Archives for category: Events

Remember that seventh grader I used to mentor who keeps popping back into my life, I want to help her and her family of five by providing a Thanksgiving dinner for them. I just would need a couple of side dishes and hopefully enough to buy them a pre-cooked turkey so they don’t have to worry about cooking it. I will deliver everything the night before Thanksgiving, so let me know if you are interested in helping!

My dad created this video for Veteran’s Day in memory of my great-grandfather Roy Swainhart who served in WWI.

I also want to share my appreciation for those who have served and fought for our freedom. I am so grateful for the soldiers who have been willing to put their lives on the line for each one of us. Thank you veterans and soldiers, you’re in my thoughts today.

In the past, I would question those who decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies was fine, but decorating was a no-go. But now, I am obsessed. I broke out my N’sync Christmas Album this week (which in my opinion, is the best Christmas CD ever made), and it let to a chain of events.

N’Sync Christmas to Pandora Christmas Station. Pandora Christmas Station to Eggnog flavored lipgloss and scented candles. Eggnog flavored lipgloss and scented candles to watching Elf. Watching Elf to buying Christmas decorations. Buying Christmas decorations to setting up Christmas decorations. Setting up Christmas decorations to setting up my little fiberoptic and tacky (yet mesmerizing) Christmas tree. Setting up my little fiberoptic and tacky Christmas tree to pulling out the full size Christmas tree.

Fortunately I stopped there. I didn’t want to put the tree up without T.J. since it’s our first married Christmas. But I still had to stop the madness. If anyone visits my house they are going to think I am psychotic! But I couldn’t help myself. One thing led to another, and now our place is a winter wonderland.



I am thinking about throwing a Christmas Cookie Exchange with a friend of mine and I am trying to figure out the details. I don’t want to make tons of beautiful cookies and have them be exchanged and replaced by some Oreos or something. Oreos are great, but they’re not quite cookie exchange material. But how to I tell people that? How do I ensure that I invite people who understand this!? I wanted to invite my whole relief society because it would be a fun get-together and nice way to meet more people.

Any suggestions? Should I make invitations instead of an open event? I guess it has to be open now that I blogged about it, but let’s be honest… the majority of the hits I get on this site are from my Mom and Hannah. So, Mom and Hannah (which clearly you’d still be invited even though you’re not in my RS, don’t worry) and anyone else out there, what should I do?

Last weekend T.J. and I were going to buy our tickets to Cincinnati for Christmas break. T.J. has to leave before New Years so he can get back to work and we decided I would stay until the 3rd of January since I don’t get to go home very often. Well, T.J.’s ticket was rounding out to be about $500. That is ridiculous. No student has that type of money to spend. That’s like 2 car payments, or ten phone payments, or 3 months of groceries. Way too much.

We didn’t want to have to buy the ticket right then but we also knew it was quite a risk not to buy T.J.’s ticket because the price could keep increasing or we might not be able to be on the same flights for Christmas (which isn’t a huge deal, but it would be nice). So anyway, we felt really strongly that we should just wait to buy his ticket and pray that by our next paycheck we could afford to buy his ticket and that the price wouldn’t increase too much.

One day later after buying my ticket, we got a message from T.J.’s parents saying that they would like to get T.J.’s ticket with his dad’s sky miles (he racks up a lot each week because of his work). I was amazed. First of all, I am so grateful for in-laws who are willing to do that for us, especially when the tickets mean we won’t be spending the holidays with them. Also, we didn’t have to stress out about the situation at all because our answer to our prayers came SO fast. And three, what a blessing it is that we listened to the prompting to wait to buy T.J.’s ticket.

T.J.’s dad got the ticket for us last night, completely free.


Thanks so much, Kelly and Mark! You have no idea how grateful we are for you all!

  1. The Orphanage. I saw it on campus at the International Cinema so they edited out the bad stuff. But this thriller really gets your heart pumping with a well-written plot and twist ending. Just wait until the woman plays the “knock 1 2 3” game. Oh man. (P.S. it’s on Netflix Instant Play).
  2. The Ring. I will never see this one again. Too satanic. Too scary.
  3. The Ring 2. I watched this with a bunch of girls a few years ago really late at night. I don’t remember much because I kept falling asleep. But I do remember a bunch of deer attacking them. Horrifying.
  4. Lady in White. Old movie. You wouldn’t think it would be this scary, but I couldn’t have the blinds open for weeks. There are like three stories throughout the movie, but the ending is by far the scariest part.
  1. The Others. I love this movie. Nicole Kidman does a great job and I’ll never forget my friend Mikey Tensmeyer quoting the children at the end. When the door slams and the piano starts to play, I always lose it!
  2. Skeleton Key. I think you know already how I feel about this one.
  3. The Birds. It didn’t scare me during the movie. It scared me the next time I saw a bunch of birds. And every time since.
  4. The Invasion. This is more of a thriller. Once again, Nicole Kidman is incredible.
  5. 1408. When this first came out, Blair and I saw it 3 times in the theater.
  6. What Lies Beneath. When the neighbor see them through the window all of a sudden, you might have a heart attack.

