Sunday, May 03, 2020

Julia's Favorite Things

Because it was Julia's birthday, I took some time to ask her what her favorite things are. It kind of gets into the weeds at the end, but we were having fun, and listen, we need fun things to fill our time these days! Here's the list:

  • Favorite Color: turquoise/aqua
  • Favorite Meal:  crepes
  • Favorite Dessert: chocolate peanut butter ice cream
  • Favorite Song: We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel
  • Favorite TV Show: Gravity Falls
  • Favorite Movie: all Muppet movies
  • Favorite Book: Mistborn Secret History
  • Favorite Character: Eldon, the tiny wizard (from her latest Dungeons and Dragons campaign)
  • Favorite Book Character: Wayne from Alloy of Law
  • Favorite Restaurant: Colonial Cafe in Illinois
  • Favorite Season: spring
  • Favorite Hobby: reading
  • Favorite Animal: tortoises
  • Favorite Magical Animal: rocs (I had no idea that was a thing)
  • Favorite Game: D&D
  • Favorite Holiday: Pi(e) Day
  • Favorite Weapon of Choice: sword
  • Favorite Number: 16
  • Favorite Candy: Peanut Butter M&Ms
  • Favorite Way to Eat Eggs: None, I don't like eggs
  • Favorite Possession: D&D dice
  • Favorite Quote: "You've gotta flaunt the weird, my friends." -Alex Firero, Magnus Chase
  • Favorite Mode of Transportation: flying
  • Favorite Vehicle: bike
  • Favorite Muppet: Miss Piggy
  • Favorite Lego Character: Birch (who the heck is that?)
  • Favorite Stuffed Animal: Jeffy, the giant stuffed giraffe
  • Favorite Pokemon: Eevee
  • Favorite Harry Potter Book: #3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Favorite Harry Potter Character: Luna Lovegood
  • Favorite Six Minutes Character: Birdie

Thursday, January 09, 2020

40 by 40 #15: Go to a Classical Music Concert

 My lovely sister-in-law Suzanne offered a birthday present of epic proportions: a ticket to see Beethoven's 9th Symphony performed by the Utah Symphony, and a check mark for my 40 by 40 list. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity.

Beethoven's 9th, aka, Ode to Joy, is one of the most glorious works of music ever written. To listen to it is to love it. To hear it performed live is to understand the power of music. I hadn't ever experienced this until September 22, 2018, and I am still in awe of how much better it is live. I definitely cried. Just thinking about it now, over a year later, I get chills. What a moving experience, never to be forgotten.

 40 by 40 #15: Go to a  Classical Music Concert: 🗹

Sunday, January 05, 2020

40 by 40 #1: Run a 5K. (The whole time. No walking.)

To be honest, I'm not sure why I included this one. I have never liked running. And yet it called to me, like a siren, the idea of being able to run for 5 kilometers, without stopping to catch my breath. So I started training in January 2018. I did a Couch to 5K program, which got me ever so slowly up to running 3.1 miles without stopping. It took quite a while, but I did it. But this goal was meant to be met by running a race, and it turns out I didn't do a race for nearly a year.

Finally, in April 2019, I ran the Rex Lee Run, a race near and dear to my heart. Back in my college days, I worked as a secretary (THE secretary) for the Cancer Research Center. As such, I worked closely with the student-run Cancer Awareness Group, who was responsible for the race. I helped organize t-shirts, medals, race routes, registration...basically I wasn't in charge but had my fingers in a lot of pies. So it's been a race that I have continued to follow and participate in, even when I'm not a runner, and even when we have lived far away. I didn't really run, but I walked in the race multiple times. Even when we lived in St George, we often came up for the race. The specifics are fuzzy, but I know I've walked while pregnant (cause I couldn't figure out where to put the bib), and I know I've pushed a stroller (that could have been the same year...). Anyway, the point is, the Rex Lee Run and I have a history. So completing this goal by running this race was extra-special. They also changed the course, making it run right through the middle of campus, which brought back all the memories of running to class and studying on the quad. Basically, this race was full of nostalgia and victory, and that is a killer combination.

40 by 40 #1: Run a 5K. (The whole time. No walking.): 🗹

Thursday, January 02, 2020

The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

This year's scripture study focused on the New Testament, individually, as a family, and as a church.  I read each week's assigned reading on my own and again with my family. Then we talked about it as a family, and again at church in our classes. You might say we were immersed in that book of scripture. And I am here to tell you that it was a truly sacred experience.

