Sunday, January 31, 2016

week 4: homeownership in real life

Update to the basement: The upside is that its now dry (3 turbo fans and a dehumidifier later). The downside is that they found mold on a baseboard and had to cut two holes in my drywall. Still carpet-less. Still frustrated with my insurance.

Update to the windows: I got new windows this week! That was a pre-planned event but man was messy! My house was in chaos...and when you add in the water mitigator showing up...I may have just about lost it! Holes and hammering upstairs, holes and hammering downstairs...minorly overwhelming. But the windows are all in, the house is all cleaned and the light in the daytime without the accompanying "breeze" is a definite win!

Update to the work: Work is work. I don't really blog about it but man alive, I work with some really awesome people! I'm so blessed to get to do what I do!

Update to the fam: My dad has saved my life this week! Besides monitoring the window chaos and the water chaos, he stayed upstairs...while I hermited downstairs in the "less chaos." He also stayed and helped me clean up (he's got major vacuuming skills), took me to costco, bought me dinner and helped himself to completing a number of random house projects. What would I do without my dad?!?!?

Update to the spirit: Me and my scriptures had some really great times this week. I am so grateful for the role of the scriptures in my life and for the powerful re-charge the scriptures provide!

Update to the house projects: I found a curtain rod for my bedroom and ordered some curtains. I love that they won't impede my view...because I love my view! Still looking for an ottoman...why do I love putting my feet up?!? I still need to put the craft room back together again. One step at a time.

Update in the self-care: I made turkey pot pie, wandered world market, sat down and read a book and did my monthly review.

One of my biggest delights of the day was when I unearthed a number of lessons learned//daily delight documents. I started compiling them all together into a master list. Each line was like a precious gem of learning that happened at a critical time in my life. Man did my heart a world of good! I also found a ton of goal pages for the past 10 years. What a happy discovery. I loved reviewing the past and examining the present.

perceptions and reality

my view of my parent's mountain
(see far mountain with the sun on the eastern face)

 my parents view of their mountain

The above pictures were taken at the exact same time.

Of the same thing.

Although, you'd never guess it!

From my perspective, it was the perfect winter day. A peaceful early morning. I had a beautiful view of the valley as I took down my blinds for day two of window installation. I couldn't help but gaze northward for a view of my "home mountain" Ben Lomond. The sun was just rising illuminating its face. It was incredibly beautiful. It calmed my heart and turned my thoughts heavenward.

Then my dad called. He said he was concerned about how the day was going to go. Confused, I responded, what do you mean? He then went on to say that they had two inches of snow on the ground and that the fog was so thick that they couldn't even see the trees at the back of the yard.

Then I started laughing...I couldn't help it. From my perspective, they should have been enjoying the same sunrise I was, and from their perspective, I should have been enjoying the same foggy gloom they were. Yet...our perceptions were just that...perceptions of the others reality and both incorrect.

Lesson? Perceptions are not the same thing as reality. Perceptions are only the lens with which we anticipate someones reality but it doesn't make it true. I'm grateful for these very vivid reminders that they are not the same thing.

I think about how the Lord must view this principle that he is all too familiar with. He sees all the things that I can't see. He knows where I've been and what is yet to be. He knows what's around the corner, the riverbend and the next hill. He sees all the pieces of the plan in one and as one.

Elder Maxwell once said, "It is that you must not mistake passing local cloud cover for general darkness. They are very different things, and for us to misinterpret local cloud cover, which will soon be blown away, as general darkness is a terrible thing. The restored gospel is so full metaphorically of light. We must not be mistaken about this."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

week 3: blank space

Needless to say, it was a crazy week. Everything worked out though. Including running a meeting Thursday which was interrupted with phone calls of people needing to get in my house. Fortunately, I have the nicest mom and siblings and understanding co-workers who helped make it all work out.

By the time Friday rolled around, I went to work, went to the wood connection (because priorities/sanity is in the right place!) and went home and worked on my craft project. Then I went and picked up AnnMarie and went to Provo! Obviously the best drive on a Friday night! Traffic wasn't too terrible. It was so fun to chat and catch up and see friend Joni! We had a delightful evening eating yummy food and chatting. Driving home from Provo late at night got me to thinking of just how many times I have made that drive from Provo north. I thought of all the wonderful memories of college and my grandparents and great-grandparents in Provo. I thought of all the family heritage I have in Provo. I'm so grateful for that funny college town and the experience of my years there as a student.

