Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Virgin Christmas

This Christmas was my first year away from my family. It was quite a novelty to say the least! The Virgin family has traditions for what seemed like each night of the week including a white elephant, a nativity scene, and a talent show. Now each of these events have unspoken specifications (or so it seemed) so Carl led and guided me through the experience. The talent show, for example, means show the family any uncanny skills you possess! It was a spectacular night full of surprises and laughs. Below is a 12-minute bit of some events from the night!

Carl and I decided to make up a family song for ours and it ended up being a big hit! Well, Carl made up the song; I assisted. You might not be able to understand all of Carl's lyrics (he didn't have time to practice) but it's full of family experiences and inside jokes. Also, to clarify Carl's ending verse, I am NOT pregnant. We just wanted to tease the family!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

'Tis The Season!

Who knew December would sneak up this quickly? I love December 1 because I feel justified in celebrating Christmas! This is my absolute favorite holiday; I love the feeling that colorful lights, giving of gifts, and celebrations with loved ones bring. Carl and I have been listening to a variety of Christmas music and we are constantly saying, "Ooo, I love this song!" or "This is my favorite!" I decided to list my top 5 favorite Christmas songs in no particular order (more for my sake than anything)!

1. Oh, Holy Night
2. Angels We Have Heard on High
3. The Christmas Song
4. Carol of the Bells
5. What Child Is This?

Christmas music makes me so grateful that I have a voice to sing!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Blog of Thanks

Carl and I were talking the other day about how you should be thankful every day of your life, and unfortuantly I am guilty of not always counting my blessings. However, because of this day of thanks I dedicate this post a few of the MANY things I am grateful for.

1. My loving husband, Carl. I would not be this happy if it were not for him! I grateful I am to be eternally his!
2. I love my family more than anything. My dad, my mom, Ashley, Allan, Annie, Angela, Autumn, Aaron, Amelia... they bring so much goodness to my life.
3. Breakfast. I will always be grateful for this beautiful meal that begins each day. Erin Stolworthy can tell you what number that is on my list ;)
4. What is life without good friends. I have been so blessed to meet so many wonderful people throughout my life and continue to stay close to a few of them.
5. I am so thankful for the restored gospel and my membership to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its standards and teachings are what make me who I am today; as well, it continues to change me into a better person.
6. Okay, this is a bit silly, but I am grateful for small, cute things--puppies, babies, mini bottles of ketchup--they light up my day. There is something about itty bitty things that make me smile.
7. I am grateful for humor. Though I am not a funny person, I love a good joke, a silly dance, or a witty remark. Laughter will always be a part of my world.
8. A good education and soon a degree & teaching certificate! I finished all the requirements for graduation last week with my student teaching and will receive my certification at the end of December. I am so thrilled to be a college graduate.

Of course, Carl and I had to make "thankful turkeys." I know, so 3rd grade, but we had a good time ;)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Beginning of the End

Today was my last day of student teaching at Pyle Middle School. I would go so far to say that it was the best 13 weeks of my 4-year college education because I was able to learn so much about teaching and about myself. There's only so much you can do in a college classroom, though I did apply many of tools and principles learned there. While in the classroom I was able to learn what kind of teacher I am--what my strengths and weaknesses are--and how I interact with colleagues and students. Even though I am pleased with what I accomplished during these past 13 weeks, I know what I need to improve on and how to take it to the next level when I have my own classroom.

My students were simply amazing. They were so sweet, very polite and usually eager to learn. I was fortuante enough to have advanced 8th graders, so as a whole they like to do well in class! Each class had a unique personality to it and I always tried to adapt my lesson plans to what they would respond well to. I couldn't resist taking a picture of three of my classes :) They were the best thing that has happened to me in my very limited teaching career. I can only hope for classes like these in my future!

Period 4

Period 5

Period 7

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Our Professional Advice (Hehe!)

Carl and I have been married for 18 months. 18 months! I love it! It's been the most amazing, most trying, more rewarding thing I have ever done, and we still have so many more months and years to come! So I thought Carl and I would make a list of 18 things we have learned so far in our marriage.

This is our serious face.
1. CARL: In the words of Michael Buble, "Try a little tenderness!"
2. ALISA: The age old advice, COMMUNICATE.
3. CARL: Forget yourself in service.
4. ALISA: Read the 5 Languages of Love
5. CARL: Women need to cry. Often.
6. ALISA: Being silly is necessary.
7. CARL: Have FHE every week. Don't miss a single one!
8. ALISA: Think of your spouse's needs before you think of your own. Their's might be more important :)
9. CARL: Tell her she's pretty. Even when she thinks she isn't, but you know she is.
10. ALISA: Always say thank you! Don't let their service go unseen.
11. CARL: Accept that she will constantly look at pictures of babies. And puppies. And you better learn to love it.
12. ALISA: Hold hands always.
13. CARL: Remember she needs to talk. (Alisa insight: And it might need to be with other girls!)
14. ALISA: Don't forget to do your individual scripture study and personal prayers.
15. CARL: Never skip a date night.
16. ALISA: Share your testimonies with each other.
17. CARL: Tell her you love her. Then tell her again.
18. ALISA: Tell him you love him. Then tell him again.

**This list idea brought to you by Angie Roane's blog!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ode to Fall

Carl and I spent our first fall together in Idaho where, as many of you know, tends to skip over fall. And spring. And basically only favors winter. Needless to say our fall here has been absolutely splendid. A couple weekends ago I took time off from planning lessons and grading papers to venture on a hike to Sugarloaf Mountain. Unfortuantly, we neglected to bring our camera, but I assure you the view was absolutely gorgeous! The hike up was somewhat steep, but the view at the top of the mountain was always worth it. The leaves were turning bright colors of red, yellow, and orange and those that had already fallen made a satisfying crunch under our feet. We (jealously) looked on at families hiking together and vowed to take our children hiking one day. (Can you tell we're baby hungry?? haha!) There's something about the combination of nature and humanity that makes the world seem good and whole. We were going to climb up another side of Sugarloaf Mountain the following Saturday, but the weather has started to become cloudy and gloomy--winter is unfortuantly on its way.

Carl and I were discussing the nature of seasons and decided that Heavenly Father was extremely wise to have four seasons. We wouldn't appreciate those bright summer days, the beautiful mixed colors of fall, the frigid winter days when you stay curled up in bed with a good book, or the rebirth of nature that spring brings. It's those little differences in life that really make you appreciate each and every day that you have.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn is ingenious. I purchased a box the other day, and when I popped a bag I couldn't stop thinking about the mechanics of it all. I mean, you have the kernels and hard butter just sitting in a folded up bag. You set the timer for 1 minute, 52 seconds and the heat takes over. The kernels start popping into popcorn, the butter becomes liquid and juicy and the bag expands. All in under 2 minutes. As the timer dings, you pull out your hot, but tasty, snack. It's brillance! It's like an innovative bag of happiness :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Halfway Through

I am almost half way through my student teaching! I cannot believe it; it feels like I just started. This Monday will be week 6 in my 13 week stint. Just last week I started teaching the full 90-minute period for three classes. They never said teaching would be easy, but it is by far one of the most rewarding things I have done. I suppose this partly has to do with the school district I am in. The kids are hardly any trouble and so polite--they say "Thank you, Mrs. Virgin" when they leave the class! I know, it sounds unreal. It's like I'm in a dream school! I can only imagine how different it is in other schools throughout the country. I also think it's rewarding because I am still a student teaching students. I'm learning right along with them in the classroom, but in many other aspects than English. More posts to come on teaching because currently it is my secret to happiness.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Catching Up

It's been awhile since I have written a blog. My last post was when Carl and I were still in Idaho I believe. It feels like my life has changed drastically since that time... or perhaps Idaho and Maryland are really that different ;) As mentioned before, Carl and I felt impressed to come do our internships in this area. There have been many challenges we've had to face since arriving August 13 (namely being homeless and having to live with Carl's parents) but if the Lord wants us here, we will do the best we can the most of those challenges.

I am in the middle of my third week of student teaching. I absolutely love working at Thomas Pyle Middle School; the administration and staff have a great system going, and I adore my cooperating teacher. She has been teaching for 43 years and this is her last year of teaching. It has a huge blessing to be working with this school and with my teacher; the Lord has truly been looking out for me. I am so grateful I followed an instinct at such a young age to become a teacher for I feel it is the perfect fit for me. I am nowhere near perfect and get frustrated easily, but I know with time this career will be a blessing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"One Fine Day"

 This post's title is slightly misleading. I am not discussing a good day I had or my one true love nor is the tune of this oldies song in my head. I love the movie "One Fine Day" (with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer) for many many reasons, but I am thinking of this movie currently because of the underlying theme of being a grown up. As a 22-year old I definitely consider myself a grown up, and I feel like I have done a lot of grown up things lately what with moving, working with an unknown school system, becoming a teacher, and attempting to live independently. On the flip side, Carl and I have been very dependent on his parent's until we can find a place to live in Maryland. I feel like I haven't been able to be a full fledged adult. It's not anything anyone has done, it's just the attitude I am having.

