Sunday, October 31, 2010


And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Doctrine and Covenants 4:5

This morning we had a Stake Meeting and Elder L. Tom Perry presided. Our stake president spoke, the Provo mission president spoke, the Provo temple president spoke, and Elder Perry concluded the meeting with his talk. The meeting was actually fairly simple, but I learned a lot.

What I learned today was also supplemented with a quote that really stuck out to me today as I was listening to a talk from general conference. Elder Erying gave a talk entitled, "Trust in God, Then Go and Do" and in it he said, "God does not rule in nations, but He is mindful of them. He can and does place people in positions of influence who want what is best for the people and who trust in the Lord."

This is what I am attempting to do. I want to qualify for the work. Should the time every come when the Lord would place me in a position of influence, I want to be ready.

Actually, I suppose that, ready or not, I am already there. I firmly believe that everyday we are in positions of influence. Whether it be among our family, our friends, our classmates, or co-workers - there is always someone watching. As much as it can be hard to accept that there are people in the world who would prefer not to be around us, we often find it difficult to believe that there are others who watch us, learn from us, and love us for who we truly are. I would hate to let those people down. I would hate to think that, when given the chance, I influenced someone negatively, rather than for good.

So, I make an effort to qualify myself for the work. The best that any of us can do is just try to be in the right place at the right time and make the best of what we've got.
The Lord will take us the rest of the way. There is no reason to wait.

"...And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you."

-Elder Henry B. Erying

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sandwich Tuesday Episode II

Today my sandwich was two sugar cookies that I decorated with frosting and lots of sprinkles. That is a very good sandwich.

I ate this particular sandwich because last night I went to bed after 1:00 and woke up before 5:00. No time for makin' sandwiches when you are designing power point presentations and handouts at the last minute.

The funny thing about all of this is that, since I started grad school, I have found that I perform best on days when I get very little sleep, get to school early, and set out to conquer the day. I love it! Of course, this leads to extreme exhaustion every 10 days or so, but it is fairly exhilarating and I kind of dig it.

Maybe this grad school thing will work out after all....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sandwich Tuesday

I have a huge crush on Ian Chillag. If you don't know who he is, that is ok, you can rest assured that you are not a major geek. Ian Chillag writes for NPR's Wait, Wait Blog. He is funny. Very funny. My favorite thing to read on the WWBlog is the "Sandwich Monday" article. The premise is this: the producers of the show find a CRAZY sandwich and they sample it for lunch. Next, they give a review and say hilarious things about the culinary mess they have just ingested. It may not sound like much, but it is often the highlight of my week.

Some of my favorites include:

The TurDoggin at Franks 'N' Dawgs in Chicago

Ian: A hot dog should only be eight dollars if it comes with a side of six dollars.

Ally Sheedy's Sandwich from The Breakfast Club

Eva: Every time I chew I die a little.

Hot Pockets Sideshots

Mike: Last time I saw this, Han Solo was stuffing Luke into it to keep him warm.

See? They are funny. Well, they are to me. Maybe you should click on the links and go read it.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that yesterday, my love for Ian Chillag, my love for macaroni and cheese, my lack of sleep, and my grad-student-no-budget lead to Jennica's Sandwich Tuesday.

The sandwich of the day?

Ham and Macaroni and Cheese
A new twist on an old classic

Yup. This is not a joke. And it wasn't disgusting. I don't know if I would ever attempt it again, but it did the trick for dinner.

Now I think that it would be a good time for you to try to be as cool as the "Sandwich Monday" guys and leave a funny comment.

Happy sandwich!

Monday, October 18, 2010

When did this happen?

A patient willingness to defer dividends is a hallmark of individual maturity. It is, parenthetically, a hallmark of free nations that their citizens can discipline themselves today for a better tomorrow.
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell

I think that I have grown more in the last two months that I have in the last two years. I am coming up against all of my weaknesses and it is not. always. pretty. However, I also know that it is exactly what I need.

This is the time to be strong. This is the time to finally put all that I have been learning to the test. Can I really do this all on my own? When the odds are stacked against me, and I have no excuses left to hide behind, will I rise to the occasion? This is the time to prove my character. The last 4 years have been incredible, but life never asked much of me. I went to work, I traveled, I did anything that I pleased. Now I have more constraints on my time, energy and finances than I ever thought possible. (and I thought A LOT was possible)

With some regret I will say that, when tested, I am certainly found wanting. But I am also improving. I am learning quickly and doing my best not to repeat my mistakes. I am learning to speak up and to keep my mouth shut. I am learning to wake up earlier than I ever have, even though I am also staying up later than I ever have. I am learning to serve others when I am overwhelmed and I am becoming intimately acquainted with the peace that the Lord can provide when life's storms are raging all around us. I am finding an inner strength that I never believed I was capable of.

I am growing up.

And I love it.

I never thought I would get to the point where I loved the idea of being grown up. To quote Peter Pan, I just wanted to be "a little boy, and to have fun." (minus the little boy part)

But now, here I am - growing up - and even though these growing pains are intense, I am loving every minute and I can't wait to see how it all works out. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sees fit to let us struggle and learn. I am struggling, and I am learning, and I am so happy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Grad School

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”
- The Red Queen, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll