Saturday, July 21, 2012

DAy ??? Youth conference day 3!!!

Day three!

Aloha, Hola, and Hello....

Its me again!

Day three was great!

The sign outside of the School!!
The night between day 2 and day 3 consisted of a giant storm, thank goodness it was while we were sleeping not performing.

We got our own sign!!!!
Before I get any further I thought I would give you some facts about the event:

The stakes at this event were from all over Northern Virginia: Ashburn, Woodbridge, Centreville (Our stake), Annandale, Fredricksburg, Mclean, and Mount Vernon. Some stakes (ours) had a 20-30 minute drive to the event while others had a 2 or more hour drive.

The event took place at a brand new high school, Patriot High School in our stake that is huge and beautiful!  There was plenty of room for everyone and a great facility to work in.

During each performance sister Cook read a letter from THE PROPHET, saying that he wished he could be there! HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!!!?????!!!!!!!  No question about that coolness!!

The following contains facts, but is part of the story too.

They day started off with rain, so we moved into the school for the opening devotional. It continued to drizzle and mist throughout the day, but cleared up for the performances (Mostly).  The temperature was probably in the 60s- 80 range. (that is really precise)

Rainy Morning
Brother Toma started off by reminding us to look for miracles each day as sister Cook had told us to the first day.  He told us of some amazing miracles that had occurred with and without us knowing:

The Fire Marshal did not approve of the stage that was built or many of the other plans that the stakes had so there had to be a lot of rearranging and the stage had to be completely rebuilt.  The stage builders worked right up to the first performance, and the stage looked amazing!
Back of stage. AWESOME!   plus even more stage components not pictured. 

We were also informed that minutes before the first performance permits came through that allowed the performance to happen.  It was a MIRACLE!!!

We were also amazed to find out that the storm parted and went around the school during our performance the first night.

All of the youth gathering in the morning 
After hearing from brother Toma we hear from Brother Gerard.  He talked to us about how the Prophet wants us to listen to him and his word will help us.  He also told us a story of a young man who was out of money so he robbed a bank, leading to a car chase through rural Idaho. When he was caught he pulled a gun on the officer and he ended up dead.  He pointed out how this young man made poor decisions and let them define who he was.  He told us to only let good moments define us and to Say No, Stand out/up, and Stand for what's right.  The still small voice will teach you and lead you to good defining moments.   It was wonderful!

We also had wonderful devotional from our stake leaders:

President Lowe: We all need to Arise Stand and Shine and will have many opportunities to do so.
President Dionne: Men and Women are different,  husbands are soul mates, not just friends, a woman's beauty is damaging like the sun at noon, but beautiful at sunset and the sunrise.  Smiling is the way to be beautiful, men's natural strength gives them many responsibilities.  Everyone should always:
Look up
Lift up
Rise up
Stand up
Bishop Goodfellow
and this one shouldn't be needed, but show up.
Bishop Goodfellow: To listen to the Spirit you have to listen with your heart, by paying attention to how something effects you and recognizing and remembering the spirit from every experience.

Later we had another devotional from Sister Cook
There were many great points that she made:
Exceedingly great Joy means that it is good.
The word of God reminds us of what to do.
Tell the devil not to bother our minds with unrighteousness.
Conversion is consistency to act on revelation.
And lastly to put down your weapons of rebellion to give way to faith, testimony and conversion.

After a spiritually uplifting portion of the day we prepared to preform. Our first performance of the day was at 5.  We got ready and sat in the stands, the mood for the performance, just did not seem to feel right.  I think that all I should really tell you is that the performance did not go too well. There were mistakes in a few places (it was still presentable, but disappointing), which left me very doubtful that I would be able to perform well in the final performance.  I was in a crappy mood, low on blood sugar, and disappointed in myself.  I told my friends to tell me jokes to cheer me up, but only my best friend Ibrahim Kargbo could cheer me up, and it was through beating me up. My buddy Regan helped too, with countless hugs!

It is probably sufficient to tell you that after eating and once I started performing again my mood greatly improved!

The final performance was to say the least, the best performance ever!  Willy and I did the swing perfectly, which rarely happened during practices, but went well in each performance.  I had originally had a different partner, but I am so glad that Willy was my partner instead, he was the most trusting person for the lifts, and the funnest person to practice with.  It was a blast dancing the swing with Willy Ward. He is my Favorite!

