Monday, January 28, 2013

Road Closed

 Last year, I lived for those snowy Flagstaff nights. The whole city illuminated with an orangey glow; every sound softened, and the entire ground turned a brilliant, pure white. I lived for the mornings when I was always able to eat bowlfuls of the freshly fallen snow, trudge to class all bundled up and slowly become covered in white as the wind lifted the snow from trees and roofs.
Returning to Flagstaff, I feared that those days were long gone. The whole year had been unusually hot and dry, and only one snow had hit Flagstaff all through December and the first part of January. There was still snow on the ground when I moved in,  but mostly it was hard and dirty. Luckily, however, my fears of not seeing snow fall were unnecessary! This morning I woke up in a beautiful winter wonderland. Throughout all of today (and maybe tomorrow too) snow has been slowly drifting down, covering that old, gross snow with pure perfection. My old delight has returned!
As I walked around, grabbing handfuls of snow to eat off the ground, I thought of some of my snow memories. I have seen, played in , and watched snow fall many times, but the memory that sticks out the most happened on a family road trip through Arizona.
Because I have a large family, going on any sort of a vacation gets expensive. We automatically have to have two hotel rooms, cram into Dad's truck that gets about 18 mpg and does not even seat all of us, and spend bundles of money to buy the simplest of meals. In order to avoid all of that, my family normally takes road trips. We spend the nights camping in the middle of nowhere in our family sized tent.  Meals are carefully planned and packed to avoid the expenses of eating out; we do still have to squish into the uneconomical truck, but we survive.
Well a few years ago our family decided to embark on another adventure and cruise through Arizona for spring break. We would visit my grandparents, see the Grand Canyon, visit NAU (I was applying to colleges at the time), and attempt to see as many small little towns as possible. The trip was so much fun. We hit every destination and created awesome memories. For the final days of the trip, the main goal was just to get home.
Well my dad has driven through Arizona a lot, so instead of taking the regular route home, he had the desire to try a more scenic route. Based on his knowledge of the roads, my family had no fear and decided to let the driver do whatever he wanted. Although we started with complete confidence, it soon faded  when we came to a large sign that read ROAD CLOSED. Instead of turning around and searching for a different side road, Dad decided it did not look too bad and swerved around the sign.  
He was right; the condition was not bad at all. We easily maneuvered
across the dirt road. All was fine and dandy until we turned a corner and a widening in the road appeared. In front of us, the road laid covered in snow. It seemed to only be a few inches deep, but as the truck shuddered to a stop we realized it was not as it appeared. Dad tried accelerating but the wheels just spun, unable to grip the road. After several minutes it was obvious something had to be done. We unloaded our crammed bodies from the truck to view the damage. Sure enough the snow was deeper than expected.

Dad immediately started thinking of ideas to get the truck unstuck. We tried loading into the bed to put more weight on the wheels; we tried pushing; we tried placing rocks and sticks under the wheels for traction. Nothing worked.

As Dad brainstormed, the rest of us played in the snow. Because it was warming up during the day the uppermost part of the snow would melt, but then at night, when it got colder, it would freeze again into ice. Therefore, it created a strong top layer but underneath lay soft, fresh snow. I remember my little sister, Madison, walking on top of the snow. Then unexpectedly it gave out underneath her weight and she dropped through the top layer, quickly submerging herself up to her knees in the snow. Of course we all had to try that! We had a great time sinking into the snow and exposing the softness underneath the ice; however, as usually happens, after five minutes the fun, exciting snow  transformed into a miserable enemy that only sought to freeze us. Soon we resorted to complaining, blaming Dad for disregarding the warning sign.

For the trip, we had decided to leave cell phones behind and live off the grid for a week. My older sister was already upset about that, but she became irate because we now had no way of contacting anyone in our stranded position. All of us sisters became convinced that we might die out there. We could see it in the headlines: Family missing for 3 months discovered behind road closed sign. As our despair and fear and coldness reached its peak, we stuck as many sticks and pine needles under the tires as we could find. Dad got into the driver's seat and gave some gas and we watched amazed as the truck lurched forward!

After three hours of sitting in the snow, the truck finally gained enough traction and pulled through the rest of the snow with ease. We made it through the rest of that road safely, but I think we all learned a valuable lesson about heeding the warning signs on the road and in life.

David A Bednar stated: Early warning signals are evident in many aspects of our lives. For example, a fever can be a first symptom of sickness or disease. Various financial and labor market indicators are used to forecast future trends in local and national economies. And depending upon the area of the world in which we live, we may receive flood, avalanche, hurricane, tsunami, tornado, or winter storm warnings.
We also are blessed by spiritual early warning signals as a source of protection and direction in our lives. Recall how Noah was alerted by God of things not yet seen, and he “prepared [the] ark to the saving of his house” (Hebrews 11:7).
Spiritual warnings should lead to increasingly vigilant watching. You and I live in “a day of warning” (D&C 63:58). And because we have been and will be warned, we need to be, as the Apostle Paul admonished, “watching … with all perseverance” (Ephesians 6:18).
April 2010 General Conference "Watching with All Perseverance"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ways to Save

So last school year ( when I was at NAU) I stated that I would embark on showing ways to save while in college. I think I posted once and then left the blogging world for several months. However, I am trying to be more dedicated to it now and am even aiming to post at least once of week.

With that goal in mind, I am constantly looking for something to write about. Currently, not much is happening: class, reading, dinner, church, reading,  studying, movie watching, and of course more reading! So until I add some spontaneity to my schedule,  I am going to try to restart the thread on saving.

So this week, I found a great way to save. I have been going out to dinner quite a bit these past few nights, and on the occasions that I do actually have to pay, cheap is sweet. Tonight I went with some friends to La Fonda's Mexican restaurant, and as you might have guessed, it was Taco Tuesday! Five types of tacos (chicken, beef, carnita, asada, and mashed potato) were one dollar each. Plus, La Fonda offers Sopaipillas for only .65 cents! It can best be compared to heaven. Cheap and delicious. The only issue I see is its location, too far to walk. Luckily, I have some friends with benefits (car benefits that is), so I was able to go.

The restaurant and food was great and I was glad to be out exploring Flagstaff again.  If you are looking for ways to save in college be sure to check out local restaurants and see if they have any deals going on certain days or even discounts for students.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Home Sweet Freezing Home

Well I am all situated back at Northern Arizona University. Today marked the first day of school for most, but with my awesome schedule, I still do not start until tomorrow.

About a week ago, terror struck me as I realized I would be moving into an apartment with four new roommates. I did not know them at all and sharing a room did not sound appealing. Plus I worried about sharing food (clearly I am a little selfish:), but also looming overhead was the fact that I would be back to NAU knowing  barely anyone.

However, after these first two days, everything seems to be ok. I met some new faces yesterday. In addition, people always seem to be popping into the apartment, so there is plenty of entertainment. I also was able to fit all my stuff into my tiny little space (and do a little much-needed cleaning to the place... add OCD to selfish) I am not so worried any more though. Things seem to be going well.

My new home!
The snow and cold is going to take some getting used to though! It is beautiful, but I forgot about the slippery ice and frozen noses. Luckily, us humans have invented heaters.

The view on the drive up! San Francisco peaks in the horizon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

One week down

We are already one week into the New Year and I am getting ready to pack up my home in Mesa and head up to Flagstaff for another great semester at NAU. I am excited for the classes I enrolled in and even have a perfect schedule meaning I only go to class on Tuesday and Thursday. Although it appears perfect now, I'll keep you informed as to how the semester actually goes. However, before all that gets started I wanted to list some more goals for 2013.
      1. Get another passport stamp: I currently do not have any travel plans for 2013, so the end of the year might bring about a quick jump across the border.
      2. A's and B's in classes: I have a couple I am worried about like my senior capstone (no I am not a senior) and a new Latin American history class.
      3. Morning prayers: I could improve on frequency
      4. Become a better friend: I have a tendency to disconnect with my friends throughout the year and then quickly reconnect over summer, so I want to keep up with them and talk more often.
      5. Stay fit: I am excited to be preparing my own food these next couple of months and I hope to continue working on my running abilities.

I hope I am able to focus on work on these goals. In a couple of days, I will head off to my new temporary home. I am so excited!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year!

I have been looking forward to this day for the past several weeks, a new feeling since New Years has never been anything all that special. Normally, I stay up until midnight (which got harder this year), watch the Time Square ball drop, bang pots and pans, set off a few fireworks, and then head off to bed (which got easier this year).

Of course, my excitement did not revolve around the upcoming midnight festivities; it revolved around the first of the January, The day that really is not any different from any other day except that it inspires billions of people around the world to make changes in their lives (kind of impressive ah?)That was what I was excited for, to set goals and be prompted to change, to have a day to look back on one year from now and say "look how far I have come". Now the day is here!

This past month, I have realized that I am not happy with the way I am. There are a couple character traits that I have let grow and become apart of me, and to be honest I do not like them. As the reality of this hit me, I tried thinking of ways to improve.

Two weeks ago in Sunday school, Moroni 7:45 was discussed it states:

Contribute to charity, even if on the smallest of scales.. I'm sure everyone has at least on that is close to their heartsAnd charity suffereth long, and is kind and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Could it have hit my every weakness any harder? Then earlier this week I had my Ipod on shuffle and a talk from 2010 General Conference began to play. It was entitled "Charity Never Faileth" by President Thomas S. Monson. He stated:

"I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.
There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere."
I believe adding charity into y character would help erase some of the traits I possess that I am not proud to claim. So with all of these inspiring words and resolutions in mind, I hope for the best and press forward into 2013!