Monday, August 26, 2013

Musings on...

My friends and I are in a book club and we just finished reading this book. My family has a book club, and we read this one earlier in the year as well. Yes, probably a very simple book, but I really enjoyed it. In the back of the book, it gave a quiz that helped you figure out which "faction" (one of 5 groups divided up by desired personality traits) you belonged to. The factions are Abnegation, who desire to think of others and not themselves; Amity, who desire peace with others above all else; Erudite, who desire wisdom and value logic; Candor, who seek for happiness and friendliness; and Dauntless, who value courage and bravery over the other traits. We discussed which ones were most important and what we thought of each one, as portrayed in the book.

Lately I have tried to better at observing people, trying to find out what makes them do what they do, to understand what triggers their behavior. What's been a little interesting to me, is to see how behaviors change over the years. As people get older and have experiences, their reactions to people and things change. Our tastes, and even what we look for in a friend or companion, changes. And yet, what do you do with those relationships that have been in over time, that may have evolved to something different than what it had started out to be? Those relationships are still important and require even more work to stay with and see why you're in them.

It's hard to always be focused on others and their feelings and wishes, when over time, the natural man tends to direct us towards only what makes "me" happy. It can become harder and harder to think about others when you start developing the attitude that "I will do whatever I want and what makes me happy". And I'm going to throw it out there, it's hard to always think of others when you've been single. Being single is not necessarily the best place to develop selfless traits. It can be done and should be attmpted, but it's hard. It feels like, when you make decisions, they only affect yourself, but really, they don't. Married or Single, what we choose to do, affects many others and when we see ourselves in a small bubble, alone where only my will matters, we move onto a slippery slope. It causes us to take for granted the relationships we have, to treat others like their "smaller" or "less important" than they really are. Our struggle to see things from someone else's point of view keeps us grounded on who is important in life.

It's hard to do everything we feel we SHOULD be doing when life is so busy, usually with kids, work, callings, needs of others, that all we really want is to take time for ourselves. And that is okay to do. We all need some time to step out of everyone else's light and replenish our own. But, I am a firm believer that it will never be a detriment to us, to be kind, thoughtful, warm, forgiving or interested in others. Those actions take work. Relationships with others take work, no matter if those are friend relationships or spouses. Sometimes, it seems the relationships that take more effort are the ones where we actually know the person really well.

Every person is different. The quiz from the back of the book showed that me and all my friends are different, we focus on different things. We look at others differently, therefore treating them differently. Yet, moving past that, to strengthen individual relationships is key. If you want to keep a relationship, you have to work (meaning consider, forgive and being kind when it may be hard to be kind) at those. Each one of the traits from the book had to work together and when they didn't, when they looked to "faction before blood" they forgot how much more there was outside of the bubble they had created.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rough Stone Rolling...

In a week, I will be embarking on a LDS Church History tour. I am super excited to see many places where early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were taught the gospel and joined the church, to then move to gather with the Saints in various places throughout the early part of the 1830s. Our tour starts in Niagara Falls, which has nothing to do with the history of the church, but sounds like a good enough place to start right? Then we move through Mendon NY, where the Young and Kimball families lived before joining the church; Palmyra NY Joseph Smith and his family lived; down to Susquehanna PA where Joseph and Emma lived for a time with her family; then onto Ohio and the towns of Kirtland, Fairport Harbor and Hiram, where the early Saints started to gather. I have always loved reading about the early Saints of our church, their desires to gain testimonies of this new religion, their struggles with their neighbors and their seeking out a place to worship. I am a beneficiary of their sacrifices and hard work. I am grateful for my ancestors who participated in these historic moments and am so glad to I get to go see their hard work in moving westward across the country and their building of temples and other cities that helped expand their religion, as well as America.

As part of our tour, we are asked to memorize vignettes of early church members. I am to memorize a synopsis of Louisa Young, a sister of Brigham Young. His entire family, he and his 9 siblings, all joined the church, and never left it. Pretty stalwart. There's something about walking where they walked, immersing yourself into their lives, trying to see the world from their point of view, to see if you could do the same. Would I have been strong enough to uproot my life, to struggle for years as the church tried to find a foothold somewhere and to eventually leave all of it behind either to death or by crossing the plains to a desolate valley. I'd like to think I would, but who knows. My friends and I who are going have been reading the book "Rough Stone Rolling," a biography of sorts of Joseph Smith. We have just finished reading the sections that take us to Kirtland and the development of Joseph's leadership styles and abilities. How rough he was to start, trying to learn the way God spoke to him and how, as unlearned in the ways of the world that he was, to move people, to turn them towards God. I'm excited to see where his mission took him.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Positive Reaction to more Reality

This picture says it all for me. I don't remember consciously comparing myself to Barbie. But I have compared myself to many girls who are much more thin than myself. But when I saw this "new" Barbie, my mind rushed to praise the person who did this! Thank you, because this is much more real! (I'd buy that Barbie for my pretend daughter...)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Church wide Broadcast

A week ago, the church had a broadcast event that the ward councils were asked to attend, along with any other interested members. It was a great broadcast and I recommend you take some time to watch all 2 hours of it.

