20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.

‘Twas 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.

They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
But Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
Those children all flew into the arms of their King
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“Come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

Fall 2012 Quotes

Mike: Waiting to read Harry Potter until you have kids is like waiting to repent until right before you die.

Mama: Sometimes when I was reading Harry Potter, I’d find myself praying for him in my nightly prayers.

Amber: Wait, you have four nonmember friends? How on earth did you find them?
Jonathan: They’re Asian.

Uncle Spence: There are two kinds of people in this world– the ones you love, and the ones you don’t know.

Nate: Are you a Harry Potter junkie?
Amber: You mean like a Harry Potter nerd? Absolutely, and proud of it.
Nate: You guys are going to take over this campus. You’re everywhere!

Tiffany: So, I came to our new ward on the first day, and I was like, “There’s something missing!” and then I realized it’s because there weren’t any Freshmen. There’s just a different feel without the Freshmen. You can tell when they aren’t there.

Dr. D: The Holy Spirit was urim and thummiming in Pope Gregory’s ear.

Madison: Someday I’m going to throw a tomato at someone.

DB: Heavy Metal is indebted to Hindemith and Brahms.

Bro. Burroughs: My pants are from Tokyo, my shirt is from Malasia, my shoes are from Indonesia, and my underwear is from Salt Lake City.

Mike: You know, I think James just needed to go on a mission before Lily could fall in love with him.

Bro. Tueller: Welcome to History 202. It’s good to see your bright and shiny faces.
Madison: Shiny. That makes me feel oily.

Bro. Walker: It’s kind of interesting how the PCC has used Polynesian men as a marketing thing.

Amber: I just love teasing you guys.
Nate: I don’t feel teased in the slightest.

Amber: So, I was doing research on Machaut for Music History, and I read that he used canons much less than his predecessors. Were canons regularly used in the Middle Ages?
DB: Um, no. Did you check what kind of canon it was? Canon or Cannon?
Amber: Ohhhhh. I was so excited about the idea of the Masses employing explosives, and using it in my Beethoven orchestration!

Mike: Here’s what you should tell your president: I’m your mission’s biggest asset. When I arrive, business will boom!

Little boy 1: When are you going to get an ear ring?
Little boy 2: I’m not going to.
Little boy 1: Why not?
Little boy 2: Because the prophet doesn’t have an ear ring, and I might be the prophet someday!

Kristen: I love Once Upon A Time.
Amber: Me too. I love Psych.
Kristen: I know you do.
Amber: I also love Chuck. And I actually still love the Office, even though it’s bad and I don’t watch it anymore. Still loving the Office now is like still loving a child who’s gone astray.

Nate: I’m going to be an uncle! I need a good pamphlet to read on how to be an uncle. And a good uncle name.

Amber: Whoa, look at our scores!
Bethany: Amber, I’m so happy for us!

Amber: I submitted my mission papers before they made the announcement.
Amber: I had a gmail account when you still had to be invited to join.
Amber: I was watching those Mac ads before they were popular.
Amber: I submitted my papers before everyone was submitting their papers.
Amber: I was planning on going on a mission way before everyone was planning on going.
Amber: I was in Young Womens before they had virtue.
Amber: I got my Gospel in Action before they switched to Faith in God.
Amber: Pluto was a planet when I was growing up.

Mr. Taniguchi: Joseph’s wife is going to give birth any day now. If she goes into labor during the concert, can you jump off the stage and sedate her?

Sarah (Engaged; Taiwanese; in presence of fiance): Elder Bednar is my favorite speaker. He’s so handsome!

Sunday School teacher: Let’s get to know Coco. Ask her a question. Any question.
Japanese male class member: How much do you weigh?

Amber: Hugh Jackman is so attractive.
Ben: That’s what I’ve heard. I can’t quite share your sympathies.
Amber: Um, you aren’t supposed to be sympathetic about that.
Ben: I mean I can’t quite share your attraction.

Lug: Lind, he’s really nice, and he makes good comments in class, and he asks me questions. Like, he asked me without any prompting if I named my piano. I mean, who just does that?”

Kali: So we have Mother Earth and Father–
Matt: Christmas!

Kali: In the Mormon church, we worship basketball.

