Monday, January 31, 2011

The state of your heart

On Saturday I went with my sister and sister-in-law to my mom's Stake Women's Conference (Mom is the Stake RS president). Virginia Hinckley Pearce (daughter of President Hinckley) was the speaker. She spoke on the subject of a book she wrote called A Heart Like His (the His part referring to the Savior). The conference was really great. We spoke briefly with Sister Pearce afterwards, and she was so kind and down-to-earth, just like her father.

She said a number of things I wanted to blog about, but the image that stood out to me the most was the idea of your heart being like a shriveled apple. She had a couple apples that she had taken from her tree at home just days before the conference. After a long winter they had shriveled and hardened, appearing much like the apple in the above picture. She said she thinks our hearts can do that when we let them. They can shrivel and shrink and become hard---not letting anyone or anything in, not feeling love for others or feeling God's love for us.

She said our hearts can become shriveled through our own choices---sin, insecurity, guilt, and simply choosing not to share ourselves with the world are a few of the causes. And sometimes our hearts are damaged by others. When a bird pecks at an apple the apple defends itself by making the damaged area hard. Sometimes we are so pecked at, so damaged, with our hearts so covered with wounds, that we protect ourselves by hardening our hearts. This behavior is bad news for apples---who cannot recover from their self-protection, but it's good news for us. We can recover. We can choose to break down walls and barriers and open our hearts to others---and in so doing we open our hearts to feeling the love God has for us.

She spoke of how we need to physically create the feeling that we are opening our hearts to others. I've been trying it, and I like it. In the two whole days since, I've found that I listen better to others, and when I do, I go away happy and having learned something from them.

I re-read her book last night (it's a quick read) and found new insights and a renewed desire to open my heart to others. One quote that she quoted in the book was by Mary Lou Kownacki, "There isn't anyone you couldn't love once you've heard their story." I love that. Once we really know people and know why they are the way they are, we can't help but love them.

My last few blog posts have sparked an unexpected response in comments on the blog, on Facebook, and mostly in emails I've received from others. And you know what? We're basically all the same! So many of the comments and emails in essence say, "Me too! I feel the same way; I had the same experience." Even more I love the responses from a number of people who have told me, "You know, I wrote a whole long response to your post. Then I deleted it because I realized I didn't need to write it to you, I needed to write it for me." I love that! I love that our shared experiences can provoke thought and reflection---whether or not you share those thoughts and reflections with me.

Sister Pearce also quotes John Steinbeck in her book, he said,
"We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story, begging the listener to say---and to feel---'Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as alone as you thought.'"
When we open our hearts to others, we're doing just that. We're saying, "You're not alone!" and when we do that, God can find his way right into our open heart and echo the sentiment, "You are not alone." Is there anything better than that?

*Picture by Benson Kua

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I failed. I quit. And I'm happy.

**TMI Warning: this post is about fertility. If that makes you uncomfortable, just move on. 

For the last six months I've been doing a clinical study on the effects of aspirin on early gestation. They think that taking a baby aspirin a day will help prevent miscarriage. Basically I took an aspirin/placebo a day and folic acid and used the provided fertility monitor every morning. The reward for becoming pregnant was a small handful of Benjamins followed by more at delivery. Two of my friends have been successful in the study. (As a side-note I found out today when I finished the study that I was indeed taking aspirin.)

Today I finished my last month without becoming pregnant and essentially failed the study. (And I'm just going to say that I know in the scheme of things, six months is nothing. I have good friends and family who have gone years and years without success. It's just where I am now. Please, dear friends, don't hate me for complaining about six months, I really know it's not much.)

I don't like to fail at anything. I know the whole "If at first you don't succeed..." quote is lovely, but I still hate failing. Even worse was reporting to the study---and now to you---that I failed. I don't like not being able to make something happen. I, of all people, know that babies come when they should come (we've done both sides of the spectrum with Claire taking a year, and Kyle was a BIG surprise), but I still don't like it.

So along with failing today, I decided to quit trying for a few months. I hate quitting almost as much as failing, but I couldn't take it anymore.

