Thursday, November 15, 2012


Oh, hey! Sydnie Juniper here. Here's an update inclusive of recent addictions... which include the following:

Counting down to our best friend's wedding. One month from today, folks. 

The song "Need Your Love" by The Temper Trap. 

Eating Ghirardelli chocolate chips straight from the bag. 
Cozying up with my bed buddy after 2 minutes in the microwave.

Hanging out with these guys. 

Fro. Ho. Cho. from Dairy Queen. 

Volunteering at the care center, and making new friends daily.

Miles. Anderson. 

And lots of other things that merit further procrastination of my Senior Thesis. 

Back to business. 

Sydnie Juniper

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Learning to be Vulnerable

Let a person know you are willing to listen. Don't ask questions, just listen. Chances are that you will hear the deepest parts of a person's soul. Let them talk, and I have found that it generally develops into telling what is written on their hearts. 

I met a man named Gordon this week, and he taught me a few things. Eighty-two (or so) years of learning has made him a very wise man. He doesn't have a college education. He doesn't have his family to take care of him. He doesn't even have a very good memory. But as he talked and I listened, I saw signs of heartache and great joy. It wasn't hard to feel with him the passion that he had for the life he had lived. His testimony sat on the surface, and I knew he loved his Heavenly Father, and was grateful for the experiences life had dealt him.

We don't all understand the concept of kill or be killed. We don't all lose our husbands in mining accidents. We don't all experience the heartache of addiction. We don't all wonder where our next meal is going to come from. We don't all experience betrayal of a family member. We don't all know discrimination because of our race. We don't all get labeled as "disabled." 


We all go through difficult trials. That we have in common. Our lives are all shaped by our individual experience, and sometimes there is overlap from person to person. There will be occasions were we encounter brothers and sisters who are enduring trials similar to our own. If we keep our experiences to ourselves how will we ever be able to reach out to them, and encourage them that they will make it through. 

Sitting in the temple yesterday I read with a friend D&C 122:7 which says," all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." I shared with him that I felt positive that our experiences were not only for our good, but for the good of those around us. Countless times in  my life have I been given a trial that turned out to be more of an opportunity to reach out to someone else. I believe that the potential given to us through our trials can only be fully reached when we lend our understanding to someone else. The lessons we learn in what may seem like the gall of bitterness, are not always only for ourselves.

We are guarded people. We're all afraid of letting people in, of opening our hearts up wide enough to touch another's. Vulnerability can be one of the most powerful tools in helping someone realize they are not as alone as they felt. While no two experiences are exactly the same, we undoubtedly can help remove the sting by sharing ours. 

So what battles have you fought, which ones are you fighting, and who needs to know that you are on the battlefield with them?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Speaking of Happiness

I always get excited when I see things concerning happiness. This morning as I logged onto the internet I found this little gem on 

I am basically in love with Mormon Messages. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed in Institute classes, or sitting in Gospel Doctrine. We get into deep doctrines and dissect stories but in the end, I find we continually need to be reminded of the basics so that we can more fully grasp that deep doctrine. Mormon messages do just that for me. 

In regards to the link that provides, it goes through the plan of salvation step by step, explaining how we can be happy in this life and in the life to come. It's worth the refresher. 

But if you only have 3 minutes and 46 seconds, use it to watch this Mormon Message.

Can't you feel of it's truth? Love it. 

Sydnie Juniper

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I have less than two months left as an undergraduate. 

What the heck? 

Where did the time go? Don't get me wrong, I am S. to the toked. At times I feel as though I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm running as fast as I can to get to it. But then I look down and I'm on a treadmill, and all I can do is keep running, because if I don't I'll just get flung off of the belt and die. You know? Have you ever felt like that? Well, it has been a ROUGH (that's right, all caps worthy) semester, but knowing I won't have to do this for much longer is quite a consolation. I've also had some really great things happen to me that compensate and in some ways make me want to stay in Cedar and be surrounded by these people forever.

As I walked to my Sociology of Education class this morning, it hit me that after two months from today I won't be looking at that red mountain everyday. Cedar has been my home for over three years now, and it's making me really nostalgic to think about leaving. I've seriously had some of my best and (it's true) worst times here. But I've managed to grow though it all, thanks to the angels that were placed along my way. 

Fo' reals. The people that have come into my life via Cedar City are irreplaceable. I'm not going to go into any detail, because I know if I start I will never stop... but I just wanted to say a quick thanks.

