Saturday, August 28, 2010

Going Forth to Serve...

I know that I said graduation post would be coming soon. I didn't expect it to take 4 months. Oh well. I was going through all my photos and realized there was no way to choose which ones to post.

I can honestly say that graduation was one of the happiest and most joyful moments of my life- besides some special experiences as a missionary. I can think of a couple of times in my life where I felt my Heavenly Father's love for me so pronounced and sure- this was one of those times. For those of you who have walked the grad march and experienced that small moment on stage where they read your name and you receive your diploma... there really is nothing like it. For some, it may not be a big deal. For me, it was awesome.

I remember my high school graduation. I remember the morning of: My grams was ironing my gown and I was complaining to my mom that I didn't want to go because I didn't feel like it was that big of deal. I complained that I had to pay $50 to rent the stupid gown and be escorted by some dumb boy who probably didn't even know who I was, and then sit through speech after speech while idiot kids threw beach balls, toilet paper, and made cat calls... and faculty tried to "graciously" reprimand them for the last time. I didn't want to do it. I graduated. I was done. Now on to bigger and better things- like Brigham Young University.

I have wanted to go to BYU from the time I was 5. As dumb as it sounds, it all started with a football game. My dad was invited to a BYU football game in 1984 (the same year the Coug's won the national championship) by a guy named Marty Sheide who's brother Gary was a player in the late 70's. Dad was so impressed and enjoyed it so much, he decided to buy his own season tickets and it's history from there. I have fond memories of BYU football games with dad. Especially the hotdogs and peanut M&Ms. ;) I remember when I finally learned what the game was about and how much more exciting it became. I looked forward to those drives to Provo so much, because it was just me, "the general", and a stadium of blue blood. As I watched the football players enter the field, my heart always gave a little jump and in my mind I always said to myself "I'm going here someday. I want to be part of this legacy." And now, even as I attend the first game of the season next week at Lavell Edwards Stadium and those players run out onto the field, my heart will still leap and I will say to myself "I am a BYU alumni. I'm glad to be part of this legacy."
(this is about 5 days after my surgery, so don't judge.)

I started as a freshman at BYU in the fall of 2003 spending my days in Deseret Towers T hall (which is now nothing more than a grassy hill). I remember I was in my white chevy cobalt, which was packed to the brim with stuff, and I drove past the sign "Enter to learn, Go forth to serve." Something inside me clicked and I remember thinking " This is just the beginning." Of course, little did I know there would be so much learning that happened outside the classroom. I was dumb, emotional, naive, and petty. I had a lot of growing up to do and I'm grateful for friends, roommates, and peers who were patient and helped me along the way. There was a time that I thought maybe BYU wasn't for me and came very close to dropping out. But, the Lord stayed by my side and my parents continued to encourage and uplift. Eventually, I decided to serve a mission and take a break from my studies. My mission was one the best decisions I have ever made in my life, and as I came back to BYU 2 weeks after I got home, I saw things more clearly and had a greater understanding of what my role was as a student and the opportunities available to me at this university. I would have to say the last 2 years as a student at BYU were the best. More fun, more friends, and more focus. I decided on my major in psychology and did well and found great success.

Officially, I graduated December 2009, but decided to walk in April. I moved back home to SLC and at the end of April, found myself back down in Provo for one last "hurrah". As me and good friend and also "high school grad buddy" Nycole walked up the ramp into the Marriott Center, we approached the tent under which President Samuelson (His first year at BYU was fall 2003 as well) and Elder Christofferson sat. They waved and we continued to walk with our professors lining the way. It was silent as they watched us and applauded us with their smiles. But, it wasn't until the moment I entered the building and I saw my mom and dad standing and clapping with smiles on their faces, the spirit overwhelmed me and a voice so clear and perfect whispered "You have made it. This has always been part of the plan." and this strong and definite feeling of love filled my heart and I could not help but let the tears flow freely from my eyes. I knew so strongly and clearly how much my Heavenly Father loved me and I couldn't deny it. As we were walking up the steps, I'm blowing my face with my hands and this girl looks at me and I hear her say as I pass her "Did you see that girl? She's really crying. Like hard." We had a good laugh over that one.

