Monday, October 31, 2011

I delight in celebrating Halloween "Christmas-style."

This is as Halloweeny as I get. And its only because its for a good cause. (Don't you LOVE how amazing the clouds are in this picture!)

I love Fall and I love the month of October. I love walking down the candy aisle at the grocery store, I love the carmel apple wraps, the pumpkins, the cornstalks, and the autumn colored peanut m&ms. I love fruit stands clearing out the summer's crop of squash, goards, pumpkins, and peppers. I love colored leaves, sweaters, scarves, blue skies, and mountains. I love trick-or-treaters and even cute costumes. But by the time Halloween night comes, all I want to do is stay home, bake something with pumpkin in it, and listen to Christmas music.

That's exactly what I did tonight. Oh and I did some homework too. Lucky me!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I delight in looking at life through heaven's eyes.

through heaven's eyes, from the movie, prince of egypt
performed by brian stokes mitchell and the mormon tabernacle choir

Music is one of life's greatest inspirations. Last week, I listened to my first Christmas music of the season. I couldn't help myself. As my favorite season of Fall winds to an end (although it is not over until after Thanksgiving, but the leaves aren't looking quite the same these days)--I can't help but give a listen to the most inspiring music of the year.

Although, this song is not necessarily a Christmas song, the year Brian Stokes Mitchell sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the Christmas Concert, this song fit perfectly with the program (it came right after the Friendly Beasts--another fantastic one).

As I drove this evening I listened to this song a handful of times. Each time it ended, my heart felt so good, uplifted, and happy. What a great reminder, "look at your life through heaven's eyes."

And so...listen to this fantastic song, read the lyrics and be inspired.

A single thread in a tapestry
Through its color brightly shine
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design

And the stone that sits on the very top
Of the mountains mighty face
Does it think its more important
Than the stones that form the base?

So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life

Look at your life through heavens eyes

A lake of gold in the desert sand
Is less than a cool fresh spring
And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy
Is greater than the richest king
If a man lose everything he owns
Has he truly lost his worth?
Or is it the beginning
Of a new and brighter birth?

So how do you measure the worth of a man
In wealth or strength or size?
In how much he gained or how much he gave?
The answer will come
The answer will come to him who tries
To look at his life through heavens eyes

And thats why we share all we have with you
Though theres little to be found
When all youve got is nothing
Theres a lot to go around

No life can escape being blown about
By the winds of change and chance
And though you never know all the steps
You must learn to join the dance
You must learn to join the dance

So how do you judge what a man is worth
By what he builds or buys?
You can never see with your eyes on earth
Look through heavens eyes
Look at your life
Look at your life
Look at your life through heaven's eyes

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I delight in progress.

no to yes
silent to words
questions to answers
fear to peace
standstill to forward
sad to happy

Monday, October 24, 2011

I delight in good things to come.

Today has been an extraordinary day. I feel abundantly blessed. It did not have to be me, but it was and it has changed my life. Missions change your life forever. I have been thinking about the character of Christ today. I am grateful that in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ we are invited to know our Savior in such a personal manner as we follow his invitation to come unto me.

As a missionary, my mission president asked us to choose a favorite 'come unto Christ' scripture. Mine is this: 3 Nephi 9: 13-15

13 O all ye that are aspared because ye were more brighteousthan they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may cheal you?

14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will acome unto me ye shall have beternal life. Behold, mine carm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.

15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I acreated the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. bI am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

Today in my institute class, we talked about the parable of the Good Samaritan as an allegory for Christ and his role in saving us. I think that theme goes beautifully with what it says in verse 14--"Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive." He stands there with his arm of mercy extended to us, calling us to come unto Him. That choice is ours and its the best choice we can make every moment of our lives.

Great blessings and assurances come as the commitment to follow Christ is made. As Elder Holland puts it in the video above.

Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.

They come. That is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I delight in enthusiasm.

(pardon the spots on my pictures. something is wrong somewhere in my camera. it's going to the shop this week.)

It has been a great week. Although lately, I've been in the business of 'making great weeks.' I had a roommate once, who always said, "Make it a great day." I'll be honest, somedays I was flat out annoyed as I was, at times, completely convinced that nothing in my power could 'make' the day any better--it was just bad.

