Sunday, December 6, 2015

I delight in Christmas.

I'm such a fair-weather friend to this blog. At the end of the day, I don't want to be on the computer anymore. I wish that would generalize to all technology. Alas, I'm going to ring in the new year on a social media detox. Signing off facebook for a while and downsizing my instagram feed. My goal for 2016 revolves all around me doing more living myself and less living through others.

However, its not 2016 yet, its still 2015 and better yet its Christmas 2015. I love Christmas and this year, I think I love Christmas a little more. My house became a home this Christmas and for that,  I will always be extra grateful!As Christmas filled my home, so did the Spirit of my Savior and his love for me. I've grown up with such a good model of how this can happen because Christmas at my parents house is magical and has been magical every single year. Today, I was sharing a story about Clyde, our elf, and a new friend of mine said, "Wait, do you have young siblings?" To which I replied, they're permanently young at heart! Something I am so incredibly grateful for!

The other thing that has filled my home recently is music. Being called as the ward music co-chair has been such a blessing in my life! I am incredibly grateful for a mindful and prayerful Bishop and a Heavenly Father who knows what I need. Music has been a blessing in my life for my entire life. Somehow I'd forgotten how it soothes my troubled soul and raises my view beyond the horizon of what I can see. I'm so grateful for Christmas music. For all the ways it blesses my life.

This holiday season, I am particularly grateful for a testimony. My testimony. The last line of the hymn "Testimony" expresses how it blesses me, "As testimony fills my heart, it dulls the pain of days, for one brief moment heavens view appears before my gaze." I'm not saying my life is painful but, I am saying that there are things that my heart desires and yearns for on a daily basis, a family of my own, sweet children of my own to love, care for and bless and while it in no way burdens my everyday, there are moments every single day when I am reminded of the things that are not yet mine. However, I know that eternally, I am both a wife and a mother. I am so grateful for an eternal perspective and the possibility of Eternal Life! I am grateful that the Lord can open my eyes and ears to the blessings and opportunities that surround me.

I know that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves us so completely that he gave his Only Begotten Son so that we may return to him. I know that everything that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that the true gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fullness today. It is available to all through covenants and ordinances in the Lord's houses which are scattered all about the world. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that God loves families. He loves my family. He is mindful of my family and he is protective of all families everywhere. I know that we have a Prophet who speaks the will of God today. He is an inspired man who leads, guides and directs the church with his Apostles. I know that God has a plan for all his children and that it truly is a plan of happiness.

I wouldn't be surprised if I don't post anything again until after Christmas and so, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Love always,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I delight in my twenty-eighth year.


happy erins from twenty-eight

Dear twenty-eighth year, 

Twenty-eight! Where did you go? Life is all about living and  this year, you worked hard and played hard! You got a new job, worked on finding your place on a leadership team, managing staff, getting to know processes, training, teaching and building trust. You challenged yourself with feeding therapy and you continued to drive yourself to continue to refine your professional skills. You played hard and made some serious progress on the bucket list. You hiked the wave and went to white pockets. You went to Europe and specifically, the Louvre. bought a  house! But we'll get there. 

This has been a year of many things: work, play, friends, family, balance, imbalance, refinement, craziness, flexibility, organization, disasters, joy, heartache, broken, light and darkness, happiness and hope. Through it all the Lord has been there. He has been so merciful. That mercy has come in many forms but one was being able to serve as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple for the past year. Sacrificing Saturday mornings was hard; however, the Lord taught us that sacrifice truly brings forth the blessings of heaven, and that when you put the Lord first, everything else falls into place and He prepares a path for you. That service has not only kept us grounded but has buoyed us up. Never ever forget the things you have learned while serving in the house of the Lord. 

Living in Sugarhouse was a dream this year. You had awesome roommates and the Spirit was so easily felt in your home. You had an incredible ward. You challenged yourself to be vulnerable. You had the pleasure of teaching Relief Society and what a blessing it was in your own life. 

You brought me more "sister time" adventures this year! We have frequented the Pizza Pie Cafe, Chick-fil-a on Monday nights. We have sung songs, danced through target, and played at the cabin and the zoo. Christin even learned how to text and use emoticons this year. She's also an instragram wiz these days! 

You have been a year of loss. Most recently, Grandpa Bandley passed away. I will always cherish the day I felt impressed to go see him just a month and a half before he passed away. I visited him while he enjoyed lunch, we walked the halls, watched the birds, reminisced his childhood. Then he "rode" me out to my car, inspected it to make sure it was clean and then waved and "danced" as he rode the wheelchair back in. He and Grandma's puzzle picture now sits in my house. It makes it real that he really is gone. I truly appreciate that he was always consistent in his love and support for me. He was always proud of me and what I was doing. He was always checking up to see if I was dating anyone and assuring me that things will work out in their time. His love has left an impression on my heart that I don't feel will fade anytime soon. I truly treasure the time we have been able to spend together throughout my life. 

