Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not My Way

OK, so this first part's a little bit of a rant, so if you want to skip it to get to the topic of the title, go ahead.  But it kind of a lead in to my topic.  Or if you're REALLY lazy, I guess I can highlight my key points.  But don't be so lazy!  Just read it!

College is almost over, once again.  This semester has been one of the greatest, by far!  My roommates are amazing, classes have been pretty good, my grades are better than I thought they would be, and I've just grown up so much!  It's weird to look back at where I was this time last year as a first semester freshman.  I was shy, quiet, and completely shelled up in my own little bubble.  I wasn't very outgoing and I didn't really have a social life.  I was just bogged down and stressed with homework all the time.  This semester as a first semester sophomore, I'm COMPLETELY different!  I'm probably one of the loudest people in my whole apartment complex, and I'm super outgoing.  I'm still bogged down with homework, but I don't let it get in the way of my social life.  Most importantly, my testimony of my Older Brother, my Savior, Jesus Christ, has grown more than I could ever imagine!  Which leads to my topic.  

OK, now if you were silly enough to skip, go back and read it.  Or not.  Your loss.  

I've learned that I can rely fully on the Savior for help and comfort, and to put my trust completely in Him.  Seriously, all the hard parts of life really aren't that bad when you rely fully on the Lord to take care of His will.  His way is ALWAYS the best way.  There's times when we have plans for ourselves.  Plans change.  It's a fact of life.  When has there ever been a time when everything you've wanted has happened?  It just doesn't work that way.  I just had an experience where my plan didn't go my way.  I've had a dream over the past year and a half.  I've literally thought about it every single day, hoping and praying that it would come true.  I wanted to be a Young Performing Missionary in Nauvoo, IL.  I wanted to serve a mission over the summer where I would be doing what I love to do; singing and acting on stage.  I worked so hard to get it.  I practiced and practiced, and spent all day recording my audition.  I literally did everything I could have done to get in.  And then today I got an email.  Out of the 150 people who tried out, only 20 could make it.  I didn't make the cut.

But, I knew that this was not my decision.  It is ultimately the Lord's.  He will put me where I need to be, when I need to be there.  That's my new motto in life.  I clearly remember the first devotional during the Spring Semester 2011.  The quote was, "Be where you need to be, when you need to be there."  I truly believe that as I go about life doing all I can to be a faithful servant of the Lord, He will do what is best for me.  It's up to me to put my trust in Him and say, "Thy will be done, O Lord, and not mine."  I hand my life over to Him.  He knows the eternal scheme of things and where I need to be in my life.  Ever since I turned in my audition video and form, I pleaded with the Lord to let me go.  I poured my heart out to Him, saying all the reasons I should go.  But after each prayer, I ended with, "Thy will be done, and not mine."  As the day drew closer for me to hear back from them, I started to think about what would happen if I didn't make it.  I knew I would be disappointed.  I've spent literally every day for the past year and a half thinking about this.  So I began to pray for comfort if I didn't make it.  I asked Him to help me be able to accept His will.

Today I got the email.  I saw who it was from.  The ultimate truth.  This would be the deciding factor for my life next summer.  I opened it.  

"Dear Lakesha,
Thanks so much for applying to be a Young Performing Missionary in Nauvoo, Illinois.  You are wonderfully talented, and we applaud your desire to use your talents in the service of the Lord.
This year Nauvoo Productions received close to 150 applications, from which we were able to select only 20 for the Summer 2012 mission.   As you can imagine, the selection process was extremely difficult. Although we’re not able to include you in this year’s group, we encourage you to consider applying again next year.
Thanks so much for your interest, and for your willingness to serve.
We wish you the very best!"

Talk about disappointment!  I just sat there on my bed, stunned.  I really thought I had a chance.  I had felt good about this decision for so long.  Then I thought back to all my pleadings with the Lord.  Ever since I started to ask Him for help to soften the blow if I didn't make it, I realized that I felt less and less excited to go.  I realized that He was preparing me, for which I'm extremely thankful.  The Lord really does care about each and every one of us.  He wants us to be happy.  He wants us to be successful.  It's just in His time frame and His way.  

