Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Remember: That's Better.

I've been slowly making my way through the Book of Mormon, trying to read at least part of a chapter every night, and today I was in 1 Nephi 21.  It's pretty similar to Isaiah 49 in the Bible and there was one part I just loved, starting around v. 14.  The Lord acknowledges that the people of Zion feel they have been forsaken and forgotten.  I think that's a pretty common feeling among people sometimes, especially when they are in the depths of despair or enduring even daily trials.  It's often we forget that the Lord is with us whenever we ask, and most times when we don't.  I love the response He gives in v. 15-16:

"...I will not forget thee, O house of Israel.  Behold, I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands."

How beautiful is that?  Not only did Christ suffer through the Atonement for each and every one of us, but He carries us with Him still, even in the safety of His hands, through the marks from the crucifixion.  I am so happy that I know that Jesus lives and loves us.  It really is so simple, yet so hard to believe for so many.  Moving to Boston has definitely given me an insight into a place where people ridicule religion and deem any participation in such as a folly of ignorance.  I see it differently.  I choose to believe that God lives and that Jesus died for us because He loves us and wants us to return to Him.  Call me crazy, call me dotty, but I choose HAPPINESS!  For me, this simple knowledge makes life meaningful; it resonates in my heart and it helps me see the world through a much more loving light than I believe I would otherwise.  I love the Lord and say this in His name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

User-Friendly Technological Innovations: That's Better

So I'm trying to get more in the up on technological innovations, and we're startin' real small here with RSS feeds and TinyURLs.  Super simple stuff that I just haven't cared enough about to start using.  SO!  In case you're sometimes considered a part of the 'Late Majority' or fall under the 'Traditionalist' label like me (see Diffusion of Innovations Theory for more) here's the brief!

Real difficult..haha Not really, it's the opposite.  Real Simple Syndication.  Basically, it's a listing of what's new to sites since the last time you visited them.  It's the concept behind GoogleReader, one of my favorite google products.  It allows you to basically build your own magazine, based on the websites you enter.  It automatically takes the RSS feeds from all of the sites you enter and allows you to view them at your convenience without having to go to each individual page!  It's perfect for anyone who frequents sites with RSS feeds.

The down side, however, is that some sites don't have such feeds, so you have to go directly to their site in order to see what's new.  Hope you really like 'em, cause if not, it's easy to keep track of all your favorite sites and remember to visit them all.  Want to learn more?  Go here.

I've recently joined the twitter craze and it was only a matter of time before this one came about!  As everyone knows, if you're on twitter your tweets are limited to 140 characters or less.  Thus, posting a url link to a page can be burdensome if the url is especially long, as they often are.  Que  It's like a foreign translating site for your url link.  You put in what you want to say in less characters (aka original url) and it spits out how to say it in shortlink (aka tinyurl)!  Super easy!

It allows me to turn this url:
Into this tinyurl!:

And they both lead to the same place!  Fabulous.  Want to learn more?  Go here

Alright, time to get back to my paper on breach of confidentiality.  It's crazy, last semester I was super into law and my legal future as it related to health, and now I'm obsessed with marketing and advertising!  Dr. Michael Siegel in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department has really done a number on my career path with his amazingly engaging and, for me, now somewhat consuming course!  Bravo!!  :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happiness, really: That's Better.

So I was driving around Boston and saw this sign and it definitely made me smile :)  I've really been thinking a lot about that Happiness article I read/posted on last week and really am trying to make a concerted effort to be more productive via happiness.  Plus, it just makes life seem that much sweeter when you choose to be happy and see the bright side of things.  :)  Short post, I just wanted to tell everyone that you can choose to be happy, I've tested the concept and done it myself!  :) Yay applied scientific method!  :)  Anyways, just be aware that if you see this sign while you're out on the street you should be on the lookout for old people crossing the street!  haha

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sleep: That's Better.

A study put out by Columbia University reveals that people who get adequate amounts of sleep every night consume about 300 calories less on average per day than those who do not get adequate amounts of sleep.  Turns out the most cited craving among sleep deprived participants was non other than ice cream.  So don't feel so bad about hitting that Snooze button in the morning, it might help keep your waistline in check!

Choose Happy: That's Better!

"...Every person has a range of potential — in terms of intelligence, athletic ability, musicality, creativity, and productivity — and we are more likely to achieve the upper bounds of our brain's potential when we're feeling positive, rather than negative or neutral."