I am the first in my immediate family to graduate from college with a bachelor's degree. I am the first in my immediate and extended family to graduate from BYU, besides one aunt. As my parents and I sat at the graduation dinner in the Hinckley Alumni Center, dad got choked up and teary as he expressed the legacy I was leaving for those coming after. My graduation from BYU was a stamp on my passport of life. It is a major milestone that will have great effect on my future and I need to remember that and live my life reflecting what I have learned and become as an alumni of Brigham Young University.

I love BYU. I always will. Is it perfect? Well... I think I could def say a few things about University Parking and Bookstore textbook refunding policy. ;) But it is a great institution and one that I support whole heartedly. I am grateful for wonderful professors, students, and administrators who I have met and have helped me. I am grateful for roommates. I am grateful for friends. I am grateful for family who never gave up and helped me "stick it" to the end. Thanks for such a great ride!

Now what? Onto bigger and better things... and going forth to serve.

And now, the final project:

Sunday, August 22, 2010


There are a couple of things I forgot this weekend:

#1 How good the temple feels. (I forgot I was supposed to take T to the temple so she could perform baptism for a family name we received. After forgeting how to get to the baptismal font in the Salt Lake Temple, we ended up having to walk almost the whole distance around while hunched over grabbing my skirt every 2 seconds because I forgot a slip.)

#2 How much I love T's company (Of course, I wanted to document this blessed memory, only to realize I forgot my SD card. Plan foibled. So, I treated her to lunch at Nordstrom Bistro instead. It was lovely, until I realized I forgot cash for a tip. After 5 min of trying to explain to my waiter Dave that I was just going to add the tip to the bill, T getting embarrassed, and people watching intently, we finally understood each other, he got his fabulous tip, and we got the heck out of there.)
#3 P's first highschool football game vs. Davis Highschool (I had to cancel plans with good friends so I could support my buddy. We picked up grandma and headed to Kaysville for a pre-game dinner with aunt and uncle. I forgot how much I love and appreciate my uncle's quirkiness until he had us sit and watch "music videos" of 50's love songs and an episode of Glenn Beck.)

#4 That it's still August and wearing a cardigan and tiger stripe bandana around my neck was a BAD idea. (I was trying to look like a true Bengal fan, but blazing sun had other plans. Oh how much I love aunt and cousin for coming to P's game, sitting with us on the Bengal side even though they are Davis alumni, wasting away in the heat, and to top it off- we lost 35-0. What wonderfully supportive troopers they are.)

Before and After the heat stroke:

We're both lookin' a little soggy.

#5 That I promised a friend I would go to the singles' boating trip up at Jordanelle. (I woke up at 7am CRANKY. I forgot how much I HATE getting in a swimsuits at a singles' activity and how much I HATE boating. It's funny, though, because I grew up white water rafting and living summer outdoors, but for whatever reason I don't like boating. Maybe it's because the last time I tried to waterski I spent an hour landing flat on my face and feeling like my arms were going to fall off. It's a bummer. I really wish things were different...and I almost thought they might be until 15 minutes out on the lake we realized we were taking in water because someone FORGOT to put the plug back in. I guess the plug is really you need it so your boat doesn't sink or something like that.)
This cute girl had to dive under the boat and stick in the plug. Luckily, I DIDN'T FORGET my goggles! It was too good a moment to not catch on camera. We thought we were good until about 3 hours later, the plug fell out. We had to call it a day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sick Day.

Woke up 4:30 am yesterday morning to a throbbing throat.
Don't know what I was more upset about: a throbbing throat...or waking up at 4:30 am.

Survived work only to drive to the instacare and leave 30 min later with a diagnosis of

Strep Throat.

Called my boss, picked up my Penicillin and raspberry sherbet ice cream, jumped into jammies, and climbed into bed. Oh yeah, all the essentials for an official SICK DAY!

