Thursday, November 17, 2016

thankful heart 14-17

14--My heart is so thankful for lifelong friends and little people that I get to love on. God has blessed me with such good friends.
15--I am thankful for a productive morning, tacos with a friend, and prayers that were patiently answered.
16--Pizza and friends? Apparently my social life centers around food with friends...I'd say that's a fairly accurate description.
17--The temple.

While I am very blessed to have a home and be welcome in many homes, sometimes...I feel homeless. Let me explain what I mean. We all want to belong. I think its a human thing. We are all born into families, we feel a sense of belonging within that unit and as we get older, we desire to have that unit with us in a different way, by building our own families. Within that family we do a lot of things. We learn together, we grow together, we teach together, we help together, we become...together.

In the past week, I've been trying to learn how to be more "together" when I'm alone. For example, I've realized my prayers have really just not been good. I need to pray more. I need to be more consistent in my prayers. So...if I was "together" what would I do? I'd pray aloud. So...I've been praying aloud more, even at meals. I'll be honest, I feel ridiculous. I actually sometimes whisper...there is no need to whisper when you're the only one who lives there! I imagine my voice volume increasing...I think we'll get there, but for's a step.

Another way I'm trying to figure out how to be more "together" is family home evening. I want to have family home evening. Often on Monday nights (the traditional time for FHE) my ward hosts some activity; however, the pattern I want to build is a spiritual principled pattern of the family having an evening of learning and doing together. I want that spiritual stake each week...but again, alone, together, together, alone. So, this is the next quandary I'm working on. We'll figure it out.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

thankful heart days 10-13

I'm thankful for all the love that appears at birthday time!

I'm thankful for adventures with my favorite Speth boys and that I get to be their aunt Erin.

I'm thankful for Jon McLaughlin who plays the best concert!

I'm thankful for super Saturdays that bring spiritual Sundays.

I'm thankful for Christmas decorations which currently adorn my home.

I'm thankful for choir, lessons, the sacrament, and hugs from people when you need them.


I delight my twenty-ninth year.

dear twenty-ninth year, 

You did it! You topped off 3 decades of an awesome life.  I sat down tonight to write my thankful heart piece for the day and only then realized, I still had more writing to do. I had to write this letter to you. 

You went on an adventure. Straight out of the gate last year, you headed to ASHA where you felt enlivened by your profession, grateful for the opportunities it provided and enthusiastic about lifelong learning. Christin and I had our first pie day sister sleepover where we even set up the Christmas tree. You know it was a success when its November 9th now and she has been asking (or telling :)) for 3-4 months when pie day is and that she is so excited to come to my house to make pies for our Thanksgiving. That girl has lit up this year! She finally finally finally picked up on all my years of modeling ask and tell and now she sometimes gets it right or sometimes she will say, "Uh Sis, I have to ask or tell you something." That's one way of dealing with this SLP sister of hers. Ha ha! But really, we have cleared up her intelligibility in a lot of respects and she has become much more receptive to my strategies. She even told me at one point this year that she has been having some problems with her "r's, l's, and e's." The first two I can see, the third...I'm not sure. :) She lights up my world and literally lights up my phone and my instagram with hearts and Christin. I feel so blessed to be her sister everyday! Twenty nine, thank you for an incredible year with all my family! 

Twenty-nine, please tell thirty to be nicer to my poor house. I feel like my house took me on a wild adventure. And my family was so helpful, and kind and supportive all along the way, even if they didn't help paint my walls. :( Okay, Dad did help the one day, ha ha! The basement flooded and I have since refinished the whole thing, including painting the walls "Erin's bright colors" (as Christin says). I replaced the windows in the house too. I had flowers thanks to my incredible parents who believe in flowers. And you know what, it wasn't so bad! Its also so fun to have family flowers and ferns. Most of all, I think I might love that I have Grandpa Bandley's stepping stone in my front garden. I stepped on it everyday this summer. Man I miss him. Twenty nine has had a void without my regular visits to see my Grandpa Bandley. He's made me know he's still around and about twice a year, I have a really good cry about it. Twenty-nine you've further cultivated my gratitude for the Plan of Salvation in so many ways. I'm so grateful for our Heavenly Father's plan for all his children.

Twenty-nine, you brought intentional living with my #olw being intentional. It's been so good. And I think the most intentional thing that has happened is being intentional about my learning, the time I spend with people, and intentionally defining my balance, boundaries and bandwidth. I'm seeking for relaxed control and thanks to some powersheets, some prayers and some incredible books, lectures, discussions, friends and life has been incredibly blessed. The Lord truly has been in the details of my life. 

You brought adventures! Island Park multiple times...with Dad, Grandpa, Craig, Nicole, fishing with Dad, Christin, all the family, and alone. St. George with the fam. But my favorite adventure was back to the Maritimes! My heart was truly drawn there. Those 10 days were absolutely incredible. The weather, the people, the opportunities, the doors, the beauty, the hearts of the people of the Maritimes! I was so overwhelmed and so grateful. The best thing I came away with was a better understanding of where I am, where I've come from, and a vision of what I need more of.

Twenty-nine, you cuddled children, you chased your dreams, you did things you've never done before, you got brave, you upped your game, you bought patio furniture, you got another new job, you weeded a garden, you learned to direct a choir, you went to a lot of new restaurants, you drank lots of diet coke, you learned how to be "inspiralized," you learned how to grill and it actually has bee awesome!, you embraced "getting things done," you served in the temple, you read lots of books, you did some sewing, you took a lot of walks, you bought a kitchen table, you made a lot of phone calls, you connected with a lot of people, you cried, you laughed, you grieved, you sang, you danced, you painted, and you talked. You listened too and you tried really hard to make good choices and to build your faith.

Twenty-nine, you've taught me some valuable lessons, a few of which are: 

"When you begin to make things happen, you begin to believe you can make things happen and that makes things happen."

"You never make decisions on a hill."

"Comparison isn't just the thief of joy, it's the thief of everything."

"If something has your attention, it needs to have you attention, engaged."

"Its never too early, and its never too late.

"Being interested, makes you interesting."

"Life is short. Live it well."

"Boundaries. Bandwidth. Balance."

"If I give more to myself. I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn't selfish." --Gretchin Rubin

"Let your prayers find access to thee."

"Mind like water. Get back to baseline. Don't ride every wave."

Thank you twenty-nine for all you've brought my way,

love always, 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

thankful heart day 9

If i could write an ode to frozen yogurt and popcorn I would...

Life is good, but man, just want to throw in the towel and move to Canada.