Now that I have been thinking about this all day, I feel much more comfortable with the outcome.  I'm actually happy about it.  I know now that I'm supposed to be in Rexburg.  I can look forward to more great times with Caitlin and Kelsey and my new roommates!  Who knows what will happen in the spring?  Only the Lord knows, and He did what was best for me at this time.  So am I disappointed?  Sure.  But am I going to take this positively and have faith that my life is only going to be better because of this?  Most definitely.  Not my way, but the Lord's way.  That's the only way to live my life!   

Thursday, November 17, 2011

FAILURE... but Funny

So... my dear roommate Carlee and I have really outdone ourselves.  We've gotten into this thing where we like to make epic videos.  (To see some of these, click the links. Scary Cliche Movie Scenes Part 1 and the best one of all... Scary Cliche Movie Scenes Part 2.  You won't regret it.  I promise.)

Today, Carlee saw a picture on her friend's facebook wall...


So of course we had to try it out!  We go over to the BYU-I Center, aka the BUIC (pronounced like the car), where there's a nifty new elevator that talks to you.  After about 20 times riding up and down trying to get it to work--and getting laughed at because we're just riding in the elevator over and over like a bunch of kids-- we decided this probably wasn't the smartest thing we've done.  So what do we do?  We go to the library on campus and try it there too.  :)  Our reasoning?  Maybe old elevators work better with this trick than new elevators.  The answer to that is, of course, no.  We just made even more fools of ourselves, especially when people walked in the elevator during our experiment.  

Total failure.  But hilarious at the same time!  I've never had so much fun in an elevator before!  Great way to take a break from piles of homework!  Oh, the things we do.  Every moment is spontaneous with Carlee.  Refer to my post "Things I Love."   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Gospel is like Windshield Wipers

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.  But I don't like bugs, so I always try to be the windshield.  Seriously though, I always try to make the best out of every situation!  It's all in the attitude, so why not be happy about life?  There's no reason to NOT be happy.  Every negative situation can be turned into a positive.  Even when I'm having a awful, crummy day, I always have the Gospel.  That's what truly makes me happy.  So I guess you could say that the Gospel is like windshield wipers.  It helps me see past the bugs.  Every confusing, bad situation can be seen past with the clarity the Gospel brings to my life.  What would I do without it?  I can't even express how happy it makes me!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Things I Love

It's been awhile since I've last updated.  And a LOT of stuff has happened!  Shoot, it's already midterms, and I haven't even posted anything about college yet!  But I'll save you all the crazy details I guess.  If I said everything I've done, this will take years to read.  So here it is in a nutshell...

I love all my roommates SO MUCH!!!!  Only Christy moved out, and I miss her like crazy, but it's been fun having Mary in with us!  I've connected with my roommates tons more this semester than I ever have before!  So here's some things I love about them.

Kira:  You're my big sister, and I love ya!  You're the greatest example to me, and you have no idea how much I look up to you!  You're such a great source of strength to me!  I love that I can see you every day and talk to you about anything!  You're faith and testimony continue to pull me through, just like they always have.  You're one of the main reasons I am where I am today.  So thanks for being the best big sis ever!  I'm glad we'll be together for eternity!  (Sorry, but you're stuck with me!) 

Carlee:  Scary movies will never be the same without you.  I don't know if I'll be able to watch them without you!  They're just that more epic!  And I love all our crazy times and videos we do.  I've loved all our talks and all the times we're just crazy together.  We make spontaneous look spontaneous... if that even makes sense.  Anyway, I'm going to miss you SO much after you graduate, so you'd better continue to visit!

Kelsey:  Hey twin!  (No, literally, for anyone who doesn't know, she's exactly 1 hour and 13 minutes older than me.)  I'm lovin' our bonding moments and our talks and the random similarities we keep finding between us!  You know exactly when something is wrong and you're just the greatest at making someone feel better.  Even just seeing your face makes me just feel better!  I like our conversations that take place instead of homework... is that bad?  Maybe... IDK.  All I know is that you're super easy to talk to, and I'm glad I can talk to you about anything.  Let's stay friends/sisters, OK?  OK.

Caitlin:  Haha, I don't even know where to start!  You never cease to crack me up, especially after late night DQ runs.  And there's nothing better than to see your bright, happy, shiny face after me literally rolling out of bed and staggering into the bathroom with my eyes still closed at 6:45 in the morning.  It makes my days go even that much better!  I've loved our laughs and our crazy escapades we've had lately.  I'm feelin' the bond.  Are you?!

