Friday, April 30, 2010

A History Lesson

It all started last week when a co-worker offered me tickets to "Celebrate Family History." Sure, why not, it couldn't hurt, right? Now, I understand the importance of Family History, but that's about as much as I care about. I go to the temple weekly, so I'm involved in the work.

Many years ago, the National Genealogy Society was established for all the wonders of genealogy (and really, I'm just going to use these names interchangeably, because I don't know the difference). Every year they have a conference, and this year, it was in Salt Lake City. So this "Celebrate Family History" was a pretty big event - little did I know.

President Eyring from the First Presidency of the Church spoke, along with David McCullough, an acclaimed author of some great books that I have yet to read. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang and some videos were shown that reflected some family history stories.

One of my favorite things happened with the showing of the film "Clan McCloud." It was a story that a father was telling of his 7 year-old son wanting to learn to play the bagpipes. The scenes that ensued were hilarious - this young kid making horrible noise with the bagpipes, the family leaving the room, ceramic figurines breaking, the neighbors staring. Along the way, the entire family caught the spark of learning about their heritage. They learned highland dances and the young boy, Jared, became quite the bagpiper. And it showed him teaching his daughter about the different tartans, and how this heritage seeking is shaping who they are. Cut to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir - bagpipes are sounding that starting note of the air entering the belly of the bagpipe, and Amazing Grace beginning. The camera moves to the bagpipe players, and focuses on one man, Jared. The boy! It was incredible. The crowd went wild - as much as a bunch of genealogical lovers can. It was beyond touching. I shed a few tears. It was incredible to think about the change that this one little boy made in the lives of his family, the connection that he forged, and the living history that he showed so fully in his talent. And the words and music to "Amazing Grace" I love.

Then David McCullough shared some thoughts - a lot, actually - some things that were poignant to me were:
~ to understand the past, we have to understand their present. read the books they read, the poems they memorized, the verbiage they used.
~ journals are essential. it shows the humanity of who the person really is, in a way that someone else couldn't show. Also, it's a great way to process through feelings and thoughts.
~ Margaret McFarland, a mentor to the famous Mister Rogers, of Neighborhood fame, said that there are always teaching moments, and it's all about attitude. Attitude isn't taught, it's caught. And in relation to history, this is vital. He encouraged the audience to garner a habit of excitement about history and share that with the younger generation, because history is what makes a great education and changes lives.

Ultimately, I left feeling great and encouraged, and the feeling is in me once again to be a teacher. Something to think about!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Here I am at the end of the race with Natalie & Michael & all the delicious food. Would've been nice to have a bag to put it all in, but I'm not the chairman of the race...maybe next year.

It was so fun running. The day was PERFECT and the company was so fun. I'm glad they committed to doing this with me.

Here I am pre-race day with Little Lucy. She is so much fun to be around. We jumped over every patch of stones on that sidewalk. She also insists on walking up and down stairs 2 at a time. Watching those little legs in cowgirl boots was entertaining.
After running the race, I felt fantastic for like 4 days. It was worth it.
And quickly - my nephew Logan is a doll. He was blessed on Sunday. It was a great day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tulip Tree

I made a brilliant discovery this weekend. It's a tulip tree. I'm sure there's a more scientific term for it, but "tulip tree" was enough to pull it up on a google search. Thanks to for this beauty! My brother-in-law told me where there are some in SLC, so I'm going to do a little family home evening activity tonight and find them and photograph them. I'm excited. Oh, and this website that I found, has a killer recipe for Thai Mango Sorbet. I'm going to try it. Mmm!

Last weekend was the Salt Lake Half-Marathon. It was totally fun. My rockin' sister and her husband came and ran with me. And I'm not even that sore. I was nervous going in to it - I didn't exercise at all last week, and conveniently gained 4 pounds. Whoops! But it was great. The morning was BEAUTIFUL and the company was FANTASTIC. I'll probably do it again.

And I want a pair of cowgirl boots. Like my niece. She's 2.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trail Mix

A few weeks ago I found a nice deal on a package of trail mix at Smith's. I was quite excited for this little snack to take to work. Well, I forgot that I had it and I busted it out this morning to eat at work for breakfast. We don't need to really discuss my eating habits at this point.

The first few bites were great, and then I realized that I didn't like it - at all. The m&m's (cheap brand) are gross. The raisins are so plump, and not appetizing. The sunflower seeds are soft. The almonds are soft and leave a really weird taste in my mouth. What a sucky snack!

