Friday, November 1, 2013

I Have Amazing Friends

When we're little, we just want to be independent.
I can do it myself.
As we grow, we learn how 
And we do a lot of things on our own.
Housework, laundry, cooking, work.

Then sometimes life throws a curve ball.
And our physical capacities just aren't the same.
Age, accident, injury, whatever it is,
At that point we find we need help.

 But sometimes we get stuck 
In the "little child" mentality.
When that happens to me,
I try to do it myself,
Even when it isn't very productive.

Then I have good friends
Who persistently remind me they want to serve
And then keep reminding me
Even when I flip out on them.

And that is why
I am really grateful
For my amazing friends.

I am blessed.
The End.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Favorite Quotes

I loved Conference. I still love it as I listen to the talks again and again. One of my favorite quotes comes from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials, even though the cost to do so would be unfathomable for both the Father who sent Him and the Son who came. It is only an appreciation of this divine love that will make our own lesser suffering first bearable, then understandable, and finally redemptive.

This comment has been on my mind as I try to do what my body needs to heal, knowing that there is value also in the pain and the process. (For the record, when I speak of healing, I am referring "only" to damaged ligaments and a chronic headache... What was easy to overcome in my twenties is not so easy anymore - but age brings wisdom, so I'm willing to take it slow rather than give up what I know.) It is teaching me to recognize and be grateful for answered prayers. It is teaching me faith and patience. It is teaching me how to fill my quiet, resting hours with things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. And it is teaching me to trust my Father, knowing that this experience will be for my eternal good. With His help, I will be a better woman for what I am learning.

Another favorite quote comes from Elder Russell M. Nelson:

Recently I heard a chorus of children sing the beloved song “I Am a Child of God.” I wondered, “Why haven’t I heard that song rendered more often by singing mothers or faithful fathers?” Are we not all children of God? In truth, not one of us can ever stop being a child of God!

Today in Stake Conference, we sang this beautiful hymn. It was pretty awesome. The primary children were on the stand, with about 8 little ones playing their violins. Those children led us in singing these simple words:

I am a child of God
and He has sent me here,
has given me an earthly home
with parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me,
walk beside me,
help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
to live with Him someday.

I felt like after we sang that opening hymn and then heard the Primary children sing "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" that we had been edified so much that I could have gone home happy even without the other hour and 45 minutes worth of talks and music. (That part was good too, for the record. But the first ten minutes were pretty wonderful.)

Last night, during the evening session of Stake Conference, my friend The Opera Singer performed a beautiful rendition of "More Holiness Give Me". It reminded me of the first quote I shared by Elder Holland, and gave the Spirit an opportunity to teach me. Later in the meeting, a member of our Stake Presidency shared that same quote in his talk, and I felt that my Father in Heaven wanted me to know that He knows what I'm feeling and what I'm experiencing. I felt His love.

You'd never guess it by what I just shared, but the theme of our conference was on "Hastening the Work" and how we can be better missionaries to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us. It's pretty incredible to think of all the Lord is doing to move His work forward to prepare the world for His Second Coming. And we get to be a part of it!

Friday, October 11, 2013


Last weekend we had the semiannual General Conference of the Church. It's one of my favorite times of year - a chance to hear from living prophets and apostles who speak the word of God. Four sessions, two hours each, filled with inspiring messages and Spirit-filled music, that build my soul and fortify me for the next six months.

In the past I have tried to approach Conference with a question or two about things going on in my life, and then I listen carefully to inspired talks and to the Spirit. Invariably, the Lord provides answers to those questions through the words of His chosen servants. This time was similar - I had one question, one that has been on my mind a while, and I sought help from Conference to learn an answer. The second talk contained what I felt was the answer I had requested - or at least the first part of it - and I was anxious to learn more as the sessions continued.

After the first session ended, I went out to run errands. My plan didn't go quite how I had expected, and I didn't ever get to my grocery shopping. There was another plan executed instead (a harder one, but in the end, it was a better one). I came home with the help of a friend and spent the rest of the weekend (and much of this week) lying on the couch, learning how to be still, to be served, and to be healed.