Mary:  I'm so glad you moved into our apartment!  I will never, ever hear the words, trippin' and strugglin' again without thinking of you.  I love how we find time to talk every day.  You truly are Mary Sunshine!  You totally bring the sunshine into our apartment, and I love it!  So don't ever change!  You're so beautiful, inside and out.

Something else I love are the totally random inspirations I receive.  This semester I've seen so many tiny miracles in my life.  I had one not even 5 hours ago!  I was trying to get a lesson ready for the kindergarten class I'm teaching tomorrow on the differences between wants and needs, and I had no idea how I was going to do it and make it a 20 minute lesson.  I sat down in the teacher's section of the library, looked over at a book on the bookshelf that said, "Early Childhood Special Ed teaching."  It made me really interested, since that's my major, but I was pressed for time, so I told myself to ignore the book and just concentrate on my lesson.  But something kept nagging at me to look at it, so I did, and the first thing I saw in there were the words, "Wants and needs."  Talk about a miracle!  But wait, it gets better.  It had a whole lesson plan and activity ideas right in there!  If there's one thing I've learned, it's to never ignore little promptings.  The make a huge difference!  I've seen little tender mercies literally every day!  You just have to pay attention!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011


We had the BEST vacation this summer!  Kira and I were done with classes on Thursday, so we went home that day and packed all up.  Friday night we left and went down to Ogden to leave Bear with Grandma. 

Early Saturday morning, Mom and Dad rushed us out the door to drive the rest of the way to Vegas.  When we got there, it was only like 3:30, but Mom and Dad were rushing us to get our stuff into the hotel, which we had no idea why.  We still had the whole day to see the sights!  But, being the obedient children we are, we did it anyway.  In the hotel room, they made us turn around and hold out our hands behind our backs.  Now I was super curious.  They put a piece of paper in my hand, and when I looked at it, I couldn’t believe my eyes!  They bought us all tickets to see The Lion King!  And that’s why they were hurrying us so fast.  It started in less than an hour and a half, and we still had to get there. 

We had a little time before the show started, so we saw the MGM Grand.  The show was absolutely amazing!  So when that was done, we went around and saw some more sights.  We went around to most of the hotels.  There’s some pretty sweet ones!  And they’re ginormous! We saw the water show at the Bellagio, and the volcano show.  

 They were both pretty sweet, but not nearly as cool as World of Color in Disneyland!  Sunday morning we went to Sacrament meeting there at 9, then left to drive to Disneyland!!!!!  Woot woot!  The traffic was awful though.  We got stuck with all the Californians who went to Vegas for the weekend.  We spend about a half day in Disneyland on Sunday.  We did the new Little Mermaid ride in California Adventure and saw World of Color.  LOVE IT!!!!!   

We spend 6 days in there, and left Friday afternoon.  It was Lance’s birthday on Thursday, so we went to Rainforest CafĂ©.  Muy delicioso!   

We also went to the beach while we were there!  I LOVE the beach!!!  :)
We drove to Phoenix Friday night, and it’s HOT there!  At 10:00 in the morning, it was already 110 degrees!  Yuck.  I wouldn’t want to live there.  Much too hot for my likings!  We drove over to El Paso, TX to see some of the people Kira served.  We could see Juarez, Mexico from our hotel!  That’s the most dangerous city in the world right now, but El Paso’s the 10th safest city in the US.  Weird how that works out.  But it was pretty cool.  

 We went to church in both the English and the Spanish wards.  So 6 hours of church where I only understood 3.  But it was kinda cool.  Monday morning we went over to Carlsbad Caverns.  It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life!  And while there, I decided to make a Bucket List.  #1 is to do the guided tours where I have to crawl, climb ladders and ropes, and use a head lamp/helmet thingie.  That was the coolest 3 hours of my life!   




We then drove over to Albuquerque for 3 days to see the people she served over there.  Our hotel was AWESOME!  They gave us one room, but it smelled like smoke, so they changed us to a penthouse!  There were 2 floors to it!  But still only 3 beds.  But it’s all good!   


Thursday, we went to the Sandia Tram, which is the longest tram in the world.  It took us up 4,000 feet to the top of the Sandia Mountains.  Pretty sweet!  Great view too. 




Then we drove over to Cortez, Colorado, and stopped at the 4 Corners on the way.   