I have lost three pregnancies and only succeeded in two, so the odds are not in my favor. The first time I was pregnant, I think I was blissfully unaware of things that could go wrong. Boy did that change when I lost that baby at almost 7 weeks. From then on I have become super-aware of doing things (even midwife's tale things) that might cause a problem from pre-conception and on into pregnancy. "Trying" for me means lukewarm showers, no caffeine, no heavy lifting, no ibuprofen, no day/nyquil, no drug other than tylenol, and knowing exactly what cycle day I'm on. It basically takes over my life. I know that there are people who can do this without being obsessive---but I'm  not one of those. I'd love to be the lady who, when asked how far along she is, says "I'm probably about 4 months?" Instead I'm the one who tells you, "21 weeks, 3 days, and he's starting to digest things this week!" Everything about babies takes over my life.(Am I weird? Do you do this too? How do you NOT do it?)

I really want another baby or two or three, but I just can't handle it for another continuous six months or however long it takes. I thought I'd be totally bummed about quitting---But you know what? It feels great! I feel such a burden lifted. I celebrated with a hot shower, a Coke, and ibuprofen (after all, I have a broken rib, and Tylenol wasn't doing much for the swelling) I turned in my monitor (and will have $100 coming in the mail soon, a reward for completing the study), and I feel like a new woman.

So for a few months I'm just going to be me. I'm going to paint my room without worrying about the effect of paint fumes on a fetus. I'm going to take time to actually let my rib heal with proper medication. I'm going to lift things without worrying. I'm even going to diet---or maybe even exercise!

How odd that quitting and failing something so important to me would feel so good? Maybe I'll quit a few more things---or better yet, I'll try more things while leaving open the possibility of failure.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Last night I spoke at a New Beginnings for a ward in Tremonton. I love speaking to young women, and I get to do it a handful of times every year---which is just enough for me. The last four times I have spoken I have been working on a completely new theme (as opposed to my ever-evolving standard presentation that began in 2001). I talk about gaining a new perspective on beauty. I use a few quotes from Elder Ballard's talk on Mothers and Daughters from the April 2010 conference.

One quote I use is: "In recent years there has been a rash of articles, books, and films written about women and girls who gossip and who are 'mean.' Satan is always attempting to undermine the most precious element of a woman’s divine nature—the nature to nurture."

Sometimes I leave it at that. And sometimes, when prompted by the Spirit, I share my experience with mean girls. Just typing that makes my heart pound. So here goes: I was bullied for a number of years---not in school, but in church. How weird is that? I feel lucky that it was just one day, sometimes two days a week that I dealt with it. Somehow once we got to school the girls who would torment me on Sundays (and usually during the weeknight church-sponsored activity) suddenly shrunk into the walls at school, almost completely unnoticed. I had a lot of friends in school, and for that I was lucky---in Hollywood terms I was probably on the "B-list" of popularity (and the A-list as far as grades). And while I had my share of encounters with other "Mean Girls" in school, I'm not going to delve into that---as my Sabbath day encounters seem to have had more far-reaching consequences.

I know that people have it worse (in fact a lady came up last night and told me just how much worse she had it, also at church), but every Sunday it seemed like there were three groups of girls: The Tormentors (which included ring leaders and followers), the Tormented (me and five or six other girls), and then a lucky few girls who somehow were in neither group. I think we became part of the Tormented group because we knew the answers to gospel questions and cared to discuss them---to put in bluntly I always thought of it in regards to testimony: the Haves and Have Nots.

Either way, that's how it was. Every Sunday we were mocked for how we looked, what we wore, what we said in class, and anything else worth knocking down. I don't remember a lot of the specifics---I've really tried to block it out. I remember discussing it at length with my parents and trying for a while to attend a ward with a friend---but I missed my family.

Girl's Camp was the epitome of miserable. I remember two specific years where I had very high hopes for a wonderful camp experience, only to wake up one night to find my face and hands and arms were covered with shaving cream. Another time two of us were smart enough to stay in our own tent away from all the other girls where we could put a lock on the zipper, but time after time the Tormentors managed to take our tent apart while we were sleeping. Another year they managed to put my tent-mate's sleeping bag and all of her belongings in the river---leaving her without anything dry to protect again the cold Heber-mountain nights. All because her D-cup drew more attention from boys than their trainer bras.

At the end of camp there is a traditional testimony meeting. While almost everyone got up and bore their testimony of the truths of the gospel, the Tormentors took it as their opportunity for an annual apology---literally going around the campfire and "apologizing" for all the horrible things said and done with explanations of jealousy and misunderstandings. One year my mom and I took a girl to her home after camp was over. As she got out of the car she announced, "I'm never coming back to church." And I don't think she ever did. I was lucky; although their bullying profoundly affected me, I know that it affected other girls more. The tormenting of our teenage years has forever affected their lives and life choices.

