Sunday, November 30, 2014

I delight in an awesome November.

Somehow, here we are. Its the end of November and I went radio silent there in the middle. Not a typical November for me but a great one nonetheless.

I have failed this November in my daily gratitude posting challenge. Sometimes I think this blog is more about my failures in life than my daily delights. But I'm okay with that because its the reality of the situation, the reality of mortality.

I think that could be the summary of what I've been grateful for this month...I am grateful for all the experiences of mortality. The good, the bad, the ugly, the happy, the sad, the bright, the bold, the beautiful, the perfect, the hard, the humbling, the dark, the simple, the complex and every experience inbetween whose sum equates to mortality.

The best parts of November included having the best thanksgiving with my family, being 28 with craig for 18 days, celebrating my birthday by a random trip to vegas with mary, visiting my mission trainer and going to the las vegas temple, doing some serious shopping, and starting to be a salt lake city temple worker. It has been a pretty fantastic month to say the least.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I delighted in my twenty-seventh year.

happy erins from twenty-seven
Dear twenty-seventh year,

Where did you go? When you started, I wasn't thrilled. I don't like the number 27, nothing against you personally but you're an odd number, the sum of my least favorite times table ever (9x3, why that still gives me angst, I'll never know) and you're just not an asthetically pleasing number either. Nevertheless, the you carried on and we had lots of adventures together. We wrapped up the LEND experience including a week in Logan at ASSERT. That whole thing is an experience never to be forgotten. We traveled to Island Park a few times, trips with just the boys, a Fourth of July first ever sisters weekend with LB, passing through on the way to Billings and a weekend with all the family for October General Conference including lovely morning walks all together. We had some hard times this year as we lost Grandma McQuivey, Uncle Mike, Aunt Janice and Larry Christensen. The family won't be quite the same without them. We gained a few new people in our lives this year, cousins Sarah and Gretchen getting married to their sweethearts, people having babies. And the babies from last year continue to grow and be more fun than ever. We learned a lot about family history and started to get the buzz to get a bit more into that. You brought us new adventures including going to Israel (hello bucket list check!). My first transatlantic flight ever! It was the trip of a lifetime with the best people ever. Dad and I were able to truly walk where Jesus walked, love the Gaililee as he did, traverse the busy streets of Old Jerusalem, bargain for deals with the shopkeepers, stand on the steps of the ancient temple, sing in shepherds fields in Bethlehem, float in the Dead sea, visit Masada and Qum'ran, we walked through the ancient city of Dan, sat in Caesarea Phillipi, on the Mount of Beattitutdes and sang hymns in the branch building in Tiberius. We backed up into the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden, gazed at the Damascus gate, enjoyed solitude at the Garden of Gethsemane and experienced the inside of the Garden Tomb. We worshipped at the Wailing Wall, stood on top of the Temple Mount, created holy and solomn space at the Pools of Bethesda and sang praises to our Lord and King via How Great Thou Art with other travelers in the Church of St. Annes. The things we felt, the impressions we had, the love that we experienced was uncomparable. I have truly been changed and continue to be so as I continue to learn more about my Savior Jesus Christ, his mortal and eternal mission and his Infinite and Eternal Atonement. And what an experience to have with my Dad!

Other unique experiences this year included going showshoeing on New Years, rafting down the Snake River with my ward, conquering my fear and yet having my fears confirmed when I got launched out of the boat at lunchcounter. Never again, but it was a great experience for what it was! I made it to do sessions in 3 new temples including Billings Montana (including a trip through Yellowstone, Big Sky, Bozeman (for the best Mediteranean food of your life), Billings, and back through the Beartooth Mountain Range (almost 12,000 feet in elevation!) to Cooke City and back home to Island Park), the newly rededicated Ogden Utah Temple (I got to help out at the open house, attend the open house with the family and grandpa and be in the temple during the second session of the dedication), and the Las Vegas Temple where i was able to enjoy a weekend welcoming in this next birthday of mine. 