So how do I become the perfect mixture of George Clooney (fun-loving and carefree) and Michelle Pfeiffer (indepedent and in charge)? Are there really times in our life when we need to be one extreme or the other? Or can we learn to mix the two together?

This isn't a very put together post; I'm simply rambling and should probably check my grammar to ensure my creditials as an English major ;) And although there is no set "secret of happiness" in this post, always know that written out or spoken feelings are better than internal ones and you will feel happines :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I can't believe in less than a week Carl and I will be leaving our first apartment together. It seems like forever that we have been dying to get out of Rexburg and be in places that are more familiar to us (AKA east coast). Now that we are packing and doing last minute things, we are both starting to feel sad about leaving. I do believe we are both still excited to leave Rexburg, but this was the first chapter of our life, and now we are leaving for the next chapter. What's going to happen? How are we going to change and develop both individually and as a couple? I think an even scarier thought is that we have no idea what we're doing after December.

But perhaps this is part of the adventure of our married life. We have no idea were life will take us, but we must be willing to accept God's will for us and roll with it. We were going to do our internships/student teaching in Utah, but Carl felt that we should try to get out to D.C. And lo and behold we have both lined up our internships for this fall. I think that is one of the biggest secrets of happiness that every member of the Church realizes: that when we follow the Lord's plan, He will take care of us. We've had snares in many of the things we try to plan, but in this one thing that we felt inspired to do--which seemed impossible--was possible. I am very much a planner (like my dad and mom) and so sometimes this is a hard concept to follow. Thank goodness I have a husband who is pretty much the opposite :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feeling the Love

I feel immense love and gratitude for my husband, Carl. We have been married for about 15 months, and they have been the best months of my life. I can't imagine my life without him. I feel like I would still be searching for something if I didn't have him today. My simple secret today is "love who you love with all that you have." :) Below are some favorite pictures of us throughout our time together.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


This weekend I have thought a lot about the relationships we have with people and the connections we make with others. This started at about 1 am in the morning with Erin and Caitlin keeping Carl and me up way past our bedtime ;) We got into a deep discussion (probably because it was 1 in the morning!) but Carl mentioned that we will just naturally make connections with some people, while there will be no connection with another. We didn't know the reason for this, but it made me think about the various relationships I have made during my past 22 years. I have always been described as a person who meshes well with others, and I generally get along with everyone. But who have I made those deep connections with?

My Grandpa Day lost his wife almost a year ago. This was the first death I had experienced, and it still gets me sometimes. Yesterday we received a graduation card from him and he mentioned how proud my grandma would be of me and I just started crying. One of the biggest connections he made in this lifetime is gone and now he is alone until they meet again.

I have only had a few true best friends and I always thought that my connection with them would outlast time. And then I got married. I can't believe how connected I feel to Carl; he is my one true love and my absolute best friend. I never want to lose that earthly connection with him like my Grandpa did, which is why I think I am so terrified that one day Carl will be taken from me. But then I remember that we, just like my Grandpa & Grandma, were sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. I am able to have this connection, this marriage, with Carl for ALWAYS. I can't think of a greater happiness.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sweet Summertime

There is something about the longer days, warm nights--though not always warm in Rexburg ;)--and the beauty of nature basked in the sunlight that cause my soul to stir. I have been anxiously awaiting the end of the semester so that I can more fully appreciate summer and the wonderful qualities it has. In Idaho, we don't receive much attention from the sun, but when it does grace us with its presence, I am wholly thankful. There is also the different music that is associated with summer that gets my heart and soul pumping. A few of my  new favorites include I Do by Colbie Calliat, Good Life by One Republic, and (sadly, but truly) Super Bass by Nicki Minaj.