I ran across an article entitled Are Happy People Dumb? and found it to be very enlightening! I've always been interested in this topic, though my postulates have focused less around one's intelligence and more around their relative fiscal standing, but have never been able to experiment on the subject. In fact, my original research topic when I was preparing for my research study in Uganda was just that: Are they a happier people than Americans are? In needed a lot of refining and was definitely too large an undertaking for either my research mentors or I to take on at the time, but I am definitely still interested in the answer and the explanations therefore.

Over the years, however, I've continually heard that happiness is often a choice. Now, I don't know about you, but there are very few times where I have been put in a bad spot and have chosen to be happy. I kind of like to be angered when I'm wronged, seek a little revenge when I'm exploited or feel anguish when I'm hurt. I used to teach high school health, and when we came to Emotional Health, it's important to feel all of those things and to get them out, as well. But the key there is to get them out. We're not functioning at our greatest when our spirits are depressed, when we're distracted by frustration or when our outlook is just grim. The study even found that we reach greater potentials when we're happy! How cool is that!?

"A meta-analysis of employees at companies reveals that nearly every single business outcome improves when a brain is positive. Happiness is a significant advantage. In fact, happiness is the single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy. Only 25% of your job successes are predicted based upon intelligence and technical skills, though we spend most of our education and most companies hire based upon this category. The "silent 75%" of long-term job success is based upon your ability to positively adapt to the world: optimism, social support creation, and viewing stress as a challenge instead of as a threat"

With how bottom-line oriented and seemingly cutthroat our society seems today with people constantly putting others down and being on the defensive, it's such an uplifting note to hear that there are still people out there trying to spread the emotion of 'happy'. The article closes with a list and video with recommendations for how to make yourself happy, and I definitely recommend The checking them out. The video is especially great though and has a lot of very cool information. So go do something to make yourself happy; after all, like Steven Covey says, you've got to sharpen the saw! :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Demographic Statistics: That's Better.

My friend posted this as his facebook status and I found it extremely interesting:

Matt Hansen
I love how they think that familes with children are leaving because the city isn't child-friendly has absolutely NOTHING to do with the moral decline of it's citizens/denizens.

I think Matt hit the nail on the head here, but of course it would be politically incorrect to discuss the concept of any moral standard these days. Why is it that we can't have morals anymore??

Monday, March 21, 2011

Faith: That's Better.

So I've continued on with my daily reading of the scriptures, and tonight I was in 1 Nephi 17. Growing up reading the scriptures, it's nothing new to hear that Lamen and Lemuel go back and forth from one extreme to the next concerning their devotion to the Lord, but when I read about this particular instance of them doing so after Ishmael had died in the wilderness it struck me on a different chord. Beginning in verse 37 it says:

And Lamen said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren. Now, he says that he Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure.

What struck me as particularly interesting was the whole conspiracy theory Lamen and Lemuel had contrived as the perpetuating explanation for everything that was going on. I have met a lot of people over the years who are definite perpetuators of conspiracy theories, whether they revolve around the 9/11 attacks, organized religion or even the United Nations and the political leaders of our world and the country. But what I think the linchpin of the theory presented here is that L&L are claiming that the great things Nephi does are attributable to himself, and not to the one truly behind those amazing feats, the Lord. It makes me wonder how they could even convince themselves of such a fact when Nephi is repeatedly thanking and admonishing the Lord for all of the blessings He gives to their family. It makes me wonder how prevalent such reenactments are in today's world.

On a related point, as I was reading v.23 stuck out to me because when these hard times struck their family because Nephi's bow was broken, it was Nephi who went out and did something about it. He didn't just complain and say a prayer for it to be fixed, he did whatever he could with the skills that he had (even making a simple, mediocre offering to the Lord with his willingness to act and his handmade stick bow and arrow) and then took it to the Lord and said help me still accomplish the goal and do what I need to do, even though I might not have the best means by which to do it. I can't remember exactly where I was reading it tonight, but I remember reading on some blog that it's not always talent that gets you somewhere, but a lot of what makes success is derived from will. I love that, because it is often that I find my own small offerings and abilities are limited and can only come out successful if I ask the Lord for help and am willing to work the rest of the way, which is sometimes more realistic to do. Like Paul taught in his Sunday School lesson yesterday, the Lord has the ability to make weak things become strong. Love it.

Anyways, I've definitely noticed an increase in tender mercies from the Lord since I've begun making a concerted effort to read my scriptures daily, and more importantly I've noticed my relationship with the Lord being strengthened because I am becoming more willing to listen to Him through the words He has already spoken; which in turn, I feel, also allows me to be more receptive to when He speaks to me in the manner I am most comfortable with, through the mind and the heart. However you speak with the Lord, though, I would encourage you to do so with a more sincere intent and with the faith that He will help strengthen the weak offerings you make unto Him, even if they seem strong in your eyes He always has the power to fortify. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Justice: That's Better.