It brought more social adventures including dating and relating, serving in the Relief Society Presidency in Ogden, moving to Salt Lake City (and getting yet another Relief Society calling, this time as a teacher...I feel so spoiled to get to serve in an organization that I love). I have been continued to be blessed with good friends. We've had great shopping days, dinner dates and late night phone calls...and ice cream, oh and diet cocaladas. 

Work has continued to be an adventure. I've learned a lot about voice, cognition, autism and feeding this year. Oh feeding, you've also conqured your own feeding issues...always the first step in then being able to help pepole. You've met lots of residents and trainees. You have had crucial conversations, loved more, played more and refined your teaching and communication skills. You have taught me how to be diplomatic and direct. 

Family and I parted ways this year...only in the sense that we don't live in the same house anymore. It was time and let's be honest, we've seen each other almost every week since. They continue to be the shining light in my life, the people who inspire me to be better, love deeper and who are each shining rays of happiness in my life. The grandpa's are still sticking in there. Visiting them makes me happy. 

27 has been so busy but so good.  28 is going to be even better. We already have big plans together looking ahead. Europe 2015 for starters and radiating the good things in life. Its going to be great. 

love always,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I delight in breaking light.

november 6

this song has been on my mind today, "daylight to break" by switchfoot
and this one "glorious" by david archeletta

today was kind of a different sort of day because i was sick. i'm not often sick so that was strange. feeling much better now however. its given me time to think and reflect and when i do that...i just can't help but be happy.

something someone once told me i was blessed with is a happy heart and i really believe that is true.

i want that happiness and the source of that happiness to radiate even more brightly to others.

hence the breaking light...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I delight in friends.

november 5

i write about a lot of things. but one thing that i just don't blog about as much is my friends. i guess i always feel like its not my place to  disclose their lives. but it is my place to say how much i love them and how much they mean to me.

sometimes i feel like blogs can become about all the cool things i do with all these cool people. that's not really what this blog is about. there is no correlation between the coolness of things that i do and the things that i post about. actually, most of the cool things i do never ever make it here. that's pathetic. but true.

the take home point for today though is this. i have been blessed with some really great friends throughout my life. tonight, i went to dinner with one friend i live with, and another one who i haven't seen since i graduated from byu, oh you know six years ago! (how did that even happen, i mean how did that much time pass?) and you know what i just much i love them and how much loving them makes me love life!

i love to love people. that's why i love my job because i get to love so many amazing children and their awesome families and become their coaches and their cheerleaders and even their professional problem solvers...ha ha, not really but sometimes its what i feel like. :)

point of the story is many people have come into my life and i feel SO blessed because of it.

that is all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I delight in seeking happiness.

november 4

this year's gratitude month is being a little different. i really want to share what i'm grateful for by telling you about what i delight in, what makes me tick, what makes life good. and today i want to talk about seeking happiness. now note that i did not say by "being happy." i'm unable to live in a state of happy all the time. for me personally, there are too many other emotions that come into play. i like to live in a state of peace and be seeking happiness all. the. time.

what does seeking happiness look like? well in the two moments pictured in this post...i'm seeking happiness. i'm spending time and energy in places with people who i love doing things that propel me toward happiness.

standing in one of the most beautiful places in the world in a place i've never been, in MONTANA? happy! holding my amazing friend's 3 month old baby in a park on an autumn day, talking to my friend while the other kids run and play? happy!

seeking happiness is both in the big and small things. but its always in the simple things.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I delight in Christin.

november 3

forgive me for the incredibly large pictures, but they help capture the beauty that is christin. in case you've missed it up to this point, christin or LB as i like to call her is my incredibly talented, fun loving, happy going, teasing, sarcastic, over-the-top with love and adorable-ness sister, who yes also happens to have down syndrome.

