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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Yeah, I'm A Little Bit Strange

 

I think I'm a bit of a weirdo.

Wait .... maybe not a weirdo since I just looked up that word and the definition includes words like psychopath and dangerous.

Eccentric is more like it. According to that definition, I'm uncoventional and slightly strange. Yeah .... that's sounds about right.
 
First off, this is not even going to be a full post. I just want you to know, I'm still here. And this is the prelude to the post-post, ya know? The real post, in which I may need hours or days to compose, will come later. For now this is just a post until I have time to write the post-post.

Making promises about future dates is not my favorite thing. But in deference to my blog-love, I need to make this commitment. Even though today is Saturday and I have some free time to myself ....

And even though no one's home but me and the doggies ....

And even though I'm feeling inspired with a big blog idea and my mind is filled with epiphanies I'd like to lay out here .....

My heart tells me I need to wait. I have a stay-cation coming up in a couple of weeks. So I'll be back to write out my inspired ideas then (hopefully).
 
 
 
Now, because I'm a bit of a weirdo/eccentric, I offer the following hypothetical exchange:

Reader- What if you forget the ideas you had when you felt inspired.
Me- I will jot down my thoughts in the coming days.

Reader- What if you don't feel like writing once you're on your stay-cation?
Me- Umm .... Ok, good question. Let's hope for the best.
 
Reader- What if you decide to clam up, which you've tended to do on previous occasions?
Me- By writing this post I'm trying to commit to NOT clamming up. 

Reader- What if this cat and mouse game is a turn-off and I don't come back?
Me- Ah yes, another good question. Alas, I shall be down to two readers instead of three? Or you can lurk and laugh until I write something infuriating. Heh.

Glad we had this chat. See you in a couple of weeks!
 
 
 
In the meantime, tell me something eccentric about YOUR personality. Do you consider yourself typical or a little on the quirky side?
 
 
 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Loner-ville


I haven't written anything about my conversion in a long time. On purpose. I'd been struggling to explain my feelings.

At first I was super-excited to be around so many loving and smiley people. But then something shifted at my core which had nothing to do with the gospel. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Reading the scriptures sing a melody that rhymes with my strumming heart. I know that's never going to change.

In the early months, following my baptism, I was like the bubbles in a carbonated beverage, all shook up and spilling over. I felt smiley and happy most of the time in those initial hours. Hours became days, then weeks, then months. I looked around and what did I see? I was still me. New places and faces flanked, but at the center, I still saw her. That girl. From a little place which looms large in my mind: Loner-ville.

We, who've spent most of our lives in Loner-ville, live in our heads often. Some of us come from large families and have always had plenty of friends. Yet while in the midst of many, we have lived in Loner-ville. And then there are those of us, like me, who come from small families and have socialized infrequently.

I'm 48 years old and I think I can count - on one hand - the number of weddings I've attended. I can also count on one hand the funerals and on another hand, the baby-showers. No, I don't have three hands, silly rabbit!

(Confession: I'm not at all crazy about baby showers. I lack that particular girly gene. Though I know I'll LOVE it for my own daughters.)

Since joining the LDS church I've had moments of feeling overwhelmed. These feelings have more to do with ME than the church. I'm just not used to juggling interactions with so many different people. I'm accustomed to dwelling in Loner-ville, where life has been mostly quiet and manageable. 

It never occurred to me that I would have to learn how to interact with numerous people on a regular basis if I joined the church. I'm not knocking it, I'm just being honest. As much as I love the gospel, I am having to make a constant adjustment to all the people. 

As a little girl, I was acutely aware of my father's desire to keep us isolated from extended family and possible friends. He ruled the household, we had little input, so we lived in our own little world. Somehow I knew we needed more people in our lives. I used to sneak off to go to parties with my friends. Or I'd ride off on my bicycle to explore other neighborhoods. Helplessly watching my father corral us away from the world placed a yearning in my heart. Who knew I'd grow up and return to my isolation roots?

I spend 40 hours a day at a job I enjoy. The people? Not so much. It's not them, it's me! I prefer to be alone. It's a bit of Stockholm syndrome, really. My father went on to become a sweet old guy and a lovable grandfather. However, once upon a time years ago, he was battling his own personal demons when his family was young.
 
Here I sit today, still figuring out how to get along with others. Apparently we're always adjusting and readjusting to make old lives and new lives fit together.

