Friday, May 14, 2010

Friend of the Month~E!!!

While it’s not quite her birthday month yet, I’ve really wanted to write a blog about one of my favorite people in the whole world, my E! Elisabeth Alt that is. While we’ve only known each other since early 2008, you’d really never know it. Our souls seem to connect as if we’ve known each other for an eternity, and I’m pretty certain we have. We are so similar, yet so different at the same time. Elisabeth-whom I call “E” or “My E” (because I just like to, and its just easier, lol) is one of the kindest, gentlest, sweetest souls you would ever get the pleasure of meeting. She is beautiful. She’s not only obviously gorgeous on the outside, but if you can imagine, even more beautiful on the inside. She really is one of my dearest friends, and I don’t know what I’d do without her. We spend a LOT of time together, but it never seems to be enough. At work we chat back and forth on email all day, only for our daily call on the way home, and then if we’re not hanging out at night, then we’ll find a way to speak again before the day is done. We try to have at least one weekly girl’s night, which I look forward to all week! Recently it’s just been spent hanging out around our houses, but sometimes we get enough energy up to get fancy, and go out. We have a great time ALWAYS, whether we’re in sweatpants or stilettos.

Elisabeth became my friend at a very difficult time in my life. She was there for me every step of the way, and I am truly grateful. She made me see that life does go on and there’s still a lot of it left to be lived. More recently she’s taught me SO much more though, about eternal things, and for that, I will be forever grateful. I’d been looking for a church for quite some time, without much luck. It’s hard to go to a church for the first time, especially alone. So I decided to go to Elisabeths. Her church is a little different than what I was used to, but hey, I figured as long as the core belief is there, that is what really mattered. So I went, and I’ve been going ever since! I’ve learned so much in such a short time, and I am so thankful to her and her husband Matt for opening their home so the missionaries could come by a few times a week and teach me. Not only does she help me in this world, but she helped guide me in things involving eternity, and that makes her AWESOME! :)

Elisabeth is a virtuous, godly woman. Sure we all slip up, but she tries her best, and dusts herself off and moves on when something bad happens. She’s beautiful. She’s smart. She loves to read-a LOT. She loves to shop. She LOVES shoes, and lucky for both of us, we’re about the same size, so we get to share a lot! :) She loves Vampire stuff-books, movies, TV shows, and has made me the same way. She loves musical theater. I don’t. So I like to pick on her. But its just because I love her, and I’m jealous that I’m not as cultured. She’s adopted. By two of the most wonderful people in the world. One’s still here with us, and the other is with our Heavenly Father, and while I haven’t seen her in this life, I’ll be thrilled to see her in the next. I know she’s proud of her angel. Especially now more than ever. The choices she’s making and her lifestyle show that she is a good and righteous woman. She loves crafts. I don’t. Because she’s better at it than me. So I like to pick at her while she works on stuff. She’s a big fan of Jesus. This is something we share. And talk about, a LOT. She’d do anything for her family, and has proved that on countless occasions. She is the best aunt. Someday she will be a wonderful mother. She’s a wonderful, patient wife. She took a chance and followed her heart, and I think she is glad that she did now. She’s blessed. With SO many things, but a few more recent, very exciting ones. Her husband is becoming a member of the church tomorrow. I don’t think she could be happier than she is at the moment. She may dislike her job, but she does it. And she does it well. She always goes above and beyond. She likes planning parties and gatherings. This is something we share. So we are planning…ALL the time. There’s always something coming up, and while sometimes we’ll gripe about it, don’t let it fool you, we love it. She loves her sister, and is there for her whenever possible. When her mother passed, she left school and came home to take care of her father and sister. I know they’re grateful for that. She has yet to finish her education, but I know she will. Even though I told her it’s not a big deal. She likes to follow through. She hates broken promises. She is a faithful, patient, loving wife. She is a generous, kind, compassionate, beautiful friend. My forever friend.

With her sis Catie and her angel Mother at the DC Temple :)

Jen and E-the early days :)

Beautiful Family                                   

Halloween Bugs
Silly Girls

Beautiful Auntie

Fun, stylish girlfriend

Easter hat anyone?
Long lost sisters...we have the exact same eyecolor! :)

Best friends share

And we're always attractive

Awesome couple!!!

