Monday, April 27, 2009

The cleanest gutter....the best compliment

So today my TA and the TA next door were talking about old shows and cartoons that have some pretty hefty innuendos and my TA said, "McKinney you probably wouldn't get them now have the cleanest gutter." I thought that was the best compliment you could get...or at least high up on the list.

I think at first she was a little nervous about me after she found out I was .....duhnt duhnt duhnt....Mormon and she lives an alternative lifestyle..but we have gotten along really well. She is a sweet girl from Texas so we have been able to commiserate about missing Sonic, (although my waist line is not- although I have been a slacker for over a to get back on my routine) , whataburger, wal-mart super centers, olive garden, lightning storms, the stars and a dark night, lightning bugs, family, friends, an overall respect for older people...and things we don't miss like snakes, ticks, chiggers, armadillos, people who are missing 95% of their teeth....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Indoor Camping

So last night it was so HOT in my room I opened my window. It felt like indoor camping. The sounds of the cars on the road were like a river running near by. The chill in the air. The sunlight streaming in my face. It was great! ( can't wait to do some real camping though) Sometimes I forget I live near the ocean and then I hear Seagulls doing there thang and then it hits me all over again; oh yeah the ocean is 7 miles that way!! So this morning this scenario happens to me. I am looking out at some tall pine trees behind our town house wondering what it smells like here doing some indoor rained yesterday and the sky and mountains were just breath taking! ..I was really enjoying my thoughts and then I heard some 'gulls and was reminded of the ocean. The thought came to my mind that this is what the Holy Ghost does for me. I go about living my life and then I see, hear, or feel something and it hits me; oh yeah Heavenly Father is 0 miles that way! He will always let me know He is near if I want to know and remember. How thankful I am for this special gift of the companionship of the Holy Ghost who reminds me how near comfort, hope, cheer, true love, and forgiveness really are. Love it!!

Yesterday was a blast! Other than the fact my eyes were dilated for a few hours. That is the funniest sensation to have your eyes numbed...and then dilated. Me and Laney went to go see the BYU-I Collegiate Singers at West High School. They had some really cute funny songs. One that really touched me was one about taken from Voltaire's "Candide" --the chorus lyrics went something like "We are not particularly good but we will work and grow our garden." The singers all got in couples to sing this song slowly throughout this song. It was a reminder that that is what life is about. There is no perfect person out there waiting to be discovered for/by me; there are just two people who love each other and are willing to work at a good life together. I need to find me a good gardener. =0) ha...At the end of the show a singer came up and gave Laney a squishy byui potato and me a water bottle. I also so Elder Jarvis- my brothers brother-in-law we share a nephew and soon a niece. He told me they had picked out the name Kelly. I will have to talk to Justin and clarify this. How did Elder Jarvis know before me?

Let me back up..I went to school for a few hours and left early to go to our last lunch devotional at the Institute building. Then I had a massage...ah so nice!! Then I had to go see the eye dr. again to make sure my contacts fit my eye and so he could dilate them.

Then we went to Katie Hill's birthday party. Katie Hill and I served in the same mission. It was so good to be around some real chill ysa's. Me and Katie arm wrestled...and I was shocked there was no declared winner but the boys were saying I was cheating bring my elbow in and "cocking" my wrist. Whaterver, I would never cheat...or would I? It was some good clean fun with some good clean amigos.

Tyler who is interning here is going to Bentonville, AR to intern with Wal-Mart and so we were talking about the "hill" people and what to expect as far as an accent goes. He was practicing his numbers --he is an accounting guy-- five and nine because there they are feyeve and neyene. I was also recommending some very neat Arkansas things to do. I can't wait to be home in July except for the fact that it will be July which means it will be hotter than HELL...seriously Satan doesn't even visit there in July and August..Hell is a dream vacation comparatively.

Got to jet going to the temple this morning with Minna. She is great. Served a mission in Russia a degree in Exercise Science from BYU and now doing Dental Hygiene school for fun. I am blessed to get to know some really great folks here. Hope you are all wonderful!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pallin glasses

Alaskan's are serious about their eye gear. Gov. Pallin frames are nothing compared to what some of her constituents wear. I just had an eye exam last Friday and my eyes, well one of my eyes was better than it was before.,I had no ideas eyes could do that. ( Our bodies are amazing) I am having the hardest time picking out new frames. Glasses become such a part of who you are and here this is no joke. Folks wear some way cool frames and I just don't know if I am that cool. We are talking rhinestone studded, lattice metal work on the arms, funky colors, and some with all three. Anyways, I should be reading my scriptures right now so off I go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Institute Graduation

This Sunday it will be my pleasure to graduate from the Institute program. I would like to put a shout out to all my teachers...