I do however, prefer the deliciousness of this trail mix:

And if I have to, I'll eat this:

Trail Mix is the best. And I am slightly heartbroken by the feeble attempts of the first brand. Lesson learned: it's not worth it to try other brands when you already like one.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I am in love with this flower: hyacinth. I'm not totally confident in the pronunciation, but all shades of this flower make my day.

I walked outside to go to lunch with my friend today and the wonderful wind brought the most delicious smell. And then I looked and saw so many wonderful flowers and the blossoms on the trees. Incredible!

As I was walking back through Temple Square, I saw the grounds crew digging up some dirt and doing their thing. I got so jealous of their job. During winter, I have zero jealousy, but right now until it snows again - in the fall time, not next week - I have intense jealousy. Me and my co-worker decided that we should have 3 days of inside jobs, 3 days of outside jobs. There's something about digging in the dirt and pulling weeds and cutting grass that just makes me feel so alive and productive.

Which reminds me - the other day, the grounds crew was cutting grass on my walk to work. Such a glorious smell! Rejuvenating.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Outer Space

Do you ever feel like you just are not that smart?

Last night I went to a lecture at the University of Utah about "The Search for Earth-like Planets Around Other Stars." It was given by Ronald Walsworth, who is the Senior Physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

I was a little apprehensive about going. Especially with really smart people that actually know words or phrases like "16 Cygni B" or "hot planet" or "5jun" or "nuclear fission" or "femtosecond." Those things are just not in my vocabulary. If I come across stuff like that in a book, I just skip until I find familiar words and make up the rest in my head.

Ron did a fabulous job communicating and presenting on this subject. I was in awe. That is true genius, to make things so complex seem so understandable to the weak ones. Basically, there are planets out there in space, and the Kepler telescope is taking pictures. But in order to get better pictures, they invented the "astro-comb" that takes a lot of interference out of the pictures, cleans it up. And from there, they are trying to find planets that have similar properties to Earth. Obviously, the big planets, or gas-giants are found first because of sheer size, and that's important, because if there's a big planet, there might be a smaller planet nearby, like in our solar system.

That is just skimming the surface I'm sure of what he was really talking about. That's what I caught. I'm amazed that there are laws that these Scientists trust and believe in to find greater things out there. Gravity, biochemistry, orbits, etc. Scientific laws are unchanged throughout the galaxies. There really are patterns to things. All things denote there is a God.

I have a lot to learn. I feel like I live far below my privilege or brain capacity.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fulfilling Weekend

One of my greatest blessings in life is that my birthday is always so close to General Conference. I didn't think it was great when I was younger - friends always had to go home early after a sleep-over, didn't get to play, etc. But there was always delicious candy.

Another blessing is that my mom loves candy. Treats were a standard accessory to a lot of my life, but especially at General Conference time.

As I've gotten older, I've loved General Conference more and more. It is so fulfilling. So much speaks to my soul and gives me the energy and determination to be better. What a great way to launch into another year, older and wiser. I'm grateful for the testimonies that witness of the living reality of the Savior. He lives! And combining all the wonderful men that have the express privilege of being His witnesses, we got to celebrate Easter this year. How wonderful it is! I was able to attend the Sunday Afternoon Session with my niece and a friend. During the intermediate hymn, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" I was in awe of these testimonies being shared. The last line "Oh Sweet, the Joy this sentence gives, I know that My Redeemer Lives" I saw Elder Holland singing so resolutely and with such passion---I lost it. It was such a powerful witness to me that these Apostles really are witnesses of Christ and I can trust them. President Monson left no doubt in my mind that he knows these things.

Besides being spiritually edified and fulfilled, I did a lot of fun things as well. A great birthday party happened on Friday night, talking to family and friends throughout that day and the next, and fondue and finishing Hunger Games. It's great to be 27 and a member of the only true and living church on the earth!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1

Last night I got a text from "you're pretty" - I had to correct the grammar.

"How is everything?" followed by "Wrong number I may have it mixed up with the other Julie."

WHAT? There's more than one Julie that he is freakily texting?

So I wrote back and let him know that he could just delete my number, since I don't live in Murray any more and we never do anything (I tried to soften the blow somehow, but whatever)

"I would like to do something," Please notice that he used a comma, instead of a period. When did I become such a grammar snob? I know I don't use it perfectly. Maybe I just like the drama I can create from such a silly little thing.

I didn't write anything back. Hopefully he does delete my number. That would be a brilliant gift.

Other than that, life has been super busy at work, and full of training for this half-marathon. I think I'm getting further away from where I need to be. I read "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" on Sunday. I read it back in the 6th grade and loved it, and decided I should read it again. Yes, the love is still there. Now I'm working my way through "Hunger Games" and trying to balance my reading life with finishing the Book of Mormon before Conference starts on Saturday.