The Bottom Line: The Advent Conspiracy

I found this on Laura's blog, who found it on Kelli's blog (remember her? the awesome photographer in my Kaiizen group who took pictures of those Ghanaian orphans) and I'm passing it on because I found it totally and completely inspiring.

Please take two minutes and watch it.

The Advent Conspiracy Promo Video from theadvance on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas, folks. Really. Christmas. Think about it.

The Night Before...

I spent at my brother and sister-in-law's (Kevin and Debbie) fabulous home in Lehi for their traditional Christmas Eve Buffet. There, we ate, laughed, played, I got attacked by my nephew...a few times...and we tracked Santa. About every ten minutes, we'd get a reminder from one of the little'uns that we needed to check on where he was at that moment. This, perhaps, was the highlight of my night. There's something wonderfully magical about being around tons of kids (or, in this case, 5 kids and 6 kid-like adults) on Christmas eve, faithfully and innocently anticipating the arrival of the wondrous Santa.

Yet, inside, as each family reads from the Bible on Christmas eve, we never forget to keep the real meaning of CHRISTmas in our hearts.

Merry Christmas Eve!


Body Worlds!

I went to "Body Worlds 3: The Story of the Heart" tonight and I LOVED IT!!! It was fascinating.

According to trusty Wikipedia, Body Worlds is "is a traveling exhibition of preserved human bodies and body parts that are prepared using a technique called plastination to reveal inner anatomical structures. " These cadavers are presented in a very artistic manner, yet with lots of scientific background and base. It started like my artistic anatomy class did: bones first, then muscles. This exhibit went far beyond, into the more physiological and medical side of things, all in a very appropriate manner.

Here's 9 of my favorite things.

1. I had to sign in as an "artist". I felt pretty special as I had to sign a release form a and wear a little sticker that labeled me "sketcher". Honestly, though, I wrote more than I sketched. Upon entering, everyone received little sketchbooks/notepads to write our thoughts in. As it was at The Leonardo in SLC, the front of the books states, "Leonardo Da Vinci explored the fascinating intersection of science and art. In this spirit, we invite you to use this notebook to record questions and impressions as you discover Gunther Von Hagens' Body Worlds." If you know me well, you know that I love mini-things. This definitely qualified.

2. I loved that everything I'd learned in Niki's class was applied, at least as far an bones and muscles go, as I studied the exhibit. My friend who took me, Craig, had some anatomy experience, but let me explain to him things that I observed in the exhibit from the knowledge I've gained through my artistic anatomy class. It was fun to see what I knew and what I needed to research more.

3. It was far more educational than I thought it'd be. I guess I assumed it would be, but the exhibit went into so much more depth than I thought it would. There were lots of signs about these different bodies and body parts that were helpful. For a bit more money, we were also supplied with little electronic guides, so if we were curious about a certain part of the exhibit, we could type in the accompanying number on the little key pad of this walkie-talkie looking thing and would be able to hear a detailed audio track about what we were seeing.

4. The "pregnancy" part of the exhibit blew my mind. It showed the embryo from the middle of the 5th week all the way til the 31-33rd week. Something that just looked like a bit of dust you'd find under your bed can be transformed into a living, breathing and fully functional human being. It was hard for me to fathom. No wonder procreation is such a sacred and supremely important thing in this life. I was reverenced and awed by it.

5. I thought it was way cool that as the lungs were exhibited, they included a set of lungs that were a very dark coal-color. The lungs of a smoker. Instead of just showing this, they also had a box for smokers to put their cigarette boxes in, with a mantra having to do with quitting now. They also had a video going, of Yul Brenner pleading for people not to smoke (his last testimonial before he died). There were also little cards provided with "my testimonial" on the front and on the back spaces for information if someone wanted to call and ask why you quit. I thought this call to action was cool.

6. The full bodies were all arranged in very creative and interesting, yet very educational ways. This was so innovative. Each position had a specific purpose. One cadaver was displayed in 3 sections to show the compact quality of the inner workings of the body. One of my favorites was doing the splits with his feet resting on two balls, supporting himself with a hand on the 3rd, while the other hand was holding all of his internal organs up in the air. The superficial muscles of his back were cut away and facing upwards, so that you could visualize how everything fit together, but still have everything in tact there for you to see. (i couldn't find an image of this online, but he's the very last one displayed in the video in this link. check it out)

7. In the exhibit, they showed not only the healthy parts, but what they look like with different diseases, injuries, etc. Some parts of the body were shown healthy compared to unhealthy. For example, they had a cross-section of a brain, then one with a tumor. Another displayed an entire woman with various injuries, and provided metal joints and attachments to compensate for what the body was lacking. It explained why these different conditions occur, and how to prevent them if possible. This is, by the way, the *picture on the right, although you can only really see her metal knee in this shot, and part of her broken jaw.

8. Throughout the entire exhibit, they encouraged us to take care of and respect our bodies. Not only did they expound on purely scientific information, they related it to our normal lives and had cool quotes on the walls about life in general. They included interesting facts, and among them were these: simply being optimistic (as opposed to pessimistic) greatly reduces probability of heart disease, you really can die of a broken heart (because of a "toxic overload of stress hormones resulting in stress cardiomyopathy-- same symptoms as a heart attack) , the reasoning behind goose bumps and numbness, the tiny electrical signals from the nerve cells can travel up to 250 mph (!!!), your heart pumps 1800 gallons of blood daily (they had one red-tinted room empty except for 33 huge oil barrels and a huge heartbeat playing on speakers with this information as a visual reminder. Kind of eerie but way cool).