And by design, I believe, the rest of Conference focused my attention on the new message I needed to hear. Here are some of my favorite parts of what I heard (and have listened to again and again this week):

"Though we may feel we are 'like a broken vessel,' as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter."

"Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and our suffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tortured souls with His comforting words: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change."

"I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

"God's promise to the humble is that He will lead them by the hand. I truly believe that we will avoid detours and sadness in our lives as long as we walk hand in hand with the Lord."

There have been miracles and blessings this week - blessings I would not have noticed or counted but for this alternative plan. I am glad for what Conference has taught me so far. And for what it will yet teach me:

"The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them."

Friday, September 13, 2013


I sat down tonight to make a grocery list, 
in an effort to be proactive about my eating life.
Because when I eat, 
I feel happier.

First, I thought, 
I should note what I'm scheduled to attend 
that requires me to bring food.

Then, I thought, 
I should check my calendar 
to see when I have time to cook food for the week.

I don't know how this is possible.
I have something every evening
for the next 7 days.
(That's before I tried to plan my week.)
Which leaves no night available to cook.

Undeterred, I made a plan.
I will eat peanut butter sandwiches 
and crock pot taco soup
every day next week.
(As soon as I have time to make the taco soup.)
At least I could buy supplies for PBJs at Target,
which was open until 11,
which meant I actually got it done tonight.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.
But at least I planned ahead!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Home Sweet Home

This week, I was home for three evenings in a row.

It was a little weird. I can't remember the last time that happened. (Actually, I don't even know when I was last home for two evenings in a row during the week. Apparently I've been busy.)

At first, I wasn't sure what to do with myself. Then...

I finished reading all the magazines that have been piling up for three months.

I did the dishes.

I ate dinner (three nights in a row! Woah. This is getting crazy).

I folded the laundry that has been in the dryer since last Saturday.

I pulled the seeding crabgrass out of my perennial bed, and the weeds out from behind my rosebushes. It was a good start to the fall flower bed prep.

I cleaned the food splatters off the kitchen walls (it's only been making me crazy when I've noticed it for the last 4 months).

I cleaned the car windshield and wiped off more splatters in my car. (They mostly make me crazy because I have NO IDEA how they got there...)

I tossed a few weeks' worth of recyclable mail and reduced the kitchen table clutter.

I responded to all the emails I received this week.

And I blogged!

I should stay home more often. Apparently it is a productive venture.

The end.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today's Thought

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, here.
Going forward with our service and work is an important way to qualify for revelation. In my study of the scriptures I have noted that most revelation to the children of God comes when they are on the move, not when they are sitting back in their habitations waiting for the Lord to tell them the first step to take.
 For example, it is significant to note that the revelation known as “the Word and Will of the Lord concerning the Camp of Israel” (D&C 136:1) was not given in Nauvoo as the Quorum of the Twelve planned the exodus from Nauvoo in those sorrowful days following the Martyrdom of the Prophet in 1844; nor was it given on the west bank of the Mississippi River. It was given at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, after the Saints had spent a punishing year moving from Nauvoo westward across Iowa to temporary camps on the Missouri River. The revelation to guide the movement of the Saints across the plains was given on January 14, 1847, when the Saints had already gone about a third of the way to the valleys of the mountains.
 We will get promptings of the Spirit when we have done everything we can, when we are out in the sun working rather than sitting back in the shade praying for direction on the first step to take. Revelation comes when the children of God are on the move.
 So we do all we can. Then we wait upon the Lord for His revelation. He has his own timetable.

I liked this thought. It is important for me right now.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Cheer

My friend was late to Family Home Evening tonight. But when he walked in, his apology was this - sorry I'm late, but I was totally charmed by the complete double rainbow!

Sure enough, when we ran outside to look, you could still see all of one and some of the second rainbow, from ground to ground, making a huge arc in the sky. It was amazing. (I didn't take a picture, so you'll just have to imagine it. Or Google it. Other people did take pictures, apparently.)

Then we all had a wonderful discussion on a conference talk and visited a while.

