Thursday, December 2, 2010

Twinkle Lights

Last night, two of my roommates and I got out our Christmas decorations. We put up the tree (but did not decorate it - that'll wait for our 4th roommate to get back from vacation) and put out other things - my decorative tree collection, Ash's nutcrackers and Singing Santa, Gertrude's candles, grandma's German spinney thing.

When it was finished, I reflected on how much I love Christmas lights, especially white ones. The colored ones are great and fun, but the white lights remind me of stars and lead me to reflect on the night the Savior was born.

This morning I was listening to Elder Cook's talk called Let There Be Light! He talks about being a beacon to the world, following the light of Christ as we stand for what is good and right in the world. He sandwiches his talk by referencing a song that was popular during World War II about the lights being turned out in London so the German planes wouldn't have targets. At the end of his talk he says, "We look forward to that beautiful day when 'free hearts will sing when the lights go on all over the world.'" He's making reference to people standing up for morality, but thoughts from the night before came to my head. I thought of dark neighborhoods near where I live with Christmas Trees in front rooms, candles in the windows, twinkle lights on trees and bushes. I thought of the simple beauty this bring to these neighborhoods and the hope that comes from taking the time to notice it. How wonderful it is that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Light of the World, at the darkest time of year when these small lights have the greatest effect.

I'm grateful for this time to celebrate the birth of the Savior, to remember his life, and his ultimate sacrifice that we all might live with our Father in Heaven again.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gratitude List

Things I've been grateful for lately...

journals, sweet friends, little thoughts, cool fall days, service, scriptures, progress, kindness, gentle reminders, patience, answered prayers, reading, working, bike rides

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weaknesses Are Not Tragic

Anxiety has a loud voice and is sometimes painful. He talks to me frequently, drowning out all other thoughts and feelings, making it uncomfortable to live in my own body. I sometimes get to the point that I have anxiety about the anxiety (why won't it go away? why am I experiencing this right now? what is this about?).

Despite this, I am grateful for this weakness. I'm learning to embrace the low times as well as the high times. These are not things to hurry up and get through, but things to learn and grow from. Weaknesses are not tragic because we can change. The atonement of Jesus Christ makes these changes possible. The Savior can lend support and succor as we embrace these challenges because He has already experienced them.

I'm learning to live with anxiety, that anxiety doesn't have to have a reason, and learning what tools quiet the thoughts and feelings (taking my feet out of my shoes and rubbing them on the carpet, humming, running, gratitude).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We the People...

I have to admit I wasn't excited to vote yesterday. It had nothing to do with the candidates or the issues on the ballot; I just didn't want to go. But I knew I had a responsibility to go.

I went right after work, guessing at the roads that I needed to turn on to get to the elementary school hidden in a neighborhood near my home. I parked my car, walked toward the door with a "VOTE HERE" sign, carefully past the people that hand out the example ballots that tell you how to vote if you are a Republican or a Democrat, and presented my ID to the volunteer at the table. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then I was shown to the voting booth.

I cast my votes for U.S. Representative and 4 ballot measures. Now finished, I looked for the person with the "I Voted" sticker. I am a little crazy about wanting that sticker sometimes. I didn't see anyone with the stickers, so I walked sort of slowly so the workers would notice me leaving. They did and I got my sticker.

I put it on as I was walking to my car, knowing few would see it since I was headed home. As I did, I felt the spirit wash over me. I was grateful that I had come to vote and exercise the right I have to. I was grateful to be an American, to remember the founding fathers and all those since who have fought for this country. I was grateful to the women who fought for the right to vote, that I was able to vote because of them. I was grateful to be part of the process and knew it didn't matter if the candidate or issues I voted for won, not because I was apathetic, but because in our system it is the majority vote that prevails, and we all win when that succeeds. I was grateful to realize that I could make a difference.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gratitude: The Start

It's November (what happened to 2010?). There are lots of things about November that I enjoy: leaves changing, chilly weather, days off from work, and Thanksgiving. We all know that Thanksgiving is a time we celebrate the Pilgrims arriving in America and a time to express gratitude. But instead of saving all my gratitude for November 25th, I'm going to practice expressing gratitude more frequently this month (not that I'm not grateful at other times, I just want to be better). President Monson called gratitude the "noblest of virtues...the parent of all others" in his October conference address.