I've read the New Testament before. Multiple times. Especially the Gospels. I went into the year feeling like I was pretty familiar with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and I don't feel like that perception was off. Reading the Gospels I didn't feel like I had any truly new insight, but I absolutely loved reading it with my daughters and sharing my thoughts, insights, and feelings with them. I was so grateful for "Family Home Church," as we call it, and the opportunity to bear testimony and have gospel discussions in our home. Not that we couldn't have done that before this year, but something about being given a specific directive made it happen. I loved reading and discussing the life of our Savior and Exemplar, Jesus Christ. It renewed my desire to become more like him.

But then there was the rest of the New Testament, Acts through Revelation. I know I've read it all before, but some of those stories seemed brand new to me! Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch! Ananias welcoming Saul/Paul into the church! Peter's crazy dream about taking the gospel to the Gentiles! Philemon and Onesimus! There is so much goodness and love and brotherhood to be found in these books, and I had somehow either missed it or forgotten it. But this year, these stories were emblazoned on my heart and mind, never to be forgotten. I will admit, the book of Revelation is still somewhat of a mystery to me (so we ended on a bit of a low note), but the rest of these writings were inspirational and uplifting and wonderful. Shout out to Thomas A. Wayment for his translation that helped when the Old English was less clear, and my friends (ha, I wish they were my friends) at Don't Miss This for their weekly videos to bring even more clarity.

We commemorated our completion of the New Testament with a bearing of testimony, and I'll never forget hearing my girls talk about their love of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for that book of scripture, and for the experiences we had this year in studying it. It takes effort to make the time for daily scripture study as a family (and some days we were less faithful than others), but it has been so worth it for us to experience spiritual growth together.

On to the Book of Mormon!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve Rumination

This holiday season has been a little rough. Not only have we had regular life swirling around us, with the violin lessons and play rehearsals and work and school and church callings, but then we've added in Christmas traditions and parties and performances. On top of it all, I got pretty sick on December 10th. To say I never get sick would be false, but generally I get a cold or a stomach bug that passes pretty quickly. I rarely get sick like I did this month: sore throat, fever, chills, achy muscles, headache, cough. I was sick enough to miss a day of work, and then I lost my voice which made more an exciting few days in the library (it's hard to read books to kids when you can't talk). Even up until the 20th I was feeling pretty miserable. I also managed to develop pink eye, because of course I did.

This is all to say: I spent most of the Christmas season feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

I so enjoy Christmas. I enjoy the cozy feeling of love and peace that settles over me as I sit and look at the tree, or sing Christmas carols, or read scriptures with my family. I was too tired to sit and not sleep, had no voice for singing, and while we did read scriptures, it felt like a chore to talk about what we were reading. It felt like a chore to stay awake, for heaven's sake. Not to mention, when you're sick, a lot of other things fall to the wayside, like making meals and doing dishes. Christmas is a time of great food and I had no appetite!

This morning, Christmas Eve, I woke up at 5:30am, after dreaming that we were at the airport and my purse went through security, but I was being driven across the airport. (I rarely travel, and yet I have the worst airport dreams all.the.time.) I figured since I was up, I might as well take a few minutes to pray, and to listen. (I often get the words out, but don't often sit and listen for a response. I'm working on it.) I prayed to feel more of that Christmas joy that I'd been missing this year.

Immediately I thought of one of the songs my ward choir sang this year, Come Lord Jesus. It's a song I had never heard before (I guess it's from Savior of the World: His Birth and Resurrection), but the words went straight to my soul and filled me with that joy and hope that had been missing:

1. Come, Lord Jesus, to the manger;
May we see thy tender face?
Great Creator, here a stranger,
Infant in this humble place.
Darkness scatter, morning swell;
Come, dear Lord Immanuel.
Come, Lord Jesus, to the manger;
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

2. Come, Lord Jesus, to the wounded,
Broken heart and bended knee.
Worthy Lamb, thy love unbounded,
Bid our souls to rest in Thee.
Come in glory to the earth;
Come to us to rule and reign.
Ready us to kneel and greet thee;
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

3. Come, Lord Jesus, great Redeemer,
Light of morning from the East.
We will be Thy children ever;
Dry our tears, all weeping cease!
Come in glory to the earth;
Come to us to rule and reign.
Ready us to kneel and greet thee;
Come, Lord Jesus, come!

I mean, isn't that just beautiful? Our Savior came to scatter darkness, to dry our tears, to give us hope! This, right here, is what it's all about, not just Christmas but LIFE. 

That peace and joy I feel every Christmas did come, just a little late in the season. Now I feel ready for the holiday, ready to spread love and peace and hope and joy. Ready to welcome Him into my home and into my life. Come, Lord Jesus, come!  

