Friday, November 29, 2013


“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” 
― E.E. Cummings

1.  I'm grateful for:
a. The man working at Home Depot that paused and smiled so kindly at me this early morning whilst there was a bit of craziness with the Black Friday shoppers
b.  Tristan's Love.  When he realized I was leaving after I stayed the night at my brother's place (I gave him a few top of the head kisses on the way out, he was a bit distracted from the TV with Curious George), he stood up and whined, and pointed to the door to get one extra kiss and "bye-bye" wave, to which I gratefully obliged
c.  The prompting to walk a little further than the grocery store, and my steps took me downtown to Temple Square, and as luck would have it, it was the tree lighting ceremony tonight.  Absolutely beautiful!  And such joy in the air.  When the lights came on, there was this audible gasp from the audience, followed by lit up faces and robust clapping

2.  I was a bit surprised to see this posted on one of my guy friend's Facebook wall: "A man with dreams needs a woman with vision.  Her perspective, faith, and support will challenge his reality.  If she doesn't challenge you, then she's no good for you.  Men who want to stay ordinary will tell you not to have expectations of them.  Men who want to be great will expect you to push them, pray with them and invest in them."  This was meaningful for me to see a man post this.

I think the same can be said of a woman.  I've thought about this, and attempt to see if I could mirror the woman in this case.  Here goes:

A woman of quality needs a man with integrity.  His perspective, faith and support will enlighten her reality.  If he doesn't inspire you, then he is no good for you.  Women who want to stay ordinary will not bring out the best in you.  Women who are of worth will expect you to protect them, provide for them, and  most importantly, preside with them side by side.

3.  Exercise: 3 miles

4. Meditation: good chat with the Lord whilst walking to and from Temple Square

5. Random Act of Kindness:  I unfortunately didn't prepare myself for this trip downtown, so I had nothing tangible to give to this  homeless man.  The best I could do was give him the biggest smile from my heart.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


1.  I'm grateful to be posting this via my phone. 3 points of gratitude include reading all of the responses on Facebook where people voiced what they were grateful for, my dear brother and his wife for taking me in on this Thanksgiving Day, and for the loved ones that called to let me know how much they care

2.  one memorable moment from tonight was when Tristan, my little nephew, & I gave a big hug to my brother. Tristan often has a habit I love wanting to do the same thing over and over again, and so we would go up to my brother and say " hug daddy" and give him a hug, and then look at each other and laugh and then give him a hug again, and then laugh.  he has this adorable mischievous grin, and he's so tiny, so he'd look at at me with these big eyes and smile and I could read that he was going to give greg another hug, in so Tristan would dive right in and hugged my brothers kneecaps and then pull away and look at me and then dive in again.

3. Exercise: free day

4. Meditation: prayer

5. random act of kindness, help sister tidy up Thanksgiving dinner and changed the baby


" I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee nor forsake thee." Joshua 1:5
As quoted by President Monson in his last conference talk

1.  I'm grateful for:
a.  Teaching myself to see the value in all people, and for those who help me see the value in myself
b.  learning to communicate my feelings without reacting to a situation
c. the people in my life that look beyond their needs and serve others

2.  Rough night tonight.  I gave a gift to someone that responded in the exact opposite way that I imagined.  Instead of bringing joy to their lives, my gift brought pain.  And I felt terribly hurt by it.  This, I know, will take a considerable amount of time to heal for both parties.  But.  I have committed to choose joy.  And so I stand by my commitment to follow through with tonight's blog.  One meaningful experience tonight is the power that can come through prayer.  After the phone call, I was having a difficult time controlling my emotions, to the point that when I tried to get up to get a drink of water, I literally couldn't find the strength to stand.  I've never had that happen to me before.  And so my legs gave way, and I fought it for a few seconds trying to rise up, my arms trying to take the weight of a falling body.  I realized I was fighting a losing battle, and so gave in and crumpled on the floor. I knelt there beside my bed and prayed to feel loved.  And the sobbing subsided.

