Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sun Setting on September

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 30: The Sunset

Sunset
{Sun setting behind me in the church parking lot}

Now that September is over, can I confess that this has been a hard month? I've had to face some changes that I'm not thrilled about, I had to do some things I didn't want to do, and I've been tired and overwhelmed. 

A week ago today, my grandma passed away kind of unexpectedly. I've been too stressed to grieve - I don't have time for it, and apparently, it takes time to acknowledge grief. I need a moment for things to settle so I can process this loss. I had the opportunity to speak at my grandma's funeral yesterday. The night before the service, I sat in the church parking lot where I could be away from my kids to run through my talk. I thought maybe if I could be alone for a minute, I could feel something. But instead, the car died, and I had to have Scotty come jump start it for me. 

Today during church, I had a second where the grief almost caught up to me, but then Scotty had to go help pass the sacrament, and I had to drag a naughty kid out of the meeting, and there were just too many other things to deal with. It's one thing after the other- before I finish solving one problem, there's something else lined up I need to handle. 

No time for grief. 

Even if it only lasts five minutes, I need to mourn. I just don't know when that's going to happen. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Visit Downtown

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 27: A place you visit

There are so many places I could write about for this post - my library, Sam's Club, the track I walk around a few mornings a week, the grocery store, or even Disneyland. 

I considered writing about Moochies, one of my favorite places to eat. After all, I would have had to go to Moochies and eat for a photo op for this post (genius, right?) But looking back over my posts from the past few months, it is clear that I eat out waaaaay too much, and I haven't done a very good job keeping that a secret from you. Why add to the evidence?

I decided to write about none of the above (though each could have its own post or two). 

One place I like to visit from time to time is downtown Salt Lake City. It's definitely a love/hate relationship. I love being downtown, and I hate being downtown. But regardless of my conflicting emotions, downtown Salt Lake is a special place. It's wonderful and scary and exciting and strange and beautiful all at once. 

There's something about navigating downtown that makes me feel - excuse my language - bad ass. I've felt this way ever since I was a teenager. As a teen, I learned how to get around downtown without a parent, and I felt so cool. Sometimes I rode Trax, and sometimes I drove, but in each scenario, I was independent, and insanely awesome. This prepared me for my first two years of college, in which I went to school downtown (and got my first traffic violation and had to go to traffic school at the downtown courthouse). 

My two favorite parts of going to school downtown were:

1) Seeing Ned Winder, a temple sealer* who commuted to the Salt Lake Temple from West Valley in his red Porche, wave to me every morning on North Temple. We often ended up in the same traffic flow as we rolled into the city, and he always recognized me in my car and greeted me with enthusiasm at stop lights.

and 

2) Getting to drive down the big hill after school. It was the essence of freedom! And that's why I got nabbed by the cops for going 15 mph over the speed limit in a residential area. I was celebrating my liberation from class!

For the past month, I've been studying a lot of Church history. I read the new book, Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in Latter Days, which sparked my interest a little more than anything has in the past. 


I've been listening to some podcasts with Church historians and re-reading the gospel topic essays. With Church history fresh on my mind, I decided to take a trip to the Church History Museum

I've been there dozens of times with my kids, but I wanted to go ALONE. So my mom watched Eva for me while Zoe was at school yesterday, and I went to the museum by my bad ass self.

During this visit, I was particularly drawn to the hand-written documents that are on display. I love "old" handwriting. There is a page of Oliver Cowdery's transcription of the translation of the gold plates at the museum, and his handwriting is stunning. The lines are so straight and beautiful.

I laughed at the contrast between his penmanship and Joseph Smith's. But I appreciate Joseph Smith's sloppiness. Just one more thing to love about him!

Joseph Smith’s Journal
{Joseph Smith's journal}

I also liked Wilford Woodruff's journal because it seems he was a bit of a doodler.

Wilford Woodruff Journal

Untitled


After my museum visit, I walked over to City Creek for a while and then to Temple Square. I took some photos of the flora and helped some tourists get their temple shots. 

Downtown SL

Untitled
{Photos from yesterday}

As a general rule, you can't walk the grounds of Temple Square and not stop to take pictures of the flowers. Try it, I dare you!


 {Photos from earlier this year}

From there I met up with Scotty on the plaza, and we walked to the Olive Garden for lunch (we had a gift card, woot! woot!)

But first, I had to appreciate more flora!

