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Name them one by one

A few weeks ago, I bore my testimony at church.  Everyone thought it was hilarious when I said, "if anyone is in need of blessings, come to my house, because it's raining over there!"  I didn't say it to brag, I said it because it was true. 

After years and years of heartbreak, trials, and bad luck, I think I'm at a point in life where I am able to easily recognize a blessing, because for so long it felt like I didn't get any.  Every time I notice one, I stop and give thanks; this routine has really made me see just how blessed my life is.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that blessings don't always come in the form of an answered prayer.  Most of mine don't.  In fact it's usually the opposite of what I want, or what I think I need that turns out to be the best blessings.

Sometimes, when I need something, really need something, and want it, and when I am living my life in accordance with the commandments of the Lord, and I'm doing everything in my power to make it happen, and then I pray, I dont' get what I'm asking for.  Times like these stink, but I have to remember that I am on the Lord's time and he'll provide in His own way and at His own time.

"Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."
~Garth Brooks

But other times, when I need something, really need something, and want it, and when I am living my life in accordance with the commandments of the Lord, and I'm doing everything in my power to make it happen, and then I pray, and my prayers are answered, that is the best!

I had a prayer answered this morning, and now a $3,000.00 weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. *Sigh*

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Weekend To-Do List

Holy smokes!  It's already the last weekend of August!  I always get so excited for the weekends!  I've been working full-time for just over a year now, and I'm still not used to it.  All of the required overtime does help either, it basically translates to working 11 hours every day.  Those are long days!  I feel like my weekend to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer because I am accomplishing nothing during the week. 
  • Clean my room
  • Clean my car
  • Wash my car
  • 100,000 mile tune up on my car
  • Sit by the pool & tan
  • Plant my fall-winter garden
  • Work overtime
  • Do some yoga or Cardio Barre
  • Play with baby Chael
  • Make this skirt... for real this time
  • Work on my talk for church
  • Enjoy my last weekend before school starts!
What are you doing this weekend?
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We've had a new addition to our family. 

I'd like to introduce Chael .

{Pronounced Ch-ale.  Sort of like Che-rries and Ginger-ale}

He is a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  Notice the strip of hair on his back?  It grows in the opposite direction, so it stands up and looks like a little ridge.

I like to call it his mohawk.

He was born in Michigan and today he turned 8 weeks old, finally old enough to leave his mommy and make the long flight here to Las Vegas! 

It's amazing how much we all already love him!

So that's my good news!

Suddenly I'm craving a 7-Up.


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To the Maxi

I love maxi dresses.  I have close to 12 of them...  While I love the summer time frock, I hate that they are ALWAYS sleeveless!  What about us girls who practice the "Modest is Hottest" standard of dress?  I rarely ever buy sleeveless articles of clothing, and I HATE how the white.t-shirt.layered.under.spaghetti.straps look.  If you can't wear as is, just don't buy it, that's my philosophy (please save tomato throwing until after this post). 

Imagine my excitement when I found a maxi dress with sleeves!  Yes my religious ladies, sleeves!  It was only about $20.00 at Forever 21 and so I bought it on an "I have to hurry and buy everything I can before my Spending Fast starts on July 1" binge.

I love how light and airy the fabric is, how comfortable it is (like work-approved-pajamas), and I like the summery tribal pattern!  I also like that I can wear turquoise eyeliner to match!  This really is my new love.  I'm determined to learn to sew, so I can make a few more of these babies, because they're that amazing... even if a co-worker did, tell me that I looked like a Wiccan.  Thanks.

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The end is in sight

On this bloggy blog, I have often complained about talked about the struggle I've had going to school because of finances.  I've technically completed 4 years of college, but it has taken me almost 8 years to do so.  After maxing out credit cards trying to pay for school, I tried another approach.  Typically I would work for a semester, then go to school for a semester thus prolonging the process. 

I've often wished for wealthy parents.  I've longed for the day when I'll find a bag of money on the street, but most of all I've dreamed about the day that I finish and can move on. 

Because of finances, I have never been able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Graduating has just seemed too far away with all of the setbacks.  After visiting with my academic advisor this afternoon, I found out that I'm in much better shape than I originally thought! 

I'm currently enrolled to take 14 credits this Fall, which is a lot, but these classes are only offered in the Fall.  Then, I need to take 5 credits in the Spring, and then I'll be done!  Hooray!

The end is in sight.
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Sew Amazing

I have big plans for this weekend.  Namely, playing sweatshop.  I'm still determined to make that Lace for Days pencil skirt I mentioned last week, but there's more... Oh boy, there's more.  I've always loved feminine fabric, namely lace, chiffon, and sequins.  I decided along with the skirt, I want to make a lace dress!  I know I want it to be black, but I'm having a hard time deciding on the lining color... black or nude...  What do you think?