You might wonder where the leaders were. I know they were there. I know they must have known. Maybe they were scared too? ONE TIME one of them said something. Once. All I can guess is that they must have had the strategy to befriend the Tormentors, because it sure seemed like they were good friends.

You might also wonder why I'm sharing this. It's certainly not to prove how great I am for surviving this. To be honest, I still tremble when I see these girls! (I know, isn't that ridiculous? I'm all grown up with a college degree and a long list of accomplishments, and they still affect me). I know that through the wonders of cyberspace and facebook, some of them will read this, and for that reason I've started and deleted this post a number of times. But last night when that woman shared with me what her fellow campers did to her at girls camp, I felt a strange comradery, and a little bit more healed.  I figured it was time to share. Because if it happened to me and the girls I grew up with, it certainly happened and happens to other people---whether it was at church or school.

So what can be done about it? Two things. First: Do something! Whether we are currently now or will be in the future, a lot of us are leaders and teachers of youth groups at some point. Do we turn our heads when someone bullies someone else, or do we say something about it? (I will forever remember and praise the name of the leader, Ginger, who finally stood up to the Tormentors---one time). Don't let it happen. It's not funny. It's never okay. Related to this category, I have to believe that their parents knew what was going on. As parents we have a responsibility to teach our children to be good---we can't just hang our heads and say we don't know what to do. Do something! Honestly I blame the parents almost as much as the girls.

Secondly I want to put in a plug for the Buddy Box, developed by the last Miss Utah's Outstanding Teen. If your kids don't have it in their schools, talk to their principal about getting it. Check out the website for all the information: . It's basically a locked box that is somewhere in their school where students can anonymously report bullying. It's proven to work, and I think every school needs one.

Lastly, this has to be said. I know that this happens in a lot of situations, religious and secular. I don't blame the Church at all. I know that the gospel is not the people who live it. As Elder Ballard said, this is Satan's plan, and we certainly were not immune to it just because we were gathered in a religious context. My experiences did not affect my faith, and I don't think for a minute that this only happens among LDS groups. I think bullying happens wherever a bunch of people are together and one or two people decide it's fun to degrade other people. But as Elder Ballard also said, the most precious element of our nature as women is the nature to nurture. We can give and do so much for others, why would we waste our time doing anything else?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Wow! Thanks for all of your positive comments and sharing of my last post. Having a public blog is a little bit freeing, and a little bit scary for me. But with 200 hits on that last post, I guess I should keep at it (not that I think 200 is super-overwhelming, just more than I expected).

I realized today that January is almost over. Two things followed that thought: 1) I haven't done my visiting teaching (but I really hope I will!), and 2) I haven't really made any resolutions beyond completing my 30 things before I turn 30. That list will end in April, so I better come up with something for the rest of the year.

Resolutions are tricky because you just don't know how the year will go (and because my two top thoughts were simultaneously get pregnant and lose weight I figured it would be best to just leave those two out of the resolving---for now. And for another post.). So you have to come up with something challenging, but for me it has to be something I really think I can do (I don't need to set myself up for failure), but something that will create improvement at the same time.

So, without further ado (and because you care so much) here are my two resolutions:
Number One: Sing in the shower. I know that this doesn't sound hard. And it isn't hard. I just want to remember to do it. I think it will make me happy and be a good start (or good end) to the day. I've already started to do this, and I enjoy it. You must know that I am not a great singer. I am not even a good singer. All the same, I will be singing to my heart's content daily (or every-other-day---who are we kidding?)

Number Two (and this is the hard one): I'm going to try not to talk about myself all the time. A number of you who communicate with me daily (and/or weekly or maybe even yearly?) are probably sighing a sigh of relief right now. After seeing this Brian Regan clip about the Me Monster I got nervous. What if that is me? And I think it might be. I tend to get nervous during conversation lulls, so maybe that's why I talk about myself? And as far as the Me Monster having better stories, sometimes I just want to take part in the joining process of relationships and say "Me too! We share similar experiences!" But the clip made me think maybe I need to tone it down. This will be difficult. So if we are together and you notice me going beyond social boundaries, please feel free to reel me in. We can only accomplish this together!

