Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I have a fascination with acronyms. I like learning them. I like seeing/studying them. I like attempting to create them. I have been thinking about LIFE and what it means to me. How do I define my LIFE? What do I love about LIFE? How would I help someone understand why I love LIFE? It was during these thoughts that I created a new acronym. To me, LIFE can be summed up in four words: Love, Influence, Faith, and Experience.
We are told that the first commandment is to love God, and the second is to love our neighbors. Love is kind of like glue and it holds everything in its place. To love and be loved gives us strength and courage.  When you love someone, you are looking out for them and have only their best interest at heart. I was once told that love is in the beginning, middle, and end of relationships. Love can warm you when you are feeling emotionally cold, it makes you happy when you're sad, and it can brighten your day. To love someone else can bring peace and satisfaction to LIFE, it helps us grow and mature and broadens our understanding.
Whether we want to realize it or not, we are influenced by everything around us. What are we being exposed to? The influence of others shapes who we are, what we think, and how we do things. We are always being influenced, from our parents, siblings, and friends, to media, magazines and advertisements. We need to be sure that the influences that we allow in our LIFE are helping us to become better and that they draw us closer to our Father in Heaven. Likewise, we have the great opportunity and responsibility to be an influence to those we come in contact with.
While you can have faith of lots of different things, for my purposes today, I mean faith in Jesus Christ. To me, this is probably the most important aspect of my acronym. I mean, without faith in Him, every other aspect would be pointless. LIFE wouldn't be worth living but with faith in Christ, LIFE is an incredible journey. We are not here alone and we weren't sent here without something to do and become. We have to develop this faith and follow the path that leads us home. Our faith will give us something to hold on to when times get rough. If we've built our faith, we will be able to help and life others in their times of need. Our faith is what gives us the strength to move forward and to continue doing so.
I guess I could have made this acronym an equation also. For example: L+I+F=E. All of these other aspects give us experience. How boring would life be if we gained no experience? Often, we don't get to choose the exact situations that we are in, but we have the ability to choose how we will respond, thus providing experience. While it's true that Love, Influence and Faith will give us experience, gaining life experience will help in all of these other aspects as well. The more experience we have, the easier it is to do something. For example, having several experiences of building our faith in Jesus Christ will make it easier to do the things we need to do to follow Him.

LIFE is wonderful. Yes, there are times where I wonder if I really think that. And yes, there are times where I'm convinced I don't. But, there are always times, more often than not, where I wonder if LIFE could get any better than it is, and then I do the things that I know are right, and it gets better.

My challenge to you would be to focus on one of these things per day - Love, Influence, Faith, Experience. Try harder to love someone (or allow yourself to be loved), watch for the influence you let in your life and the one you give to others, find a way to build your faith, even just a bit, or go out and try something new - gain a new experience. Let's live LIFE to the fullest!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Great in 8

Pretty catchy, huh? Well, the company I work for is starting a new health and wellness initiative. Over the course of the next 8 weeks, they are having a competition with the first place prize a two night stay at a resort in Park City. Once I heard that, I was all up for this competition. After I read the list, I figured this is stuff that I can do. There is a list of 10 things (worth 1 pt each) that you should do every day. Basically, each week you mark down what you completed and then, at the end of 8 weeks, whichever team has the most points wins.
So, in case you want to join along in the fun (by the way, it is only Monday through Friday- weekends are free!) I have included the list below.
1. Eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies
2. Drink 6 (8 oz.) glasses of water
3. Get 7 hours of sleep
4. Exercise 30 minutes
5. No carbonated drinks
6. No "sweets"
7. No "unhealthy" foods
8. No eating after 8:30 pm
9. Eat 2 servings whole grains/legumes
10. 10 minutes of personal time (doing something you enjoy for yourself)
Program runs from September 27 through November 19!! If you're doing this too, let me know. I'm all for supporting each other!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Straight Path

I work in a triangular shaped building. When you exit the building, you walk out to the sidewalk which splits ahead into a V (see diagram below). If you take the left side, it takes you to another sidewalk that lines up next to the cars. The right side, though, which is the one that I take, kind of stops at the corner, but begins at a planter. If I walk straight (walking toward My Car), I can walk right out onto a curb. Now, I don’t know about you, but if there’s a curb, and not too many people watching, I walk it. I have been doing this for over 4 months now and some days I’m completely able to make it all the way to the end of the curb into the parking lot, and sometimes I’m all over the place; I can’t stay on it. One day, while driving home, I began to analyze my situation.
I realized that the days where I look at my goal, which is getting to My Car, are when I stay completely balanced and focused and can walk this curb. The days, though, where I’m unsure, or I’m looking down to make sure I’m right where I should be, I begin to lose my balance, I lose sight of my goal because I wanted to see where I was right then.