Kali: I’m from Hau’ula, which is the best place in the world. We’re famous in Hau’ula, because we have a 7-11.

Addison: [seeing a friend request] Do you recognize this name?
Amber: I don’t know anyone named Noel.
Addison: Oh, she’s probably a fan. [He was being serious.]

Amber: Okay, when I find this, I’ll post it to your wall.
Addison: I don’t have a wall.
Amber: Uhhh yeah you do.
Addison: No, I have a timeline.
Amber: I’ve never heard anyone call it that before.
Addison: That’s because that’s what it was when we were first on facebook. Now think about it, when little kids get older and have facebook, they’ll only know it as Timeline.
Amber: We had facebook before there was Timeline.

Ben: Sarah, will you take my test for me?
Sarah: Sure, but I’d do absolutely nothing.
Ben: Does anyone want to go and figure out all the codes for me so that I can take the test on my ipad, and cheat out of the book here. I’ve always wanted to cheat and get away with it. Does anyone want to do that for me?
Sarah: Does anyone want to go to Hell for Ben?
Ben: Who’s dedicated enough to go to Hell for me?

Ben: Men aren’t afriad of cockroaches!
Amber: Yeah, but they are afraid of women, who are afraid of cockroaches.
Sarah: Addison, are you afriad of woman?
Amber: Are you afraid of WOMEN?
Sarah: My mouth’s full of food. I can’t say “women”, I have to say “woman”, or else my food will fall out of my mouth.
Addison:Yes, I’m terrified of women.
[conversation about pronunciation of women for several moments]
Amber: Every man is afraid of women.

Ben: I’d rather be famous than infamous.

Dr. Bradshaw: If you don’t know how to do plain vanilla, you’ll never get a chocolate chip!

Dr. Bradshaw: That’s something you can just shout at a backstreet fight– ‘Oh yeah? Bizbigliando!’
Ben: Backstreet fights must have been different where you grew up.

Dr. Bradshaw: We should get started with class so we can study brass. Let’s stop rhyming right there, for they go we know not where.

The Art of the Compliment

One of my great loves is talking to people– anyone, anywhere, about anything. Well, almost anything. It’s especially wonderful if I can steer the conversation to the gospel, which I actually happen to be pretty good at, but people are so interesting that a good conversation can be found with almost anyone.

I go to the airport fairly regularly, and it is swarming with people who can offer all kinds of interesting  ideas, not to mention missionary experiences. The plane itself actually provides the best situation, because there are a full six hours to spend learning about the individual next to whom you are destined to be chained. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about picking up a conversation with a total stranger, a fail-safe approach is a compliment. Nobody doesn’t like being complimented, and they are almost always willing to converse with someone who can find good things about them.

Genuine compliments are the best, but when you don’t know the person, superficial compliments are just as good. For example, women always like to be complimented on their clothes.

This is one of my all-time favorite youtubes. You’ve probably seen it before, but I could watch it a million times. Teresa showed it to me when I was in 10th grade, and it’s been my life theme/ goal ever since. Everybody needs that kind of validation.

So go ahead. Give a compliment today. Make someone’s day. Make it their best day so far, and in so doing, you just may create your own.

You are so great!

Political Correctness

I’m doing my homework for my K-2 Math Methods class, and I come to a chapter about writing story problems. This is what the writer had to say:

“Naturally, teachers choose interesting problems that do not promote stereotypes. Women do not do all the shopping while men buy gas and cut the grass. Sensitivity to the cultural practices of each family helps teachers make wise choices. A problem about pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving may not relate to the everyday experiences of many children who eat sweet potato pie at the holiday feast or who don’t have holiday dinners.” 161

Oh boy. Complete craziness.

The idea of political correctness is especially prevalent at this… holiday… season. Holiday. Who chose which holidays are Holidays? I’m going to be honest– I get really offended when people wish me a happy Halloween*. Although I do celebrate it, there are some people who don’t support that wicked day, and we can’t risk offending them by being friendly. The best policy is to take offense if there’s even a slight possibility that someone somewhere could maybe be mildly offended by something. In fact, let’s just call Halloween a Holiday, and then we don’t have to worry about the consequences of spreading our joy by saying something nice to someone. It is a holiday, after all, and it comes just before Thanksgiving, so it only makes sense that we should strip it of its actual title and just stick it in the pile with the other days of celebration whose names are taboo.**

I was watching Fox News the other day, which is actually against my principles, but it was just on while I was eating dinner. This came on:

Wasn’t that great? I love it. I hope you watched the whole video.