Downtown SL

Downtown SL

*A person who performs marriages within temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

September Feelings

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 26: Feelings that have changed since 
September 1st

I had a bout of depression this month. I tend to have more depressive symptoms after big changes, so I think this round might have been generated by my kids going back to school. When school started, I was extremely hard on myself about how I spent my time. Day after day, I beat myself up over the stuff I wasn't getting done. I have this long list of things I want to accomplish while my kids are at school, and I continually fail. It takes everything out of me to get my kids to school each morning, and I end up too tired to do anything after they leave.

I've also had this problem as of late... Let's refer to it as "raging PMS."

PMS was never an issue for me until this year. Now I get super hormonal, and I basically want punch every person who speaks to me in the throat. I also want to sleep for a whole week. I get so fatigued. This month, I was depressed and had raging PMS at the same time, so I was a hot mess!

I'm doing much better now. I've somehow managed to let go of my intense need to "get stuff done," and my raging PMS has passed (so please enjoy being around me before I become a holy terror again).



For the past week I've focused more on getting outside with my kids and less on doing household tasks. We've been hanging out at lots of parks after I pick up Zoe from kindergarten. We are all much happier for it. I asked Scotty to fix my bike tires, and I've been taking Zoe and Eva on rides. I've also started running a little bit (key word: little). Between riding my bike and running, I have an extreme case of Jell-O legs (if I follow my usual pattern, I will quit both activities before October begins).

The cooler weather is such a relief. I love this time of year. For the past two days, I've worn pants!


PANTS!!!

I broke out my boots (I had to brush dust off them), and I bought a new pair of sweats that I'm pretty sure will be my winter uniform.

So here at the end of September, I feel much better about many things. Feel free to check back with me in about three weeks, but watch out!





Saturday, September 22, 2018

In Which the Crazy Creeps In

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 22: A marquee, sign, or billboard in your community

Things got crazy for a minute, and I had to skip a few days of writing. Daisy turned nine last week, and the whole week was out of whack due to scouting things. Nicky was scheduled to do the swimming merit badge on Wednesday night. Then he had scout camp on Daisy's actual birthday, so Daisy's birthday party was scheduled for Sunday at 6:00. Then our ward decided to hold a court of honor on Sunday night at 6:00, so I had to move the party. Our ward also scheduled Nicky to have a scout master conference right during his merit badge class (which, if he missed the class, would TRIPLE THE PRICE for the other three boys attending). I was a wreck all week as I rearranged things to make scouts and the birthday happen. Then, after all the rescheduling I did, our ward canceled the court of honor, and all I could do was rock back and forth like a crazy woman and douse myself in Dr. Pepper.

One night last week I had to go on a Therapy Drive. I left the kids with Scotty and drove out to my "hometown" library (taking the long way). As I cruised down Main Street, I saw this sign, and it made me chuckle... kind of like a lunatic, but at least I smiled. 

Sign

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Family Doodles

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 18: A photo of the whole family

Since I don't post many pictures of my children on my blog, I had to get a little creative with this prompt. I decided to have each of my kids draw a picture of our family. 

Here is Nicky's:

Family Portraits

He was in a "get this over with" sort of mood, but his personality shows in the fact that he and Scotty are wearing top hats. Nicky always throws in something funny even when he's being lazy. I can imagine him thinking, "I'm just going to do stick figures... but they're going to have top hats!"

Here is Daisy's:

Family Portraits

Daisy always spends more time on realistic details, and she often gets mad at herself for not being able to do draw things perfectly. She gives up quickly, so I'm actually surprised she didn't draw the first two people and then say, "You do it, Mom." 

Here is Zoe's:

Family Portraits

I love that she assigned everyone a letter (slightly inaccurate, but charming nonetheless).

She also added an extra person, and when I asked her about it she said, "That's Susie."

Welcome to the family, Susie!

(And no, this will not be one of those things where my kid draws an extra child and then we have a baby. Susie is far more likely to be a hamster than a human).

Eva refused to play along. She's very firm on the fact that she's not my performing monkey. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

What's Clean

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 16: Something Clean


Clean

I almost skipped today's prompt because nothing in my life is ever clean. 

Last night, Scotty and I got our kitchen and living room cleaned, and then we turned on a movie for the kids. By the time the movie was done, the house was trashed. I'm convinced that my kids could hold perfectly still and still manage to destroy my house in under ten minutes. 