I suddenly saw in myself how I am with my goals. I usually have long range goals, but I get caught up in where I’m putting my feet right now that I often forget to keep my eye on the end goal and end up getting a little sidetracked. That’s not to say I don’t get back on the path and try again, but I could see that happening for me if I wasn’t aware. Since I made this discovery, I have tested it many times and am happy to report that as it relates to the actual act of walking the curb and to my life goals, I am staying on the curb. I’m not checking to see if I’m right. I know I’m on the right path when I make it to my car (both literally and figuratively).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Music & Progression

I have always loved music. My mom tells me that when I was a baby, she would sing 'My Heavenly Father Loves Me' to me and I would coo and smile. I loved to 'play' on the piano as I got older. My sister, mom and I would sing while we cleaned the kitchen after dinner, and we would even sing in church meetings occasionally. For my sixth birthday, my grandparents 'got me' piano lessons. At the time, I think I was excited, but I didn't like to practice. Thanks to them, and the insistence of my parents to keep going until we moved when I was 11, I learned enough to be able to play for all sorts of activities: baptisms, sacrament meetings, primary, even a friends wedding. I play now not because I have to, but because I love it. On days when I am really happy, I can't help but sing, or hum, or play something.
People learn in different ways. Some people are visual learners, some are hands on learners. I am a little bit of both of those, but if you want me to really get something, stick it to music. Music is what speaks to me the most. When I hear music, I usually can't help but stop and listen; it draws me in.
Sunday night, our Stake Presidency hosted a fireside. They began by introducing their families, but then they did something that I really didn't see coming. They had us sing several primary songs!! This is significant for a couple of reasons. The first being that it was music. Music has the ability to bring the Spirit so quickly and strongly. I felt so good while we were singing. Music, specifically primary songs, are designed to teach correct principles through music.
The last two are what, at this specific moment in time, meant the most to me. The first was that I have spent the last 5-6 years serving in the Primary in some capacity. For the last 3 years, I have been involved in the primary music, 2 of which I was the music leader. I was feeling really lost yesterday, kind of questioning the reasons that brought me to Provo. I look at what I left behind - I had 40 something (or there abouts) children who I love (not to mention wonderful friends, good job, and beautiful Boston). They brought so much joy to my life. I loved singing songs with them and teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ through music. I cherish the time that I spent there. The second reason that this was so moving was that in the midst of pondering my move here and what I'm doing now, I was really struggling with a need to be loved. Being around children, you are so loved! I miss all of their hugs, and their bright smiles. I miss their curiosity and energy for life. But mostly, I just missed this feeling of being loved and I guess in turn, I missed having that kind of love for people. I still love them all, I just don't get to tell them that each week. As we sang these primary songs, not only did I feel the spirit, confirming to me that what I was singing was true and correct, but I felt an overwhelming sense of love. Singing these songs brought to mind the words of Elder Snow from last week's conference when he said that "Remembering gives us the courage to move on". That is what I felt as we sang - I felt loved, I remembered what it was to love, and it has given me the courage to move on.
I want to be able to have that same type of love for the people that I am around now. I realize the need to live in the present, as opposed to living in the past. I need to remember the people and experiences that have made me, but I have to move on and become something better. I don't remember who said it originally, but when you know what to do, and do what you know, you become something better. That is my specific goal this week. I'm on the path to become something better - and I'm taking my friends and family with me!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Coffee Cake

For the past several MONTHS, I have been craving a good coffee cake. I kept researching, trying to find the 'best' coffee cake recipe. After a lot of searching, I came across The Pioneer Woman's recipe "The Best Coffee Cake Ever". Not only was I intrigued by the title (because, let's face it, that's what I was looking for), but the recipe itself sounded like it would produce an AMAZING product.
About 3 weeks ago, I decided I would make it for Treat Day at work when it was my turn. This coffee cake, no lie, is the Best Coffee Cake EVER! Loved it. Because I had to leave my house by 7:15, I had a lot of the ingredients combined and ready to go so I could literally roll out of bed, throw it together, and then get ready for work. I also made this again last weekend for a girls brunch. 2 times in 3 weeks - you know it has to be good.
So, here's the recipe. You can also read all of PW's comments here.