We'll be leaving Rexburg for good in a few weeks and though admitly I will miss part of the atmosphere here, I am looking forward to the summertime represented in the east. This picture made me extremely anxious to pick up my bags and head for home.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Let me count the ways"

I recently read some of Emily Browning's poetry (specifically "Sonnets from a Portuguese"), and I didn't realize how romantic she was, especially during the time period she wrote in with so many political changes with women's rights. "Sonnets from a Portuguese" was written for her husband, though she never indicated his name. Browning's poetry made me think about how much I love my husband and how grateful I am to have in my life. Without him I think I would be completely lost. We love to tell each other, also, that we are each other's best friends :)

Today in church we had an older couple speak to us about marriage. When they introduced their topic, I rolled my eyes and thought, "Here we go again." Yet, I walked out of the meeting extremely enlightened. The whole time they were giving their lesson, I just felt so excited to one day be like them, a bit aged and rough around the edges, but to have learned and grown with my husband. They gave us some tips from couples who are now in their 80s on how to keep a marriage alive. It is my pleasure to share their secrets of a happy marriage to you :)
          1. Men need to know why women are different and women need to know why men are different. If we understand the other gender we are more likely to comply to requests or understand why they need something. (EX: Women need to talk A LOT!)
  1. Make lasting memories together and do not miss important events. They estimated that we will have at least 60 Christmases, birthdays, New Years, etc with our spouse. When you think about it that way, that is a lot!
  2. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, just perfect moments. This was my favorite :) It makes you realize that you don't need to sweat the small stuff, just enjoy each other.
  3. Quantity of quality time is crucial to a marriage. Even when life gets busy, it's important to take just 5 minutes of quality time together.
  4. Do not be offended. Many times we don't mean to offend; it just comes out the wrong way or the receiver takes it the wrong way.
  5. Infuse your marriage with Christ. Enough said!
This is such a beautiful list and has so many ideas that I hope to incorporate throughout my married life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nature is the art of God

This past Friday Carl and I decided to hike R Mountain to watch the sunset. We had previously watched a new show, Expedition Impossible, and we were inspired to forge large rivers, walk millions of miles, and climb extensive heights. But alas, in Rexburg all we had was R Mountain and it would have to do. We really enjoyed ourselves once we reached the top. It was amazing how fast the sun actually set--I was expecting it to be a gradual descent, but one minute it was there and the next it was gone. It made me think about how fast life goes by. But that is another topic entirely :)

Besides the sun, nature seems pretty constant. It does change with seasons and odd weather patterns, but generally it is always there, inviting us in. I don't think I take as much opportunity to enjoy this gift from God now that school and work are a big aspect of my life. I am always struck in the temple of the things we learn about the creation, and I often wish I could not only understand it better, but enjoy it more. I am quite partial to Kentucky's green-ness with its trees and real grass, but I think God loves all of his creation. This includes the mountains and the dry desert air that currently surrounds me. I hope I can find true, and not artifical, happiness in this western nature before we leave it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

“A home without books is a body without soul.”

My secret to happiness today is reading. I have been reading ever since I can remember. My mom was really good about teaching my siblings and me how to read and keeping the love of reading inside all of us. A good book to me is like an escape. It's a place a can go if I am experiencing any kind of emotion and either feel justified in my feeling (if it's positive) or uplifted (if I am feeling down). Young adult novels will always be my favorite type of literature no matter what; yet, now that I am finishing up my education as an English major, I know that there are all types of genres to learn from. My British literature teacher is currently having us read Victorian and Modern British literature and apply their themes or concepts into a challege we are currently facing. It is amazing that any kind of literature that is wholesome or good can bring a better perspective of life and the life we are currently experiencing. Doctrine & Covenants 88:118 states, "And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." This I know to be true as I continue to become not only a better reader, but a more educated individual by seeking and learning from the best books.

Carl and I both love to read, and it is one thing I am very thankful we have in common. It is Carl and my's goal to one day have a library in our home, much like the Beast gives to Belle ;) Though we know this is wishful thinking, we do want our home filled with good books for our children to love and cherish throughout their life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A New Beginning

This is my third attempt to keep and maintain a blog and this time I am determined. I feel like I have a lot of stress going on in my life, and writing is a good way to let it all out and find peace. Through this blog I hope to post little bits of happiness that exist in my life and hopefully it will inspire others to find their own.

I have been wanting to start a blog ever since Caitlin Anderson began her blog a couple years ago. It became an even greater desire once Erin Stolworthy began her blog. There was no denying it--I needed to have one of my own ;) We have been best friends ever since high school, and I have been trying to acquire some of their great strengths and apply it in my life. They give me great happiness to me. They are both so different and have become even more different and distinct since we went our seperate ways to college. Caitlin has amazing motivation in many aspects of her life--school, church callings, social life. I like to pretend to have motivation to do homework, but if you see me on my laptop I am most likely playing Spider Solitaire. Erin has a great desire to become an educated person. Her knowledge is displayed verbally and textually, and anyone can become uplifted by her insights. They are both amazing friends to be and still are a source of happiness in my life.