April 30, 2012

O, My Father

I was asked to help put together a musical number at church yesterday. I love how we incorporate music into our worship services. Uplifting music helps me to feel the Spirit and to feel closer to God. I was slightly concerned about putting together something with short notice that involved so many people (a 4-part harmony with 6 vocalists, 1 accompanist, and 2 violin obbligatos... Yeah...), but it turned out beautifully! What a blessing to have had such a talented group! Below is a little audio of the number. (Please pardon the random person who coughed at the 18 second mark.) Cynthia is the first violin you'll hear, and I'm the second (at about 11 seconds). Every time you hear that same little part over again... That's me. I'm also the soloist at about 2:20. My favorite part was the a cappella part. Aren't the vocalists' harmonies beautiful?!

PS I apologize that this video is just one picture the whole time. It's just that... I don't know how to upload JUST an audio file, so I had to turn this into a quick YouTube video. Oh, well. It's not perfect, but I hope you enjoy it. :)

April 29, 2012

On How I'm Not Creative (aka My Non-Original Nail Polish) + Some Unrelated Photos

One time, it was Valentine's Day, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to paint my nails pink or red (or a non-Valentine's color altogether. I know. The daily struggles of my life are astounding.). Being of the indecisive sort, I decided to paint my nails red, BUT to mix it up a little by painting my ring finger nails hot pink. Brilliant, no? Creative and original! (or so I thought.) And cute! (or so I was told.). I've since done this a few other times with other colors.

Today, I somehow ended up on the tumblr of a girl I don't even know, and I read this post, where she says she is "notorious for accent nails." So I wondered, "Hmm.... What are accent nails?" And I clicked here to see them. And I thought, "Dude, I totally do that!!" I was so annoyed to discover that A- I'm not as original as I thought I was. and B- That the phenomenon I thought was so brilliant has a name!! THAT'S how unoriginal my originality is! It has a name! A name given to it by elseone! Accent nails! Can you believe this? (I know. My life is hard.)

In conclusion, a few photos:
Sometimes, when I have the whole metro seat all to myself, I sit
like this. But don't worry: I don't put my feet on the actual seat.
That's just rude!
Caitlin said I looked very "hipster" with my clashing
polka-dots/stripes/floral outfit, and... this picture happened.
Tonight, I decided iPhone cameras STINK at night pictures, even with
the flash. Those dots you see here? They're the eyes of my neighbors,
the deer. Just trust me; they really WERE deer, OK? Ask my people neighbors!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

April 24, 2012

No, You Can't Marry Both of Us- or Either of Us, For That Matter

This is the story of Whitney's birthday party, also known as "the time neither of us married that one guy." The plan was to meet at Madhatter's for dinner and dancing (at 10pm, they clear out the tables and chairs, and turn the place into a dance party... or so we were told). Our group consisted of Ryan, Jesse, Alex, Kelli, Whitney, and me, and we enjoyed ourselves most thoroughly.

The birthday girl!
Adorable mini teacups. Too bad it wasn't herbal tea. 
Themed decor.
B-day ice cream! B-day girl doesn't like cake.

When 10pm rolled around and the dance party "started," no one was dancing! They were all just standing 'round the bar! We were shocked! Look how empty it was:

Not a dance.
So we decided to bar hop. Five bars later, we discovered that no one in the entirety of Dupont Circle was dancing anywhere that night. Apparently 11pm is too early to start the party on a Saturday night.

While we did not get to dance anywhere, we did meet an interesting young man at Lucky Bar. Since no one was dancing, I figured I'd at least strike up a conversation with a not-unattractive stranger. We looped Whitney in, too, and then the conversation turned a little something like this:

Guy: So where are you girls from?
Me: Utah.
Guy: Are you girls Mormon?
Us: Yep.
Guy: Does that mean I can marry both of you?
Us: Umm, no. (Actually, Whitney said, "No." I said, "Not at the same time," which -- for the record -- is not the right way to answer this question.)

Clearly this was not love at first ignorant question for either of us, and we soon parted ways. We continued to celebrate Whitney with much pomp and great circumstance, holding ever so tenderly in our hearts the memory of the ignorant boy who clearly knows nothing about Mormons.

