's transgression below with the golden calf, they were only allowed to participate in the lesser law of the temple ordinances. Bummer for them. But the children of Israel were still given a lesser law and the doctrine was still there. Instead of being able to got through the tabernacle for themselves, the tribe of Levi worked the tabernacle as proxy for others.

I found it really enlightening to read about how the Tabernacle was designed, the layout of where everything was placed, and the symbolism of it all.

I am so grateful for modern temples today. It is a joy and blessing in my life to be able to go to the temple and feel closer to God every week. I was really grateful to be able to study old testament temples and learn from them. It gave me a new perspective on the ordinances performed in todays temples. God really is a loving Heavenly Father.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

 The cold never bothered me anyway.
Well that's not entirely true. I sure am ready for some warmer weather but there are some great times to be had in winter as well. We had a winter storm come through during the night that dropped about 12 inches of snow. So of course being the Disney loving girls that we jubilantly sang out,
Do you want to build a snowman?
Come on, let's go and play
Hi, I'm Olaf and I like warm hugs.
 We had a blast out in the snow creating our own snowman just like Anna and Elsa from Disney's latest hit Frozen. We were very precise in making sure that every detail was noted down to the eyebrows. Building this happy snowman can't help but make you smile. And after all this snow from winter we also share Olaf's dream of Summer. Go ahead and sing out loud. You know you want to.
Bees'll buzz, kids'll blow dandelion fuzz
And I'll be doing whatever snow does
In summer
A drink in my hand, my snow up against the burning sand
Prob'ly getting gorgeously tanned
In summer

I'll finally see a summer breeze blow away a winter storm
And find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm
And I can't wait to see what my buddies all think of me
Just imagine how much cooler I'll be
In summer

Da da, da doo, ah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, boo
The hot and the cold are both so intense
Put 'em together, it just makes sense
Ratdadat, dadadadoo
Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I'll be a happy snowman

When life gets rough I like to hold onto my dreams
Of relaxing in the summer sun, just letting off steam
Oh, the sky will be blue, and you guys'll be there too
When I finally do what frozen things do
In summer
In summer!

Relief Society Capitol Tour

One of the great things about living so close to our nations capital is being able to organize cultural outings. Being on the Relief Society Activities Committee means coming up with things to do to help the sisters in our ward get together and enrich our lives. Thanks to Camille and Natalie for giving us our own private tour of the Capitol. It's been a while since I've been able to go and see this great architectural building that our Legislative Government resides in. I kept thinking if walls could talk these walls would have some amazing stories to share. Think of all the great debates that were held here. The legislative decisions made that changed the framework of our country. It truly is amazing when you think about it of all the great men and women who have walked these halls.
I think that when you are surrounded by such great things all the time you start to become desensitized to the marvels that they are. How many people walk these halls every day and don't look at the detail in the floors, walls and ceilings. the quotes on the walls that remind us of this countries great minds. 
The lesson I took away from this day was to not get so caught up in what I'm do everyday that I forget to look around at where I am and enjoy the beauty that is around me. I shouldn't take for granted the fact that I live so close to these great buildings that they become routine and lose their great significance.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Service from the Heart

My friend Megan is amazing. She is always so giving and willing to help anyone she meets. I will be forever grateful to her for teaching me how to crochet. I have always wanted to learn how to crochet and she took the time 2 years ago to teach me how to crochet. We started simple with scarves. I have since moved on to baby blankets but I still love going back to the beginning with scarves.

Megan was telling me about how she likes to make scarves to donate to charitable organizations every year. I joined forces with her and helped contribute to these donations. I don't ever ask where they go I just give her my scarves as I'm finished with them. In 2012, our scarves were given to families affected by Hurricane Sandy.

In 2013, she donated the scarves to the local fire department to distribute to their charitable organizations. Now we had started off the year with a goal of 100 scarves which is a hefty goal for two people to try and complete. That was essentially a scarf a week each. But we knew we could do it. I also recruited the help of the Young Women in my parents ward in Missouri. They needed a service project for girls camp so they helped make scarves to contribute to the cause. We didn't quite make it to 100 scarves but we were pretty darn close.

