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. And...you 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!