Sometimes life puts you in really uncomfortable positions. I feel like I've been in a handful of them in the past couple of weeks. Receiving feedback, more feedback, more feedback, crying and yet still getting another earful. And then receiving indirect feedback and opinions of my life, my relationship name it...I've probably received some feedback about it. 

Now that's an over exaggeration and I know it. But you know what...25 year old Erin would have lost it and thought she was a complete failure. 29 year old Erin is much more resilient. It hurts but it makes me stretch, it makes me strive, it gives me drive, and I seek to thrive. It's awesome!

I'm so grateful that I've changed. That I'm not who I was last year, or even last month. Tomorrow we arrive at 30 and you know...its going to be okay!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

thankful heart day 7 and 8

family backyard from some easters back
this picture has nothing to do with anything in this post, except that i remember this moment with such clarity and i just love having this visual memory of it. 

day 7
I'm thankful for books. I feel like in the past year, I have rekindled my love with reading on a more regular basis (although, binge reading series is a thing for me too). 

Last night, I got home from work and thought...okay am I going to read that book that I have that's due at the library next week? Yep. So me, my couch, pajamas, book, and popcorn settled in for a cozy night in. Don't worry, I finished it this morning before I went to work and put the next book in the series on hold at the to wait for the 10 people who get to read it before I do.

day 8
I'm thankful for pondering. On Sunday, my awesome friend Holly taught Sunday School and led a great discussion about the role and value of pondering. It reminded me that a) I love pondering, b) I miss pondering, c) I can't ponder well without some preliminary steps in place, and d) I need pondering in my life. 

So, I've been remembering the power of always having a pen and something to write with. I've been trying to be better at collecting the promptings I have, and heeding them. I used to be SO good at this; however, with the right tools in place again, I realize I receive revelation more than I think I do when I don't have the tools. Such a powerful first step in the right direction. 

Anyway, I've been thinking about things that have been on my mind for a while and had a couple of quotes stand out to me from my current Audiobook, "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. 

Quote 1: "When you start to make things happen, you begin to believe you can make things happen. And that makes things happen."

Quote 2: "The things that have your attention need to have your intention engaged." 

Such powerhouse quotes!

I have been doing power sheets for the past 6 months (see for more information). Lara Casey's work has been something that has peaked my interest for a few years and earlier this year when I created my "Life Binder" I decided it was time to dive into power sheets so I bought myself a 6 month set, set aside the time to do it, and haven't looked back. It was definitely the thing I needed at the time thtat I needed it. One of her mantra's (for lack of a better term) is "Making things happen." I love it but sometimes...that's so overwhelming to me. I'm making all sorts of things happen but its like "attempted to be controlled chaos" which really is just a mess and I don't handle messes too well. My mind is constantly trying to reign in some order.

Lara has a quote on her site that I love, 

"Comparision isn't just the thief of joy, it's the thief of everything. 
Keep your eyes on your purposeful path.
Celebrate others.
Celebrate progress, not perfection.
Cultivate gratitude over comparision.
Gratitude turns what we have into more than enough."

When I found this quote...I realized just how much comparision was robbing me of and had a decsion moment where I realized that I had to do something about it. Enter my one little word....Intentional.

And so, with all that being said, I've learned a lot this year about managing what you measure, choosing to act and not be acted upon, mind like water, shaking it off, collecting and getting things done, essentialism, and that self-regard isn't selfish.

I'm so thankful for pondering and that by small and simple acts are great things brought to pass. I can do the small and simple.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

thankful heart day 3, 4, 5, and 6

3. i love seeing patient's. i definitely am in the best profession there is! i'm so thankful for all the doors that have made it possible.

4. having the boys field trip to my work, doing work, seeing patients, going on a walk, and dinner with heather.

5. definitely delighted in reminiscing the many memories of years antique shows, answering prayers in the home decorating store, going on "the ride" and eating delicious Mexican food. then, dinner, cocoa, and conversation with mary.

6. church. man oh man, i love the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

thankful heart day 2

somewhere in cape breton
october 2016

Tonight my heart is thankful for the temple and covenants. 

I'm thankful for good friends old and new.

I'm thankful for hugs and little people snuggles. 

I'm thankful for phone calls and mom's.

I'm thankful for fall days and days off.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

thankful heart day 1

cape breton island
october 2016

My most favorite month has arrived...NOVEMBER is here!

Maybe its because I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving a month ago, but I've been extra ansy for November this year. I love the ringing in of the holidays, my birthday, and how everyone's heart's turn toward family and the Savior. 

In past years, I have written daily on this blog in November and I decided to bring it back this year. It's been just over a month that I've been living alone again. Evening's are kind of weird when you live alone. Especially when you work a schedule like mine. I come home, change into something warm (because it's already dark out and my house is, well cold because I've been gone all day), and eat some dinner. Dinner is usually accompanied by some background noise which lately, has been Fixer Upper (I've totally jumped on the Chip and Joanna Gaines train...they're an exemplary couple and example of her style is lovely!). After that, I've been organizing everything in my house, hanging things up, or just being lazy and climbing in my bed with a book. 

When I sit down to write, I have to get myself in the frame of mind which is accompanied by silence or the right music. Tonight, it's Coldplay.

Now that you've had probably way too much background, let's talk about my thankful heart...
-i'm so thankful for my faith. 
-i'm so thankful (and yet terrified) that this election is almost over.
-i'm so thankful for my family.
-i'm so thankful for good friends. 
-i'm grateful for socks. 
-i'm grateful for perspective.

I'm just really grateful for my grateful heart. I have a quote on my computer from a recent Intermountain stories about how today is one more day lived, another day off your life. As I look at the picture that I paired with this post, I can't help but think about how life is about how we frame it. What is the lens that we're using to view the world. When we frame life with an attitude of gratitude, our lives can be transformed from "never enough" to "abundantly blessed." 

That's the frame I want to keep around all I see and experience this season. I have lots of reasons to potentially get a little bent out of shape this holiday, mostly that I'm entering a new decade of life (it's a pretty ridiculous reason but it just seems like 30 has snuck up on me...even though Christin's been telling me I'm almost 30 for the past year). It's easy to look around and see all that I have to be grateful for, but like my recent posts have also's easy to see and feel what I still lack. So, even more of a reason to keep life framed in an appropriate perspective. 

frame life with a thankful heart.
choose the lens through which you see and experience the season.
be outrightly grateful.
be intentional.

Monday, October 24, 2016

week something of something in 2016

A few weeks ago, I knew I'd have to finally do something I'd been putting off for literally years. So this weekend, I got all my gear together...when both external hard drives come out, you know something is really going down. And down it did. I kind of haven't updated my operating system in...well since I bought it...during grad school. Yep, good thing I've been graduated for four years (which means it's been 5 years). In computer world, that's a small eternity. But really.