I cleaned it all up before church this morning, and by the time we left, it was all destroyed again.

Then I cleaned it after church, and sure enough, it was a mess again by the time Scotty got home from his meetings.

I found this one spot in the kitchen that kind of stayed clean, though, because A) we ate entirely from paper products today and B) if I squat down just so you can't see the Rubbermaid containers in my sink.

So this is it.

This is what's clean. 

Now excuse me while I go stand guard, cause once someone notices this part of the house, an ice cream bomb will go off or something. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

9:15 on 9/15

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 15: What you're doing at exactly 9:15


Smoothie

Today is a bit out of the norm for me. I slept in until almost 8:00 (though I was up from 4:00-5:00 reading a book). I'm usually out of bed by 6:30 (even on weekends - I am a morning person), and I eat breakfast within an hour of that... because FOOD! 

Today I dragged myself out of bed, did some parenting, took a shower, and then wandered into the kitchen where I was greeted with a leftover donut. I wanted the donut for breakfast, but I had a bag of raspberries leaking red juice all over my fridge. They've been in there for two days, and I've been ignoring the mess (despite my children repeatedly telling me that there's blood in the fridge).

The raspberries won (the donut still awaits).

(Lunch?)

At 9:15 on 9/15 I was making a smoothie.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Behold, My Nightstand

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 14: Everything on top, inside, and underneath your nightstand

Oh boy! 

I think we have a dresser in our room, and I'm pretty sure we have a kitchen counter, but I never see them, so maybe I'm wrong. Add my nightstand to the list of Things I Bury in Crap. My nightstand is a mess. It always has been, and I suspect it always will be. I'm not good at keeping surface areas clean. Rumor has it that Mark Twain and Albert Einstein kept their surface areas messy, too, so I'm probably some sort of creative genius or something. 

 I need all the clean freaks to look away, cuz I'm about to show you what's what.



Let's start with the top:

My messy nightstand

Nighttime diapers (Eva's)
Wipes
Kleenex
Water bottle
Downy Unstoppables spray
Anti-depressants
Tupperware tumbler (LOVE these!)
Hair elastic
Booby pin
Scissors
Lotion
Remote
Headlamp
Screwdriver
Dishtowels, washcloth, and scrubbing pad

Clearly these are all essentials. It's not like I keep a bunch of stuff on my nightstand that I don't need. Heh. Heh heh. 

Now let's look in the drawer:

My messy nightstand

A notebook
(under the notebook there are two bottles of lotion and a copy of my patriarchal blessing)
A fork
Rolaids
More lotion
Pen
Screwdriver

That wasn't so bad. Although that fork has been there for about two years. 

Now let's look underneath:

My messy nightstand

Sandals
Bobby pin
Phone charging cord
Amazon box

And now I have something to say about the Amazon box: it contains a weapon. 

It all started with a trip to Target in which Daisy discovered a three pound bucket of slime. When she asked if I would buy it, I said something along the lines of, "Hell, no." Then she said, "That's okay. I'll just tell [insert name of aunt who buys my kids way too much stuff here] to buy it for me." I immediately sent this to my sister-in-law:

Slime

To which she replied:


Slime

A few days later, the aforementioned aunt posted a picture of herself holding the forbidden product with the caption BEST. AUNT. EVER.

I had to take action, but I didn't really have much to work with. My sister-in-law has one well-behaved adult child, and even if I'd given that child slime, glitter, or a dozen cans of silly string when she was young, she would have used them responsibly and then cleaned up after herself. So I had to think for a long time about what I could threaten The Aunt with. 

If you give my child a three-pound bucket of slime, I will...

And I thought of something!

So, to my sister-in-law...

If you give my child a three-pound bucket of slime, I will give your boyfriend what's in that Amazon box. Is it worth the risk?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

On Learning

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 12: Something you're learning

My favorite books end up looking like this
when I'm done with them

I told you these were good prompts, didn't I? I'm digging them, and I look forward to them each day (I skipped Sunday because I posted about something else and didn't ever find time to come back and do my prompt, but it's a really good one, so I definitely want to go back to it later). 

