Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What Ministering May or May Not Look Like

When my friend arranged to have some sisters in our ward (congregation) over so that she could take a picture of what a Relief Society ministering interview looked like and then realized she wouldn't be home to take the picture, she asked her good friend me if I would take it. Since I am such a good friend and ever so nice and helpful and would do just about anything for this friend, I said yes. 

This is the picture my friend wanted and it turned out ever so nice.


But since we were the only ones in her house and we think we are so darn funny, we took a few more. Maybe she can use these in a slideshow titled What Ministering May or May Not Look Like. I guess that's okay with me as long as she gives me photo credits.





and my personal favorite--


So, if you ever need some pictures taken at your house while you're not home, call me. I'm your girl. #Iprobablyshouldn'tbearealtor

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Some random thoughts at 1:44 a.m.

The Greatest Showman

I saw The Greatest Showman for the 5th time yesterday, and loved it even more. My grandson, who turned 8 and loves all things Lego and dragons, and action, wanted me to take him to see it for his birthday date. He loves to listen to the soundtrack when I pick him up from school a couple of times a week. He goes to a school about 30 minutes away for kids who are "on the spectrum."

When we listen, he asks me to explain what is happening in each song and then he does some analyzing. So, this song is really about being kind to everyone. Or, this song means we should be proud of who we are. He says that the songs make him feel good. He turned and hugged me during Come Alive at the theater because he was feeling pure joy. Music is better than drugs.



When I am in pain from my surgery, if I listen to music, usually The Greatest Showman and dance, even if I can't use my feet, my pain goes away in a couple of songs. The doctor should say, "Dance 2 songs and call me in the morning." Dancing is a powerful drug.

My final, (for today,) take away from The Greatest Showman is: if you are ever kissing on the beach, make sure it is windy and that you are wearing a long scarf. Dreamy.




Animal Kingdom

My granddaughters would rather be animals than people. They act more like animals than people. They sound more like animals than people. They know a lot about animals. They have watched a lot of animal shows. They know what animals do, so it was great Sunday dinner conversation when they said to my teenage son and his new girlfriend, "You guys should mate when you get older."



I am those people. . .

I used to go to the gym and look at the people in the pool and think, ah, those people. The people who can't do real exercise. The old people. Well, now I am "those" people and, I like those people. I like being in the pool and exercising with those people. I actually sweat in the water. Is it because I'm old or because what I thought was easy exercise really isn't? So, until you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes or swam in someone else's suit . . . You know what I mean.





Thursday, March 1, 2018

It is a Sunny Day


I practically ran a marathon today. Well for me. Actually what I did was walk one mile and it took me 23 minutes and 33 seconds. I was probably 50 yards in and wasn't sure if I could finish. But I did. One step at a time. Six months ago today I had my achilles tendon replaced and then I got a nasty thing called CRPS. Three months ago I felt like I would never walk again. Four months ago amputation sounded like a good idea. So, this was a BIG deal for me.

A couple of weeks ago Ric and I were in Santa Barbara watching our daughter, Tess, play Lacrosse for BYU. We went to a Chinese restaurant and Ric got a fortune that said something like, "A chance meeting will bring you great fortune and success." Mine said, "It is a sunny day." And it was. But what kind of a stupid fortune is that. I felt cheated. But then I thought about it and that little gem is actually packed with truth and wisdom.


When the pain in my foot was sooo bad, desperate for any kind of relief, I downloaded a meditation app on my phone. One session the guy with the cool Australian accent told me that if things were "mentally cloudy," to remember that the sun was shining above the clouds. That thought gave me a sliver of hope.



It was about that time that I started seeing a new physical therapist. He told me that I couldn't say, "my bad foot." I had to find a give it a positive label. "Left foot" didn't seem positive enough, so I finally settled on "new foot," which totally freaked my granddaughter out. New is better than old. New is stronger than old. New is shiny and perfect. New things are exciting--new shoes, new friends, new toys. New is so much better than bad or broken or stupid. . .

The foot that had once been a ball and chain, a curse, and a pain, a burden to heavy to bear, became my "pet." I coddled it. I talked nicely. When it hurt, I thought of tendons and muscles repairing. Bit by bit, my pain lessened and what seemed impossible a few months ago became possible.

My big toe, which has been known to give me some grief since my surgery, has been affectionately renamed "The Diva." She's behaving much nicer now that I've recognized she just needed a little extra attention and some bright red polish.


So, my stupid fortune became my perfect fortune. Forget the "fortune and success," I'll be all right as long as it is sunny outside.




Tuesday, February 13, 2018

To BYU or Not to BYU? That is the Question.