Saturday was a clean out day at Grandpa's house. A never-ending project. But also a "never can the whole family attend clean out day" again. Too many people. Too many emotional attachments. Too much stuff. Fortunately, this year I have a house to put stuff in so that's fun! The favorite things I came home with were a gum ball machine (the gum is as old as i am), a beautiful geode, some milk glass and tulips...but they were from my parents. Saturday night I went to a party with some coworkers. It was so fun! When we left, we drove home in a snowstorm! That was eventful! I called and thanked my parents for the snow tires they put on my car at the beginning of the winter. I wouldn't have made it home without them.

Sunday was lovely. We started new songs in choir and one of them is my MOST favorite song! Jesus, Lover of my Soul/Jesus, Savior Pilot Me! In my first area on my mission, we practiced this song in branch choir every week for almost the entire time I was there. We finally sang it a few weeks before I left the area. I took to searching the internet for it and now my ward is going to sing it in February! I'm so excited! :) I LOVE it! Sunday night I went home for dinner with the family. I have the best family!

And that was the wrap to an interesting week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

week 2.5: emergency preparedness

This one warranted a mid-week post.

Yesterday I went to turn on my faucet and no water came out. Not even a drop. Strange.

So, I checked additional faucets, they didn't work either. So...I wandered outside to my neighbors to see if their water wasn't working too. 3 doors later, no one was home. What next? Well then I went downstairs to check my water and investigate my utility room. I walked down the stairs, turned the corner, hit the laundry room and simultaneously hit wet feet. Soaked feet. The hall? Soaked. The utility room (fortunately concrete)? Soaked. The spare bedroom? SOAKED. The closet in the spare bedroom? Also soaked. I think my first thought, for the first time in my life...this is MY problem. Welcome to home ownership. Wah-wah-wah...

So like any girl in distress? I called my dad. I don't even know how our conversation went down, I can't remember. Its all a blur. But it ended in the fact that I needed to talk to a neighbor or someone in my HOA. Problem? I have been a terrible neighbor and don't really know any of them! The ones I've known recently moved, and I know I have a neighborhood contact list somewhere but I couldn't find it. So I called the only other people whose contact info I had, the sweet couple who lives at the far end of the street. I've never been so grateful for a sweet "Well hello Erin" response on the other end of the line. I told them I wished it had been a happier call but that I was in a bit of a moment of crisis. I told them what had happened and they said they'd come right over and check it out with me.

And so, five minutes later, they were at my door. And with dinner. Before long, we had determined it was likely coming from my neighbors house and seeping through the walls. Then began the night and the parade of people and vacuums. The water boots and the shop-vacs. I met neighbors I'd only waved at. I programmed numbers into my phone. I facebook stalked people to try to figure out how to get in the neighbors house. I entertained the neighbors children. I pulled carpet, ripped up padding, vacuumed water with the help of my neighbors, dad, a friend from the ward and my roommate. My neighbor two doors down just started working on getting me water unannounced to me. He ran a hose from his house to my house. Told my dad what adaptor I needed from home depot after he called a few people to see if they happened to have one.

At the end of the day, the wet carpet was out, the water was mostly gone, the fan was going (and is still going and will be going for a long while), I had running water in my house (thanks to my neighbor since I have no water coming to my house from the usual line) and I had met a lot of my neighbors!

Lessons learned:

  • never take water for granted
  • don't put off washing your hair 
  • don't put off doing laundry or washing dishes
  • know your neighbors
  • put your neighbors numbers in your phone
  • own a shopvac
  • rubber boots were a good investment (for outside puddles and inside puddles alike)
  • the impression to buy water--was a good one to heed

Monday, January 18, 2016

week 2: reminders about forgiveness

Last year, I read an article that has forever changed the way I think. It was in the Chaplain's Corner of the PCH Newsletter I receive every couple of weeks. It was a simple question that was posed, "When was the last time you allowed someone to change?" 

It's easy to peg people as "this kind of person" or "that kind of person." I'm guilty of this all the time. I rely on my own perceptions or even worse, other's perceptions on situations, people or personalities that I don't even know well myself or with whom I have had limited interactions. 

Yesterday, I was reminded of a situation in my life in which I haven't really been able to let someone become anyone but the thoughtless, heartless person I had pegged them as after a poor interaction which led to significant family challenges including family members being forced to distance themselves from our church congregation. You see, for my brother, all it takes is one poor interaction and he doesn't really recover from it. He can't recover from it. (Not won't.) That's autism for you. 