3.  Exercise: Last chance workout this early AM by Jillian Michaels

4. Meditation: time with the Lord tonight

5. Random Act of Kindness:  gave someone a hug at work today.  Two people, actually.  It brightened both our days.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


1.  I'm grateful for
a.  getting out of bed to do my gratitudes tonight
b.  Stacey, for clearing out her desk so I can have a place
c. water, water and more water.  on the treadmill tonight my bottle wouldn't fit, so I was restricted a bit in water consumption.  and boy do I love clean water

2.  Interaction with Kyle and Laura, the grad students in the cardiac rehab place.  Good people

3. Exercise: 3 miles on treadmill

4. Meditation: Deepak's Inspired Me, oh!  and I did do my meditation last night after I posted, so woo hoo!

5. Random Act of Kindness: check up on a friend that's going through a really rough patch

Monday, November 25, 2013


1. I'm grateful for:
a. this kid
b. a wonderful chat with Raeann on the way home from FHE
c. Sara sitting down with me today and teaching me about the various imaging studies I can order on a patient
d.  the bus driver this AM was the same awesome guy from a week ago, not as bubbly today.  Probably a rough Monday.  Still it was nice to see him.  And the other bus driver entirely stopped to pick me up even though I was running late!

2.  A meaningful moment today was when I went to the cardaic rehab gym and started to actually clock my run.  I did a workout this AM (HIIT type of stuff with Jillian Michaels), so I'd like to use that as an excuse as to why I fatigued after only over a mile or so, but the way I see it is good baseline.  No where to go but up!  I jumped on the stationary bike, which is nothing like riding my road bike, but I quickly got in a few miles before I had to catch the bus.

3. Exercise: last chance workout in AM and 1 mile jog and 5 mile stationary bike in evening

4. Meditation:  tried to on the bus, sub par attempt

5. Random Act of Kindness: Phone call to a friend that needed some loving

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Nelson Mandela

1. I'm grateful for:
a. Tom making dinner tonight and having a mini game night
b. Courtney, the gal I sat by today during sacrament meeting, and how we chatted it up about chemistry
c. making my lunch for tomorrow, healthy style.

2.  It was a moving talk today during sacrament meeting, a gentleman with CP spoke today about hope, about mistakes.  He quoted Ether 12:27 :

 " 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theiraweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if" they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.

He spoke of how his CP was a gift, in that it was the crinkled wrapping paper on the outside, of a present, but once unwrapped, the gift inside.  A man with incredible perspective.

3.  Exercise: miss

4.  Meditation: miss (aside from prayer each day)

5. Random Act of Kindness: I could see a friend needed a bit of a talk, and so I sat by him an listened

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 4a

So I'm gonna keep up with writing the 5, but I'm not gonna feel guilty if I miss one EXCEPT the number that I'm committing to do on a consistent basis.  And the winner is #1!  I agree for the next 21 days that I will consistently find 3 things/people/places/etc. I'm grateful for over the last 24 hours, I'll be specific and not repeat myself.

1. I'm grateful for:
a.  the girls I babysat today being so well behaved, Karina helped out hugely!
b. making ants on a log with the girls, and I almost convinced one of them to eat celery.  so close :)
c. having the house stocked with food because it was entirely too cold to go outside for grocery shopping

2.  I loved watching my Uncle Enos's and Aunt Deanne's foster children, Misses Karina, Liliana, and Yareli today.  There was a moment when we were watching trailers on my little computer for Rise of the Guardians.  The plot of the movie is based on these Guardians (Sandman, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa, Jack Frost) whose role is to protect the children of the world, and as long as the children believe in them, they will guard them with their lives.  It hit home as I sat there with these wonderful girls nestled next to me that that is who we are.  My Aunt and Uncle, my family, myself.  We are the guardians of these innocent children. The punch line at the end was "Everyone needs a Guardian," and I couldn't help but selfishly think, "Well who's mine?" And it was answered as quickly as it was asked, "Your ancestors watch over you, my Jackie."  And they do.  I know they do.

3.  Exercise: Just Dance with the girls

4. Meditation: missed it

5. Act of Kindness: tended the three little girls

Rules of the Game

"Common sense is not common action... information alone does not cause transformation"  -Shawn Anchor

I found a little longer talk by Shawn Anchor when he spoke at the MS Foundation meeting.  He was more specific in his instructions, including when you start this change, choose only ONE of the five and consistently do it daily for 21 days

1. Gratitude: write or voice 3 new things you’re grateful for over the past 24 hours, rules: never repeat them and you must be specific 

2. Journal about one meaningful experience, every detail that you can remember, that occured over the past 24 hours.  It allows your brain to relive it.  