Black on Black

Black on Nude
I realize Kate's is navy on cream, but you get the idea

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The Temple Q&A

This past Saturday, I was able to go to the temple and do baptisms with my ward.  I haven't been to the temple since I was about 14, and I was so excited to be able to go with my brothers and friends.  I think temples are some of the most beautiful buildings on Earth, and I love the feeling I get when I am there;  even if I'm just hanging out or reading a book on the grounds.

{Las Vegas, NV  We moved to Las Vegas just before this temple was built.  We went to the Open House when I was 6 years old.}

Prior to going, I had a lot of questions from my co-workers about the temple.  "How can all of the Mormons in Las Vegas fit into one building for church? What happens at the temple?  Why are you going?  My friend got married and his parent's couldn't go to the wedding cause it was in the temple, what's the deal?"

So I thought I'd take a quick second and explain a little about what goes on in the temple.

{Salt Lake City, UT This is where my parents were married}


I have already been baptized.  I was baptized when I was eight years old in a regular old church.  Latter Day Saints (Mormons) don't baptize babies.  We know that baptism is and essential step for salvation, but we believe that all little children are sinless in the sight of God.  By the age of eight, a child is old enough to know the difference from right and wrong.  Because of this discernment, we baptize children at the age of 8.  I have many friends who ask me "but you have to baptize babies because of the fall of Adam."  In our church, we believe that man "will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."  The fall of Adam was essential to Heavenly Father's plan, and so we don't view it as a "sin," but instead a "transgression."  We don't believe that all mankind are damned to Hell because of it either.  If Bob kills someone, should John be held accountable?  No.  Same goes for Adam.

{St. George, UT This is where my Grandparent's got married.}

We are also baptized to become official members of the church, to have our sins washed away, and receive the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.  At baptism we also make covenants with Heavenly Father, like we promise to always remember him, and strive to live the way Jesus did.  Sometimes though, people choose not to accept the Gospel, or they are not able to be baptized in this lifetime.  Billions of people have lived and died on this planet and never even had the opportunity to hear the name Jesus Christ.  Because of this, they couldn't performed the ordinances necessary for salvation in this life.  Once they died, they couldn't perform their work on the other side, because they don't have bodies to do it!  Just imagine trying to baptize a spirit... water and ghost don't really mix.  So church members will perform "baptisms for the dead."  No, we don't go around baptizing corpses, that would be weird, and gross, and I'm fairly certain it's illegal in all 50 states.  We baptize "by proxy," meaning a living person does the work in the name of the dead person.  In the New Testament, during Paul's time, baptisms were performed for the dead (1 Cor 15:29), and our church continues that practice.

We also are not just being baptized for people who don't want to be baptized.  They aren't "on the other side" kicking and screaming, begging for us not to do it.  That would be so rude!  While doing genealogy work, someone may find the name of a relative who did not have an ordinance done while they were living.  They can take that name to the temple, and someone will do the work for them.  One of the greatest gifts God gave us is our agency.  That doesn't go away when we die.  The deceased family members will have the option to accept the gospel in the Spirit world, or not.  If they accept, their saving ordinances have been done, so they have the keys necessary to continue their progression and life is dandy.  If they choose not to accept the Gospel, then the work was still done, and the church member at least got to swim (not really) in a warm font.

So when I went to the temple on Saturday, this is what I did.

{Albuquerque, NM  This temple was dedicated when my Grandparents still lived in Albuquerque, so we were able to go through and see it.  As a service project, I helped clear the ground, picking up garbage and nails around the temple for the landscape!}


It is a goal of every Mormon to get married in the temple.  Not only is it free, but sacred ordinances are performed to seal a man and woman together for all eternity, not just "til death do they part."  Once this happens, all children born to this couple will automatically be sealed to them as well creating an eternal family.  If a couple doesn't get married in the temple, however, they can always go at a later date, when they are able, and be sealed to each other, and to their children.  Marriages, or sealings, can also be done by proxy.  Once both the husband and wife have both passed on, a close family member can take their names to the temple and be sealed, in the name of the couple for time and all eternity.

{San Diego, CA}

Why Can't Everyone Go?

The temple is literally, as it has been throughout history, the "House of the Lord" (1 Kings 6:1, 37). The primary purpose of the temple is to provide a place where sacred ordinances needed for eternal life can be preformed. Because of its sacred nature, attendance in the temple is limited to Mormons, who are baptized, who obey God's commandments and therefore are worthy to enter.  There is literally an interview process that occurs with your Bishop, with very strict questions in order to determine who is worthy to go inside the temple.  We have very strict standards that must be adhered to if someone desires to go inside.