You have been a year of memories. Mom and I went on the trip of the lifetime. We saw windmills, got rained on with the best of them, got our feet run over by the french, ate delicious chocolate, went to the top of europe. didn't miss a minute or an adventure, went in anne franks house and to a concentration camp, had deluxe bubble baths, got lost in Brugge, saw a Michelangelo, ate liege waffles and fries with curry ketchup and mayo, stood on the beaches of normandy, ventured to mont st michel, trekked through Versailles, climbed down the Eiffel tower, went to the louvre and met dear friends---mona, venus and winged victory, ordered a croque monsieur, gazed at the real matterhorn, got schooled on how to really do fondue, saw european rainbows, bought german shoes, went on long train rides, skated in a glacier, transcribed swiss english dialects, saw lots of waterfalls, ate tons of cheese, sneezed my way through switzerland and france, learned that i loved germany and treasured having my mom by my side the whole time! We had a blast!

Lots of friends got married this year and had babies. You sat in sealings and cried with the best of them. You held sweet babes of dear friends. You kayaked, read books, sewed some quilt squares. You enjoyed the beauty of the cabin and fresh cut flowers. You made incredible new friends. You went to insitute. You discovered great new restaurants with great new friends. You went house hunting...oh you went house hunting. You got your finances together, made big decisions and bought a house! You moved, painted, refinished, organized, cleaned, decorated and lived real life! You learned to do things on your own, go things on your own and learned to just be yourself by yourself! You went to new places like antelope island and cliff and wade lakes. You strove to radiate in every sense of the word. While you haven't embodied that as much as you'd have hoped, you have tried. 

Twenty-eight, you've taught me valuable lessons. A couple of which are: 

We all wish our circumstances were different in one way or another. Fortnately, our current circumstances are not our eternal circumstances. 

Don't look back, it's not where you're going. 

Twenty-nine...I can't wait to see where you take me!

Friday, November 6, 2015

I delight in sincere kindness.

Tonight, I have been overwhelmed with kindness.

My family came to my house. It was the first time they'd all come when my house was in a place to have people for dinner! It was so nice to enjoy dinner with people around my dining table! They were so happy and it made me so happy that they were happy in my space and place!

Then came a knock at the door and one of my Dad's friends from elementary school and still to this day, was on my porch with a really excited look on his face. He was like, come on outside, I have something to show you, come with me.

Now they'd been to my house before. In fact, they're one of two families who I know who live in the close vicinity to where I live. They'd stopped by when I had barely moved in and the place was a complete disaster but they were my first visitors and it made me so happy to have them! Fast forward to today when they bought me the sweetest housewarming gift. A 43" television.

I'm not a huge TV watcher, but I do watch my shows. It's also a social thing, so its nice to be able to have a place

The point of the story is that these are people who are well off, but they're people who give with their whole hearts and share the kindness that is in them with others. They set the example for me that giving is always how you can be ahead in life and make the most out of life!

I delight in acting.

We live in a reactionary world. Someone sees something on facebook, a news headline, a misleading blog title, a edited picture, a moment of weakness or short-sightedness of someone forever etched on the internet open where then everyone can react and respond, spout out their opinion and make judgements.

The world is so different than the world of my childhood. Its more complicated. Its so easy to compare yourself with others because their life or at least one version of it is right there on your computer, on your phone, on multiple apps and websites. Its complicated because its too easy to judge, too easy to react to something that we don't know anything about.

I'm realizing that in order to be more happy, I need to consume less. Consume less media, less opinions of others. I'm a major information collector. I love to hear opinions, listen to experiences, but I feel like while it seems like you get that in social media, really you get a snapshot in time of someones thought, just like you're getting from me now. But in reality, something I wrote yesterday, I could have a completely different opinion about today. And something I wrote a few years ago, I've gained some perspective about it. While I may fundamentally feel the same, I may have had additional insights due to additional experiences.

Today, a new statement came out from the church. While the statement is new, the doctrine it supports is not. In my morning facebook browsing, I saw a lot of reactionary opinions of people I love dearly. While I respect their opinions, I immediately recognized the need to get informed for myself and formulate my own opinion. As I did so, I felt so immensely settled, so peaceful. I delighted in acting and not just reacting. Even as I turned to KSL and read their headline, I thought...that's a misleading title that encourages people to react...hopefully they act by actually reading the story and seeking to understand.