After spending 40 hours with co-workers, some of whom I occasionally neck-punch in daydreams, I was accustomed to relishing evenings at home and two whole days at the week's end. Now there's church on Sundays, which is cool. But then there are all these people keep showing up! And they're just as flawed as I am! Oiy!

Occasionally I've wondered: God, what were you thinking?! Come ooooonnn! Do we really need to fellowship every single week? I believe, He chuckles lovingly and the answer lights itself in my heart.
 
Well, yah! We do.
 
 
My girl-self knew. We are not meant to be alone. Sure, I'll always cherish Loner-ville for its blankets of creativity, of safety, of comfort, of peace, of its numerous layers of protection. I'm beginning to understand that it's time for me let it go and step fully into peopled world God created for us. Do I go willingly? No, not always. But I can see the love-light through others around me and it gently spurs me forward. Sometimes it's a smiling face or a warm hug or a kindly text. 

Sometimes an invitation beckons, sometimes a home visit sparks. We all have this light inside of us. It's kind of nice when we hit one another's switch. My conversion is a moment by moment, baby-stepping process. I am on a journey. The path can go from smooth sailing to hilly and bumpy. Today is a good day.

Have you ever spent time in Loner-ville? How do you manage your time with people?
 
 

Friday, June 13, 2014

30-Minute Blog: OCDOCDOCDOCDOCDOCDOCDOCD


Can you write a blog in less than an hour? Really!?!

Would you believe I've NEVER written a blog in less than an hour? I'm giving myself 30 minutes to complete this one. So it's gonna be quick and random. My process is usually slow and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) methodic. Editing and proof-reading takes the longest. Okay enough of that.... back to the post!

Speaking of OCD, I recently finished reading a novel called, Motherless Brooklyn. If you guessed I picked it for the title, you'd be kinda-sorta right. But just so you know, believe it or not, I actually HAVE rejected books with New York-like titles. If you're reading my blog for the first time, you should know I'm a former New Yorker. 

Anywayz, the clock is ticking and I'm on a mission to write a 30-minute blog. If I get this done, it will be proof to myself that I can pop in here more frequently and write instead of acting like I need a three-hour block for every post. Besides, hubby's on vacay after today, so it's now or probably-gonna-feel-like never. We'll be hanging out together and there'll be little time for blogging.

See how I ramble when I put pressure on myself? Ugh. Okay, Maria, FOCUS!

So this book I read, I really liked it. I must of course, lay out a disclaimer: it's not for everyone. But if you're a little cracked like me, you might like it. Oh yes, as I've gotten older, I've learned to embrace my crazy. I'm not wrapped tight, I'm over it, getting used to it and learning to love it more and more.

The protagonist and narrator has tourettes. Yah! I know, right?! How does THAT story sound?! Well to me, it sounded like musical deliciousness! Not right away, mind you. At first I was all like, wait-what? Huh. I'm not sure .... do I really want to read this? Would I like random written outbursts from a narrator? Do I really want to be inside the mind of a tourette's person?

See there? That's called a reveal. Clearly I have my biases. 

Anywayz, turns out my narrator speaks a language I understand a little bit: OCD. To clarify, in my unprofessional novice opinion, there are varying degrees of OCD. My degree involves the obsessive studying of life's details. No, I'm not a neat-freak nor do I have a need to have every single thing in its place. Just the thought of that kind of behavior makes me tired.

But I DO have OCD tendencies.

What I obsess about is people. I'm an intense people-watcher. I notice SO MANY aspects of human behavior, I would end up looking like a loon if I ever tried blogging about it all.

Ugh. This is going on and on. I'm thinking too much right now, trying to figure out how to explain my OCD and how it connects to Lionel, my tourettes character in the story. I also obsess about my writing, clearly.

This was probably not a good subject to practice my 30-minute blogging. I keep digressing and rambling. Oh! The pressure! Tick-tock, tick-tock.

As I was saying, turns out Lionel is my kind of protagonist. He notices so many things about human beings. And just so you know, Lionel is also an orphan turned small-time thug whose thug-boss was murdered, so he's investigating to find the killer.
 
A crazy story, yet I found it compelling. Reading about him fed a void. There are others like us. Not that I'm a thug or wanna-be detective. But my OCD. Turns out a number of us never stopped being the infants who stared intensely at mobiles hanging over our crib with shiny and colorful shapes. And it's okay! 

That's it, I passed the 30-minute mark a few minutes ago. The end.