Sister Blakey- New Testament Conway, AR
Sister Boone- BOM, Church History, D&C, Conway, AR
Brother "someone"- too long ago and only one semester - teachings of the living prophets Gainsville, Florida I also want to thank Jacob Stewart who rode with me the 45 min. to and from class each week from Ocala..we were both fresh RM's and I learned a lot from him and our commuter discussions as well. Love ya Jake!
Brother Hall- Doctrine and Covenants Conway, AR
Sister Martindale- Old Testament and Celestial Marriage Conway, AR
Sister Green- Celestial Marriage / Teachings of Living Prophets Anchorage, AK
Brother Miles- Church History / Leadership Anchorage, AK Brother Miles is retiring and he has been such a great influence in my life since arriving here in AK. He has always been there with a listening ear and encouragement. I am really going to miss him next year.

I was asked to speak for 5 minutes at graduation. I said it takes me 5 minutes just to say my name. Anyone who knows me or the family know that we can be "windy" sometimes. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on Institute and my testimony there.

Sunday I taught Sunday School extemporaneously because both instructors were gone as was our Sunday School president. I had vaguely read over the lesson and am good friends with our Sunday School president so I stepped up. ..I had no competition. ha ha

It worked was on the law of consecration. We read some scriptures from D&C 42...Mosiah 4 from King Benjamin's final address (some of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon)..I also had my General Conference issues --Everyone always laughs at me for carrying around so much stuff - I usually have two "bags" a purse and either my school or church bag with me and sometimes all three. I was glad for all my stuff in these bags-- I was able to read a few quotes from Elder Perry's "Let us do it with Simplicity" talk and from Elder Hales come to Zion talk this quote came from my personal notes from the most recent General Conference. I was glad everyone participated and helped out a lot with great comments. We have a great ward! Love y'all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

attempted murder charge...

so today after school our meeting..we "process" every day after school talk about the kids and why APD has been at our school -they are here at least once during the day. Today our school social worker was telling us about a new student that was coming into our school full time and how nice this young person was and then our principal asked if anyone else had something to add...and a teacher piped up and said "that if he starts talking about the attempted murder charge you need to shut that conversation down very directly and quickly....other than that the new student has been wonderful in my class." Everyone at my table busted out laughing. "Other than that attempted murder charge" its been great..he might attempt to kill you but....only at my secret school.

Spring has sprung and it is nice! Sun sets around 10 pm and light starts streaming in my windows around 5am -ish. The snow is completely gone -except for the tops of the mountains. Saturday I went for a short drive down to Beluga point and walked around a bit. It was nice. Then I went to a movie with a friend and the sunset was gorgeous. Pinks and purples around the downtown buildings with the mountains behind us and the moon was up and visible. Amazing!

Thinking really seriously about staying here another year. The thought of saying goodbye made me re-think my choice to go home. I am wicked close the the McKinney clan that is for sure and the Sherwood gang too; however, I feel there is more for me to do here. Still not 100% either way. But I know that things will work out either way. I just need to have exercise my faith. How grateful I am for the gospel.

23 School days left...and I can not believe it. It has really gone by so quickly! I will miss my misfits. I was telling them today about an old roommate Monica who used to always add up random things at the grocery store...stuff like this would escape her mouth....50 cents for a pack of gum and lets say they sell 50 packs a day that's 25.00 a day times 365 days that's 9,125. 00 a year. Seriously, every time we went. I don't know if she was just bored or wanted to go into business for herself selling gum, chips, or bobby pins. Anyway, we were talking in Science about Archimedes discovery and how our minds are scientific. We are naturally curious. (we did some boats/density experiments) We also talked about how most of us attempt flying at one time or another. The stories the kids told were cracking me up. One told me that they planted an apple seed in an indoor plant and it grew a little tiny apple tree with little tiny apples that were very delicious. --I was rolling laughing. Another told me one time they jumped off the roof and landed in the basement. These kids oh the joys!! Can't wait to have a few of my own..

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

confusion to go home or stay??

So I love when I come up with a plan and feel good about it ....and then different and things start opening up in a different path. For instance, I have been looking for other room mate options for awhile now...not because I don't like Cristi but because we are on different schedules and I feel bad waking her up. ..and I am a social person and would like to have folks over for dinner and festivities but when we are up and ready to play is when Cristi who works nights is sleeping. She has been a fun roomie..leaving me notes and making me hunt easter eggs and such. She has also been so kind with my emotional "boy involvement" since Christmas time. Thanks Cristi lou. Now several great options have opened up. Love you Laney!

