Isn't he lovely?
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Remember just 24 hours ago when I was all full of hope and optimism? Turns out that's harder to maintain than I had anticipated. Those really joyful people must put in a lot of hours of practice. Looks like it's going to be more difficult than I'd wanted.
I guess I'll start again tomorrow.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
In the past few months I have been compelled to seriously consider my mortality. I have spent many days searching for the right understanding or motivation to want to fight a difficult battle. I read the stories of so many survivors who faced unimaginable challenges and found a way to do the impossible. In each situation the hero would confess that thoughts and desires of being with their spouse and/or children was the ONLY thing that got them through.
As an eternal bachelorette, and a non-breeder, those stories weren't entirely helpful. In fact, I might have even found them discouraging at times. I really wanted someone with my social circumstances to have fought the fight and be able to share something that would motivate me.
Today I listened to a speaker whose words have helped me to begin looking at my situation differently. The speaker started by sharing 2 Nephi 2:25,
"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
And then the speaker put emphasis on a word in that verse that I have always skimmed over..."might". I am here, and sacrifices have been made, so that I "might" feel joy. It is the freedom to pursue happiness that is a basic human right, but having joy isn't a guarantee...I am only promised that it "might" happen. I don't think this means that it is a crapshoot, who does or does not get to have joy, I think it implies that there is work to be done if I want to experience the joy. And I'm beginning to understand that the joy might be delayed if it's in my best interest.
And that is the place where I have found myself paralyzed. I've wanted to be happy. I've recognized my responsibility to make that happen, but I was still disappointed that joy wasn't just happening to me. I had felt that I should have qualified for immediate and immeasurable piles of joy. I had lost focus and understanding.
The speaker then went on to share some of the things he had learned from a co-worker who had become a quadraplegic, but still managed to live his life with an abundance of joy:
- Focus on what I can do and minimize what I cannot do
- Focus on what the Lord has blessed me with, and not what He has not given me or on what has been taken away
- Focus on what the future has in store for me, not on what it does not
- Don't waste time or effort worrying about things I cannot control
- Live up to the fullest extent of my gifts and talents. Improve upon and add to those talents
- Don't look back
The reality is that I've been so devastated about the loss of my imaginary future that I have failed to see the hope and goodness that still remained in my life. I get it tonight in the quiet of my room, but I will forget, and this will remain a process for me. Especially since I know that I will continue to be influenced by what the doctors have to say about my prognosis. But at least for now, I have some guidance for identifying my purpose and my reason to fight...regardless of the specifics of my challenges.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
If I were Oprah, and you were all sitting in my studio right now, you would all be going home with a bottle of OPI's "Leotard Optional" nail polish! You get a bottle! You get a bottle!! You get a bottle!!!
I know bright flashy colors are all the rage these days, but after decades of sporting the discreet fingernails of a violinist, I just can't get myself to go anything but subtle.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I am 100% influenced by the price tag on an item. 100%.
When shopping, it is not unusual that I will find the most perfect item and then be immediately deterred by the cost of said item. The impact is so great that I will instantly begin to find actual, or imagined, flaws. I can walk away from anything if the price is not right.
However, there are few things I find more satisfying than stumbling into an amazing bargain. Occasionally I find something I really like and then I will check the price to find that it started off economically priced or, even better, marked down. In those moments, true love is found. It doesn't really matter what type of item or how badly I do, or do not, need it.
Today I found love on the $2 table at Barnes & Noble. 2$!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I've heard that for every mouse you see in a house, there are 10 you don't see. I've heard something similar about cockroaches. And tonight I'm wondering...do they have a saying like that for gray hair?
I know! I know! It's unbelievable that at age 37 I am still (relatively) gray hair free...but the anticipation of it coming to an end is really freaking me out. A couple of things have me on the edge.
1.) Most of my friends my age (men and women) are gray or graying.
2.) Every trip to the hospital has gifted me 2 gray hairs, in the same 2 spots, a few weeks later.
3.) Tonight I found a third gray hair in a brand new spot!
I dug around for awhile looking to see if I'm missing any, but so much of my hair is un-see-able by me and I'm really stressing out over it!
Uh-oh ... 4.) Doesn't stressing out cause gray hair?!?