General Conference Week 2: The Doctrine of Christ

So... I may or may not be a week behind on my General Conference challenge. Whoops.

I chose Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk entitled "The Doctrine of Christ" for my Week 2 studying. Figuring out what is official church doctrine and how it's made is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. After listening to this talk, here's what I've learned"

1- The doctrine of Christ is simple. It tells us what we need to do to return to God's presence. Namely:

    1. Faith in Jesus Christ
    2. Repentance
    3. Baptism
    4. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost
    5. Enduring to the end

2- There's a lot we don't know.

3- What we DO know has come by divine revelation.

4- We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. This belief is one that sets the LDS Church apart. We believe in living prophets and apostles and in continuing, modern revelation.

5- God speaks to us today through prophets. We sustain some of the General Authorities of the Church (the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) as prophets, seers, and revelators. This means "they have the right, the power, and authority to declare the mind and will of God to his people, subject to the over-all power and authority of the President of the Church" who is THE Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the whole Church.

6- God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. Sometimes, He will modify a practice or reveal a more complete doctrinal understanding to us, but the core principles of His doctrine never change. An example of this is when Peter received revelation to extend preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles.

7- "How does the Savior reveal his will and doctrine to prophets, seers, and revelators? He may act by messenger or in His own person. He may speak by His own voice or by the voice of the Holy Spirit -- a communication of Spirit to spirit that may be expressed in words or feelings that convey understanding beyond words. He may direct Himself to His servants individually or acting in council."

8- Prophets are men, and not everything they say is direct revelation from God. Only what is spoken in their capacity as a prophet is considered revelation for the Church.

April 22, 2012

The Dangers of Dressing Rooms

** Post I typed up on Friday but forgot to publish:

Twelve days ago, my cell phone got stolen from a dressing room at the Target in Germantown. It was the day after Easter (meaning Lent was OVER and I could shop again! which I did.), and I was at Target trying on this dress. I texted my best friend from inside the dressing room and left when I finished trying on my clothes. A short while later, I realized I had left the dressing room without my dear phone, so I went back to get it.


And no one turned it in. :(

Two days ago, I finally got a new phone. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my new mobile device, the iPhone 4. (Just 4. No S. Siri wasn't worth paying more for.) This is the case I ordered for it. :)

And remember next time you're in a dressing room, hide yo' cell phones! (Or at least remember to take them with you when you leave.)

April 16, 2012

DC Drum Circle

Yesterday was my first Drum Circle Sunday of the season. Can I just take a moment to publicly express my love for the Sunday Drum Circle at Meridian Hill Park? Because I love it. It is literally my favorite DC thing to do on a Sunday!

It's a DC institution. Literally: they've been doing it every Sunday (weather-permitting) from 3-9pm since the 1950's (thanks, Wikipedia!). I love it because of the eclectic mix of people it convenes: people of all races, colors, ages... You have, of course, the drummers. They're joined by folks on a whole array of instruments: cowbell, tambourine, harmonica, saxophone(?!), guitar, and yesterday, even a violinist. (Woot!) Every Sunday, there's at least one person leading line dancing, others dancing on their own (to the beat of their own drummer, if you will. Oh, I'm so punny!). You have yogis (mesmerizing... seriously), hula hoopers, jugglers, soccer players, families and groups of friends picnicking, and even some tight rope walkers yesterday.

If you've never been, GO ASAP! Your life will never be the same. Below, a few photos from our excursion yesterday.

Sergio, me, Jessica, Jeff (photo courtesy of Rachel's iPhone)

Rachita (pr. Ray-chee-tuh), me, Jessica, Jeff
(photo also courtesy of Rachel's iPhone)

And the best one:

I dared Sergio to join the dancing, and he jumped right in like it was NBD.
So then I joined, too. I know, so crazy. :) PS I'm the little blog behind Sergio.

Thanks to Juan and Isabel for taking that last photo (I had no idea they were taking it! Prometo tener celular la proxima vez, para que podamos coordinar. :D)! And a shout-out to Luis and Wendy who were also there. :)

April 15, 2012

Sacrifice: General Conference Week 1

For my first weekly General Conference talk, I chose Elder Dallin H. Oaks's talk, "Sacrifice." This topic is something I've had on my mind for a little while and have been wanting to study more in-depth.