Yesterday I was talking to my Mom. She was telling me about the epiphany she'd had during the week. My Mom does not live a solitary existence. Two other souls depend on her for their food, transportation, and at times entertainment. In fact, most of the time, it's mom+1, the +1 is LB. LB (aka Christin) is the sidekick, always there following often inches behind asking questions like, "what's for dinner mom?" and "is it pals yet?" or "slurpee day?" These questions can all get old after a while plus when you have so much to do during the day that dinner is the last thing on your mind--the question "what's for dinner" while eating breakfast, can make a long day ahead...even longer. Back to the point at hand. Mom realized that whatever her attitude is, rubs off on Christin. So if she's agitated, so is LB. If she's happy, so is LB. If Mom makes it a great day, then it's a great day for LB and if those two are happy--I think its fair to say that the rest of us are happy.

Point of the story, our attitude makes a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us. We have gifts and talents insomuch that when we utilize them, great things can happen!

What does all this have to do with enthusiasm? Elder Perry spoke at the Salt Lake Institute tonight. He started by telling how all his siblings were full of talent--musical talent, athletic talent, scholastic talent. He, however, did not possess any of those talents, but he soon realized he did have enthusiasm. I spent the first 10 minutes, wondering if he was joking, surely he has other talents, but none so significant he felt to address them. Enthusiasm it was. However, as the oldest current general authority spoke I realized how his enthusiasm was a great gift in his life and in his presence. At the age of 89, Elder L. Tom Perry doesn't look much different from the first picture I remember seeing of him (besides his glasses...they're different now).

Elder Perry spoke of how the the word enthusiasm is derived from a greek word meaning 'possessed by god' 'inspired.' He quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson as saying something to the effect of, Nothing great ever happens without enthusiasm. Up to this point, I hadn't thought much about enthusiasm but as I listened to Elder Perry speak the following words, I realized how he personified this quality. "I am an average person whose had extraordinary opportunities." "God can do extraordinary things with ordinary people who invite God to be with them."

He spoke about the need of enthusiastic leaders in this church. Elder Perry told of three lessons he would have us learn from his life, 1) aAlways be active and a part of a community, 2) Keep alive the great Christian heritage in America, and 3) Remember who you are and that God is our Father.

In closing he shared, "Whatever your talents are--they can make you extraordinary because God is in your life."

Sometimes we value some talents over others. But tonight I had the epiphany that perhaps it is not about the talent its self, it's about how you've invited God to assist you in developing that talent.

I think I've been blessed to have some pretty extraordinary opportunities in my life. I know I'm an average simple soul but a significant soul to my Father in Heaven. It is my hope that I can always say that I have taken advantage of every opportunity God grants me so that by His guiding hand, I can find myself leading an extraordinary life by being both a builder of this great nation and church.

Because I choose God's influence in my life based on the choices I make--I can make it a great day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I delight in what I do.

In case you can't tell...that's Ariel (the Little Mermaid) pumpkinized! Cool huh! The picture however has nothing to do with the post. I have an exam this afternoon but my mind keeps racing through the entertaining things I heard this morning at my clinical site.

For example:

"There's a zebra in my ear."
Me: "Oh really? What's in the other ear?'
"Probably a giraffe."

Kid leaving room of 3 adults, turns around, waves and says, "See ya later guys!"

"I need a leaf for this pocket, and one for this pocket."

"I need more pictures of my ears."

Maybe these aren't nearly as cute to you as they are to me.

Other quotes from previous weeks include:

(I show a picture of what is supposed to be a judge however it has a crazy resemblance to President Monson.) Me: "What's this a picture of?"
Kid: "The prophet"
Me: "No..."
Kid: "Oh I mean President Monson"
Me: "No...(cut off again)"
Kid: "Oh, its a bishop!"

Me: "Who is this?"
Kid: "Santa"
Me: "You're right, his whole name is Santa..."
Kid: "Ana"
Me: "Okay, or Santa Claus???"
Kid: "Huh?"

