Thursday, February 24, 2011

"So you had a bad day..."

Yep I did. It just wasn't a good day. 

One possible reason: my sleep schedule changed. I was up until after midnight last night.
Which led me to forget that I had an Institute class this morning, and I slept in.
Then I performed poorly in Aural Skills. And I didn't bring all the tools I needed to make flashcards for my upcoming test on Monday for Psychology of Music, so my time in that class wasn't very helpful to me.
Realized I only have a week to prepare for my first Piano Proficiency test, and I haven't been doing so well (7's and 8's for the last few weeks)
Just couldn't focus.
Inadvertently accused of not being a true Christian.
Talked about behind my back (not sure if it was positive or negative, I only heard my name, but the uncertainty bothers me)
Didn't get nearly enough homework done today.

Things I did to help myself feel better:
Worked out for 45 minutes. Had a temporary energizing effect.
Ate a very large M&M cookie. Had an even shorter effect. But did taste good.
Talked to Jeff. Felt listened to and cared about, but not particularly more cheerful (Thank you Jeff, for helping me feel cared about, and not alone!)
Did my homework. Distracted me from my bad mood and helped me feel less helpless about my situation.
Prayed and read scriptures. Brought peace. =)

Soon I will go to sleep, and start a much better day tomorrow.

The best part of my day was when I called my lovely friend Emily to wish her a happy birthday. We haven't talked for several months, and it was so wonderful to talk to her! Hearing her happy brought me a lot of peace and happiness, and knowing I have her as a friend helped me to feel so much less lonely. miracle today is my friendship with Emily. There is something so wonderful about old friendships that change as time goes on, but never wither or die. Rather they grow even better. Those friendships are the best. =)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This is what I wrote this morning for my scripture study, and Jeffrey told me to post it as a blog post. Hopefully it's helpful to someone out there. =)

An advocate is "a person who pleads for or in behalf of another" ( This is how I have come to know Jesus Christ in my personal experiences with His Atonement.

The scriptures teach that Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father. One of my favorite sections of scripture is found in Doctrine and Covenants 45:

3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.
My friend Daniel shared these verses with me when I was going through my anxious/depressed phase of my mission. He pointed out to me that Christ wasn't saying "Father, behold the efforts of Ali. She's trying really hard, and the mistakes she made really weren't that bad. She's a really good person, and I think we should forgive her." Instead, He shifted the Father's attention to His Son. "Behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin...behold the blood of thy Son which was shed...wherefore spare this, my sister, Ali."

This meant a lot to me, because it resonated true. I didn't want to be excused from my sins, I wanted to be forgiven. So often we tell ourselves that we can be forgiven because our sins weren't really that bad. But Christ makes no claim about the severity of the sin when He intercedes. By not excusing the sin itself, He acknowledges that the sin may have been or likely was horrible.

We also often tell ourselves that we should be forgiven because we are a good person at heart. Christ makes no such claim about us.

We get ourselves into trouble when we focus on the sin (saying it was small or justifiable) or on ourselves (saying we are good) as we try to find peace. The only way to peace is through Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Jesus knows this, and that's why He Himself didn't talk about our sins or our heart as He pleaded with the Father. Instead, He talked about His Atonement. It's really the only relevant thing. The only thing that He says about us as He asks God to spare us is "spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." When we repent, the most important thing to ask ourselves is "Do I believe in Jesus Christ? Do I believe in His Atonement?"

Let's not focus on our own merits as we seek peace, and forgiveness from our sins. Let's focus on Him who said "I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father." (D&C 110:4)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We Will Rock You

In my Methods class, my professor had us change the words to the verses of "We Will Rock You" to words about ourselves. This was the verse I wrote, and sang for the class:

Ali, you're a good girl, nice girl, not expected to be controversial,
But you got a lot to say,
Just trying to find a way
To help everyone see that there's a need for change.

And then the class joined in on the chorus. It was therapeutic. =)


Or the lack thereof.

Today was really hard to focus on homework. Partly because I'm overwhelmed by my 18 credits and half the time feel I don't know where to begin. 
But a lot of the reason is that I was thinking about a certain someone. Named Jeffrey.
Which reminds me that I never posted the picture of the awesome cake I made him for his birthday! It was so chocolatey...exactly what he wanted. =) I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

In other news, we opened the cadaver bags today. I can say that today, I have held a human heart in my hands. Before I got there, I thought I would pass out. But it went a lot better than planned. One of my miracles, I suppose. =)

(Hope no one minds that I posted about food and cadavers in the same post. I didn't mean to make anyone sick to their stomachs in any way...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Long Time Traveller - The Wailin' Jennys

This song gave me "thrills" (the chill/thrill effect) big time, earlier today. I think its so beautiful! I can't explain it. But I wanted to remember it. So here it is posted. =) There's just something about the human voice, and when they weave their voices together like that, it deeply touches me in a way I can't explain.

"When winter turns to spring..."

Today it was in the 50s, and the sun was shining. It was such a happy aesthetically pleasing day. I spent a considerable amount of time redesigning my blogs, listening to music I loved, and eating Aggie ice cream. Well, the ice cream didn't take a considerable amount of was gone pretty fast.
Strawberry on top, lemon custard on bottom. =)

Today's miracle: winter turns to spring each year. Winter never lasts forever. Things change. For the better. =) God is in control, and all things work together for the good of them that love Him.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Hooray for Thai food, ice castles, chocolate strawberries, puzzles, fireplaces, and Narnia. Oh! And the most amazing young man in the world who shared it all with me tonight! =) Thanks Jeffrey, for a wonderful Valentines Day (observed). =)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I've been thinking about Improvisation and Composing. I think the reason they are empowering and feel so good is that we are creating, and creating is a God-like activity. Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said:

"Heavenly Father is able to accomplish these two great goals—the immortality and eternal life of man—because He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father's perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate. ...

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don't need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. ...
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty....
What you create doesn't have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don't let fear of failure discourage you. Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside. 

As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."

I believe what he says. Creating things is one way to become like God, and its a yearning that we all have, but we often grow too self-conscious to satisfy that yearning. Often when we yearn something, there is also the fear in the back of our mind that the thing we yearn will not bring us as much happiness as we hope it will. And then we decide not to seek what we yearn, in order to save ourselves from possibly being disappointed. I never really realized until now that improvising takes faith!

I have a new appreciation for music therapy, because it highlights both of the things President Uchtdorf talked about. Creating and compassion. The very term "music therapy" implies both. I will try to approach my music therapy, humbly, as a sacred, god-like activity, and I will try to approach improvisation and composition with faith.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My new motto

The phrase that keeps coming to me, at this time of busy-ness and expectations is:

Calm Down. Work Hard.

It surprises me that the same anxiety I had on my mission is manifesting itself again. I feel, in a way, that if I deal with it better or overcome it this time, it will in some way help me feel a little better about it all. I can't go back and change anything from my mission, but if I learn how to deal with and overcome the challenges that faced me there, then I can be so much more prepared and capable for the future things my Father asks me to do in His service.

So... I will calm down, and I will work hard. And might I add, with a heart full of love. =)

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Blues

The Blues song I composed today...

Well I'm eternally in college, and I've got so much on my plate
Yeah, I'm eternally in college, and I've got so much on my plate
But I know that if I pray that I can make it through today and end up happy.

By the way, I'm dating someone amazing. Jeffrey continues to be wonderful. He gave me a bagel and a hug when I was completely stressed out. Volunteered to pick up groceries for me. Helped my roommate out when I couldn't. Loved me constantly. He's great! =)