What kind of OCD do you have? 
 
 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What's Been Going On .....

I guess two weeks is my maximum window for blog inactivity. After about 10 days I start feeling fidgety about my writer's block and lack of blogging. I've been m.i.a. because life gets busy and who can resist such gorgeous weather after a traumatizing winter?
 
Seriously, didn't it feel like the longest winter ever in some parts? Here in the northeast winter left nail drag marks in the ground, she just did not want to leave!
 
I wish I could offer my usual deep and thoughtful style about life and my latest revelations, but today I've got nothing ..... except a few pictures.
 
What I've been up to lately ......
 

Relaxing with hubby after church.




This guy! He's simply the BEST. My hero, my partner, my best friend. He makes every single thing I face in this world so much easier to handle. Can't you tell? He's just so fun and so sweet!





We had an impromptu mid-week date night.




I had dental work done recently. I'm such a big scaredy-cat in the dentist chair, I had to take Xanax-like drugs to keep me relaxed and tear-free. Yup, the secret's out: I'm terrified of the dentist.



 
Of course, I'm always reading something. I'm currently ready Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. This is a bit of a departure for me since I'm not one for romance literature. Originally published in 1938, it's considered a classic, so I thought I'd give it a try.
 
Once I got used to the author's writing style, which was kind of wordy and slow, the storyline drew me in. It's basically a rich man marries poor girl kind of story, which outlines class distinctions as well as the relationship between servants and their employers. It reads like a journal. I'm a people-watcher, so this book has me hooked.
 
 
 
 
I took our younger daughter shopping when she was home for spring break. Right after I took this picture with my camera phone the store manager approached me and told me customers are not allowed to take pictures of their displays. Huh. Whadaya know? Learn something new everyday ;-)
 
 


We visited with friends.




We stayed home and played scrabble, he won, I lost.




Of course, we've been playing tennis! We're smiling in this picture, but it's all game faces on when we play. Ok, yes, sometimes there's flirting, but I have to ignore him cuz he's a cute distraction who likes to hit hard.

When we're not playing, we've been watching the tournaments. As fellow tennis fans know, it's French Open season and Wimbledon will be coming up soon.


Sooo! What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

You're Gonna Have To Let Go


Well this is a part of parenting I had no idea about. None. No memo, no hints, certainly no conversations with my own mother. Oh! And no close friendships with older women with brains enough to scoop me on their own wisdom until these most recent years. Ya know? Cuz when you're not the sharpest tool in the box you tend to hang out with other dull blades. Truth.

Here's what I've learned: You're gonna have to let go.

Oh yeah, sure we know that in theory. We get that kids grow up and become adults with their own lives. Sure. Yah. Uh huh. We get it .... kind of .... um .... sort of .... wait-what?

Now, I'm beginning to understand. Back when I was playing with my dolls, making them talk, sewing their little doll clothes, pressing their plastic faces against mine to kiss me thanks or goodnight or goodbye or whatever cuz I was the perfect ten-year-old make-believe mom, back then I was the author of make-believe life scripts. I chose the sets, choreographed all the movements and made up both sides of the conversations. Besides, I was the oldest, therefore, I said who-what-where-when-how. My games, my ideas, my toys, the world was mine

Fast-forward to now, wife to my hero and mother of young adults, thinking ..... no, realizing, my brain has been slow in making the leap. Slow in transitioning to real-life, real-family, real-world from my cushy and predictable world of make-believe. It feels like I looked up suddenly and found the day-to-day mothering parts over, like it was all an arms-flailing-as-I-tumbled-through-the-sky dream. Sometimes I feel dazed and confused, retracing my steps, wondering, How did I do? Are my babies gonna be okay? Did I do everything I was supposed to? What am I forgetting?

Remember the FIRST time you left your infant or toddler in the care of another for a few hours? Once you were apart from them, remember how unnaturally light your arms felt without their little body pressed against yours and no baby bag weighing on your shoulder? That's kind of how I feel now, except it's my mind that feels lighter. I don't feel this everyday, but when I do it can feel disorienting. Questions flood my mind and I doubt my abilities, even though I know I did my best.

That memo I didn't get? That lesson I'm now learning? ........