3. Exercise in the morning before work: it teaches your brain that your behavior matters, it trains your brain to recognize that if your behavior matters in this area of your life, it may matter in other realms of your life. The minimum is exercise of 10 minutes a day cardio, research showed it had a 30 % drop in relapse rate of depression.

4. Meditation: doesn't have to be Christian or Buddhist, but it should be performed  for at least 2 minutes a day.  It trains your brain to only focus on one thing alone, that of your breath.  Watch your breath go in and out for a full 2 minutes.  It undoes the multitasking, and your stress level decreases.

5. Conscious acts of kindness: Complete a 2 minute phone call or email praising or thanking someone in your social support network.  This is the greatest predictor of happiness during a time of challenge/stress.  This is the usually the very first thing that we abandon in those times of stress, but it is the most important to keep intact when those storms come.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 3a

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

1. I'm grateful for:
a. having a brain that can learn incredibly difficult cardiology concepts 
b. having the determination to study these topics
c. having the discipline to review it again and again until I know it by heart ;)

2.  It's interesting, these meditation exercises I'm doing.  Today's exercise was on the centering thought, "My heart knows the answer."  Deepka started with asking the question, "What do I want?  What is my deepest, most heartfelt desire?"  The first two thoughts were, slightly embarrassing to admit, sex and chocolate.  He pointed out that the initial responses originating from my mind and ego may quickly focus on the surface, possibly material, things of life.  He then encouraged me to move from the mind to the heart.  

Deepka: "Perhaps when asked from the heart, you're guided to the place within that seeks to strengthen your connection with nature or longs to find a place of quite and solitude.  If a motorcycle was on your wish list, you may now be connected to the place in your heart that is craving a sense of freedom.  So let's ask the question again, moving just a little closer to discovering what we really want."  Following the instructions, I focused my attention on my breath and placed my hand over my heart.  Letting go, and asking myself again, "What do I want? What is my deepest most heartfelt desire", listening carefully, it was clear and obvious.  

I want to be a mother.  Deeply and wholly. 

I want to hold a baby, my baby on my chest and sing her a lullaby.  I want the diapers, and nap times, and trips to the museum, and teaching him to dance, and the three o'clock meltdowns, and kite flying, and getting her ready for daddy-daughter dates, and picking up the same books & toys for the gazillionth time, and cupcake making at grandpa and grandma's house, and tantrums in the grocery aisle, and seeing him ride around on his father's shoulders, and hugs & kisses, bedtime stories, cuddle time with the whole family. I want the whirlwind of wild and wonderful memories that come with making and being a family.  That is what I really want.  

And so, I re-evaluate my initial responses.  Sex and chocolate.  It's funny to think that the initial desire for intimacy can result in my deeper desire of pregnancy, but I am realizing now that to reach that goal, I have yet to reach the standards and boundaries I've set for myself.  I want to have a normal BMI before I conceive, and though I am close, there are still a few months and a few hundred miles on the treadmill in between here and now.  As crucial as it is at being at a prime point of physical health, I also am in need of a companion that can be my complementary counterpart.  Marriage is not just about love, intimacy, and finding a compatible husband; it is about sacrifice for children. I have worked with countless women, read study after study, heard a plethora of stories of fatherless children raised by husband-less mothers.  Folks, as much as I can appreciate single parent homes, I know it makes a negative impact on the children when both parties are not represented in parents.  I believe rearing children is best done with the influence of a father and a mother in a safe and loving environment.  As much as I want a child, I recognize that it is likely the most selfish act I could choose to have one out of wedlock.

And so I wait. And work at what I know I need to.  And open the patched up heart once again.  And above all, keep the faith.

3.  Exercise:  Stairs

4. Meditation: Deepka Chopra What Do You Really Want? 

5.  Random Act of Kindness: Made banana nut muffins for a friend

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 2a

1. I'm grateful for:
a. sleep
b. space heaters
c. people who take the initiative to introduce themselves first

2. Such trouble sleeping this morning.  But!  I decided to choose to have a positive attitude and a cheerful attitude the entire day.

3.  Exercise:  stairs, stairs and more stairs

4. Meditation: Deepak Chopra Fearless Me Meditation

5.  Random Act of Kindness: Volunteered at the special needs mutual tonight

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 1a

“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” 
― Ayn Rand

I dunno know, I like the concept of starting anew, of rebirth.  Thus, 1a (day 22).