I came out of a networking event on campus the other day to see this and thought it so justified since I get probably 1 ticket a month in this damn city.
Too bad the truth of the matter is this cop most likely could get it dismissed with the wave of his hand. If only justice were real...

Little Acts of Service: That's Better.

I have a good friend in law school right now who doesn't have much time to think rationally. And since we all know that the delicious dessert that is pazookie (heaven, for those of you not familiar) helps people think more rationally, and since this person probably could use a gigantic reminder as to why they're not thinking rationally (they've fried their brain doing too much homework) I thought it would benefit them to make them a little treat I like to call the Pazookie Pencil.

The Pazookie Pencil (c) hahaha is a simple thing to make. In fact, I did it while I was playing Mario Brothers on the Wii with Michael and Emily, the kids I nanny for this year. Here's what you need:

1 roll of Nestle TollHouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 piece of blank paper
pink, yellow, gray, and black crayons/markers/colored pencils (I used crayons and it was darling)

So all you have to do is the following:

color the paper to look like a pencil

cut out triangles at the bottom to make the point
cut out a circle to cover the top
and tape it on!
Super cute, super fun and oooh so delicious to eat afterwards :) not to mention you get to share your beautiful creation with your friend and hear them say how cute it is and how fun you are... aww dang :) Point? Do something for someone else and you usually end up gaining something yourself. (even if it is experience making a giant pencil out of cookie dough) :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Racquetball!: That's Better.

So I'm on spring break this week, and just for the record, it is probably the worst spring break I've ever had. Not only did I not get to fulfill the ultimate goal of spring break in taking those upon whom it is bestowed to a warmer, ideally island setting where one can partake of the heavenly joys of such things as pina coladas, daily golf and lounging in the embracingly baking sun next to a perfectly cooled pool, but I have had to work tirelessly on the antithesis of Spring Break.
The arch enemy.
The mother of all rivals!
On top of that, it looked like this outside today. Apparently the sky was laughing at me so hard it started to cry...
Really, Boston? The week I'm on break and the five feet of snow you shat out has finally melted you proceed to make it rain like Lil Wayne? Sick. And not the good kind.
So, as a little treat to myself and in celebration of the fact that I didn't have class today, I decided to opt for a past joy of mine I haven't indulged in since my days in college. A beautiful little gift we call racquetball. :)

I played this amazingly fun and highly active sport in college and for some reason failed to continue with it after graduation. Fail. But since I recently discovered that the Boston University FitRec where I work out has about 3 courts available at any given time I decided I'd pick up the ball I'd dropped and see how many crotch shots I could kill. So fun, and such a great workout! Highly recommend it.

Ok, got to get back to that soo cool paper on nutritional standards for child-specific advertising. Believe it or not I've actually been through about 6 other topics before finally settling on this one... And for the record I settled on it because it lends itself perfectly to being remedied in a legal manner. Plus, it's a combo of Public Health and Advertising, which is (I think) what I'm now aiming at for my post-graduate work. Winning.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Great Treats: That's Better.

Let's talk for a second about how much I love food. More specifically, treats. I have always been in love with them, probably because my wonderful Mother and Grannie always filled by belly with delicious, comforting Southun foods and treats (we're from the best state in the country, the one and only Tejas-- Texas for anyone not native), but sadly, after moving to Boston, I haven't had too much of a drive to cook for one. I have, however, been able to find some great treats online I will surely be trying over spring break next week. I bring you two:

1st- Baked Chocolate Doughnuts with Ganache Can we say heaven?? I've always had a supppper big weakness for chocolate cake doughnuts, and have never thought about the amazing idea of making them at home! How perfect!!

2nd- Lavender Dark Chocolate Chip Ice Cream I've been obsessed with lavender ice treats since 2008 when I went to a restaurant in Provo called Rooster and tried their lavender milk boba pearl drink. Ooh I can't even think about it too much right now because I want it, it's soo good!! Anyways, I think this recipe is the perfect flavor combination for a treat and I can't wait until I have my ice cream maker again and can try it!!

Let me be one to quote Drake, here, when I say 'You can thank me now, or you can thank me later' because of how delish these all look. :) So, next time you have some time and want to satisfy that sweet spot on your tongue don't just grab a nasty, processed candy bar, try these! Great Treats, that's better!