Elder Oaks said, "The Atonement of Jesus Christ is at the very center of Mormon doctrine and should be at the heart of all we do." I know personally that Jesus Christ's Atonement for each one of us was real and that all our heartaches and sorrows can be made whole through Him. Christ's Atonement ended the ancient ritual of animal sacrifice, "but it did not end the importance of sacrifice in the gospel plan. Our Savior requires us to continue to offer sacrifice, but the sacrifices He now commands are that we 'offer for a sacrifice unto [Him] a broken heart and a contrite spirit.' (3 Nephi 9:20)."

So I asked myself, Why does God require us to continue to sacrifice? What and when have I sacrificed /do I sacrifice?

Elder Oaks spoke of the sacrifices of the Mormon pioneers and the sacrifices of church members today in fulfilling their various callings. He then spoke of missionaries and the sacrifices they make to serve. He also mentioned the sacrifices their families make in order for them to serve.

When I heard his talk live I thought, "Psssh! My mission was so not a sacrifice!" And then I felt prideful and small-minded. I guess what I mean is that my mission was such a blessing to me, and I received so many blessings during/because of it, that I feel ungrateful viewing my measly little year and a half of full-time service as a sacrifice... I also know that my experience and the way I feel about my mission may be different than others' experiences. I really don't mean to say I know better than one of the Twelve.

I appreciated his mention of the sacrifices of the families of missionaries, because I know my family sacrificed for me. My mom definitely sacrificed to contribute to my mission every month. And I know that when my own brother leaves in July, I'm going to try to help support him financially when I can, AND I'm definitely going to miss the little stinker! (Who will I call now when I have ridiculous stories to share or when I'm walking down the mean streets of DC in the dark??)

When I re-listened to Elder Oaks's talk today, I felt completely in synch with this comment:

"We are frequently asked, 'How do you persuade your young people and your older members to leave their schooling or their retirement to sacrifice in this way?' I have heard many give this explanation: 'Knowing what my Savior did for me -- His grace in suffering for my sins and in overcoming death so I can live again -- I feel privileged to make the small sacrifice I am asked to make in His service. I want to share the understanding He has given me."

This was exactly how I felt when I left! Aside from the arm-twisting that had to happen for stubborn lil' me to truly seek to know whether Heavenly Father wanted me to serve, my greatest motivator for serving was the love I felt from Heavenly Father and my Savior, the peace I felt through the Atonement, and my desire to share that peace with others. Cuantos no saben quienes son, ni que hay un Dios que los ama y que tiene un plan para ellos? Cuantos no saben como encontrar la paz y el gozo que yo tengo en mi vida por tener el evangelio? How could I not share this? I can't wait to be able to be a senior missionary with my husband and be able to share this knowledge full-time again someday!

With regard to how I sacrifice now, I think it comes down to time and money. We learned today in Sacrament meeting and in Sunday School that the natural by-product of living the gospel and keeping our covenants is a desire to serve and love others. The thing is... that serving others requires taking time to think, plan, and DO. We also have callings to magnify and responsibilities to fulfill within the church -- those take up time, too. But we do these things because we love the Lord and we love our fellow man. I could use extra time to do homework or study, or even just relax or socialize more, but I know the Lord wants me to magnify my callings in the temple and in visiting teaching, so I know it's important for me to make time to do these things.

Tithing (read Malachi 3:8-10 in whichever version of the Bible you happen to read) is another way we sacrifice. I'm grateful for a mother who taught us to ALWAYS pay tithing. I also know firsthand that God does pour out His blessings when we pay our tithing. But sometimes, especially when money is tight, it can be tempting to not. For me, tithing is one of those things that's sort of like my mission. I receive so many blessings, it doesn't really feel like a sacrifice, but in our expensive world, I know it can be a hard thing to do.

As far as how I can sacrifice more, I know I personally need to work on actively looking for opportunities to serve others. I get so caught up in everything "I" have to do, or what's going on in "my" life, that I forget to see how others around me are doing and how I can help them. My arrows are not pointing outward, as my mission president's wife would have said.

