Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Piano Guys

Confession - I have a major music crush on Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson. I've heard them in concert twice now and love all of their music. My hope is to develop my piano playing skills to be anywhere near half as good as these guys! This is one of their new pieces - Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts...enjoy! You know I do...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How do you feel?

Sunday night we had a fireside where the topic was feelings. In announcing this to members of our ward, each time we said the word “feelings”, people shut down – you could see it happening. We weren’t sure how the turnout would be, but we had a full room…almost every chair full. The guest speaker was a therapist who works with people who deal with addictions. She said that when people have feelings they don’t understand or don’t know how to handle, they turn to addictions of one variety or another to mask those feelings.
She taught us how all feelings can be traced to either fear-based or love-based feelings. So, if we ask ourselves what we’re feeling (pride, anxiety, happiness, etc.) we can determine what motivates us. She shared an example of this from her life. She said she was going on a business trip and they have two cars; one that is really fun to drive, the other not so fun to drive. Her husband told her that it would be better for her to take the not so fun to drive car. She insisted that she would be fine in the “fun” car and took off. She made it to her meetings and was ready to return home. On the way, a state patrolman let her know that she had exceeded the speed limit of the area she was driving in. She said that her very first thought was that she wanted to hide it from her husband. She explained that she is a very honest person and doesn’t keep anything from her husband, and how in this situation, it was her first reaction. She said that as she was driving, she was thinking about this and was trying to determine why this was her first reaction. She thought about embarrassment, but realized that she had embarrassed herself enough in life that she knew it wasn’t it. As she kept going through reasons, she thought about pride and she instantly knew that it was the one (she said that the feeling you usually fight in yourself are those you dislike in others). Once she was able to identify what it was, she was able to deal with it head on…and she even called her husband and told him what had happened.
Another point she brought up is that life happens so quickly that we rarely have time to process what we are feeling before the next emotion hits us. She encouraged us to take time to discover the root emotions we face; either love or fear. If it is fear based, we can determine exactly what it is, and then transition it to a love based feeling. We really are in control of our emotions. Growing up, one of my parents’ favorite sayings was that no one can make you mad; you let yourself get mad (which in turn would only make me angrier). After this discussion, I realize just how in control we are and I’m grateful I learned that now and can implement it in my life.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Word Is...

Epiphany - a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something

I was talking on the phone with my dad the other day and I told him that I had had an epiphany. The conversation went something like this:
Me- "Dad, I had an epiphany"
Dad - "A what?"
Me - "Epiphany"
Dad - "A Tiffany??"
Me - "No - epiphany"
Dad - "Who's A Tiffany? Whose kid do you have?"
Me - "Not A Tiffany...epiphany - e.p.i.p.h.a.n.y"
Dad - "Oh...epiphany..."

We laughed and talked about my epiphany and the fact that I like to use "big" words in conversation. Then he said something like, "Don't use big words like that on your redneck father."

Which leads to the second word story. About three weeks ago I was talking with dad, again, and he was telling me a story about something that had happened. He was getting all worked up and was getting really animated during our conversation. At the end of the story, he said, "I can't believe he had the to do that." The moment he finished this sentence there was an almost audible gasp as he told me he had used a "big" word (for clarification..."big words" aren't so much big as they are not used frequently).

I love you, Dad...thanks for the fun stories!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I've NEVER read a book that made me upset and anxious every time I opened or, or even thought about it. I've been reading it for several days and made it about half way through, but I just couldn't do it. I didn't follow the characters, I never really caught the story line, and while I think if I would have finished it I may have had some appreciation for it, I didn't feel it worth my time. I told Lori about this and she started laughing at me, making some comment about how I must really like structure in my book (true statement). So, if you've read this book, do you want to tell me how it ends??

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

As Time Goes By

This book was another book that is not on my typical list of reading, but it was a great read. The story covers the Carlyle family and their experiences being scattered across three continents during World War II. It's a story of responsibility to country and to family and a tribute to the survival of the human spirit. This isn't necessarily a quick read, but worth the time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

True Colors

My dad just sent me these pictures of him and his brothers and sisters. There is always a good time to be had when this bunch gets together. 6 out of the 7 Crawford siblings made it in to the picture, and in true Crawford style, (maybe more mafia style...take your pick) a memorable picture to be sure! It's one of my new favorites.