Thanks for making it hard to even think about leaving this wonderland.  



Sydnie Juniper

Friday, August 31, 2012

An Important Lesson from a Spiritual Slap

If I were in a pageant, and my interview question was, "What is the best advice you have ever received?" I know exactly how I would respond. In talking with my dad the night before Kim Wright's wedding, we had created a crisis out of the giant pimple on Kim's forehead. We had tried most everything and were about to resort to Windex, when my dad piped up with this wisdom: 

"Worry about the things you can control."

These words have been ringing in my head for the more part of the last few months. I guess they were kind of a spiritual slap in the face. This morning as I reflect upon my dad's counsel I think I have got a pretty good grip on it. There is virtually only one thing that is really in my control, and that's me. I cannot control other people's behaviors, thoughts, or even feelings. As much as I would like to have my thumb on the joystick of other people's lives, reality has that as being impossible. 

So here I find myself, back in the saddle again. I'm back in my beloved Cedar City attending SUU for my last semester as an undergraduate student. There are expectations for me to live up to, and goals for me to meet; and if those expectations are not lived up to and those goals go unmet, there is only one person to blame. We are only 100% accountable for ourselves. Now, I don't mean that in an "only look out for #1" sort of way. Through listening to the Holy Ghost, and learning how to apply his guidance to self control we will be held accountable for the ripple we create, inclusive of the effect it takes on other people.

As my thoughts trail through my brain, I come to a memory of reading a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf called "Lift Where You Stand." There is one part in particular where he talks about longing to be in a different position so that we can make a difference. Over the past few years of my life, I have longed to make a giant difference in the world. I entertained ideas of traveling to South-East Asia and participating in anti-trafficking efforts, or spending time in the Congo where I could help rehabilitate women who had been sexually assaulted. When the Kony 2012 campaign first launched I wanted to be at the forefront of the effort.

But somehow this all seems bigger than me. I still see these as extremely important world issues, and have all the hope in the world that I will live to see them on the path to being resolved. However, something inside of my heart has softened. I don't feel so much pressure to make an extravagant difference on a world-wide tier. Heavenly Father and I have had a few conversations about merely "lifting where I stand." There is a difference I can make in my immediate vicinity. My focus should be where I can control. He will take care of the rest.

I am starting with me. I am starting by lifting myself out of bed in the morning. I am lifting myself to my feet after my prayers. I am lifting my heart to be full of hope. I am lifting my goals. I am lifting the corners of my mouth to give a smile. I am lifting my arms to hug family and friends. I am lifting my hammer to build the kingdom by lifting the eyes, spirits and hearts of others to heaven. I am lifting where I stand, because that is where I am in control.

While it is a hard for me to let things go, I have to realize that if I can't control it, it isn't worth worrying over. Although I can't control all things, I know someone who can, and I trust Him completely to make the world right. Through placing my faith in Him, there is absolutely no reason to worry.

Please join me in my pursuit to lift where I stand. Together we will lift heavier things than we could lift alone. "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (Alma 37:6). Don't underestimate the strength you can build by gradually lifting the small and simple things. Stop worrying about things outside of your power, and focus on what you can control.

Deiter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Run a 5K, Check!

Today I checked a monumental thing off of my summer bucket list.  Thanks to Kim Tidwell, I ran a 5k this morning.  I hadn't really given the race much thought (or training) until Kim mentioned the Alpine Days 5k to my mom in an attempt to help me cross a goal off of the list (really she probably just wanted a blog mention). :) Kim runs a 5k once a month, cool right? So naturally she's a 5k guru.  Given that I am a poor college student, she knew that $5.00 was just the right amount to encourage me that it was plausible. 

So, this morning at 6:30 AM she and Jana Blackham scooped me up and took me to the starting line. Having stretched and hydrated, I was as ready as I'd ever be.  I mean, it's not like I have been running this summer, maybe like... 6 times. Lucky for me I had Imagine Dragons to distract me from the fact I was running.  But really, if you don't know this band, let me introduce you.  Reader, Imagine Dragons.  Imagine Dragons, reader.  They release a new album in September.  One word to describe how I feel about this news: stoked.  

Press play to hear one of my favorites. I only wish it were a music video. 

To document the check mark I made today, feel free to browse the following photos. You may need to do one of two things, tilt your head to the right 90 degrees, or tilt your computer screen to the left 90 degrees, but not both, because that will only end in unnecessary exertion of energy.
Just happy to be beating this 9 year old.
Passed these people in my homestretch.
Sweaty but happy!