Oh here are the dances we did:

Our stake did a crazy swing dance with lifts and such.
The laurels and priests did a waltz to Moon River.
The teachers did a hip hop dance
and the Mia Maids did a hip hop dance as well!
Each stake had a different dance.
I also participated in a specialty dance, where I DIED as well as all the boys. (It was the opposition dance, representing the Lamanites and Nephites, I was a Lamanite.)
We also did a flash mob.
The opening dance was to the song 'Youth all Over the World'
and the closing dance/ song was to a specially made rendition of 'True to the Faith.'

In each performance the final number brought tears to my eyes. The standing ovation and beauty of the moment was overwhelming and touching.  I hope that the viewers felt the same spirit that we did.
Jessy says it did! so score!
The final performance was viewed by members of the Senate, governors, government officials, preachers, Nuns, and other religious leaders.  It was AMAZING!!!!!

The stands filling for the final performance, all but the 5 o'clock showing was practically sold out!!!
Just thought I would note, that I was performing, so thus i don't have pictures of the performance, but my Mommy does and I will either steal them from her and put them on my long lost blog, or she will post them.  
 This program was truly inspired. It provided a new sense of confidence, and indescribably improved my testimony! I am very glad that I had the opportunity to participate in this event and I wouldn't give it up for the world.  I recommend it to EVERYONE who ever has the opportunity to participate in it!  The Spirit was everywhere and so strong!!  The event ended with a testimony meeting on the following Sunday, that was also very spiritual.

We truly did ARISE STAND and SHINE!

I have been told I will receive a recording of the performance, which I will share.
Thanks for listening!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Day?? Youth dance celebration day 2

Youth conference day two:

Howdy guys its me again:

Here is the low down about the up down of day 2 of NOVA Youth Dance celebration.

My Mom was a chaperon for half of this day! Making it more fun!!

Day two started with different weather then the first day.  The sky was filled with clouds and a sprinkle was on the brink, but the temperature was in the 80s so not bad.

The first part of the day was a devotional from the wonderful sister Cook.  She talked about Arising Standing, and Shining, and how we will be recognized for doing so.  WONDERFUL TALK!

After this devotional we did a costume check to make sure everyone had everything.   The boys and girls broke off and the gentlemen received a devotional from Brother Gerard of the the 6th quorum of the 70.  and then the girls heard again from the beautiful Sister Cook who talked about how we truly Glow and that to be

It was great!!!
The girls ate lunch while the boys had thier devotional.  
They didn't let us eat watermelon inside the fancy new school we were using, so we ate it outside in the rain.  

Shilo and Regan's huddle
Regan and Shilos dry spot!
The spot with the bag is my Mom's and mine! 

After lunch we had a hectic dress rehearsal that left me hopeless and doubting the performance would ever come together.  I was in a pretty depressed mood about everything.  Eating dinner sure improved my mood though!

 Later in the day we got ready to perform!
All of the youth sat in the visitors stands behind the field.  Just to let you know that is 1300 youth, 1500 people including all the adult leaders.

Each stake had different color shirts including Green. light blue, dark blue, red, yellow, purple, and orange.  Our stake was the light blue one!
While waiting for the performance to begin we watched through the giant signs that spelled out
ARISE, STAND, and SHINE, as the audience filled the stands.  

As we waited for the performance to begin, we watched the sky fill with clouds the forecast was a giant storm.  We prayed continually for the rain to hold back.  It started to rain just as the performance began, but slowed to a mist a few numbers in, right after the dance to the song dancing in the rain.  The mist/drizzle continued through the performance, but no storm.  This was jsut one of the many miracles that we experienced!
The performance went amazing! It was such a rush to participate in such an event! It was amazing to see how a chaotic dress rehearsal could result in and amazing performance!!! I loved every minute of it!. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day # ? Youth conference day one

Hey ladies and Gents, this is Emily.

Im here to fill you in on Youth conference this year.

This year our stake president got together with 6 other stake presidents and put together a youth dance celebration as recommended by the Prophet.

We practiced our dances for months and were finally ready for the performances.  The event was a three day event with devotionals, singing, a dance, and three performances.  The first day was learning about the performances, devotionals, and a 7 stake dance.  Day two was a devotional from sister Cook a member of the General Young Women presidency, a super long dress rehearsal, and an evening performance. Day three was more devotionals a fix-up-the-mistakes rehearsal, and two performances.

