Friday, December 30, 2005

Scripture Mastery Served on a Silver Platter

I did it. I finally finished the Book of Mormon. It was hard, but I know that it'll be worth it!

I had initially planned on finishing by the 20th of December. That way it wouldn't hang over me through Christmas and I could just read to my leisure afterwards. Unfortunately, I was thrown off course by my trip to Florida with Mum. She decided (on purpose) not to bring her scriptures with her. I don't know why. She didn't even have her set, she had a little pass-along Book of Mormon that she brought with her from Saipan. I can understand that she didn't want to lose them or anything, but she didn't have her scriptures! Sooooo, when we got down there, she continuously asked to use mine. I let her, I had no problem with it, except that by the time we were half-way through our trip, I realized, I hadn't read for a few days. So, I sat down to read some... sure enough, in came Mum, asking if she could borrow them. I passed them off and just decided that I would pick them back up when we arrived back in Maine.

When we got home, I was in the middle of moving and had left my scriptures at the house I was moving to, and thus didn't have them with me at the house I was still living in for a few more days. As you can imagine, the 20th passed extremely quickly.

But I finished! And that's the point! I read the whole thing, all the way through, in less than 6 months. I've never read the whole book to myself before! It was so nice! I finished it the day before I left for Utah. Now I would be blessed with a stronger testimony instantaneously! Voila!

I should have known. "Only after the trial of your faith." Ain't that the truth! I finished it and was packed and in the airport in Bangor. First, when I got there and started through the check-in, they told my one bag was 5 pounds over and the other was 3. That was an extra $50 per bag. I didn't have any way to send anything back to Gram's house, so I just moved 3 pounds from the one bag into the other and paid the $50 for one bag. When that was all set, I was informed that the sensors had detected some chemical in one of my bags and that I would have to wait for them both to be screened minutely. It went fine, without incident. They said that sometimes common, household chemicals can set off the alarms. (Brilliant idea, whoever set that one up.) The flight from Bangor, ME to Philadelphia, PA went on without further delay.

In Phili, I arrived completely lost. I went up to a desk and they told me how to find my gate and then told me my flight had been delayed about an hour. No biggy. My connection in Raleigh-Durham, NC was interrupted by a 2 hour lay-over, so I would still make my flight. When I got to my gate, they announced that it had been delayed an hour-1/2. Okay, I would just have to run a bit. Then it was delayed for 2 hours. No! This would not do. I went to the desk and asked to get on a different flight, straight to Salt Lake if I could. No, no, no... it would be fine! I'd still make the connection. Besides, I was landing and taking-off from the same terminal. If I jogged a bit, I would get there with a few minutes to spare. Okay. Fine. Just get me there.

In RDU, they told those of us that were supposed to make that connection to Las Vegas, NV (there were about 10 or 15 of us) that it had already left and it was the last plane out tonight. They had contacted Phili and told them not to send us, but to put us on a different flight. That made me mad! That Phili knew and still didn't send us on. The agents in RDU were sorry, but there was nothing they could do until tomorrow. They booked us all for new flights and set us up in a hotel for the night.

I was transferred from US Airways to Delta; a whole new airline. So, they told me to go down and pick up my EXTREMELY heavy luggage, take it to the hotel with me, and then check it back through with Delta in the morning. I went down, found my bags, stood in line at the baggage claims office from about 9:30pm to just about 10:55pm, finally got in to see the agent, told them I had neither the time nor the money (nor the nerves, though I left that out) to send these bags out again. Would they please make sure they got on my flight with Delta in the morning. Of course, that shouldn't be a problem. I gave them the flight number and went on my way.

I got to the hotel, got a pretty good night's sleep, and was up at 6:00 to catch the bus back to the airport. I stood outside forever, then was told with the rest in line that the outside check-in wasn't registering flight 575, to Salt Lake City, so we had to go inside. We all went in and were even more jammed than before into lines. I got to the kiosk, checked myself in, found my way to security, stood in line for at least 30 minutes, (it was the fastest moving security check I think I've ever been to, actually) and when I did get to the check-point, I was randomly picked for extra screening. (It was okay, except that it didn't feel random since everything else was going wrong.) Once I got past all that, I got to the gate just in time to board.

The flight was straight from RDU to Salt Lake City. Nice. I was bumped up to first class. Great. They showed one of my favorite movies, Cinderella Man. Sweet. When I got off the plane, I found Chelsea and her mother waiting for me. Awww. When I got to baggage claim, nothing. I went over to the US Airways office. Nope, they had sent it on flight 575 with Delta Airlines. I got to the Delta office. Nothing. What do they look like? What flight were they supposedly on? Where should they send them? Have a nice day!

My scriptures are lost in that luggage somewhere. My clothes. My CD's and DVD's. My shoes. My books. Just about everything in the world that I own is in those bags. I'M MOVING ACROSS THE NATION FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE! THROW ME A FRICKIN' BONE HERE, PEOPLE! Okay... trial of faith... trial of faith...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Lowe Experience

I love Galen and Janice and Sierra! I even love Sierra's mom and I don't even know her name! It was so much fun living with them. Galen and Janice remind me so much of my own parents in some ways. For example, Dad and Galen both randomly grab their wives and start dancing with them around their houses. I don't know, maybe this is just normal for most married couples, but it's still funny. Also, Dad and Janice both like their cookies hot hot hot, while Mum and Galen both like them after they've cooled and hardened a little. Even though I've never had a problem living with people, these little similarities made it even easier to live with the Lowes.

Sierra... now she was fun! She would come home from school and have all sorts of assignments to do. I offered to help her on her Pre-Cal homework... not that that particular proposal holds any real hope for the girl, but she accepted and I was able to help her on some things, albeit very, very few. But the best part was talking with her. She would get started on her homework, and I would be in the middle of a chapter, and then we'd suddenly break up everything to start chatting about one irrellavent topic after another. It was lots of fun. To tell you the truth, I didn't know how it would work, living with a girl. I mean, yeah, I have sisters, but I've always had boys around me. My brothers, the Daltons... I've never, ever lived with just a girl. I mean, sure if I moved in with Lisa or someone already knew really well, I wouldn't have worried a bit, but this was a girl I had never been very close to, and hadn't even seen for over 4 years! It was even more uncomfortable for me at first because my first night with them was Sierra's 19th birthday. Can you say, awkward? However, we quickly found one thing in common that started off the friendship - Galen. No one has ever been easier to tease... and that's saying something! After that, it was clear we would get along just fine!

Earlier I mentioned loving Sierra's mum, this is a funny story. So, the phone rang, I picked it up and said hello. A sweet voice on the other end said, "Hi, sweetie! How are you?" At first I was completely confused... was it Mum? It didn't sound like her, but I mean, maybe she had just woken up or something, that's why her voice was so (comparatively) faint.

"Hi," I replied, not knowing what else to do. "I'm fine." She went on to ask me more about how I was doing, when finally it clicked: all though our voices were dramatically different, if you know the person answering the phone isn't Janice and it isn't Galen, it must be Sierra.

"Oh! I'm sorry, were you looking for Sierra?" Pause....
"Who's this?" asked the voice, still nice, but not quite so sure of itself.
"This is Mallory. I'm sorry I thought you were my mom at first."
She immedietly started to laugh. She said she remembered that I was moving in with them, but had forgotten about it. We joked about that for a while and then I passed the phone over to Sierra.

So, overall, The Lowe Experience was a lot of fun! I loved living with them. I wish them and all sides of their family a very Merry Christmas!