I really enjoy learning. In fact, love of learning is my top character strength in the VIA Survey of Character Strengths (if you've never taken this survey before, I recommend it. It's fun, and it's used for actual research in positive psychology. Go take it, and then you can email me your top 5 (and your low five, if you wish). A word, though: your lowest character strengths don't mean you lack those strengths  - it just means you have 23 areas where you are stronger). 

fluentbrittish@gmail.com

(I'd also love you to email me your pictures of Christ, if you feel like sharing. My best cousin-in-law (BCIL - it's a thing) Cyndi sent me hers, and I loved her explanations of why she chose those particular images).

A few months ago I attended an event where we filled out a little questionnaire, and one of the questions was, "Have you learned a new skill in the last month?" This question gave me pause because I couldn't think of a single new skill I'd learned. It put me in a bit of a panic, so I started asking my friends if they've learned any new skills lately, and they all drew blanks, too. I threw myself on the ground and wailed at the sky, "WE HAVE PEAKED!!! WE ARE USELESS!!" and then I left the event, went to McDonald's, and ate three cheeseburgers and drank a large Dr. Pepper. 

Okay, not really, but I was a little sad that I couldn't think of any new skills I'd learned that month, and neither could anyone else. Really, I think we just weren't in the mindset to come up with something right in that moment, and we were all put on the spot. If we'd had more time to think, I'm sure we all would have come up with an answer. 

Being asked that question made me more aware of what I've learned and what skills I've acquired since then. In the past couple of months, I've learned how to cut a stencil, how to use a caulk gun, how to tell if a winter squash is ready to harvest, how to load a staple gun, and how to make a play list on Spotify. 

I have not peaked! I can still do skillz! 

Aside from learning new skills, I enjoy studying topics. Sometimes I get interested in subjects like Lou Gehrig's disease, the history of women and mental asylums, or midwifery among the Amish. Other times I spend three weeks learning everything I can about Donny OsmondMichael J. Fox, or The Wiggles

In my gospel study, I love when I find a pattern emerging in what I'm learning. It's not always intentional on my part, but I often end up discovering a common topic woven throughout everything I read or listen to for a time. I believe this is one way God teaches me as an individual. 

I love learning new words - but not just "new" words, I love gaining a better understanding of words I already know. Just last week I looked up the word affectation. I was reading the conference talk by Bishop Causse from April, and in it he stated that if Christ came to visit us, his attitude would be without affectation. I read it as "affection" and knew that couldn't be correct, so I did a double take and saw that it was "affectation." I thought, "Oooooo! Affectation. What is that?" 

I had to know!

So I looked it up and found that affectation is a form of behavior that is not genuine and is meant to impress others. And I delighted, not because this type of behavior exists, but because there is a word for it! I know "affectation" because I've seen it AND I've done it! And now I have the word!

(It's possible that the rest of the world has known and used this word for my entire life, and I'm just now learning it at the age of 34). 

In reality, I'm all over the place in my learning, and that's okay. I feel like learning comes to me a day at a time, and when I need to approach a new form of learning or a new topic, it just works out. The most important thing is that I never stop. 

(But if I do, you might find me at McDonald's with that pile of cheeseburgers). 

(But then again, maybe I'm just doing "cheeseburger research." So don't jump to any conclusions). 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

80,999

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 11: The miles on an odometer and a list of places you've been since Sunday

Odometer

(Note to self: Time to dust the dashboard)

love my van. Like, really.

This month, we paid it off! So now I love it even more.

Our van is racking up the miles quickly. Twelve thousand miles per year is considered "average." We've earned over 20,000 per year. Maybe I should stay home more... 

Nah.

(But probably I should).

Here's where I've taken the van since Sunday:

Home
Church
Scotty's mom's house
The school
Moochie's (for me)
Chick-Fil-A (for the kids)
McDonald's (for after-school ice cream cones)
The park
Piano lessons
Library
Dance class
The gas station

I also went on a nice, long drive with my little girls after school because I didn't want to be home with them. There are times when the best thing to do for my sanity is to keep them seat-belted in an air-conditioned moving vehicle with a DVD player. Totally worth the miles.  