this weekend, we got to spend some time together. christin has a lot of talents, but one of her biggest talents, in my opinion is that she can make anyone feel like a million bucks! its a gift. and i love it. christin can also love right through anything and everything. christin can also make fast friends, make someone smile just by being, and  she has a laugh that fills a space with happiness. she has no guile. she loves all the way and she never suppresses a generous thought. essentially, she's my role model in life and takes such good care of me. she is my protector, my arm in arm link and my sweet sister.

i used to post christin-isms all the time. i should get back to that, but something she said last night has been resonating with me ever since. you see last night we found out that my aunt janice passed away. it has been a rough year indeed for that entire side of my family as she makes the 4th person we have lost this year on the same side of the family. when i went and told christin about aunt janice's passing she handled it like a champ and ended up coming to play games with the rest of the family (pounce, a favorite sunday night activity). i can't remember what led up to it but christin said, yeah, in heaven i won't have down syndrome anymore, no diabetes, no shots! and of course she said it with a big smile.

i thought to myself, this girl knows what's up. having down syndrome doesn't define christin, it refines her. what a perspective checker. anyone who works with people with disabilities knows the importance of people first language (its actually a big deal). its a person is not "autistic" for example, they are simply a person with autism. so we should be people first too! we all should. we should be known for our eternal identity first, foremost and always. i am grateful that i am a child of god. that i am a daughter of a heavenly father who loves me and i love him. those two lines will always be guideposts to me and i am so grateful to know who i truly am and for the example of a sister who definitely knows who she is and who we all are. she's guiding us home, leading us home, taking our hands and helping us home, loving us home and helping us feel of our saviors love everyday along the way.

how blessed and truly grateful i feel to have christin as my sister.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I delight in foundations.

november 2

while in israel, you spend a lot of time looking at walls, stones, foundations of things that once were and that have become something again in some cases. these are the western wall tunnels under the temple mount. the stones you can see on the left are from the herodian era or the time of king herod. they're the easiest to find because of the margin around them. each carver also had to put his initials on his work.

tonight i attended the ces devotional (soon to be called the worldwide devotional for young single adults) at the ogden tabernacle with elder donald hallstrom. he talked about foundations and it spoke to my soul.

i am so grateful for revelation, for the opportunity to learn and grow, to change and to become better.  key take aways from tonight include

  • buildings are temporary. we are building eternal lives. the engineering and construction of our souls must be build to withstand the wind and tumult of today
  • your identity is FIRST as a son or daughter of god, then you can choose to build other identities whether they be temporary or eternal. beware of the identities you're building
  • verse 7 of how firm a foundation: 
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for reposeI will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

i love how firm a foundation. it is one of my favorite hymns that has been an answer to prayer on multiple occasions, but today it hit me extra hard because of the use of the word forsake.

one of my favorite scriptures is in joshua 1:5
"...I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

what a comfort this was to joshua, reassuring him that just as the lord was with moses, he would be with joshua as he continued to lead the children of israel.

in sunday school today we were talking about isaiah and the word forsake again stood out to me.

"Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains;  for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion said, The lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (isaiah 49: 13-16)

what powerful imagery. can a woman forget her sucking child? what does a hungry child do? they cry and eventually scream when they're hungry. they get their mother's attention in any way possible because growing and developing is their child. how can a mother forget her sucking child? i'll never know, most don't, but some do, especially in our day. it reminds me of the warnings that some will have unnatural affections. mothers not caring for their children, in my mind would fall into that category of warnings for the last days. even so, the lord will never ever forget us. he has graven us on his hands in every way.

so the only choice that's left is that we have to choose never to forsake him just as he has already chosen to never forsake us.

what a beautiful and firm foundation to be build upon, a savior who will never, no never forsake.


