Friday, December 14, 2012

The Traveler

I’m a traveler.
The world is mine to explore
and I’m the world’s to intrigue.
A knock at Adventure’s door
will surely lead to proceed
by things that seem magic,
yet simple and pure,
to things that are lovely
and filled with grandeur.
There are landscapes to view,
to ponder in awe.
There are mountains to climb
and foods to eat raw.
There are buildings to appreciate,
grounds to hold dear.
There are stars in the sky
and oceans so clear.
Every place has something special,
something beautiful to present.
So in every place I’ll find joy,
for it’s the traveler’s intent.

-An original poem by Desiree Gentry
Hope you enjoyed.
Please stop by again sometime soon. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An Antidote for Sorrow

Thanksgiving Break was simple and absolutely glorious.

I slept in, went on nice, long runs by myself, ate delicious food, caught up on some reading assignments, did homework, watched movies (including The Glass Menagerie and Newsies, both fantastic films), relaxed, talked with old friends and new ones, talked with family, and did some good ol' writing. It always feels good to write.

I got to spend Thanksgiving dinner at my bishop's cozy home in Lexington, VA just 15 minutes away from Buena Vista. The food was fantastic and it was nice to be in a cozy home. They gave me leftovers that lasted me three meals! I was grateful for that.

One night, Friday night, I made the mistake (or is it?) of writing just before bed, which of course got the crazy wheels turning in my head and I accidentally stayed up until 4 in the morning writing. Here is one of the poems that resulted from that joyous writing spree:

If I could only thank the Lord
for everything in sight,
I’d thank him endlessly
through the day and through the night.
Each breath is a blessing,
each smile a gift
but still I am asking
the question of "if."
If  I could thank the Lord
for these blessings galore…
but wait! I can!
I can, and there’s more!
For by living His standards,
obeying His truths,
I show Him I’m thankful
for this is the proof.
For out of gratitude we love
and out of love we obey,
so in word and in deed,
thank the Lord every day.

Granted it still has some rough patches. But it's a good start for a 3 AM poem, I suppose. 
I hope you enjoyed :) Thanks for stopping by.
Quote for thought:

"When you make the decision to be grateful, you make the decision to be happy."

   When I was a little girl, I remember learning about the ten lepers who Jesus healed and how only one of those lepers came back to say thank you. As a little girl, this struck me hard. I can remember the very classroom I was in when I learned this. It made me so sad that only one of them had thanked the Lord. I am so grateful that at that young age I was able to recognize the importance of being thankful and expressing thanks. Of course I didn't realize this on any brilliance on my behalf, but was taught it by my mother and father. I think part of the reason I've been happy throughout most of my life is because of my decision to be grateful. Gratitude drives out sorrow and hate, jealousy and bitterness, pride and feelings of inadequacy. I was reflecting upon this just a few weeks ago, and that is when I realized the power of gratitude, and that gratitude is an antidote for sorrow. When you make the decision to be grateful, you truly do make the decision to be happy.

Grateful for Experience

      It being the season of gratitude, I decided I might share a few thoughts. When people ask me what I'm most grateful for, I usually say I am grateful for my experiences. This might kind of be cheating, but I feel it is the best way to sum up all my many blessings. I'm so grateful for each and every person I've had the opportunity to work with and get to know in my athletics, dancing, performing arts, debate, different jobs I've had, church callings and activities, high school, college, family experiences, and many more. I'm so grateful for the talents I've been blessed with, as well as the ones I've not been blessed with but that I've been able to obtain. I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had to share those talents with others. I'm grateful for my parents allowing me to have so many of these experiences. I'm grateful that I've been able to travel and see different parts of the country and the world. I'm grateful for the education I have and am receiving. I'm grateful for Snow Canyon High School. I'm grateful for Southern Virginia University. I'm grateful for America and the founding fathers. I'm grateful for the gospel and for the many people who have suffered in its defense.
      Since it's been a while, here are some recent adventures and experiences I am grateful for:

I voted! For the first time ever. :) 11.06.2012

The USCAA Nationals Cross Country meet was held in Lake Placid, NY.
This is the view of  Mirror Lake from our hotel window.
Lake Placid is an "Olympic Village" where many train for the Winter Olympics.