So I backed up everything I owned and started the update process. I'm happy to report that 90 hours later...we are all updated and I only had to delete everything once and recover from a time machine back up! And I only spent 47 minutes on the phone with an apple specialist for the most productive and helpful technical experience of my life! Thank you Edwin!

When it stopped backing up my phone (oh about a year ago) I decided I better do something about it. Procrastination at it's finest. Anyway, I'm excited to be back in technical business so I can share some pictures! Finally! 

2016 has taken me on some fabulous adventures and I'm so excited to share them. 

On a different note, it's come that time of year when I get a little more reflective. It's the fourth quarter, the end of the year, the time when I start contemplating how I'm going to turn a new number and this year a new decade of my life. As I reflect on the last 30 years, they've been so good. Sincerely. A lot has happened in them. And it's led me to where I am now with a lot of quality experiences that have taught me about people, kindness, the gospel, and Heavenly Father's plan for His children. Sitting in Stake Conference this last weekend, a question was posed that has stuck with me.

How comfortable are you with Heavenly Father's plan for you? 

Honestly, it's about the only thing I remember from the meeting. But it has really resonated with me. I have had a testimony for a long time about the Plan of Salvation, Plan of Happiness, Plan of Redemption. But specifically that plan for me?

Well his plan for me and my plan for myself have looked different. I've recently run across a number of "5" and "10" year plans I wrote for myself, things I wanted to do before I turned 30, and all the goals I've made over the years (I've been compiling them and so much more but more on that later). It's been absolutely amazing to see all the things I've been blessed enough to do and how many goals and dreams have been realized. And then there's the glaring one at the top that linger's "un-crossed off"...eternal marriage. 

Fortunately, marriage isn't something to be crossed off, a box to be checked, or a reward for being a good person. I'm certain it is worth the wait. And I know it is in God's plan for me. It's just that whole timing thing. 

And after I remind myself of all those things that I know, just sometimes forget...then yes I am absolutely 100% comfortable and better yet confident in my Heavenly Father's plan for me. 

I know that he has a plan for each of us. Of that...I delight everyday!

Monday, September 26, 2016

I delight in women's conference and being given what you need.

Every 6 months, my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church) has what we call General Conference. This is a time where during 6, 2-hour sessions the body of the Church is addressed by General Church Leadership. 4 sessions are General Sessions, intended for everyone, 1 session, the General Priesthood Session is for men ages 12 and up who hold the Priesthood, and 1 session, the General Women's Session is for women ages 8 and up. All sessions are broadcast and posted for any and all to listen to.

Last night, it was the General Women's Session.

I think every talk was just for me. Here are some of my notes:

Jean B. Bingham

  • One of the greatest forms of charity is withholding judgement. 
  • I will bring the light of the gospel into my home. 
  • Commit to do whatever is kind and human, to cheer and to bless in humanity's name. 
  • Look for and share positive things about others.
Carole M. Stephens
  • We need women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ. 
  • With an increased understanding of the doctrine of Christ, the Plan of Salvation, and the Savior, then we have to apply it and our love for the Savior will grow. Despite perceived differences, we all have need for his infinite atonement. 
  • He meets us where we are.
  • He can give us living water where we need it. 
  • He will comfort and strengthen us when we experience pain.
  • Hope and help are not found in darkness and secrecy. 
  • He is the master healer. 
Bonnie Oscarson
  • We should not be surprised by our day. 
  • Moroni asked, "What are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?"
  • We have many reasons to rejoice and be optimistic!
  • It will take concerted commitment.
  • We need foundational testimonies: 1) acknowledge centrality of God, our Heavenly FAther and Jesus Christ, 2) understand the need of restoration of doctrine, organization and keys of the priesthood, and 3) understand temple ordinances and covenants.
  • Through temple ordinances and covenants, the power of God is manifest in our lives. Are we drawing upon this power?
  • See yourself as an essential participant in the priesthood
  • Understand the plan of happiness.
  • Let us also use our common sense and sensitivity in teaching essential gospel truths and do so clearly.
  • We must be willing to speak up.
  • It is our responsibility to teach correct doctrine.

President Dieter F. Uctdorf
  • There are more ways to see than with our eyes. More ways to feel than with our hands. More ways to hear than with our ears.
  • Distill the voice of the Spirit
  • Challenge: to develop faith in a literal world
  • Faith is powerful and often it does result in miracles
  • 2 things faith cannot do-- 1) cannot violate another person's agency, 2) force our will upon God.
  • The purpose of faith is not to change God's will but to empower us to accept/trust God's will.
  • Follow someone who can see what I cannot. Trust and act accordingly. 
  • Trust in his love. Know that everything in the end will make sense. 
  • Walk by whatever faith we have.
  • Faith comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness.

I think my major take aways were these...
1) There are a lot of things that have become awkward subjects. Same sex attraction and marriage, gender identity, the family unit, and the roles of men and women, just to name a few. How have they become awkward? Well, honestly in my growing up experience, there wasn't the need to really discuss them like there is today. Not because we were ignorant, but because it wasn't as prevalent and everything in life wasn't so public. We live in a time where black and white just don't cut it for most. All shades of gray are expected to be accepted. In an effort to not offend, to be "up on the times," to be "kind" to all, to be open and non-judgemental, we may come across as being accepting of things. For me, the challenge is to teach that there is a balance between loving the person always; and yet, being aware that their beliefs and choices, may not coincide with mine.

As a parent, I don't know how to walk that fine line or how you teach that to your children. But I do know that I was raised by parents who taught me how to love others who were different than me. How to love them in spite of their weakness and how to be a friend to those who were struggling, no matter what the struggle. I believe that we must become these things, live these things. The only way we can teach those around us is by becoming it ourselves. 

2) The role of faith is crucial. We live in a literal world where proof is expected. Where immediate results, immediate gratification and immediate validation are expected on so many levels. I post something on social media and I can get all of the above right? But what are we really seeking? And how will it get us where we need to go? Well social media won't get us anywhere that we want to go. But God can help us get everywhere we need to go. I love when President Uctdorf said, "the purpose of faith is not to change God's will but to empower us to accept/trust God's will." I love that! God is great! He sees all the things that we can't see. He is our eyes from on high, our ears that can always hear and it is his hands which constantly reach toward us. 

3) "Faith comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness." This reminds me of patience. Patience is a virtue and it's one that I'm trying to develop but man it is hard. I don't rock at patience. In fact, just this morning, I woke up feeling very impatient that my life was not yet what I wanted it to be. But then, I thought of this line and of what it means. I think faithfulness is acting in a manner that is consistent with what we want, not just with what we presently have. I think faithfulness is a choice that you have to make over and over again in the million tiny little decisions you make, down to every thought you think in a day.