I am building my spiritual foundation by.... (future post reminder)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

i delight in a month of gratitude-november 1

november 1: grateful we are not made for endings.

i'm back at it. this poor neglected blog/the poor neglected amazing experiences of life that i have not been great at recording, i'm grateful we have repentance, internet and a bedtime. all essentials for this to be successful.

as i took a walk down memory lane over this 27th year of mine, i couldn't help but think about some endings that have happened this year. i'm so grateful that in april's general conference, president uctdorf (grateful in any circumstances) said "that in His (Heavenly Father's) plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."

how beautiful is that? i'm grateful for a new month, another year of living a life of abundant blessings and for beautiful fall weather. i'm in love with november and with everything that comes along with it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

i'm going to regret this in the morning

its 12:30 in the morning. i have been trying to avoid this hour lately...its far too early and far too late for bed.  but tonight, i felt the need to write a little something about life as it currently stands.

lately, i have been thinking a lot about all the many things i have to be grateful for. a new bed (should that really be at the top of my list you ask? if only you knew what i've been sleeping on the last month!), a job that i really do love even though it stresses me out sometimes, a family that loves me completely, whole heartedly and 100% all the time, even when i'm less than the best, and sometimes just flat out mediocre, the influence of the gospel of jesus christ. i am so grateful to be a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints and for all the goodness in my life that is a direct result of my membership and belief in the church and in my savior jesus christ. i am grateful that he is my savior, king and for his kindness, gentleness and example of longsuffering. i'm grateful he binds wounds and heals the broken hearted. i am grateful that he is my way back home to my father in heaven.  i am grateful for all the many wonderful influences in my life. quality friends who love me, who get me and who put up with my direct and indirect remarks. who help me learn and let me ramble. who lead such good lives and stand as amazing examples to me in everyway and everyday. i am grateful for opportunities to stretch, grow and serve. i'm grateful that tomorrow is a new day. i'm grateful for beginnings and endings and for knowing that i'm not made for endings. i'm grateful for temples and for the peace we can feel there. i am grateful for the ability to participate in creation of so many things. whether its the creation of a skill that someone didn't have but they learn or the creation of a meal i can share with my friends...creation makes me happy. i'm grateful for revelation and the opportunity to learn through the spirit. i am most grateful for hope. hope in the future, hope made possible through the atonement of jesus christ and hope that blessings come.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

a smattering of life

 me (and dad's leg) with a waterfall in montana
august 2014
somewhere between beartooth pass and cooke city, mt

Life is about to get different.  

In the meantime, I really wanted to look at what life looks like right now, this very moment.

I see: a mess. packing. organizing. cleaning, writing a lesson. gathering relief society stuff to put in the hands of a new leader. receipts that need to be calculated. technology that needs to be updated. water that i'm working on drinking. my favorite mission picture that just got a new frame. my beautiful iladro from grandma and grandpa that inspires me just to look at .

I smell: candy corn. i bought a bag, or 4 because i can't seem to find them in any other season but pre-fall and then i made the mistake of opening one. oh how i love that stuff! quintessential fall must.

I hear: random sounds of my house. i'm going to miss that. feet stomping on the floor to get me to come upstairs. the loud creak of craig's door to the downstairs. the door to the storage room opening and closing. the credit music to wagon train (it does have 10 seasons after all) and the random knocks and subsequent opening of my door by all my family. one day i'll be more sentimental about that. for now...i just think...maybe a door will actually mean something someday soon.

I feel: this bruise on my leg from falling off the playground equiptment the other day. that was fun. besides that, i just feel gratitude in my heart for so many blessing in life. I feel grateful everyday for my family, the gospel and the myriad of experiences that have been granted to me. i have so much to be thankful for.

I really love this picture I've chosen to include with this post because its like me in a nutshell right now. Little to no make up, touseled hair that is styled by my on the go lifestyle rather than in front of mirror. My polarized shades (because my cheapy summer ones got their lenses popped out and then really broke thereafter). And of course, my "we're all in this together" shirt which reminds me of the ben lee song that I first heard at a ben folds concert pre-mission that i found at the DI a year ago with sister jen. Pearls in my ears because, they're always in fashion and a smile on my face...because really, there's always something to smile about.

I can't help but think about just how many things there are to be delighted in and by in the world. Hence, my continued recommitment to blogging about all those things, which might just get a little easier considering the pending life changes here. Good things people. All good things.