I ran the entire time, no walking for this girl! I finished with a final time of 30:32, which isn't bad considering my lack of preparedness.  So, wahoo!  Don't you love crossing things off to-do lists?

Sydnie Juniper

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Road to Twenty-One

Imagine my excitement twenty-one years ago today as I was introduced to the world.  My aunts and uncles were so pleased, my parents proud, my older brother jealous and my grandparents put another tally on the grandchild count.  But, seriously, nobody could have been happier than me.  After nine months of strenuous growth and development all the meanwhile hanging out in a womb,  I was ready for the limelight! 

Okay, so maybe (definitely) I don't recall any of that... but, I am sure of one thing.  Since day one I have been surrounded by the best of the best.  Parents kind and dear is an understatement.  Anyone that knows Steven and Arlynne Landeen knows that they are two of the most quality people in the world.  Both of them are so sincere, compassionate, eager to serve and did I mention HILARIOUS? I do believe that in the pre-mortal life we were able to have some say in who our families would be.  Let's just say that I was the envy of all the intelligences for choosing them first.  For. Real. I couldn't have been dealt a better hand.  Beyond that, I have possibly the greatest grandparents in the world, and in conjunction my extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins are quite the crop.  Then, although Travis may have wished I were a boy for the first few years of his life, he warmed up to me, and was everything an older brother should be.  In only a matter of a few years I was joined by my two younger sisters, who are my best friends.  My family is my foundation, and easily the biggest part of who I am.  I consider myself blessed to be a part of their ranks, and to have what we call "believing blood" running through my veins.  I have been raised right, and I know it.  

Alongside my family; my neighbors and ward members have equally impacted me on my road to twenty-one.  Some have been around since swaddling, and others have worked their way into the patchwork.  Some of them babysat me, and I have babysat others.  Some taught me in primary, others in young women's, and yet more from their front porches with my hand in their cookie jars.  They have counseled me through the hardest times of my life and carried me when I was weak.  They have teased me about my red hair, razzed me about being short, and asked enough questions to keep me out of trouble.  I have had enough support and words of encouragement to fill an Olympic size swimming pool, twice. 

As for those I consider my friends, the list could go on forever.  I have broken it into three categories; childhood, high school, and college.  Chances are that you know where you fit.  My childhood friends are a huge part of who I am, and always will be.  We lost ourselves in imaginary worlds, skinned our knees, and established the deepest kind of trust there is.  Their moms were my moms and could easily chastise me just as well as my own.  Those friends carried over into high school, and my circles expanded.  We worked hard in school, but not nearly as hard as we played.  There are countless incidents that can't be documented, there were crushes that developed and hearts that were broken, but we stood by each other through it all.  Then there was that day when we moved the tassels on our caps and we took big steps towards the future.  I went my separate way down to SUU but came to visit often.  I struggled through my first semester, which was unanticipated.  I thought I was invincible and completely capable of making friends at the drop of a hat, when it didn't come all at once it was hard.  Eventually the Lord placed some people in my life who lifted me and helped me feel at home.  Over the course of the three years at Southern Utah University I gained some of the best friends imaginable.  

The road to twenty-one hasn't always been smooth, but despite the turbulence through the years I'd say it was the best one I could have taken.  There have been pit stops and friendly faces all along the way that have given me joy in the journey.  You may be thinking that I am writing this like a life history, or a eulogy as if I am an old woman.  Don't get me wrong, I know that I am young, and have so much life to come.   Being twenty-one isn't even nearly the end, in fact it is the beginning of a lot of things.  

I've only just begun.  I am still in the spring of my life, and at the beginning of the decade of decision.  So what's next?  Well, that's the question on all of our minds isn't it?  We plan and we plan, but in the end, hardly anything really ends up the way we anticipate it to.  I graduate in December with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a minor in French.  Then what?  I'll tell you what.  I have decided that rather than have a plan A, B, C, D, and E, I'm establishing five plan A's.  I'm going to prepare for it all, that way when opportunities present themselves I will be ready for anything.  So, go ahead, ask me if I am going to grad school, going on a mission, entering the workforce, traveling abroad, or heck getting married.  Because I will answer with, "I'm working towards it."  The truth is, I am not going to make any irrational moves.  After all I can do, I will turn it over to the Lord to direct my paths.  He has always been a part of my decision making and that isn't going to change.  