It cheered me up and helped me forget about the challenges of the day.

I'm grateful for friends who remind me to stop and look for rainbows.

They are a reminder of how much our Father in Heaven loves us.

(The friends and the rainbows.)

Happy Monday!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Neglected Blog and 10 Things to Smile About

Oops. I missed an entire month. Apparently I never post anymore. So here is something to make up for that.

Yesterday was Fast Sunday, the first Sabbath of the month, where we voluntarily go without food and drink for two meals and donate the value of the meals to the church as a fast offering. I also focus my prayers and thoughts on something important and seek revelation from my Father in Heaven as I fast. It's a wonderful opportunity to grow spiritually, and I generally appreciate Fast Sundays.

This weekend I was not mentally or physically prepared for it. Saturday was hot (think 87 degrees inside) and humid. It had been a busy week, so I hadn't thought about what I wanted to fast for. After dinner Saturday evening, I still needed to clean the house and carry air conditioning units up from the basement - not work one should do without drinking a lot of water when the house is like an oven. Or maybe a sauna. Anyway, I didn't actually start thinking about this fast until just before I went to bed. So I admitted my failure to prepare and asked for His help anyway, and the Lord answered my prayers. It always amazes me when I am abundantly blessed after putting forth what seems like a very little effort. I am grateful that God loves us like that.

Yesterday I also went with two lovely friends to Mt. Auburn cemetery. It is one of my favorite places in Cambridge. We saw ponds with fish and frogs, willow trees blowing in the wind, and my favorite place - Consecration Dell - which is just peaceful and happy. It was good for my soul.

I will also share 10 Things to Smile About for May in an effort to spread good cheer. This is something my cousin Emmy Mom does. I always think it is a good idea but usually don't get further than that. :-)

1. The Boston temple. A group of friends came with me on Memorial Day morning and it was a truly awesome experience.
2. Discovering most of a season of Studio C that I hadn't seen on BYU TV - and the app that lets me watch it on my iPhone. Laughter is good for the soul.
3. Air conditioners. What a blessed invention!
4. Spring flowers.
5. Dinner with my uncle from Kentucky! Chipotle always tastes better when you eat it with people you love.
6. A photo scavenger hunt adventure, complete with getting pulled over by a police officer.
7. New clothes.
8. Successfully accomplishing a goal.
9. A trip to Ogunquit, ME, and a walk along the Marginal Way.
10. It's fruit smoothie season!!! YUM.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Peace and Healing

I know so many who need peace and healing, who just want to forget what they experienced yesterday in Boston. Even though I was not downtown at all (and the mundane budget preparation I was doing is nothing by comparison), I know people who were, and my heart aches for everyone who was affected, whether directly or indirectly.

Yesterday morning was a special Monday opening at the Boston temple. I went because I was asked to serve, but it was a blessing for me as much as a service opportunity. I was in a worship session at 7:30 am with about 40 young missionaries and a few other people. I reflected on the power in that room - 38 young men who bear the priesthood, and 2 young women, all called of God and set apart to preach His gospel in Boston and the surrounding region. All 40 have put their education and their lives on hold while they serve the Lord full-time, spreading the good news of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. They represented only a fraction of the Elders and Sisters who serve in our area, but while small in number, they were great in power and devotion to the truth.

Tonight, my home teachers came over - two of the best men I know. They bear the priesthood of God and are responsible to visit and care for a small number of men and women in our ward. They shared with me a message of hope and peace, of joy in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that we will one day be restored to a perfect, immortal body because of His grace. One commented that it seemed this message was inspired, exactly what we needed to hear today. It helped me listen with greater focus, and I found peace and joy in contemplating the magnificent blessings of the Atonement and Resurrection of my Savior Jesus Christ.

As I have pondered on the events that took place yesterday with these two experiences as bookends, this is the most important message I can think to offer:

"As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." (read more here, in Preach My Gospel)

"The love of God and the power of the restored gospel are redemptive and saving. ... His divine love ... can dress any wound, heal any hurt, and soften any sorrow." (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, here.)