I'm looking forward to general conference this week. I hope I can be ready to receive the impressions that are in store for me.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

I delight in hope.

***I started this post a few weeks ago and have contemplated the writing of it for a while. It's one of those post that puts my vulnerabilities out there for what seems to me to be "all the world to see." However, only a few people will probably ever read this and that's fine too. There is something so meaningful for me to attempt to put complex emotions into words...but I believe in trying...

Tonight I started to mourn the end of my twenties! I'm not sure if it was just my internal alarm that went off that I was on the 60-day countdown to a new digit leading my age or what, but as I drove between my co-workers house and my own, I realized...this decade is quickly coming to a close.

This week I've been reflecting on a question someone last week asked, "What is different now than a year ago?"

I think one of the most exciting things about my twenties is that every year has looked somewhat different. College, college, college+mission, mission, grad school, grad school+externships, work+urlend, work+urlend+relief society, new ward+roommates+new job, bought a house+new ward+different new job.

As I've reflected on this decade, I can see growth and change. I reflect on the zig's, the zag's, the up's, the down's, the doubts, the fears, the wishes, the defeats, the successes, the joys, the sorrows, the challenges. But the overwhelming feeling that I feel is that of hope.

"There is hope smiling brightly before us."

"Hope is the anthem of my soul."

"Hope's a seed you have to sow."

While my #olw has been intentional, the word that has been impressed upon my soul in so many ways is hope.

While my twenties may be coming to an end, the future is full of hope in the things which are to come. My twenties may not have brought me to where I intended to be but I think I have ended up where I have needed to be. I know I have reiterated this before but the words of Kristin Oaks, wife of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, once said, "Has it ever occurred to you that you are single now because you're supposed to be?" She wisely reminded us of the people that we can impact because of where we are, and what our experiences have been. She taught us that the unexpected life is no less a life.

Life up to this point has been unexpected but it has been no less a life. I know that I am where I need to be and that I have been able to influence and bless the lives of people that I simply would have not had the chance to connect with had I been married. I've received some feedback lately about friends whose daughters look up to me which is such a compliment and so kind. I owe so much of who I am to those I have looked up to throughout my life. It always makes me nervous though that I'm not setting the best example or that someone may get the wrong idea about what's important.

What I'm trying to say is that, while some may look at my life and say, "Oh see she is just having so much fun, its okay if I don't get married, or I don't need to make marriage a priority right now", I would say that lots of things get harder as you get older. Marriage is definitely in that category. My advice, do whatever you can do not to delay it but don't stop progressing. While my life is great life, I would say that happiness has come from consistently progressing and pursing the life I want. Marriage is at the top of that list. It's still on the top of that list and has been for years. I'm not just living plan B, C, D, and E. I'm more on Q, R, S, T, U... Pursing marriage is important and while I haven't pursued it maybe as aggressively as I could have or as I see some do, I think we all have our own way of going about things and pursing what we desire.

What I'm also trying to say is that, I think that God would be disappointed with me if all I did was mope around and talk to everyone about how sad I am that I'm not married and how life isn't working out. I think its important to remember that what we share publicly, aka through social media, is just one piece of our lives.

Regardless of my age, my job, my relationship status, or any other general category...what I desire most is to live a life that is acceptable to God. I want to love his children and be his hands. I want to contribute good to the world and leave things better than I found them. I want to live my life in such a way that I can return home to his presence doing all that I covenanted to do. Re-enter the subject of hope! I am so grateful for the principle, skill, and blessing of hope! One of my favorite lessons I've learned this year is that "It's never too early. And it's never too late." I think it is so powerful to realize that time is measured only to man and that God is dealing with eternity. Jesus Christ is our great source of hope and is the light and hope of the world. His way is the way to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

week something of something

Oh how I love summers. I don't know if it's how long the days are or the warmth on my skin. Maybe its the evening walks, the incredible sunsets (which are even better as they slip beyond the horizon through my bedroom windows while I'm tucking in for the night), or the flowers that are thriving in my garden. Maybe it's the spontaneous trips to the cabin, the time spent with and in water including lakes, rivers and pools. Maybe its the mid-day work walks or the stops at the farmers market. Maybe its the zucchini and soon to be tomatoes that come in seeming endless supply from my dad. Maybe it's the school supplies that have emerged from the stores or the hint of fall that slowly seeps into the air. 

I can never put my finger on it exactly, but either way I know I love it. Summer has come and I'm elated. Maybe one day I'll write about it but the most important thing I want to remember is that I lived it. I lived it everyday! 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Week 22/52

fun things of the week:

  • finishing my powersheets
  • going for a walk to the bountiful temple
  • hearing my bishop play the bagpipes
  • hammock time
  • adventuring to 13 different quilt shops--some with my mom and christin, some by myself and most with my friend carey
  • cutting for my new quilt
  • continuing great scripture study on access
  • christin's pals performance in layton
  • gardening--from the picking out, to the weeding, to the planting and watering...i'm loving it!!
  • having dinner with nat and wandering city creek
  • breakfast adventures with friends

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Embrace Your Influence

You have an influence whether you want to believe it or not.

Today, I had one of those moments where I realized I'd been fighting not wanting to have an influence. I didn't want to be in charge. I didn't want people looking to me. I didn't want to be a leader. I mistakenly believed I wasn't one. But that was silly. I always knew I was born to lead and I knew I was born for glory. I know that I am a daughter of God, that I have infinite potential and a work to do on this earth. 

Now I need to own it and to live my destiny. He will support it and those around me will support me too. For that I am infinitely grateful.

"You are good, but it is not enough just to be good. You must be good for something. You must contribute good to the world. The world must be a better place for your presence. And the good that is in you must be spread to others." --President Gordon B. Hinckley

(This has been my life mission statement since I was in the 9th's time to embrace it even more!)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lessons from Tabernacle to Temple

"Growth doesn't happen in the comfort zone and 
the comfort zone doesn't exist when you're growing."

I often find myself thinking about growth, change and progress. I reflect back on who I've been, who I am and who I want to become. At times, it's a seemingly evasive journey. While I've come so far, there is always farther to go. There are many factors that contribute to the progress made on the journey of life. I recently had an experience that reminded me of an essential aspect of the journey, the enabling part of the journey, what gets me from who I currently am to who I want to become. 

Provo has always held a special place in my heart. It's the place of my ancestors. I grew up visiting there on a regular basis. My grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins on all sides of the family lived in or around Provo. And as a terrified and excited 18 year-old, I moved there to attend university.