My children are creating futures in their own way, without me in the central role.  I may have written scripts and scenarios for doll-life, but I have no more say with my real-life off-springs. And this is fine, at times even desirable, but it takes getting used to. You don't go from spending 18 to 21 years of life being completely responsible for keeping people alive, educated and out of jail to NOTHING. Warning: occasional feelings of panic or helplessness may ensue

And even though you know ages 18 or 21 may signal the legal end of your parenting job, you're too busy ruling your roost think about that. I mean really, at what point were we supposed to discuss that? During prom purchases and pictures? Before or after the graduation ceremonies? Before or after freshman orientation at a campus? Before or after the screaming match we all enjoyed following the curfew broken by a few hours? Hard to find time for rational conversation between emotionally charged events. Oh it's doable, just not always convenient.

In case we forgot, newly minted adults are usually chomping at the bit to bungee jump into the WORLD. How do parents have the letting-go-cuz-you're-all-grown-up-now talk with their kids without awkward stuttering, gawking, and phfffts!? Maybe the transition was silky smooth for some parents. For me, it's NOT. 

I am learning to love them in a new way. Does that sound terrible to say out loud? Well it's the truth. I love them as the babies they were. It's easy to love babies and little people who worship you no matter what you do (even teenagers love you through their mood swings). But when your babies turn into grownups, that's a whole new, uncharted area of loving. You're learning to love and accept them as adults. You think you know them, but you don't.

In the dawning of adulthood, new layers of character and personality appear almost daily. We can't know who our kids are until they themselves figure it out. I can still remember my own parents having to get to know the adult version of me. Now it's my turn. I'm watching my own beautiful strangers evolve. I love them so much. But I have to allow an unknowingness about who they are. It's an adjustment.

Do you remember your parents having to get to know YOU as an adult? Was it a smooth transition?
 
 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Feeling Better Already :-)



Look who's feeling better?! Whew! Thank You Loving, Heavenly Father!

Thank YOU too for thinking of me with love and/or keeping me in your prayers. Wowee. What a ride this life thing can be. I'm not doing cart wheels or the snoopy dance ..... yet. But clearly, prayers have been heard and a rope has been tossed down to pull me up and out of this darkness. So I'm giving thanks today and savoring the recent little victories in my life. 

Did I ever tell you about my eclectic blog tastes? Oh yes! I read all kinds of blogs. As long as they're engaging and devoid of gross photos, I'm in. Uh huh, for any gross photo-posting people out there I don't do grossness. You can interpret that however you like and pout. If you post grossness I remove your blog from my reading list (unless of course I love you so much, you get a pass, but that's rare).

Anywayz! Besides the obvious blogs about family, books, and photography, I also read crocheting blogs, gun-lover blogs, and blogs by sober alcoholics, to name a few. I recently read a post by a newly sober alcoholic who wrote about how much her tastes in TV shows have changed since she stopped drinking. I can relate! Ok, granted, overall I've never been a big television watcher. But still.

In the last four years I've gone from watching an average of 35 hours a week of TV to maybe 14 hours per week. Depending on the tennis season, sometimes it's more, but not by much. And outside of sports, every show is DVR-ed, therefore NO commercials. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking TV lovers. They're oodles of worthy t.v. shows to tune into. I'll always be a fan of Hollywood story-spinning and I do appreciate the great escapes from reality which their varied talents provide. But I'm just more of a words-on-the-page kind of girl. It's my thing. 

With that said, in middle of my blue-feeling week, one of my favorite TV shows came to the rescue and gave me a mirth injection. Following that here are a few of the things which have made me smiled this week. They may be small, but they gave my heart a lift.

Blessings .....

I laughed.




For those of you who watch, I was giddy with happiness to see Megan and Don break up, Harry get FIRED (I hope) and Roger act like a BOSS! Yowza! Go, Mad Men, Go!




I wrote a blog! Sweet little happenings have been unfolding ever since.

For all the times you stop to read this little ole blog, I heart you readers! For your comments on the last post, I'm channeling a HUGE cyber-hug to you. I hope you feel it. Thank you!





Yesterday evening an angel rang my bell and brought me dinner. Oh wait! Let me back up. I had dental surgery a week and a half ago. I have stitches in my gums, so toothy smiles have been on hiatus due to the healing process. My home visiting teacher* and bestest friend in our ward (church) brought me the BEST homemade split pea and ham soup I've ever tasted. Along with the soup were, chocolate chip cookies, corn bread (all homemade- yum!), paper bowls and plastic spoons (so I wouldn't have to wash dishes) How awesome is she?! I adore her! 