I'm grateful for:
a. William, the other inpatient PA, teaching me a few ropes of cardiac ablation
b. The conversation with Janis, a woman of another faith, about deity and direction
c. A warm welcome from Dr. R.  During the interview, I was sure he disliked me because of his disengagement and scanty eye contact.  I've decided he must have been uber busy that day, and his preoccupation was because of work rather than anything I did.

2.  I walked out of the office at 501 pm and caught the bus at 503!  I may have been sprinting through the halls, but, boy, when I saw that "11" glowing from the placard of the bus, my heart jumped knowing that I wouldn't have to wait 30 minutes for the next one.

3. Exercise: Jillian Michaels Last Chance Workout

4.  Medication: Deepak Chopra Resilience Meditation, made it through 15 minutes of the 20 minute program before opening my eyes.  Must. get. better.

5.  Helped Alex finish his charts by updating meds and vital signs

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 21

1.  I'm grateful for:
a. working for a group that has a good sense of humor (the "big" story)
b. The happy bus driver on Route 6 who said "The day is what you make of it"
c. Alex, fellow PA, showing me the ropes of inpatient cardiac EP

2.  Today is day 21 of my positive psychology blog.  Don't you worry, I plan to keep on keepin' on.  BUT! I can say that I'm at a better spot today than merely 3 weeks ago.  And I wonder how I'll do if I keep it up, and actually implement all 5 points on a consistent basis, rather than struggling to fill in one of the blanks at the end of the day.  This job will be good for me.  I need to invest the work into learning it, and the blessed things is that I really want to.  The U of U School of Medicine seems to take care of their employees.  And so I'd like to "pay it forward" so to speak.

3. Exercise:  Jillian Michaels DVD- last chance workout

4. Meditation exercise on the bus ride home

5. Random Act of Kindness:  shared my snack with my colleague

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 20

1.  I'm grateful for:
a. The Office clip they showed at orientation today where Dwight tested his colleagues on a fire drill by making an actual fire
b. when the sun spills through the windows and warms the skin
c. a good laugh when one the fellas at FHE said that this grandma was "running" to the door.  you could see just the very top of her head, donned in a pink cap, slowly inching through the kitchen to the entry way

2.  So today was new employee orientation, and can I just say I feel thoroughly enlightened from what I've learned.  You may think there's a hint of sarcasm in that sentence, having sat through basically the same power points I've seen time and again at various health care organizations, BUT I totally learned something new today.  Did you know that a miniature pony is considered by the ADA as a certified service animal?  No joke.  It was just perfect.  The presenter asked the question if anyone knew the other animal other than a dog, and then clicked on the next slide to reveal this stout chunky little horse rigged up like a service dog.  I kid you not, I googled that crap, and yes.  Meet Mini Ed.  It has sneakers, folks.  Actual converse kicks.

3.  Exercise: get out of bed, Jackie!

4.  Meditation: prayer

5.  Random Act of Kindness: visited the widows tonight for FHE

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 19

"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

1. I'm grateful for:
a.  so many loved ones come to visit tonight
b. sacrament
c. exceptional conversation

2.  I love people. I realized that tonight, I love to love people.  Make them feel loved, help them to recognize their potential.  Talk with them, laugh with them.  I had an open house tonight, and so many people from all walks of my life came.  From The Madsen family from when I was a beehive in Plano, to friends from BYU and Drexel, to my family (Lorri and Lisa came! LOVED having them), to my dear friends Cyle and Athena and little King from Killeen, to friends from Lehi, and the 2 MSA wards up here.  What a wonderful night!