We heart Melting Pot-silly girl =)

My beautiful, wonderful, forever friend

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Have you ever had one of those days when nothing goes right? You wake up, you're totally optimistic about the day, can't wait for things to come...then WHAM! Something smacks you straight in the face, and sometimes, you're not sure you can even get back up again. Yup, today I had one of those days. After a great night last night, I wake up happy this morning, and working on plans for the future. When out of nowhere it happens. You've been there...that text, or call, or that email, that just makes you realize those plans you were just making, yeah, they're not gonna happen, at least not in YOUR time. I don't fare well with things like this, I tend to go into panic mode, so that's what I did. Since that moment today, I feel like I'm in a constant state of chaos. What am I going to do now? What's next? Why is the opposition so strong, when I'm just trying to do what's right? I was told it was going to be hard. I knew it would be, but why so fast, so strong, so frustrating? Sometimes we have to realize that we have to do things not only in our own time, but in God's time. Apparently I tend to forget this, on a daily basis. Then I have to get this little reminder, "Jen you must have forgot (forgotten??? wow, see how bad it is?) that you are not always in control." Oh really? Yeah, sometimes I struggle with that. A lot. Seriously.

Yup...this sounds about right!

The missionaries must have had the feeling something was up, because they called tonight, pretty late, which they usually don't do. So glad they did. They are always so encouraging, and they knew just the verses of Scripture to lift my spirit and make me ponder a bit.

I just kinda had to get that out. I probably won't really elaborate, it's something that's pretty personal. But I just felt like writing it out, hoping maybe it would help. Prayers are appreciated!

Oh yeah, the day was so bad, that just before I started this post, I started choking and gasping for air. What was I choking on you ask? Nothing. Air apparently. One of those days...

Time for some serious studying and prayer. I sincerely hope tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happily Ever After...

Elisabeth was kind enough to share this with me today(I needed it and she had no idea:)), and I LOVE it! Mom loved it too =)


Your Happily Ever After

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”

My dear young sisters all around the world, I am grateful and honored to be with you today. President Thomas S. Monson and all the leaders of the Church love you; we pray for you, and we rejoice in your faithfulness.

Over the years I have been exposed to many beautiful languages—each of them is fascinating and remarkable; each has its particular charm. But as different as these languages can be, they often have things in common. For example, in most languages there exists a phrase as magical and full of promise as perhaps any in the world. That phrase is “Once upon a time.”

Aren’t those wonderful words to begin a story? “Once upon a time” promises something: a story of adventure and romance, a story of princesses and princes. It may include tales of courage, hope, and everlasting love. In many of these stories, nice overcomes mean and good overcomes evil. But perhaps most of all, I love it when we turn to the last page and our eyes reach the final lines and we see the enchanting words “And they lived happily ever after.”

Isn’t that what we all desire: to be the heroes and heroines of our own stories; to triumph over adversity; to experience life in all its beauty; and, in the end, to live happily ever after?

Today I want to draw your attention to something very significant, very extraordinary. On the first page of your Young Women Personal Progress book, you will find these words: “You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose.”1

Sisters, those words are true! They are not made up in a fairy tale! Isn’t it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love? In fact, His love for you is so great that He has granted you this earthly life as a precious gift of “once upon a time,” complete with your own true story of adventure, trial, and opportunities for greatness, nobility, courage, and love. And, most glorious of all, He offers you a gift beyond price and comprehension. Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”

But such a blessing does not come without a price. It is not given simply because you desire it. It comes only through understanding who you are and what you must become in order to be worthy of such a gift.

Trial Is Part of the Journey

For a moment, think back about your favorite fairy tale. In that story the main character may be a princess or a peasant; she might be a mermaid or a milkmaid, a ruler or a servant. You will find one thing all have in common: they must overcome adversity.

Cinderella has to endure her wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters. She is compelled to suffer long hours of servitude and ridicule.