When I heard the Provo Tabernacle had burned, my heart was so sad. I had the memory of attending Stake Conference there on multiple occasions, singing in the choir and listening to President Uctdorf. I had the memory of driving past it on the way to visit the deer with my grandparents almost every Sunday for 3 years. My grandmother would often remark about how beautiful that building was. Although, her Alzheimer's kept her from remembering what it was, she recognized it as a place of beauty, a place of heritage and a place of history.

After it burned, I wondered what the future held for this once sacred, dedicated space. Would it would be rebuilt or be torn down? Why did it happen? What plans did the Lord have? It seemed that the building had been spared no degree of vengeance from the flames that utterly destroyed it. Fire seems so relentless, so demeaning, so engulfing and yet, so purifying, so cleansing and so mesmerizing. It's incredible just how quickly something can go from present to absent, from standing to vanishing and from whole to broken. Anyone who has been near a forest fire can speak to the all encompassing nature of a fire as it seamlessly and viciously destroys anything it touches and spreads with even the smallest of breeze. The sound of crackling and the thickness of the smoke inhibits the ability to see far off and the ability to freely breath as fire pours in every sense of the body. The charred earth and remnants of a "once forest" left lifeless by the heat of the destructive flames. However, upon returning to this same space at a later time, the blackened remnants slowly unveil specks of a color, where life once more returns. And eventually, it comes back better and more lush than before. New life is born. And out of the ashes, life is born and a new day breaks forth.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the open house of the Provo City Center Temple. This temple has come to exist because of something awful and terrible that happened, the tabernacle burned down. This newly rebuilt/converted tabernacle to temple is a transformation that occurred as a direct result of a tragedy. Tragedy paved the way for something better. What I always knew as the Provo Tabernacle has become the Provo City Center Temple.

As I wandered through this sacred building, my heart was deeply impressed by what the tabernacle had become. While it was great before in its acoustics, its old school character and its reflection of the time in which it was built; the Lord has turned something good into something much better. It now served a higher purpose, order and calling. It invited and soon would allow patrons to make and keep covenants with God in His house. It had become a House of the Lord. In order for this place to fulfill the full measure of its creation, it required refinement. That refinement occurred in the process of something that started as a tragedy and turned into a temple. It has now become a sacred edifice, truly "Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord." It had been refined and re-defined. It has become better than before.

How is this kind of transformation possible? How could anyone have known that tragedy would indeed pave the way for something better?Why did God achieve destiny through tragedy? How were we to know when it burned that God had other plans for it? How could anyone have guessed that something so holy could rise out of ashes of devastation and despair?

As I stood outside, I marveled on how the outside structure had been preserved, how it was much the same as it was before. However, the inside had become so different. My mind was taken to the Savior, to His life and ultimately to His Atonement. I love how Preach My Gospel talks of the Atonement as encompassing three events, Jesus' suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His crucifixion on the cross and His Resurrection three days later. In process of the Atonement he went from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows. He trod the loneliest path that will ever be taken.  He truly descended below all things in every sense of the meaning.

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sickness of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffering according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance...." (Alma 7:11-13)

And because he suffered every pain, affliction and temptation that we will ever encounter, endure or experience, he has provided a way whereby we too can overcome the suffering of the flesh and ultimately be delivered to our heavenly home. Through the great tragedy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we too can reach our ultimate destiny. Through the Atonement, we too can become better than before. We can be cleansed of sin so we are worthy of blessings, and ultimately become pure, even spotless, becoming worthy of living in the presence of God and inheriting eternal life.

This cleansing process is often more intensive than we might think. I often think my heart just needs a little renovation. You know, polish some things up, fix a leak, maybe a broken pipe, refinish the patio, change the kitchen around, maybe update some fixtures, patch the roof,  just some touch ups with simple tools and household cleaners. But God expects more and therefore, more is required. Clean enough isn't clean. It requires intense work and effort in order for true purification to occur. Tough abrasives, scrubbing, scratching and even stretching and stinging. It involves a lot of time and diligence. It requires at some points, the element of heat, be it through friction or fire to be ultimately cleansed. This occurs in our souls.

Our Heavenly Father has a vision of potential for his children that is truly divine because he knows that divinity is in us. He intends for us to use the Atonement of his Son to become refined, prepared and pure in order to dwell with Him. That transformation takes the shape of a rebuild/conversion that is much more like what is described in this CS Lewis passage 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.”

And so, what God did with the temple, he is trying to do with us. It is the same pattern, a foreshadow if you will of what could and should happen to us. As I thought about the significance of the temples in my life, I thought of how I go there to make and keep covenants with God. These covenants are intended to eventually allow me to return to live with God. It's the course I'm putting myself on, its the path I want to walk.

I thought the tabernacle had reached its potential but it was through the cleansing fire of adversity and affliction (which really at the time we called tragedy and terror) that it has risen from the ashes to become something more incredible and more beautiful than could have been imagined.

And so it can be for us. Happiness and joy were not ever intended to be experienced in full measure in mortality, this life is only a time for us to prepare to meet God (see Alma 34:32).  Happiness and joy are the eternal gains. We knew that mortality would entail a lot of uncomfortable moments, lots of stretching, lots of growing. Growing isn't comfortable. But there isn't growth in the comfort zone and there isn't comfort in the growth zone. The fire of refinement is hard and at times, heartbreaking. Tragedy can pave the way for something better. We may wonder what good can come of it, if any at all. We wonder if growth and change are possible. We search for understanding and we look to God to understand what he is doing. But all the while, don't forget that he is always at the helm.

"You know...that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small held in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." (Doctrine and Covenants 123:16-17)

I don't usually use this as a platform to outrightly share my testimony although it is inherent in a lot of what I post. But, I want to share in a few simple statements. I know that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves us and I love Him. He gave his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ to tell the world of love, sacrifice and death. He sent his son to die for us and rise with living breath. (He Sent His Son, Primary Songbook) Jesus is the Living Christ, the light of the world. "His way is the path to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come."  (The Living Christ)

Let us choose to follow Him.

Week 14: "As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be."

Tonight I'm sitting on my deck watching the sun set over the Great Salt Lake. I hear so many birds happily singing with car sounds in the distance and maybe a blower? I see airplanes flying in, freeway traffic rolling along and some quail running through the backyard.  The sun will be down in 5 minutes but its about to break out from behind a cloud before hiding away behind the mountains for the night.

