My Houston Texas Temple Experience

Although I've been in Texas for almost a week, I haven't made any friends my age yet. I really didn't want to spend my Friday night moping around and being bored, so I decided to go to the Houston Temple. It was the first time I'd ever been to this temple and the first time I've ever gone to the temple alone. My, what an awesome experience it was!
I left the house right after dinner around 6:50 or so, hoping to make it before it closed at 8. I live about 20mins from it, so I figured I'd be fine. Well, I ended up driving for 45 mins before I started to freak out. I was crying and started believing that the reason I couldn't find the temple was because it was Heavenly Father's way of telling me I was unworthy or something. Anyways, I was really upset because I couldn't find the temple. So, I turned around and started to head back home. I was furious at myself for not taking down better directions and even madder because I was giving up but I didn't know what else to do. So, I start driving and out of nowhere, I see the Angel Moroni. Tears welled up inside of me again because I was so thankful to just find the temple. I got out of the car and walked around it and then decided to go in to ask if there was room for one more person for the baptistry. I was sure they'd tell me know because it was already after 8. But the temple worker smiled and said "You have perfect timing. We're just finishing up a group." Oh, I was SO thankful!
This little experience may not mean much to you, the reader, but it is just amazing to me. It just goes to show me that things get frustrating and complicated, but they'll always get better. There is always going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. It also was a object(ish) lesson for me. I felt SO lost because I couldn't find the temple. But as soon as I found it, I was FULL of peace. Life is kind of like that. When you can't see the temple being in your future, you're just going to be lost. But if you know where its going to be in your life, things will go smoother, more peaceful. This was a perfect ending to my first week in Texas. :)


Well, I moved to Texas yesterday finally! My flight was at 7:05am so I left the house super early before anyone was awake, which was pretty sad, actually. Dad came with me to the airport and was able to walk me to the gate. And I was so grateful for that because I was already nervous and his presence helped me chill out a little bit. The time came for me to give him a hug and get on the plane. I got on the plane and ended up sitting next to some lady who kept telling me all about the best places to party in Houston. She was super cute and like 50 so it was really funny. However, about an hour before we landed, we hit some pretty intense turbulence. I was almost positive that I was going to die. I seriously had tears in my eyes because I was freaking out so bad! We finally landed after a bajillion years of bumpy-scariness.
As soon as I got off the plane, the humidity hit me like a brick wall. Holy crap, humidity! I cannot believe how gross it felt. Sick. I guess I'm just gonna have to get used to it. J and B picked me up from the airport and then took me to a sushi bar where I had my first real experience with sushi. Yum! Then we went back to their house to relax and get unloaded and all that jazz.
There are several things I noticed already about Texas. Everyone has an accent, running red lights is not a good idea, the people all call each other "darlin'" or "honey" and are generally nice, and their food variety is extremely wide. Things are looking up for this summer. It's gonna be an experience different than I've ever had before. I've never lived with so few people in my life and never lived with people of a different faith. I'm looking forward to seeing how this summer rolls out. It's gonna be good.

Road Trip to Nauvoo

Let me first start off by saying that this is probably going to be a long post because this trip was SO amazing and I want to talk all about it! So....yeah!
Jacob and Chelsey were awesome enough to stay long enough to see me off. We left Price early Saturday evening. It was pretty interesting start to the trip. We had two charter buses driving us and the bus that I wasn't on ran over a nail and needed replace their bus. So, after driving through Spanish Fork Canyon, we ended up sitting in Draper for about 45 minutes, waiting for another bus to come. We ended up getting at our hotel in Rawlins, Wyoming around 1:00am or so.
The next morning, we left Rawlins around 9:00am. We went up to Martin's Cove for sacrament meeting, which was amazing! It was a 5 mile hike up to the actual cove and it was very peaceful! We almost got trampled by a herd of antelope on our way back for lunch. After lunch, we got back on the bus for another 530 miles. This particular bus ride was not enjoyable at all. There was a lot of contention on the bus regarding what movie to watch on the sabbath or to even watch a movie at all. Yeah, that was not fun.
After getting to the hotel after midnight again, we left the hotel in Kearney, Nebraska at 9:00am the following morning. We drove several hours to Winter Quarters.

We took a tour through the Winter Quarters museum and then went across the street to the Pioneer Cemetery, which was very peaceful and the spirit was amazing there! Not many of the graves were marked, but there were many pioneers buried there. It made me sad to think about how hard their lives must have been and everything they had to endure. At the same time though, it made me SO thankful for everything I have and for my life. Carved into the cement in the cemetery is the phrase "Gird up your loins, Fresh courage take. Our God will never Us forsake." I felt so warm inside when I read that and it was made known unto me how true that statement truly is. Heavenly Father LOVES us and will never abandon us.

Right next to the cemetery is the Winter Quarters Temple. Wow, beautiful temple!

After leaving Winter Quarters, we drove another 330 miles to Nauvoo. We stayed at a Manor House. Basically what that means is that we were in regular sized hotel rooms with 4 bunk beds, meaning 8 girls in one room with only one bathroom. Whoever came up with that arrangement didn't use their brain.

Anyways, Tuesday was a great day. I spent the morning in Old Nauvoo at the bakery, brickyard, blacksmith shop, and other various spots. It was a blast and those senior missionaries are just too cute!

We walked back from Old Nauvoo to our hotel and walked right next to the Nauvoo Temple, which (needless to say) was SO beautiful! There is such a special spirit that surrounds that temple!