Those are her pretty flowers in my blog banner. I took those last summer as I watered her lovely blooms while she was away on vacation.





I haven't read a good novel in over a month! I went to the library after work yesterday and picked out this one. It's from a list I've been generating from a few book blogs. So far, so excellent.




Our youngest sent me this picture yesterday. She said the campus staff brought a few four-legged buddies to visit as a stress reliever for students pre-finals week. I LOVE seeing that girl of mine smile! Besides, she's a dog-lover who misses her own four-legged babies, so that was just what the doctor ordered. Nice to know that even though she's away from home, she lives in a place where love occasionally radiates.




This morning when I walked into my office, I found this plant sitting on my desk. It was a nice surprise from a sweet co-worker. In the card she wrote, she hadn't seen me smile in weeks and hoped this would cheer me up. It did. I gave her a big hug of thanks.

More blessings .....

We've had rain for two days straight. Even though I love the sun as much as the next person. I thrive in rainy weather, it's my fave. When it rains I feel like God is holding me in his arms and stroking my hair. I am truly soothed by rainy days.

In other good news, I get my stitches out in two days. My smile will be back. I could go on, but I'll stop here. What I want most to say is, I hear you God. You're rocking my socks like you always do.

Today I'm feeling both favored and thankful.

What's been YOUR favorite little pick me up in recent days?



* In the LDS church women are assigned to each other for monthly visits, called Visit Teaching. We spend time in each other's homes basically being friends and availing ourselves to each other during difficult and/or celebratory life seasons.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No More Secrets


Let's see. 

How much of me wants to blog? It's a smidgen. Maybe as big as an inch, if it's that big. I've come here and just sat and stared.

This morning, I sat here again .... staring. Just now, as I sat and stared, I told myself, Why don't you just go ahead and start writing? So here I am. I'm just gonna write.

First off, you should know up front, inside my head I feel hostile and angry and generally ticked off. On the outside I appear polite, placid, ..... even gentle. I've been speaking softly because I'm afraid if I raise my voice too much, people might see the blood-thirstiness in my eyes. Some might, intuit my true demeanor, exchange looks and mouth the words, call security.

I'm not trying to whine and complain, I assure you. I would just like to blog. I hate that I'm consumed to distraction with my current life issues. I deserve to blog. I need to friggin blog. Ugh.

I feel like my insides are tied up in all these tight knots, you know? I feel tense. My beautiful and amazing husband said recently, We're on edge. Yes, I feel edgy, like I'm holding myself stiffly. And sometimes I have to say out loud, Let your shoulders down, Maria

Breathe .... slow .... slower.

The thing I'm understanding about this juncture of my life and blogging is, I need to figure how it works when the twain can't meet. It never occurred to me that I might have occasion to blog through some of life's more difficult times. 

I guess all anyone needs to know for the moment is, I'm trying to not feel like I'm drowning while the devil tries to smother me. I'm trying to appear normal. 

But in the meantime I'm peeved that it's my turn, see? I'm annoyed to have this wherewithal of untapped strength. I'm not trying to curse my blessings, I'm just trying to punch through these emotions. I feel like a robot.... heavy with metal, carrying stones in all her metal pockets.

I've stayed away from blogging because my instinct is to hide. Yes, there it is. My modus operandi. I hide when I'm struggling with life. I don't want to be seen looking weak. I don't want anyone to look on me too closely. I've wanted to be left alone. 

At least that's how I used to be. That was my way ..... my old way.

Now? Well .... I don't know. I guess not? 

Apparently the newness of self occurs in stages. And when you blog about yourself and your life, it's hard not to notice. Two major occurrences have aided in shaping this second half of my life. I stopped drinking alcohol four years ago and I came into the gospel 18 months ago. 

HUGE happenings. 

Those have been ginormous life changing events, the results of which will keep me in character morphing for years. So yeah, I'm not the person I used to be. I don't want to hide anymore. No more covering up. No more shrinking away.

Come to think of it, hiding co-existed splendidly with my old alcoholic ways. Hiding how much I drank and/or how much I wanted to drink, was from my don't ask/don't tell earlier life. The devil ran me around on a regular in those active alcoholic days. 

The devil is the the king and lord over all secret activities in life. Today, I have no more need for secret-keeping. Jesus Christ is the only master I desire to follow. So yeah, no more hiding.