I don't know why it is that what I get to do makes me so stinking happy? I recently listened to Steve Job's graduation address at Stanford. I was impressed. About 5 minutes in (and one day I'll post more about it) he mentioned something to the effect of always making sure you're loving what you do. He mentioned the value in looking back (a principle I'm not entirely a fan of...more on that later) to see how all the twists, turns, disappointments and rejections help us reach the 'best place' in the end and how doors are sometimes doors to greater things can only be opened after 'great looking doors' are closed.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the value of a soul. What matters most to my Father in Heaven. What is he most concerned about? I daresay that his concerns and my concerns are not as inline as they should be. And so, this is my quandary as of late, this is what you will be hearing about from me for the next while. What should my priorities be? What is most important in the eternal scheme of things and am I setting my focus on those things? Regardless of circumstance, I feel some principles and doctrines are probably 'the best' things to focus on to become something great.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I delight in fall.

Abundantly blessed.

Today has been amazing.

The season of fall is magical to me. No season inspires me more than fall. Today I think I identified why.

Fall or autumn as some prefer, brings inherent change and I think change is magical. Change is hard. In fact, over the summer, I 'played a game with myself' where I tried to change one 'routine' every day, ON PURPOSE. *If you lack spontaneity and find yourself being a compulsive planner (regarding everything from what to wear, 30-minute schedule breakdown, exactly what roads you'll take to get from a to b) will be a good activity for you too!

I found each small daily change to be inspiring. Overall however, I still struggle with change. Some habits are just hard to change. But nature makes it seem so easy. Green leaves turn red or yellow or orange. They seem to embrace the drastic change so flawlessly.

Oh to be like a leaf. Oh to be inspired by a leaf. Believing change is possible is the first step in receiving and dare-I-say inviting change.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I delight in the following picture.

Its not the greatest picture by any means--but I think its great. Yes, this is the new pup Rubes. This picture is old--she's not so small anymore--unfortunately. (She is however small enough to escape from her kennel. Don't ask me how she squeezes out but I've witnessed her doing it.)

Back to why I like this picture--Penny is terrified of the water and rightfully so. When she was about Rubes age, she fell in/jumped in following Lucky, not realizing she didn't know how to swim. Dad plucked her out and ever since...she's kept her distance from the water.

SO, the goal for Ruby was to make sure this was not the case. Labs are supposed to be water dogs. When we took her to Island Park this summer, we kept her around the water and even took her to one of our favorite family spots at the buffalo river. She still wasn't keen on going in but then she fell in...I plucked her out...and so this is the look she gave me post-traumatic experience.

I feel like facial expressions, even when they're coming from dogs are pretty classic. I get to work a lot with 4 and 5 year olds and I LOVE IT. Sometimes, they tell me things like:
  • "oh, that's a rhombus"
  • "my mom told me i couldn't draw that picture"
  • Picture shown to elicit the word judge responses: "that's the prophet", "President Monson"
  • Picture shown to elicit the word church: "temple" (me: where do you go on Sunday?) "Oh, church...sometimes i get temple and church confused"
  • "can you just tell me which one its most like"
  • "is that the closest?"
  • Picture shown to elicit the word book: "scriptures," "book of mormon" "book of mormon stories that my teacher tell me, are bout lamenites in ansehisory are bout fathers sea if man righteously"
  • Picture shown to elicit the word dish: "my mom doesn't keep candies in a dish, she keeps them in a jar--but its empty"
Maybe you can't enjoy these as much out of context, but at the moment, they've all been hilarious.

Don't ask me how I went from a picture of my dog to stories about 4 and 5 year olds. All of them make me happy. Things happening next week are about to make me SUPER happy! More on that later.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I delight in Fall Break 2011.

Its finally my fall break and I couldn't be happier. (Okay, qualifier on that...I could potentially be happier in the 'less stressed' sort of a way if I didn't have a swallowing exam the week I get back).

Mom, LB and I are headed on a fantastic vacation to Disneyland. Note the word vacation.