Our hotel in Cortez was an adventure.  We’re pretty sure it wasn’t structurally sound.  And there was a sign in the bathroom warning us not to turn the bath water on all the way or we could get scalding water.  Great!  So our hotel room had the potential to kill us!  It wasn’t level either.  It scared me!  But the cool thing there was Mesa Verde National Park!  It’s a place not too far away that has ancient ruins all over the mountains!  We spent 2 days there because it was so cool!   



Then we drove back to Ogden, picked up Bear who was VERY excited to see us, and got home about 2:00 in the morning on Sunday.  So yep.  There’s our trip!  Super fun, and super long!  We clocked about 80 hours total in the car.  Yuck!   


It's never a good thing when my family gets loopy.  And we were gone a long time and had plenty of time in the car to go crazy!  We made a quote book while we were gone.  It. Is. Awesome.  Not gonna lie!  It’s got things like… “I’m sorry.” “Hakuna Matata!” (It means no worries.) … “The caveman’s not very photogenic.” and much, much, much more.  It was great!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I am so grateful that I have this wonderful opportunity to have the Gospel in my life.  Everyday I see a new way I have been blessed by my Heavenly Father.  He has done so much for me, like given me a wonderful family, great friends and amazing roommates!  He has given me the hope that I can become better and most importantly, He has given me my Brother, Jesus Christ, who atoned for my sins so that I might be forgiven.  I know I'm not perfect, but with Him, someday I can be.  I know that my Redeemer lives and loves me to the end.  These words are so comforting to me.  I can't wait until I get to be reunited with Him once more after this life.  I came across a version of this song from a friend in my ward when I helped her with a musical number for Sacrament Meeting, and I totally fell in love with it.  It's an arrangement by Michael R. Hicks.  Here's a link to it.  I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Kira!

June 30th.  An epic day. 

It's Kira's birthday!  Except for the fact that I'm a 1/2 hour late posting this.  Oh well.

I just love Kira!  She's the greatest sister in the world, and I'm lucky enough to get to have her as a roommate too!  We've got a great relationship together!  We hardly ever fight, and she's my best friend!  We've always gotten along pretty well, but we really got close after her mission.  Almost all of my crazy moments involve her.  We're just awesome like that!

video
Here is an epic video of us together.  Have you ever seen the Tunak Tunak Tun video on youtube?  If not, feel to watch and enjoy.  Just click the link.  Well, we recreated it.  This is what we do in our spare time.  And yes, moments like this happen quite often.  And I'm sure there'll be plenty more to go around!  Here's our version of Tunak Tunak Tun. Hopefully it works.

Anyway, I'm so grateful for the best big sister in the world!  Love you Kira!  And I can't wait for more crazy adventures headed our way!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Night of Recording

When I'm super stressed, there's one thing that I can always count on to calm me down.  And let me tell you, college is stressful.  So I sit down at the piano and just play away.  I had a monster homework assignment I had to get done today that's due tomorrow, and I'd been working on it for hours straight.  I was going crazy!  So I had to get out of the apartment.  I grabbed my piano books and headed over to the Snow building on campus.  There was one practice room left open, so I grabbed it.  I sat down at the piano and played away.  I'd been wanting to record my song I wrote, so brought my camera with me.  An hour later, I felt much better and had gotten the song and some others recorded.  So I guess now that I've told you about them, I have to show you.  So here they are!  Just click on the links and it'll take you to my youtube page.

This first one is "Unstoppable," the song I wrote a few weeks ago.  It's still not quite perfect, but it's getting there.  I wrote it for a couple of close friends in mind, but it goes for anybody.  We are unstoppable when the Lord is on our side.  Don't mind the mistake I made.  :)  Unstoppable

I'm really wanting to try out to be a Young Performing Missionary in Nauvoo for next summer.  Ever since we went there last summer, it's been on the top of my To Do list.  For part of my audition, I have to sing 2 minutes of an upbeat, Broadway song and 2 minutes of a hymn or ballad.  One of my favorite Broadway songs is Don't Rain on My Parade from Funny Girl.  So I'm using that one!  It's by all means not perfect yet, but it's getting better.  Thank goodness I don't actually have to play the piano for that part of the audition!  So good luck Mom!  Or whoever plays it for me.  :)  Don't Rain on my Parade

The other song I want to audition with is my favorite hymn ever, I Believe in Christ.  This is a beautiful arrangement in the EFY book from a couple of years ago.  I Believe in Christ

I'm so thankful for good music and for the talents which Heavenly Father has blessed me with!  I know I'm not the absolute greatest, but I don't really care.  It's just important that I can bring myself and others joy with the talents which I do have.  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What Has College Done to Me?!