As much as I want to pay thousands of dollars to start having that dream again where I'm wandering around campus without pants, and I can't remember where my classes are, I'm just not sure if I want to go back to school. But it is my daughter's dream for us to go to school together. It use to be her dream for us to be roommates too until she married the dreamy Austin Anderson. She also dreams of Big Macs, laundry that folds itself and Lacrosse practices that don't start at 5:30 a.m., but I squirrel.

As terrific as it would be to wander campus with a big map in 20 pt font, I can think of a few problems:

There are so many other things I could be doing, like eating and sleeping and breathing, because I don't remember having time to do those things a bazillion years ago when I went to the BYU.

The major thingy. I think dance--that was my major before--is probably out now that I'm 20 lbs heavier and the only splits I'm doing are the banana kind.

Again, the major thingy. What in the world do I like enough that I want to study exclusively? Do they have a renaissance woman degree? Oh wait, that's motherhood, right?

Clothes. Can I wear stretchy pants? What about pajama pants? Are bras optional?

There's a good chance I might be older than most of my professors. If they ask me to do something I think is stupid, I might say something like, "That's stupid."

But I did some practicing last week. A friend and I went to Hank Smith's New Testament class with our daughters. When I wasn't stretching my neck trying to minimize my neck rolls, I was worried that I was breaking an honor code violation because you know I wasn't actually enrolled, and I had a wee bit of anxiety like the time I attended a full day of classes with my zipper down and thought the modesty police might write me up, but Bro Smith was happy to have us there probably because we brought some spiritual maturity to the class.

So when I wasn't worried about the honor police and my neck rolls and wearing pants, my brain did a little happy dance because it was entertained and it did a little stretch and I didn't want to say the word stupid once. Then later my mouth did a happy dance because we went to the Cannon Center and had a Navajo taco and I've missed those tasty guys.
Me and all my chins so happy to be arriving at that happy place again!

The lovely sight Bro Smith saw while he was teaching.


Can you see the "Y" behind us???

Navajo taco, only mine was bigger and had a pint of guacamole on top.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Mother Nose Best

I was eleven, in the church gym, trying to find my silhouette that I'd made for a mother daughter activity on the wall. I examined the half dozen or so pictures, but not one of them looked like me or at least how I thought I looked.

My friends giggled and "kindly" helped me identify my likeness. "Yours is right there; the one with the big nose."

I was mortified. From that moment, I knew I wasn't as good, wasn't as pretty as the rest of them and I felt embarrassed, almost ashamed, that I had not been aware of this before.




 It was also at that moment that I mounted a continual, relentless effort that ruled my thoughts and actions to shield the world from the unsightly horror that was my nose. During school, I literally kept my nose in a book, or hid by my hand, or my arms by putting my head on my desk. Anything to hide the horror that was my honker. I even took up sleeping on my face thinking that I could force a little bit of it back inside my head. Of course it didn't work, but for years I sported a line--just like a minus sign--across my nose.



I worried that people were staring at my nose. My bigger worry was that they would think I didn't know how ugly it was, so to eliminate any confusion, I made jokes about it.

If this wasn't bad enough, at thirteen I discovered I had chicken lips. This was pointed out to me by my "helpful" Young Women leader who was teaching us how to apply make-up. And I quote, "If you have chicken lips like Jill, you can blah, blah, blah. . ." The rest was kind of lost on me because just like the silhouette nose thingy, I had no idea my lips were offensive too. I had no clue that full lips were what I was supposed to want. Heck, some of my best friends were chickens. Seriously. But that's a different story.



So why am I writing all this? Because 40 years later I finally like who I am. I finally feel beautiful, not because of how I look, but because of how I feel.

I'm throwing out the "b" word because of that Dove commercial where they have the "beautiful" door and the "average" door and women have to choose which one to walk through. Beauty has got to be more than how we look. We all know people who are visually appealing but are "ugly" and plain or average people who are beautiful, glorious in fact. We can choose to be beautiful.

I am writing this because my beautiful daughter, who looks so much like me but is so much better in so many ways said she wanted a nose job. I was crushed. How much of my "nose" paranoia had rubbed off on her?

So my dear "T," forget about your nose, embrace beauty. A nose job might make you look different, but it would also contradict everything that I love about you: your ability to see the beauty in others; your ability to help others see the beauty in themselves; your abundant joy and happiness with life and its many opportunities; your ability to triumph over adversity; your ability to not take life too seriously. If you changed your nose, I'm afraid you wouldn't be able to see past the end of it.

I wasted so many years worrying about my nose, focusing on myself, that I couldn't focus on others. Nobody cares about your nose. They only care about how you make them feel. So, forget your nose (or your hair, or your weight or your crooked teeth--insert whatever insecurities you have here--and leave them here) and be beautiful.







