EFY Week #4 – "Lifted Up"

Lifted Up!
My last week of EFY was probably my best. This week, my company’s scripture came from Psalms 24:3-4 “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
So our name was Lifted Up!
This week, the Red session was the largest for Provo this year: 700 participants! The average is 350 for a session. Add that to the fact that all 4 sessions were going on at once (2500+ youth!) and all having classes and lunch together!
At least the Red were housed in on-campus apartments rather than the on-campus dorms like the rest of the youth. We also had our own cafeteria for breakfast and dinner. But, with 700 participants, the only place we could fit on campus was 1 auditorium on the opposite side of campus. Getting place to place and sitting down was ridiculous. However, all the counselors and the coordinators all agreed that even though we were super worried about this chaotic week, it turned out to have less problems than the week we only had 250 youth!
My girls were amazing! I didn’t have any problems with any of them! Two of my boys tried out for the variety show and four of my girls did the musical program. They were all super tight, always hanging out in each others’ rooms. They all participated in discussions and devotionals, which made me very happy.
However, there was one girl who wasn’t able to be in the same company as the rest of her friends. It was her first year at EFY and she felt quite isolated and shy. I tried my best to make her feel welcome and even talked to some of my girls with kind, strong personalities. Her mom even called me to talk to me about the situation. Sadly, I feel like I failed in this instance because she left early on Thursday night.
Then, on Friday, one girl threw me for a loop. It was her 3rd year at EFY and I didn’t see any problems with her. However, she said she was going to make herself sick so she wouldn’t have to go to the dance (she is lactose-intolerant). She did this because no boy had asked her to dance during the Tuesday dance. I talked to her about how she was worrying not only me, but the rest of the girls because it isn’t healthy for her to have milk. Then I also told her how the past couple of years have been hard for me because I’ve seen so many of my girl friends get asked out on dates, start dating, and get married; whereas, almost all the dates I have been on in the past 3 years, I have asked the boy out and they usually have turned out bad. So I knew how she felt and told her I was tired of waiting for boys to ask me out so I started asking them out. That situation, and knowing the love she had from the other girls gave her enough courage to go to the dance. Then, she even asked my old co, the one with the same name as me, who all the girls have a crush on, to dance, and he danced with her! She enjoyed herself.
That night, I also had dance duty–I had to sit down in a corner and make sure no youth left or hid, etc. One of my girls sat somewhere near me and talked on the phone. I assumed her mom had called, but then, after about 15 minutes and her ending numerous different calls, I decided to go over and see what the problem was. She was losing self-confidence. Yes, boys had asked her to dance, but they were all weird, awkward, or not-that-cute. She sees other girls who she thinks are prettier then her being asked to dance by good-looking boys. She didn’t feel she was as good-looking as them. Kind of the same situation as my other girl. Coincidentally, they were both mixed races and gorgeous. I love mixed race girls–they get the best of both races. So I told her that, she was beautiful. Told her my story. Told her to be a huntress. She finally went to go dance with my other girls.
I was glad for such a wonderful week to end on. I was able to memorize the names of all my kids, the second time I was able to do it!
I am so thankful to have been able to do EFY this summer. It was an amazing experience and allowed my testimony to grow so much. True, I am thankful that it is over for the year, but I am still sad–I felt such at home being a counselor. My patriarchal blessing* tells me that I will use my written and oral skills to teach. I feel as if I have truly made that come to pass. I was meant to be an EFY counselor and I will never regret doing it.
 * patriarchal blessing (a blessing LDS members get that tells them Heavenly Father’s expectations and promises for them)

100 Truths

Ok, I am super bored and so later today you will get a post about my last week of EFY and another book review, but for now, for your entertainment….and mine….


100 Truths!

1. Full name: nada…not until I am officially published.

2. Nickname: Tanney
3. Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
4. Male or female: Female
5. Elementary: which one? I went to 4!
6. High School: Mountain View High School (funny thing is–there were no mountains in view, only trees)
7. College: the best college ever!
8. Hair color: red…used to be blindingly red, but is now fading to a dirty brown =(
9. AAAAHHH! What happened to #9?
10. AAAAHHH! What happened to #10?
11. Sweats or Jeans: jeans, well capris.
12. Phone or Camera: phone
13. Health freak: I try
14. Orange or Apple: tangerines
15. Do you have a Girlfriend/Boyfriend: there is a certain someone in a certain country doing certain goodworks that I certainly hope will be.
16. AAAAHHH! What happened to #16?
17. AAAAHHH! What happened to #17?
18. Pepsi or Coke: pepsi, but I hardly ever drink soda

19. Been in an airplane: almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas to go home =) 23. First piercing: ears

24. AAAAHHHH! What happened to #24?
25. First award: I don’t remember…probably something about reading in kindergarten
26. AAAAHHHH what happened to #26?
27. First word: mama, I think