Last year I was a mentor for a sixth grader in Provo. The program director pulled me aside the first day and told me a little bit about her story and how she felt like I should be with her because I had been in the program for a while. Anyway, the girl  came from a really broken home and was constantly getting into trouble. The only thing was, I couldn’t ever believe it because she was the sweetest girl when we spent time together each week. We had fun together and really got to be friends. But then I’d hear from her teachers that she had been in a fist fight or had skipped school. Well, the purpose of the program was just to keep the kid in school and to see what an education can do for you life. So I just tried to be an example for her and show her cool things about being in school.

The semester ended and I couldn’t mentor anymore, so we parted our ways and that was that.

Well, about a month ago I decided to grab some ingredients at Fresh Market late at night because I was having a craving for some italian sausage (weird) and I ran into the girl at the store. She was with two friends and were walking home with lots of groceries at about 11 pm. I said hi and we caught up for a minute. She told me she now does an online-schooling program because she was getting into so much trouble at school. That killed me. I told her to be good and then I left.

When I was in the car I had a really strong prompting to give her a ride home. But I didn’t think it was a good idea because her parents might not be okay with it or something might happen and I could be held accountable. I don’t know, my mind gave me a million reasons not to do it, but I had one reason why I should. I just felt like I needed to.

So I offered her and her friends a ride, they accepted, and when I dropped them off, I gave her my number and told her if she ever needed anything, give me a call.

I hadn’t heard from her. I figured she didn’t keep my number because she’s a middle schooler and probably couldn’t care less about her old mentor.

But last night, I got a call from her. She asked if I could take her to see her mom in the hospital. T.J. and I were watching a scary movie, so it kind of put us in a creepy mood and we weren’t sure if was the best idea, but we said a quick prayer and decided to at least go talk to the girl and hope that the Spirit would let us know somehow.

It seemed like a big inconvenience at the time because we couldn’t find her house. I almost gave up. But we finally found it and got out to talk to her.

Her mom had a stroke the night before and she had just found out. She has no one. Her parents are divorced, I’m not quite sure who she lives with, but her dad wouldn’t take her to see her mom, she’s not a member of the church so she couldn’t just call the Bishop or her Young Women’s leader. For her to call me in this critical time showed me that she literally has no one. She doesn’t have any support at home. She was scared about her mom and wasn’t sure if she was going to make it. It was horrible.

T.J. and I immediately felt that we needed to take her to the hospital because of the seriousness of the situation. I brought her inside the hospital because she looks like a rough kid with lots of piercings and messy clothing (which isn’t that common in Provo). The receptionist told us where it was and so I took her upstairs, through the hospital, and into her mom’s room.

Her mom was awake but was pretty out of it because she was on so much medicine. I introduced myself and then told the girl to meet me in a half an hour in the lobby.

When I picked her back up, she told me her mom would be fine and was getting released today. I asked when she would see her mom next, she didn’t know because she didn’t have anyone who would take her to the other side of town. I asked about her siblings. Her oldest brother doesn’t have anything to do with them and another one of her siblings passed away. So it wasn’t like she even had siblings who could help her out.

The situation was unbelievable to me. She cried as she told me a few stories of when her mom had been sick in the past. Once she found her mom unconsious in the bedroom and she had to call 911 for help. She watched as they took her away, unsure of what would happen. This little girl has gone through so much. No wonder she has so many problems.

There are so many things that make all of this interesting to me. 1-I was originally placed with this girl more than a year ago and the director told me she felt like we should be paired up. 2- I went to the grocery store late and ran into her. 3- I felt like I should give her a ride even though I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I still went through with it. 4- I gave her my number. 6-She literally has no one else in her life who is looking out for her right now, so she had to call me.

I am forever grateful for my life. I was born in a wonderful family with structure and order. Christ was the center of our home and family. I always had people to look up to or to talk to–parents, Bishops, teachers, leaders at church. I was blessed with motivation to be a good student and I learned how to work hard. I also am grateful for the church and the organization it provides. If she was a member of the church, her Bishop would have gotten involved, she could have had a blessing to ease her fears about her sick mother, and she would have had Young Women leaders to take her to visit her mom. The church provides so much comfort, not just through personal revelation but also through the service of the congregation.

I do believe if people aren’t born in such great circumstances, that they can overcome their environment. But I know it takes an extreme amount of personal dedication and direction from outside sources. I know that I am one of those outside sources who is giving this girl a little direction, or at least some hope for her life. Even if our story ends after today when I take her to see her mom again, I know that I was a part of a plan to help this girl in extreme need of love and care. Please say a prayer for her.