Monday, July 28, 2014

I delight in an ATAP.

delightful daisies and lessons
pic by me, created via rhonna designs app

Ever had a time when you've got something on your mind, something thats just bugging you and driving you crazy??? That's been me, all day long. 

And then, this song came to mind, and Audra singing it makes listening to it even more worth your time, but that's almost besides the point...

How genius is this statement? Make someone happy, make just one someone happy, then you will be happy too. I know this is a true principle of life's happiness.  Lately, I've had the opportunity to bring some happies into peoples lives. And as Mom Lori from Ch'Town says..."I has a happies." And I do! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I delight in the Holy Land.

Me and Dad on the Mount of Olives
Orson Hyde Memorial Park, Jerusalem, Israel
May 2014

Part of me can't believe I haven't written anything about this past month's most amazing adventure since it happened a month ago now. The other part of me totally can believe I haven't written about it because there is so much to say and there is so much I continue to process.

Going to Israel was a dream come true for me. I loved every moment of that trip and try to live it over again everyday in my mind. The sights, the smells, the feelings, the sound and the memories of lessons learned. 

Life pre-Israel was crazy for lots of reasons but life post-Israel will be different because there is this whole structured academic part of my life that has come to a close for the time being. I've never known an extended period of time without school of some sort so this could be interesting. But I'm glad it wrapped up prior to my departure.  When we flew out of Salt Lake and landed in New York I spent a lot of time (because it was the world's worst layover) writting about all the things that needed to get out of my brain. I wrote, and I typed and I wrote some more.  It was fabulous! And then when we hopped on the plane to Tel Aviv, I let it all go and just let myself be completely consumed by where I was, what I was doing and I didn't even think of what was back in the USA (besides, mom, LB, Craig and my dear friends) but work and research was no where in the viscinity of my thoughts. That was refreshing and one of the best feelings I know!

And so I was for 2 weeks in Israel, the land of the mortal ministry of my Savior Jesus Christ. We went to every major (and most every minor) historical site and Christianity related site while we were there. From the coast of the Mediterranean and Caesarea and Haifa to the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights including Dan, to Tiberius, Capernum, and the Arbel. We watched the sunrise over the Galilee every single day we were in Galilee. We went to Megiddo, the Jezreal Valley and Beit Sheran We traveled through the Jordan River Valley experiencing Masada, Qumran and the Dead Sea. We went up to Jerusalem and walked up, down, around, and under the old city. We welcomed in Shabbat at the Western Wall, we went up on the temple mount, we ate Shwarmas and falaful and ate magnum ice cream. We heard the 4:20 am call to prayer every day. We went to Bethlehem and sat in Shepherd's fields. We learned great lessons at the Church of the Nativity. But as we sat at the Pools of Bethesda, that for me is where it all came together. The climax of the trip. And then of course the south wall ruins and the Garden Tomb. What holy places indeed.

The birth, life, ministry and death of Jesus Christ is so important to me. And equally as important is the fact that his life neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. While he walked that Holy Land, I know that there are other Holy Places that he continues to walk today. I'm so grateful to know that while I wouldn't trade my experiences in Israel for anything, for the depth and breadth they have brought to my understanding of the Savior's life, I don't have to go to be in the places he was, I can go now to the places he is...his holy houses. 

As I walked the holy land and felt holiness in holy sites, I watched some other pilgramidge-ers like myself respond very differently to these holy places. I could tell that for some of them...this was it. The closest they would ever feel to be to the Savior Jesus Christ. And over and over and over again I learned lessons that taught me that I have so much to be grateful for. I am so blessed. And ironically the place I wanted very most to share these truths, I was unable to do so. What a paradox. But at the same time, it wasn't hard to keep my mouth shut about saying more than I'm a Mormon because what I noticed is that people noticed. I can't tell you how many times we would walk through the old city and hear people say, "You a Mormon?" It happened at least on a handful of occasions and it wasn't because I was wearing a BYU shirt because I never did. 