In “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle becomes a captive to a frightful-looking beast in order to save her father. She sacrifices her home and family, all she holds dear, to spend several months in the beast’s castle.

In the tale “Rumpelstiltskin,” a poor miller promises the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king immediately sends for her and locks her in a room with a mound of straw and a spinning wheel. Later in the story she faces the danger of losing her firstborn child unless she can guess the name of the magical creature who helped her in this impossible task.

In each of these stories, Cinderella, Belle, and the miller’s daughter have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.” Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?

Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity. Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy, and love?

The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter.2 Would the marathon runner feel the triumph of finishing the race had she not felt the pain of the hours of pushing against her limits? Would the pianist feel the joy of mastering an intricate sonata without the painstaking hours of practice?

In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.

Let me share with you a personal experience I had as a teenager while our family was attending church in Frankfurt, Germany.

One Sunday the missionaries brought a new family to our meetings whom I hadn’t seen before. It was a mother with two beautiful daughters. I thought that these missionaries were doing a very, very good job.

I particularly took notice of the one daughter with gorgeous dark hair and large brown eyes. Her name was Harriet, and I think I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her. Unfortunately, this beautiful young woman didn’t seem to feel the same about me. She had many young men who wanted to make her acquaintance, and I began to wonder if she would ever see me as anything but a friend. But I didn’t let that deter me. I figured out ways to be where she was. When I passed the sacrament, I made sure I was in the right position so that I would be the one to pass the sacrament to her.

When we had special activities at church, I rode my bike to Harriet’s house and rang the doorbell. Harriet’s mother usually answered. In fact, she opened the kitchen window of their apartment on the fourth floor and asked what I wanted. I would ask if Harriet would like a ride to church on my bicycle. Harriet’s mother would say, “No, she will be coming later, but I will be happy to ride with you to church.” This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but how could I decline?

And so we rode to church. I must admit I had a very impressive road bike. Harriet’s mother sat on the top tube bar just in front of me, and I tried to be the most elegant bicycle driver over roads of rough cobblestone.

Time passed. While beautiful Harriet was seeing many other young men, it seemed that I could not make any headway with her.

Was I disappointed? Yes.

Was I defeated? Absolutely not!

Actually, looking back I recognize that it doesn’t hurt at all to be on good terms with the mother of the girl of your dreams.

Years later, after I had finished my training as a fighter pilot in the air force, I experienced a modern miracle in Harriet’s response to my continued courting. One day she said, “Dieter, you have matured much over these past years.”

I moved quickly after that, and within a few months I was married to the woman I had loved ever since I first saw her. The process hadn’t been easy—there were moments of suffering and despair—but finally my happiness was full, and it still is, even more so.

My dear young sisters, you need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every heroine has learned: through overcoming challenges come growth and strength.

It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.

There are those among you who, although young, have already suffered a full measure of grief and sorrow. My heart is filled with compassion and love for you. How dear you are to the Church. How beloved you are of your Heavenly Father. Though it may seem that you are alone, angels attend you. Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone.

If you ever feel your burden is too great to bear, lift your heart to your Heavenly Father, and He will uphold and bless you. He says to you, as He said to Joseph Smith, “[Your] adversity and [your] afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if [you] endure it well, God shall exalt [you] on high.”3

Enduring adversity is not the only thing you must do to experience a happy life. Let me repeat: how you react to adversity and temptation is a critical factor in whether or not you arrive at your own “happily ever after.”

Stay True to What You Know Is Right

Sisters, young sisters, beloved young sisters, stay true to what you know is right. Everywhere you look today, you will find promises of happiness. Ads in magazines promise total bliss if you will only buy a certain outfit, shampoo, or makeup. Certain media productions glamorize those who embrace evil or who give in to base instincts. Often these same people are portrayed as models of success and accomplishment.

In a world where evil is portrayed as good and good as evil, sometimes it is difficult to know the truth. In some ways it is almost like Little Red Riding Hood’s dilemma: when you are not quite sure what you are seeing, is it a beloved grandmother or is it a dangerous wolf?