This week has been yet another week but its different than the ones before. In ways I cannot describe it feels as though "my chains are gone and I've been set free." This week has been a week of determination and decisions. There is something about General Conference and the opening of doors which had previously seemed closed. I'm not sure how it happens exactly but I am so grateful for the blessings of so many talks which has infinitely blessed my life. I have loved General Conference for a long time. At time I struggle when it seems my heart is reminded by each talk that I do not yet have the blessings I so desire; however, this time, the thought honestly never even crossed my mind. I felt buoyed up, assured and humbled. I so appreciated the acknowledgement by Elder Holland at the end of conference that the real world hits the day after conference has ended and we all struggle. With that in mind, I more diligently determined to fortify myself with the good word of God and a good night of sleep. I reminded myself that if tomorrow didn't go perfectly, it was okay. It was okay to not be perfect and perfectly be implementing all I had learned at conference.

"First of all, if in the days ahead you not only see limitations in those around you but also find elements in your own life that don’t yet measure up to the messages you have heard this weekend, please don’t be cast down in spirit and don’t give up. The gospel, the Church, and these wonderful semiannual gatherings are intended to give hope and inspiration. They are not intended to discourage you. Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve,he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed."
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland
April 2016 General Conference

I realized that if I let myself only be discourage, I was playing into the adversaries trap and I was not willing to do that. I decided instead to actually listen and try to heed what Elder Holland said and trust that the Lord would give me credit for what little progress I did make, even if that was a few steps forward and a couple steps back. I decided that if the Lord was going to give me credit...why would I try to do anything any different?

I just have to share and really testify that that changed the week for me. I tried diligently to keep a reasonable amount of commitments I made including going to ward temple night (even though I'd been feeling guilty for every time I went to the temple without having done Grandma's work). I woke up early and actually got ready for work. I prayed better in the morning and I listened to a conference talk everyday. It changed my week! Instead of feeling overwhelmed and grumpy, I felt happy and that with Christ, I could do all things. I felt inspired with answers to prayers (the 3B's) and I felt the sincere love of the Lord.

I also determined that Grandma's temple work had to be done that week! And so, on Friday, I had the incredible privilege of doing her work in the Ogden temple. I wrote a post about the experience that maybe one day I'll post but until then, I'll treasure it in my heart. As I sat in the dressing room and cried at one point, my heart was so overwhelmed with the Lord our Heavenly Father has for all his children and that its never too early and its never too late. The Lord works on a different timetable and for that...I am so grateful.

The Lord is truly intent in our personal growth. He is intent on leading his children home. He is intent on families. And as our days demand, he will support us and help us along the way.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 12: The Week I Played Mom

Last week, my mom had her knee replaced. We've been through this before, though I'm not sure if that made it better or worse.

She made it through like a champ and honestly was doing better after the first day than she was weeks after she had the first one done. The trickiest thing about it is that my mom is wonder woman...and everyone knows wonder woman is a terrible patient.

I took last week off to essentially "play mom." I went on "the ride", took care of bob's blood, fixed meals, refilled waters and the knee cooler machine. And the million other little things mom does. Not to say I did all the things or did any of them as well as she does but hopefully it helped.

I still went to Tuesday class and worked Friday. I went to a RS Bread class on Thursday night. It's my goal to bake more bread this week and hope it turns out as remotely well as the first loaf did. Saturday I returned home again, bounced back and forth on Sunday as the choir sang "Consider the Lilies." They sounded incredible. It makes me so proud to be able to lead them.

The week was still my own, probably more than it should have been. I still did some work from home. I still went through the usual stuff but, stepping into someone else's shoes helped my heart to grow, my patience to be strengthened and my tendency toward sharpness to be dulled. I tried to let myself be more complimentary, more kind, more loving and just more of whatever it needed to be.

As I sat and watched the General Women's session of General Conference with my Mom, my heart strings were tugged as I thought of all the ways I can bless the lives of others, and need to do so more regularly. My sweet mom sat and wept through the whole conference. I know she wasn't thinking the same thing as I, but I was thinking...she's so incredible and she demonstrates so many of the attributes that were spoken of. I'm so grateful for her example.

Week 11: tick, tick, tick, boom!

(in case you're not up on your gilmore girls references...the title is from season 4, episode 18)

this week has been every shade of crazy. catching up on a week of emails while being in meetings was crazy. crazy news is crazy. but being with my family last week was worth it.

i've drug my feet to write about this week and i've ultimately decided i'm not going to.

the most anti-climactic post ever...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week 9/10 : Who I was and who I am, the colliding of worlds

Highlights of the week/s:

  • dinner with friends from high school--rach, nicole, sus and nat
  • running into people i love in unexpected places
  • wandering the library and going to the gym
  • finishing a book on tape--blink
  • caulking my pantry--to ward away the ants
  • cleaning the garage--for the sake of my sanity
  • cataloging my small food storage--the only thing that has order in my storage room
  • meeting my new neighbor--who also has a brother with ds
  • great phone calls with friends--aka nat
  • disney on ice with christin and my mom. a trip to litza's and a trip to the disney store where i am ever humbled by the kindness and generosity of others (see story 1)
  • playing and visiting with car and the babes--who aren't wee bobbies anymore, they're mini people
  • waffle love with mary 
  • seeing patients
  • reading books, soaking in books upon books
  • becoming curious because of what I've read
  • good tinder matches (because that does not always happen)
  • happy reunions
  • digging for rocks
  • going down a path i'd never been down before
  • the smell of cooked cabbage
  • tulips popping up out of the ground
  • spending time with my family
  • my dad bringing me a heated blanket
  • choosing carpet! finally!
  • cleaning my garage
  • singing songs
  • megan's homecoming
  • following promptings
  • sweet surprises

Today I had the delightful opportunity to reunite with dear friends for the homecoming of a sister I had the privilege of serving in a Relief Society calling with. As the other 3 of us sat together, watching this sister speak of the experiences she has had over the past 18 months, my heart swelled with gratitude for that time in my life (the time of a mission and the time i had serving with her) and for the time I currently have, to be where I am.

I find that in "reunion moments" where lives previous and current collide; perspective, peace and substance emerge out of the whirlwind. In the moment, it can be hard to determine why you're there, what you're supposed to be contributing and if you're doing the good you could. Immediately reflecting back, it can still be hard to see but as time goes by...perspective, peace and substance emerge.

Today's experience took me back. It reminded me that 18 months ago I was living at home during what was supposed to be a "short transition time" which transitioned into two and half years. During that time, I commuted 30 minutes to work 1 way on a good traffic day to my full-time job as a brand new speech pathologist. I completed a post-grad fellowship program which took my Friday's on the road from Salt Lake to Logan and required a lot of reading, research and time and I served in a relief society presidency in my home YSA ward. It was a busy time which at the time seemed like an eternity and now seems like it all happened in the blink of an eye.