Monday, September 10, 2018

What's in my Purse

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 10: List every single item in your purse

This prompt came at the perfect time because I needed to clean out my purse and move to a different purse. I'm not a big purse swapper - in fact, I'm not really much of a purse person in general. I mean, I use a purse, but I don't like buying purses, and I don't like owning a lot of them. I usually just stick to one cross-body bag until it dies. But over the summer, I started using a backpack because it was convenient for the activities I was doing. Now that my kids are back in school, my cross-body bag is more convenient, so I'm switching back (plus it's not great going into stores and being treated like a criminal because I'm wearing a backpack - especially a very purse-like, small backpack. The other day, I literally ran away from the Walmart door greeter as she was trying to tell me I couldn't wear a backpack in the store. Sorry, lady. I know you're just doing your job, but anything I can fit in my backpack could also fit in a purse, so I'm not going to take off my backpack for the privilege of shopping at Walmart. If it's really that big of a deal, go ahead and chase me) (she didn't chase me. She just repeatedly yelled, "Ma'am!" at me).

Here is what I found in my backpack:

Purse Contents

My kids' immunization cards
A grocery bag
A receipt (I can't believe there was only one!)
Feminine hygiene products (we're just getting started)
Lip gloss and chapstick
A sucker stick
Pens (my favorite pens - they come from the pediatric dentist)
Highlighter

Purse Contents

Mouth wash (a free sample from Sam's Club)
The squeezy part of the horn from Eva's bike
More feminine hygiene products
Stray change
Elastic and bobby pins

Purse Contents

My wallet
A stray dollar (score!)
A coin purse
Gum
Sharpie
Lip gloss
More feminine hygiene products*
Advil PM (another free sample from Sam's Club)
Keys
Flosser
Cafe Rio mint
Lotion
Earrings
Quarter
Hand sanitizer
Daughter's hair band
Hand of three-year-old trying to steal stuff (not an actual purse content)

I managed to do this activity while my purse was relatively clean. There's a lot of stuff that doesn't need to be there, but it's mild compared to what I normally have in my purse. On another day, you might be more entertained by my purse contents. Last week I found a rotten clementine in there. Once in high school I cleaned out my purse and found an egg roll. After twenty years of finding old food in my purse, you'd think I'd stop putting it there.

*I recently had an IUD removed which caused me to return to "womanhood." I hate it!! Absolutely hate it! I don't remember how to deal with this stuff, so I compensate by shoving handfuls of pads and tampons in all my bags. Then my kids find them and use them like Lincoln logs while we wait in doctor's offices. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Three Ways I've Grown Closer to the Savior

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my relationship with the Savior. It's a bit of a complicated relationship, though I don't think it's supposed to be. I think my relationship with the Savior should be simple, but one of my mortal tendencies is to make it complex.

I struggle to visualize Jesus Christ. I can't imagine myself in His presence, partially because I have no memory of Him on which to call. But also because the image I have of Him - the hair, the beard, the robes - is so unlike anyone I interact with that it's difficult to envision Him and me existing simultaneously, not to mention having a conversation with each other.


The idea of Christ as a real person often feels abstract to me, yet, I have faith that He is real. Because of that faith, I have a strong desire to know the Savior better. I also feel that with the turmoil in our world, it's imperative that I have a strong bond with Christ.

That connection has not come easily for me. I've had to acknowledge that I need to put in some effort - I need to seek, study, and learn and go through my own "thing." But not only that, I need to be willing to feel and receive.

That has been one of my biggest hang ups in spiritual matters. I don't always want to feel and receive. Those experiences come with too much responsibility. If I feel and receive, then I have to do. And sometimes I just don't wanna. But more than that, I recently learned that I am terrified of feeling or receiving something artificial.


I want to have experiences with the Savior that are REAL, and I've cowered and resisted things I've felt because I've worried that they are of my own fabrication. This has held me back a lot in recent years, but several weeks ago, I dropped my guard and let myself feel and receive. I decided to not be afraid of what might be my own creation, of what might be "artificial." I let my thoughts, feelings, and ideas flow. I read my patriarchal blessing while I was in this state. I wrote some things down. And what I felt was so amazing and pure. I felt enveloped in divine love, I felt protected, and I felt sincerely happy. I opened a channel for communication between myself and God that had been closed off for a while. My fears dissipated. Then I realized, I want to feel this way ALL. THE. TIME. And if it's artificial, or of my own creation, I don't even care! Because nothing bad came of it. I felt powerful, and I wanted to go forth and serve, love, and share goodness.

Since then, I've been doing some intentional things to draw closer to Jesus Christ. Here are three things I've done:

1. Explored the Art

I appreciate much of the artwork that depicts Christ. I enjoy looking for symbolism - particularly the use of light and dark. I look at the body language of the subjects and think about what it means. I look at the hands, the eyes, and the mouths. All of these things represent something. But most of the artwork still keeps the Savior abstract to me. I love the art, but I don't usually take the image of the Savior in the piece and mentally place myself on the same plane.