{Hong Kong, China}

Non-Mormons and visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds or Visitor's Centers at all of the more than 100 temples across the world, and attend open houses prior to dedication. However, only baptized members who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated.  This is why many non-members can not attend the marriage ceremony of friends and relatives inside the temple.  However, many couples choose to have a separate ring ceremony for everyone to witness.

{Mesa, AZ This temple has one of the best Visitor's Centers around.  Plus, they're always have really good movies playing, as well as yearly pageants}

What's the Difference Between Church and the Temple?

Churches are public places of worship.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to go inside for Sunday meetings, or other social gatherings inside.  They are often used for ward activities, basketball games, and wedding receptions.  As mentioned above, the temple is different.  It is holy, certain sacred ordinances are performed there, and only certain people may go in.
{Melbourne, Australia}
There is often confusion about temples, and the "top secret" or "weird" stuff that goes on in them.  The work that goes on inside is not really a secret its just holy, and we hold it sacred.  Most of the works center around bringing families together.

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A few years ago, I went in for an interview with my Bishop.  No, it wasn't that kind of interview, I wasn't "in trouble," it was the how's.your.life.going kind of interview.  After talking for about 30 minutes, he basically told me that my "life balance sucks."

"Morgan, imagine you're a waitress holding a tray.  Now picture the different aspects of your life like glasses on that tray.  Part of having life balance means you can put all of the glasses on your tray, and organize them in such a way that you won't drop anything.... In your life right now, you dont' even have all the glasses...  You've got school, you go to church and have good family relationships, but what about dating? Or career? Or friends? Or finances?  Or your own home? Or personal improvement and hobbies?"


I said I'd work on it, but I never really did.  I'm really good at substituting one aspect of life for another, but I've never actually tried to achieve "life balance," and I often wonder how in the world people do.

Lately, I've been really stressing about school.  This coming semester I am enrolled as a full time student (14 credits);  it will be the first time I've tried going to school full time while being employed full time.  I know it will be tough and I'll be tired all the time, but I think I can do it, even with everyone else telling me I can't.

I know I can do school and work, but what about everything else?  Where am I supposed to find time to date?  Or play with friends?  Or exercise?  Or garden?  Or keep up with my budget? Or anything else I normally like to do? 

Any tips on achieving life balance?

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Weekend To-Do List

  1. Girls night with bestie Natalie
  2. Go to the Temple
  3. Find camera's battery charger
  4. Charge camera's batteries with said charger
  5. Practice photo session
  6. Go on a date Smiley
  7. Attempt to make a lace pencil skirt
  8. Insanity once and P90X legs once
  9. Choose colors for a basket weave afghan
  10. Take pictures of my garden & update my garden blog
  11. Plant fall crops: lettuce, spinach, peas & potatoes
  12. Go to Church
  13. Start a new book... I'm thinking either 1776 or The Alchemist...
  14. Break Spending Fast and buy jeans that fit!  This pants.on.the.ground with every step I take thing doesn't work.  Darn it.
  15. Catch up on the BoM reading challenge
  16. Relax

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Why I + Thursdays...

Would you believe that I woke up this morning at 8:20 and was at work, in my office ready to go by 8:30?  No I have not mastered the art of teleportation, I just really like Thursdays!  I like Thursdays so much so that if you look really close at the left side of my face, you'll see lines that my pillow case left on my face... 

But how did I get up, get dressed, hair curled, make-up on, and at my work computer in ten minutes?

Easy.  As soon as I woke up, I threw on the outfit I had set out the night before... Inspired by a Pinterest pin, it looks totally cute, casual and "me." 

I brushed my teeth and washed my face, and headed out for my car...  Last night, after Insanity, I showered and blow-dried my hair and then used a curling technique called the "sock bun."  I still haven't mastered it, because only one side of the head actually curled, the other side, well...  Anyway, I took out my bun in the car and pulled my hair half up. 

Hair done - in less than two minutes.  That's record time for me!  Next I shuffled through my purse and found some concealer, mascara and lip gloss.  Because my skin is looking so clear and amazing, that's literally all I need!  So folks, there you have it, a ten minute morning...

Now, back to why I love Thursdays...

  Every Thursday morning at work, we get bagels.  Yup, just for being such awesome employees.  I look forward to my whole wheat, egg, or potato bagel (whichever is left by the time I get to it) smothered in reduced fat cream cheese.  No it doesn't necessarily fall in line with eating raw, but it's too delicious to care.  Nom nom nom.

  Also, Thursdays at work mean Crazy Chicken Thursdays.  There is a small group of us, and I must specify that we are not a "club," who get together and have El Pollo Loco for lunch.  We have great conversations that keep most of us holding our sides from laughing so hard, and the food is delicious too.