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Last night I dreamt that I was being forced to go back to High School...it was awful!
- I was late
- I struggled to find the main office
- My first class was P.E.
- I didn't have a locker and had to carry my violin with me everywhere
- I was still driving the Buick Riviera, complete with all of the family "upgrades"
- I was having bad hair
- I hated what I was wearing
- There were "mean girls" in the halls
- Mr. Snell still wouldn't audition me for the show choir
- The cafeteria smelled like...well, it smelled like the cafeteria
But the worst part was being 37 through it all. I felt like such a loser. And that loser feeling has stayed with me all day. So I'm hoping for a great replacement dream tonight. Something that makes me feel like a winner...and stays with me all day!
Monday, January 23, 2012
Wikipedia says that the year of the dragon is considered the luckiest year in the Chinese zodiac. I'm all for it! I'm open to all of the luck the universe sends my way and I'm going to use my imagination to create a little luck of my own this year!
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
A true friend will compliment you by accident. It won't be intentional, but the sincerity of it's matter-of-fact delivery will be overwhelming. And then, when you mention that it's the nicest thing she could say, she'll seem surprised at your reaction.
Yes, a true friend gives the very best compliments!
Friday, January 20, 2012
I have always thought of myself as living without passion. Just staying somewhere in the middle ground between the highs and lows of emotion. Sure, I'm theatrical. I tend to "perform" my stories a bit. I wouldn't be surprised if others thought of me as operating with a wider range of feelings. But in those quiet moments when I am all alone, I've always done what I could to reign myself into the center of things.
In the search for an explanation for the roller coaster of this week, I can only come up with two explanations:
1.) I have had a really warped opinion of myself and I have always been dripping with passion. Perhaps my melodramatics are more than just evidence of a talented actress.?
2.) Age and experience is breaking me down. I have either lost control, or lost the desire to control, my reactions, thoughts, feelings.
One might suggest that my grandmother's DNA has surfaced and I'm chemically imbalanced...but I'm certain that the evidence from this week's events earn me some justification.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
One of the funniest things I have picked up from my friend Sherrie is a good-natured complisult (an insult hidden in a compliment). When a girlfriend says something really, really stupid, she often replies with a sugary sweet "You're so pretty!!!", Obviously highlighting that the friend isn't showcasing her brilliance and brains.
And that sums up the entirety of what I think about pretty. I think it's a really funny jab to direct on someone I love dearly.
Earlier this week I came across a month-ish old article that has made me think about pretty:
I think I'm guilty. I don't think that when I am in the process of a Personal Flaw Inventory, I'm measuring myself against the pretty checklist...I'm pretty sure I'm measuring myself against the hot checklist...and I lose every time!
When did that happen to me? When did I decide that was the measurement I should be using? More importantly, WHY did I decide that was the measurement I should be using? With all of this second chance and new life perspective happening for me, I see this as a great opportunity to correct my expectations. Especially since I clean up fairly well and have a great shot at getting to pretty!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
As a continuation of the "Overwhelming Happiness" theme that I have going on, I attended the Brian Regan show tonight at Abravanel Hall (thanks to The Husband). I laughed to tears more than a few times and I expect to suffer from sore cheeks all day tomorrow.
I love my new life!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I got the best news this morning. Turns out, things are not at all what I had been told and my future is chock full of hope and optimism!
I haven't been shared many details here, but in November 2011, I was diagnosed with a chronic, terminal condition. Preliminary prognosis was bad, bad, bad. I had seen a specialist who determined my case to be too complicated and last week saw a second specialist who ran me through some additional testing. This morning I was scheduled to discuss the results of the tests and identify treatments and life expectancy. I was shocked to learn that the testing and research uncovered information that completely pulls me out of the chronic and terminal categories. My condition is treatable! I can feel better again!
My brother offered congratulations on a second life and I really do feel like I've been given a fresh start. I've been crying on and off all day with the good news. My eyes are burning and heavy. I am exhausted. My thoughts and feelings are scrambled eggs. But I'll sleep well tonight with a smile on my face that I thought I had lost forever!