I believe that it is God's intent that mortality be a time for us to learn to act. He wants us to remember him, to remember his plan, to remember why we are really here and what this mortal experience is really about. He wants to help us learn to focus and to see what is truly important and how God truly has a plan for all his children. It's an eternal  plan though. If we are constantly reacting without figuring out how things tie in to the fundamental eternal truths, then we sell ourselves short. If we are constantly trying to fit in, find our place, be a part of a crowd, then we are missing out on our most essential identity as a child of God.

Tonight, as I drove home from the temple, these words came to mind...

I am a child of God. And so my needs are great. 
Help me to understand His words, before it grows too late.
I know that He will help us understand his words if we ask.

I delight in a grilled cheese waffle.

Okay, its not so much about the food, its always about who you share it with! Last night, after work, Natalie and I got together. Although she moved back to Utah a couple months ago, we haven't gotten to play as we would like! Every adventure starts better when you get to see your favorite little people and when one gets sneaky in his scheming to make you stay and keep you in the house. We then found the waffle love truck where we enjoyed delicious liege waffles that make me want to go right back to Brugge and stay a while. Needless to say, eating them with your friends is always fun! I then introduced Nat to Hobby Lobby!! Still in shock she had never been there. We searched for wooden circle tags in just the right size and then found roundy, the cutest "dump" table there ever could be.

Finally, we roamed Downeast to see if we could find something comparable to roundy but instead we just discovered we know one another's style SO well that we can tell in an instant if its something the other would go for. Being friends since first grade kind of helps that right along!

It was just one of those completely delightful nights which was then topped off by snuggling a clean baby and him making sure I get one more snuggle before I left.

As I drove home, I phoned another friend, Mary. Although we haven't been friends quite as long, we're going on 11 years which is so happy! We have only known each other as adults (all be it, young and single ones) but still, its lovely that someone who knew you from the first time you moved out of your parents house and still knows you as someone who owns their own house with a couple degrees and a mission inbetween exists and gets you because their experiences have been very similar in life and your brains are friends.

As we discussed life, tinder, choosing to be happy, general conference, work, friends, housing and family, I just thought to myself, how did I get so blessed in the friend department? I am so grateful for people who just stand as stalwart friends and examples throughout your life. And when you can resume whatever you were talking about the night before at 6:00 am, you know that friendship is real! So abundantly blessed!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I delight in loving little ones.

There are lots of little ones I have the pleasure of loving. My friends children, to whom, I am Auntie Erin. I have my "kiddos" as Christin calls them. I love being a pediatric therapist because of all the sweet kids I have the pleasure of loving. I love my little cousins and my sweet little neighbor boys.

Not yet having children of my own, it's interesting how clearly it is to me how I want to love and enjoy my children one day. I am grateful for this time without and hope that the things that are so clear to me now will stick with me when I am a mother myself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I delight in remembering and being remembered.

One of the cognitive functions I think I appreciate most (however, I must say that as a SLP who does cognitive therapy...I really appreciate every cognitive function I have!) is the ability to remember.

I love being able to recall life events. Today I've thought about my mission, driving in freezing rain storms, cuddling babies, every time I have moved, gross things I have eaten, interesting dates I've been on, every time and person I've eaten at Red Iguana with, my month of mono back in high school and so so many other things. I looked back on these and so many other memories with depth and all the feelings come right back. I love that.

At the end of work today, suddenly I got a burst of text messages from a variety of friends. It filled my heart with such happiness! Each name made me think of how much I love them, how much I appreciate them, and how grateful I was for them thinking of me, for remembering me.

I hope that I can be a better rememberer and sharer of the things that I remember. It is one of the most simple ways we can serve one another, is to remember them.

Monday, November 2, 2015

I delight in Christ.

the christus statue
north visitors center
temple square, slc, utah

Tonight, I had the most incredible opportunity to hear from Elder Callister who currently serves as the General Sunday School President.

Brother Callister is the author of one of the most indepth books written on the Atonement of Jesus Christ titled, The Infinite Atonement. During a Mormon Channel Conversation with he and his wife, Sheri Dew commented that when they (Deseret Book), first received the transcript, everyone wondered who this man was. Today, he is known for this quintessential book.

As Elder Callister spoke this evening to my ward on the subject of the Atonement, I could feel the Spirit tearing at all my "fleshy parts, or shall I say, the fleshy tables of the heart." I've always thought that to be an interesting expression that seemed somewhat grotesque; however, as I found myself having this experience, I had this distinct impression: Fleshy tables of the heart are attended to. When weaknesses bleed, we do something about them. We care for them. We tend to them. We notice them. We feel them in all that we do. We seek to heal them and we do what it takes to make it happen because with every breath, we are reminded of its presence and of the need for healing.