The good news is that I can still talk about myself when I blog. Because what else would I talk about? And I can still vocally share my self-designated awesome stories at firesides and other functions when I am the designated speaker and everyone is actually there to hear me, which I will be doing this Sunday, in fact.

The best news is that I am clearly evolving as a person (maybe that was sarcastic?). Remember in 2009 how my only resolution was to remember to put on deodorant before lotion because if I did it the opposite order the deodorant lid was too slippery? I have my list of 30, and singing in the shower, and eradicating the Me Monster. I have my work cut out for me (that was also partially sarcastic.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Ha. Maybe you thought I'd taken up running. As in around the block or on a treadmill. Not me. Probably not ever. Stay with me though.

The prophet Alma spoke of Christ saying, "He may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:12)

Speaking of this, Brent Top said, "Succor is not a word that we use much in our normal, everyday conversations. yet it is a powerful word that conjures important images of help and aid. The word comes from the Latin succurrere, which means literally 'to run to help.' It implies urgent assistance."

I read that a couple days ago, and it got me thinking. In December 2007 when Kyle was 5-weeks-old I had most of my right eye removed in an evisceration---basically all that was left was muscles and the sclera (white part). It was an out-patient surgery. They sent me home, but I couldn't keep anything down---including and especially the pain pills. The block from the surgery ran out toward the late afternoon, and by nightfall I was in incredible pain. Taylor stayed with our kids, and my dad took me to the ER. I think I knew my name, but could give little else as to my identification. They checked me in and started an IV and got some drugs in me.

After a while the pain was somewhat relieved and they decided to feed me to see if I could keep food down. I couldn't. When the food came up my pain level skyrocketed. I looked helpless at the nurse and watched as she literally ran down the hall to a locked cabinet, got some morphine, then ran back to me. In one swift motion she grabbed my IV, pushed the morphine into my tubes, and within seconds I fell asleep---only to wake pain-free and rested about seven hours later.

I've thought about that a lot. I've seen my share of doctors. Most of them see people like me every day, so nothing about me is special or urgent. I'm sure as an ER nurse she sees people in pain daily. Certainly my pain was nothing unusual to her, and fixing it was probably routine. But she ran to assist me. I'm sure if she walked it would have made less than a minute's difference, and my pain would have been abated in the end anyway. But it made all the difference to me. I will forever be grateful for her urgency.

The interesting part of the story is that she couldn't change the cause of my pain. My eye had to have weeks to heal---and is still healing. But she was able to make me more comfortable while I healed. I think the Savior is that way. Very seldom will He take away the cause of our pain, but He makes our burden lighter and more bearable. As soon as we ask Him to be with us, He runs to be with us; to strengthen us.

And where does that leave us---we who are trying to be like Him? With the responsibility to provide urgent relief. Sometimes I hear of people suffering and really hope someone does something to help. And sometimes it simply can't be me---I'm not a nurse who can provide morphine, nor am I capable of physically providing relief for flood victims in Australia. But I can pray for them---immediately. And a lot of time we can be the one to assist---a kind word said, a compliment not withheld, a dinner in a time of need. And little by little as we learn to succor those in need of comfort we become---little by little---more like Him. And that is how I'd like to take up running.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I like jewelry. I don’t need it to be expensive (mostly because---face it---if I don’t lose it my kids will break it). I especially like jewelry that is sentimental. Most important would be my wedding rings. I can’t think of a time that I’ve really lost those---shown here on my wedding day.image

Second in order of importance would be the ring that Taylor gave me for my first mother’s day. He had just graduated from the University of Utah. He spent the large majority of the money he got from graduating to buy me a ring with two pink sapphire hearts and little diamonds on it. I wear it almost every day (probably should have cleaned it before I took a picture!) Point is that we were dirt poor, and he spent all he had on it. I love it because every time I wear it I know he loves me.


The third most important piece of jewelry I own is a green rhinestone organ donation awareness pin. I spoke at a big organ donation conference in San Antonio just weeks after competing at Miss America. They had the pin made for me and presented it to me there. It’s displayed in a shadowbox in my hall.


