Sunday, March 31, 2013

Policy & Advocacy

My campus offers amazing field courses in January and February. A handful of students visited Turkey, another group went to Barbados, and another went to Liberia. Some of us couldn't afford bouncing around the globe, so instead we spent a week in Washington DC studying Policy and Advocacy, using the lens of Human Trafficking. Here are some of our activities for the week: 

Using bodies to figur out President Obamas speech where he called human trafficking "modern-day slavery". 

Playing around in senate offices. Don't worry - we didn't make too much of a mess.

Exploring the National Cathedral. It's HUGE!

Enjoying delicious Ethiopian food with the Dean of our DC campus. She was actually one of my favorite parts of our trip. She was so helpful and nice. Brattleboro has a lot to learn from her. 

And of course I spent plenty of time with my cousins Janice & John and their three kids. I even babysat on Valentine's Day so John and Janice could go out. They were another one of the best parts about visiting DC. 

And that was my trip! Basically I didn't take any pictures, and most of my time was spent in class/meetings anyway. But I did enjoy spending time in DC. Next time Caitlin will have to come - that would make any trip go from good to great!

A Sacred Day

Easter is an extremely sacred day for Christians, and it is a day that I am overwhelmingly thankful for every year. This is a day that we are able to focus on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. My understanding and testimony of Christ has transformed my life. It has given me a purpose and has helped shape me into the person I am today, and continues to mold me into the person I hope to become. 

I wont go into details about the life and atonement of Christ, you can read all about that here. But I do want to talk about why Easter is so special to me. Growing up I never felt like Easter was an important holiday. We would get candy and small toys, but it was never as important as Christmas, Halloween, or the 4th of July. Those seemed like bigger holidays, ones that you celebrate for a few weeks, or even a month. But Easter always just passed by without a second thought. When I started to learn about the miracle of the atonement, I began to understand that Christ suffered and died for me, but he was also resurrected for me. Because he performed that miracle, I have the chance to live again. What an amazingly profound miracle. I wish I expressed my gratitude more fully on a daily basis, but I'm far from perfect. Luckily I have the atonement.

Here is a quick video. It is short, but powerful. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

We Made A Baby!

Caitlin and I decided that it was about time to start our family tonight. But since we are not actually ready for REAL kids, we decided we should try virtual kids first. Here is a little preview of what our kids might look like. In this scenario, we have two boys and three girls. We made quite a few more, but we decided only to show the cutest ones with you. 

Here are the two boys. 

Here are the three girls.

Not a bad looking family. This website was actually a lot of fun. It is interesting to see what features the computer chooses for each child and how our faces blend together. And since it was so much fun, we decided we should see how our kids would look if we had married someone different...

This is Caitlin and Matt Damon (her favorite).

Caitlin and President Obama.

Me and Ashley Olsen.

Me and Marilyn Monroe.

Caitlin and Harry Potter.

Me and Britney Spears. 

Even though some of these kids turned out alright, I think I'll stick with Caitlin. I'm pretty sure we'd make the cutest babies ever... someday. :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Growing Up vs. Growing Old

A friend of mine shared this story on his Facebook. I thought it was worthy to share with everyone, no matter how fictional it may be.

An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose. The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. 

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze. 
“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.
She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”
“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine”
as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.

Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”
She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.
At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

Remember, growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Enjoying Superstorm Nemo

Living in the northeast, we have experienced quite a few sets of extreme weather. Everything from a hurricane to a superstorm. Seriously, what is going on? Both Caitlin and I are summer people, and we prefer warm weather year round. 

But Superstorm Nemo dropped this on us: 

Seriously, so much snow. It took us a few hours to dig our car out.

Luckily the roads were clear, otherwise we could have never left our house. But even though the roads were clear, we spent most of the day inside. Caitlin was making earrings and I was writing a paper. Not the most exciting way to spend a superstorm. :)

And guess what! The snow is still here! And we are supposed to get more snow this week. Why is it snowing in March!?! The weather should be turning to spring. I'm feeling the need to get away to someplace warm for spring break. Anyone want to sponsor a warm vacation?