I came away with a renewed and hastened sense of what I should be doing. I fall short often, but I know what I should be doing. Sometimes, the work gets tiring. Sometimes people don't want to get involved either. And, each person has to make a decision on where they are and how much they are willing to offer up of themselves. I've been reading the book "Rough Stone Rolling" that attempts to take a look at Joseph Smith's life from both sides of the coin. While written by an LDS author, he tries to portray for the reader the situations of the time, so everyone can understand what context the restoration took place in. It's been interesting so far. As I have read the book, which is a pretty large and wordy undertaking, I've been struck by how much work and effort the restoration and living the gospel took. And quite frankly, living any religion of the day took. Compared to our fast and furious technological capabilities now, the effort anything required during the early 1800s seems like so much. Yet, they did it. These religious pioneers changed their lives! I am currently reading in a chapter that discusses the settling of Kirtland, and the religious fervor that took hold in that area before the Mormons moved in. There were Methodists, Campellites, Free Baptists all in that newly formed village. These folks had to build their own churches, pack up for a day at church as they came in from their various farms. Participate in other activities the churches organized, paid for their ministers, etc. Then the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints moved in, and similarly, they built their temple over the course of years, had to run their farms, met on Sunday's to hear the word taught to them, took care of the sick and the needy, made most everything they had, etc. And in the mix there, many newly baptized men were being called on missions, to leave their families and go for their new religion, many times just days after being baptized. And they went! So as I watched this broadcast, I was struck with where this request and commandment falls in with the timeline of the church's restoration to the earth and how we fall into this grand timeline of commandments, sacrifice and blessings. Sometimes I feel that we don't fully understand what it means to fully commit to the gospel, and then other times, I see it in the lives of many members in my ward. They have committed to living and serving ALL those around them and that, according to our leaders, is just the beginning of this new period in the restoration.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Moving date

My little cozy condo in La Jolla is soon be switched out for a cozy little home in my same ward, just on the other side of the canyon. My landlord gave us notice that they would not be renewing our lease at the end of July, so we were on a frantic 2 week search for our next place to hang our hats. It's been a little bittersweet. It's always nice to call a place home and settle in. I've been settling in this place for 7 years! But the life of a renter hit me full force as we were on the lookout for a new place.

Our new abode is a cute little house on a corner lot surrounded by families and other cute homes. There is a backyard that we can plant our garden in and have flowers and new carpet and paint. The kitchen appliances are also newer and the cabinets were all refinished with new hardware. It's a cute house that has a charm to it. It didn't get us anymore bedroom space, but it is a 4 bedroom so the three of us will have a room to expand at least (craft/project room?!) and the kitchen is good size, with a dining area that is large as well. We have some good storage in the garage too. So, it's a nice set up, in a nice neighborhood that I definitely feel comfortable running in and closer to the local grocery store that we like to frequent. I will miss my little condo area. A lot of the young families and couples live in the condo area of our ward and they are a fun crew, and we see them often walking around, at the grocery store. The temple was pretty much a hop, skip and a jump from our place. We could see it from our patio. Our little house will be kind of tucked back into a neighborhood, which is great when you don't want to hear the crazy student parties that were held in our complex, or not hear all the cars driving through our parking areas at crazy times of night. I won't miss the guy who locked himself out of his car at 2am in the morning, and proceeded to talk for an hour on the phone while he waited for AAA to come unlock his doors. That was fabulous conversation eaves dropping (though I can see how folks would rather SLEEP DURING THAT TIME OF NIGHT!). So there are things to not be missed.

So cheers to the new housing adventure, cheers to the new neighborhood and to ingratiating ourselves into the good graces of our new neighbors. Our little western corner of the ward will hopefully be better because we moved there. Hey, hope the neighbors like cupcakes.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fast and Slow

Remember those days when you couldn't wait for the next Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings film to come out, not caring that a whole year at least, would go by in the meantime. Life could be measured by the yearly Harry Potter installment, when we'd age another year with Harry. What's crazy is, I didn't really care that all that time went by. But now, it's all I can to to keep up with the fast paced speed that life is flying by and yet all I want it to do is slow down.

One of the best things my friends and I were able to do while we took a trip to Austin, was to float lazily down the Guadalupe River, down near New Braunfels. We rented tubes, and slipped into slow moving current, that propelled us at a snails pace down about a mile. It took us about 1.5 hours to get down the river. And yet, those 1.5 hours were just fabulous. I haven't sat for that long, with no distractions, no pressures, no social media buzzing from my purse. Time stood still.