28. AAAAAHHHH what happened to #28?
29. Last person you talked to in person: my sister, Madison

30. Last person you texted: same person

31. Last person you watched a movie with: my friends

32. Last food you ate: pretzels and peanut butter

33. Last movie you watched: Finding Nemo.
34. Last song you listened to: Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Ralph Sutton (big band)
35. Last thing you bought: Cheesy Gordita Crunch off the secret menu of Taco Bell
36. Last person you hugged: Naomi
37. Food: strawberries–my weakness!
38. Drink: water
39. Band: um…don’t have one?
40. Song: For Those Who Wait by Fireflight
41. Animal: dragon! it’s on the flag of Wales!
42. Colors: orange, green, purple
43. Movie: How to Train Your Dragon, Lord of the Rings, Merlin
44. Subject: history and English, DUH!
HAVE YOU EVER: (Put an X in the brackets if yes)
45. [x] Gotten Baptized.
46. [x] Celebrated Halloween.
47. [x] Had your heart broken.
48. [] went over the minutes/texts on your cell phone. (UNLIMITED! HAHAHAHA)
49. [] had someone question your sexual orientation.
50. AAAAHHH! What happened to #50?
51. [] got pregnant.
52. [] had an abortion.
53. [x] Did something you regret.
54. [x] Broke a promise.
55. [x] Hid a secret.
56. [x] pretended to be happy.
57. [x] met someone who changed your life.
58. [x] pretended to be sick.
59. [x] left the country.
60. [x] tried something you normally wouldn’t try and liked it.
61. [x] cried over the silliest thing.
62. [x] ran a mile.
63. [] went to the beach with your best friend.
64. [x] got into an argument with your friends.
65. [x] dated someone.
66. AAAAHHH! What happened to #66?
67. Eating: nothing
68. Drinking: water
69. Listening: Big Band radio station on Pandora
70. Sitting/Laying: Sitting, in front of a computer
71. Plans for today: blogs, best buy
72. Waiting for: to get back home off campus
73. Want kids: Yes, I want to be a mom so badly!
74. Want to get married: yes, please!!!!!!
75. Career:  History and/or English teacher, duh!
WHICH ONE in a significant other:
76. Lips or Eyes: eyes, I love looking in other people’s eyes.
77. Shorter or taller: taller and skinny/toned
78. Romantic or spontaneous: Both!
79. AAAHHH!! What happened to #79?
80. AAHHHH! What happened to #80?
81. Hook-up or relationship: Relationship
82. Looks or personality: Personality!
 83. Lost glasses/contact: yes, contacts to the Pacific Ocean! darn you ocean! I hope you can see better!
84. Snuck out of a house: yes…a couple weeks before I moved to college! MLIA!
85. Held a gun/knife for self defense: NEVER
86. Killed somebody: does playing Mafia count?
87. Broken someone’s heart: I really hope I haven’t…
88. AAAAAHHHHH! What happened to #88?
89. Cried when someone died: in a movie or book, yes. I have never personally known anyone who has died.
90. Yourself: most of the time
91. Miracles: yes, there are tons of small every-day miracles I witness.
92. Love at first sight: I’m a hopeless romantic
93. Heaven: yes
94. Santa Clause: when I was younger
96. Kiss on the first date: no. 2nd date is ok
97. Is there anyone you want to be with right now: HECK and a YES!
98. Do you know who your real friends are: yes and I am grateful for them.
99. Do you believe in God: with all my heart, mind, and might
100.Do you like anyone: YES! Same person as number 97!


20. Been in a relationship: yup, but none have been just right yet.
21. Been in a car accident: yes, but just a small collision (I was a passenger)
22. Been in a ambulance: no, but wouldn’t it be cool?