As for these feelings of anger and frustration? They'll pass. I guess I'm in one of those grief stages, it's a process. So what if I feel a little pissy? Why should I choke on it? I'm owning it. I can't be happy and bursting with rainbows farts all the time. I'm pushing through as best I can. 

Whoa! Loooook!

I.Wrote.A.Blog. Woo-hoooo!!

*Sigh* Feeling a little better already. 

How do YOU deal with grief?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm Still Learning


What would Jesus do?
 
It's taken me days to finally ask myself this question. And you know what answer rang like a bell in my heart?
 
Jesus would totally blog!
 
Knowing that the devil has been traipsing in gleeful circles around me, pouncing on my heart and on my thoughts, I'm finally ready to push through towards resuming some of my regular routines.
 
I'm blogging again, devil. So back off and be quiet!
 
Even though I grew up attending church as a girl, when I hit my twenties, for reasons of hurt and youthful rebellion, I convinced myself there was no such thing as the devil. Yeah, that turned out to be a years-long party for the devil and his peeps at my expense. It almost put me in an early grave.
 
Ahh, but God had other plans, so here I still stand.
 
In the last line of my previous post, when I mentioned needing the bitter to appreciate the sweet, I had no idea that a metaphoric train was slamming into my family's life just a few days before publishing it. Rest assure, we are all safe and healthy. Unfortunately this is something I can't blog about due to the privacy of my loved ones.
 
What I can tell you about is what I'm learning. I'm learning that prayer is always truly powerful and God still is beautiful, loving and amazing.
 
Years ago, when I was an adolescent, I discovered the joys of friendship. At age ten I met my best friend Daisy (maybe you remember her), we exchanged phone numbers and opened our damns of free-flowing chattiness for the next 10,000 plus days of our lives. Of course there were weeks, months and even a few years in between when we weren't talking.
 
But that doesn't mean we were quiet. We had each found other best friends whose ears we continued bending with all our blabbing. I can't help but chuckle at myself when I think about how much I used to talk. I spilled my guts about every single problem I ever had, from broken nails and laments over my too-small boobs to feuds with my mother and weepiness over elusive mates. Blah blah blah! Yakkity-yak-yak!
 
Geez-louise! It feels like it took forever for me to hear just how much talking I'd been doing all those years.
 
Anywayz, today I'm off from work for a second day in a row. Yesterday was needed for scripture reading, loads of praying, some tears, and a few naps. Today is simply my time to relax and regroup.
 
Someone dear to me recently asked me the "why" question about bad things in life. I didn't answer because it was asked during an emotionally charged moment and I knew I wouldn't be heard or understood. But I can say it here because bad things happen to us all. Everyday we each get turns at feeling lost and seeking answers.
 
In my older age I've learned to listen more than I speak. I've also learned, as much as I think I know, I still have a lot to learn. Here's where my faith comes in. I've learned there are some things we're just not meant to know or understand in this life. I love and trust my Heavenly Father's plan for my life. 
 
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. --Romans 8:28
 
None of us want to suffer through the pains of life, but through faith, we know that our suffering does indeed, come to an end and whether we choose to accept it or not, it always serves a purpose.
 
I guess the reason I used to talk so much during my younger years was because there was just so many things I didn't understand. I figured if I talked long enough, the answers would eventually come. But I've learned that's not always the case. Nowadays, I get most of my life's answers when I am listening.
 
God loves everyone of us without exception. We are all His children. We each have a special purpose in this life. Every single experience we have, God has a plan unique to each of us. THAT keeps my heart smiling and encourages me to never give up on the beauty of this life.
 
In other news, last Sunday a request was made of me to teach the Relief Society lesson just two hours before it began. The scheduled teacher was out sick that day. So I said yes and I did it! And guess who was NOT trembling like a leaf this time? Me!
 
I know, right?! Shocked myself, too.
 
I could have said no, but my heart told me I needed to say yes.
 
During the lesson I was filled with and led by Spirit. As I taught, it felt like I was in my own living room chatting with my family. Ok, I admit to being a teensy bit nervous, but those nerves took a back seat to the love I felt in that room. I'm sure the devil was pouting in a corner somewhere watching the Holy Spirit do Its thing through me and all those women. It was wonderful!
 
I'm reminded that when I'm feeling discouraged, being in service to someone else can lift me up. Oh yes, sad times can be a win-win for us all. I've missed you. Glad we had this chat. Thanks for being kind enough to read. Now go! Be a blessing to someone else.