So bring on twenty-one, and bring on the future!  

I'd say I got off to a pretty good start today.  Thank you for being so wonderful to me, not just today on my birthday, but every other day of my life.  It is truly the people in my world that keep it spinning, and that means you.  "For of him unto whom much is given, much is required" (D&C 82: 3).  May I endeavor to deserve each of your friendships, because more than just feeling lucky, I feel pretty blessed. 

Here are some photos to document today. 

For starters, Caleb took me out for some late night ice-cream last night.

This morning I played tennis with this girl, who I love.

After work, Grandpa and GranNorma gave me more vegetables than I could ever eat, ever. 

Then we visited my Grandma Landeen, 

Which makes it easy to be the favorite. :)

For dinner dad made some delicious tacos. (also, he made me breakfast too).

 Then after institute Tyler serenaded me with a ukelele.
Meanwhile Alan beat-boxed, and gave me a warm gatorade. 

 Which made me feel pretty special. 

Then to top it all off, I had a visit from my best friend, Hero. 
She made me this friendship bracelet, which i love.

All the while I was receiving phone calls and text messages from people I love.  

This day deserves an A+ in my book. 

Sydnie Juniper

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just a Jam Sesh

Even though I may have gotten raspberry juice on my shirt, it was still a pretty good day.  Any day is a good day though when I get to hang out with my grandparents.  We've gotten pretty close this summer as I go and help clean, paint, or work in the garden.  GranNorma has been telling me for ages that she was going to teach me how to make jam.  Today was the day.

At the end of the day my grandpa gave me a B+ in Jam for Beginners.  I probably didn't get an A on account of splattering the berries, my stirring form, and over-filling one of the bottles.  But, hey, we're not all professionals the first time around, however I still think it turned out pretty great.   

Here's the proof:

 First we heated the jars and lids.

Then Norma showed me really how much sugar goes into jam... no wonder I love it so much.

Because she's brilliant and freezes her excess berries, she can make jam all year round.

Somewhere between the last photo and this one I splattered the berries on my shirt.

Then we stirred in the pectin with a pinch of butter.

Stir to a boil.

Make sure you have an expert on hand.

 Because it never hurts to have a shoulder angel.

 Make sure you are stirring, not whipping.  Whipping is bad form, however, popping your pinky might make up for it.

 While stirring, pour in sugar.

 Make sure to get all the lumps out.

 Then borrow my grandpa to help you seal the jars. 

Proceed until you've canned it all. 

 And voila!  You're the proud owner of some fine preserves!
Wife potential points.  Just sayin'.

Also, while flipping through an old cookbook I found a recipe submitted to the Lakeland Ward cookbook by my namesake! Looks like I was bound to be a master cook. 

So, cross that off of the summer bucket list!

And, speaking of that...

Cross this off too:

 Caleb took me on a date and we stopped by the carnival to cross something else off of the list.

I'm happy to say I was with him as he took his very first Ferris Wheel ride.  It only took 23 years!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


So, if you were at all curious whose birthday is fast approaching, I could perhaps give you a hint.  



That's right folks.  21 here I come!  

Because I am a kind, considerate and somewhat self absorbed soon-to-be birthday girl, I've compiled my wish list for your convenience.

You can thank me later.  

1. A spoon ring. 
I've narrowed down my favorites on to the following:

I'm a size 7.

2. A curling iron.
Preferably a Hot Tools 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" barrel:
3. A cookie scoop: 
I'm hoping for a Pampered Chef scooper as seen below, it's a must have for a cookie baker like myself:

So, if you were looking for ideas (mom... dad...) there's a few.

August first is just around the corner. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No Maximum Capacity

In a corner of my Book of Mormon I have a little note scribbled.  It's a scribble that I stole from a dear friend's Book of Mormon.  It's in Alma 41, which happens to be one of my favorite chapters, due to the topic.
That simple little note says:
"Happiness comes from our capacity to love other people."  
And, you know what?  I believe there is truth in that statement.  
I know of no better example of this principle than Jesus Christ, Himself.  If there ever was a person with a capacity to love, it was certainly the Savior.  How grateful I am for his example in loving others unconditionally.  What's more is that His great love extends into forgiveness and mercy, and not just for a few, but for everyone.  
I find it astonishing that people spend lifetimes and life savings pursuing happiness, when really it is as simple as doing as Jesus so expressly taught.  
So, it the primary song, as we sing,
"As I have loved you, love one another" 
 We are really just being commanded to be happy. 

