Thursday, July 26, 2007
I, Kasey Beck, having been born of goodly parents...
I have an amazing family and some amazing friends. Last weekend I spent Friday/Saturday morning with Cannon, Amanda, P-dub, Whit, Heather and Ben at Cannon's cabin and then we did an incredible hike at Bryce Canyon. We played Balderdash Friday night and I don't know what it is but I I can't control myself, it's just the funniest game, I laughed so much it hurt. P-dub video taped me laughing, I'll have to get that sometime. After Bryce Canyon I went to our family reunion near Capitol Reef National Park. It was fun seeing people again, some people I hadn't seen since before my mission, and some I had never met before. I kept trying to speak my little Russian with Vernon and Connie's 3 adopted Russian kids but no success. I finally saw my favorite aunt from Tucson in the whole world, Margie! Russ is awesome and quite the ultimate frisbee player. Erin and Dantley gave me and Skyler a guitar and Margie and Russ both agreed that I should have it (haha, j/k, I can get away with saying stuff like that on my blog). I found someone to buy my fall contract, Jordan. Actually he found me. Nathan, Melanie's husband, lived in Park Place 8 a couple years ago. He was even roommates with Jared, crazy! We had a good testimony meeting. There are about 85 of us on that side of the family! It's fun and I'm really blessed to be born into such a good family.
I realized that my life has really been affected by the decision of those before me to be faithful members of the Church. Because my great grandparents, grandparents, and parents chose to live the way they do and did I have received so much. And like the song says, "Because I have been given much I too must give." I don't think that has to do with just giving money and material things to the poor but also giving back to your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and God. I really like what Elder Maxwell said about how the only thing that is ours to give is our agency, our choices. What all those people want most from me is for me to make the same choice they did in deciding to be faithful to Heavenly Father. I think that's the best way to to show appreciation to them and the best way to give back to them.
The things that make us happy are the things that we take with us after this life. Two of the things that I can think about right now are experiences and relationships. This whole week I've been doing a lot with family and friends. I have a lot of fun with both and have really enjoyed all my experiences with them. Relationships with friends and family are worth investing into because you'll be with them after this life. Experiences are worth investing into because they shape your life, make you a better person, give you opportunities to help others, and no matter what happens no one can take away the memories and the effect they had on you. I used to feel like I didn't accomplish much when at the end of the day I hadn't done certain things. Now I feel have so much time in a day to create experiences and strengthen relationships. Those two things sometimes have a lot to do with one another but sometimes they don't. You can have amazing experiences just being alone. Being alone in Spain was a GREAT experience for me. Spiritual experiences usually can't be shared with others because they are your feelings and you decide how you'll be affected by what you experience. Ha, actually with experiences it seems like you're strengthening your relationship with Heavenly Father so really you're not alone in those either. And then with strengthening relationships with others you're also strengthening your relationship with Heavenly Father because as Christ said, "Ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." The more we love others the more we become Christ's disciples. Christ is love, the Gospel is love, loving somebody more will only bring you closer to Christ. I guess I have the assumption that strengthening relationships means loving others more. That might not always be correct. Relationships are important to me...or at least they should be and I try to keep them. I try to stay in touch with high school, mission, and Ugandan friends. It's sad to think that college will end one day and things will never be the same again. It was really hard before leaving EFY friends, junior high and high school friends, but I think leaving my college friends will be the hardest. Which is why we're going to have the turkey dinner again in January and me, Cannon, and Pdub are planning on having vacations together in the future. I hope my college friends won't get annoyed when I email them, call them, or whatever cause their friendship will always be important to me. College has definitely had some amazing experiences. Several in the past, several this summer, and several to come.
Having said that...
...Let's play some Mariokart!
