Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Beginnings...

So, in church today, there was a great talk about meekness, and the guy really emphasized that people who talk just to hear themselves talk or prove their intelligence probably aren't very meek. I can't help but think that a blog is sort of like talking just to hear myself I feel kinda weird blogging right now--especially since I don't have anything important to say. But it's the last day before the new semester and I'm bored and I know I'm going to be terrible about blogging once classes start, so I thought I would just write a quick post here.

So, I am going to be a junior at BYU. I know that's not that old, but it sure feels old to me. It feels like just yesterday I was eating dinner at the Canon with all my friends from freshman year. Funny how time flies, right? It's freaking me out! I don't want school to be over! I love school! :) I'm excited pretty much every year at the beginning of school, but this year especially. I am taking 2 religion classes, 2 English classes, a family finance class, and my third semester of sign language. It might be too much on top of work, so I may not keep all of them, but so far I can't wait to get into the reading and learning and studying of it all. I'm way excited to learn about managing my money too because I am so so soo bad at that. Hopefully I can get through a year of school without debt this year :P

So yeah, that's basically all I wanted to say. I'm really really super duper excited to embark on my journey through junior year here at BYU. I'm excited for a new ward, new roommates, new professors, new books, a new choir, and early church!!! Wish me luck!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

15 Lessons Learned from Ben Franklin...

So I got the chance to read Benjamin Franklin's "The Autobiography" last week and I absolutely loved it! He is such a great writer--the perfect mix of great advice, sarcasm, comedy, and serious reflections on life. If you ever get the chance to take some time to read it, I highly recommend it. This is going to be a kind of lengthy blog, so if you are not in the mood to read the musings of Benjamin Franklin mixed with my own thoughts, I suggest you just skip this one and wait for another, shorter blog, but it you do happen to read this, I hope you enjoy it! These are just some of my favorite quotes from the book and what they made me think about.

"A man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when he has plenty"--Why is that? I've found it's really true though, at least with myself. I find I'm more generous with my time when I don't even seem to have enough of it to handle my own life. Franklin suggests that poor people are generous to avoid the appearance of being poor, but I'm not sure I agree. It's just a weird phenomenon.

"He and I had made a serious agreement, that the one who happen'd first to die should, if possible, make a friendly visit to the other, and acquaint him how he found things in that separate state."--This is hilarious to me. But it makes perfect sense. People are supposed to have the best perspective on their lives when they're on their deathbeds. So, at the risk of sounding slightly insensitive/morbid, I have to agree with Franklin. If you have to die, might as well do something useful while you're at it.

"I grew convinced that truth , sincerity, and integrity in dealings between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life."--How great is that?! It all leads back to being honest--always. I just love this as a motto for life. By the way, "felicity" means "intense happiness".

"I entertained an opinion that, though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden, or good because they are commanded, probably these actions might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, in their own natures, all the circumstances of things considered." --So basically, things are prohibited to keep us safe, and commanded to help us become better people. I think as a member of the LDS church I go through this train of thought once in a while because a lot of Heavenly Father's commandments are like this and it's easy to get caught up in the logistics and forget the reasoning behind it all.

"There are croakers in every country, always boding it's ruin."--Right?? There's always going to be nay-sayers and doubters in our lives. The story behind this quote was that this guy wouldn't buy property in Philadelphia because he said the city was going to fail soon. He kept discouraging Benjamin Franklin from starting up his business there because he was so sure the town would never survive. Several years later, he finally bought a house for 5 times as much as he would have paid in the first place. I think sometimes in life we may listen to the "croakers" a little too much when it'd be better for us to just have confidence in our ideas and dreams and have faith that it'll all work out.

"Will Coleman...who had the coolest, clearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals of any man I have ever met."--Wouldn't you just love to be remembered like that?! A clear head, a good heart, and strong, good morals. That's pretty much my goal for who I want to be. I wish I knew how this Will Coleman guy did it.

"Small things appearing great to those in small circumstances."--He's talking about money here and how grateful he was when he was struggling and someone helped him out. I think he's right to an extent, but I don't think small things just "appear" great. I think any help really is great--just especially if you're in a humble situation.

"He that would thrive, must ask his wife."--enough said. ;)

"As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other."--CTR right? No big deal. This is when Franklin was working on perfecting himself. I thought that was funny. Wish it were that simple, right?

"I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined."--It's funny how when we really start trying to improve ourselves we start finding our faults...I can't decide if that's discouraging or inspiring?

"Tho' I never arrived at perfection, I had been so ambitious of obtaining it, I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man."--It's hard to accept that we will never be perfect simply because were mortal and prone to error, but I agree. It's worth a shot if only for what you learn along the journey, right?

"In reality, there is, perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself."--I'd imagine pride was hard to keep at bay when you were someone as brilliant, hard-working, and successful as Benjamin Franklin. But it's inspiring to me that someone so amazing realized that all pride ever got him was arguments and tension. He knew that humility was the only way to present yourself in life and I hope I can take a lesson from his book.

"He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged."--I can personally attest to the truth of this maxim. Isn't it funny how we develop such a deep love for those we serve? It makes no logical sense, but it's one of those weird truths of life.

"When men are employed, they are best content'd."--In other words, being lazy will never lead to happiness. I think this is so true. I am always happiest when I am being productive, or engaged in learning, or working hard.

"Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day."--This is exactly the title of my blog! It amazes me that Benjamin Franklin, who had his fair share of big things happen to him in his lifetime, swears that it's the little things that produce joy--not huge things.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

And They Lived Happily Ever After...

Crazy. My brother's married! My only brother. I'm so happy, and I love his wife :) Wow, Sierra, is that so weird? You're a wife! haha. I'm sure they're gonna be just crazy busy moving Jeremy in and recovering from the wedding and everything, so I just wanted to post a few pictures of the wedding and let them know how great everything was :) We love you guys!

Sierra was so stunning and beautiful when they were coming out of the temple and Jeremy was just beaming from ear to ear. The Denver Temple was absolutely gorgeous as well of course!

I just love this one. Props to Mom for taking it. What a beautiful day, right? I think they look so so so happy here it's great :)

What a fun group! Of course these aren't the best pictures. We're excited to see what the actual photographer got!

The Fam Bam!!

They kept the rustic theme up by using clothespins to clip their engagements and her bridals to a cute little wooden ladder. So adorable :)

The Cake!

Their centerpieces were so awesome! Complete with sheet music, books, flowers, silhouettes of the bride and groom, and beautiful flowers :) The perfect explanation of Jeremy and Sierra.

Yes, yes they are Mr. and Mrs. Penrod <3

Cutting the cake :)

Tori Loves her Aunt Sierra. Isn't she so cute? (both of them...)

The first dance. <3 This is definitely one of my favorite pics of the night. Don't they look so in love?

I can't tell you how many pictures we have of Jeremy in this exact pose with his trumpet. We all enjoyed hearing him improv a bit with the live band towards the end of the night.

The bouquet toss...Sierra did so well. She threw it far enough and right to the middle. Perfect!

I thought the rose petals were a beautiful touch, much cleaner than soapy bubbles. But I think we caught Jeremy a little off guard.

So that gives you the general idea of their reception. It was really such a beautiful night only made better by being able celebrate with two people so in love and happy to be married. I'm so excited for Jeremy and Sierra!! I was going to post a bunch more pics of my family and my nieces (of course...), but it is pretty late and I think I need some sleep. Hopefully I'll be back with more (as if 20 pictures aren't enough, right?).