Today my capacity to love other people was over-flowing. 
But then, what is there not to love about them?

I am one blessed and happy girl, and there is no arguing that.  

Sydnie Juniper

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's In It For Me?

I guess you could say I have done a lot of reflecting in the past little while.  Today at church one lesson after another seemed to be about missionary work.  They went about as usual giving the charge to go forth and save souls and bring them unto Christ.  These lessons caused me to ponder on my own previous missionary opportunities, many of which I have mentioned in prior posts, but forgive me for being repetitive, as this is something I should have shared in Relief Society, but did not. 

What is the point of this life anyway?  What is a major point of the plan of salvation, and agency?  It's experience, isn't it?  D&C 122: 7 "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."  Well, my handful of missionary opportunities have been just that, experience.  I have found that my best growth can come from times qualify-able as "experiences," if nothing else.  Some even go to an extent where I feel like the experience wasn't even about the other person, but about me. 

Rewinding to my freshman year at Southern Utah University, I received my roommate assignment in summer of 2009.  Naturally, my first instinct was to facebook stalk them and find out a bit about who they were.  Through the course of meticulously picking through their info pages or whatever else I could see despite their security settings, I realized that of the six of us, three were members of the LDS church.  Long discussions were had with my parents about staying true to my foundation and that my roommate assignments presented a great opportunity for missionary work.  I leached onto this idea, and I went into the situation with the attitude that they had been placed in my life for me to teach them the gospel. 

It took a few months but I was finally hit with a realization.  After these months of interacting and answering each others questions it hit me that the experience was just as much for me as it was for them, if not more.  My perspective broadened and so did our conversations.  We talked about what they believed, theologically and beyond.  We discussed lifestyle choices and personal philosophies on topics even outside of religion.  It was through these discussions that my testimony was fortified, I didn't always agree with their choices or theories, but I learned so much.  I wasn't just sent to them, but they were sent to me too.  We learned to respect each other and each others beliefs.  

Because of that experience I have had a softened heart in every missionary opportunity since.  Missionary work is so much more than drawing the line between right and wrong.  It is about the individual, and relationships that can be built.  We hope and pray that we will be able to be a force in bringing that person closer to the Savior, in helping them build a relationship with their Heavenly Father.  But additionally, missionary work is about building relationships between each other.  There isn't just one teacher and one student, those roles are interchangeable.  In the ideal missionary discussion, both walk away having learned something new with a strengthened relationship with each other and with the Lord. 

So, I guess what I am getting at is, after the lessons today that were so heavy in admonishing us to go and do, and to valiantly save the world, I would like us to step back and evaluate how we may need saving too.  People are placed in our lives for us to learn from them.  What a shame it would be to be given such a great privilege of having the gospel, and to then put on our blinders to our brothers and sisters who can offer so much to us.  We have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.  If nothing else, just imagine how much our missionary opportunities will be enhanced because we have a greater understanding of humanity and God's children. 

Go ahead, be selfish and ask yourself, "what's in it for me?" Because chances are, there is so much more in store for you than ever could be imagined. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

things seemed right

i went for a run
and i did it on purpose
clouds threatening rain
extended quite an invitation

my feet meeting pavement
my mind feeling clear
the first drop fell 
a silly grin appeared 

just feeling in the present
not the past or future 
and things seemed right
in that moment

i turned the corner
i latched the gate
something made me linger
as i felt rain on my face

parked on the old doghouse 
beneath a crab apple tree
i slid to the left 
and each rung i reached

underneath the abandonment
blowing away the dust 
the old clubhouse 
somehow seemed perfect

housing nostalgia
meetings and make believe
memories of my growing up
illuminated my mind

the scars from skinned knees
huge glasses and an eyepatch
broken bones and that perm 
were just part of my definition

i would trade it for nothing
all a part of me
 a part of who i am today
and who i will be tomorrow

 crazy things happen 
from time to time
but things seemed right 
in that moment

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Partial to Poppies

Maybe it's because we're both red-heads... I don't know.  But if you ask me, everything about them is beautiful.  They were so innumerably scattered throughout the French countryside and as we passed on the train, I found them enchanting.  Something about the delicate petals and their long stems makes them perfect in this sort of imperfect way.  They're wild yet elegant, and today I am dreaming of the flower beds they will occupy when I have a home of my own someday. 