Some of my teammates eating dinner at the banquet the night before the race.
Ashley, Shelbi, Kera, Elle and Tori.

Amanda dared me to drink the entire container of cream...

I felt this photo was necessary to properly record the banquet - we spent
at least 20 minutes doing the balance-spoon-on-nose trick!

Academic Honors! We've all kept a GPA of 3.5 or above in college.

The ladies team :)
[Me], Elle, Tori, Leah, Jacey, Katelyn, Kera, Shelbi and Ashley.
The twins were MIA.

One of the least snowy parts of our snowy course.
I used to hate hate hate running in the cold. But now I only kind of dislike it
a little bit.

It was a close race, but WE DID IT! We won the USCAA National Championship!

Go Lady Knights! Second National Championship in a row.
11th Women's Cross Country National Championship in 15 years for SVU.
I love this team so much. Katelyn, Ashley, [Me], Leah, Shelbi, Tori, Jacey,
Kelli, Kera, Elle and Nicole.
We laughed together, cried together, ran together, grew together and

Yeah. It was that cold. Brrrrr.

A few of us (me, Jacey, Amanda [the athletic trainer], and Leah) sneaked away
during our free time to watch the Bobsledding World Cup!

National's took place on November 9, 2012. It was one of those experiences that will always stick out in my memory, one that I will always treasure.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Muffins, Movies and More

      Wow, it hasn't even been a week and I'm blogging again! Can you believe it? Haha. This weekend has been really wonderful, especially Saturday. I started the morning out by doing a service project. I gathered with a group of about twelve other SVU students and we raked leaves all around campus and in a couple yards. Of course we did take some time to have some fun and jump into the piles of leaves.

Rachel and Lindsay.


Ali, Mindy, Linea, [Me] jumping in a giant leaf pile!

      After spending an hour and a half raking leaves, I gathered with a group of friends at Kent's house. Since it was one of my few free Saturday's that I didn't have a cross country meet, we decided to have a Muffin and Movie party. Kent lives in an apartment all alone, but he isn't usually alone because there are almost always people over there. He is very generous with inviting people to his apartment. So Kent and I started making strawberry and chocolate muffins until the rest of our friends showed up - Caitlyn, Kailey, Joanna, Nic, Daria, and Caity. We ate the scrumptious muffins and then snuggled up in blankets to watch "Brother Bear." When it was over, most of us fell asleep, but I had to get up so I could leave to work. Ah, but I felt so warm and comfy! Haha but it's okay, because work was really great too and it went well. I talked to quite a few prospective students and their parents!

Mmmm yummy, warm muffins!

      When I got home for work, I did homework for a little while and then went over to Kailey's room because she offered to do my hair for the Fall Ball. She did a great job!

Yay for curly hair! Ha, I rarely actually do my hair, so
this was nice for a change.
      We all had fun getting ready together, and of course the dance was a blast! I only attended the last hour however because the rest of the time I was skyping my wonderful family because my beautiful sister Brittney got married to Christian Anderson! Since I couldn't attend in real life, skyping the reception was about as good as I could get. The dance was great though. It was in Chandler Hall where our performances are and on the stage was a live jazz band, which was really cool! Even though I went really late, I got the chance to dance with a few different guys. I wish I would have gotten there earlier, but at the same time it was good to skype my family.

Reeva, Kailey, Daria, Caity, Caitlyn, Joanna, [Me], Raquel, Elise, Lexi and
Anneli. Beautiful girls, all of them! 

