Tag Archives: church

Visiting Maramureş: The Merry Cemetery

Before I even came to Romania, I was looking forward to visiting the Merry Cemetery. Tina told me about it and I got so excited! She just didn’t know exactly where it was, so I didn’t either.

While we were in Maramureş, we had the opportunity to go the Merry Cemetery in Săpânţa, which was my favorite part of the trip! I was looking forward to it because Tina had told me that it was a cemetery where the tombstones had pictures of how the person had died, and also that it was colorful and beautiful. I was definitely not disappointed.

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I have learned that Romanians tend to be very religious. Our tour guide told us that “if the priest asks people to give money to the church, they give more than he asks for. But then they are asked to give money to fix the roads, and nobody gives anything.”

The Merry Cemetery has blue tombstones, symbolic of heaven and hell both being in the sky, which is blue. The blue color of the tombstones characterizes the religious devotion of most Romanians.

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 The colorful atmosphere of the Merry Cemetery strays from the traditional view of death as something solemn. Instead, it views death as something to be welcome, leading you to another life.

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While in Maramureş, I noticed that intricate and detailed woodwork is very popular, and I also had the opportunity to visit Teodor, a local woodcarver. The tombstones here are made of wood, and each of them has a picture of the deceased at the top.

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If the person died in an accident, then the picture is of how they died.

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If they didn’t die due to an accident, then a major event of their life, or their occupation, is depicted.

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This is the tombstone of the man that started the Merry Cemetery:

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The tombstone is carved by a wood carver that lives in the village (similar to Teodor, whom we met) that the deceased is from.

At the bottom of the long with an epitaph that is either humorous or informative of the person’s life. The family does not choose what is put in the epitaph – that is the wood carver’s decision. The tight-knit culture of the small villages in this area is displayed in the fact that the family never objects to what the local wood carver writes on the tombstones. Everyone in the village knows one another, and they know that what it says is true.

And this one is right next to the creator’s. It is his mother-in-law. This is an example of the humorous epitaphs:

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Romanian:
Sub aceasta cruce grea
Zace biata soacra-mea
Trei zile de mai traia
Zaceam eu si cetea ea.
Voi care treceti pa aici
Incercati sa n-o treziti
Ca acasa daca vine
Iarai cu gura pa mine
Da asa eu m-oi purta
Ca-napoi n-a inturna
Stai aicea draga soacra-mea
English:
Under this heavy cross
Lies my poor mother in-law
Three more days she would have lived
I would lie, and she would read (this cross).
You, who here are passing by
Not to wake her up please try
Cause’ if she comes back home
She’ll criticise me more.
But I will surely behave
So she’ll not return from grave.
Stay here, my dear mother in-law!

 

Here is my one of my favorites – a teacher!

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The church was under construction.

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There was a service going on inside, so we stepped inside and saw, but didn’t feel it was appropriate to take pictures. But we did get a picture of some people in traditional Romanian clothing before they went into the church!

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Here are some other ones:

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I am currently working on translating some of the tombstones on my own. The translation above our tour guide told us, and then I found it online. However, I took pictures of the ones I really want to translate. It is hard, but I’m getting there!

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As Hannah said, I was probably the most excited tourist that the Merry Cemetery has ever encountered!

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Easter

Happy Easter! It is wonderful to know that Jesus Christ has risen!

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Here is a short video about Easter and Christ:

Here is a longer video about the story of Easter:

To learn more about Easter, check out this website.

I encourage you to find time today to thank our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for their sacrifice. It is such a great and wondrous gift.

I also hope you find sometime to bake today! Here’s some recipes that might make your Easter delicious:

Sheridan’s Speedy Rolls

Thick, Soft Sugar Cookies

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Easter Bird Next Cupcakes

Again, Happy Easter! He lives!