When we returned, it picked right back up. Work, church, family, friends, all need my time and I am more than willing to give it. What's crazy is how fast that time gets filled. This weekend, one of my friends is getting married and last night was her bridal shower. Her sisters threw a fabulous garden dinner party and then gift opening and games into the evening. The best part was, many other friends who once lived here and moved away came back for the weekend. While standing with a couple of friends, all we could say was how amazing that about 1.5 years had gone by since the first one moved away and got married, then a couple more followed and here we were today, with my group of girlfriends splitting up. This is the ebb and flow of single girl hood. You make friends, close friends, who become your stable table, since you are most likely away from your families. And then those friends start to move away to other things. That table starts to wobble a little bit until you steady it with more friends who move into your circle. Throw in the added bonus of having to move to a new place when your landlord calls to say they are not renewing your lease at the end of July and your table legs rock a little more. But those moments of wobbly instability cause you to consider where you are in life and if what you're currently doing is going to steady your table enough. I haven't yet figured that part out, but I do know that these moments where the legs feel worn down, don't stay that way forever and they can be good motivators to make those sturdying changes. So I guess we'll see where this moment of upheaval takes me, whether it is here or there, or anywhere, the days move on and you end up where you're supposed to be.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A new dessert blog to follow

I love looking at desserts and thinking that I'm going to make them all. So when I found this one, I was excited, yet again, to find more dessert options.

The Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake looks divinely delicious!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday Morning thoughts

It's been a while since I wrote anything. So maybe I should try something. It's Saturday morning. I have a busy few weeks at work. It's been project after project, with no real slow down since October. Now, with the government sequestering money and taking it back from agencies, we have less money, but still have to do the same amount of work. So, less positions are filled, luckily no furloughs as of yet for my office, but more work to go around. But today, I have a little chance to relax. I spend the night at my friends house and today, 4 of us are headed up to the Newport Beach temple to do a session. It's been a nice relaxing morning so far, I've gotten my visiting teaching report requests out, and I am updating, in a haphazard fashion my blog. I've been overwhelmed the last few weeks with things I needed to do and responsibilities and it's so nice to just take a day. I've been reading a book called "The Great Decision," and I probably should have read something else. It was so interesting, it was about the Marbury v. Madison decision of hte 1803 Supreme Court, which put the Supreme Court on the same level with the Executive and Legislative branch, allowing it to be a check and balance as the constitution called for. But, I work in a courthouse every day, so maybe something with some levity would have been preferred. But I found it required me to really think, and maybe I'll do a book review on it, just to show I did make it through.

I've made risotto twice now, and I have to say, it's becoming my new favorite dish. It's so creamy, can be rich with flavor and filling. So good. Life is moving ever faster to me, I can't believe it's March already and maybe that's caused some reflection. Three of my sisters are having babies this year, it will be the third for each one. So by the end of the year I will have 12 nieces and nephews. I measure my life sometimes in these birthdays and events that happen, and it occasionally sparks a little jealous note that it would be nice to measure my life with my own events like that. Instead, I throw trips into the mix to measure my life. A couple friends and I are going to Austin, TX in April to see the place. I am running a race the end of March, a little 5k in Balboa Park to raise money for Autism research. I will hit my 2 year mark as being Relief Society president in June.  Life measurements have different markers for me, but that's okay. But sometimes, it would be nice to be able to measure life like so many others around me. And yet, I have a great group of friends who are in the same boat as me, who feel that same way, and so it's not so lonely. If I have to be in this boat, I'm rowing along with some fantastic people, and it's not an empty boat.

Okay, that's enough seriousness.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vacation to the East

No, not to the far east, but the east coast, Virginia to be exact. A few friends and I had been planning this trip for a number of months and it finally came! Blessed day! It came at a great time when I needed a break from work and some other items that press for my time. Our first day was filled with Delta Airlines, leaving from San Diego through Detroit, to Richmond Virginia. That little puddle jumper from Detroit to Richmond was certainly not my favorite. Still Delta, still the wonderful Biscoff cookies that they serve, but I think the little planes allow me to feel the air beneath us just a little too much. I didn't feel very well through that whole flight. But, in reality, I never feel wonderfully well on planes anyway.

We flew into Richmond, picked up our rental car and began our first adventure-to navigate our way to the Gholson homestead. After getting on the magnificent toll road, we got off on the correct parkway, but took off on the wrong exit. Should have taken 2nd Iron Bridge instead of the 1st exit. (Don't worry, by our last day there, we finally had it figured out). We met up with Ron and Katie, to then go back into Richmond for fabulous food in an area of downtown that is being renovated. Bottom's Up Pizza is fantastic, huge pies and pretty much fantastic! I got one slice and could not eat the whole thing. I think it was bigger than my plate. What's cool about all the shops around there is that they are old tobacco warehouses that are renovated to bring business to that area. I am a sucker for things old, walking the Riverwalk was just up my alley!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where did 2012 Go!!!???!!!

I know, this year has been the worst in terms of me updating my blog and the world on my life. I can't imagine how my fans have got along with out this :) But don't worry, there will be updates coming. As a recap, the 2nd half of the year was full, with a few trips to see my family, work being busy, church responsibilities and of course the time spent with fabulous friends here in San Diego. It was a busy year and one that I need to recap for my own remembrance at least. So here's to updating!