I've read a lot in the past week and something that has stood out to me in all that I have read is the value of the middle. When we start the retell of a story, we begin with the beginning set up and then we skip to the end, the resolve, how it all turned out. The value of the end is only of value because of the experiences we had in the middle. Sometimes I talk about my life in these phases of almost separate lives because while some people cross the time phases, a lot don't. When location changes, its almost like everything changes in a sense. I really think its more that when you move to a new place, its a way to kind of "capstone" a phase of life. Some people have children to "capstone" phases, maybe places they've lived, jobs...I have places I've lived and roommates I've had, wards I've been in, callings I've had.

The perspective, peace and substance of that time in my life came today. It reminded me that the past has been good, really good. That I have grown since then and have continued to be shaped by my opportunities. That the lessons I've learned have been stepping stones to further growth and attainment. It reminded me that the past is never really over. The people you got to know and grew to love are always there, maybe in a different way but they are always there. As Megan spoke of sacrifice and the worth of sacrifice, I thought of various sacrifices made by myself and others who have contributed to the "bettering" in someway. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I delight in simple answers to a prayer.

    T Prayer is truly the souls sincerest desire. Tonight my heart swelled with every emotion in the book and the only thing I could think need to pray. I couldn't find the words to express what I was thinking or feeling so I started just focusing on the hymns the organist was playing. My mind was able to settle down as it focused on the beginning notes of a hymn. Would I know this one? How many notes would it take me to guess it? Did I know the words? What about if he decided to play an additional verse? While I knew I should be praying, my mind was finally able to focus and calm by tuning intently into the music. 
       And...I was able to recognize answers to my unspoken prayers as I listened and mentally sang along. This hymn, although never played by the organist, came to my mind. The bolded lines were the things that struck me the most.

     I I am so grateful that the Lord knows the thoughts and intents of my heart. I'm so grateful he can calm my troubled heart, bind my broken heart, and let not sorrow overwhelm. He will curb the winds and calm the billows and in him, I will find everlasting peace.

  1. 1. Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
    Thy sweet message now impart.
    May thy Spirit, pure and fervid,
    Enter ev'ry timid heart;
    Carry there the swift conviction,
    Turning back the sinful tide.
    Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
    May each soul in thee abide.
  2. 2. Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
    We are weak but thou art strong;
    In thy infinite compassion,
    Stay the tide of sin and wrong.
    Keep thy loving arms around us;
    Keep us in the narrow way.
    Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
    Let us never from thee stray.
  3. 3. Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
    Thou wilt bind the broken heart.
    Let not sorrow overwhelm us;
    Dry the bitter tears that start.
    Curb the winds and calm the billows;
    Bid the angry tempest cease.
    Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
    Grant us everlasting peace.

Monday, February 29, 2016

general conference: worthy of our promised blessings

this was one of my favorite talks from last general conference.

october 2015 conference was an interesting experience. my family was in idaho. i was in my new house. i didn't have tv, i had run out of data on my phone, and i was overwhelmed with everything I had to do. i had missed the women's conference the week before. and honestly, i was just feeling sorry for myself in this transition to a new normal, aka living alone.

so i painted. i was determined i would finish my closet by myself. i painted the entire closet, the doors and i even hung the doors myself (not an easy task).  as i painted doors, i listened to women's conference. This quote struck me so deeply...

Understandably, many have expressed that our Father’s promised blessings are just “way too far away,” particularly when our lives are overflowing with challenges. But Amulek taught that “this life is the time … to prepare to meet God.”8 It is not the time to receive all of our blessings. President Packer explained, “‘And they all lived happily ever after’ is never written into the second act. That line belongs in the third act, when the mysteries are solved and everything is put right.”9However, a vision of our Father’s incredible promised blessings must be the central focus before our eyes every day—as well as an awareness “of the multitude of his tender mercies”10 that we experience on a daily basis.
Sisters, I do not know why we have the many trials that we have, but it is my personal feeling that the reward is so great, so eternal and everlasting, so joyful and beyond our understanding that in that day of reward, we may feel to say to our merciful, loving Father, “Was that all that was required?” I believe that if we could daily remember and recognize the depth of that love our Heavenly Father and our Savior have for us, we would be willing to do anything to be back in Their presence again, surrounded by Their love eternally. What will it matter, dear sisters, what we suffered here if, in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God with our Father and Savior?
i'm so grateful to know that in the end, all will be made right.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week 8: Life is not a bucket list

If there was one word to describe my week, it was probably "over." For whatever reason, potentially hormones, I was over the week, the entire week. It didn't keep me from doing any of the usual things and honestly, there were probably only two people who knew I was feeling any different than usual.

Lessons I learned this week:

  • Hugging brings happiness. I like hugs and I like to hug other people. For whatever reason, I needed some hugs this week. 
  • Talking to people louder than my usual volume makes my voice fatigue much faster.
  • The value of assuming good intent is HIGH in every single context of life.
  • Saying good-bye is never my favorite thing
  • Bananas are one of the smelliest foods
  • Choosing frames for pictures always starts with me having no opinion and ends with me having really strong opinions.
  • Listening to books on tape is addictive.
  • I'm a terrible judge of size and dimension.
  • I would rather drive than ride when I don't have the attention span for a book.
  • I dream of making delicious Thai Curry (or any curry for that matter) and am grateful for friends who can. 
  • Regular tires are much quieter than snow tires. 
  • Chocolate cake is an appropriate dinner some days.
  • Maddox is the only place I will eat pickle relish. 
  • Hamburgers have been my food of the week which is ironic because the first time I ever ate a hamburger was 11 years ago!
  • Life is not a bucket list. 
  • Life is never to be taken for granted.
  • Grocery shopping at WinCo really is that much cheaper.
  • Put your heart into everything you do. 
  • Be the kind of person who makes other people feel so welcome and loved.
  • Ants and I will never be friends!

Friday, I had the opportunity to honor the life of my dear Aunt Lorraine. As her daughters and grandson spoke of her life, I was so impressed by the woman she was and the woman that she is.

Something my cousin Lisa said really really struck me, in so much that I had recorded the funeral service for Craig and went back and listened to it myself to write down this quote that has been on my mind for the past two days. In closing, Lisa said: "I sometimes worried about her. I wanted her to have everything she wanted to have and do everything she wanted to do. And I just had this sweet peaceful reassurance the day after she died, that none of that mattered.  And that the focus so much these days is on bucket lists and doing things that you want to do and living your life and making sure that you get to do everything or have everything that you want. I want to testify that it does not matter. I feel that. I believe that. I know that she let all of that go and she was happy to let all of that go. These are earthy cares, the cares that are here on earth, they stay here. She has moved on to better things and a better place."

