Sunday, November 24, 2013

I delight in always knowing there's a choice.

columbia river gorge, oregon
fall 2013

Last week was one of those weeks where I really had to sort some things out with myself. I know that sounds kind of ridiculous and it is so be it, but really I felt like there was an invitation that came ever so subtly where I had to decide what I was really going to make time for in my life, what I was really going to stress over and what really matters the most to me right now. I have been abundantly blessed lately. I once again, have been tutored by the Lord that indeed, when I put first things first, everything else falls into place. Sure some of the first things that go first change from time to time but the staples are still the same: having quality and regular prayers, spending quality and regular time in the scriptures, attending the temple regularly and with purpose, serving my family and fulfilling my callings. Those are the top 5. When i'm doing those things, I'm doing the other good things I should be doing and the Lord blesses me and blesses my time. I'm not sure I'll ever understand how, but I know he blesses me.

This week I spent a lot of time in the car  as I drove to Boise early Thursday morning, and then back on Saturday afternoon. I had some quality listening time as a consequence. I loved listening to the Mormon Channel's Conversations program with Elder and Sister Bednar and Sister Dew. I feel like I learned so much from both of these conversations. One thing that I loved a lot was when Sister Dew said, "I don't view myself as single, I'm simply not married yet." It made me so happy because I feel much the same way. There is something about these roadtrip/work/independent adventures that remind me of all the reasons I'm grateful that I am where I am and who I am. While I am certainly aware of the desires of my heart and the things that I want most, I'm grateful that my circumstances or lack there of have not limited me in doing what it is that I want to do and being who I want to be. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to act and not just wait to be acted upon. That's the lesson of the week. I'm grateful that I know my worth and that its the Lord who validates my worth, not anyone or anything else. I'm grateful for all the things I have to delight in and for the many things that make my soul delighteth in Him.

18) I delighted in getting to know myself and everyone else in my ward a little better. There's something about the color code that I just love. Whether you're a red, blue, white or even a yellow I feel like I gain a little more perspective into who people are and how they perceive themselves and how I perceive themselves. Not going to lie, I love that no one ever correctly guesses what I am. I love being a little mysterious I guess. I also love being a mix of colors and I loved seeing how I've changed. When I took the test in high school I was split red/white like almost exactly with 2 blue and no yellow. I'm happy to report that a few (or more than a few) years later I've changed. I was hoping for change because there's no way I'd want to look at the last 8 years and say I'm the same person. I'm grateful for the experiences that have invited me to become something different and hopefully a little more balanced than I was then.

19) I delight in a dad with listening ears. I don't know how I got such fantastic and admirable parents. They're amazing. Tonight, my mom and I barely crossed paths as I walked in, she walked out. And then I filled my dad's ears with all the random thoughts of my brain before I walked out the door to a relief society activity. Later, he gave me a screwdriver and let me practice my skills. I'm glad I can be his "other son." I'm so glad he teaches me lots of things that most girls would never know.

20) I delight in family who cares. I'm leaving tomorrow for Boise for URLEND. I'm excited about my trip but its going to be a long one. I'm flying solo on the trip. Sometimes it does the soul good. My mom has been checking the weather, my dad making sure my care is in good condition (fluid levels, tires, etc), mom packed me a snacks bag, dad made sure i was "safe." I know Craig wishes he was going (we've got relatives in Boise), and Christin, she just says, "three days except my sissy" or translated "three days without my sissy." Its so great to be so loved even though sometimes its almost like too much love? Many would say, is there such a thing? I would say, you haven't lived with Christin. But then I am reminded of how because of Christin, my capacity to love others has grown so much. Her deep and abiding love is as close to the love that the Lord has for us that I think I'll ever experience here in mortality. I'm so blessed.

21) Today I had the most awesome opportunity. First of all, to come to Boise, a place I've never been. Second, I was able to observe at NNH's Autism Clinic. In one day, families can come in and have a complete diagnostic assessment for autism including feedback. It was so great to be a part of. I learned so much. As much as I delighted in that whole experience, I have to say that my delight of the day was being in bed (a king bed for that matter) asleep by 9:30.  I can't even know when the last time that happened. It was magical.

22) I delight in going to a new temple. I have a running goal to do a session in 3 new temples each year. Today was 2:3--the Boise Idaho Temple. It's so beautiful. It was made extra special as there were two missionaries in my session who were going home the next day. As I sat next to the sister missionary who goes home tomorrow, I couldn't help but reminisce back to when that was me. Its been almost 4 years, but honestly, my memory can bring back those memories in a snap. Sitting in the Canada Halifax Temple at the end of my mission was a treasured time. I delight in those memories. I'm so grateful for that experience. And I so delight in being able to recall those times.   