And so it must be for us. To truly live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must actively be participating in utilizing the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As Elder Callister shared tonight, Jesus Christ's suffering, death and resurrection gave Him 4 powers: 1) to overcome death through the resurrection, 2) to cleanse us from sin and remove the guilt associated with those sins, 3) to overcome weakness and imperfection and 4) to comfort us from common ailments of life such as loneliness and depression. The Atonement has so much to offer us, Jesus Christ has so much to offer us, but we have to accept it, embrace it and utilize each of these powers He so willingly offers us.

And so, tonight, I feel as C.S. Lewis described in his book Mere Christianity, "

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Tonight, I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I delight in His mercy and His grace. I delight that through Him, there is a way to defy the laws of justice and become perfected. To be able to return home, home to my Heavenly Father one day. My soul delights that no distance is too wide, no cave too deep, no scar or scab or wound too much for the healing balm, He offers ever so willingly.

So, let the walls be ripped down, let the house feel hurt and fleshy and all its parts lay bare for all to see. For I know that His ways are bigger than my ways and his plans, more grand than my mind can conceive. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

get to know yourself by giving gratitude

Today is the start of my most favorite month...November! I love November for a variety of reasons,  fall finds winter and the world gets even more beautiful. It's also my birthday so of course, that makes you partial to a month. And finally, it's Thanksgiving and suddenly everyone becomes a little more grateful. 

With that in mind, I had this thought today during church "get to know yourself by giving gratitude." As we look toward the new year, we all strive to understand ourselves better. Where am I? What am I doing? What did I accomplish this year? What does the future hold for me? And all those other introspective questions. You see, I believe that the better we understand where we are, the better we can figure out where we are going in the future, kind of like you have to know where the race starts to get on the right path to end up at the finish line. With me?

I also think it puts us in a better position to serve others. When we are tidied, settled, grounded and pointed in a direction that we firmly and consistently work towards, then we bring others with us, invite them on the path, see with eyes that are searching for others, eyes that see and hearts that act.  

So, since there's not as much fun in delighting with yourself (hence this blog, right?) I'm inviting all my friends to delight with me this month! The challenge is to figure out where you are, what matters most and how can you bring a deeper sense of gratitude and meaning to life by delighting daily and giving gratitude. 

It's easy, you can comment here, write it on a sticky note, make a note on your journal, attach it to a picture and post it on instagram or facebook, share it with a friend, text a friend, tell your co-worker, start your own blog, tell your mom, your neighbor, brother, friend, sister, roommate, who ever! But you have to commit your gratitude by sharing it in someway. 

my daily delight: I led my ward choir choir! Okay, that was new for me and big for me! I have been missing choir, singing and sharing that gift and talent that I have hidden under a bushel for a while. I mean I love to sing, but I don't play but I love music. I'm grateful that the Lord has given me a way to use that love. We may not come out any better singers, but I can promise 2 things, the right spirit and that we will have a good time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I delight in living a real life.

Lately, I've some real life moments...what is a real life moment you ask?

I'm not sure I can describe them, I just feel them. Real life means you've vulnerable, it means your brave. It means you are real. It means you don't think, you just do. It means you don't reason through every little thing, you reason enough and then you trust. It means you do things that you never expected to do, or you never expected to do them in the way you think.

Real Moment #1: Buying a house by myself. No one dreams of buying a house for just them to live in. No, everyone dreams of buying a house for them, their sweet spouse and probably their current, pending or growing family. Some things just have cultural norms...buying a house for yourself, is not a cultural norm, and most people who you tell...well their eyes tell you that you're not living the cultural norm. That look is usually fleeting as they either become proud and supportive of your bravery...they couldn't imagine doing such a thing but maybe you're inspiring them to change their mind about that. The look sometimes changes to a look of judgement...why would you buy a house? Just rent until you get married. And sometimes the look feels good to be brave doesn't it? They know this because they've experienced it and they've experienced all the looks. Their look is the most validating because they know what its like to live real life moments and how they've grown.

Real Moment #2: Learning that "alone" does not mean "lonely." Somehow life gets real when you do things by yourself because you just have to own the life you live and your choices. Sometimes when I get home...its weird to think that no one else is going to "get home" or walk in the door. And so, I've had to make deliberate decisions about what I do, how I spend my time, and how I interact with others. I make specific efforts to spend time with people, to see friends, to call the people I love. No more just waiting for fun to walk in the door, I'm intentionally choosing to be with people because I love them. Because I live alone, I am not lonely.