This year we will be combining forces again to make scarves. If anyone would like to help contribute to this just let me or Megan know. We would love more help with this. After all, giving warms our hearts.

To Be Loved

 If a friend says, "Let's go see Michael Buble" the correct response is YES!
His voice is amazing. Some of my favorite songs he sings include:
The Best is Yet to Come
I'm Your Man
Call Me Irresponsible
I've Got the World on a String
You Belong to Me
Crazy Thing Called Love
Save the Last Dance For Me
Feeling Good
Can't Buy Me Love
How Sweet It Is
Whenever you need a good love song Michael Buble is your man.

Faith in Saratov

 It's Saturday evening and I'm sitting at home relaxing for the first time in a while when I get a phone call. Caller ID says Jenny Ellen Reynolds. I'm thinking "What does she want? She is usually crazy busy on Saturdays." I answer the phone out of curiosity. The call goes something like this:
Jenny Ellen: Kara love, what are you doing right now?
Me: I'm just sitting at home. What's up?
Jenny Ellen: Want to go to a movie in Richmond?
Me: What movie?
Jenny Ellen: The Saratov Approach
Me: When?
Jenny Ellen: Like now
Me: Ok come pick me up on your way out
Jenny Ellen: See you in a few
And that's how it happened. Jenny Ellen and Rich picked me up and we made the hour and a half drive down to Richmond. Now why, you may ask, would  we drive so far to see a movie. Good question. The answer is there is going to be a QA session after the movie with one of the missionaries from the movie. Plus, why not get in a car and drive so far, it just means we get to spend more time together. Ok, fair enough.
To give you some background information. This movie tells the true story about 2 missionaries in 1998 who while serving their mission in Saratov Russia were kidnapped and held for a $300,000 ransom for 5 days before being freed. The missionaries were lured into an apartment where they were beaten down, tied, gagged and held at gun point while being transported out of the city to a secluded location. Pictures were taken of the missionaries showing them tied up, blindfolded and held at gun point. The two captors, an older man who had many debts, and a young man who just found out his girlfriend was pregnant and didn't know how he was going to pay for it, would continually come into the captives room and threaten the missionaries. They would take their guns and hold it up to the missionaries or run it across their head and hands. They would put bullets in their hands. They would rattle the bed they were tied to. Needless to say it was not a great situation for these missionaries.
Back in the United States, the families are notified of what is going on, the FBI gets involved and of course church officials as well. The official stand of the church is that we will not pay ransoms as this can cause greater harm to other missionaries. What I found so interesting is how many religions joined together in prayer for these two missionaries and their families. It just shows that we all are children of God and when tragedies occur we are united in faith in God no matter your religious affiliation. One of the parents receive an anonymous phone call one night from a missionary telling them what their sons are thinking as they are held captive by telling them what it was like when he had been kidnapped while on his mission 20 years earlier. The families are also given money to pay the ransom and save their sons. This is a point of difficulty for the parents as they want to save their sons but they also need to follow the church policy. The question is posed by one of the fathers, "How can I sit here with the power to save my son and do nothing?" Powerful words and a great act of faith on the families part as they did not pay the ransom.
Meanwhile the two missionaries are presented with an opportunity to escape but there are so many unknowns and the spirit tells them this is not my will. They show great faith and obedience in putting the handcuffs back on and staying in captivity. They said that they felt calm after that during the rest of their captivity as they knew God was in control.
The story ends with the ransom not being paid and the captors deciding to release the missionaries. The missionaries were able to make it back to the city and get help. The two men who kidnapped them were captured and sentenced to prison. The missionaries were able to call home and speak to their parents. And, without question, the two missionaries decided to finish out their mission for the remaining year they had left. They were sent to different locations outside of Russia.
At the end of the movie and during the QA session I was so moved by the complete faith these two missionaries and their families had both then and now. They were unmovable in their faith in the Lord and never faltered or questioned what was happening to them. My new commitment is to develop and display faith as these missionaries so that when the time comes for me to have to stand faithful in the face of danger I will have no question on where my faith lies. 
If you have the opportunity to see this movie GO AND SEE IT!!!!! You will not regret it.  
Kara, Jenny Ellen, Elder Tuttle, Rich