9. At the end, there were a lot of interactive stations: one provided little tiles you could write on, answering the question of the week (this week's was "Can you judge somebody by their physical appearance?"). Then you could add your tile to the great wall of tiles with everyone else's answers. Another station had a camera set up, and you could record your story and watch the stories of previous visitors. Another had a bunch of listening stations, where you could listen to certain experiences of different people. Because we'd been there so long, I didn't make Craig wait while I explored all of these things. But they were awesome!
As an artist, I loved viewing the body as a visual reality.
As one fascinated by and interested in the sciences, I enjoyed learning more about the functions therein and how they relate.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this testified to me even more how real God is and showed me that the human body was no "accident".
As a human being, I learned to respect and appreciate my body so much more.

And I'd go again in, well, a heartbeat.

(By the way, at The Leonardo, this closes on January 11, so hurry and go buy tickets! It's so worth it.)

*Also, note that photography wasn't allowed in the exhibit (sadly, but i understand why) so i didn't take any photos. the photos of the bodies are all from the internet.


Angels I Almost Heard On High

I've had a suddenly stressful last two days. But tender mercies are always plentiful, if you look for them. After figure drawing, I was kind of overwhelmed and as I went to exit the H-Fac, I saw a whole bunch of little kids, probably from some elementary school, singing on the main floor! Though I'm super stressed, I decided to stop and soak in some music. It did my heart some good to hear those children singing. That was 34 minutes ago. I have been to the bookstore to cut my illustration board, grabbed what is probably the only food I'll have time to eat today, and am in the h-fac again, and just heard echoed voices singing "Angels We Have Heard On High" from somewhere in the bowels of the H-fac above. I couldn't see who was singing, but I took a video because I had a camera on hand and liked the ethereal harmonic sounds, disembodied by a choir as far as I could tell. (If you're curious, check back later for the video...I'm too busy to upload it now....)

Then the choir tromped down the stairs. The otherworldly feeling was gone, but as they continued their rehearsal close to where I am sitting, I enjoyed the music nonetheless.

Amist all my finals, I'm glad I get subtle reminders that it's also Christmastime.


what you DON'T know

jeff tagged me a while ago and i've been thinking about what i wanted to write ever since. (not like this is going to be a very profound post or anything, just very thought-provoking for me.)

6 lesser-known things about myself~

1. more often than most people i know, i long to have a one-way glass bubble shield around me. it'd look somewhat like the hamster named Rhino in Bolt, except that i would be able to see people and they wouldn't see me (or the bubble, for that matter)...and i'd probably be less furry. i love people-watching but sometimes people act differently if they know they're being watched. i really do think about this more than is probably necessary. in a non-creepy, non-stalkerish kind of way.

2. i can't roll my tongue...or whistle. i'm very untalented as far as that goes. i know that tongue-rolling is genetic, but my older sister robin can just because she was stubborn enough to learn how to, regardless. i don't think i have that drive. maybe someday.

3. i absolutely love words. one of my all-time favorite books is "30 days to a more powerful vocabulary" and we used it in my ap english class. i love journal-writing. and i enjoy editing papers.

4. i may or may not have a piece of glass stuck in the bottom of my foot. a very long time ago, i was walking with my friend marie dayton in the provo river in lion's park. i stepped on glass and got out of the water, leaving bloody footprints, and her mom had to perform a little operation right then and there to get it out. to this day it still hurts at times, and there is definitely still a bump. we may never know if there's still something there....

5. i have a fascination with little things. anything that is smaller than it should be or smaller than it's usually thought of. for example, i love little boxes. i also love little notes. little photos. little baskets. little books. little vials. little...whatever. so long as it's little.

6. something that really excites me is when i have a musical connection with people. it's quite possible this is not as cheesy as it sounds, but i recently realized that most of my closest friends are those who share the same love of music as i do. this can be due to similar tastes in music, or a love of sharing new kinds of music with each other, or playing instruments or singing together, or sharing similar experiences (such as choir) together. however, musicality is not a requirement for friendship.

well...there you go.

i tag jess, laura (both of 'em), thomas, jefe mabey, and kaylie.


Come What May, and Love It

From the LDS newsroom:
SALT LAKE CITY | 2 Dec 2008 | Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, the oldest living apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died last night, age 91. Elder Wirthlin had gone to bed at his Salt Lake City home, and died peacefully at about 11.30 pm of causes incident to age.
I loved last conference especially, because though he looked frail in his old age, he spoke with the power and confidence of a man of God. This conference I especially loved how the leaders of our church were all so united. I specifically remember that when Elder Wirthlin was done talking and Elder Holland got up to speak he started by saying, "There is no apostle more loved, than Joseph Bitner Wirthlin".

In this last conference talk, Elder Wirthlin said,

"How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life."

With the counsel of learning to laugh, seeking for the eternal, understanding the principle of compensation, and trusting in the Father and Son, his last conference talk focused on his mother's counsel: "Come what may, and love it." He was a wonderful example of that in his life.

i think my favorite part of the LDS Newsroom abstract was this:
His oldest daughter, Jane Wirthlin Parker, was present [when he died]. A member of the family had been staying and caring for Elder Wirthlin, whose wife, Elisa Young Rogers Wirthlin, died in 2006.
They are together! Him and his wife! As Jeff put it, that's a pretty great Christmas gift. :)

Their wedding day, May 26, 1941