Real Moment #3: Being in a room with 300 people who you don't know and who don't know you but you are now going to see them every week and spend time with them. aka I went to church in my new YSA ward. That alone wasn't a big deal, although it was the first time I ever went to a ward that was going to be my ward without a roommate, a friend, an associate or a possy for that matter. I didn't really think twice about it, I went in, sat down and enjoyed the meeting. And then, then it happened, things got real. They announced that after the closing hymn and prayer, the congregation was to remain seated for introductions. I knew something was coming that I wasn't sure I was entirely up for. Post-prayer, sure enough, new and visiting members were invited to stand up and introduce themselves. There's something to be said, when on "super-cute sunday" (your first sunday in a new ward), you are asked to stand up and introduce yourself. I felt like I wanted to crawl in a hole! Now I'm not shy. I've performed in front of lots of people. I've sung in front of a crowd. I've taught classes, I've given talks and conducting a meeting...not a problem...but somehow, introducing myself that day...well I think I'm still having some PTSD from it. Now, its not that big of a deal, for whatever reason, my heart is making this a deal due to my emotional response, but man oh felt like real life because then after introductions were was like all the eye balls continued to look at me...few words but many words...oh the strength to be the initiator of conversation, and oh how happy the hug and smile of a familiar face that immediately began to introduce me to people.

Real moments will continue to happen. And maybe, I'll blog about more of them as they occur but until then, I challenge you to live them too. Have the experience you've been putting off. Do what you've wanted to do but haven't found anyone who wants to do it with you. Be brave and then be grateful for your ability to live life!

No regrets.

Monday, October 19, 2015

I delight in filling my life.

My life has come to be represented as of late by a big empty house. I don't have an empty life...nor do I have an empty house...if only the books could be transformed into couches and chairs...we'd be in great business.

I've been thinking a lot as of late about filling this space in my life (i.e., my house) and I've been thinking about the structure of the house its self and all it represents. It reminded me of this quote by C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity,

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Doesn't that seem like the way life goes? We start building something and God thinks it needs some re-vamping, some remodeling, and so it goes.

And so it is with us. Since General Conference, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of, "start where you are and do one thing better today." The last year has been completely unanticipated. I have, to one degree or another, let things fill my life, rather than intentionally filling it myself. Presently, I can hear the tapping of the Lord's hammer reminding me, that this wall isn't as secure as I think it is, and that pipe is in the wrong place.

The Lord is reminding me, I need to improve how I'm filling my life. This reminds me of some advice I was once given. Thank goodness for Facebook and the connections it allows you to keep for so many years. After my mission, I corresponded with a woman who I met in the first branch I served in. Her name was Anne. While serving in Anne's branch, I had the blessing of seeing her life change. Albeit at a distance, I saw her meet a sweet man who showed up at our branch for conference, and her life was never the same, eventually marrying the man and moving away. As we reconnected post mission, she gave me the following advice as I wandered through the challenging "I'm home from my mission, now what stage" she said,

"As for returning home from your mission, well it can be a difficult transition. Your life as a missionary is so focused and spiritual and structured. The challenge is keeping the spirituality and focus while dealing with other necessities of life. Small things count, daily scripture study and sincere and I stress sincere, prayer. Most of all, keep busy and involved with the church. It took me a long time to learn that I needed to fill my life with spiritual things and eliminate all the junk there is out there. Get an MP3 and listen to conference while walking, jobbing or traveling to school or work. Listen to spiritual music and keep the Sabbath Day holy. I hope that helps. I know I had a hard time after my mission and made some mistakes. But what kept me going is that I never, ever, missed Church. It reminded me week after week of who I was and what was right."

Anne's advice hit my heart and changed me. Her advice has come back to me in the past month or so and has changed me again. You see, since moving into the calm blue house (I'm still coming up with a nickname for the house) things have gotten quiet so I've turned up the noise. This is generally out of my character but I've turned on the TV, the news, the radio. I've turned on all sorts of playlists and movies to fill space. But, its weak space I'm creating with the noise. I need better noise, more filling noise, the right kind of noise.

So, last week, an exciting thing happened at my house...I got the internet! I thought this would be a necessity I could live without, in fact, I determined (at least I told myself) I didn't use it for that many things anyway.

I was wrong. I realized that I used the internet for a lot of things...both good fillers of my time and space and bad fillers. What would I choose when the internet again filled my home. It was a choice I had to make.