  After work, I usually go to institute on Thursday nights.  Institute is sort of like a Bible study class, only because we are Latter Day Saints (Mormon), we study more than just the Bible.  We have an amazing teacher who not only makes the hardest of doctrine easy to understand, but is so entertaining and funny.

  Lastly, Thursdays = Jers-days.  Roughly translated, that means "Jersey Shore Thursdays" at my house.  We're obsessed!  It's a time when my whole family can come together, and gather around the TV in our t-shirts (t-shirt time!) and witness the unavoidable train wreck that is this show.
So now you know.  I love Thursdays!

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Mid-Year Goals Check-up

Back on July 1st, I wrote out a list of some mid-year goals.  Because of my Spending Fast, I learned the importance of setting both short and long term goals, and putting them down on paper.  It's important to be able to get them out of your heard so that they become real.  Plus the satisfaction of putting a check mark next to each one is overwhelming!  Here is a recap of the goals I set, and how they're going.

1.  Read my scriptures every day and finish reading the Old Testament
Not completely accomplished.  I began a Book of Mormon Reading Challenge that started on August 1 and will go until October 1, so that is deterring my Old Testament reading.  However, I have been reading/listening (to the audio version) my scriptures almost daily.  I love it!  I do it first thing in the morning, and I feel like it just sets the tone for my whole day. 

2.  Go back to school, full time, even if my boss won't let me go to class
Holla!  I am enrolled full time, and have worked out with my boss that while she won't let me go to all of my classes (except to take exams), she will let me go to the one where attendance counts!  So I'll be leaving work an hour early three times a week, and then just making up the time on Saturdays!

3.  Stop regretting/living in/wishing I could change the past; move on and progress
Done & done.  I am surprised how much happier I am when I started doing this.

4.  Pray.  The real get-down-on-your-knees-bow-your-head-and-fold-your-arms kind not the quick-utter-one-in-traffic-kind, at least once everyday
Yes.  I had a friend who made a comment in Institute (similar to a bible study class) last week that every morning before "[his] feet hit the floor, [his] knees hit the floor."  I have literally done this every day.  Plus its fun to slither out of bed without letting my feet touch before my knees!  You know, like when you were a kid and the floor was lava...  Awesome.

5.  Read 5 non-school books
So far I've read three, and I'm starting my 4th one today!

6. Start the Spending Fast, and stick to it. 
Check!  Follow my other blog, Morgan Makes Cents to read all about it.

7.  Listen to more church music and learn the harmonies
8.  Exercise at least 3 times a week
Yes!  I've been doing a mixture of Insanity, P90X and Cardio Barre.  I'm in better shape than I have been in a long time, and I feel good.  Plus I have tons of energy that will come in handy for long study sessions.

9.  Start studying for the DAT's
Nope.  While I would love to do go to Dental School, I'm not sure if it is the road I am actually going to go down.  Lots of praying and fasting is currently happening so that I can make a decision.

10.  Choose to be happy
YES!  I love being happy!  I have learned that happiness really is a conscious choice, not just a state of being.

11.  Make at least 1 new friend every month
Yes, 100 times over.  I have made an effort (and it's awkward and hard) to really reach out to people and schedule face time with them.  But I have been blessed with tons of new friends!

12.  Spend 5 minutes everyday "quick cleaning" my house, and deep clean every Saturday
Nope, look haven't I made enough progress already?  Some things just aren't meant to change.

And just for good measure, here are a few more!

13.  Do more service.
14.  Always be kind
15.  Figure out how much school/books/parking, etc. is actually going to cost.

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A Big Thank You

I just have to give a shout out to all of the readers of this blog!  I am so appreciative of all of the e-mails I have gotten over the last few months from my friends.  Yes, even though we may not know each other in real life, you are all my friends.  I have experienced heartbreak before, and it's never easy, but because of it I know that I am much more able to sympathize with others in the same situation.  While I don't want struggles in my life, I am thankful for the opportunities to be humbled by them.

The last few months have been a little rough, but I am doing much better.  I have spent so much time praying and am shocked at how fast the Lord truly can heal a broken heart.  I know that he died not only so that our sins might be forgiven, but the Atonement of Jesus is all encompassing.  It covers every sadness we feel, every pain we experience, in short, every negative emotion we encounter in this earthly life; he knows how to heal us because he felt it all first.

I know I made the right decision, and am almost overwhelmed by the blessings I have experienced in the last few weeks.  I have met so many new people who have been a source of happiness to me and I can honestly say, "Life is good."  For a while I felt "stuck" and was unsure about my future, and I feel like I can begin to move forward now.  It's a very calming feeling.

Thank you all again for your words of encouragement and you support and your friendships!  I hope to get back to blogging regularly to keep you entertained.

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