23) I delight in a met goal. Today made 3:3 for sessions in new temples this year. I did a session in the Twin Falls Idaho Temple on my way home from Boise today. It was beautiful. I also made a stop at the scenic Shoshone Falls with some extra time I had in Twin. It was so fun! I love being a tourist in new places. It always makes me happy to be independent and touristy even when I'm by myself. I also delight in further adventures. Its one of those "adventures" that I've known was coming for a while. While I'm not sure its really logical (meaning that I don't have time for it), I also don't have the sense to say no. When I'm passionate enough about something, and when there's enough factors in play that its definitely going to be a success, I just can't say no. And so, here's to publication and a lot of writing.

24) I delight in finishing books. There is something so rewarding about finishing anything really. I used to be a serial book book had to be finished before reading the next. I don't know what happened...I really think that way worked better but now I read 5 books at a time and I consider myself to still be reading a book when I got half way through it and then stopped for 1.5 years (the current status of one book I'm reading). But today, I finished the most recent book I started, "How to get a date worth keeping." It is the only and best book I have ever read about dating and I feel like it highlighted and reminded me of all the things I needed to be reminded of. I love empowering books. Books where I go, hey, I just need to think about or do, this or that differently, and then I can do and be better. I love learning. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I delight in being brave.

leaves at the rose garden
portland, oregon
fall 2013

The title of this delight is a little deceiving because it implies that I am already brave. However, I'm intending it more as an affirmation of what I want to be.  There are some situations you can't really deal with entirely until they happen. You can always say what you're going to do or what you're going to think when "something like that" happens, but honestly, you never ever know until that moment of choice comes and you really have to deal with the situation. 

In those moments, you've got to be brave and just go. I like to plan and contemplate but life involves some risk. It involves taking a chance to see where you might end up. One of my lessons this week is this: "its incredibly worth the risk." The details of that lesson end there but let me just tell you, it's a powerful lesson when it comes from a powerful friend. Powerful because of experience and powerful because of perspective. 


11) I delight in dancing at PALS. This is another treasured place where I always feel I can be myself. Where I feel I can love these kids so openly and so sincerely. I'm so grateful to have Christin in my life so I can know and love her friends. She has awesome friends with such distinct gifts, talents and such an incredible ability to love. 

12) I delight in my calling. I love the opportunity to get to really know and love the sisters in my ward. They are incredible and their strength is undeniable. They are gifted, talented, remarkable women with so much to offer the world and the kingdom of God. I'm blessed to know them, blessed to love them and blessed to be loved by them.

13) I delight in a delightful evening. Delight isn't a word I use lightly but its the only word that kept coming to mind as I tried to describe it later. There is something about not knowing a person very well, having dinner and seeing where a conversation goes. A conversation that has no agenda. It was so delightful to discuss books, places, adventures and family without any mention of television or pop culture. It's so delightful to discuss the scriptures like its a normal topic of conversation which I so strongly believe that it should be. I delight in remarkable people who go about doing good. 

14) I delight in a lifetime best friend. Not many people can say they've been friends for forever but in Carly and I's case that's honestly the truth. I'm grateful for her wisdom, friendship and love.

15) I delight in the experiences of life. I'm grateful that experiences can count for something when it comes to sharing with others what you have learned through the experiences you've had. It makes it so much more worth it. I'm also grateful for professional relationships that grow into so happy to see you that I must give you a hug. I am so grateful to know the people I know and to be able to learn from them. I'm ever impressed by the lives they lead.

16) I delight in a comfy day. I haven't had a comfy day in a long long time. It involved me doing the things I needed to do, doing the things I wanted to do, all while wearing sweatpants---my BYU ones of course because it is a game day! I loved babies, helped script out a primary program about children with special needs, I fixed myself a real lunch, cleaned my room (which was in much need of cleaning), put up my Christmas decorations, Christmas crafted with my mom, had dinner with my family, ran errands with LB and had some quality sister time with that sweetest LB of mine. She's the best.

17) I delight in making choices. Agency and prayer have been a major study theme recently. Making choices is exercising agency, exercising agency is choosing to act as opposed to being acted upon. Even though making choices can be difficult sometimes, I'm still glad I can make them. I'm glad I can choose how I feel about a situation. I'm glad that I have moral agency. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I delight in November.

4) I delight in kind words. Some people say the nicest things, precisely when you need someone to tell you nice things. When people do it for me, it always reminds me of the influence a sincere compliment, statement or observation can have on another person. It reminds me that I need to share the good I see in others with them.

5) I delight in friends for life. I have been blessed with some of the greatest friends. I'm highly convinced, no one has better girlfriends than I do. It was so happy to be reminded tonight of my good ole BYU days with the 183rd ward: the pranks, the jokes, the tacos, the frisbee, the adventures and the travels. and of course the best roommates a girl could ever ask for. Dinner with Nicki reminded me my BYU experience really happened (sometimes it feels like it was a lifetime ago) and that it was such a treasured experience in every way!

6) I delight in singing. I love to sing. I don't see much in public anymore besides church and ward choir but it still makes my soul soar to sing a happy song. Like disney songs, in the car, on the way to the gas station, with LB and my Dad. Two words: tone deaf. 3 words: i love it!!!