■1-½ stick Butter, Softened
■2 cups Scant Sugar
■3 cups Flour, Sifted
■4 teaspoons Baking Powder
■1 teaspoon Salt
■1-¼ cup Whole Milk
■3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff
■1-½ stick Butter, Softened
■¾ cups Flour
■1-½ cup Brown Sugar
■2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
■1-½ cup Pecans, Chopped

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.

Cream butter* and sugar. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined. Don’t overbeat. Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula. Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 (or LARGER!) baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.

In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly**. Sprinkle all over the top.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Serve warm—delicious!

*Leave the butter out overnight so it is room temp/softened to work with first thing.*
**I made the topping the night before and then placed it back in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I loosened up the combined mixture and topped the batter with it.**
*When I made this the second time, I forgot to leave my butter out to soften overnight so my topping didn't mix together as well, but it still tasted amazing. Soft butter is the key*

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Regional Conference Thoughts

This past weekend we had a regional conference with several church leaders. It was an absolutely amazing experience. I want to share one thing I learned from each of the speakers.
Elder Stephen R. Snow
Remembering the past gives us the courage to move on
Sister Julie B. Beck
We’re doing better than we think we are, but we could always do a little more.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Go when you’re called to serve in whatever capacity; there is work to do everywhere.
President Boyd K. Packer
Satan can only have power over us if we choose to let him.

Sunday night, we also got to hear Elder Richard G. Scott at the CES Broadcast. Often times, when people speak of marriage to the college aged crowd, people tune out. But Elder Scott did such a great job in that he shared many personal experiences of his marriage to his wife Jeanine who passed away in the 90’s. It was more like a grandparent saying “look at how happy marriage can be, this is what I want for you”.
His talk also made me realize some things about myself that I want to change. He said that they never had an argument in their house, that harsh words were never said. I realize that I do have trouble with this and if I want to have a home like that someday, I have to start now to watch what I say and how I say it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stop At Nothing

I was talking with a friend a few days ago and he challenged me to push harder, to stop at nothing for the things that I wanted. Initially, I had several thoughts in my mind of things that I wanted. Initially I felt empowered by this thought and resolved to accomplish the goals that I had in mind.
A day or so later, though, I found myself still pondering this and it brought a second, much larger question to my mind. What do I REALLY want? What is it that I want to fight for in my life? All of a sudden, I felt that I had limitless possibilities. When we had this conversation at first, I had thoughts in mind, but I had, unintentionally, limited myself to just certain things and I couldn’t move past that. But now, I feel this complete freedom to change everything that I had thought for myself and move in entirely different directions.
I guess the point I’m trying to get at is that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to the things we think we should do, or just to the things we think we can do. Go for your hopes and dreams. If you’ve been idly wishing for something, now is the time to take action. If it’s something you can’t do for yourself, plot the course on how/what needs to happen for it to work. No matter what, though, don’t give up!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I love the changing of the seasons, especially from winter to spring, and from summer to fall. Here in Utah, there are already some fall colors hitting the mountain and there is a cool, crispness to the air. It isn’t as hot, the wind seems to blow more, and overall, it just has a different feel now.
I saw a flock of geese flying this morning in V formation. (As a side note – have you ever noticed that when geese fly in a V formation, one side of the V is always longer. Do you know the reason behind this??? There are more geese in one side than there are in the other! Thanks, dad, for a timeless classic!) And, speaking of our flying, feathered friends, there was a bird sitting just above my window at work yesterday and every few seconds, feathers would come lazily drifting by. Something about it made me feel happy and carefree.
Okay, where was I? Oh yes, the feel of fall. I always look forward to fall. It feels so refreshing, especially if you’ve experienced an especially hot and/or humid summer. I love that pumpkins and straw are the decoration of choice, that apples find their way into so many foods (apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple pie, you get the idea), and the fact that leaves turn grown adults into little kids. Fall has this feeling of anticipation, of change, a new beginning. To me, fall often has this feeling of being a fairly tale, it feels magical.
Often, we think that the start of a new year, or spring, are new beginnings, but each season is a new beginning. For us, each day is a new beginning. Each day should have a sort of magic that drives us and motivates us to push through our limits and to work harder. We have the ability to grow, change, start over, and become better. That, I guess, would be the ‘magic’ of the atonement. We aren’t limited to where we’re at because of poor choices we made, or even things we’ve done. Our Heavenly Father wants us to become the best we can be. Through Christ, this is possible. I’m so grateful for this understanding in my life!