So I'm going to start with a person I've known for almost 27 years, my sister Jenny. I'm grateful for incredible example of patience, love, kindness, and loyalty. She makes me laugh. She's feisty and stubborn. I love late-night chats in our beds and impromptu sister dates (even if it is just to run errands). She's a great travelling companion. We have seen amazing parts of the world together, even if neither of us remember it (we moved to Belgium when I was 5 and she was almost 3 and came back to the States 4 years later). I could go on, but I don't want to embarrass her too much more. I'm grateful to be able to call her my sister and my friend.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I need to change my list, yet again. I have taken on a new responsibility that takes up a significant amount of time. The things that are being taken off the list will just be put on hold for a while. Here's my new list...

1. Run a 1/2 marathon (Logan, UT, August 28)
2. Take a trip to Utah (not just for the marathon)
3. Is a secret! OK, it's really not a secret anymore...I'm learning to ride a unicycle. I even bought one of my very own. It's red and tends to attack me when I'm impatient, but I know I can learn.
4. Secret writing project

Monday, May 3, 2010

This, I Believe

As a companion to the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies of the divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know it is true and that by following its teachings we can come to know Heavenly Father, His son, and the Plan of Salvation, which leads us back to them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An update

So I've made some changes to my list. The list felt a little off to me. I found a couple of things that needed replacing and found a couple that I'm really excited about.

Number 5 is a project to learn more about my great-grandmother. She died the same day my grandfather was born and her family wasn't fond of my great-grandfather, so we know very little about her. She has been important to me since I was in high school when I first found some photographs of her. The main way I'll be able to do this is through some letters she wrote to my great-grandfather during their courtship.

Number 7 is a secret. It's a different type of secret than last year's secret. It'll be fun!

1. Relearn how to play the piano
2. Run a 1/2 marathon
3. Finish the photo album from last year's trip to Greece
4. Take a trip to Utah
5. Get to know Martha Lake Charmichael Medlock
6. Repaint my dresser
7. Is a secret!
8. Take a trip to Ireland
9. Secret writing project
10. Read Les Miserable (abridged)

Friday, January 22, 2010


I wish I had as much clarity as I've had in previous times, but patience with one's self, with others, and with God brings a measure of peace and the ability to progress. I know that gratitude is a great healer and the remedy for many, many things. A few of the things I'm grateful for today...

the Lord's timing, the atonement, a thoughtful text message, kindness and love of friends and family, hard work, regular routines, new goals, lists of things to do, libraries, running, rain on the windows, cold air, sunshine, crying, white cake with chocolate icing, colorful scarves, laughing, pondering, quiet time, driving, the temple, reflection, gratitude, prayer, reading, hope, miracles, memories, the promise of many things

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A New Year, A New List

"I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them." - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles

This year's list of things to do has been finalized. It is not a list of 28 things; I focused on finding things that I felt were most important and meaningful to me at this time. I felt like this year that the quality and not the quantity of the goals that I set was most important.

So here is the list, in no particular order...

1. Relearn how to play the piano
2. Run a 1/2 marathon
3. Finish the photo album from last year's trip to Greece
4. Take a trip to Utah
5. Join the DAR
6. Repaint my dresser
7. Go whale watching
8. Take a trip to Ireland
9. Secret writing project
10. Read Les Miserable (abridged)

Of course, like last year, adjustments may be made. I hope to learn and grow just as much as last year. I think I'll call this 10 in 2010.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

“There is a guiding hand above all things. Often when things happen, it’s not by accident. One day, when we look back at the seeming coincidences of our lives, we will realize that perhaps they weren’t so coincidental after all.” -Thomas S. Monson