*just kidding
**that was sarcasm

Me, Myself, and I

Can we just have a little grammar talk?

For some reason, adults consider it the utmost sin for children to use “me” instead of “I”. We always hear the “Me and Amber–” “Amber and I!”, which is often correct. But not always! You never list yourself before the other person in your sentence. But that doesn’t mean you can never refer to yourself as “me”. That is who you are, after all.

Our very own President Obama has been known to make that grammatical error on multiple occasions. He used it in phrases like: “a very personal decision for Michelle and I” or “the main disagreement with John and I” or “graciously invited Michelle and I.” Ugh. Bothers me to no end. Believe it or not, this was a contributing factor to my voting decision. Very small, but it was there.

To be clear: the rule here is that we use “I” as a subject and “me” as an object, whether the pronoun appears by itself or with something else. So every “I” in those quotes should have been a “me.” And he thought he was sounding so professional. They all do. As an item of interest, it turns out the term for this linguistic phenomenon is called “hypercorrection”. 

Because of that obsession adults seem to have with “me”, humans around the world, at least English speakers, have been conditioned to never use it. Another escape from that sinful word is “myself”. So odd. Just call yourself who you are! Obama has been known to use this one as well, along with many other individuals, including my high school Psychology teacher, who used it excessively. (He also said “expecially”, which is just funny.)

For the record: “I” is a pronoun that must be the subject of a verb. “Me” is a pronoun that must be the object of the verb. The easiest way to decide what to say is to remove the other noun from the sentence and see if it still makes sense. It’s that simple. And just forget “myself”. It’s rarely correct.

You know, TBC. I have way more of these grammar issues that I might need to just vent about. [Anticipate apostrophe usage sometime soon.]

One Holiday at a Time– Pumpkin Pie

In order to preserve the special nature of pumpkin pie, I think it should only be eaten in November.

Whenever I see it in stores before November 1st, I have to cringe, mutter words of disgust under my breath, post my annoyance on facebook, and talk to the store manager. I mean, really– pumpkin pie is only for Thanksgiving!

We can only celebrate one holiday at a time, so eating something that unique to Thanksgiving before the allotted time to be thankful just skips over all the other very important holidays. I can’t get over how people seem to have no common courtesy for Columbus Day. October 14th, people! We can’t start planning our Halloween costumes and parties before that vastly historically significant day has been given its full commemoration.

It is physically and mentally impossible to think about giving thanks while paying tribute to some other hugely extraordinary event. So next time you see a pumpkin pie in the grocery store before November, do something about it! Let your angry voice be heard! Spread the importance of only celebrating one holiday at a time! Say no to simultaneous celebrations!

A break from studying. (One of those posts)- Mahalo to Aria

My dear friend Aria, who happens to be teaching English in Cambodia right now, keeps a really lovely blog, and posted one of those posts where you answer questions and then tell your other blogger friends to answer questions too. You know what I’m talking about? So here are her questions. I’ve actually never done this before, because this kind of post isn’t really characteristic of my blog, but I’ll go for it anyway. Apologies if it’s not interesting to you.

It’s called the Leibster Award.

This is her explanation: The Liebster award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  (I have like a tenth of that) What is Liebster?  Apparently it’s German.  You use it to start letters, start prayers, etc.  It means Dearest/beloved/kind/valued….I like this word.

Liebster Award rules:
1. Post 11 things about yourself 
2. answer the questions the nominator made for you
3. create 11 more questions for the blogs you nominate
3. choose 11 people and link them to your post
4. go to their page and tell them too
5. oh, and of course, no tag backs. 

11 quick things…
1. I’m double-majoring in music and elementary education
2. I’m going on a mission to LA in February, and my entire life has been in preparation for this incredibly exciting event. I cannot wait. Like, I can’t even express how excited I am.
3. Meh. You know enough about me.

So… Behold my answers to her creative questions. 