I have earrings that matter too. The pair I was wearing when I won Miss Utah:


The earrings I wore for eveningwear at Miss America:


These weren’t mine to keep, but I borrowed them from Melissa who is very special to me, and she wore them when she made the top 5 at Miss USA---so they were a great good luck charm:


There is a pair of gold hoops that are set with a double-row of rhinestones that I adore. I wore them for swimsuit at Miss A and to probably every fireside I ever did (wow. This was after my hair disaster. My hair was still really coppery there):


I have other favorites associated with favorite people and experiences: The pair I wear most often now that I got at Wendi’s Gardner Village store before it closed. They are two acrylic cubes turned on point hanging from a silver….loop thing I guess. And a special silver pair from Sandra Lloyd who has now passed on, given to me when I gave up my crown. A couple pairs that I received at Miss America from sponsors or my casino or something (wish I remembered). I have a lot more special earrings than I realized!

And there is one bracelet that I love. I wore it in eveningwear when I won Miss Utah. I had little balls hanging off the tiny belt on that tied on the side of my dress. We added them on after we got the dress. And we had to buy the rhinestone balls in bulk, so we ended up with quite a few. Which led to the idea of this beautiful bracelet. When all was said and done we used the bracelet to be the headpiece for my veil on my wedding day. (And the dumb lady that made it took apart the other balls without my permission and glued them to my veil, so I guess that bracelet in its original form is lost too.)

image image

And to the point. I’ve lost a few necklaces that I really wish I hadn’t. The absolute most important one was one from Melissa and Shar (do you guys read my blog? I kind of hope you don’t read this and find out that I lost the necklace you gave to me.) They gave it to me the night I competed in talent at Miss Utah. I played a Rachmaninoff piece and they gave me a rock (a big, real rock) with the word “believe” printed on it. (I haven’t lost that! Kind of hard to lose a big rock anyway…) and a gorgeous necklace with a large “diamond” rock set in gold on a very delicate gold chain. (The idea was that I got a couple big rocks to rock out to Rachmaninoff.) The necklace was gorgeous. I got compliments on it all the time. I wore it on almost every special occasion of my life after that point---including while giving birth to my two children. Last I saw it was in Logan a while after Kyle was born. I searched that house high and low a number of times, Including every crack and crevice right before we moved. I have mourned this necklace like no other thing I’ve lost. I love the people who gave it to me, and I loved the times I’ve worn it. Here’s a picture of me wearing it, but you can’t really see it. BTW how gorgeous was Claire? (Mel and Shar, if you do read this, you did give me another necklace when I gave up my Miss Utah County title. It’s gold and pearl and gorgeous. It came with it’s own holder and box which is safely tucked away. I wore them on my wedding day and still get them out on special occasions, so I’m not a total loser.)


Second lost necklace story: I think I’ll get in trouble for this one (and please don’t tell the Losees). When I won Miss Utah I was handed flowers and a gift from Losee Jewelers. I actually didn’t make it home with the flowers, but that’s for another time. The gift box contained a gorgeous real ruby and diamond necklace. I proudly wore it for about a month. Then I lost it. I have no idea where it went. I’m pretty sure I lost it at Just For Tonight, but I have no proof of that and it was never discovered. I was so sick about it. It was the first collection of precious stones I had ever owned and I lost them within 6 weeks. Awesome. No picture exists. But there were 4 decent sized rubies and a number of small diamonds. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Another one that occurred to me today was when I saw a picture of this online while I was looking for vintage valentines for a craft (so maybe I did a search for vintage superman while I was at it---it’s a running theme for me lately). I had this necklace in high school. I also had a big Superman ring. I don’t know where either of them are today. They embodied a time-period of my life, and I wish I still had them. (Seeing this picture was the reason I’m writing this post.)


Have you ever lost something irreplaceable? Clearly I could buy that superman necklace again, but the others were unique and one-of-a-kind for sure. And besides, it still wouldn’t be the exact necklace that I was wearing at the exact moment Lois & Clark ended forever anyway.

And the moral of the story is:

Once I read an article saying that we should be relieved when we lose or break important things because then we don’t have to worry about losing or breaking them anymore. That we should just be grateful for the time we had with them. And I like that. Relationships are that way too, especially in regard to people passing away---however I’m certain that we’ll be with the people in our lives again, but I’m not too sure about the THINGS. And in the end, people and experiences are what matter. I do not need to hold the necklace to know that I love Melissa and Shar or that I gave birth to my children. I do not need the necklace to prove that I won Miss Utah---I think maybe the crown (which is still with me and in tip-top shape) can prove that. And even without any of that I have the memories of wearing them, and in some cases picture-proof.