I used to be a shy and quiet person.  Then all that changed.  College life began.  My roommates are all AMAZING!  I love all of them so super duper much!  We always have great times, and there's NEVER a dull moment in Apartment 301.  It's pretty epic!  Carlee and I have been in this scary movie watching mode, and Christy's been joining us lately, much to our great joy and pleasure.  Tonight, we were making plans to go get "The Roommate" from Red Box then go to Horkley's to get some really big, really cheap root beer.  I don't even remember how, but the topic of war paint came up in our conversation, and we decided to have some fun with makeup.  This is how we started. 



Then we really got crazy!  First of all with a dance party in our bathroom, dancing to Grease and Hairspray music. 





Then we pulled out all our makeup and put our hair up in fun ways.  We. Are. Gorgeous.





And yes, just in case you are wondering, we did go out like this.  And got lots of laughs and smiles all along the way.  So I ask again... what has college done to me?!  I have no idea, but it's fun!

We then proceeded to have the most epic of dance parties in our living room.  I'm not sure if this link will work, but we'll try it.  If not, go to my facebook and look at the "Barbie Girls" video I'm tagged in.  I think you'll quite enjoy.  But I hope you'll still talk to me afterwards.  Barbie Girls 

Oh, and keep in mind that this whole experience was BEFORE we got on a sugar high.  You don't want to see us on one. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Mommy!

It's Mom's birthday!  So I wanted to recognize her for the fantastic Mom she is!  She's the greatest Mom in the world!  She does everything for me, and I can't even say how grateful I am for her!  So here's some trips down memory lane.

Disneyland is our favorite place to go!  This is Mom and I right after Splash Mountain.  We got soaked!

 During the house remodel, Mom and I showed our buffness and ripped out the tile and wood from the front entrance.  Pretty fun, and we did a great job if I do say so myself!




Mom was the chaperone for my Royal Blue trip to Disneyland!  This is us on the plane!  I love going to with my best friend places!
 
Mom's also one of my biggest supporters in everything I do!  She encouraged and helped me through my district musicals.  This is Mom and her older daughter, ME!!!  As Aunt March in Little Women.

Mom hates camping.  But she's the Stake Young Women President, so she's had to go!  It was really fun seeing her camp!

And one of my favorite moments... FAMILY GAME TIME!!!  I think we grow closer as a family when we have fun together!  So family game nights are just the greatest!  Story behind this one is the game Curses!  It's basically the greatest game ever created!  Hilarious!  Especially when you start it on New Years Eve at 1:00 in the morning.  :)  This picture was taken at an awkward moment.  Mom had to demonstrate how to shave an invisible cat.  Guess who's the cat?  Yep!  That's me!


I love you bunches Mom!  You're the best!  Thanks for everything!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chocolate Chips and Midterms

"My tummy's talkin'!"
"We could make a band with our weird noises."
*Uncontrollable laughter and spazzing out*
Studying in the closet.  It's like a box where you feel safe.
Twitching.

These are just a few of the things that have happened to me, Kira, and our roommate Kelsey in the past half hour.  Yes, it's midterms week.  Yes, we've had a lack of sleep.  Yes, it's late again.  And YES, we've eaten lots and lots and lots of chocolate chips.  These things combined make for a VERY entertaining life together.  And new quotes on the quote wall.  Can't wait for finals week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Unstoppable

A couple of years ago, I had this idea pop into my head, and I haven't been able to get it out since.  I've put it off, thinking it's too hard and I wouldn't be able to do it.  That idea is a song.  It actually all started out when I was in the shower one day.  This line just kept repeating itself to me, and I have no idea where it came from.  "I am unstoppable when the Lord is on my side."  And I had a tune come to me as well.  But that's all that ever came.  I never tried to continue it, thinking, "I don't even know the first thing about song writing!  How in the world would I be able to do this?"  But for two years, this one line has been repeating itself over and over in my head.  Since then, I've taken only one basic music theory class.  This past Saturday, I was REALLY bored.  I have a program on my computer that lets me put in notes and it'll play it back to me.  So I sat down and started fiddling around with it.  I got the lyrics written in under an hour.  Then the tune gradually started coming.  I've got the tune completed, and am now working on the accompaniment part, which is a lot slower coming.  But it IS coming!   I only have the first page completed.  And so far, it's into six pages.  But I know that I'm not doing this on my own.  I truly believe that this idea has come from the Lord through inspiration.  And the words were definitely inspired!  There's no way I could have written them all in under an hour by myself!  So I'm getting this task completed.  I feel like I was called to do it.  Just as the lyrics go, "I am unstoppable when the Lord is on my side.  I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."  So here goes nothing!  Here's the lyrics.  Any ideas?