I had decided to intern with my older brothers and give a serious look at law school and then my institute director was talking about how great of a seminary instructor I would be (not to be braggy) because I know the scriptures fairly well and love them...and the gospel. If I stay here he could be a major help getting me into a released time CES position. How amazing would that be?!

Conference was all about temples and going to the temple.How lucky am I to live in a place with a temple 15 minutes down the road? I would not be able to go nearly as often at home. Things are still up in the air as far as what/where I will end up.

A good friend is going to Utah to work for the summer the beginning of May and just thinking about having to say goodbye makes me miss this place like crazy. I got all weepy just thinking about this on Monday--saying goodbye to a lot of great folks.

I do miss the family like craziness...especially my nieces and nephews. What a joy they are to me. Momma needs to get her webcam up and running anyone living close to her feel free to offer to assist her with this..Val? Looking at the Sherwood Easter reunion pics was torture...especially the pictures of Jacob (my nephew with down syndrome) riding a calf....he looked so happy. Sad to have missed that. I am so blessed with a crazy huge extended family. I love you guys!!!!!!!! Ya'll come see me!

I have been fellowshipping a girl the Elder's are teaching and that has been a great experience. She is amazing and to be apart of that process again has been humbling and motivating for me to open my mouth more about who I am- a member of the lds church and one of heavenly father's daughters- and the Lord's plan for all of his childrens.

School is interesting these last few days. My principal, who I told last week that I was probably not coming back next year, came and told me that he would for sure move me up to Middle School for next year, and was begging me to stay. That felt good =0) Middle School would be so much better for me to only have to prep for one content area a day. Today I had a student banging their head on the wall and asking for us to allow them to committ suicide. They are such a sweet kid and want to do the right thing. It was hard to watch I just wanted to pick them up and hold them even though they are as tall as I am. One of our intervention coaches did hold him when the head banging did not stop. Another student threatened to come to my house and burn it to the ground. The other day a student asked "are we going to play games with our bodies" It was hilarious! --meaning are we going to play a phsyical game such as duck duck goose. I called one of my students my sister's name the other day..I must have been really exasperated to do that. I said to a student in jest "your mom goes to college" and they in all seriousness said "no she doesn't" it was cracking me up. This school is an experience to be sure of! Someone's car was broken into and a purse was stolen from our parking lot...Never a dull moment around here, that is for sure.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's a girl

So Justin and Amanda called and they are having a girl!! I am so excited! All those nephews and now another niece!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Break Up

So not that I have been dating anyone to break up with ...well kind of we've been talking weekly for several hours and doing things... but that is a whole other blog...I'll just say we are for sure just friends and I am at peace about that. Still yearning and longing to be a wife and momma though.

"Break Up" is what Alaskans refer to as Spring. When the sun starts coming out more and everything beings to melt and the ice begins to break up. Parking lots are turned into swimming pools..and where there used to be one large massive chunk of ice now there are huge chuncks of ice missing. Driving in driveways and parking lots like this is a backroad experience. The two outside lanes of traffice are always wet and full of water...I have seen more than one predestrian get completely drenched from such water in the lanes and more than one car hydroplane through a huge puddle. The inside and turning lanes are dry as can be but look out, those outside lanes are deadly. I saw some guys flame tourching a drain to melt it so the water could have somewhere safe to go. Nice job. Hi what do you do? Oh I torch drains.

Of course this also means that windshield washer fluid is a must because of the spray from the wet lanes. My driver side sprayer works great the passenger sprayer shoots a huge stream not so much sparying it over the passenger side... it is so less effective but better than nothing. If you are out of fluid you should NOT drive; because after a few minutes your windshield is impossible to see out of. --my car has bigger problems than this though. I took a drive down the Turnagain arm last Saturday (FYI we had some ash fall from Mt. Redoubt on Saturday but not while I was driving. It was like dirt only finer and people said it smelled like sulpher) On the way home it was acting funny... like it was not getting gas therefore the shifting was funky. I was afraid I would not make it home but, I did. I have bummed rides this week from my roomate and YSA friends esp. Laney.

Laney moved to Seattle for a few month now she is back. She directed our Institute choir last semester. She is so funny. I am glad she is back we have hit it off nicely. She is living with her sister who has two daughters and it has been so great to be around little ones! She has been carting me around. Thanks Laney baney! Oh today we watched conference at her brother Greg's house -he is a mechanic and is going to look at my car since Mark never did punk- Anyway her brother and sis in law have 3 boys and a one year old girl. I got to rock the baby to sleep; it was so soothing! Seriously that was probably the best thing about conference weekend.. I can't wait!!