The jewelry is just what it was in the first place. Evidence of a relationship. Evidence of an event. I don’t need to hold it to know it happened.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lots of thinking*

*In reviewing this I have a lot of random thoughts in this. For ease of reading---and writing---the random stuff will be in green. Real stuff in black. And I use the word "old" in this a lot. I don't mean old, old, old. Just older than I am. Not young. Not 20. Or even 25. That kind of old.

The thoughts for this post have been swirling in my mind non-stop for the last week or so. Maybe it was Christmas that made me sentimental, or the miscarriage that just brought feelings to the surface, and probably it’s a variety of circumstances which will be reviewed in what follows, but I’ve been able to think about very few other things lately other than, well, getting old. The good and the bad.

I’ve said before that I’m excited to turn 30. I really am. But with that day quickly approaching in April I’m saying goodbye to my twenties. It’s hard to believe what has happened to me in the last ten years. All of the pageant stuff, getting married, having babies, all of my eye stuff. I feel like I lived a lifetime in the last ten short years. I feel like I said goodbye to youth and beauty with my eye removal. (And please don’t comment about how I’m still beautiful---it’s just how I feel; it won’t change.) With that comes a deep pondering for what the next 30 years will hold. And I’m excited for that.

However one thing I hadn’t realized is that with my aging comes the aging of everyone else around me. Now, my grandparents have always been old---to me at least. They seem almost ageless to me. But things are happening to them, and to other people in my life, that I’m not so sure I’m prepared for.

My mom and grandma-Christmas Eve 2010

My maternal grandma was born in 1916. She’ll be 95 in April. Taylor’s paternal grandfather is two months older. Lately it seems they’re in a neck-and-neck battle to get to heaven first. In October my grandma had her second hip replacement. She spent 7 weeks at a rehab center working hard at recovering in order to be home for Christmas. Just days after she got home---and on Christmas day, to be exact---she rolled over and broke something else in her back/pelvis. She was in immense pain. Hurts-your-heart-to-think-about-it pain. She had surgery yesterday to glue some of the bones back together. She’ll be out of the hospital tomorrow, but battling sundowners---an awful ailment that also hurts your heart to think about it. She says she didn’t want it to be like this. The other day she told my mom she always thought she would have just died in her sleep or choked on something. She never expected the pain; the endless days and nights;and really being hopeless for a better, pain-free future. I hate seeing her suffer. I hate having to see my mom as she sees her mom suffer. Grandma has had a very good, very long life. But this part of it; I’m just not sure what to think about it.

Taylor’s grandpa is much the same. I’ve only spent time with him a handful of times because he lived in Seattle until Novemberish. We moved him to Salt Lake so that Don could be more involved in his care. As I said, I’ve only seen him a few times, the last time being a few months after Kyle was born. But I was unprepared for how he had changed in three years. We visited with him on Christmas Eve also. He was a bit quirky before, but all the quirk was gone. He also has had a problem with Sundowners, and basically with just adjusting to living somewhere else after spending almost 95 years in Washington. He has good days and bad days, and has also been in the hospital with raging infections. Taylor’s mom insists that she’s really not going to make a point to eat healthily or be generally healthy because she doesn’t want to get old and have this happen. I’ll be the first to admit that rest homes have always freaked me out because I just leave thinking, ‘Not me. Not me. Please don’t let that be me.’ Yet. I know that we are called upon to endure to the end; and if that is the end I must endure, I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

I don’t mean to be a downer. I know there is a lot of joy in getting old. How cute were President and Sister Hinckley? And they seemed genuinely happy. And I’m sure they were and are. And Taylor’s mom’s parents are so cute, but they also have failing health (You don’t mind me saying that, do you Gramine?) And if I’m lucky enough to have Taylor by my side, then I know I’ll be fine. And I know our grandparents have been very happy, just quite afflicted lately. And I know that this is like three times my lifetime away. I just don’t like it---for them or me.

Another thing that got to me over Christmas was seeing a next-door-neighbor of my parents. He stopped over at their house to bring a Christmas present. He was the bishop of my youth; a strong, handsome man who had his share of trials and came through strong. I have always admired him and his family. But I hadn’t really seen him for a few years. He knocked on the door, and I answered. He was stooped and slow, really the shell of the man I knew. Mom said he had a stroke and hasn’t really ever recovered mentally or physically. He lives to take out the trash three times a day.