Thursday, January 25, 2018

Happy Things

There has been a lot of sadness around here. Gut-wrenching sadness. But there is also love. So much love and so much goodness. Queen Victoria II (and my bishop) said, "Grief is the price we pay for love." So true. I've wanted to want to blog all week, but life has felt heavy, and if you haven't been reading, my last few posts have been heavy.

So instead of blogging, I've been procrastinating. I am good at it. I practice a lot. But I am finished flipping through Insta and FB and being "heavy." I am a doer. Of hard things. So I am blogging about things that made me happy.

1. I am happy that I can walk. It is such a miracle each time I take a step. I'm still not super good at it. But I am doing it.

2. I am happy for sweat. I went to the gym last night and for the first time in a looong time, I was able to work out so hard that I was sweating. That was joy sweat friends.

3. I am happy when my feet are so sore at the end of the day and I see this beauty. I 💗 Sheila.



4. I am so happy that I have a winter coat and warm shoes.

5. I am happy that I was insanely brave (for me) yesterday and I had something great happen.

6. I am so happy that Wingers makes those sticky finger tacos and that I have good friends to eat them with.



7. I am happy that when there is so much sadness there can be so much love too.



8. Car dancing makes me SO HAPPY and it is my new drug. If you are hurting, try it. Maybe it will work for you too.

9. I am so happy I got to go to this place with an awesome friend and that I only fell asleep for a little while. . . It was a celestial snooze.



10. And who cannot be happy watching The Greatest Showman (three times)? I love the message-YOU ARE GLORIOUS, "bruised" and all. The Best of Us All, the Greatest of Us All, "had no form nor comeliness; . . . (he had) no beauty that we should desire him. He (was) despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: . . .he was bruised for our iniquities." He knows what it's like to be bruised like nobody else does. And friends, He thinks we are glorious. Because of Him we can be even more glorious than we ever imagined. And it gets better. We are part of HIS family. His eternal family.  Family is also one of the themes in The Greatest Showman. Go see it. You'll love it. Buy the music. You'll sing it and car dance to it. You will be happy and you will fell glorious.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Burdens

Several years ago I had a friend that was experiencing a devastating tragedy. One night I couldn’t sleep. I was worried about my friend and the weight of her burden. Was she able to sleep? Did she feel alone? How could she possibly endure such a trial? I found myself on my knees praying. I asked if her pain could be eased if only for a while. I said I was willing to share her burden so it could be lighter. A heavy, oppressive feeling overwhelmed me. The weight was crushing, almost unbearable. After about an hour, the pain lifted. I wondered if my friend’s burden was eased just a little during that hour?

I love that Christ wept when He heard that Lazarus died. He had power to raise Lazarus from the dead, so why did He weep? I like to think He wept because He felt the sorrow of Martha and Mary. Their problem, their pain became His burden. Bearing one another’s burdens is a casserole and babysitting and lawn mowing and donating funds, but it is so much more. When we truly mourn with someone, we go from saying, “That’s sad,” to “I’m sad.”



In the Fall I had a surgery that knocked me for a loop. I had some set backs and complications that involved a lot of pain, no sleep, and little healing. Sometimes the pain seemed unbearable; I literally didn’t know how I could make it through another day. I received phone calls and visits from countless family members and friends. They brought meals and gifts, but more importantly, they listened to me, they mourned with me, and they cried with me. My burden, my pain became theirs and I was lifted.

Recently a friend and I talked and she shared a heavy burden with me. She apologized saying she didn’t want to weigh me down. I remembered a time several years ago when I had unapologetically unloaded on her. She had been through a similar trial and because she had been where I was and because she loved me, she could give me words that provided new perspective and charted a course of action that changed my life.


The Savior, through the power of His atonement, has the ultimate power to lift burdens. As a people that have covenanted to take upon us His name and try to be like Him, we should mourn with, cry with, and feel the pain and despair of our brothers and sisters, and no one should ever have to apologize.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year's/Old Year's Resolutions--I've Heard it Both Ways

New year's resolutions always kick my butt. I mean I make resolutions but let's face it, my resolve dissolves as fast as cookies in milk. I wasn't making new resolutions, I was really just wringing milk from last year's cookies and passing those soggy things off as next year's Oreos. So, then it got easier to not make resolutions. . . to break. But then there's guilt. And pounds. And dust bunnies. And chocolate cake for breakfast. And brain drain.