Friday, September 10, 2010


I was cooking breakfast a few months ago and on this particular morning, I was making pancakes. I love breakfast food. I could eat it for all three meals and be happy. Pancakes are just one of the many breakfast foods that I love and could probably eat often. I can eat them plain, I like them with peanut butter and jelly/syrup, and sometimes I like to top them with fruit. Sometimes I get adventuresome and put surprises inside. A pancake is so good plain, but just a slight addition and it becomes something truly magnificent (come on, I know you talk about your breakfasts like this!).

As I pondered my love of pancakes, I thought about how much life is like a pancake. Life, as itself, is great. But then you start adding things to it: friends, family, activities, knowledge, and more. Now, you’ve taken something that is great and made it magnificent. Something that you don’t want to end, something that you want to share with everyone you know. Let’s be more willing to share the great things we have in our life with everyone we know. When we are more willing to share the good, we see more good, and ultimately we are happier and we want to share more of the goodness. It is a fantastic circle of optimism and greatness (which is also similar to a pancake).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Continue climbing

Just before my birthday, I posted 24 random facts about myself. One of them was the fact that I have this incredible fear of coming down from things. I don’t have a problem going up things. I can climb stairs, hills, mountains, bleachers, almost anything, but I just can’t come down.

As I’ve been thinking about this phobia of mine, I started trying to make comparisons between my real life experience and some sort of gospel centered principle (because that’s what I do). I finally came up with this – don’t come down from your standards.

Keeping the commandments and committing to live the standards of the church are like climbing a mountain. When we lose our footing or stumble a bit we grab on tighter and continue to climb and to become better (this is what we would relate to the atonement).

Imagine climbing to the top of a mountain and having one of the best views around. You probably wouldn’t want to come down. I mean, you made it! Why would you leave? This happens all too often, though, when it comes to living the laws our Heavenly Father has given us.

I’ve made a commitment to myself that I will continue climbing, forever. I will not come down from where I am. I will do all that my Father in Heaven asks of me, no matter what I have to do.

I’m reminded of a line in the movie “Mulan” when Shan-Yu has taken the emperor up to the balcony of the palace and tells the emperor to bow to him, the emperor says something like,” no matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.” I refuse to bow to the winds of temptation and sin, and even laziness to not move further, when they come – and I know that they will come. Satan’s mission is to keep us from reaching the top, but we can make it – we have to make it! Buckle down, stay focused, and accomplish the work you are here to do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Help Them On Their Way Home

This week for FHE, our ward divided into 3 groups and then went to each of the bishopric member’s home for a lesson. The Morgan’s shared a general conference address with us given this past April by President Eyring entitled “Help Them on Their Way Home” (If you want to read the entire talk, click here). I just wanted to share a few quotes that I liked.
“Brothers and sisters, our Heavenly Father wants and needs our help to bring His spirit children home to Him again. I speak today of young people already within His true Church and so are started on the strait and narrow way to return to their heavenly home. He wants them to gain early the spiritual strength to stay on the path. And He needs our help to get them back to the path quickly should they begin to wander.”
“Foreseeing the needs of His children, a loving Heavenly Father placed directions and rescuers along their way. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to make safe passage possible and visible. He called as His prophet in these times President Thomas S. Monson.”
“The family has an advantage in the first eight years of a child’s life. In those protected years, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Satan’s use of the mists of darkness to hide the path to return home is blocked. In those precious years the Lord helps families by calling Primary workers to help strengthen children spiritually. He also provides holders of the Aaronic Priesthood to offer the sacrament. In those sacramental prayers, the children hear the promise that they may someday receive the Holy Ghost as a guide if they are obedient to God’s commandments. As a result, they are fortified to resist temptation when it comes and then, sometime in the future, to go to the rescue of others. “
Hearing this talk again came at a very critical time for me. I’ve decided that I love what I’m doing now, but it isn’t what I want to do forever. Since I was in first grade, I wanted to be a teacher, but couldn’t decide between that and business type careers. Now I see, more than ever before, that if I want to make a difference in the world, it will be through teaching. Teaching won’t always be in a classroom setting, or just at church. I can teach now through my example to those around me, to find ways to strengthen my friends, and hopefully to teach correct principles to my own family when that time comes. I want everyone I know and hold dear to find their way home.

Friday, September 3, 2010


See, I told you I had a goofy, picture taking personality!
Happy Friday!