Anyway, as I listened to the brethren via satellite broadcast talk of sabbath day observance, Elder Cook (or maybe it was Elder Bednar) who said, we have to be particularly mindful of those who may, for whatever reason be in the foyer. Deacons must make sure that those in the foyer have the opportunity to partake of the sacrament as well. In that instant, my eyes welled up with tears. This was the precise situation which had made it so Craig could no longer attend our singles ward, he was told that he needed to be in the chapel to receive the sacrament, not in the foyer. 

The first thing I felt was compassion. Compassion from a Heavenly Father who knows no boundaries but our own distance from unrepentant sin. Compassion that He knew the situation perfectly. That He loved by brother with all his won'ts and can'ts and wills and cans. The second thing I felt was sadness. Sadness that this hadn't been understood more compassionately by my local leaders and sadness that the ordinance of the sacrament isn't available to my brother (there's more to this story but it involves more careless comments). The third thing I felt was sadness for myself that I hadn't quite gotten over it as fully as I had thought I had. There was still room for more repentance, more forgiveness, more divine intervention. 

In Sunday School yesterday we talked of Lehi's dream. Lehi's dream has long been one of my most favorite stories in the scriptures. I can always find myself in Lehi's dream and it's always a good self-assessment story. One member of the class commented that all the people, everyone had to pass through the mists of darkness which symbolize the temptations of the adversary, on their way to the tree of life. Isn't that true for each of us. We are here on a mortal sojourn back to the tree, back home to gain eternal life with God. But we too must pass through mists of darkness and continually hold to the rod of iron. We can get lost, our perception of the things that matter and those things that don't can get warped. We can get confused. We can focus too much on the wrong things. We can get stuck in only seeing somethings in a particular way. Mists can blind us physically and spiritually. I'm so grateful that God can help us see through the mist. He provides the rod of iron. He helps us discern the mist and recognize it for what it is and help us know where it is that we must turn for help, support and guidance. 

2016 is all about course corrections. It's intentionally seeing things the way they are and intentionally acting to be more consistent with the things that I know. I'm not perfect. I fall short. I stumble. But I know that nothing compares to the strength available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. With him, course corrections are always possible!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

week 1: the intention fail

One of my goals this year is to write more.

I used to be a religious journal writer, then grad school happened and I've never really jumped on the bandwagon again. Its not the first time I've mentioned this here, and yes, technically this is a written record but not a good one, and not a complete one. However, if someone really wanted to compile my life...its there, just in fragments of planners and journals, blogs and study books. Alas...

One year, I broke it down week by week and this year, I want to do the same. Even if I can just post once a week, its better than nothing.

Lessons of the week--
1. Vertigo is bad but having PT friends who know vestibular and balance is good. Somehow, I acquired the condition of a 50+ year old and had loose inner ear crystals running amok in my semi-circular canals. It was rough. But then dear Joann fixed it! I am forever grateful and am grateful that I am not always as nauseated as it made me feel for 5 out of the last 7 days.

2. I get an eye twitch when I'm real nervous and when I'm sleep deprived its worse.   Fortunately, I think I'm the only one who can see it; however, I feel really awkward.

3. If one can make friends with the security guard, one can park on any level they want! The security guard told me twice this week that I could park on the second floor! Not that it really matters which floor I park on... :)

4. I should always park in the same place in City Creek. Otherwise, I will invariably spend a lot of time trying to remember the first view I had when I came up the elevator.

5. I know nothing about chocolate but I did taste some of the best in the world this week! And delicious balsamic vinegar and sipping vinegars. Now, if only I had time to cook with it all!

6. I can talk about child language for a really long time.

7. I love feeding disorders and am so impressed by my incredible staff and their knowledge and skills.

8. I have mission ptsd from getting bit by a dog and a close encounter with a scary dog the same day...large dogs running toward me will cause me to look really really panicked. And I don't feel bad about it.

9. I think I've learned to say no even when I really want to say yes and vice versa. Because that's not confusing.

10. I've conquered some fears this week. Fear of failure. Fear of judgement. Fear of being perceived incorrectly. Fear of crushing egg shells. Fear of asking for help. Now these aren't permanent conquerings but every step counts.

At the end of the week, I haven't been as intentional as I'd like to be. But I have found consistency in habits I haven't been consistent in before. I've been more forgiving of my own short comings and my "new years resolutions" that haven't gone as perfect as I'd dreamed. I choose to intentionally fail and to intentionally try again tomorrow and the next day and every day thereafter.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

general conference: now is the time to serve a mission!

Now is the Time to Serve a Mission!, Elder Richard G Scott

Earlier this year (so you know, 6 days or so ago) I got thinking how much I miss knowing conference as well as I did on my mission. As a missionary, I knew who said what, what they talked about and could quote things from conference and I loved it. I want to be able to do that again!