I took some time to look very closely at artistic renditions of the Savior. I wanted to find a picture that would help me visualize Jesus Christ as I need Him to be for me. I combed through hundreds of pictures. Strangely, the one I connected with the most didn't show a face at all. It was simply a hand reaching out. But I did find a painting of the Savior (with a face) that I felt I could somewhat connect to (I'm not going to post it today because I want you to have the opportunity to do this yourself - if you so desire - without being influenced by my preference).

2. Turned to the Witnesses

When I was finishing my degree, I took a class called Teachings of the Living Prophets. In that class, I came to better understand that the primary role of the prophet and the apostles is to testify of Jesus Christ. 

Joseph F. Smith taught that "These twelve disciples of Christ are supposed to be eye and ear witnesses of the divine mission of Jesus Christ... they must know, they must get the knowledge for themselves. It must be with them as though they had seen with their eyes and heard with their ears and they know the truth. That is their mission, to testify of Jesus Christ..." (in Conference Report, Apr. 1916, 6).

Since taking that class, I listen more carefully to what the prophets and apostles say about Jesus Christ. Typically at the close of their Conference addresses, they will bear testimony of Christ. As I have studied the past two General Conferences, I have underlined what these witnesses say about Christ while keeping in mind that they must have this testimony with them as if they have seen with their eyes and heard with their ears. 

3. Wrote a Letter

This is where I had to set aside my fear of the artificial and let things flow freely. I wrote a letter to myself from the Savior. I was scared to do this. I didn't know if I could. It required me to take everything I know about Jesus Christ and create His words and His counsel for me, personally. It required self-compassion and an acknowledgement that I have value and worth. It required me to stare at a blank paper for a really long time and then to write, cross out, and write again. Pretty soon, the words flowed, and I don't think that letter was entirely my own creation.
_____________________


The photographs are of statues from the Light of the World Garden at Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Board Game Inventory

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------


September 8: A list of games in your home


We love playing board games - particularly with our friends Chad and Carlie. We've had a gaming tradition for over ten years. We take turns playing at each other's houses. We always have dinner. Carlie plays with the red pieces. Chad is the DJ. Scotty wins the most. We keep a game ledger where we record the date, where we played, what we ate, the games we played, and who won. Our kids have grown up together - from our firstlings to our fourthlings. They are all the same ages and opposite genders. 

Between both families, we have more board games than we'll ever learn to play. It's a good way to live!

Here are some of the games we have with my personal 1-5 star ratings:

7 Wonders*****

Agricola*****

Alhambra*****

Bang!***

Bohnanza*****

Clue***

Coup****

Forbidden Island***

Great Dalmuti**

Hanabi****

Libertalia ****

Love Letter****

Machi Koro **

Phase 10****

Resistance***

Risk****

Scattergories****

Settlers of Catan****

SkipBo****

Splendor****

Thurn and Taxis****

Ticket to Ride: Europe****

Werewolves of Millers Hollow****

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fruits of Perfection

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------
September 7: A Perfect Moment

My text to my friend Cassie:
My grape looks like a butt

Grape butt

Her text response to me:
Mine looks like a heart

Grape heart

Maybe that's not what you'd normally call a "perfect moment," but I think when you text your friend a butt grape and she texts a funny-shaped grape right back at you, there is some sort of perfection in that moment. 

(Confession: I texted a photo of my butt grape to at least ten people. Maybe that's weird, but I have nearly a dozen people in my life who need to know when my grape is shaped like a butt. It's one of many ways my life is blessed). 

(Another confession: Cassie's grape totally looks like a butt, too, but it's cute that she thinks it's a heart).

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Historical Bricks

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 6: A photo of shoes

Shoes

I had several ideas for today with the "shoes" prompt. 

Idea #1: Write about the sprain I'm currently nursing

Idea #2: Take a picture of each family members' favorite shoes lined up in a row

Idea #3: Write about the morning walks I've been going on with various friends for the past two years

Idea #4: Write about Scotty's Doc Martens

As you can see from the photo, the Doc Martens won. So let's rewind to the amazing year of 1999. 

I was 15, he was 18.

He had braces, I had acne.

I wore no-name anything, he wore name-brand everything. 

