Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm Number 161!

Ziff, over at Zelophehad's Daughters, has done a series of posts analyzing posting and commenting trends across the Bloggernacle. According to the most recent installment, I am the 161st most prolific commenter on the Bloggernacle, with 161 comments in the year 2007. If you remove "anonymous" from the list, I'm actually in 160th place. I'm not a mathematician, but a quick calculation puts me in the 94th percentile of comment frequency. This came as quite a surprise to me, as I don't consider myself a very big commenter.

Ray, however, is definitely a big commenter. He wrote 258,336 words, spread across 2680 comments, to take first place.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mormon Blogosphere

Dr. B has created a new LDS solo blog aggregator, the Mormon Blogosphere. It's a well-designed site with blogs grouped by theme, and the groups are named after Utah landmarks. An excerpt from the most recent post of each blog is included. If you're looking to broaden your Bloggernacle reading, I recommend it.

A few other kind souls have linked to The Posts of My House, and I've been neglectful in linking back, so I'm fixing that oversight.
Dave's Mormon Inquiry
Adventures in Mormonism
If you've linked to me and I haven't linked back, please let me know and I'll fix it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sacrament Meeting

The prophet Moroni, when describing the operation of the church, said, "And they did meet together oft to partake of the bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus." (Moroni 6:6)

We, too, meet together often to take the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. I find that sometimes it becomes rote, as if I'm just going through the motions. Other times, it is a profound spiritual experience.

Today at Times and Seasons, there is a post talking about a astronaut who blessed and partook of the Sacrament while aboard the space shuttle. At Mormon Matters, there is a post that is not specifically about the Sacrament, but is about unique or out of the ordinary Sacrament meeting experiences.

I commented on the Mormon Matters post about one of my unique experiences, but I have several others as well. While I was on my mission, one Sunday my companion and I were late for church because we were assisting one of our investigators. We arrived at church just after the Sacrament was passed. The district leader and his companion also served in our ward, and their apartment was near ours. We received permission for them to come over in the evening and administer the Sacrament. It was extremely spiritual, having four missionaries on a Sunday evening participating in a sacred ordinance.

My most recent unique Sacrament meeting experience took place last month. I was at a singles' retreat up in the mountains. I love mountains and find them to be extremely spiritual locations. I feel as if I'm closer to God when I'm there, and I find it fitting that mountains were used as temples in ancient times. The retreat ran from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, and on Sunday morning, we had a Sacrament meeting. Snow was falling outside and a fire was roaring inside as 20 of God's followers concluded a weekend of fellowship by meeting together to renew their covenants and remember their Redeemer. Although I had only met these people two days before, I felt a sense of unity as we worshiped together amid the pine trees.

I want to feel the Spirit that strongly every week. I believe that with a little preparation, it's possible. Right now, I show up to church a bit stressed each week because I'm on call Saturday nights. When my shift ends, I have just enough time to change for church and slide in with about 5 minutes to spare. This is, of course, provided that there are no emergencies near the end of my shift.

What do you do each week to prepare to make church a spiritual experience? How do you make the Sacrament feel holy and meaningful each week?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

I've been a bit busy with work lately, so I haven't had a chance to post much. I got a letter today from UNLV, and I've been waitlisted. While I would like a definite answer, a maybe is better than a no. I've been to Vegas before on multiple occasions, and I rather like it. I think I'll wait to check out the campus until after I've heard from some more schools.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Recap of San Antonio

Last week, I flew out to San Antonio to check out the campus of St. Mary's University to decide whether to accept the offer of admission. I came back with mixed feelings.

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and picked up my rental car. I requested a sub-compact, and the rental company said ok. They gave me the keys to a PT Cruiser. (Cute car, but definitely not sub-compact. Compared to the little Toyota I drive on a regular basis, the thing drove like a land barge.) I had planned to spend the day touring and exploring the city. However, I wasn't feeling well, so I just went to my hotel and slept. That evening, I ventured out to secure some dinner. (I was sorely tempted to order room service, but I decided that my budget wouldn't permit it.) My room had a microwave and a fridge, so I decided to buy groceries and cook instead of going out. San Antonio felt like a weird foreign land to me, but I noticed a Wal-Mart up the road. I went inside and suddenly felt at home again. (Wal-Mart is like church- it's the same wherever you travel.)