I know that Jesus Christ lives and I know that He can heal us from all the wounds that were inflicted by yesterday's tragedy, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual in nature. God knows and loves all His children, and He will not turn His back on us now. Please join with me in turning to Him for peace and the healing we all need.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What's New

There is an animal that eats my crocuses. Every year. I think it might be the raccoon I saw a few weeks ago as I was pulling into the driveway. Or maybe the bunny I saw last fall sitting near my flowerbeds. At any rate, I'm sad about it since I plant crocuses for the flowers, not the animals. At least I was able to enjoy the pretty yellows for a few days before they disappeared.

The other good news is that the trees are starting to bud and the world is turning green again! I bought a hyacinth plant at Trader Joe's last week and it has been making my office smell heavenly. It brings me happiness. The hyacinths in the backyard are coming up and blooming as well. Happy day.

Tonight I went to the BSO with my two friends. I was grateful for no traffic on the highway on the way there, since I left 15 minutes later than I thought I should, and ended up there on time after all. I was also grateful I remembered to put the tickets in my purse last night - they have been sitting on the dining room table for a month. Two blessings in 24 hours. Yay! Oh, and the concert was pretty amazing, too. We heard a world famous violinist, a super cool piece by a Russian composer I'd never heard before, and Pictures at an Exhibition. It was great.

Did you enjoy General Conference? I sure did! These were my two favorites:

Our daily contributions of nurturing, teaching, and caring for others may seem mundane, diminished, difficult, and demeaning at times, and yet as we remember that first line in the Young Women theme—“We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us”—it will make all the difference in our relationships and our responses. - Elaine S. Dalton

All the difference in our responses to others and in our relationships with those around us. Who wouldn't benefit from that?

When [affliction or desperation] moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes.  - Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Holland already italicized the part I needed most to hear. :-) 

These were the two messages for me. It made a difference this week. I love being part of a church that has Apostles and Prophets who guide us to all truth. Amazing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Things This Month

Um, I guess it has been a month since I posted. Oops. Here is what has been good recently:

I received a letter from darling L upon coming home at the end of a hard week and a bad day. It made me smile and reminded me that Heavenly Father loves me. So does L. I love them back.

We had a few days of spring before it snowed again.

I enjoyed a very green dinner last Sunday in celebration of some random guy named Patrick.

Easiest taco soup ever - dump 2 cans of chicken (the chunky kind you buy at CostCo), 2 cans of tomatoes, 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans (rinsed & drained), and 1/3 cup taco seasoning mix in the crock pot. Mix and turn on high and ignore for the afternoon. Run a fork through the mixture to shred the chicken before eating with chips and avocado.

The BSO program last Saturday included Saint-SaĆ«ns Symphony #3 (the Organ Symphony). It was AMAZING. The most moving piece I've ever heard. I loved every second of it. Wow.

Every time I host Family Home Evening, we do something I call "Happy Things". It requires everyone in attendance to tell one happy thing that took place in their lives since the last time we all got together. We usually do it while we're eating treats, and it gives us a chance to celebrate each others' successes and rejoice together. I love it. Some of the happy things last time from the group included a trip to London, a good week for job interviews, a successful workout that morning, amazing BBQ by an equally amazing sibling, and the advent of daylight savings time and the consequent ability to avoid the potholes on the way home. It is my way of ensuring that the activity ends on a positive note.

So there you have it. Lots of happy things!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Goodness

We celebrated Purim by eating hamantashen after choir practice. I love that the Jewish tradition includes a celebration of a faithful, spiritual woman who had been prepared "for such a time as this" - and her actions preserved the people of her nation.