7) I delight in assurances. This latest Mormon Message was the perfect way to start my day about wrong roads. I delight in spending time with my mom and sister. I feel like I'm most "me" when I'm with them. I'm also so glad that I didn't imagine how terrifying Ursula was at Disney on Ice when I was little. Seeing things you saw as a child again in your 20's is completely entertaining.

8) I delight in good friends. My mission has brought so many people into my life who are now spread all across the world. I feel so incredibly blessed to have Jen as a friend.

9) I delight in people who care about me. I had the worst day. I was so fatigued and so grouchy. And then, I come home to the most thoughtful acts of caring friends. Friends who get me. Friends who care about me. Friends who love me. They're the sisters I never had. They are the sounding boards I so often need. They are the inspiration and examples that drive me to be better. I am eternally blessed!

10) I delight in a truly happy birthday. I was 'unenthused' about this birthday for so many reasons. Some more credible than others considering that half of them had to do with the "odd-numberness" of this birthday and my dislike for any multiples of 9. See what I mean about the credible factor? Anyway, I delighted in my 27 kisses on the cheek from my sweet sissy Christin. I delighted in calls, texts, facebook messages, balloons, emails, cards, cake, the list goes on and on. I felt so loved and I'm so grateful to be loved by so many great people. I also delighted in the messages of stake conference and the opportunities to be taught by wonderful people and by the Spirit. For all these things, I again just feel abundantly blessed. I also have such positive vibes and aspirations about what 27 holds for me. It makes me happy!

I delighted in my twenty-sixth year.


Dear twenty-sixth year, 
What a year we have had together. We hit the ground running and we've never stopped. There is only one word that describes the past year and that word is challenge. It's not challenge in the typical sense of the word, I feel like I have been challenged to decide where I stand on a lot of issues and who I am. My identity as a daughter of God has continued to grow as my primary identity. I am His and anyone else's after. I've learned so much about what really matters, who I am, who I want to be, and where I need to go. You have given me so much this year! You gave me trips to the cabin to relish in all the beauty of my favorite place. You took me to Washington DC to present research at CAAI and learn independence traveling solo in a large city. You took me to Salt Lake almost every Friday to learn more about how to help the pediatric patients and their families that I get to work with, see and love. You gave me experience in a job that I become more passionate about everyday. You gave me so many new people, especially my "kiddos" to love who are full of light and potential. They bless me and inspire me everyday of my life! You gave me mentors, relationships, friends and peers; people who are such examples to me and who have guided me to think outside the box, stretch myself my skills and my knowledge. You gave me a fantastic trip to Portland to meet my little nephew, see my bosom friend and adventure in a new state. You gave me beautiful babies! I'm so grateful for three particular little ones who I have the chance to love and be their Auntie Erin. You gave me the opportunities to stay put in a living situation, this has been a challenge but much more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined. You gave me "sister time" "double kisses" "hug me, hug me, hug me", a week with my sibs, the opportunity to be loved and to love my family more deeply. You gave me the opportunity to spend time with, learn with, dine with, eat ice cream with and learn with my dearest friends. I'm so incredibly grateful for the good friends I have and who bless my life in every way! You brought early morning temple trips to Brigham City, stops at sonic for dirty diet cokes and visits to my grandparents. You brought bravery by signing up for my trip of a lifetime which my twenty-seventh year will get to experience.  You brought learning. You brought the opportunity to serve in two different callings. You challenged me to do more, to be more, to rely more on my Heavenly Father and to trust Him and to trust Him completely. You challenged me in ways I never expected, but its all brought progress. I've experienced high highs, low lows and everything in between. I am overwhelmed with the love, support, encouragement and hope this year has brought. What a memorable 365 days even though it only feels like the blink of an eye. You have truly taught me the value of agency, choosing joy,  acting more intentionally when I think more eternally and being consistent about my scripture study habits. You've truly taught me that "worry ends where faith begins."                                                  ......cheers, erin  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

a happy november from me to you

mantua, ut
november 2013

i love november. i loved september and october but november is my month. its the month that welcomed me into the world so we've always had a special bond. :)

already this november i have done things i've never done before period or done things that i've never done in the month of november. i've also done things that i haven't done in a while. all these changes just within the first three days of november give me lots of promise and hope for the wonderful month ahead.

last year i listed something i was grateful for everyday and i did a big post at the end. this year i decided i would spread it out a little and try to post on sunday nights what blessings i recognized from the week before. 

this is my formal invitation for you to delight with me for all 30 days of november. let us have hearts full of gratitude and delight in the things for which we have to be thankful for.

1) i delight in learning. i had the opportunity to hear from elder oaks and elder nelson at a fireside i attended today. i then had the opportunity to attend the temple. what great sources to learn so much from.

2) i delight in assurances. this day was filled with a massive to do list, but somehow, it all got done, at least what needed to get done got done. i know that as we do the things we ought and attend to the little things that the lord magnifies our efforts.

3) i delight in being among friends. i go to church with some incredible people. it makes my heart happy and grateful to be among them on sundays. to worship with them, to learn with them and to grow with them. i feel so blessed to experience this part of my life with them.