So, I've decided to share some of my favorite conference talks, the ones that have made a particular impression or ones that have stuck with me for one reason or another. I also want to write more about what I learn from current conference talks.

I'm starting with one of the most influential talks I'd ever heard at conference up to this point in my life. In April 2006 I was just finishing up my freshman year at BYU. I'd learned a lot about hard work, learning to live independently, learning to be my own person, to stand up for myself, to speak up and to forgive. I'd learned a lot about being brave and working hard. I'd learned a lot about love and failure and God. I'd learned about the gospel, about friendship and about the real value of failing at something despite great effort. Needless to say, I was also very jealous at this time that guys my age were on missions and I was stuck home going through a really challenging first year of college when really I just wanted to be on a mission too. It wouldn't be until 2 years later that I would make the decision to serve but this talk set me on a course of preparation.

The line from this talk that I still remember today is this: You will never regret serving a mission, but you most probably will regret not serving if that is your choice.

Isn't that so powerful?

There is so much wisdom in this statement that applies to my life even today in regards to regrets and opportunities.

Elder Scott changed my life for good that day. And the Spirit began to work on the desires of my heart more than ever before. I know that what Elder Scott said is true. I have never ever regretted my decision to serve the Lord as a missionary. My mission wasn't perfect, in fact it and grad school are fairly tied in terms of the most trying times of my life. It was the experiences I had as a missionary that make me reflect back and say...Erin, you did can do this. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of a person, a place or an experience that I had, or all three. It has influenced my life in every way for the better. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knew that "now" was the time to prepare for a mission.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I delight in reaching for things.

a giraffe at the zoo
summer 2013

Last night, my mom was telling me that she had asked LB (my little sister, approximately 5'2) to go get some paper towel. Now the paper towel is kept in the cold storage room on a high shelf. My mom assumed, LB would go ask Craig (who was already downstairs) to help her get it down. 

LB returned a while later with two rolls of paper towel. When my mom asked if Craig helped her, she proudly responded that she did it all by herself. She then went on to tell my mom how she got a long poster mailer and used it as a stick to get the rolls down that she needed. She glowed with pride that she had done it by herself, my mom smiled that LB had been so resourceful as to figure it out on her own using the tools she had available. 

Three days ago, I was at Smith's doing some grocery shopping on what is, the worst day of the year to grocery shop, New Years Eve. I'd gone for yogurt, and left overwhelmed by all the people. While there, I saw a really cute basket on the top shelf, I reached up, got it down, examined it and put it back. It was the only one. The next day, I went to the Dillard's sale, this time completely expecting all the people who would be there for this adventure. As I wandered the purses, a woman tapped me and asked if I was tall enough to reach a bag on a high shelf. I reached up and grabbed it and gave it to the woman. She thanked me and that was that. 

Yesterday, I was taking down Christmas decorations and needed to hang something on the rafters in my storage room. The nail was there, but I was too short. I decided, if I held the bag in my hand just right, I could probably jump and hang it and so, it took a couple tries but I did it!

Now, why the stories about reaching for things that are out of reach? Well as a tall person, I rarely have this problem. I rarely, rarely need assistance to get something I need from a shelf at home or abroad. I put things up high all the time, because I can and because it would be wasted space not to. What I am terrible at is asking for help when something is out of my reach because it does happen. Because I am so used to "doing it myself" the rest of the time, I'm terrible at asking for help when I need it. After all, I'm the one people ask for help. 

This independence that I feel is sometimes ridiculous. I need to be better about asking for help, admitting I can't reach or that I need assistance. We weren't sent to be an island, we were sent to be a family, a community, a collaborative to make it through together, to return together. Reaching is a simple reminder to not let my pride get in the way of my progress on my path.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016: an intentional year

from my instagram:
"I love a new year! A fresh start. A clean slate. A beautiful spotless future. I've been doing this #onelittleword thing for 5 years now. I have focused, survived, thrived, and radiated. But this year is my favorite word yet: "intentional."

Last year, I was along for the ride and literally flew by the seat of my pants, often coming home and crashing at the end of the day or spending time doing whatever because I was too tired to do something worthwhile, to do something intentional.

Well this year, I want to be more intentional about the time I have. If I'm working, I'm working. If I'm relaxing, I'm really relaxing. If I'm spending time with others, then my whole head and heart are in the game! Intentional is all about making a good life happen in the million moments that make a life! Here's to a great year! A fun year! An intentional year!"