All this to say, that since having the internet, I have listened to A LOT of general conference and music off the mormon channel app. Sure, I might have caught up on my favorite show NCIS, but I have made an intentional choice to fill my life with better things. I've filled my house with happy hymns of heaven. I've started singing in my house and I think it adds to calm blue's aims. Creating a happy life, a haven home and a peaceful heart is something that begins with us, is remodeled by God and acts as vehicular protection of sorts for us to return home to him.

Challenge: Substitute one "filler" in your life for a better filler.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I delight in contributing good.

pretty flower/leaf things
somewhere in israel

Yesterday and today I have been soaking in every drop of general conference. 

Historically, I've always been pretty hyper-vigil about general conference. I like to watch it, notebook in hand with a great pen. Focused, quiet and determined to take abundant notes. This conference, I was in a sense, forced to do something different. 

You see, this weekend, I was supposed to be in Idaho with the fam at the cabin. I really wanted to be there with my family in my favorite place. However, as last week drew on, I realized, I was suffocating in my to-do list and quickly going crazy living out of boxes spread throughout my house. Therefore, the best choice I could make for my sanity was to stay home, get organized and participate in conference from home. 

Friday was full of fulfilling the to-do list, at least in the home-life sense. And so I did...I shopped, painted, organized, cleaned, painted, painted and did I mention, paint? Friday night however, it occurred to me that I had no internet and no cable leaving me with few conference options. In my exhausted mind, I decided I would run home-home, watch the first session after stopping to buy some paint, and pack up some stuff from my family's house. Then, I would learn to be settled experiencing conference a different way...listening without a pen in hand but with a steering wheel in hand instead. And you know what...I'll never forget listening to the afternoon session and hearing the names of the new apostles who had been called: Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson and Elder Renlund. My heart swelled as I drove on I-15 and I was gently reminded that conference with pen-in-hand is my own rigidity, not the Lord's necessity. The Spirit filled my car as I drove and the radio filled my house upon returning home, all the while, the Spirit continued to abound. As I was unpacking, moving, cleaning, organizing and even painting, I listened with intent and the Spirit taught. I jotted down impressions amid everything else and it was a beautiful experience. I was reminded, its not about your circumstances, its about your heart and your intent. 

God is so good and so merciful. My heart has been touched, my soul consoled and my spirit buoyed up to stay afloat. 

While there are many impressions I have received, one of them hit me the most this morning as I listened on the radio. At first I listened outside, unfortunately it was far too cold, so then I sat on my kitchen counter because I don't yet have stools and my kitchen full of tools and papers. Again, the answers came and the Spirit filled my home. This session; however,  I had a very distinct thought that directly applies to this blog in fact!

During President Russell M. Nelson's talk, I'm not going to lie, my initial thought was...oh here's another talk about women. Not that I don't like those talks, but sometimes, I get overwhelmed by how "great" we are supposed to be. As I listened, more closely, I didn't hear a talk about how awesome I am as a woman or about how great I'm supposed to be, I heard a plea and promised blessings. 

President Nelson spoke of a prophecy by President Spencer W. Kimball that much of the major growth of the Church in the last days would come because of strong and devout women. He then went on to say that the Church needs women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and that we must be courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. He went on to say, 

"We need women who are devoted to shepherding God's children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation; who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment, women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families, women who teach fearlessly."

That doesn't tell me how awesome I am supposed to be yesterday, it tells me how much the Lord needs me, whatever it is I am today! 

The lesson here for me is two fold: 
1) "Take your rightful place in the kingdom of God. He will magnify your influence." My word of the year, has been radiate, and now its time to let my light shine in a few new ways: in my new ward that I have yet to attend, in making this blog public again, in being an organized soul who has more time for those I work with, in being a solid friend who says what she means, returning phone calls, making dinner dates, and showing the people I love just how much I love them by spending time with them and serving them. 

2) The Lord needs me to be where I am now. No one dreams of buying a home for just them alone to live in. It is so easy to feel behind and inadequate when many of my dear friends are married, have children and get to be mothers now. My heart yearns for these things and sometimes I wonder about the fruition of my desires in this life. But, the Lord has taught me in some way, almost every single day this week, that my worth is not dependent on being like anyone else or living their plan. He sent me to live my plan which is His plan for me and he wants me to have JOY in my this mortal journey I am on. And so...while I may not yet be a mother, I know that my eternal soul is a mother and that I am here trying to qualify for eternal life. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I delight in a world where there are Octobers.

 thank you anne, and pinterest

October 1, 2015--I delight in feeling loved and supported. 
It was a go-go-go-go day. When it finally slowed down late that evening at a traffic light...I was delighted and surprised to see one of my dearest friends and former roommates sitting in her car next to me with a big smile on her face. Of the many cars traveling on Foothill, what are the chances? That's right...its not chance, it was a blessing. And one of the most tender blessings the Lord could bestow that very day. I have been blessed with such choice people in both my personal and professional life. People that have spanned the ages and stages of life so far and we've still got so far to go.