3. Exercise: can preparing for a party count?

4. Meditation: Prayer day and night

5. Random Act of Kindness: inviting and including all people to come

Day 18

“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” 
― Dr. Seuss

1.  I'm grateful for:
a.  Rachel helping me do what I needed to do on day one
b. sweet friends that do a drive by porch drop off of treats
c. talking with Cerrah, my dearest cousin whom I see once in a blue moon, at Jordan's baby shower
d. (500) Days of Summer

2.  Pure moment of joy today printmaking at the University of Utah Museum of Fine Arts with Rachel V.  That girl can bring a smile to my face with her funny little quips.  We met incredible folks: Miss Rosie, the 4 year old with her father creating a volcano; Joe and his gal, I think Becky, and their 5 little guys.  Joe's got some major skills with printmaking, brilliant cow.  And Rachel with her boat, and I with my Fibonacci squares meets nature.  Loved every minute of it.  :)

3. Exercise: sleep escaped me this morning.  It was a no go today.

4. Meditation: in museum today

5. Random Act of Kindness: Helped a woman with her groceries

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 17

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 
― Shel Silverstein

1. I'm grateful for:
a. such a wonderful first day at work
b. Jess, my new a fabulous co-worker showing me the ropes
c. Exquisite photos of nearly extinct tribes

2.  I seriously thought that the first day of work they were gonna pimp me on cardiology info, but such was not the case.  I had a wonderful lunch with my new coworkers, great people.  I really feel like I'll fit in nicely.  I am so blessed in life :)

3. Exercise: over 1.5 mile run

4. Meditation: before work

5. Random Act of Kindness: a little love note to a friend

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 16

"...Bend to the dust that head "unbowed,"
Small part of Life's great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul."

-Excerpt from The Soul's Captain

1.  I'm grateful for:
a.  the incredible Rachel inviting me to the Special Needs Mutual
b. having the corner sealing room all to myself in the temple to pray
c. having a perfectly functioning body to be able to walk to the temple

2. Today Rachel V. invited me to join her while she fulfilled her calling as a leader for the specials needs group of the region.  The folks in charge of this thing are absolutely brilliant!  In the summer these girls couldn't go to girl's camp because of poor turn out, so instead the volunteers organized a night of "camping" indoors.  They had a pseudo-fire pit with red, yellow and orange streamers with white Christmas lights and a fan blowing underneath, all bordered by real firewood to make it look like a real fire.  They had a tipi, and two camping tents set up with lanterns and sleeping bags on the floor.  They had a craft of painting birhouses, then sing-a-long with camp songs, followed by a sister giving a lesson on individual worth.  It ended with somore like treats and a wonderful feeling in the room.  It was amazing night!

3. Exercise: 1.5 mile walk to the Salt Lake Temple

4. Meditation: Endowment session at temple

5. Random Act of Kindness: I always hate walking by a homeless person when I have nothing to give, since I set a boundary for myself that all monetary donations I would give to help them would be through a charity.  Nonetheless, I still feel like I can do more.  There are always a few standing right outside Temple Square, and this time I was prepared!  I gave her my snack that I packed, an apple and a cheese stick.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 15

"I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee..." -God

1.  I'm grateful for:
a. Marcie always thinking of others.  She organized a dinner to celebrate my first day on Friday
b. Lunch with my cousin Becky.  Seriously excellent conversation
c. Dancing with a strong enough fella to pick me up and dip me comfortably

2.  I love my sister-in-law, Lisa.  She let me vent on the phone today for a solid 15 minutes while the babies were jabbering away in the background.  And she gives validation when it's needed, and totally calls me on my crap when it's time for that as well.

3. Exercise: Country swing dancing at the Westerner

4. Meditation:  President Monson's general conference address

5. Random Act of Kindness:  Saw an older fella in the corner and could tell he felt a bit uncomfortable on the dance floor, so I went over, asked him to dance, and spent the next few songs teaching him the basics of two step.  He was just beaming by the end of it.  Made me happy to help someone else feel a bit of joy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 14

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”  -Samuel Beckett

1.  I'm grateful for: 
a. Mary sharing her talk about failure and perfectionism
b. Ann Lewis volunteering her time and energy to teach me family history
c. hugs that can be given via people I love

2.  Read my friend Mary's article about failure and perfectionism.  One quote I loved from the article: "True repentance is about transformation, not torture or torment. Yes, heartfelt regret and true remorse for disobedience are often painful and very important steps in the sacred process of repentance. But when guilt leads to self-loathing or prevents us from rising up again, it is impeding rather than promoting our repentance.”  President Utchdorf

3. Exercise: ran 3 miles

4. Meditation: Prayer while driving from from Orem to SLC

5. Random Act of Kindness: helped a lady and her kids find toothpicks in the store

Day 13

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."   -Rabindranath Tagore

1. I'm grateful for:
   a. my friends in the armed forces that keep us protected.  This is the land of the free because of these brave
   b. fishing with Justin, new friend from the ward
   c. Rachel calling to get me out of the house and to the Veteran's Day Concert

2.  One of my dear friends up here, who is currently serving in the National Guard, shared a hilarious story tonight about while she was deployed.  She was staying with a group of gals in the Air Force, and safety was a top priority for these women.  Well, the gals gave my friend a rape whistle in case anyone tried to attack her.  Now mind you, my friend carried a LOADED weapon with her at all times during deployment.  I'm gonna take a wild guess, but the first she she'd likely reach for if she was getting attacked may not be that whistle.