Back to the Break Up stuff.........................

The melting and freezing snow on the side of the road is really funny looking it is dirty brown/black and jagged due to the melting and refreezing at night. Nightmare material folks this stuff looks nasty and I hear it is a smelly time of year as all the dog pooh turns to dog pooh mud.

It is so gorgeous here! The the sky here is almost always a perfect shade of "sky blue." I will miss it here.

new blog and saturday am general conference highlights

So I started a family blog for the siblings to post on..hopefully sometime they will it is

General Conference is such an amazing experience; I always come away: more committed to the gospel, uplifted and filled with a love for all my brothers and sisters, feeling our Heavenly Father's love for me, gratitude for the restored gospel, and joy!

Saturday we YSA's watched conference at our institute building. It is always a pleasant experience. President Monson opened conference talking about the temple dedications. He said," each temple dedication is a time for re-evaluation of ones own performance and sincere desire to do better."

Elder Hales then spoke of agency and that we need to use it to be PROVIDENT PROVIDERS. One of my favorite quotes from him was " Each temptation is to strengthen us not destroy us" also that we need to be "joyfully living within our means" as well as " only through the atonement can we have mighty change of heart and mighty change of behavior." He talked about distinguishing between our wants and needs. That we can get into debt for education, a basic automobile, and housing. I need to do better at distinguishing between my wants and needs and to save more of my money for a rainy day.

Then Sister Lifferth spoke of respect and reverence. I really enjoyed this talk. She spoke of how reverence is taught in the home. She asked us to think if we were examples of reverence and respect? Do we show respect for our scriptures and teach the doctrine from them. Then she said we need to teach by example because harshness begets hard feelings; she mentioned that we teach it by being patient over time and being consistent in our efforts. She quoted someone with this one "reverence invites revelation." She closed by saying that an increase in reverence reflects our deepest love for Him.

Brother Neider (who was a counselor in my mission presidency SLCS Mission) spoke about Aaronic Priesthood quorums and how they should operate..with more youth leadership and adults supporting the youth leaders. I am pretty sure I heard him say one of the purposes of the YM program is to eliminate sloth. I thought that was great! It will be interesting to see what he did say. He said that we need to be "students of God's commandments" and that we need to obtain His word.

Elder Allan Packer of was up next. He spoke about receiving revelation. He said we live in the fullness of times and these times are times for preparing for the Saviors coming and to workout our own salvation and that if we are to do this we must build on the bedrock and we must know and know that we know. He taught that we need to become acquainted with the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Then he spoke of Alma 32 and the process by which revelation can come

Elder Christofferson spoke next and his message was one that touched me deeply. I can't wait to print this talk and study it out!
He said we need "strong Christians" who can persevere through adversity and make important things happen through our faith. He said that we can access this power through our covenants and that our covenants are to exalt us and they manifest our commitment to become a covenant people and inheritors of exaltation where we can obtain all the divine possibilities God can give us. He spoke about how obedience to covenants give us greater control of our lives and enhances our capacity to deal with challenges because we are blessed by doing so. He said that once we know our course is right and in accordance with God's will then our faith becomes unbounded..and that it takes faith to make covenants. He taught that covenants bestow divine power into our lives. That the power of godliness can flow into our lives. He said, " Strong covenants make strong Christians." He asked us for our obedience to be exact and that then we can ask and He will sustain you, He will stretch for the His hand and say here am I. God will keep His promises. He will bless you and strengthen and finish your faith, deliver you from want, anxiety and stress!" Wow. I know I want to be a strong Christian and have the faith to perservere. I need to go to the temple more often and review the covenants I have made. In fact I thought this temples/temple attendance was a theme of this years conference.

President Eyring spoke about adversity and that it comes to all of us at some point or another on our journey and that it is normal and necessary. He said" we can only faintly comprehend the infinite atonement that can comfort us when we have to wait in distress." ( this has been something I have learned as I feel that not only am I waiting on the Lord but on some fella to make up his mind to want to be married and then to want to be married to me. I am learning to wait on the Lord's time) He then went on to teach that the Savior could have known or infirmities by the power of the Holy Ghost but that instead He chose to learn by His own personal experience how to succor His people. Alma 7. He said that even when you feel the truth of atonement that the test may still test your courage to endure. "He will give us strength to rise with every trial"