Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, folks -- It's time for the obligatory Thanksgiving post. The one where bloggers worldwide post what they are grateful for . . .

So I'll add to all of it, and while my pumpkin pie is baking, I'll tell you what I'm most grateful for right this second:
  • Friends. Friends in Atlanta, and friends here in Texas.
  • Moving to Texas. What??? It's true. It was a necessary step in my life's progression. I wasn't growing enough in Georgia. :/
  • Tender mercies. Those moments are hard to explain, but they come in the form of finishing homework when I thought it couldn't be done, having a friend ask me if I was alright, and avoiding traffic tickets by thisclose.
  • Moving help. I've had a lot of it this year . . .
Then there's family. There's always family. I'm thankful for MommyDaddy, Cami, Summer, Brooks, Blake, and Lexi. And all of their spouses and kids. Love you guys.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Before Thanksgiving

It's time for me to weigh in on an important matter. That is, should we listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving?

For a long time, I was of the opinion that we should not. My parents began playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, when we put up the tree. From the fourth Friday in November until the day after New Year, Christmas music was played nonstop, but before and after that period, it was all but a sin to listen to it. That mentality carried over into my adult life. I got irritated when I heard radio stations playing Christmas music early, and I would practically cover my ears if I heard Christmas music being played in stores.

For some reason, it didn't quite bother me as much last Christmas. I, myself, didn't tune into to those "crazy" radio stations, but I didn't mind if other people did. I'm not sure what changed, but I let other people listen to what they wanted without whining about it.

And then, last week, I turned on the radio and a Vince Guaraldi song was playing. "Wait . . . Is this . . . 'Christmas is Coming' from A Charlie Brown Christmas???" It was. I was enjoying a Christmas song without even realizing it. I loved it. I even finished out the song while I sat in my car in front of my apartment, and in that moment, I was a changed girl.

Here's the thing: What's so wrong with welcoming the Christmas spirit early? Why do people think that Thanksgiving doesn't get its fair share, if we celebrate Christmas before we eat turkey and ham? Aren't Thanksgiving and Christmas sort of one in the same, anyway? Gosh, the world would be a better place, if we had the Christmas spirit all year -- so what's one or two more weeks?

Using music to get into a Christmas mood is even more important to me now. With 70- and 80-degree Texas weather, it's easy to forget that the holidays are approaching. A little festive music goes a long way to reminding me that a break is just around the corner. That life is going to be a little brighter for a bit.

Thing I'm thankful for: friends

Friday, November 18, 2011

"I'm a Mormon" Ad Campaign

The New York Times published the following article yesterday:
Mormons' Ad Campaign May Play Out in the '12 Campaign Trail

From the article:

Brandon Burton, president and general manager of Bonneville Communications, an advertising agency owned by the church, said that the church’s previous, long-running media campaign promoted the church’s doctrine, providing a toll-free number to call for a free Bible or Book of Mormon. However, this new campaign introduces doctrine only if a viewer seeks out the Web site

“What we found was that in order for people to have a desire to understand doctrinally what the church stands for, it was necessary for us to overcome the stigmas that existed,” said Mr. Burton in an interview. The biggest stigma, said those involved in the campaign, is the belief that Mormons are not Christians.

I feel somewhat guilty saying this, but I have some concerns about these new ads. When they first began a year ago, I was pretty excited. I loved them. Gosh, I write about being a Mormon on my blog more times than I can count! But something about the way Mormons are represented lately bothers me. And it's this: Mormons are all about being "cool" these days. They want to show the world that they are "just like everyone else."

Stephen B. Allen, managing director of the church's missionary department, is in charge of the ad campaign, and the Times quotes him as saying, "We're not secretive, and we're not scared of what people think of us."

I only partly believe him. I think he is right in saying that Mormons are not secretive. If they don't share a particular belief with someone who is not a Mormon, I'd say it's largely because they don't quite know how to answer a question with the proper context, tone, and clarity. That's an issue for anyone who tries to explain their faith to a non-believer.

I do think, however, that Mormons are generally scared -- well, anxious -- about what people think of them. To me, this campaign is trying to sell the idea that Mormons are cool. They do cool things in cool clothes and have cool jobs. That may be true. A lot of Mormons around the world do lots of interesting things, but a lot of them -- and I'd wager to say "most" of them -- do average things. And it's sometimes extremely difficult for people to live the standards of the church or understand the doctrine and principles, which are peculiar.

I, for one, like to embrace that peculiarity. I like the old Mormon ads that promoted the church's doctrine. Those were straightforward and cute. (Take this one, for example: Daddy, will you read me a story?)

On the other hand, I really like the new ads. They are visually great, and I love hearing people talk about themselves. I suppose my conflict with them is closely tied to the many articles I've read over the last few months. All this "Mormon mania" stuff is really interesting to me . . . It feels like Mormons are trying too hard to be like everyone else. Maybe it's not a bad thing. (Maybe in writing this post, I've just convinced myself that it's not.) But I'm just wondering . . .

What do you think, readers?
By all means, leave a comment!

Thing I'm thankful for: perfect weather. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

I've Got Good Veins

I've been told twice this year that I have good veins. As in blood vessels.

Yes, two nurses stopped me in conversation this year and told me they were jealous of my veins. One said they were beautiful, and both wanted to give me an IV. Pretty interesting, no? I thought about posting a photo, so you could all admire the glory that is the network of greenish-blue tubes in my hands and wrists. When I took the picture, though, it just looked weird, and I decided that hand veins should not be seen separately. If you want to check out my veins, you'll have to see them in person. :)

Thing I'm thankful for: a new couch! And a swivel armchair!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We Are Too Connected!

Seen on today . . .

It's simultaneously funny and frightening. :/

Thing I'm thankful for: playing outside as a kid

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Ice Cream at the End of the Tunnel

See that picture? That's a happy Sara.

That picture was taken during the summer, when I got regular sleep. More importantly, however, that picture was taken while I was at my favorite burger and ice cream place ever: Braum's. The chocolate shakes are made with REAL chocolate ice cream! And you can see for yourself the banana splits are heavenly. Minus about 5 bites, I ate the whole thing!

When this semester is over in a month, I am driving to the nearest Braum's, which is about two hours away, and I'm gonna devour another banana split. I'll probably get a chocolate shake to go. It will be amazing.

(If anyone wants to go with me, let me know!)

Thing I'm thankful for: endings

Sunday, November 06, 2011

I'm Sara, and I'm a Mormon

See? You can read my profile on Hi, I'm Sara.
Pretty neat, huh?

You might not be able to tell, but I spent a lot of time on that. It's not easy to describe what you believe and why in just a few paragraphs. Still, I think I did a decent job of it. :)

Thing I'm thankful for: Sundays