[Me] and Caitlyn, redhead buddies. :)

Caitlyn and Kailey live across the hall from me and are some of my best
friends. They help me in many ways. I love these girls so much. :)
      I hope the weekend treated you all well! Keep on keepin' on everybody. :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Candy Corn, Pumpkins, Costumes and Screams...HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

      Halloween has always been one of my very favorite holidays. I just love dressing up, going through haunted houses, and eating candy! I think it is so fun. I love to see the creativity of others as they all get dressed up. This year, being a poor college student, I just used whatever I could throw together from my closet! End result? Here it is:

Hopefully you can tell who I am...Pippy Longstockings!
(No wig needed :))

     I wore my costume to all my classes, which was a lot of fun. I think there was only one person who didn't know who I was, so that's a good sign ;). After classes, I went to cross country practice. In celebration of Halloween, we ran to the sunken graveyard in Buena Vista. It is this really old, unofficial graveyard in the middle of a forest. There are a few worn tombstones that are slightly askew, and all the graves are sunken into the ground so that you can see the rectangular shape of the coffins. It is really neat and really spooky. The ground is scattered in orange and yellow leaves and the dense forest allows only small slits of sunlight to stream through. Standing there among the tombstones and sunken graves, tall trees and scattered leaves, it's a unique and intriguing feeling. I think it's just a really interesting place. And of course, quite ideal for a Halloween run.
     After cross country practice, I went back to my room and got dressed up in my costume again. When I was done, I went with a group of friends to tour the "Haunted Halls of Main." I've posted pictures of SVU's Main Hall on this blog before, and you can see that it is a really majestic and really old building. It was built in 1890 as a hotel and later became a two year college for girls, and finally, a four year liberal arts university especially for Latter-day Saints and others who share their values: Southern Virginia University. The first two floors are currently administration buildings, with some boys dorms on the second floor, the third floor is boys dorms, and the fourth floor is currently empty. This year they decided to have some fun and create a haunted house on the fourth floor of Main. Haunted houses are already spooky enough, imagine having one in an over 100 year old building! It was really cool. We had to wait over two hours (during which time I did Spanish homework for a little while...and talked with friends too ;)) for the tour, but it was worth it in my opinion. The tour guide (my friend Garret wearing a suit and black and white face paint) took us through the basement first (which is where I work!) where the lights were off and there was "blood" on the floor. He led us to the elevator, which stopped on the first floor, and Garret said in a creepy, monotone voice "why is this happening. We're not supposed to be stopping here -" then the doors of the rickety old elevator opened and a man in a white mask came sprinting towards the elevator, screaming. The doors closed again just before he reached it and he banged on them until we continued up to the fourth floor. Once on the fourth floor, we continued through the tour. One cool part was when we went to one of the towers and our tour guide told us a story of a girl hanging herself...and then a body dropped in front of the window of the tower. Another neat part was in the other tower where the guide led us into a little tiny space where we were all crouched down when suddenly a door burst open with a person dressed as a ghost/zombie inside. She started coming after us and a bunch of people screamed and scrambled out of the tiny room, knocking down and practically trampling my friend Jacey. I helped her up and we crawled out of the room and walked briskly out of the tower. Anyway, those were just some of the highlights. It was so fun, and free! They did a really good job with costumes and everything as well.
    So goes my Halloween night! It was really quite enjoyable! I hope ya'll had a happy Halloween as well! :)

Waiting for the "Haunted Halls of Main" Tour!
Jacey, Tyson, [Me], Nicole, Leah, Elle, Kelli.

Halloween lights my roommate Delaney and I put up!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Slacker McSlacky Pants

      Oh's almost been an entire month since I've posted anything! I am such a slacker sometimes...I'm sorry. But! I'm posting now, so it's better than nothing, right? :) haha.