Thus, his clothes were Big Rock, his sunglasses were Oakleys, and his shoes were Docs. This was all very sexy to my teenage self, until he started wearing the black and white wingtips, and I wasn't sure if I could be seen in public with him any longer. 

Eventually I got used to them, and he continued wearing them into his 20's. When we bought our house and started attending a new church congregation, Scotty was known for two things: 

1. Living in the "gargoyle house" (a story for another day) and
2. Wearing "tuxedo" shoes

If someone wasn't sure who we were, people would say "You know, the ones who live in the gargoyle house!" or "You know, the guy who wears the tuxedo shoes!" and suddenly we had identities. 

Two weeks ago, Scotty pulled out his black and white Doc Martens and tried them on, but they were too small. For a moment I thought that maybe, after twenty years, he was going to get rid of them. But a few hours later, I heard my son clomping into the chapel and looked over to see him wearing them. 

He was excited at first, but after three hours, he was less than thrilled about the weight of the shoes. I feel like I'm wearing bricks," he declared. 

What he doesn't know is that those bricks have a rich history, and someday, maybe his kids will come clomping into a chapel with them on their feet. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

How They Play

For the month of September, I am using prompts from a project called 30 Days Hath September. Each day has a prompt for something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. The prompts are for a scrapbook album, but I thought they'd be wonderful blogging prompts as well. I am selecting one of the three prompts to write about each day. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

September 5: A photo of someone at play

Play

This was such a great prompt because it forced me to watch my children closely as they played. It really is magical to watch children play freely. Last night Zoe and Eva brought handfuls of toys to the dinner table and alternated between taking bites of food and holding conversations with their dolls.

As my kids grow older, I see changes in the way they play, and I know that this is one of the things about having young children that I will truly miss. Nicky has reached an age where some of his friends and peers no longer want to "play," but Nicky is still quite playful. On Labor Day, he spent most of the day playing with garbage outside. I was a little annoyed as he filled milk jug after milk jug with water and smashed them on the driveway, but I took a deep breath and a big step back and reminded myself that A) he was using his brain, B) he was outside, and C) he was staying busy.

In primary on Sunday, we sang a few round of "If You're Happy." I would ask the kids what they like to do when they're happy, and then we would do actions and sing the song. In senior primary (ages 8-11), we ended up singing one round of "If you're happy and you know it, sit and do nothing" and one round of "If you're happy and you know it, lay down." We had a good laugh about it, but it was also disconcerting. It's a well-known fact that play has declined in modern society. This is heart-breaking, and unbelievable in some ways, but I see it all around me - even in my own home. My kids love to play (though a lot of the time their play consists of "Lets pretend we're on YouTube"), but I have one child who struggles to come up with ways to play and be imaginative. I have to prompt her with ideas, and she's never interested.

Despite the messes and the chaos that play can bring, I know how significant play is to my children's development. I need to make sure I'm not stifling my children's opportunities to play - after all, it's going to go away soon enough.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Month, a Challenge, and a Home

My friend Amy is using the prompts from a challenge called 30 Days Hath September to give her instagram some variety. I saw her post yesterday and immediately wanted in! The challenge is actually for a scrapbook album. For each day there is something to capture, something to collect, and something to record. I figure at least one of the three will inspire me each day, and since I'm alight with energy from Fall approaching, I could use a channel.

I've missed the first three days, but I'll try and get those in before the month ends because I really like the prompts (or maybe I'll let this project bleed into the first few days of October).   

September 4: A photo 
of the outside of your home

Home 

I love my home. There are a lot of things I would change about it if I could, but I still truly revere my home and feel deep gratitude for my "place."

Sometimes when I turn the corner and see my front door, I feel a sensation of comfort - first, because I'm arriving somewhere safe and familiar, but also because I'm arriving to a place that I've created. A home isn't so much about the structure - the size, the location, or the decor - it's about what's cultivated inside the walls. It's a place for love, traditions, and development. It's also a space for frustration, forgiveness, and grief. 

My home is where I face my best and worst selves. Some of the greatest things I've ever accomplished have taken place inside my home, and some of the worst things I've ever done have taken place there, too. 

Home is a place for growth and continued learning. It's place where I get to keep trying and improving. It's a place that challenges me to become something more.

With all the imperfections and messes that are revealed when that blue door opens, there’s still something about it that’s just right.

It’s home.