Spent the day catching up on White Collar, SLEEPING, surfing Jeep and and building my dream car, surfing BodenUSA and building my dream outfit, eating jello and chocolate pudding, SLEEPING, watching Whit's new "old" Hanson concert dvd she found for like $5.00 and has been dying to have me watch it with her (you know they prob only have 1 copy of that dvd in the whole state and count on crazy obsessed fans like my sister to stumble upon it, buy it, and skip out of the store giddy as a little kid with ice cream...or me with ice cream on my SICK DAY.)

...oh, and I spent the day perfecting my bed head...or as us Shaw's call it, my "mickey slurp".

Not bad, eh?

No, not too bad for a SICK DAY.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Still so much to say!!

We've talked about this day for so long...and now it's your turn:

This fall will mark 17 years from the day I saw Nat B. in Mrs. Anderson's 3rd grade class. She was the new girl. Come to find out she and her family moved down the street into our ward. It's all history from there.

Nat was born in December and I was born in June, so she did everything first-entering y/w's, getting a drivers license, and now...getting hitched. Oh how I love her and her adorable new hubby! Congrats babe! You make a beautiful bride. Love you to the moon!

Snake River and Afton WY's own Elkhorn Family Resturant:

4:30 am- Me and 3 fantastic female friends packed up our swimsuits and pillows in my car and headed up to Alpine, WY to meet W and a group of friends to raft the Snake River. It was quite fun, except our last run it started to wind, rain, and hail to the point we pulled off to the side because we were completely worn out from paddling so hard. It was a real exhilarating and exhausting experience.

We left around 7:30 pm that evening because I had to teach RS in the morning. As we passed through Alpine, we all started to get a little hungry. We kept saying "Okay, the next place we see, we stop." Of course, none of the places we passed were sounding too good, until we entered Afton, WY. As we drove through main street, my friend Megan yelled "Elkhorn Family Resturant! Stop! Let's eat there!". I pulled the car around, parked on the street, and we hopped out. It was like a ghost town. We looked at the shops and saw everything closed at 5 pm.
We noticed an "OPEN" sign on the resturant door, so we decided to go in. As we entered, this is what we saw: Of course, I started to giggle while Megan grabbed my arm. We all look at each other like "Where are we?" Megs goes to see if anyone is there, when a lady comes out and says "We're open. Find a seat." As we get seated in one of the booths, Bre just bursts out laughing, HARD. I look around to see what she is pointing at and this is what I see:
Yes, the Savior, Joseph Smith, Thomas S. Monson, and...John Wayne (you can't see in the pic). Wow. Nothing could have prepared me for that. I think that the total exhaustion we were all feeling at that point made it completely and intolerably hilarious and caused an overwhelmingly long period of pure gut laughing...tears and all. Just the whole scene...even down to the fish tank full of guppies you would probably catch in the local pond, the salad bar completely bare, and the dessert display holding one piece of pie, cleaning supplies, and rusty tools.

The food ended up being quite good, though. The meat especially. As I told my friend, it was probably because they had just butchered ol' Bessie out back. But, it didn't matter. Even seeing our chef, an old man with crazy Einstein-ish white hair, dirty apron, and black hands leave the bathroom didn't stop us. We just watched the man, looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and then laughed. There was nothing we could do about it now. It was already in our tummies. We just prayed we didn't get gonorrhea or some other freakish virus, because we passed the local medical clinic on the way in...and that left room for doubt. As I told my friend, knowing my luck the local doctor would also be the local butcher, baker, and candlestick maker. Yep, knowing my luck.

So, we got back in the car, headed home, completely and totally drained. My dear friend Nycole offered to drive so I could sleep in the back. But I ached too much. And poor Nycole had to keep stopping and going...stopping and going...b/c the road was not lit well and she didn't know where to turn. When we stopped for gas in Evanston, I will never forget Bre's comment "I can't sleep. The stopping and going is making me nervous." and then she turned to look at me "I'm too tired to die!"

Another classic road trip for the books.

So much to say, I can't even contain myself!