So last year I resolved to be more resolute. I thought carefully about what I wanted to accomplish. I had a long list of soggy cookies I could resurrect, but I decided to leave them all in the cup. If I died at the end of the year, would I really care if I had exercised, or eaten broccoli, or even if I'd read my scriptures everyday if it hadn't really changed me? Not changed my health or my body, but changed me, my soul, my spirit? So I picked one goal. One thing that mattered. My new year's resolution for 2017 was to not withhold love. It has kicked my butt, but in a good butt-kicking way, in a way that it needed to be kicked.

I learned that there are SO many ways to withhold love: when people annoy me, when family members hurt me, when my children are bullied, when I am jealous, when someone dismisses or even laughs at my opinions just to name a few. This week.

Last year, after a few months of this goal, I started to feel a little beat up and far less than perfect. That's when God sent me a message. I was at a conference and one of the presenters was a woman who my college boyfriend had dumped me for. I was hoping she was fat, not very interesting, and maybe just a little bit bald. She wasn't. She was beautiful, articulate, captivating, everything I felt like I wasn't.

That night when I checked in with Heavenly Father, I realized that once again I had withheld love for this sister in a big way. After I finished what I hoped was a full, sincere, heartfelt repentance, Heavenly Father said to me, "There's one more thing you need to repent of--withholding love from yourself. You are every bit as bright and beautiful and loved by me as that woman." That's when I learned, although I had been told and taught a jillion times in dozens of Sunday School classes, that I can't love others if I don't love myself.

That's why my resolution for 2018 is to not withhold love. It may be an "old" resolution, but it will make me a new person.




President Thomas S. Monson, a great example of love. 


Monday, December 25, 2017

A Fox in A Box

It's  4:40 a.m. Christmas morning and just like the first 40 years of my life, I haven't been able to sleep. 'Back then the magic of the day wouldn't allow me too even in the lean years--the years we had no money for presents so wrote notes to each other or the socks and underwear years. This year I think it has to do more with a recent surgery I had, but who knows? Maybe it's the magic.

A few weeks ago my 4 year-old granddaughter, Jena arrived for a sleepover with her cousins and she was so excited. Practically breathless she said to me, "Gwamma, I got you a fox in a box!"

She knows I love foxes. My fox fetish started about 12 years ago after my mother died. I fell into a deep depression, and then I started seeing foxes. I saw them whenever I'd go on my river walk. One day they came curiously close to me. So close I almost touched them when I knelt down and extended my hand. I saw them in fields and then I saw them at the cemetery near her grave. My mom was such an animal lover that I believe when she died, there was a great shift in the heavens as thousands of God's creatures ran to meet her. I felt like the foxes were a small sign from her or God that she was still there.

So, when Jena handed me a small shoe box and I pulled back a piece of paper and there drawn on the bottom of the cardboard with orange crayon was a little fox adorned with a few small stickers, my heart melted. "See Gwamma, a fox in a box. I knew you would love it." It is probably my favorite Christmas present this year. In fact as I'm writing this in the wee hours of the morning looking at the Christmas tree and all the presents around it I'm thinking, "What else could I possibly need?



I've already received the best gifts this season. Along with my fox in a box, I got:
* a text from my son one day telling me he wouldn't be coming home for lunch because he had seen a person eating alone and joined them.
* I had a sweet sister buy me a new nativity for my eclectic collection when I know that funds were extremely tight for her.


* I had one of my old young women come by and sing me a beautiful song she'd written and give me a tender note.
* I got to see my grandchildren perform the nativity at a nursing home and hear my oldest granddaughter, Charlotte say, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord," and I could almost remember witnessing this event and singing joyfully with my less than mediocre voice as I marveled at the simplicity and the magnitude of his birth.
* I got to use the power of  Christ's atonement several times this month as He bore my griefs and carried my sorrows, not in some figurative, abstract way, but in a literal, powerful way that was nothing short of miraculous to me as my burdens were lifted and gone.
* He has helped me see others through his eyes and healed my broken heart helping me to forgive. Oh how could I possibly receive anything better?

So, I will sit here in the still, magical twilight hours and ponder small, simple gifts and marvel at a  Savior who gives the best gifts of all.

Merry Christmas 2017!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Make a Joyful Noise



George Frederic Handel's Messiah is one of my favorite things in the world. At Christmas I never miss the opportunity to hear it. Last week I was at a Messiah sing along. As we were singing the words from Isaiah 9:6, I sang along in the best way I could -- Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. And then the words in my throat turned to tears and my singing turned to sobbing because I knew strongly, powerfully and unequivocally that He is all of those things. I listened to the beautiful, powerful voices around me and compared them to my own small, weak, off key one. Then I realized that my “joyful noise” was just as important, my praise of Him just as meaningful. My voice matters. It matters to Him. It is beautiful to Him because He made it. So I will make lots of "joyful noise" because without Him I am nothing and with Him I am everything.