In an October 2005 General Conference address, President Faust taught this truth,
I recently recalled a historic meeting in Jerusalem about 17 years ago. It was regarding the lease for the land on which the Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was later built. Before this lease could be signed, President Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then president of Brigham Young University, agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel. You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem. To our knowledge the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that nonproselyting commitment. After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, “Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?” He was referring to our students who were studying in Israel.

I think what was said in reference to those BYU students, stands true for those members of the church who visit the Holy Land as well, what about that light in their eyes?

My heart swells with gratitude as I think about these experiences and just how much my testimony has deepened because of the things that I experienced and the things that I continue to experience as I continue to study and learn. My heart also swells as I think of the many people who made this trip for me. Seriously...its amazing how "luck" can put you together but honestly...there's no luck in the matter.

As a member of our group said, "We've seen all the things we've read about, now we will go home and read about all the things we've seen." That is the best gift of the trip...the memories that bring me back to the things I experienced again, and again, and again.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I delight in knowing forever.

grandma's funeral
april 2014

Grandma would have loved the gathering of people who all came together on Tuesday. As I saw face after face, heard memory after memory, got hug after hug and laugh after laugh, I couldn't help but think...she just would have loved this.  I am grateful I had the opportunity to speak of just some of the things I love and admire about her...her wit, her sarcasm, her honest to goodness love for people and her outstanding ability to make and keep friends and to let people know that she was thinking of them. These are just a few things, but they are things that have made an incredible impact on me.

I have much more I want to write and will write. Many more pictures I want to post and will post. And many more things to share, but alas the time is far spent before the next adventures in my life. :)

And so, I delight in knowing that forever is forever.

I also delight in knowing that because of him, this is not the end and that we will all live again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Grandma's Funeral

Some people don't believe in taking pictures at funerals. But it seems that funerals and weddings are sometimes the only occasions that get the entire family together. My grandmother was the family photographer for years. She's got boxes of pictures to prove it. As I got out of the car after driving to the Brigham City Cemetary, my hand rested on my camera...should I take pictures or not? Obviously I chose the former and it was the best choice! And I know that my picture taking Grandmother would have definitely approved!

What a beautiful celebration of some of the things my grandma loved the most...all her family, the sharing of good memories, lots (and lots) of laughter and beautiful flowers. What a tribute to a wonderful woman. I think my whole family was overwhelmed by how many of the extended family came in the middle of a work week to remember and celebrate Grandma. She would have loved to have been there, and I'm sure from the other side, she enjoyed the whole event. 

larry, adam, chris, cooper, sam, sarah, rachel, penny (i think) and heather

leanne, lori, gina, aunt jean, nicole and lisa

jay, heidi, tosh, kristen

mar and ross

the pallbearers: wayne, carl, craig, steve, brad, dave, todd and dad

jack, lee, dorene, mom, steve, geri, christin, grandpa, craig, dad

adam, dave, lisa with andrew, ethan, chris, sarah, laurie, larry, sam, rachel and penny

amy and caulder, mom and craig

tom, melinda, brooke, bonnie and brad

mom, tom, melinda, brooke, bonnie and brad

mom, tom and bonnie

kelly and beth-baby

happy christin

john, lorraine and steve

steve, christin and lori

geri, steve and christin

grandpa, dad, lee and dorene

christin and little larry

lisa, leanne, nicole and jack

larry and craig discussing ties

jean and grandpa

geri, steve, craig, mom, me, christin, grandpa and dad

the girls

*from this point on, Christin took over the camera duties. She did an excellent job. And I must say she has a way of getting the best smiles out of people!

we decided to take some family photos. here's all the cousins who were there.

and here's all the first cousins...they're a rough crowd to get to cooperate. :)

christin wanted her picture with the tall boys, ethan and sam.

The whole day was lovely. It was great to hear some timeless stories about Grandma and be surrounded by the people who loved her and will miss her the most.