And then today I found out that my sweet friend, Laurie, who was in Young Women’s with me in Murray, has cancer that has spread to her lungs. She found out about the cancer a few years ago just after having a baby. She’s been on my prayer-list since then. She has such great faith. And she’s been so wonderful through the whole battle. But it just isn’t fair. And she’s not that much older than I am. Not that cancer cares how old its victims are. I’d just like to think that it does. She’ll continue to be on my personal prayer-list, and I know that the Lord can heal her.

Then---and this is funny, you’re free to smile at this, and roll your eyes, and it doesn’t fit well after talking about Laurie---my cousin Shayna facebooked about how she was at Disneyland and was next to Teri Hatcher on a ride. Remember how she was my teenage idol? Well, Lois Lane was---not Teri---but she is Lois Lane to me. Anyway, after I got past how completely jealous I was, and after I tried to convince Taylor that I would have been just as polite as Shayna, and I wouldn’t have bugged her for a picture, (and after he convinced me that I would have stalked her all day and insisted on having a conversation and picture WITH her) I wondered what she looked like now. (I don’t keep up with Desperate Housewives. Dumb as it is, if Taylor doesn’t remind me to watch a show, I don’t remember to watch it. Thus I see mostly what he is/both of us are interested in. Not that I’m interested in Desperate Housewives anyway…I try here and there, but I know my mom wouldn’t approve, so I can’t watch it!) Anyway, I wondered what she looked like. So I googled her. I found this (botoxed/airbrushed) picture:


And I wikipedia-ed (is that a word?) her and got this:


She’s 46. She looks great. And that’s great, I guess. She’s all glamour and Hollywood. Just not how Lois would look. But on the same hand, she’s not a spring chicken, and she lives in Hollywood, and I do not. However she looks like she’s trying to look young and hip. And I don’t know that I want that for me. I think as I age I just want to look my age and look nice---classic if I’m lucky. However if I have a body that great in 17 years maybe I’ll change my mind! But still, it made me sad as that just wasn’t Lois---because if Lois who was wonderful and headstrong and bold and beautiful, but wasn’t a slave to fashion, has to pretend to be young, will I have to too? (And why the long hair now? Sometimes I’m sure that her cutting her hair was the beginning of the end for Lois & Clark.)

Fortunately, apparently she played a small role as Lois Lane’s mom on Smallville a few months ago (how did I miss this!?) and it let me know how Lois would have looked now, 14 years later with the same-ish hairstyle as before.


It made me feel better to see “Lois” that way. And I decided that I won’t be as jealous of Shayna. Lois can forever be young and vibrant in my mind. And besides, if she wasn’t with Clark, it probably would have broken my heart. Of course I could have pretended that Clark was just out doing a job for Superman… And now I’m totally off the point. She got old. And I will too. And the people I have loved for so long will get old too. And some of them will leave this earth. And for some reason some of them will stick around for what almost seems like too long.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me on the edge at age 29. (And as deducted from wikipedia today, ironically the same age Teri was when she started playing Lois back in 1993---a lifetime ago.) It leaves me with a rededication to be better. To live better. To love better. To take care of my bones better. To live each day better. To really, really, really, try to not focus on the physical.

And to be honest, it just leaves me with a lot of feeling and a lot to think about. And, with hope, something to do about it. (I was hoping I’d have a better conclusion for you, but that’s it. That’s all I’ve got.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

For the first anniversary of my 29th birthday

The first anniversary of my 29th birthday is four months away. I set some goals on my 29th birthday, and I thought that it would be a good time to review them. Somehow saying it publicly makes me feel more accountable than whispering a tiny resolution to myself.
Here goes:

1. Paint my bedroom walls.
Haven't done this yet. But I have paint samples. I just need to commit.

2. Improve upon my housemaking skills
I have my moments. But this could definitely use a touch up. I think when I wrote this I meant "have a clean house more often." I don't think that has happened very much.

3. Quilt, bind, and hang my wallhanging that I love so much
I spent a few days in December quilting this on my sewing machine. It was a good experience. Time consuming, but not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. It is bound too. I just can't find the pins to hang it...

4. Establish a daily routine/schedule. This involves getting out of bed earlier.
Maybe I'll whisper this resolution to myself.