And I think the answer to why does the Lord require us to sacrifice? lies in the fact that we do these things (serve and sacrifice) "in worshipful imitation of our Savior." We do as He would do, and thus, we become more like Him.

Elder Oaks's talk has placed in my heart a desire to always look for opportunities to serve, to live my life in such a manner that I can recognize promptings and opportunities to serve, and to always be prepared to render the service needed.

April 14, 2012

On Doors Opening and Closing

So, I haven't posted in over a week. That's nearly a century in internet time. I've been sort of philosophizing about life and how it's sometimes like... a bunch of doors. Doors opening, doors closing, long hallways with no doors, and sometimes too many doors. It's not a perfect analogy, but stay with me, people.

Last Tuesday, we lost our election. We worked our hearts and heads (and legs, feet, hands...) out but still lost. I absolutely loved working on this race, with this team, for this candidate. I'm thankful this door was opened for me, and I'm sad to see it close so soon.

Now, I need to figure out which door I walk through next. Actually, back up a little. First, I have to find another door. I think right now, I'm standing in a hallway looking for the right door. And you know, other times, I feel like I'm continually walking through various sets of revolving doors and it just gets dizzy? You know what I mean, right? Anyway, those are my thoughts on life right now.

In the meantime, this is what I'm up to:

1- Doin' m'homeworks. (Even the techie stuff! People, this is a BIG deal, for I am not techie!) My professors shall be pleased. :)

2- Spending Easter in Philadelphia with Camille and Ciara. For Camille's photographic account of our trip, see here.

3- Seeing another Church friend in Macbeth. (For free, I might add. So cool!) 

4- Eating delicious Latin foods with Rachel, Meli, Stephen, and Jeff (for way too much monies, I might add...). Paying lots of $$ for Latin food just kills me, because, HellO! I can make this stuff! at home! But sometimes, having someone else cook while you kick it with friends vale la pena.

5- Seeing this super rad exhibit at the Hirshhorn (the Hirshhorn is the Smithsonian's modern art museum on the National Mall). If you're in DC, get thee thence! For a sneak preview, check out this video, courtesy of Rockstar Diaries. Seriously, you need to see it!

song 1 @ hirshhorn. from Naomi Davis on Vimeo.

I'm off to see The Hunger Games now, but check back soon, because I owe two weeks' worth of General Conference reviews! :)

April 06, 2012

General Conference

Image courtesy of here

This past Saturday and Sunday was my church's semi-annual General Conference. Every spring and fall, we have the opportunity to hear directly from our church leaders, the Prophet, Apostles, and other General Authorities and church officers to receive spiritual and temporal guidance from our Heavenly Father. I believe and know with all my heart that God speaks to us today through His Prophet and Apostles, and I look forward to every conference, because I know I will receive guidance that is meant just for me, at this point in my life, in the year 2012. While I cherish and yearn for the guidance I receive through studying the scriptures, I am grateful that God is mindful that we also need continuing revelation and guidance for our lives.

I've always admired folks who study and re-read General Conference talks during the six months until the next Conference. I've always meant to do that, but... I haven't. Well, friends, I've decided this year is going to be different. I am publicly committing to study ONE Conference talk a week between now and the next conference in October. I knew this goal was meant to be when I counted the # of conference talks, and it was the same number as the # of weeks in half a year (ie- 26). Yes, my decision-making process is very scientific.

I'll blog about what I learn from each talk every week, mostly A- as a way to hold myself accountable and actually make sure I DO this, and B- because I learn more when I write out my thoughts, and I type faster than I write.

And for my two friends who read this (I hope this applies to at least one of you?), do you do anything special to make General Conference a part of your daily/weekly/monthly life?

April 03, 2012

Election Day!

My missionary tracting shoes have become my campaign shoes. Who'da thought, right? 

Friends, if you live in MARYLAND, WASHINGTON, DC, or WISCONSIN ('cept I don't think I know anyone who lives there?), 


As for me, I've been workin' since 5am and will keep workin' 'til the polls close (minus this brief pause to remind all y'all to go vote, of course).

Keep your fingers crossed for us! Here's hopin' for a WIN!!

Y :o)