      I'm not going to try to catch you up on all the little details, because that will take far too long. Basically I've been working at the SVU call center (which I very much enjoy; we call donors, alumni, and prospective students), doing homework, going to classes and running. Also, very significant was general conference on October 6th and 7th. Goodness, I learned so much! I went away from conference with the overall impression that I have important things to do on this earth, that we all have important things to do on this earth. It is time for the gospel to continue to roll forth and grow even bigger as we prepare the world for the second coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is not enough to just go through the motions, go to church weekly, and read one verse of scripture a day. I'm not saying going to church and reading one verse a day are bad, by any means, and if you're not doing either of those it's a great place to start, but the adversary is working so hard right now to deter us. Since he is working so hard, it's going to take extra strength to resist temptation. We must be actively engaged in the gospel. Our thoughts and actions must revolve around it. We must be disciples of Jesus Christ. The biggest announcement made at general conference was made by President Thomas S. Monson in the Saturday morning session. He announced that young men who are worthy can now serve missions at age 18. Young women who are willing and worthy can now serve at 19 years of age as opposed to the previous age requirement of 21. As soon as he announced that young women can now serve at age 19, the first thought I had was 'I can go RIGHT. NOW.' and tears started streaming down my face. I could not stop crying! I was (and am) just so excited! The kid sitting next to me asked if I was okay and I said, "Yeah, I just can't believe it!" He then proceeded to stand up and bring me back a huge wad of tissues. Haha. I just felt this relieving feeling of finally. Finally I can go. I can go on a full time mission and immerse myself in the glorious gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to share the message with others. The fields are white and ready to harvest! The Lord needs more missionaries at this critical time in earth's existence. I have not made a definite decision yet, but my thoughts are definitely leaning towards serving a mission more often than not. I think about it everyday actually, and I plan to set up a meeting with my bishop soon to discuss it.
      Yesterday we had a cross country meet in Frederick, Maryland put on by Hood College. It finally went well! I say finally because ever since I started running with the team again, my body, mind, and spirit just have not had the desire to run. It is so discouraging because the two weeks I couldn't run were during some of the toughest conditioning weeks for the team, so while I was doing nothing, they were all working extremely hard and getting considerably stronger and faster. When I started back up, it was like starting all over again! Everyone except for one person is faster than me now. I used to be 6th on the team and now I am 10th. That has been really difficult and frustrating, but I know I need to be patient. Yesterday Elle Dryden and I finished shoulder to shoulder at the race, Elle coming in .01 (or so) seconds before me. It felt so great though! My body, mind and spirit actually wanted to run and I actually felt like racing again. Running was something I wanted to do! It was really nice. I improved from last week, when I finished about a minute behind Elle, which is good. Speaking of last week, we raced in Gettysburg, PA. Gettysburg! Like the Gettysburg address! So we were basically running on a battlefield. How cool is that?! haha. But I did really badly and felt sick the whole time. It was still a cool experience though. :) And at the Hood College meet in Maryland, we won first place out of ten teams! :) Woohoo!
      I also went to Homecoming last weekend with D.J. Palmer, my old roommates younger brother. I had a lot of fun at the dance, despite being exhausted from the race.
     Autumn has fallen upon us! Ahhhh it is so beautiful! The pictures posted below do not even show just how beautiful it is, but it's the closest thing I've got. Plus the feeling of an Eastern fall is just so wonderful! For those of you who have experienced it, you know what I'm talking about, but for those of you who haven't I will try to describe it. Imagine walking down a path, the weather just right, a light breeze blowing yellow and orange leaves all around you. It is almost a magical feeling, really. I have always loved fall, but I love it even more in the East where there are actually a lot of trees. I'm so grateful for the fall season.

Oh yeah, there were almost 300 girls in the race...Here's the start!

Main Hall in the Fall :)


A monument at Gettysburg.

Ben, Tyson, [Me], Dan, Katelyn, Spencer, Patrick, Jacey, Kera, Leah, Shelbi, Elle and Tori.

Another monument at Gettysburg.

Hey look! I actually did my hair! Haha.

All dressed up for Homecoming!

D.J. and I at Homecoming.

I found these in the first floor lobby of the Lofts. Aren't they cool?!




Leah and I playing in the leaves :)

Jacey and I playing in the leaves :)

I just thought this was a cool fence, a cool house and a cool angle. That's all.

I was sitting doing my homework at my desk and I realized you could see my
 reflection in my laptop with the temple right behind I decided to take a picture :)


Fall trees and sun rays :)

The Lofts stairs, covered with colorful leaves.

Kailey, Caity, Caitlyn and Joanna, all ready for a costume dance party. I love them :)

My team! :) First place, baby! (Hood College meet in Maryland).
[Me], Shelbi, Kera, Leah, Jacey, Tori, Elle, Katelyn, Kelli, Nicole, Ashley.


Taken in a moving vehicle...those trees are actually very colorful.

The view of Harper's Ferry. This picture does NOT do it justice, as it was
taken in a van. It's actually breathtakingly beautiful at this time of year.