Those are wise words. They really made me re-examine...everything. Not everything I do, but it made me re-examine and refine my motivation for what I do...why I do it. 

I love my bucket list. And at the top of that bucket list is people--I want to be a wife and mother. I want to be the best sister, daughter, friend and person to those in my life. That is the frame in which I want to make sure I do everything I do. None of the other "stuff" or experiences should ever take the place of people and doing the things of eternal value and worth. At the end of the day I want to have lived in every moment, living a meaningful life is my bucket list. 

Sure I have lots of fun experiences I want to have in life and I've had lots of great experiences. I will still have a bucket list. But my life will not be defined by the number of things I've crossed off on that bucket list. I want my life to be defined by the people I loved, the conversations I had and the promptings I followed.

Yesterday, I tried to savor moments a little more. I hugged a little longer. Volunteered to give Christin her bath. I tried not to rush moments. I drove a little slower, aka the speed limit. I listened a little more. I waited a little more before responding. At the end of the day, as I drove home around midnight on the quiet streets of my neighborhood, the audiobook I'd been listening to for 3 weeks had just wrapped up and nothing seemed an appropriate substitute but silence. I reflected on how mortality happens and we are along for the journey. 

Lisa is right, life is not a bucket list. Bucket lists don't bring happiness. The events on a bucket list shouldn't be things to do just so you can say you did them. To me, they're experiences that happen in places I want to learn more about and with people I want to make memories with. Seeing the Mona Lisa wasn't all that great. Seeing my mom see the Mona Lisa, something she never thought she'd see, was best part. Going to Israel was great. Experiencing it and feeling it and loving it with my Dad was incredible. They are moments we talk about, share about and that have brought us closer together.

"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military man or the peacemaking of women in homes and neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries as made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this." --Neal A. Maxwell

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 7: The Week that Happened

Last week happened...I don't remember it very well.

I made cinnamon rolls. Played cars and dinosaurs. I threw a party. I laughed so hard that I cried. I cleaned out grandpa's basement. I said goodbye to someone I love. I continued to listen to the book "Blink." I conducted the ward choir in singing my most favorite song "Jesus Savior Pilot Me." I did some yard work. I picked out carpet. I spent hours staring at paint samples with friends and my mom. I cut out a new project. I completely botched an almost completed project. I talked. I walked in the sunshine. I hung up pictures. I met some new people.

At the end of the day, a week happened! :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Write

For the past couple of years, I have felt that I should write more. When I say write more, I just mean, write more. What I'm trying to clarify here is that I don't mean to write better. I am terrible with grammar and punctuation. Sometimes, I give up on capitalization all together; although I'm trying to be better at that. I never know if I have dangling participles or if my use of commas is appropriate. I know my sentences run on and on. If that bothers you, either help me or don't worry about it. Maybe one day I will focus my efforts there but today...I just want to write! You see, I used to be a diligent journal writer...grad school killed that and it hasn't really come back. But, I have been somewhat of a diligent blog writer. Maybe its being able to tag and search for things that I've written or maybe its just the fact that its like a journal I can keep in my pocket, but I have written with some consistency on this platform, or on another closed platform depending on the subject.

Lately, I have taken to using this as a medium whereby I can collect thoughts and formulate an essay on a subject of interest. That subject of interest currently is the Provo City Center Temple. As I have studied related subjects and themes from my experience in attending the Open House, my life has been blessed as I have labored over what to write, how to write it and how to synthesize my studies together.

I've always had a unique way of studying that works for me. One day I want to describe it further and write about it but for now, I want to share the value of writing. Sometimes, I think I write too much when I study. I write words on new pages that are printed on other pages right in front of me. It makes no sense to me sometimes. But, I've determined there is value in this effort. For me, writing words somehow makes them a part of me in a way that just thinking about them as I read them doesn't do. It internalizes them, makes me experience them through another modality and maybe allows me to carry them with me a little longer than I would otherwise.

I was reflecting on Sunday about a quote book that I kept from Junior High through my mission. In that space of time, I filled an entire composition book with handwritten quotes that I had read that had left an impression on me. I have turned to that quote book for inspiration and guidance from the time I started it to present. I often reflect on quotes I wrote down so long ago. I laugh that I know exactly where to find them in the most hodge podged book of quotes. But I think it goes back to the fact that the written word has become a part of me. I could have typed them in a lengthy document only to be accessed on my computer. I could have typed them and taped them which might have worked too and definitely would have been more time economical but I really love that I took the time to write them.

While I love seeing the evolution of my penmanship (neat to messy to print then cursive), I also love remembering where the quote came from, who shared it with me, how it impacted me at the time and why I wrote it in the book. Its like a journal without the written description of why it was important in my life at the time. That history is written only in my heart.

And so, I commit to writing more. I started a new quote book after I finished the first one but haven't kept it with such diligence as I did the first one. I need to. I commit to continuing to work on the essay I've started about the Provo City Center Temple and to eventually publish it here.  I commit to my weekly recaps to monitor my progress on my goals and keep myself in check. I commit to my continued favorite way as of present to capture the sparkles of life which is Instagram. I commit to write.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


buffalo in yellowstone
spring 2014

"...I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;..."
--Doctrine and Covenants 18:3

:depend on with full trust or confidence
:be dependent on

I rely on a lot of things. I rely on the lights turning on when I flip the switch, my car starting when I put the key in the ignition. I rely on phone service working when I make a call, the internet working when I click and app or turn on my computer. I rely on my fridge to keep my food cold, and my body to function properly.

I rely on a lot of things. Almost unintentionally and without much thought, I full expect and have confidence in the fact that when I use or do something, the object will do what it is built and anticipated to do. I've become somewhat dependent on that fact.

But reliance isn't just in things, switches or electronic items. Because honestly, these things will all fail at some point. You will turn on the water faucet one day and water won't come out (see the post about my flooded basement). You will depend on someone to do something and it won't happen sometimes. We've all been there, on both sides of the experience. And you know what, we're human, its expected, its okay.

But what does it really mean to rely and how can we really do it? What can we really rely on?

Tonight as I was reading in the scriptures at the end of a particularly long and challenging day and week, I opened to Doctrine and Covenants 18. This word rely stood out on the page in verse 3. The scripture says, "And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;..."

I had this moment of peace as I reflect on being able to "rely upon the things that are written."

I am so grateful to have the scriptures. These ancient records of scripture allow me to rely on them. They're words and friends that never fail me. They never fail me when I read them and they never fail me as the Spirit brings them to my remembrance in the moments when I need them most. I am so grateful that I can depend on the words that are written in the scriptures and that I can trust and have confidence in the words that are written for my benefit and learning. I need to rely on them more.