Book Review | The Book of Mordred

The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde
I have decided that since I want to be a writer and will hopefully be an English Teacher in a few years (as well as history) I should probably use this blog to do some book reviews. As you can tell by looking at my side bar ————————(arrow)———–>>>
I have been reading as much as I can this summer. But, I’ve decided to start with this book because it is still fresh in my mind–I just finished it last night before I went to bed.
So, The Book of Mordred caught my eye because 1) I LOVE Arthurian legend and 2) the cover is intriguing. 
Quick rundown: Mordred is King Arthur’s bastard son by his half-sister Morgause or Morgana (depending on the version). He leads to the downfall of Camelot and the “death” of Arthur (who kills him at the same time). Mordred has always been viewed as a darker, shady, mysterious, hateful character who may also be a coward and not a skilled knight (again, depending on the version).
In this book, Velde takes a look at Mordred from the point of view of three women: Alayna, Nimue, and Kiera.He is intertwined in all of these women’s life and they in his. 
   Alayna is a lesser noble who married a village wizard but is recently widowed. In the first 1/3 of the book, her daughter, Kiera (4 years old) is kidnapped by an evil wizard to use her powers of foresight. Alayna rushes to rescue her, meets Mordred who accompanies her and rescues her daughter, while apparently killing the evil wizard.
   The 2nd part of the book has skipped a couple years and introduces Nimue, who is was Merlin’s lover/apprentice. Merlin is now gone and Nimue happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when boys are being captured to have their youth stolen by the evil wizard. Nimue bumps into Mordred who helps her rescue the boys and kill the wizard yet again. This part of the book leads us to believe Nimue and Mordred’s relationship blossoms.
   The last third of the book skips another couple of years and Kiera is now 14. The setting is Camelot where her foresight powers get her in trouble as the Arthurian legend comes to a climax: from Lancelot and Guinevere to the battle between Mordred and Arthur.
1) Vende has a really good writing style. It is always at a good pace–when the action is fast, so is her pace–it is almost stream-of-thought–when the action is slow, so is her writing with bigger and longer paragraphs.
2) It is a new view of the super intriguing character of Mordred. Usually Arthurian books show Mordred as a bad guy through the eyes of a main player in the legends. Or it shows Mordred’s point of view as being totally wronged. This book kind of balances it out. It shows Mordred through the eyes of 3 women who he has influenced (albeit, 2 of them don’t exist in Arthurian legend).
3) Vende incorporates the legend very well and shows she has done her research.
1) Kiera’s foresight scenes are juxtaposed a little weirdly–kind of disrupts her flow. Yes, I know visions will usually do that, but authors tend to keep a good flow between reality and vision/dream. Vende’s seems to disrupted.
2) Nimue is too nice! In this book, she is viewed as an innocent who is protecting Merlin as he sleeps. She puts her own talent down, too humble, too unsure, not confident, too nice. NO! Nimue seduced Merlin to teach her then she betrayed Merlin. She works with Vivian, Morgause, and Morgana in Arthurian legend. It drove me insane!

My Rating

EFY Week 3: "Wise Men!"

This week, our scripture came from Isaiah 29:13-14.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”

So our group name became: Wise Men!

I had the younger group again this week. This session was also the smallest–only about 250 people. However, I was in a group of 3 counselors: 2 male counselors and me–18 boys and 9 girls.  (It was easy to remember my girls’ names this week!)

My co’s and I got along real well–we had the playful yet serious mode about us and we would all switch it off so none of us were the mean counselor.

There was one girl, however, that I was really worried about. I mean, I am not a returned missionary, nor am I a veteran counselor. I am only a 21 year old girl who has never had any spiritual challenges in her life and here was a girl who was a little indifferent about the church. She loved EFY and went last year, was deeply impressed by her previous counselor and decided to come again. This girl was super cute and super talented: she could sing and dance. She was not shy in the least and participated in all the activities, except any that had to do with the spirit.

I pray for my girls by name every night during the week, just so I can help be the best counselor I could be. I wanted to help this girl too, to at least feel the Spirit at least once during the week. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I was nervous. I didn’t know what to do or how to help. So, I asked to be a tool in the Lord’s hands. I knew He loved her dearly and so I asked to be used to help her feel the Spirit…not even to change her entire life, but to just feel the Spirit. I felt an overwhelming warmth. He loved her deeply and from that moment on, I did too. We became quick friends–like I said, she wasn’t shy at all. She seemed to me like a younger sister, so I acted the older, caring sister part.

That seemed to be all she needed. She (and her counselor from last year) both told me bits and pieces of her childhood, which has been something I never had to deal with, nor knew any one who had the challenges and trials she has been through. However, I felt that she loved the idea of a Celestial Family. In our church, we believe that families are eternal and we can be with them after the Resurrection. She has one older sister, so I explained to her that I like to view Jesus Christ as my older brother, and that He cares for us and we are never alone because we have an older brother who is willing to protect us. I kept with that idea the rest of the week in all my devotionals and lessons. I tried getting her to go to all the spiritual activities.

Near the end of the week, I wasn’t sure if I had done anything to help her feel the Spirit. Thursday night during Testimony Meeting, I felt impressed, to write her a letter. I told her how much I loved her and how I have been through some tough times this past year, too. But how I know that Jesus Christ has always been with me. I also bore my testimony about forever families and told her that not only will I always be there for her, but her family will too, as well as Jesus Christ. Then, during the Service Project, she wrote me a thank-you letter. It said:

Dear Tayler, 
Thank you for hanging with me and not shooting me. (she was a 16 year old girl…all teens can be brats sometime during EFY, but we counselors love them anyway.) Thanks for helping me get back in the Gospel. I love you so much. I would probably be in a lot of trouble. I love you so much.
Then, during our last morning side, she told me that by EFY next year, she hopes to be going back to church full-time. I cried. That night during the last devotional, we had it as a company–our entire group and all three of us counselors. I could see the light shining through all my youth; they all had come such a long way in the Gospel. I also saw a tremendous light in this young girl’s eyes. She knew the Gospel is true and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ loves her. She knew the church is true, she just had to admit it to herself. And she did.
This week was probably the most spiritually fulfilling week I have had at EFY. Then on Sunday, we talked on Facebook and she said that she went to church and felt so good being back. I love her dearly.