I'm not a 'vacation kind of girl'. I don't do vacations, I do adventures. Vacations are relaxing and chill (2 things I am not), adventures are exhilarating and busy. It is easy for me to fill every moment 'going' and 'doing' constantly. This however is 5 days at the happiest place on earth. Essentially the goal is to do everything we want to do but not over-do, be overly busy, stressed or rushed. Our goal is not to see everything...its to have a good time (especially for LB, when she's happy, Mom and I are happy). Whether that is riding rides, eating ice cream, swimming, sleeping, sunning ourselves while watching does not matter. Christin wants her picture with Belle and I want to go on "Its a Small World After All" as it was my favorite ride when we went oh you know when I was in grade 1, that's our definite agenda this far.

We have never been on a girls vacation like this before so here's to a maiden voyage.

Happy Fall Break! Hope it ACTS like fall wher'ere you are!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I delight in being "smark."

Once after Christin made a fantastic discovery I asked her how she figured it out, to which she replied, "I am smark sis!" (Of course intending to say, "I am smart sis!"

So now every time I think I have made a great discovery I think to myself, "I'm so smark!"

Well I had that thought in class the other night. Being "smark" in grad school means:
  • Not facebooking during class (also includes any type of 'chatting,' pinterest, etc.)
  • Taking notes when professors are telling you everything you need to know for the upcoming exam
  • Turning things in when they're due
  • Asking intelligent questions that lead on that you have actually been paying attention to the last hour and a half of lecture
  • Finding the best study partner ever to whom you can ask all the questions that you want to preface with "don't judge me for asking you this pathetically basic question that I should already know"
  • Beginning study for exams long before the test approaches (this means at least a week and a half before)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I delight in powering down.

Powering down means:
  • Turning things off--lights, computer, car, etc.
  • Getting back to the basic--normal sleep/wake cycles, reading books, exercising, spending time where time should be spent
  • Relaxing and trusting things will work out rather than getting worked up so much that you're completely convinced things won't work out
  • Listening to nature's sound waves, not ones generated by a speaker (e.g., the rain falling outside right now)
  • Writing, not typing everything
  • Talking in person, not always on the phone

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I delight in quiche.

Grad school has killed my time/desire to bake most of the time. However, on the very rare occasion that I make something more than banana muffins and turkey sandwiches (the staples of my existence) I try to make something I've never made before.

Lately, its been quiche. Think about it--if you bake you've already got the stuff for the dough and the filling--well eggs, milk (or half and half if you want more fluff) and then there's the vegetables/meat. I had bacon, onions and broccoli frozen in my freezer so I heated it up till crisp in a saucepan and split it in half so I'd have enough for two quiches (what is better than 1 meal--2!

And so, as I ponder making more quiche (as mine is now gone)--I'm enjoying butternut squash soup. Its the food of "this" week.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I delight in the Book of Mormon.

Every 6 months I get really anxious for General Conference. This weekend, it came and went, but I'll watch, read, listen, and ponder on it for at least the next 6 months.

One theme I really pulled out of conference this time around was the importance of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon really is the keystone of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I can't remember who said it at the moment, but something was said to the effect that the Book of Mormon has the power to heal emotional and even physical problems. Ah, Elder Scott. I should have known. Elder Scott talked at length about the spiritual power available to us if we commit scriptures to memory. He discussed how the scriptures are good friends--available to us at any time, full of the best counsel, and if we memorize them, the Holy Ghost can them bring them to our minds in those moments of need.

As I listened to Elder Scott refer to the scriptures as friends, my mind flashed back to an experience I had as a missionary. Once, while I was serving in New Brunswick, Canada, Elder Jay Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy was assigned to speak at our Stake Conference. New Brunswick and part of Maine are all one stake so traveling to meet together was a big deal. Elder Jensen taught the missionaries about how the scriptures are his dear friends and how as he studied them, he felt he was in the presence of friends.

As I reflected on both Elder Jensen and Elder Scott's words, I wondered what my scriptures would say about me. I realized that what my scriptures used to say about me and what they currently say about me are probably two very different things. The conclusion I came away with is this: you've got to give it to receive it. Just like any good friendship 2 things have to be happening: 1) You have to put in the time for that friendship to grow and become better and closer and 2) Friendships either grow deeper or they don't. You have to put in the time to reap the rewards of scripture reading in life. And so, the first commitment I make to myself, that I share with all of you is that my scriptures and I are going to become better friends over the next six months.