...Who's in for Zion's Nat'l park next week Saturday?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Last weekend Kasey Beck and friends went up to Boise. Man I love roadtrips! Me and cannon drove Carrie and Bret's new car. It was so cool just having the windows down, listening to the music, chattin, and havin a time. There were some really sweet sunsets that we saw, cause from all the fires in Oregon, Idaho, Utah ish. So we arrived pretty late Friday night. We chatted about pranks, and I finally revealed to P-dub that I had a key to their apartment all last year, so that's why we were able to do the couch prank. Us guys slep in the trailer and then we went 4-wheelin the next day. We had an amazing breakfast, shot rifles, potato guns and a handgun. For someone who doesn't go shooting that often, I have a pretty good shot. Maybe I really should become Jack Bauer. We floated the Boise river. That was fun! It was really cold and I'm not sure what it was but I was having the hardest time staying on the tube. Fun times. We ate dinner then went with Adam Channer to pick up his motorcycle and then chilled at Bret's house. P-dub really wants me to write on my blog that out of the 8 of us that went camping a couple weekends ago, she eat me second, after Troy. Church was cool the next day, there was a HUGE tree outside the church, so we had a meeting in the shade-Boise branch. We had a great spaghetti dinner, and then werewolves, of course. It's so funny how we play werewolves with everyone's family. Good trip, and good people. They're a good family for my sister to marry into. Bret's dad asked me when I was going to get married...still haven't found my Abigail Adams...my Marjorie Pay Hinckley...my...Wendy Peffercorn, haha, ya gotta love the Sandlot.
Have you heard the lyrics to the rap song, "This is why I'm hot"? It's pretty stinkin hilarious.
This is why I'm hot
This is why I'm hot
This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot.
I'm hot cause I'm fly.
You aint cause you not.
This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot.
In "the man who knew too little" the bad guys are trying to bring back the cold war between Russia and the UK. Well I guess they succeeded because both countries have taken out their diplomats and are back to cold war relations. Several months ago a former Russian spy, who was anti-Putin (the Russian president) was poisoned with radioactive material. The UK has been trying to find out who did it, but Russia won't extradite (?) the main suspect. I'm worried about Russia right now. Putin has shut down newspapers and magazines that speak out against him, and has taken away other democratic freedoms. His term ends in 2008 and according to the Russian Constitution can't run again, but some say he's trying to change the Constitution. So yeah, this whole thing is bad for democracy in Russia. Russia has bothered me with some of their votes on the Security Council. They've delayed taking action against Iran and Sudan several times, and then of course they're really upset about U.S. plans to set up a missile defense system in Europe. So yeah things are exciting like always.
Me and Harry in Aachen, Germany.
Zuster van Gils!
At the Madrid Temple
Went on a boat tour of Rotterdam
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Do you ever say something and then really wish you hadn't said that? That happens all the time with me.
I'm getting really good at biking without hands after practicing everyday biking to work and then back home.
This week is the family reunion, I'm really excited to see everyone. I haven't seen some family members since before my mission.
When my kids want to read my journal or something I'll just tell them to go to my blog.
Can life get any better than 4-player MarioKart 64 Battlemode?! I think not.
K I know I've set a goal like this before, but I am really running a marathon in Sioux City in mid-October. Registration fee is a killer- $50. I'll be sure to write in here when I've paid, cause that means I am definitely committed.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love life? Seriously folks, it's gweat. I really am loving the uncertainty part about it more and more. There are so many exciting things to do and be a part of. I love how the Gospel makes life so much more certain. That certainty makes the uncertain more certain and makes you free.
There is a girl Kasey Beck somewhere out there that is stealing my thunder. I googled my name and she's winning all these athletic awards and what not. She must be in high school cause all these things are really recent. Google used to just show like 4 or 5 entries. Now my high school football stats are kicked to like the 3rd page. A couple blog entries have my name too so I might be mentioning my full name more often in my blog so I can get more internet space. Maybe someday she'll google her name and see my blog and read this very entry about her.....cool. Hopefully she'll leave a comment.
My family will be here all next week. We're going jet skiing. Jet skiing can be a spiritual experience.
I'm going on a biking trip sometime...if anybody wants in let me know.