I spent many years in the cockpit of an airplane. My task was to get a big jet safely from any part of the world to our desired destination. I knew with certainty that if I wanted to travel from New York to Rome, I needed to fly east. If some were to tell me that I should fly south, I knew there was no truth in their words. I would not trust them because I knew for myself. No amount of persuasion, no amount of flattery, bribery, or threats could convince me that flying south would get me to my destination because I knew.

We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own “happily ever after.” The truth is, God knows how to get there! And He has created a map for you; He knows the way. He is your beloved Heavenly Father, who seeks your good, your happiness. He desires with all the love of a perfect and pure Father that you reach your supernal destination. The map is available to all. It gives explicit directions of what to do and where to go to everyone who is striving to come unto Christ and “stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”4 All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan.

Nevertheless, not all will follow the map. They may look at it. They may think it is reasonable, perhaps even true. But they do not follow the divine directions. Many believe that any road will take them to a “happily ever after.” Some may even become angry when others who know the way try to help and tell them. They suppose that such advice is outdated, irrelevant, out of touch with modern life.

Sisters, they suppose wrong.

The Gospel Is the Way to Happily Ever After

I understand that, at times, some may wonder why they attend Church meetings or why it is so important to read the scriptures regularly or pray to our Heavenly Father daily. Here is my answer: You do these things because they are part of God’s path for you. And that path will take you to your “happily ever after” destination.

“Happily ever after” is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map.

Sisters, please embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ! Learn to love your Heavenly Father with all your heart, might, and mind. Fill your souls with virtue, and love goodness. Always strive to bring out the best in yourself and others.

Learn to accept and act upon the Young Women values. Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. These standards guide and direct you to your “happily ever after.” Living these standards will prepare you to make sacred covenants in the temple and establish your own legacy of goodness in your individual circumstances. “Stand . . . in holy places, and be not moved,”5 regardless of temptations or difficulties. I promise you that future generations will be grateful for you and praise your name for your courage and faithfulness during this crucial time of your life.

My dear young sisters—you who stand for truth and righteousness, you who seek goodness, you who have entered the waters of baptism and walk in the ways of the Lord—our Father in Heaven has promised that you will “mount up with wings as eagles; [you] shall run, and not be weary; and [you] shall walk, and not faint.”6 You “shall not be deceived.”7 God will bless and prosper you.8 “The gates of hell shall not prevail against you; . . . and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”9

Sisters, we love you. We pray for you. Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now.

As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I leave you my blessing and give you a promise that as you accept and live the values and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, “[you] will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”10 And the day will come when you turn the final pages of your own glorious story; there you will read and experience the fulfillment of those blessed and wonderful words: “And they lived happily ever after.” Of this I testify in the holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.

1. Young Women Personal Progress
2. See 2 Nephi 2:11, 15.
3. Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–8.
4. Mosiah 18:9.
5. Doctrine and Covenants 87:8.
6. Isaiah 40:31.
7. Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37
8. See Mosiah 2:22–24.
9. Doctrine and Covenants 21:6.
10. Young Women Personal Progress


Ok , So did I mention, I LOVE this??? :) I've read it a few times now, and I feel like I get more out of it each time. It is just what my soul needed today, encouragment. After sharing this with mom, she wrote me "That is great. I think what we as women, seem to forget and that its Gods plan. Not ours. It’s God’s time! Not ours. Patience, we have none! Look up patience in the dictionary: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint…No we don’t fit that mold!"

She's right. My mother and I both struggle with patience, but we are constantly working on it. We may not fit that mold, but God can help us get there. And I need to do things on HIS time, not mine. :) xo

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Maymont Park

I LOVE Maymont. I discovered it while attending VCU, and enjoy it every time I head out there. The flowers are gorgeous, I love the waterfalls, everything is just beautiful. It really reminds you of how powerful God is, and how much he blesses us with beauty all around us. The animals are fun too :) Last Sunday I went there with my brother and his girlfriend Kendall. I had a wondertime hanging out with them and taking some pics of them around the park. I'm actually waiting on him to get here now, they are coming to visit again and take a look at the little aquarium area at Maymont today. I love my bro!!!

Only special...
♥My favorite :) ♥

Ahh...young love!


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