I don't know why it has taken me this long to post anything when there has been so much going on. Do you ever have experiences or discussions or thoughts that you just think "I should write this down." or "I should share this." ? That's how I've felt about a lot of things the past couple months. So, I have gone through all my pics and will narrate stories as I come across photos. Brace yourself.

4th of July!

What a great time of year. I don't think anything really says Fourth of July for me than Uncle Dick and Aunt Nina's yearly breakfast. Our family dresses up in festive primary colors and we head up north to Kaysville for a little sit under the shady trees, feasting on pancakes, eggs, bacon and fruit. We enjoy each other's company. There's lots of laughing and little kids running around every where. Usually, a big part of the group head to Kaysville's water parade and then head back for more water fun. The Shaw fam usually heads back to SLC...just too cool for the pool I guess. Or "the general" doesn't want to miss his afternoon nap. Either way, we headed back after we ate and took some pics.

This picture makes me weepy every time. GPTG (short of GramPa Thomas Gary) has had heart problems lately. W and I took a trip down to St. George after his angiogram. He is doing well. It doesn't mean we weren't terrible worried, though. W and I went out to Olive Garden one of the nights we were down there. As we sat outside waiting for our table, a little old man and his sweet daughter who was in her 60's sat down in front of us. We could hear their conversation as she read him a birthday letter from his other daughter, who asked about his recent angiogram. Both of them laughed as they talked about old memories. Then, the little man took out money from his pocket and gave it to his daughter. She protested "No daddy! This is your birthday! I can't take money from you!" Then he told her " I know you're struggling right now. You take this. You deserve it." With tears in her eyes she hugged her elderly father and said "Oh thank you daddy. I love you." Of course, as you've probably guessed, the tears welled up, the floodgates opened, and I just couldn't hold it in. The sweet spirit and love that beamed from this tender relationship was overwhelming. I thought of my sweet GP and how much I love him and how much he loves me. I also thought of my own father and how well he takes care of me. I can see right through that "general" of mine...he loves me.

It was a nostalgic time for me as I chatted up the parentals from the back seat of general's truck on the way home from the 4th of July breakfast. I asked about what 4th of July was like for them when they were younger. With Three Dog Night's "Shambala" playing in the background, we talked about pink candy-covered popcorn, vintage cars, fireworks, and picnics. We discussed patriotism and how it's changed over the years. With recently watched "Band of Brothers" looming in the back of my mind, we talked about WWII and the brave men and women who have sacrificed and fought valiantly for this country and the freedom we have...the freedom we take for granted. I reflected on my own life and the blessings I have been given, including my right to get an education, practice my relgion freely and provide for myself. Although things aren't perfect, that memory of sitting in the car with my family that day was perfect and things were good and right, even if for a small moment. I realized I really do love my life, even with all its little imperfections. I love America and I love being an American. I hope that I never forget what that means and the responsibility I have to continue that legacy of faith and courage. I hope I never forget the peace and liberty I enjoy everyday because of those who fought for right and truth. Most of all, I hope I never forget days like these. Because these are good days. :)

A "bestie" is tying the knot...and we are going to shower her in celebration!

We threw a bridal shower for close friend Nat B. It was grand fun! Ever since we were 14 years old and we attended a bridal shower where my mom, being my mom, brought the most "scandalous" gift of the night...Nat has dreaded this day. Of course, mom lived up to her reputation, even making Nat's mom blush. It's just not a bridal shower without some Cori Shaw signature style. Luckily, everyone survived and that little gift might have already come in handy...forgive me. That was inappropriate. Must be in the genes.

A little decoration:

A little shmoozing:

I love this fabulous lady's style...and her bargain-shopping skills. When she starts her "frugal fashionista" blog, I will be her biggest follower. Guaranteed.

Mmm...yummy. I could just eat them.

A little "showering" of gifts:

A litte fun and "scandal":

Here she comes.... can't be that bad in a cute little box like that.

Or, maybe it could.

Yeah, I'd put it back quick. My goodness. The scandal. Honestly.

That Cori Shaw. Those poor children.

Love you, Tolly.