3. Exercise: stairs and hills

4. Meditation: a nap, can that count?

5. Random Act of Kindness: brought the trash cans up from the curb for my neighbor

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 12

1. I'm grateful for:
    a. Sunday naps
    b. learning about bee keeping from Richard
    c. make-up remover towelettes

2.  Just spent the evening with Brother and Sister Bevan and a few folks from the MSA ward.  It was a feast, an early Thanksgiving filled with delectable morsels of deliciousness.  We played a super fun game and had great conversation with Annette, Richard, Richard, Mike, Katie, Sumer, Denise, Becky, and of course the Bevans.  What good people!

3. Exercise: walked 3 miles, to and from the MoTab Veteran's Concert

4.  Meditation: Tai chi basics

5. Random Act of Kindness:  love note on friend's facebook

Day 11

1. I'm grateful for
    a.  Aunt Beth, Uncle Tom, Jeff and Becky coming to visit my new place and for treating me to Market Street Grill for lunch.  Delicious food and excellent conversation.
    b.  being able to pray at any time of the day or night
    c.  long hot showers

2.  So during lunch today I was talking to Beth and Tom about how they first met and all those relationship questions, and I had a brief thought, "You know what, Jackie, it'll all work out."  I've honestly struggled daily missing Jakob (one of my girlfriends described it best that in a break-up you don't just lose a boyfriend, but also your best friend), but I keep reminding myself "have a bit of faith that it'll work out."  The Lord has helped with my move, with finding a job, and a perfect place to stay.  He'll help me with my future spouse.  Just like a race, I need to put in the work now to be the right person, because I know that the right person for me is devoting the time and effort to become that best self that he can be.

3. Exercise: Hike with Charity and Deborah

4. Meditation: Today I prayed more than I have in a long while

5. Random Act of Kindness: Helped with lost and found keys

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Day 10

1.  I'm grateful for:
    a.  Rachel and Marcie inviting me to their ward auction tonight
    b.  Athena bringing Kingston over and having a wonderful chat 
    c.  Charity showing me around the hospital

2. So I have a dear friend that is going through some of the same things I've recently experienced.  I chatted with him a few times today, and it was comforting to know that I could provide some guidance and love to help him take the next steps into the dark.  I think that's a huge reason why we go through what we go through.  What better way to be a source of comfort for someone than to experience it first hand.  

3. Exercise:  I am realizing a trend.  When I wake up late, the exercise suffers!

4.  Meditation: Did you know prayer is considered  a form of meditation.  I do that a gazillion times a day!   It's like He's on speed dial in my heart.  

5. Random Act of Kindness: Sent a little love to a friend via another friend

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Day 9

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. 

    Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”   - Gordon B. Hinckley

1.  I'm grateful for:
   a.  Charity helping me move a box spring to brother's place.
   b.  Aunt Lorri forgiving me for completely spacing our sewing date
   c.  My new friend Jared letting Charity and I borrow his truck for said move

2.  It's been mixed emotions today.  A battle between doubt and faith, and if I'm honest, I'm struggling a bit with the hopes of my heart and the reality that is today.  Having said that, there were many moments today where I had happiness.  One goes as follows: I was baking cookies and I was short an egg.  What better time to meet the neighbors... I stroll over two doors down where it looks like someone might be home and met two wonderful women, Ana and Heather, and their two dogs Lexi and Niki.  Lovely people, welcoming, kind, Ana is a retired ICU nurse and plays the piano and invited me over for duets.  Heather is hilarious, and shared a story of how one time while visiting Dallas she stayed in a hotel in a blue zone, where she couldn't buy a drink; she had to travel all the way to the red zone to find that elusive beer.  Made me laugh.  I'm excited to learn more of the friends on the block.

