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.

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