It kind of REALLY bites that we're not perfect and make mistakes. Ya know we really need to be ourselves, cause that's who we are. But we also need to always be improving ourselves, cause that's what life is about.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I'm liking my job, it's fun doing so much with Dutch and getting a taste of German too. We reached our 2nd quarter goals so they took us to see Transformers last Monday. That's a pretty good movie. So is the 5th Harry Potter movie. Tons of us went to the midnight showing even though we all had to be up early the next morning. We all went to different theaters and then had a after-the-movie get together in the T of Park Place and talked about it. Our theater was really fun, everybody and their mom dressed up. People were having wizard duels and everything. I dressed up too, kind of. I bought a Harry Potter tie the week before so I wore that, and P-dub tried her best to draw the scar on my head...ha. I did a pretty sweet parallel parking job at the theater, but it still doesn't compare with the one I did at the wax slides in Omaha before I went to Uganda. There was only a space the size of a fist on both sides of the car between the two other cars. Bret still talks about.
A bunch of us went camping last weekend. I can't remember the last time I've been camping. It's definitely been way too long. After everyone was quiet I just laid there looking at the stars, the tall trees, the moon slowly moving across the sky, feeling that cool breeze, and listening to the trees, birds, and falls in the background. Nature is one big spiritual experience...all the time. The next morning Troy, P-dub, P-trip (Lora), and I hiked all the way up to the top of Mt. Timp. I was wanting to do it since I was in Uganda and was ready to do it by myself, but luckily they came and made it tons of fun. Challenges are awesome. We need good challenges that rough us up a bit every now and then. I love the feeling of accomplishment and seeing results. It was great being at the top and seeing everything. It was Lora's first ever hike. She'd hiked the Y before but Timp is not the Y. There were several really cool parts of the hike, but by far the best two were all the wild flowers along the trail and sliding down the glacier. There were wildflowers of every color. We were always amazed how the mountain just got more beautiful the higher we got. I don't remember the flowers from the first time I hiked Timp about 6 years ago. I also think there was a lot more snow than the first time, probably cause last time we went in August. It was a rush coming down sliding down the glacier, wearing shorts, snow getting everywhere. The first drop was so intense, no one could control their speed at all, we went so fast. It hurt a lot too from the cold snow and rocks sticking out. I'll have to try to put a video on here sometime, it's pretty sweet.
Oh the games...I love them. Sometimes ya hate em, but someday ya know you'll miss em.
We started a Sunday dinner group where we find recipes online and make em on Sundays. I'll be gone the next two Sundays but after that we're going to do Indian, African, and Mong meals...mmmmmm.
Faria is getting baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy cow, it's about time. Of course it hasn't happened yet, but he emailed me and told me August 15th. We found Faria in my second city, Heerenveen. Actually he found us. He had been taught in Portugal but then went back to Angola and really missed the Gospel. We were in a refugee camp one day and he started running toward us asking us to teach him. So we taught him, but he had so many difficulties with the Gospel, coming to Church, everything. He came to Church when I was in Leeuwarden, we had a great talk about everything, so hopefully he'll finally do it. I love that guy.
College would have been so boring without my roommates. Of course I would have probably gotten better grades from having gotten so much more sleep, but I love just chillin and chattin til 3 in the morning. Those have definitely been some of the funnest times too. In the fall we're going to install Skype on Alan's computer so I can still participate when they have those Soviet meetings.
An amazing quote from Elder Scott:
Your peace of mind, your assurance of answers to vexing problems, your ultimate joy depend upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Remember an unfailing, continual, ever-present source of peace and comfort is available to you. It is the certainty that your Father in Heaven loves you no matter what your circumstance, no matter what winds of trial, turmoil, or tribulation whirl about you. That certainty will never change. Your ability to access that support depends on the strength of your faith in Him and in His certain willingness to bless you.
This was in Gulu, we went to Noah's Ark, a place where orphans and street kids spend the night. It was funny cause the electricity was out and it was really dark out so we couldn't see each other, and then we took this picture and we could see what each other looked like. Kids there are fascinated with white skin, look at the kid touching my hand.