Sydnie Juniper

Friday, June 29, 2012

All Dogs go to Heaven

Soon after Amelia O'Neill moved in across the street in the fourth grade she introduced me to the Humane Society's website.  We would spend hours looking at dogs who needed to be adopted.  She would browse the German Shepherds and I the Beagles.  This lasted for quite some time, and I would subtly hint to my parents how much I thought we needed a dog.  Naturally, they answered as the majority of our parents have, with a continual "no."  Previously, we had had three dogs and mom and dad were not ready to embark down that road again.  Or so I thought until the day after Thanksgiving day of 2003.  

Enter Samuel Ryan Curtis Burr Landeen, at least that was the name on his adoption certificate.  My hours of browsing had paid off and my parents were persuaded.  He was a four year old Beagle that my parents had adopted from the animal shelter, and we instantly loved each other.  I was in the seventh grade at the time, and on top of the world.  

It was only a matter of time before we diagnosed him with separation anxiety.  We would put him in the back yard for the afternoon, and return to a sad lonely dog with a raspy bark.  He would send us off whining and howling and welcome us home with barks of the the most relieved sort, and this was just one way we knew he loved us back.  In the living room we could never have company without Sam pawing and nudging for attention, and I needn't mention no one could make it out without some of his souvenir hair.  

Even after I moved away to college, if my sisters weren't excited to see me, I could always count on my loyal pooch for a welcome home.  He was just an affectionate and sensitive kind of guy.  While most other hound dogs live for the hunt, Sam would shudder at gunshots and hide in the basement on the fourth of July.  And, while he never learned to fetch or dance on his hind legs, he would go berserk if he heard the word "walk" or an invitation to "go for a ride."  But, over the years our walks got shorter, and our adventures less rigorous.  His short little legs just couldn't hack it.  He became even more mild, lazy and by association, chubby.  

Together we hunted for Christmas trees, fought off stray dogs in the street, snuggled during movies, and ate more than our fair share of leftovers.  He, like I, was spoiled rotten.

Sam spent nearly ten years with our family, and we often referred to him as our brother.  "Jaclyn, did you feed your brother this morning?" or "Syd, will you let your brother out?"  We had more nick names for him than we have for each other.  Samwise, Sam-bo, Sampson, Sam Boy, Sammykins, and anything else that suited the situation.  While there were some days he was stinky and needy, we continued to love him anyway.  91 dog years, the equivalent of 13 human years will take their toll on a dog.  For the last few months we knew it would only be a matter of time before Sam went the way of all the earth.

On Tuesday evening Sam started acting strangely, almost as if he had heat stroke.  He was panting heavily but wouldn't drink any water, and every move I made he followed me.  It wasn't uncommon for him to tag along, but I still knew something was wrong.  My sense was confirmed just about an hour and a half later.

After doing our research, we discovered online that epilepsy tends to be very common in Beagles.  Sam began having seizures.  They became less and less mild as the evening turned into night.  The Veterinary office was closed and he wasn't answering his phone.  All we could do was pray.  He held on through the night despite my tearful pleas for Heavenly Father to just take him.

Bravely, my dad waited with him in the backyard until he had to leave for work around three am.  He had to go down to the Wood Hollow fire in Fairview, which left the bravery up to my mom.  When six am rolled around, my mom woke me up and asked that I help move Sam into the car.  The veterinary office that supposedly opened at seven am actually didn't until eight.  So, knowing that Dr. Barry's office, where we've taken him for years also opened at eight, we returned home for another hour. 

At a quarter to eight we drove to pleasant grove and waited in the parking lot.  When the office opened, my mom went inside and filled out some paper work.  I waited with Sam in the car.   Two vet techs returned with my mom, and they kindly explained what was going to happen.  With one hand holding Sam's paw and the other wrapped around my mother, we said our tearful goodbyes.  His convulsions stopped, but my tears did not.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. 

We returned home and laid him to rest under the apple tree in the back yard.  He was a loyal friend, a smiling face, and a furry rascal.  Of one thing I'm certain, there was a young man happy to be reunited with his dog on Wednesday.  Because, after all, all dogs go to heaven. 


~Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same~

I love you Sam Boy.

Your sister Syd

Monday, June 25, 2012

Clearing Cobwebs

I once mentioned a conversation I had in Nice with my French class about happiness, but I left out the context.  The conversation went as follows:  Laurence, my professor, asked, "Sydnie, are you happy?" I responded, "I am always happy."  The class looked at me both quizzically and doubtfully, as if I had committed some fallacy.  Laurence then said something along the lines of that being impossible.  She went on to explain that there were just some things in life that she couldn't control that made her sad, and she imagined it to be the same for everyone.  If my French had been better, and I felt more confident getting myself in deeper water I would have explained to her my reasoning. 