3. Exercise: a walk

4. Meditation: Ordinances in the Salt Lake Temple

5. Random Act of Kindness:  While exiting the temple, there was a man with anti-Mormon literature and was rather loud at voicing his opinion.  Another man called back to him somewhat mockingly, which only exacerbated the situation.  I chose to say, with all the love and kindness I know how, a simple "Have a good night," with a deep kind of smile that comes from the heart.  I could see it softened him in his eyes, even if it was for just a brief moment, and I realized that he was a man that just needed to be loved.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Day 8

"True happiness involves the pursuit of worthy goals.  Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved".  Dan Buettner

1.  I'm grateful for:
     a.  the pure entertainment that can be found at community council meetings
     b.  finally jumping through all the hoops to get into the MSA ward
     c.  tying up loose ends from Texas

2.  So I went to a city council meeting tonight for the Greater Avenues area.  Something about civic duty mixed with curiosity prompted me to walk through those doors, and I came home feeling like I hit a gold mine of stories.  Unique characters with seriously intriguing personalities will be the highlight of future posts.  Tonight one borderline elderly woman spent a solid 5-10 minutes discussing a "traffic jam" in our little residential area at "rush hour" due to a maintenance truck taking up a lane.  She said she couldn't locate the workers, for all she knew they were "out to lunch" (said in a very stern, concerned voice with furrowed brow and all).  This perturbed her enough to call the city and file a formal complaint.  Flash backs of rush hour Dallas, or Philly or, oh gosh, miserable LA driving came to my mind.  But!  I wholeheartedly admit that it is because of these kinds of people that the community keeps functioning at a high standard.  So, thank you, my new friend, for spending your retirement years on hold listening to seriously crappy music.

3.  Exercise: house cleaning and cooking of meals for the next two weeks

4.  Meditation: UCLA has a Mindful Awareness Research Center with free guided meditations.  Sweet!  I started with the first breathing meditation.

5.  Random Act of Kindness: A little hello to a friend from the Dallas area

Day 7

"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls." Mother Theresa

1.I'm grateful for:
   a.  gas being below $3 at Sams!
   b. getting my food storage squared away
   c. my mom giving me tips on saving

2. I went dancing at the Murray Arts Center entirely solo last night, and it turned out to be so much fun!  There was an older gentleman there, Tom, that came without a partner as well, and we coupled up nicely.  Good lead, quite handsome even for having a few years on him.  I forgot how much I love to west coast swing.  There's something so smooth and sexy about it, without it crossing the line of impropriety.

3. Exercise: Dancing the night away :)

4. Meditation: video during day, learned about controlling the internal thoughts even with external stress

5. Random Act of Service: helping out a few folks on the dance floor

Monday, November 04, 2013

Day 6

"Joy is the serious business of heaven." C.S. Lewis

1. I'm grateful for:
    a.  My family at the adoption (Aunt Beth, brother, Lisa, Lisa's family)
    b.  Dancing around Ikea with Aunt Lorri
    c.  Rachel cheering me on like a mad woman during dodge ball

2. Today was a big occasion for our family because my brother, Greg, and his wife, Lisa, officially adopted their little girl, Emma.  All around it was filled with nuggets of happiness that will brighten the darkest of days.  One in particular was when I played with my little nephew, Tristan, while the court proceedings were going on.

So, Tristan was in the court room, running back and forth between the tiny gate that acts as a barrier between the audience and the participants of the court.  My poor brother was trying his darndest to keep him still, but that boy was born with an adventuresome spirit like mine.  So brother first picked him up and handed Tristan to his grandpa.  He, of course, wriggled his way out of that hold, came right back, and brother next handed him to grandma, to which he was better for a bit.  But still the little man is born with Houdini blood, and found his way out of her arms and back across the gate.  The third time brother handed the ninja munchkin to me, to which grandma gave me some solid weaponry.  Fruit snacks.  Glorious fruit snacks.

Oh, how I love thee, dearest fruit snacks.