Albert, from Ghana and Cynthia, from China. A couple I taught . They are going to the Temple in October. I've never seen anyone who knows the scriptures like he does.
Haha, this guy is awesome. One of my first days there he stopped me and asked if I like Liverpool. It took awhile to figure out what he meant, but he told me all about the Liverpool football team and made me a fan. I'd always go by his store and we'd chat. He's a funny guy.
Playing werewolves in our house. Those were some of the funnest games I've ever played.
Me and some Crane School kids. Ok, so Captain Frank is in the front, Honorable Moses is to my right side and Honorable Nsifa is in front, and Farhad (I forgot what he wants to become) is to my left side. Really cool kids, lots of fun with them.
We played Twister for FHE with Sis. Hasifa's family.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Another good 4th of July. I'll really miss 4th of July back home. We would barbecue, play baseball, and watch fireworks. The fireworks were cool even though they were far away. We provided our own Patriotic music which was nice. Ya know, I love America! I love our history, what it stands for, what it should stand for, what it is, and everything about it. Going abroad always really makes me miss America and the securities we have here. God bless America. I found some awesome quotes and stories:
There is a legend about the day of our nation's birth in the little hall in Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words "reason, the gallows, the headsman's axe," and the issue remained in doubt.
It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.
(Isn't that a cool story?!! I took a class called Principles of Founding of the American Republic and we discussed those things a lot, how America was the first nation to recognize rights of people. It is our ideology.)
A thoughtful mind, when it sees a Nation's flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth.
"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men."
(I've heard through older family members that we're direct descendants of Samuel Adams. I haven't been able to find the line yet, but I believe it. His cousin John Adams is my hero.
"Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
-John Quincy Adams
"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."
(Ok, I'm not a Bill Clinton fan, but that is a GOOD quote)
"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
"Come on and we'll sing like we were free, push the pedal down, watch the world around fly by us."
My hair and toenails are finally starting to grow again. My toenails didn't grow at all in Africa, my hair did a little, but not much. I guess when you're malnourished those are the first things to stop growing. I'm not really sure why my fingernails grew, though.
The first email I got when I came back was from my German teacher from a year ago. He wanted to know if I needed a job at the business he works at to coordinate Dutch translating activities. A couple days went by, I hadn't heard from him so I got a job at the AC shop. A guy at MultiLing called me and offered me the job. I told him I just barely got a job, so he said, "How bout we just pay you more." He pretty much asked me how much I wanted. I started Friday, it's pretty sweet. I have my own cubicle, two computers, phone, email address, etc. Ha, I could only think about the Office, hopefully it'll be somewhat like that, there are some interesting characters I work with, so we'll see. It's a pretty high tech place and all. My key to the office is my fingerprint through a scan machine. We went golfing for an extended lunch break. I drove a couple balls and was like, "this is boring, kinda like bowling, why do people like this?" And then I started nailed some 200+ feet and suddenly I liked it. The guy next to me was hitting them really far, so I tried to hit them as far and then just hit duds. Golf is like that, the harder you try, the worse you do. So yeah, I got a full time job. I didn't really want one because I have many ideas that I wanted to spend time on, but this was too good an oppotunity to pass up. So I'll try to do all my other things evenings and weekends.
We have a pretty good ultimate team, we won the other night 15-4. Can you believe we play to 15! Ugh, it's so hot here! I think only the U.S. is suffering from global warming cause it was perfect weather in Africa and Europe. It's fun being on campus again. At first I felt a little paranoid like the squirt gun war was going on still.
With "Gangsta" Jan and Anja in Heerenveen.
With Ludmila, Sulli, and Swently in Leeuwarden.
With Roland, Krystal, Owen, and Reno in Leeuwarden.
Doing the "Home Alone" face with kids at a school out in a village.
A couple of the many awesome African sunsets.
In front of the Parliament building. I came here maybe 8 times.