Happiness (according to me) is more than just a state of emotion.  It's a lifestyle, a belief, and a choice.  Each of us has the capacity to be happy all of the time.  Happiness can continually exist in our lives if we work for it.  It may seem evasive at times because of it's abstractness, but just like material and concrete items in our life- sometimes emotions, like things get buried and covered up or may even seem lost.  But, does that mean that we don't posses those items anymore?  Of course not.  So times come in our lives when our happiness is overrun by other sentiments, but after the emotional cobwebs are cleared and all the dust is blown off, we can always rediscover our happiness. 

Have you ever, in retrospect, thought, "why did I even open my mouth?"  I have.  Aside from avoiding the quizzical and and doubtful scoffs from Laurence and my classmates, I wonder if I could have avoided some of the trials sent my way this month.  It almost seems like these last few weeks in particular have been Heavenly Fathers way of testing whether or not I really believe my own philosophy on happiness.  And I will admit, I have come close to second guessing myself.  

I pride myself on being resilient, being able to bounce back after what might appear to be the tragic downfall of the moment.  And, I have always thought that if I were a shoe I would be a rain-boot, because I am able to let things roll off of me, I am a believer that "nothing is a crisis," and I am often found thinking, "just roll with the punches."  However, somewhere between getting my lowest GPA ever, a breakup, my car's transmission going out, living out of boxes, and today being the five year anniversary of my brother's passing, the emotional cobwebs seem to be coming faster than I can clear them. 

Don't get me wrong, I have every confidence that I will make it through alive.  I have done hard things before, and I am ever so aware that there are people who are fighting even harder battles than myself.   So while the cobwebs and dust accumulate, I will be shopping for a super utility leaf blower to help me clear the sentimental gunk that is working on burying my happiness.  Life is hard, and occasionally all we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, making that effort to rediscover our happiness.  

I derive my happiness primarily from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and my interactions with other people.  I have been so blessed in both regards and know that no matter what, these two things will always be a constant in my life.  I have a testimony of the Gospel.   It is my rock and foundation and I cannot deny it.  And secondly, the people in my life, whether or not I interact with them from day to day, they have shaped who I am and continue to do so daily.  Between Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, church leaders, my family and my friends I am and will always be happy. 

D&C 90:24 
"Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good."

Sydnie Juniper 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

the summer bucket list



hike mount timpanogos

make a quilt 

learn to play tennis

float the provo river

learn to make jam/jelly

ride the ferris wheel

read books

drink a glass of skim milk

go to sliding rock

have a picnic on a round-about

make an epic music video

have a movie marathon

 watch fireworks from a rooftop

run a 5k

play a board game in ikea

share a box of otterpops with friends

feed the ducks at adventure learning land

take a picture with bailey at the "festival city usa" sign

sew something i can wear

*follow what gets crossed off and added by clicking the link on the right of the page*

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Unfortunately, Fortunately

Salutations from Nice! (ok, really it's the JFK International Airport, but when I started this post I was in Nice).  When Hannah, my little sister, was in first or second grade she wrote a book about me, complete with illustrations.  It was called "Unfortunately, Fortunately."  The whole plot line was about unfortunate events that came up, and then fortunate events that cancelled them out.  Look for it in book stores near you in 2013, it's a must read.  This story has a similar plot line. 

It was a bit of a hairy process getting here, but we combed our way through it.  Due to circumstances I couldn't even begin to justify, Shannon and I missed our train on Saturday morning.  No big deal, right?  Just persuade them to exchange our tickets, right?  Wrong.  Because we purchased our tickets online, SNCF, which is what I have taken to be France's department of transportation, couldn't do one smidge of anything to help us out.  So, a couple hundred dollars later we each had tickets for the next Nice bound train, which was not scheduled to depart for another 2 hours.  Feeling a little bitter, I sat and watched an escalator and lectured myself about anticipating the unexpected. 