October 2, 2015--I delight in being physically able and happy hearted.
I woke up with a big to-do list. The fam went to Island Park but I stayed behind in an attempt to make my house an organized space. After spending a morning painting, I ran errands and essentially packed my car with things that have been collecting on my list for the past week and a half. I was so grateful to find some great rugs on sale at Target! Rugs are expensive...okay houses are expensive but so are all the things that go in them! While there are many things I can live without...I love sitting on the floor too much to deprive myself of something soft to sit on. As I returned home, painted more, I listened to Women's Conference. I hadn't had a chance to tune in the week before due to Christin's swim meet. As I stood in my garage and heart swelled at just how the Lord knows my heart and knows exactly what I needed to hear. I don't even know who said what because it all just ran together for me but the point I took away was...Don't look at your life with just mortal eyes. This life is not a time for all blessings to be realized but a time for us to prepare to meet God, there to receive all He hath. Don't let your happiness be conditional on the realization of those blessings in this life and in your time frame.

While I know those aren't the words that were shared, the Spirit shared them with my heart and it just buoy's me up in ways I can't even express. As I stood there listening in my garage...I just thought...once again, I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now. I'm so grateful for that feeling and knowledge!

October 3, 2015--I delight in hearing the word of the Lord through His Prophets and Apostles. 
I love General Conference.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

To delight is to radiate light...

I stopped blogging here back at the beginning of the year and went so far as to make this blog completely only for my eyes. While that doesn't mean I stopped delighting, I stopped sharing them here. I did continue to record my delights. They are smattered in records instagram, my journal and my planner. I savor those delights, I savor every delight. They mean so much to me and to my relationship of gratitude which so strongly binds me to the Lord. And so, I've finally reached a time to share my deliberate delights on this blog again.

Much has changed in my life this year and sometimes, during times of change and transition, we have to step back, redefine, refine and refocus our priorities. I'm still in that process. What a challenging, humbling and revelatory process it is.

While my "word of the year" is might be better summarized in the words, take courage. This year has been all about taking courage and doing new things!

And so, here we are...delighting and radiating the light of the Savior by sharing the gratitudes of the soul.

Friday, September 18, 2015

I delight in walking into my home.

tonight, after a very long but delightful day (thanks to my eval with the best theory of mind and insight ever for just a wee-bobby)...i walked into my house, my house!

mind you i couldn't pull in the driveway, it stunk like paint and the projects hit me like a ton of bricks...i was home. my home and i was so happy!

dad came down and let cody and the guys/the painters in. white trim and ceiling. grey walls, a blue bedroom...i'm either crazy or completely sane. i'm complete unsure which it is.

tomorrow...i've got to work a full day, again! then i'll go home and clean, etc. isn't that great "i'll go home!"

saturday morning the washer and dryer get installed and boyd is coming to install a security system. i of course am working in the temple. lovely right?

and i'm miles behind at work. life is so awesome. somehow i'm horribly behind in all of it but alas...i'm just embracing it, rolling with it, choosing denial over stress.

Monday, September 14, 2015

studying the gospel

this post was inspired by this post.

I have been a somewhat steady attender of Institute. Institute is a program of religious learning run by CES, also known as the Church Education System in the LDS or Mormon or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith. It is a program targeted to individuals ages 18-31, single or married. There is a similar program called Seminary for High School Students.

Recently the church "revamped" the Institute program. Instead of courses on general books of scripture, there are now specific courses related to gospel learning such as: "Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel, Foundations of the Restoration, The Eternal Family and The Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon." The learning process and essentially, the learning expectation has been set more clearly and requires the doctrinal student to become more seriously engaged and active in the learning process. Preparing for class by reading the material, writing a reflection paper and writing an indepth study paper on a topic of the student's choosing. Another crucial part is that the student invite someone to attend institute with them. I find this last point most interesting. For one to truly be engaged, one must be willing to talk about it with others and find value enough in his own life to invite another.

As I have thought about the "raising the bar" in terms of gospel learning, I recognize that the learning bar must increase because the teaching bar has already been raised! We first expected our missionaries to teach by the Spirit, we now expect every teacher, young womens, primary, gospel doctrine, everyone to teach by the Spirit. However, in order to teach, we must first learn to study.