5. Become pregnant.
Ah...this one is a bit difficult. I did manage to become pregnant last week. However as we watched the time's square ball come down on New Year's eve I felt that familiar cramping and bleeding. Familiar because this is the third time I've miscarried (once before Claire, once before Kyle; I'm sensing a pattern). I just knew it wouldn't work out, so while I was sad for a couple days, I'm really okay.

6. Be more physically fit.
Wow. I've failed this one. However we got Kinect for our XBox and playing those games is a serious workout. So I think I'll make progress soon.

7. Quit texting while driving
Did I really commit to this? I totally forgot.

8. Begin writing seriously and consistently
I did begin. A couple things.

9. Finish and print my wedding album

10. Teach piano lessons again, and devote some time weekly to enjoying my talent

11. Become a coupon-using grocery shopper
I used a coupon or two a few weeks ago. But I'm overwhelmed with the whole thing. Sometimes I feel like I'll be sucked in by all the "good deals" I don't really need.

12. Recharge my love-affair with the scriptures
I'm half way there. My primary teaching calling has really helped this. I loved the Old Testament, and I'm so excited to teach from the New Testament because of the New Testament teacher I had at BYU.

13. Index 1000 names each month
I have months where I spend hours indexing. And weeks where I spend all my days and nights doing family history to get names ready for the temple. And I have hundreds. I think that counts.

14. Sew a bag/purse for myself
I have a scripture case in the works

15. Do a kind thing every day
I really hope I do.

16. Play with my kids more
I think I'm doing okay here. We got some fun games and toys for Christmas, so that should add to it.

17. Read to my kids more
Doing pretty good with Kyle. Claire gets at least one book a day. Kyle gets more when Claire's at school.

18. Blog with pictures more.
Did well at first, but haven't done so great lately.

19. Appreciate the sunset more often
DONE! We have such a great view from our house. This goal is specifically for my Grandma Holcomb. For a number of years we called each other when the sunset was particularly lovely. She's in the hospital right now. She's almost 95 and not doing well. I will continue to see the sunset for both of us.

20. Get back to cooking from a monthly menu
Not done.

21. Actively strengthen friendships
We've never had extremely close friends wherever we've lived. Mostly because we moved nine times in seven years. But we've been abundantly blessed with friends here in Ogden. For example, for our neighbor gifts this year we had 42 that we came up with off the tops of our heads. 42! And we couldn't cross anyone out. In the past we've maybe had 15. This is good. So good.

22. Talk to my sister more
Suzy got married in October, so that really helped.

23. Finish my quiet book project that began like three years ago (BRITTEN!)
I didn't realize I'd said that. I better do something about it.

24. Tell my husband I appreciate him more
I have appreciated him more...but I can always do better.

25. Find one way to be more "green"
We planted a garden over the summer. It kind of worked. I'm really going to delve into it this year.

26. Potty train Kyle

27. Actually plan family night lessons instead of having impromptu lessons
We've done pretty well lately.

28. Play the piano in church
DONE! In July I accompanied Claire to "Come, Come Ye Saints" then played a piano solo after she sang. Same thing with "Away in a Manger" last month.

29. Actually try some of the crafts/food/sewing projects I bookmark
I've done great with this.

30. Plan the party for next year---convince Lee (my cousin who was born 3 days before me) that we should repeat our 15th birthday party in some way with all our old friends
We'll need to start planning soon. And congratulations are in order for Lee who got engaged over the Holidays. I don't know that I've ever been happier for someone to be engaged.

In summary, eight months in I've done pretty well on half of these. I really need to get going on the other half as I'm a little behind.

But something that should be celebrated, which didn't make it to the list, is the fact that I finally found something to clear up my acne! I got acne for my 27th birthday. Over the last three years I've tried EVERYTHING. I've tried prescription pills and creams and everything over-the-counter. Nothing has even made a slight improvement. Then last month I got a sample pack of Oxy Clinical in the mail (click the link and you can get a free sample too). Within days my acne was clearing up. I bought the actual product (not too cheap, but about the same as everything else) and a bunch of people have noticed, so I'm sure it's working. In fact, yesterday I put on my makeup and didn't have to use concealer on anything. A first in years. I can't tell you the difference this has made for me.

And if you read that whole post you must be my mother or mother-in-law. Or super bored. Thanks for reading though!