After being sufficiently chastised by Jiminy Cricket, I remembered that bad things happened to good people all the time.  I also realized that more often than not, I can't just shoot a prayer heavenward and expect to pull a miracle out of the microwave two minutes later with my hotpocket.  So I whipped out the fruitsnacks and decided to consider it a learning experience and something worth moving past.  After all, I couldn't let that little tussle ruin this:

Nice is breathtaking!  Mountains, great plant-life,and clear ocean for as far as the eye can see, what more could a person ask for?  Awesome pizza?  Check, they've got that too!  I think my heart belongs here. 

We were picked up by our newly adopted host-mom, Colette, at the train station where she was holding a sign with our names on it, just like in the movies.  We weaved our way through town in her tiny car to our new home for the week. We each have our own rooms, and mine has a small balcony Check this place out; not too shabby, eh?

After the long day stemming from our unfortunate event, we didn't feel adventurous enough to go out, and instead saved our first Nicois adventure for church on Sunday.  We encountered a missionary who was from, are you ready for this?  AMERICAN FORK!  Ok, well actually he only grew up in American Fork and moved in the seventh grade, but still way cool!  

Post church we met up with the group and got a little more oriented.  After going non-stop for three weeks in Paris I was up for a week of low key beach life.  We climbed up to the outlook, down by the harbor, and through old Nice.  Overall it was a great Sunday. 

Nice, so very quaint and charming is a must visit for anyone searching for a French Vacation.  Anne-Charlotte warned us before we left that the Nicois spoke differently and were harder to understand.  I didn't find that hard to believe, as there are times that I have no idea what language people from the South in the U.S. are speaking, when in all actuality it is English.  I was delighted to find that I didn't have any more trouble communicating with them than the Parisians. 

Our second full day, Monday May 28th we stepped out of France over into Italy!  I just have one word to describe it: 


Tuesday we had our first day of class, and shockingly enough it was not a chore to go.  Our class was composed of an even more diverse group.  We had one girl from Botswana, two boys from Brazil, two Saudi Arabians, two Swedes, one boy from the Netherlands, one Italian man, one German woman and myself.  My teacher, a sunbathing addict, had the appearance of being dipped in nutella. That afternoon, Shanny-Pack (Shannon), Ariel and I made our way to the beach to take a dip in the Mediterranean. 

Our next excursion was the following day.  We took the bus and then the train to Eze, France and toured the medieval city, exotic gardens and a perfume factory.    Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the scents of sprays, soaps, and salves, we decided it was time for dinner.  Unbeknownst to us, we would have to hike for an hour and twenty minutes straight downhill before we could find a restaurant (by train the next town over).  Did I mention that Ariel, Shannon and I were all wearing skirts?  All is well though because along with a worked up appetite, we worked up a great conversation.  A discussion of happiness, and what it meant to us.  The perspective and interpretation of it was so intriguing to me and I rather enjoyed it.

It came as a surprise to me that happiness was also be the topic of the second half of school the next day.  On Thursday we talked about "les petits bonheurs" or simple joys.  Class flew by, because if you know me, you know that I love to talk about how to be happy!  As soon as we were excused we could hear roller blades calling our names.  We made our way down to the beach, rented them and skated for an hour before working on some souvenir shopping.  But by some mystery neither Shannon nor I had our cameras, which is a bummer because we had a great time.  

The theme for Friday was "Carpe Diem," which is Latin and not French, but it still worked.  For our last day in France we went to school (just long enough to get our certificates), then to the market for a last shopping spree.  After our lists were all crossed off it was time to hit the beach one last time.  As I was floating about in the sea a wave washed not only over me, but into me.  My nose was full of salt water and I couldn't breathe for hours afterward.   But it's all good, because I look like a healthy human being now rather than the transparent sun-deprived human I was before. 

We ended our trip with a night at the opera.  Sound glamorous, right?  Well it was, up until five minutes in when we realized we must have bought the spa package.  We were sitting in a sauna.  We were miserable.  These ancient opera houses have the most uncomfortable seats (and I even have short legs)!  So, we conceded to leave after the first act, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes.  That was sufficient for me.  To commemorate the end Shannon and I bought one last crepe and walked along the beach then spent the rest of the night packing our bags.  

We made sure to be at the train station early this morning, and by this morning I, of course, mean yesterday morning.  We rode the train back to Paris, were we took the hot and crowded RER to the airport.  After lugging our bags up and down broken escalators a number times I was exhausted, but somehow I survived. 

Security was painless, lines were short and I quickly found myself on Flight 121, New York bound.  We landed about seven hours later and the rest is history.  

Unfortunately we've been sitting here for nine hours, fortunately that means only two more to go!

Sydnie Juniper