And that you have it friends, my word of the year. I'm really excited about it! And I'm extra excited because for me, writing on this blog should be intentional. I think about why I started it in the first a way to contribute good to the world. That means that this is meaningful time on many levels. 

First, it's meaningful because it causes change within. Delighting daily changes the way you see the world. You find happiness and joy in the little moments. You appreciate the small things. You take opportunities you might have otherwise let pass by. Writing about these moments is powerful because in order to do so, you have to retain them and remember the impressions you've had throughout the day. You have the opportunity to look back and reflect on the day you've lived and to be grateful for what you've experienced.

Second, it's meaningful because it's positive change. A quote I recently ran across states: Comparison 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 comparison. Gratitude turns what we have into more than enough." (Lara Casey) Cultivating an attitude of gratitude (thank you President Uctdorf) changes everything.

We live in a world where comparison happens almost below our radar, almost imperceptible. We look at social media with the mindset that we just want to stay up on our friends lives and know what they're up to. I don't know about you, but I know that that is my intent, but it can so easily fade into comparing their haves and my have-nots and I learned that it goes both ways.

So how do we recognize and respond appropriately? By intentionally delighting daily! We cultivate gratitude in our hearts for things that bring us joy. In this process we recognize God's hand in our lives, the hand of kind neighbors and friends and we develop spiritual eyesight to see with greater perspective and appreciation all the countless blessings the Lord has provided for us. We examine our lives in a new way and see the world through a new lens. Our kindness grows, our compassion deepens and we find root in keeping our eyes on our purposeful path, contributing good to the world in whatever way that looks like for us.

Third, delighting daily is meaningful because it contributes good to the world. This is at the heart of why I delight. My life mission statement is as follows: "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)." We live in a world where good and evil are polarizing and we're all on the field, just deciding which team we are going to play for. The outcome has already been decided though (thank you God's Plan of Salvation for all his children). With our actions, we choose what we will add to the mix. Will we add stubbornness and pride? Will we add pessimism and a bad attitude? Will we add joy and happiness? Will we add compassion and love? Will we add diligence and perseverance? I admit, I add a little bit of everything sometimes, but ultimately, my heart desires most to contribute something good. Be it a smile or a compliment, a helping hand or a hug. Even if it just provides people a place to read something and by the end feel uplifted, then I have contributed good.

My invitation to you is to join me. Join me here in the comments. Join me in your own blogs and social media ways. Join me by delighting daily, by intentionally contributing good to the world and by being a little kinder.

Friday, January 1, 2016

I delight in 2015.

erin's highlights from 2015

---hiked the wave (FINALLY!)---went to the top of the eiffel tower---
---bought a house---
---started a new/additional job---read books contently at the cabin---
---went to the louvre---went to asha in denver---
---had dinner with sus and her sweet boys in denver---had dinner with katie anderson in denver---
---rode a train to the top of europe (jungfraubahn)/bought the most expensive train ride of my life---
---ate belgian chocolate and waffles in belgium---ate french croissants in france---
---ate swiss chocolate in switzerland---ate german chocolate in germany---
---paid 3 euros to get my passport stamped in lichtenstein---
---worked at the salt lake temple as an ordinance worker on saturday mornings---
---went to white pocket/the outerspace of utah---
---went to a byu basketball game---went to a jazz game---
---hiked in the mountains---went to cliff and wade lakes---went on fun dates---
---institute with annemarie---temple nights with mary---enjoying my sweet sissy---
---throwing parties with my sugarhouse roommates---1 year israel reunion---
---10 year weber high reunion---taking daniel home with rachel afterwards---
---hiking antelope island with nat, jd and clarke and porter holding my hand all the way---
---dinner with friends---art market/walk in the rain with cambrie---
---sweet text messages from christin/she learned to text---
---sweet last visits with grandpa bandley---breakfast with dad and grandpa mcquivey---
---fourth of july trip with christin---
---flying over the hudson bay with a full moon reflecting in its icy waters---
---house hunting with dad and christy---ikea and litza's with mom and LB---
---going on walks in sugarhouse---visits in the park with melanie and her sweet kids---
---play time with carly, kennedy, paige and the twins---
---watching the sandlot on a baseball field---farmer's market in slc---
---worked in the brides room of the slc temple through the summer---create nights---
---payson temple open house---learning and doing feeding therapy---attending usha--
---swiss days with mom---grandpa and dad helping me move---
---being the ward choir director---
---christin and swim meets---fall leaves drive to guardsman pass---
---house projects every friday with dad---ikea trips with dad---teaching relief society---
---thanksgiving pie making with christin---decorating my home for christmas---
---pumpkin palooza---diet cocalada's---