After dinner, I tried to go to bed early, but the time change wasn't helping me because my body thought it was two hours earlier than it was. (The perils of living on the west coast.) I got up the next morning, packed, and checked out of my hotel. I headed to St. Mary's and walked around. I had a meeting with the dean of admissions, and it was great. Everyone there made me feel like I was important. They were helpful and happy to answer my questions. (This is the complete opposite of my old law school, where at new-student orientation, they spent an hour basically telling us that we were lucky to even be there and we shouldn't complain about the school being crummy. That should have been my clue to get off the sinking ship, but I didn't see it at the time.)

I asked some hard questions because I wanted to make sure that I wasn't getting into the same situation as before. I asked about the bar passage rate, the employment statistics, and a few other things. The dean seemed to dance around my question about out-of-state employment prospects for graduates, but she was direct in answering all of my other questions. As I walked around campus, I noticed that the students seemed happy. (As opposed to my old school where everyone was miserable all the time.) I fell in love with the library; it's huge and sunny.

I had a chance to observe a class. It was the second semester of Constitutional Law- my favorite subject. The textbook wasn't a traditional casebook. Instead, it was a compilation of several edited cases with discussion and examples in between. It was very much like my undergraduate law books. I find this to be better than the typical casebook because it doesn't needlessly obscure the law. The professor was interesting and he wasn't trying to hide the ball when students asked him questions.

In all, I came away highly impressed with St. Mary's. I feel I could be happy there, and that I could get a good education there. Many of their graduates, according to the dean, end up on the bench, which is where I would like to be someday. I am still a little concerned about my job prospects because I plan to return to California when I'm done.

I'm not so sure about San Antonio, however. It seemed a bit run-down, although that could have just been the areas I saw. I didn't see as many trees as I would have liked, either. I am amazed at the low housing prices; I could get my own 1 bedroom apartment for the price I'm paying for my portion of a shared apartment here in Fremont.

I think overall, if it comes to it, I'll be able to move to San Antonio, but I'm still hoping that I don't have to uproot my life. I've been rejected from several Bay Area schools, but I haven't yet heard from Santa Clara University (my alma mater), so there's still a chance that I can stay. I also haven't heard from a few other schools, so even if I do move, it may not be to Texas.

I'm grateful that I'll be able to go to law school in the fall, and I know that God will guide me to where He needs me to be.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

General Conference

I love modern technology. I work on Saturdays, so I didn't expect to be able to watch yesterday's conference. However, I miraculously had exactly enough downtime at work (and the foresight to bring my laptop and headphones) to watch the talks for the sessions. I was going to go to the church to watch the morning session today, but since I was on call last night, I decided that I was too tired. Hooray for byutv.com! My cats and I sat on the sofa and heard the good word preached.

The talks were great this time. I loved Elder Wirthlin's talk, reminding us that we're all different and that we need to embrace those differences. President Uchtdorf's talk on the faith of our fathers was good, too. Of course, he has so much charisma that I would be transfixed if he read the telephone book over the pulpit. Elder Ballard's talk was amazing. I really appreciated him boldly declaring that there isn't just one right way to be a mother. I also like that he didn't treat womanhood and motherhood as if they're the same thing. Many speakers tend to use the terms interchangeably, and I'm glad he didn't.

However, the talk that stood out the most to me was Elder Scott's talk on abuse. As some of you may remember from an earlier post, I was the victim of verbal and emotional abuse. I have not yet fully recovered, and this talk was a balm to my soul. I felt like he was speaking directly to me when he offered his words of comfort. I could feel his love and concern for those who suffer, and his faith and knowledge that Christ has the power to heal. I have felt the beginnings of this healing from this ordeal, but the wound is still there. I look forward to the day when it is gone, and I know that Christ has the power to make wrong things right again.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to listen to general conference twice each year. I look forward to the printed messages so I can study them again in greater detail.