In Sacrament meeting, we had two wonderful talks about President Eyring's talk "Where Is the Pavilion?" and felt a fantastic Spirit throughout the meeting. I watched a brother being trained in his duties as a holder of the priesthood of God at the Sacrament table, and felt grateful that the power and authority of God has been restored to the earth. We sang Onward, Christian Soldiers and A Mighty Fortress is Our God and There is Sunshine in My Soul (my favorite, especially for a grey, snowy day). The room was filled to capacity, and it was awesome. Then after the meeting, we always introduce visitors. About twenty people stood and introduced themselves as friends and classmates of one of the speakers. While her talk was beautiful and the brief conversations I've had with her during her time in Boston have been nice, this spoke volumes about her character. There were Muslims, Catholics, Christians, and others - from at least seven or eight different countries, all there because they had a friend who loved the gospel and had no fear to invite those she loved to hear her bear testimony of a God who knows and loves His children. It was amazing.

After church, I visit taught a beautiful woman who has some temporal challenges in her life right now. My companion is another beautiful woman who has serious health challenges. My heart was grateful as I drove home. I have been given the opportunity to serve these women; I have health and peace and stability in my life so I can be an instrument in the hands of God to bless those who might not have those things today.

And that is good.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Interesting Things in My Life

I made this for dinner tonight,

thanks to my sister, who sent me the link to the recipe she posted on her blog (here) after we were talking about dairy-free recipes last week. I now have about 4 days' worth if I eat lots every time. I hope I still like it when the week is over!

In other news, I will share evidence of my inner nerd. After a conversation with dad tonight, I picked up my college physiology textbook to read about insulin regulation. Then I went online to read up on the latest literature on a semi-related topic. I remembered some things, learned some other things, and now I have twice as much work to do at work tomorrow. Oh well.

More to come as I learn more about what I'm learning, but maybe not until after I warm up again after the bitter, windy, snow-blowy day we just had.

PS - Does anyone know why an apostrophe or a quote mark doesn't show up on my computer until I've typed another letter? And when I type " and then a space, it doesn't show up until after I hit the space bar, but then it doesn't put in the space!!! It's kind of making me crazy... this didn't happen on my old computer.

And now I've successfully wasted the time I was supposed to use getting ready for bed. :-) Good night.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Life is Good

I want to share a little happiness. It might not sound like much, but to me it is a lot.

Friday night I had insomnia. I couldn't fall asleep until after 3 am, which did not bode well for a long Saturday that started at 9 am. I went to my church cleaning assignment feeling slightly fuzzy from not enough sleep, but before I went, I prayed, and asked for help with something very specific that I was troubled by. Halfway through my church cleaning assignment, I realized I was singing in my head (and a little bit out loud) and feeling very happy, and I realized that part of my happiness stemmed from an answer to my prayer. Which made me grateful.

Today was warm - almost 60 degrees - so I went out with a colleague on a "brainstorming walk" this afternoon. It was phenomenal outside, especially considering it's January in Boston. That also made me happy.

And yesterday I held a baby. Babies are amazing.

This week, I've been studying about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, preparing for a series of Family Home Evening lessons I volunteered to give. It leaves me feeling astounded at the great plan of happiness that our Father in Heaven created. Imagine - a parent who loves His children so deeply and desires so much for their progress that He gave them access to two sources of Deity to assist them on their journey! He gave us the ability to covenant with Jesus Christ, and through Him merit salvation and develop the attributes of godliness. And we have the influence and power of the Holy Ghost to guide our choices and inspire us to do right. How could it not be evident that our God is in the details of our lives and concerned with our welfare? This small realization reminds me that He is.

And that makes me happy beyond words.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, New Post

We started a new year. My celebration was pretty uneventful. I skipped a party because I had a headache, and read the Harvard Business Review until I was sleepy instead. As I was falling asleep, I heard fireworks outside and thought, It must be midnight. Whee.

I want this year to be good. And while I haven't (yet) made a tremendous lot of resolutions, I liked the conversation I had with my friend at work the other day. He said we should have objectives for the year as opposed to resolutions. With objectives, you can set up little steps to achieve measurable results. Resolutions are more like I'm going to be totally different all at once. Whammo. And if I fail once, it's over and I'll just give up. Objectives are more reasonable - and theoretically easier to accomplish.

So, I need to make objectives for 2013. After I figure out what it is I want from this year. (Besides the quick return of springtime - 9 degrees Farenheit in the morning just hurts. Seriously.)

Are you going to join me? What are your 2013 objectives?