After lunch at the hotel, we went over to Carthage Jail which, besides the temple, is probably one of the most spiritual places that I have ever been to in my life! This is where the prophet Joseph Smith gave his life. It just goes to show how true the Book of Mormon MUST be. I don't know of any other religion that has a martyr such as the LDS.

This is me with the statue of Joseph and Hyrum in front of the Carthage Jail Visitor's Center

The door with holes from the bullets that struck Hyrum Smith

The window the Joseph Smith fell from after being shot by the mob outside

After Carthage, we say a play that the senior missionaries preform in Nauvoo called "Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo" and it was the cutest and funnest play I have ever been to. I felt like a kid in a candy shop! It was just a ton of fun!
On Wednesday, I got to go to baptisms in the Nauvoo Temple. This temple is unlike any of the 8 temple I have been in before! As soon as you enter, you can see the assembly room and are free to view inside it. Right next to the assembly room is a long hallway. On the walls of the hallway are artifacts from when the pioneers lived in Nauvoo, such as temple shoes and clothing. There are also the original temple keys from the original temple and Joseph Smith's saber. The font was huge! I swear it was about 3 times the size of the average sized font. On our way out of the temple, we were able to see another awesome characteristic of this historical temple. There is a 6 story high spiral staircase. It was so beautiful! Of course, now being endowed yet, I was only allowed to go up to the second level. But I for sure will be back to climb the rest of that staircase!

The next day, we had to leave Nauvoo. We left the hotel at 5:00am! Yeah, it was pretty chaotic leaving that morning. We drove 230 miles to Adam-ondi-Ahman. Wow! What a beautiful piece of land! It was SO green and there were like a million trees. It was very peaceful and a very relaxing place to be. I was just thinking the whole time how wonderful it's going to be when all the Saints gather here! I couldn't think of any better place for the gathering.

My beloved ward! Oh how I shall miss them dearly!

We left Adam-ondi-Ahman and we scheduled to go to Haun's Mill, but our poor buses couldn't make it so we just went to Far West. We didn't stay at Far West very long. We had a devotional and soon after left for Liberty Jail.

Amanda, Me, Terra, and Sarah at the Liberty Jail sign

Liberty Jail was a great experience! I wasn't aware that the museum was built around the jail and I thought that was a pretty cool detail and thankful that it was being preserved as such. I was also overcome with gratitude for what Joseph Smith went through for us. He could have gotten out of it very easily by denying that the Book of Mormon was true. But he stood up tall for what he believed in. It made me realize that I have alot to work on and it made me want to become steadfast and immovable more than ever before.

Liberty Jail. There are mannequins inside to show how tight spaced it really was inside

That night, we drove to our hotel in Independence. We didn't see any sights that night. We actually stopped at a local church building and held a testimony meeting. It started out extremely spiritual. The spirit in that room was SO intense! Unfortunately, the meeting started to drag on and it felt like the spirit was decreasing. I think it was because everyone was getting pretty restless. That testimony meeting lasted two and a half hours long, which I think was just too long. But it was still amazingly awesome! When we got back to the hotel, most of us all walked across the street to the IHop. I swear, there had to be at least 50 of us. Poor employees.
The next day, we went over to the Independence Visitor's Center where they taught us what life was like for the pioneers that had lived there. Afterwards, we went across the street to the Community of Christ (aka the RLDS) temple.

As you can see, it looks as if it came straight out of a Tim Burton film and I was very hesitant to go inside. However, I was pleasantly surprised as to what I found inside. They took us first into their most sacred room, the sanctuary room. In this room, they told us that this was their main room for worship. They held daily prayer sessions in this room, praying everyday for a different country, which I thought was awesome honestly. The tour guide went on to say how their main goal of their church is peace and to spread it throughout the world.

This is the ceiling in the sanctuary room, which is the inside of the spire

I came out of that temple with a feeling that I never thought of before. Many people came out of their angry and upset we went over there, saying that "That's not a temple" or "I felt the spirit leave me as soon as I went in." Well, I didn't feel any other that. I felt that sure, its not a temple to US, but it's still THEIR temple and still a building dedicated to Heavenly Father where people worship Him. I also felt a definite spirit there, even though it was a different spirit than inside one of our temples. I just felt like if we want other religions to respect us then we MUST respect their's and there was just a ton of negativity that came from our group, which actually really annoyed me.

Well, that was basically my trip to Nauvoo. The next two days were just riding in the bus forever. Nothing exciting. But anyways, this was such an amazing trip and I SO needed it, especially at this time in my life. I still feel like I'm on a spiritual high from it! Oh, I cannot wait to go back. I do, however, honestly believe that the only thing that would have made this trip better would have been to have my family there with me because I have SUCH a better respect for them and my heritage.


Chelsey and Jacob came down for graduation. What great friends!!!

Stevie, me, and Whitney

After many hours of homework, stressing over studying, light nights, all-nighters, and random meltdowns, I'm finally a college graduate! Hooray! Sure, I only have my associates, but I'm still the first in my family to have a college degree. That is a big deal to me. It makes me feel very special, especially because I'm pretty much the biggest ditz in my family and say alot of stupid things. But I have a degree. Wahoo! Its incredible how awesome I feel right now. I can only imagine how much more awesome I'm going to feel when I receive my master's degree! Woo-ee.
Anyways, to celebrate graduating from Eastern Utah with a major in Liberal Studies and an emphasis on Psychology, I have gone on a week long trip with my institute. We are hitting up pretty much every historical church site from Utah to Nauvoo. Very exciting. I'll write more about that when the trip is over.