All three days were awesome!!!!

Since it was three days long I will cover the days in three posts,  hehe see what I did there.

Everyday we prayed for great weather, there was even a 7 stake fast for great weather.

This was the weather for day one:
Nice and warm and humid, but not as bad as the average July day.

This is Brother Toma and another sister from a different stake.  They taught us the military songs that we sang in each performance.

This is my buddy Ibrahim Kargbo, probably during lunch.

This is WILLY! My best buddy and dance partner!

Brother Toma again for a wonderful devotional!!!!  Brother Toma is a member from our stake who I have had the opportunity to work with in our stake youth committee.  He is an amazing man! He also works for the CES and is an amazing story teller.  He is a real inspiration and I respect him a lot!  He talked about really talking to God and not just speaking.  AWESOME!

Thats all for day one folks,  Don't worry day two is still to come.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Willy Swing

Willy checking out the swing before he gets on and goes!
How high can you go.  notice he is on top of the bench on top
 of the picnic table.  His smile says it all!

Going, going , going!  Exhilaration.

My turn!  I chose only to get on top of the picnic  table!  Awesome ride!
Willy made this wonderful swing in our backyard simply put it is a board (a small board) with a whole drilled in the middle with a rope that goes threw it then is attached to a high branch.  It's super fun.  I think everyone has tried it out!  
Weight Watchers weigh in 
Lost for this week 4.8 lbs
Total lost 44.6 lbs.
This past month has been a real challenge.  Up then down and up and down, but I haven't given up.  This week I worked out extra hard and tracked every thing I ate.  Looking forward to another great week on plan! Oh by the way I can now run 3/4 of a mile. I'm hoping that by the end of July to be able to run a whole mile.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Willy and Lydia have big plans of sleeping in the hammocks.  They have been talking about it for days and tonight is the night.  It's amazing that Lydia wants to sleep outside.  Willy set up both hammocks in about five minutes between two trees one higher than the other so they can be close and talk to one another.  Here they are ready to go to bed!  Lydia will sleep in the higher one and Willy will sleep in the lower one.  It looks like fun!  Maybe I will get to try it out soon.  Bill has big plans to sleep in his hammock tomorrow night!  Some campers use these instead of sleeping in tents.  I can't wait to try extreme hammocking over the Appalachian Trail in August.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lydia update

I promised myself not to give up on keeping the blog for the summer, but you can see that it has been a little while since I have written. I want to fill in some of the details of what has been happening, but I need to start with today so that I can share some news about Lydia.   Today we had a follow up appointment with Doctor Civitello to talk about the result of her overnight EEG and her MRI.  And good news Lydia's brain is normal, with no scar tissue, no tumors, and it's healthy.  Her EEG did show some abnormal activity, but at this point she is not having seizures.  We discussed her over all health.  She gave Lydia a complete physical and let us know that Lydia is a growing healthy little girl.  By the way Lydia has grown an inch and gained 5 lbs in two months.  Doctor Civitello could not explain why she had seizures or why they stopped other than an anomaly. She suggested that we make sure Lydia gets plenty of sleep, eats healthy, and stays hydrated.  If we see any more seizures we will be back to receive medication to help her.  We will also visit Dr. Civitello every six months.  I am thankful for the wonderful people we have met during all the tests and the overnight hospital stay. It's awesome to see the dedication these health professionals have for children.The seizures could come back or she may never have one again.  We are grateful that for now she is seizure free.   I believe that having the seizures gone is a miracle.  A miracle from prayers and fasting! .   Thanks for your prayers and concern for Lydia

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

We had a wonderful Fourth of July.  We awoke late watched some movies, ate and prepared way too much food for our family and spent time just taking it easy.  We made this fun cake with totally festive colors and easy on the waist line.  We enjoyed watermelon and chicken Hot dogs.  We decided to enjoy the local fireworks just down the street by the high school.  It was a great show!  We loved being so close that we could feel the boom!  It was wonderful to spend the day together!  I can't help but take a trip down memory lane on a day like today. But ...... I miss the cousin get together at grandma Christenson's and LaVaughn's home.  We always had so much fun setting off the fireworks and eating all the wonderful food.  I wish there were some way to have the cousins get together and have fun watching and setting off fireworks and play and eat!  I guess we build different memories now but I am so grateful for all those crazy fun times with my cousins.