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Overcoming the Selfish Life

I’ve heard before that college is the most selfish time of life. I hadn‘t thought much about it until recently. Today at church someone mentioned that even though college is a selfish time of life, we need to find time to focus on serving others. So it got me thinking about my own life and whether I am spending too much time being selfish, or if I am finding time to serve others.

After having a short chat with my roommate Katrina, I have come to the conclusion that yes, college is a selfish time of life. Why? Well…I need to spend time studying for a test that I need to take so I can pass my class and get a good grade to show on my transcript so that when I finish college and I can get a good job in the future. When I go to the grocery store, I buy food for myself. When someone asks me how I am doing, I tell them about my part-time job, my classes, my homework, the students I am working with, etc. ME, ME, ME.

Personally, I think I have been able to overcome parts of the selfish life. How? Well…I tend to be good at finding opportunities to volunteer. I volunteer with SLCAD (Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf), Provo Parks and Recreation, The Sanderson Community Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, USDB (Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind), and a few others. Basically, I feel like I find time to reach out and volunteer in the community. But is it enough?

I don’t think it is. I think one of the most important ways to beat the selfish life is to serve those you associate with every day. Be it roommates, family members, classmates, professors, whatever…there is SOME way you can help. This is what I need to mostly work on. When a roommate asks me to help her out with something, I have been known to declare myself as busy and not help out with a simple ride here or there, when I know I should – especially because she has done these things for me in the past. I’m not saying that I never help, but I wish I did more. And I know I can do more. Another idea – make dinner for someone! When you cook for yourself, just double the recipe or decide to not save the leftovers and share with someone instead! I’m sure anyone will appreciate a meal cooked with love.

I am taking 17.5 credits. Next semester it will be 18 credits. I work 17.5 hours a week (from 4am-7:30am Monday through Friday). I am president of a club on campus. Next semester I will be president of two clubs on campus. I need to eat. I need to do my laundry. I need to sleep, but I only average about 5 hours of that a night. Oh, and a social life? What’s that? Basically, life is insane. But I still feel the need to reach out to others and volunteer. When?

I have decided that you just have to MAKE time. Set aside time to volunteer. Find an organization you want to volunteer with, contact them, ask what they need, make a commitment, and stick to it! I’ve found that to be the simplest way to serve. Make a commitment.

So if you’re interested in getting more involved, you kind of need to know where to look. Where? If, like me, you are a student at BYU (Brigham Young University), then your school has a service website! BYU’s website is called Y-Serve, and there you will find MANY opportunities to volunteer. For example…last week I went to the Y-Serve website. Then I clicked on “Disabilities” because I love working with people with disabilities (I’m a Special Education major). There was a list of opportunities, including Kids on the Move (interacting with special needs children while parents attend classes). I found out that they need people next Wednesday night for about 4 hours. Considering it’s during finals week and I won’t have any homework, I definitely signed up for it! It honestly is that simple.

If you are a college student and you feel like you are wrapped up in the selfish life, I encourage you to find simple ways to reach out to those around you. If it’s volunteering with an organization, that’s great. If it’s finding out the needs of those around you and trying to fulfill those needs, that’s great, too. Just make time.

And now I want to quote a great man, Henry B. Eyring: “As you keep the faith, you will find yourself invited by the Lord often to serve someone in need when it will not seem convenient. It may appear to be an unpleasant and perhaps even impossible task. When the call comes, it may seem you are not needed or that someone else could easily give the succor. Remember that when the Lord lets us encounter someone in distress, we honor the good Samaritan for what he did not do as much as for what he did. He did not pass by on the other side even though the beaten traveler on the road was a stranger and perhaps an enemy. He did what he could for the beaten man and then put in place a specific plan for others to do more. He did that because he understood that helping may require more than what one person can do.” (Click here if you want to read the rest of that.)

I encourage everyone (including myself) to do our part to help others.

I have found so much joy in my life through service to others. I hope that you, too, can find that joy.