Monday, January 16, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Sunday School lesson was about "Lehi's Dream" found in 1 Nephi chapters 8, 9, 10, 11, 15. In chapter 11, the 'love of God' is referenced 4 times. As I read, I asked myself if I understood what the love of God is? How is it manifest? Can I identify evidence of it in my life? With some thought, I was confident, that I don't have any good answers to those questions and that I have a lot of studying to do.
So I guess I didn't really learn enough about the love of God to share my thoughts...I just identified a topic that I would like to study further. There seems to be a lot of literature available for the study, but I'd love for you to share scripture or links to literature on the topic in the comments section!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
1/15/2012, 9:15 a.m.
This post is being heavily edited. In the light of morning I found myself embarrassed with the content. I thought I would call out some friends in a "clever" way, for displaying behavior I found to be rude, but it turns out I was just jealous. And my jealousy meant that I was reacting to their immature and bizarre behavior with my own immature and bizarre behavior...so gross!
In general, I try to avoid vague accusations. I figure if I can't articulate my thought, or find that circumstances prevent specifics, it's best just to keep my mouth shut. My apology.
With a little more thought, a good nights sleep, and a hot shower, this is what I wish I had posted:
It's interesting growing up. When I was young, I was certain that there was an adult logic, and set of behaviors that were automatic by virtue of age. I anticipated that with each passing year, my friends and myself would act with more refinement and decorum. Ha! Although I strive to behave appropriately for my circumstances, it isn't always the case...so I have no reason to expect it at all time from my friends.
And more interesting than the lack of progress in general behavior and manners is the lack of progress in my reaction. Envy and malice show up in the strangest places. I am perfectly capable of recognizing that everything isn't about me. And if something really great happens to a friend or family member, I can sincerely celebrate with that friend or family member. I don't need to spoil it by expressing regret that the really great thing didn't happen to me...I don't even have to feel regret! But still, 17 years later, I find myself jealous of the oddest things!
Friday, January 13, 2012
Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! is a weekly NPR radio show and one of my favorite hours of the week. So dang funny! It's an interest I share with my baby brother so when I heard they'd be taping an episode in SLC, I knew it would be an awesome event to go to with my bro. I guess free radio has to get it's funds from somewhere but $100-$200+ tickets, I'll just appreciate it over the airwaves!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
I'm not a great mind like Jefferson, and I certainly haven't put the same level of effort into the project, but I definitely have more versions of a similar attempt of my own. I edit my scriptures every time I read them. I highlight verses that catch my attention. I draw lines through verses I find to be distracting. I jot down questions. I scribble out incomplete thoughts. I've even drawn illustrations.
After a few readings, I shelf the copy and start from scratch. I have several marking pencils within reach of my bed and one favorite pen perfect for the task. I have no rules for how I approach, what I underline, how I mark (although I've tried and failed at a few methods). And I can't imagine studying the text any other way. It would feel so impersonal. I don't think what they found from Jefferson is odd or unique. My notations are also private reflections and not public statements. I have no expectation that any of my notes could potential influence the masses...but I do have grand expectations that they will continually guide my future.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I came across an interesting article on CNN.com today:
I have some thoughts...but I'll need to wait to articulate them tomorrow. The sleep aid I took is kicking in and the thoughts in my head are a little hazy. In the meantime, read up!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
Tonight I mentioned two of my most favorite viral videos and Salty said she'd never seen them. So, as a little comic relief, here are two videos that I think are worth seeing again...and again...
(I can't embed this video...you'll have to click to go to YouTube...but so worth it)
Sunday, January 8, 2012
1 Nephi 3:7 "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
In the Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol 1, we are taught:
One of the most cited and quoted verses in all of holy writ, sets forth clearly the attitude of those who trust implicitly in the purposes of God: though the means for accomplising specific objectives are not alwasy readily apparent, the obedient--acting upon the peaceful assurance born of the Spirit--move forward in quiet but deliberate ways, knowing full well that the further light and knowledge will be forthcoming. "And thus we see," Nephi later observed, "that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them." (1 Nephi 17:3)
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Friday, January 6, 2012
Last year I was sooooooo lazy! I didn't hit my max out of pocket medical expenses until the second week in July! It was like I wasn't even trying or something.
2012, I knocked it out by 3:15 p.m. on January 6. I'm a rockstar or something. Seriously!