Friday, July 26, 2019

40 by 40 #10: Go to Music and the Spoken Word

I lived in Salt Lake City for the first 18 years of my life.  Then I moved all the way to Provo for the next 4 years.  I spent another year in Salt Lake, and another 2 years in Provo.  That's 25 years.  After that, we lived in St George, and visited the Salt Lake area on a regular basis.  Once we moved to the Midwest we spent less time here, but we still made the trek back once a year.  And now I've lived in the Salt Lake Valley for 2 years.  And you know how many times I went to Music and the Spoken Word?  Once.  One time.  That's it.  All those years, all that time living in Salt Lake, and I only went once.  So I slapped it on my 40 by 40 list.

And then my awesome friend Larrie saw my list, and said she would go with me.  This by itself would be a wonderful thing, because it's always better to have company, and especially someone like Larrie.  But even better: Larrie's mom is the Concertmaster of Orchestra at Temple Square!  So we got to sit up close, like 3rd row close.  I don't think I've ever even walked up that close in the conference center, let alone sat there!  It was magical.  The music was beautiful, the spoken word was uplifting, and it was a wonderful addition to my Sabbath day worship. 

It's been almost a year since we went, and now I kind of want to go again.  Maybe take my kids so they don't repeat my mistakes.

40 by 40 #10: Go to Music and the Spoken Word: 🗹

Thursday, July 25, 2019

40 by 40 #5: Go Paddleboarding

Last summer, I decided we were going to make this paddleboarding thing happen.  We live close to a lake, and thanks to our HOA we have access to a number of kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards that we can take on the lake, for FREE!  I love free!  So we headed to the lake to check this one off my list.

I think the first day, we had an old guy doling out the boats, who said it was too windy for a first-timer.  We were sad, but we took a kayak out instead, understanding how wind could make things more difficult.  The next time we went, we had someone I'll call Doofus.  Doofus seemed to be completely annoyed that we were there, making him get up from his cozy chair to get a paddleboard out.  Getting the boats and boards out doesn't seem that hard, so I couldn't figure out what his problem was.  When we first approached, he explained that he had heard thunder, and we had to go an hour without thunder before we could go on the lake.  This was fine, we went home, and came back an hour later (during which we distinctly heard no thunder).  Neither had Doofus.  But he said nope, no paddelboards, but he'd be happy to give us a kayak.  We explained that we didn't want a kayak, we wanted a paddleboard.  He nodded, and went to get a kayak.  We again explained that we didn't want to go kayaking, and he basically indicated that he wouldn't be letting us use the paddleboards today.  No explanation, not even a fake one.  So we left.  Clark sent a strongly worded email to the HOA (which he received no response on).  I was not impressed.

We went back a few days later, Doofus was there again.  His attitude remained the same, but he reluctantly got out a couple of paddleboards and let us on the lake.  To this day I have no idea what his problem was, but I have thankfully not seen him since then.

ANYWAY.  The paddleboarding itself was awesome!  It was much harder than I thought it would be, but in a good way.  Clark and I both paddled out while kneeling, then stood up after a lot of effort (and a little confusion, how are you supposed to stand up without tipping over? I still don't know exactly how that happened...), and made our way around the lake.  It was great!

I didn't get a picture of this activity because, hello, my phone would go right into the lake.  Plus, I had to use all my appendages (and my core) just to stay on the board.  But trust me, it happened, and it was fabulous.

40 by 40 #5: Go paddleboarding: 🗹

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

40 by 40 #35: Eat Pie From Burr Trail Grill in Boulder, UT

I'm pretty sure you all know how I feel about pie. I might just be a tiny bit obsessed. Someone shared with me a list of the best place in each state to get some pie, which is when I first heard of Burr Trail Grill.  I said to myself, "Um, there's no way this restaurant in the middle of nowhere is the best pie in Utah." But then I heard it straight from someone who had been there that it was, in fact, amazing. Thus began my quest to get to Boulder. 

Where is Boulder, UT, you ask? Well, it's close to nothing in the middle of nowhere. When we planned that trip to Capitol Reef, I noticed that Boulder, UT was only 53 minutes away, which is the closest I'll ever be, and so I made it priority to get. that. pie. The rest of my family thought I was crazy to want to go so far out of the way for a piece of pie, but I insisted.  And let me tell you, none of them thought I was crazy after they tasted this pie. 

I got the peach, since peach is my favorite. Oh my heavens, it was fantastic.  The crust was so flaky, the peaches were so sweet and was most definitely worth the drive. I don't know when I'll be back, but I plan to be back.

40 by 40 #35: Eat pie from Burr Trail Grill in Boudler, UT: 🗹