We don't talk enough about how to do this, what it looks like or what it really means. I want to talk more about it. I want to write about it and I want to share what it looks like for me!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

embarking on something new

in two days, i will close on my first home.
a home!
as the insurance woman so kindly reminded me, it is the largest purchase i will make in my life.
{be still my already hyperventilating heart!}

tonight, i started packing to leave my home for the past year. as i reflect on the change that has occurred in the past year, for me, for my profession, for my spirit, for my family and for my friends and relationships i see just that there has been a lot of change. good change, better change, and some not so good change too.

the point is...i delight in it. i delight in the joy in the journey. the ups, the downs and the middle in between. i have neglected sharing my daily delights for a while. in fact, i neglected writing them down, some days because i had a hard time seeing them, other days because i didn't want to share them and other days because i felt too tired, too overwhelmed to even identify what they were. i stopped writing because i didn't know how to process the stress that had built up in my life.

in the past few weeks, i've realized i have to write. i have to share. and i don't have to, but i get to.

and so, since there are lots of things in my life that are changing. i'm choosing to change this one to. i'm choosing to share. i'm choosing to write.

writing has always been my outlet. i have journals and journals full of written word. i have two blogs full of written word and i need to keep writing. and so, here we are, embarking on something new...writing everyday and sharing it with you.

Monday, June 29, 2015

in process

one day i aspire to love like this girl does.

she is so full of love and it gleams out of every pour of her precious skin.

tonight, as we ate our traditional "girls meal" at chick-fil-a with little lisa joining us while her mom is out of town, christin couldn't not touch me. she sat next to me at founders day fireworks on saturday and she held my hand the whole time. she is so excited about our girls trip this weekend that my heart is just super happy!

she's just the sweetest. the cutest and the happiest.

i am the luckiest!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

grateful and delighting

I took a hiatus from writing all together for a while there. Let's be honest, in the written record of my life, the past 5 years have been very hit and miss.

While I love being able to look back and piece all the pieces of my life together, I truly miss being able to look back at all the things that have made my heart happy and that I have delighted in. While I'm going to make a more concerted effort to pick back up the journal writing, I want to continue sharing my delights here and maybe one day, I will make this a public blog again. One day. Until then, its just here for me, myself and I and my Heavenly Father. I want him to know how grateful I truly am for all the little things and big thigns in my life.

Yesterday was a day of many emotions...
gratitude...because i was in serving in the Lord's house
overwhelmed...because i finally had to tackle my room and restore order hearing that danielle handrahan, one of my converts from my mission had passed away at the age of 22.
hopeful...because i have a family who loves me and i knew they would be a pick me up
in the beauty of god's creations as dad and i kayaked at mantua a visit to see my dear grandpa bandley. he didn't say my name, but boy do his eyes light up when I walk in the room. he commented on my dimples, asked me again where i lived and if i liked what i was doing with my life. he told me how much  he loved me and appreciated my visits to see him. his face was just as excited as i looked in his window after leaving and he was waving excitedly and gave me a thumbs up. i drove in the driveway to see kitty i watched craig struggle with loosing his chili's employee discount card. i watched the founder's day fireworks with the family last night at lomond view elementary.

i'm so grateful we can feel. i'm so grateful we can love!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

I delight in 2014.

the temple mount
jerusalem, israel
spring 2014

highlights of 2014
---reading jesus the christ---going to israel with my dad---
---making a dresden plate table topper---remembering grandma in all her glory---
---volunteering at the ogden temple dedication, seeing sister kelsey hansen, going to the dedication with my mom, dad, christin and grandpa and attending the dedication in the temple and doing my first session with mom---hiking on new years day---moving to sugarhouse and living with mary and cambrie---serving and being released as relief society president---being called as a relief society teacher in my new ward---going to the temple every single week (and making up for the weeks i missed)---becoming a temple worker in the salt lake temple---graduating from urlend---spending a week at assert---going to the sacred gifts exhibit---roadtrip with mary to vegas for my 28th birthday---having spencer and eric as my home teachers---rafting down the snake river---hanging with my ward in hammocks---getting a new job as the speech lead---going to the bozeman temple with my dad and coming home through high mountains with glaciers and feeling so alive---spending time at the cabin with my family---actually going on dates---swimming on my birthday---going to 3 new temples: rededicated ogden, las vegas and bozeman---going to cherilyn reid and sarah christensen's wedding---being grateful i knew my awesome grandma mcquivey, aunt janice, uncle mike, larry christensen and emma lesuere who passed away as well as a couple of awesome patients whom i will forever love---attended an awesome conference on theory of mind at byu and seeing all my slp friends---time with craig and christin---sewing an elsa dress for christin to wear on halloween---dancing and singing parties with christin including taylor swift and frozen---