Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Grandma Candy

I had this grandma once. I only had her for a few years; she wasn't my biological grandma but she treated me like I was her real and true grand-daughter. She was my step-father's mother and her name was Candy. I called her "Grandma Candy" and she called me "sweetheart". I didn't much like her son, but I loved her.

She was killed by a drunk driver on this day... 1990? 1991? I was in juniour high school, so sometime around then. I don't remember exactly what year and it doesn't really matter. What I remember is how kind she was to me, how she treated me like I was family; I remember how she had a little movie store and that she taught me to use a shrink wrapping machine to package the movies in. I remember that we used to have dates, just me and her; she would take me shopping with her and we would talk about life and whatever else was on my mind. I can still hear her voice in my head - I don't recall any particular lesson she taught me, but I remember that she made me feel loved.

As I often do with people in my life who have died, I wonder what she would think of the world now; I wonder who she would vote for and where she would live. Would she be one of those blue-haired grannies who crocheted afghans all day or would she be doing wheelies in her motorised wheelchair? I think she would be having fun, no matter what.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Reading challenge

The past few years I have set reading goals for myself. I don't always meet these goals, and that invariably results in some amount of frustration and feelings of failure on my part. This is a recurring theme in my life, one I don't really know how to overcome. It is important to me though, so here we are. I'll tell you about my goals, update periodically (or not, that happens too), and let you know how it's going.

My book club has chosen the next 12 books we will read (or not, that also happens) and I'm also choosing 12 books for this reading challenge. I don't have them all chosen yet but I've already been informed what book my husband will choose for me to read.

Here are the books I'll be reading for book club:

  • The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley
  • Gift From the Sea - Ann Morrow Lindbergh
  • The Lincoln Hypothesis - Time Ballard
  • The Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard
  • These Is My Words - Nancy E. Turner
  • Gameboard of the Gods - Richelle Mead
  • Sold - Patricia McCormick
  • The Man In The High Castle - Philip K. Dick
  • The Mount Vernon Love Story - Mary Higgins Clark
  • The Weight of Feathers - Anna-Marie McLemore
  • The Road - Cormac McCarthy
  • The Lake House - Kate Morton

I'm really excited about a few of these; a got a copy of Gift From the Sea from my mom when I was 15 years old. I never read it, but when I opened it up to start it for next month's meeting I saw a note my mom had written on the front inside cover the day she gave it to me. It wasn't a special day - April 9th, 1993 - but for some reason my mom wanted me to have this book and she chose that day to give it to me. As I read this book, I find my thoughts constantly turned to my mom and what we were experiencing in 1993. Individually and as a family, that was a hard year for us. I don't remember specifics (which I'll count as a tender mercy from God) but I remember that our family was not happy. There was contention in our home, contention between me and my mom, peppered with heartfelt talks and mother-daughter bonding. Being 15 was hard, and being the mom of a troubled and misbehaving 15 year old is no walk in the park. I'm grateful that my mom stuck with me through that time; not all moms do and I know I didn't make it easy on her. So, Gift From The Sea and a gift from my mother.

What are you reading this year? Is anyone else participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy's reading challenge? I'd love to hear what your choices are. I always go back to the same kind of book - thrillers, murder-mysteries, and cop stories are my favourites but I love to branch out as well. Tell me what's on YOUR list.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Seeing the best in others

Church was cancelled after Sacrament meeting today, so we didn't have our normal 2nd and 3rd hour lessons. I was excited to spend the afternoon knitting, but I was also sort of bummed to miss out on those later lessons.

My husband was giving the lesson in High Priest group today, and we decided to spend our afternoon discussing his lesson since we didn't get to experience most of church today. He had a really great lesson on New Year's resolutions, and in it he summarised last General Conference in such a way that we could use the topics as ways to improve ourselves in the coming year.

The item that stood out most to me was "see the best in others". This comes from Dale G. Renlund's talk Through God's Eyes, in which he says:

To effectively serve others, we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes.

Thinking about the person I know who is the best example of this, I'm reminded of my mother. She is best example of seeing the best in others, of seeing past the faults and the sins, and seeing the value of others. I am continually amazed and impressed by her ability to do this. She also has more compassion than any other person I know.

I am so grateful for my mom's example to me, and the things she shows me through her actions. I'm not good at those things like she is, but having her example gives me something to strive for.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Stray thoughts

"For I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day". - Alma 36:3

It can be cold comfort knowing that things will get better "eventually". It's not always uplifting to know that if we just get past this trial we'll be rewarded in the end. We have a lot of training, so to speak, in society about powering through something bad to get to the something good. I think this doesn't help us when we're in the middle of a trial- when we're focused on "getting through" our hearts and minds are not tuned in to what is happening right now, because we're so focused on getting past what we're suffering through.

In addiction recovery we're taught to focus on one day at a time - or one hour, depending on what our struggles are. I believe the Lord would have us adopt this thinking as well; don't just keep our eyes on the end, on the so-called "prize". Work toward the eternity we want, but also take it one day at a time. And by so doing, notice what we have in front of us. Find ways to enjoy the beauty that the world has to offer, and rejoice in the things that uplift us. That is the spiritual preparation that is rewarded at the last day; that is how we endure to the end: not just in the getting past but in the going through.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Currently

Reading: Too many books. I used to be a one-book-at-a-time kind of reader, but that was back when I could finish 2-3 books in a week. Oh to work nights again (not really)...

I'm all over the place with my reading. I read non-fiction church books and scriptures a lot, so I like to have some light reading going at the same time. So right now I'm reading Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsey; The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov; Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich (this is my super light reading - it's basically the same story told ... well, 21 times now. Entertaining, but it doesn't require any thought whatsoever). The Maltese Falcon, which I haven't read since about grade 6 - this is a book club book and I'd forgotten how much I love Dashiell Hammett and his Sam Spade. I'm also reading The Power of Everyday Missionaries, which I've been working on for more than half a year; the Book of Mormon, which I try to read every day but don't quite make it. And finally, Where Angels Prey.

Thinking about: How I can be the best version of myself. In my church there's a program for the young women (ages 12-18) called Personal Progress. There are a series of tasks and projects to be completed that are designed to help them become personally righteous, spiritually connected young ladies. Adults who either joined the church as adults or otherwise didn't complete their Personal Progress can work on it as well, so I've been trying to focus on that.

There are eight values identified as important traits that we have as daughters of God, and developing those values are what Personal Progress focuses on; the values are Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue. I'm working on Faith and trying to incorporate daily prayer and scripture study into my daily life. It's hard for me, so it takes a lot of work. I enjoy it though, and it helps me stay focused on what I want to have in my life. Namely, a happy family and spiritual well-being.

Listening to: Audio books and NPR. These are the staples of my workday. I get cranky without them.

Watching: My TV tastes are changing. I have little patience for most television and things I used to find entertaining no longer excite me. Unfortunately, I can't fall asleep without some background noise so Angel plays at bed time. I'm still looking for the One Great Show.

Loving: My family. My daughter-in-law, who I don't see often enough but whose company I enjoy so much. My parents, who I also don't see enough. I have plans to celebrate Father's Day this Saturday and I'm so excited for that. Aunties and uncles - both biological and those close friends of my mom who have become honorary family members. My step-dad, who hasn't legally been my step-dad for nearly 30 years but who has all the qualities of a dad: he loves me, supports and encourages me, and he cheers me on. He gives me book recommendations and he reminds me that I'm not living up to my potential (something very few people can do without really pissing me off).

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