Castles and Dragons

One associates castles and dragons with adventures and fairytales. But that’s not at all what this post is about. It’s actually about Priest/Laurel retreat. Now usually this little shindig is held at the church camping grounds. Nothing wrong with that, except for the heat and everything, but it’s a camping grounds so it’s to be expected. The problem arouse when we found out it was booked for the weekend we planned to have the retreat. What were we to do? In a nutshell Brother Munns allowed us to use his house. I use the term house very loosely, for this was no ordinary house. It was a mansion of epic proportions. I had to arrive early and I can remember laughing when I drove up. Yes, laughing. The house was amazing and left me completely speechless. All that came out of my mouth was “wow.” I sounded like a one worded babbling idiot.

This isn’t the entire house, this is just all my camera could fit. Now you see why I was laughing with excitement.

The castle (because really, that’s what it felt like to me) was the perfect place for the retreat. It’s funny how things that are unplanned for work out for the better. I learned this lesson not only with the location but with one of our speakers. There was some miscommunication as to when they were supposed to speak so on the first night they were there prepared to give their talk and we had them scheduled for the next day. But it ended up being so much better for this speaker to talk to us at night. There was a nice breeze coming off of the lake as we sat outside while the sun went down and listened to the lesson. Not being able to see and being more able to focus on listening to the message improved the message in my opinion. The lesson was on music and the power it has on our minds. It was like the third time I’ve had that lesson, but each time I pull out something different from it. This time I realized how much I love President Monson and all he does for the church. Every time he speaks I feel like he is giving a lesson to his grandchild. It’s his grandfatherly voice and mannerisms really. When we were listening to him speak and then this horrible song drowned out his voice I felt at a loss. I can’t even describe it. I was lost and angry and I just wanted that song to stop playing because it had pulled the spirit away from me so suddenly and the loss was too much to handle.

My future BYU roommate looking through the peep whole type thing in our door. These doors made the house feel more like a castle.

Continuing on. After this talk we had some ice cream and I got to spend time with my amazing friend Savannah as we pondered the future and hear alligators in the lake snort which we thought were hogs until told otherwise. Then we had a little talk circle with our ward and our bishop and I was given a lot of comfort about leaving home and meeting new people. I’m excited for that, don’t get me wrong. It’s just scary to think that once I leave in August my room will never truly be mine again. Sure, it’ll still have my stuff I leave behind and I’ll stay there when I visit, but I’ll be living in Utah. That will be where I reside. I won’t be living with my parents or sister anymore. It’s a seriously weird thought. Then there’s the fact that I have to make new friends though a lot of them are going to BYU with me. It’s different though. I mean there are a lot of students in this school, how am I going to make new friends? It’s like knowing you have so much to do but not knowing exactly where to start. It felt good to get it all out and I have my friends and leaders give some advice because I knew if I started talking about this with my parents right now I would lose it.

The retreat was a really good time for me to spend time with friends and grow closer to the people in my stake. I got to spend the night with my wonderful future roommate, Katelyn, and we learned that once we start laughing it’s almost impossible to stop. We both were trying to stop so the other one could fall asleep. If it weren’t for me being so dead tired from a week full of lack of sleep I bet our laughing alone would have kept us up for another hour.

The next morning, after spending the night in the Rapunzel suite, was full of yummy food, games, good talks, and getting hit in the head with a volleyball. All in all it was a great last retreat and I’m so glad I got the experience of planning it with some wonderful youth and leaders.

After the retreat was over I thought I’d be able to go home and crash then maybe study a little bit for my AP exam. But no, that’s not what happened. Instead I had to go to my cousin’s graduation party and prepare the desserts. Scooping out moose into tiny sample cups and filling pastries was what I did instead of sleep. Even though I was a little bitter about not being able to get some sleep I’m glad I got to celebrate my cousin’s graduation with her and try some of the desserts she learned how to make.

I went out to dinner with my dad when I got home and we had Red Lobster. I could not pass up shrimp fest! If you only had the choice between two shrimp might I recommend the BBQ and the potato shrimp. My dad and I got different shrimp so we could try more of them. And who doesn’t love a good cheese biscuit? The night then ended with my sister, my dad, and I watching How to Train Your Dragon. This is now one of my new favorite movies. I wish I would have watched it sooner so I could watch it again and again.

A weekend spent in a mansion that felt like a castle and watching a movie where the dragons become pets. I’d say that’s a pretty good weekend if you ask me. Oh, and did I mention there were zebras? Yes, zebras. I’m telling you, the Munns have it all!

Among the horses and African bulls were these beauties. It was like having a private zoo!

There’s the cute little baby zebra!

What I call the Harry Potter room.

This is the Rapunzel suite where I got to stay. I think it was my favorite room of the house. It’s way nicer than most of the hotels I’ve stayed in.


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