  I'd usually just give him the pouch, but I knew he'd run right back with it to his dad (my brother).  So I sat there taking the fruit snacks, one by one, and slowly feeding it to him airplane style.  Except the poor pilot of the fruit snack plane unfortunately dabbled with the fermented grapes and kept missing Tristan's mouth.  Tristan would grasp at my arm and try to guide the scrumptious morsel in the right direction, but just as it came in for the landing, I'd shimmy the snack onto his cheek. or nose. or next door neighbor.   Each fruit snack bought me about 15 seconds of him sitting relatively still.  Granted, Tristan is a quick study, for he'd bob and weave to catch 'em.  And, boy, does that little guy have teeth.  Ouch! We made it through two pouches before he had enough of that game, but those few minutes I will forever love.

3. Exercise: dodge ball (I really can't count this one, I'll do better tomorrow)

4.  Meditation before bed tonight

5. Random Act of kindness: brought muffins for brother and family to eat for breakfast, Tristan was the only one who could eat something that sweet so early in the day

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Day 5

"Happiness, not in another place, but this place... not in another hour, but this hour." Walt Whitman

1.  I'm grateful for:
     a. the beauty that exists with the change of the season
     b. actually having a purposeful fast for Fast Sunday
     c. friends that invite me to sit by them at church

2.  So my positive experience of the day could seriously last me all week.  It was that good.  Two of my dearest friends from Salt Lake came over for dinner, the darling Rachel and Marcie.  I love it when we get together because it's like one huge bucket fest of love.  You know those folks in life that you trust enough to share your struggles, your successes... your worries and fears and fun times and all that makes us who we are.  That's them.  And we love each other not in spite, but because of our imperfections.  We are, as one friend described her daughter, perfectly imperfect.  Tonight we left with challenges to each other; mine are to make a portrait of how Christ sees me, and the other is to work on an improved image of self.  That always could use a bit of polishing up, so... challenge accepted. ;)

3. Exercise: 3 mile walk through the memorial monuments and mountains

4.  Meditation: I have so much to learn in this field... seriously not my strong point.  But I can feel it's a undiscovered gem. What better way than to go to a well renowned source.  Matthieu Richard is Buddhist monk who started as a French molecular biologist and "found my way to the mountains."  It might be a bit tough to understand his French accent at first, but he has some spot on pointers to improve meditation.

5. Random Act of Kindness: sent a little love note to my mother

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Day 4

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss

1. I'm grateful for:
    a. My new friends Julie, Lisa, and Emily taking me fly fishing!
    b. glorious days where the weather is just perfect, nature is showing off its splendorus beauty, and life is filled with wonderful people
    c. always needed chat with Elana and George

2.  Loved every bit of today.  Julie taught me the basics of fly fishing (casting, terminology, etc), Emily rocked it by getting a few bites and she totally shared her delicious homemade grape leather. And Lisa kept me steady whilst I crossed the torrential water (k so it was a simple stream, but those are some slippery rocks).  I was in the water today, working on my throw, when something just clicked.  It was amazing when I stopped over-thinking it, stopped worrying that I'd hit one of the girls with the hook and I just let go, that I found myself in a zone.  Kind of like what I've felt during long bike rides or runs.  Except this time I was wading in water, hearing the breeze rustle through the grass, feeling the float line slide through my fingers as the line reeled out and pulling it back in over and over, drinking deeply of the beauty that surrounded me.  It was a perfect moment.  I didn't catch a single fish, but that really didn't matter because I found so, so much more.  For, I found a place of peace.

3. Exercise: can fly fishing count as exercise? ;)

4. Meditation video about breathing today

5.  Help my new friend Jen M. figure out a few specifics about a chicken coop

Day 3

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy "2 Nephi 2:25

Grateful for:
   a. an awesome bishop
   b. James, the checkout guy at the Wal-Mart fish license section
   c. Emma's smile (soon to be my little niece... adoption pending)

So tonight was my new MSA ward's Thanks for Giving dinner.  Delicious!  I met seriously awesome gals, a few which invited me to go fly fishing tomorrow (woot woot!).  I think the part I loved most was actually at the very end when I was heading out the door and sat a moment to chat with the cashier, Diane.  The silent auction bidding closed while we were in the midst of conversation, and there was this massive rush to the check out line.  Seeing that overwhelmed look on her face, I jumped right in and started processing people's orders, and we got through that line in no time.  It felt so good to pitch in and meet a few friendly folks along the way.

Exercise: Last Chance Workout DVD 30 min

Meditation: Endowment in the Timpanogos Temple today

Random Act of Kindness: see above story as a makeshift assistant cashier