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Crock Pot Cinnamon Almonds

These turned out SO GOOD! Don’t let the word Crock Pot fool you, though…you can’t just let these sit all day. They need a good stir every 20 minutes. BUT SO WORTH IT. I made them on a Sunday afternoon. My church meets from 8:30-11:30, so I am home by noon and still have half the day ahead of me! So I usually end up baking…and this was today’s creation (I found this recipe on Pinterest, here‘s the link to the original recipe)

You will need:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups almonds
1/3 cup water

Here’s what you do…
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. It will look like it’s WAY too much, but trust me, it works. I thought the same thing.
2. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla together until it’s a little frothy.
3. Add almonds. Make sure almonds are thoroughly coated in the egg white mixture.
4. Add cinnamon mixture to the almonds.
5. Toss until coated
6. Thoroughly spray (with Pam) the stoneware of your crock pot (mine is 4 quarts and it was perfect).
7. Add the divine mixture of almonds and sugars to the crock pot and turn it to low.
8. Cook (with the lid on) for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. A picture below will show you how I kept track of when to stir.
9. Add the 1/3 cup water and stir well. This ensures a crunchy, yummy coating.
10. Continue to cook for another hour, stirring every 20 minutes. You have to stir REALLY WELL, especially as it gets later in the cooking process.
11. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
12. Spread the almonds flat to cool. The almonds will be sticky at this point, so make sure you separate them a little and have no large mounds.
13. Enjoy your beautiful, crunchy, sugary, dark brown coated almonds!

Store in an airtight container, or, like me, snack-size Ziplock baggies so I can give some away, and do a little portion control!

Here’s how I kept track of when to stir, when to add water, and when it was done…sorry it’s sideways, but I’m using my roommate’s computer to write this post and don’t know how to work her photo editing program!

These make your whole house smell so cozy, inviting, and delicious. Also, they are great for gifts! Who wouldn’t love a bag of these, that’s what I’d like to know!

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Weekly Goal

I went to church with Becca today. During sacrament meeting, I was looking through my church notebook that I write stuff down in when I’m at church. I noticed that there’s so many things in there that I want to work on, but it’s nearly impossible to do it all at once. So I decided to have a different “motto” every week and watch how I do. 
For this coming week, it’s
“Look for the good in people and point it out.”
So, I will be looking for the good in people. And pointing it out. I challenge you to do the same! 

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Two Days Late

Okay so since I’ve been under the weather for the past 2 days….I have yet to post my thoughts from Sunday’s church meetings.

So here goes….this is what I ended up writing down…

  • Satan is out to get each one of us
  • Don’t allow Satan to beat you up. Don’t allow Satan to take control of your life
  • We need to ALWAYS remember that we are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father
  • Heavenly Father protects us in our everyday lives
  • Actively jump in and get involved
  • Heavenly Father is very much alive today
  • Let Heavenly Father work within you
  • He knows us better than we know ourselves
  • Increase your vision
  • Repentance and forgiveness is a PROCESS
  • He loves us no matter what
  • Make your home a safe refuge from the world
  • Have the strength and courage to stand in holy places wherever you may be
  • Everyone has a story
  • Others care about you, even when you feel totally alone
  • Go where you’re needed; do what you can

 

OTHERS CARE ABOUT YOU, EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL TOTALLY ALONE.

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Love

Church was great today. My brother Ethan spoke in Sacrament meeting. The topic for the speakers was “the Love of God”. Here’s some highlights…

The best way to express love is service

Satan is constantly trying to take away happiness

Be a tool that God can use

God does not need us to love Him; but oh, how we need to love God

God loves every one of us

Some of our blessings will not be noticed or understood until we leave our earthly lives

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Since it’s the second sunday of the month…which means it was my turn to teach Relief Society! I’d say it went quite well. And I made my delicious lemon cookies to share with everyone there…they were a hit.

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Once again I had a great time with the Nicholi

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Samantha picked out my colors for tomorrow…pink and green…I’ll take a pic.

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