Watch out 2o13!!
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I usually give my eyes a self righteous roll when I see new status trends on Facebook...I'm a snob like that. Or I'm just too old to really understand the comfort that so many find to post anything in a social media format.
Monday I noticed a trend with a small group of friends. They looked up the number one song from the day and year that they were born and then posted the YouTube video...I rolled my eyes and ignored it. But now it's caught on with my group from High School and every song has hit me with some associated childhood memory.
I humbled myself and finally gave in, and MAN was I glad I did. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the number one song from December 4, 1974:
Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
No wonder I'm such a cool chick!
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
I was once told that I was lucky to live in a time and place to have bishops and advisors and others who love me and care about me. There are many things about my life that I would liked to have happened differently...but I can never say that I was short-changed when it comes to being loved.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon with The Russian and we had some vulnerable conversation. He asked me tough questions and I choked through some of my responses. He wasn't easy on me, but he was kind and understanding and our discussion has stayed with me through today...I suspect there are some things about our chat that will stick with me forever. The details of the conversation pale in comparison to the way I felt after we parted. I felt loved.
This evening I met with my bishop. He asked me some tough questions (ha! that's subjective..."How are you feeling?" is a tough question for me these days). I asked him some tough questions. I'm not sure that either of us answered any questions with any real satisfaction, but the lack of definitive answers doesn't matter. What matters is that as I drove home, I felt loved.
My whole life I have had this assumption that I was to accomplish "something great" in my life. I have never understood what "something great" meant. I have always presumed that it would be monumental...like 'globally impact the world' kind of grand scale. I know I will spend the rest of my life trying to achieve "something great"...but having experienced the enormous and lasting impact of feeling loved, even briefly, I'm starting to see that maybe my "something great" can happen by making sure that the people I love feel it from me? Maybe that is something I can learn to do with consistency no matter where my life's path takes me?
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I've downloaded some free books from Amazon.com, and learned how to "check-out" eBooks using my local public library card ( http://www.slcolibrary.org/ ). Today I found a bunch of websites that offer free eBook downloads! I l-o-v-e it!
Monday, January 2, 2012
As I juggled health concerns for most of 2011 I allowed myself to become less active in participating in my church community outside of Sunday worship. I have no regrets about giving myself a break, but I also am feeling a push to become more involved. I want to always be in the process of becoming a better person. I want to be more obedient. I want to be more social and learn to rely on others without a feeling of apology in doing so.
Tonight I reluctantly attended Family Home Evening. This is an organized event each Monday evening for the members of our congregation. It is designed to give us an opportunity to socialize in a more casual environment by disguising it with spiritual or educational or "fun" activities. I wanted to leave almost as soon as I arrived. And I didn't really participate in the organized activity...I spent most of it talking with a few friends in the hallway. I didn't make any effort to meet anyone new. I kind of failed my own rules for being social.
I guess you could say that being social is like a muscle...it strengthens with use, and atrophies with neglect, and there is a sense of pain when you try to retrain it after a period of inactivity. I think I want to be a better person. I say I want to be a better person. I want to be able to accomplish that with little effort and no discomfort on my part.
Sounds like I need an attitude adjustment, doesn't it?
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Mosiah 2:41 "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."
As usual I have identified some specific, quantifiable goals for 2012. The only guideline I gave myself is that each goal had to assist in my finding more of, and learning more about, happiness. For example, Sassy and I will be planning a fun and/or different social event for all of the odd months (finding more happiness), and I will make a point of reading each week's Sunday School assignment prior to class each week this year (learning more about happiness).
How appropriate then, that happiness was the topic for a speaker in church this afternoon. I have noticed that my notes from meetings come most often in the form of a question. Clearly I am longing to understand myself more and more. The following are questions I hope to answer as I pursue the goals for 2012:
~ What do I consciously feed my mind? What do I unconsciously feed my mind?
~ On a scale of optimistic to pessimistic, how would I rate my general attitude?
~ Do I take the time to view my life and its obstacles within the perspective of doctrine?
~ Do I strive to identify the Lord's hand in my life? Even in...especially in...my trials?
~ Luke 9:24...What am I saving my life for?