1.  Do you like your hair up or down (may be substituted for long vs short)? UP! I don’t know if I’ve ever gone a day without tying it up. I don’t like feeling it on my neck, and it ties up so easily in a knot that it’s hard to resist. But everyone always tells me I should wear it down.

2.  If you knew you could not fail, what would you do? Whoa. Um, that is an extremely difficult question. I’d run an Ultra, I’d play with a really good jazz combo, I’d ski really advanced hills in the best ski resorts, I’d learn like 20 languages, I’d find a way to get music back into all the public schools, and become a really good 4th grade teacher who uses music in her classroom. I’d write a riveting article for a big newspaper or magazine. I’d go on a mission and invite lots of people to come unto Christ. Man, I’d love to not fail.

3.  What actor would you like to play the lead romantic role in the story of your life? Oooh. Joseph Gordon-Levitt? 

4.  Do you ever get lost? Ha. All the time. I don’t have a right hippocampus.

5.  What is your favorite kind of toothpaste? Uhhh Crest? I just buy whatever is one sale.

6.  Right…..*now*……are you happy with where you’re going? Yeah!
 7.  If you could live in a foreign country…… Nepal.

8.  Did you watch the Presidential debates? Yep.

9.  What is the one thing that you are best at? Maybe listening and encouraging? It’s definitely not music or school or running.

10.  If you could re-live a day in your life, which would it be and why? Well, every day is my best day so far, so that’s hard. The day I went through the temple for the first time was amazing. So were all the days in Hawaii right after we graduated from high school. The day I left the hospital after my surgery was good. Oh, the day Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the BOOK) came out was great. So was the day part 1 of the movie came out, because the Laie temple was rededicated soon thereafter, and my friend got baptized that day too. So many good days!

11.  What song would you like sung at your funeral and who would sing it?  Maybe If the Savior Stood Beside Me, or that one new one that says, “I know He lives! I will follow faithfully…” NOT God Be With You til We Meet Again. I think I’d like my grandkids to sing it. I’ll have like 50 grandkids.

My new 11 questions:
1. What is your favorite dessert?
2. Crunchy or Creamy? (please explain, because one of these answers is clearly right)
3. What is your favorite scripture?
4. Who is the greatest world leader of all time?
5. Favorite Harry Potter character?
6. Favorite word?
7. #1 pet peeve?
8. View on immigration
9. Favorite joke
10. When will we get a temple in Jerusalem?

Yeah. I nominate Lug, Leen, Mike, Dell, Kamille, Maren, and other friends who read this blog, who by some miracle may have made it to the end of this post. That was an adventure. And a nice little break while I waited for my laundry.

Sticking with Piano Lessons

Every time I hear the choir or hear the organ or hear the piano, I think of my mother, who said, “I love all the acclaim that has been given you, all the degrees you have obtained, and all the work you have done. My only regret is that you did not stay with the piano.” Thanks, Mother. I wish I had.

-President Monson, Conference Oct. 2012

I’m so glad I quit piano when I was a kid.”

That is one thing you will never hear anyone say. I cannot even begin to count the times someone has said to me, “Man, I wish I’d stuck with piano. My mom tried to get me to, but I just wouldn’t.” I think I hear that every day.

I had to stop taking piano lessons when I was 16, for various reasons, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had a lot of other things going on– I was really involved in sports and my classes– but I just couldn’t go on without piano. And then I found myself a music major, a year into the education program, because I just couldn’t stay away.

I know piano lessons aren’t for everyone, but I’m so grateful I “stuck with it”. I am not and will never be a concert performer, but I’m grateful for the talents I’ve developed from it.

I think this is a lesson for everyone– Don’t quit stuff! Just don’t quit. It may seem “too hard” or “too time-consuming”, but if you just “stick with it”, there won’t be regrets later on. I think every kid deserves a chance to be great at whatever he or she wants, and that can’t happen without sticking with stuff. Not to become an expert, but to make an investment in something.

If you really care about something, time will make itself. I committed to read a book every month, which seemed totally crazy, because I have next to no time. But if you make something a priority, it will happen. Anything can happen.

Oh, also

Missing your daily dosage of Harry Potter? This week I’m featuring Harry Potter on my tumblr www.shazzamber.tumblr.com, if you’d like to experience that with me. Specifically, I’m dedicating it to the promotion of the high values of Harry Potter. Join me!