Unstoppable:

This task is hard
Which He has sent me here to do
With all the trouble around me
How am I supposed to do His will?
I try to be strong
I try to be brave
But life pulls me down
How can I press on?

But I know
I am unstoppable when the Lord is on my side
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me
If I have faith and turn to Him
He will guide me in my path

At times I’m scared
And I don’t know what to do
But we all have trials
We’re not in this alone
I am weak
I am a sinner
And life pulls me down
I start to lose my way.

And then I remember
I am unstoppable when the Lord is on my side
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me
If I have faith and turn to Him
He will guide me in my path

Life is never perfect
We are hurt by the ones we love the most
The pathway seems dark and dreary
At times you might think,
“I can’t go on.
I can’t believe anymore.”
And life pulls you down
And you start to lose your way.

But please remember
You are unstoppable when the Lord is on your side
You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you
If you have faith and turn to Him
He will guide you in your path

There is a plan
Set for each and every one of us
There will be bumps along the way
But there must be opposition in all things
Let’s try to be strong
Let’s try to be brave
Life will pull us down
But we can press on!

Because
We are unstoppable when the Lord is on our side
We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us
If we have faith and turn to Him
He will guide us on our paths.

We are unstoppable!

Friday, May 13, 2011

No Longer Vitimin D Deficient

I'm going to soak up the sun
I've got my 45 on
So I can rock on!

I've soaked up the sun so much today!  And I should have had my 45 SPF sunscreen on today...but you know, it just felt good.  And... I'm definitely rocking on.  :)

OK.  So I'm corny.  But who cares?!  It sunny!  For once in my life it seems.  It's been such a dreary and cold winter and spring.  So I'm pretty much the happiest person in the world right now.  I am no longer Vitamin D deficient!

I went outside for two of my classes today... the only two I had today actually.  Then I took 5 quizzes in the testing center and literally had the hallelujah chorus sung to me when I passed them all... no really, I literally did.  :)  Then I sat outside with my sister until she went to class, attempted to do homework, and 2 hours later, went to my next class.  So basically, I'm fried and loving it!  Gotta love aloe vera though!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Book Written for Me

I just LOVE going to school at BYU-Idaho!  I think it's the greatest place in the world!  There's such a great spirit on campus, and everybody loves everybody.  I especially love that I get to go to a religion class each semester.  Since I'm still only a freshman, I'm taking the Book of Mormon class, and I absolutely LOVE it!  I've been in the class for less than 3 weeks, and I've learned so much more about it!  I can't count how many times I've read it before, but this semester's different.  We read a talk by President Benson that really opened my eyes.  He said that even though it was written over a thousand years ago, everything in it was written for our day.  The people the stories are about never read these things.  I've always read it before only seeing cool stories.  But now, I think, "How does this relate to the world today?  What is this trying to teach me?"  I can actually see how it applies directly into my life.  It's a book written for me!  I especially love the stories in Alma.  Before, they were just cool war stories and cool conversion stories.  Now, they're an amazing testimony of how the Lord lives!  I can't wait for my daily scripture study.  I take notes and pay a lot better attention to what I'm reading, instead of just skimming a couple verses every night.  I'm reading many chapters a night and really getting into it!  My testimony is so much stronger now!  It's amazing what less than 3 weeks can do to my life.  It truly is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."  I feel happier, even though I've always been a pretty happy person.  I'm feeling more alive, and every day more and more grateful of what the Lord has done for my life.  I'm so thankful that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!  This gospel has done so much for me and has given me so much peace and comfort in my life.  I can't imagine a life without it.  It's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me!  I can't wait to read about it more!  I can't wait to continue developing my testimony of my Savior.  I JUST LOVE THIS GOSPEL!!!