 And because everyone deserves to be remembered at their best, a picture of them all behaving. :)

I love this bunch and can't wait to be in the same time zone with them again (oops, did I just let that slip??). It's been way too long since I've seen a few of these faces! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Attack on the Lusitania

Add this to the list of recently read...The Attack on the Lusitania tells the story of one of the largest and fastest luxury liners. On its journey home to England, with just shy of 2,000 people on board, a German sub attacked. It took only 18 minutes to sink such a large ship and nearly two-thirds of the passengers and crew lost their lives on this fateful day in 1915. 
The first part of this book moves a little slow as the author is building each of the characters story. Soon, the lives of three strikingly different characters is intertwined in this tragic story. Something I learned from this book was that people are people, no matter what, and each is important.Also, that forgiveness is truly the key to happiness. The main characters come from different classes in different countries, and in some instances with misguided ideas, but the concern each person shows for the other is evident as the story progresses.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mango Corn Bread

So, one of the items on my bucket list is to make all of the recipes from one of my favorite murder mystery series. Sunday was the first in what will prove to be a long process.
This is Mango Cornbread. The picture isn’t much to look at, but the flavor was pretty good. I also imagine substituting pineapple for the mango.
It turned out being much more dense that I like my cornbread…almost like a heavy cake. And it needed a bit more salt, though the sugar on top helped diffuse some of that dense flavor (is there such a thing as dense flavor??).  Actually, now that I think about it, Lori and I were working on this together and I’m wondering if we forgot to add some ingredients (thinking the other had already done it)…perhaps the salt and baking powder. Hmm, must pay more attention.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups flour
2 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 mango, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and milk. Add in dry ingredients, stir until just mixed. Add mango. Stir to combine. Pour batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When bread is done baking, sprinkle top with sugar. Serve with softened butter.

Makes 12 servings.

Note: Can use a cornbread mix. Follow package instructions to prepare batter, then add cinnamon, nutmeg and mango. Mix according to recipe.

**I checked with Lori...we did forget the salt and baking soda. While this doesn't give me much confidence in following recipes (at least not together) does give me confidence that this will turn out SOOOO much better next time!**

Thursday, February 2, 2012

He Will Bless You

I was feeling a little let down today…not really depressed, but disappointed. I’ve been working really hard at certain things in my life and I have been feeling that despite my best efforts, things just aren’t happening. I started writing down my disappointment when the song “Dearest Children, God is Near You” came on my iPod. This is the second time in my life where this song was an answer to prayer, and maybe not so much a prayer, but a silent plea for comfort and direction.

The first time was a couple of years ago when we were living in Boston and I was asked to give a talk in church. Generally I am comfortable preparing a talk for church and usually feel good about my efforts. This particular instance, I remember I had worked on this talk every day for a week. It seemed that every time I sat down to work on it, I would read over it and know that it wasn’t right. I would scrap that attempt and would start over, praying for direction as to what I should say. It was Saturday night and I had made what I considered my final attempt, but as I read it, I still wasn’t quite satisfied but I didn’t know what else to do. I prayed about it again and then went to bed. When I awoke on Sunday morning, I woke with the lyrics to the first verse of this song in my head, specifically the last line – “He will bless you, He will bless you, If you put your trust in him.” So, that’s what I did. I woke up, putting my trust completely in Him, and rewrote and finished that talk. I can’t tell you what I spoke on that day, but I will always remember that experience.

Today, the entire song was exactly what I needed. At this particular moment, I was writing what I was feeling, though I knew the thoughts were untrue, and I wanted to get it on paper to get it out of my head. I stopped my writing when this song came on and knew in an instant that everything is going to be fine. Things are going to work out exactly like they are supposed to. I am not forgotten by my Heavenly Father, in fact, He is acutely aware of me, my needs, and my dreams. As I prove faithful, He will continue to bless me. I know as I follow the Spirit, I can’t go wrong. The decisions I am making now are made after careful consideration, sincere prayer, and with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. With such preparation, how can I fail? Things may not turn out how I expect, but I will continue to be blessed and loved by my Heavenly Father. And so will you!

Just in case you’re not familiar with the song, I have included the lyrics below:

Dearest children, God is near you, Watching o’er you day and night,
And delights to own and bless you, If you strive to do what’s right,
He will bless you, He will bless you, If you put your trust in him.

Dearest children, holy angels Watch your actions night and day,
And they keep a faithful record Of the good and bad you say.
Cherish virtue! Cherish virtue! God will bless the pure in heart.

Children, God delights to teach you By his Holy Spirit’s voice.
Quickly heed its holy promptings. Day by day you’ll then rejoice.
Oh, prove faithful, Oh, prove faithful To your God and Zion’s cause.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What matters most

As I was blog-stalking today, I came across this touching story. This family is dealing with loss...4 months ago it was their son, Noah. Now, it is their husband/father, Aaron.
In case you've lost's all about family. I don't want to let another minute go before I tell my dad that he's my hero and that I hope I marry someone just like him, or that I look up to the example of my mother and that I'm becoming more like her everyday. I want to tell my sister that even though she's younger, I am so incredibly influenced by her and I'm impressed by how wonderful she is. I seriously want to be like her when I grow up. I want my older siblings, their spouses, and children to know that even though I don't know them well (but that I'm getting to know better), I think of them often and love hearing of the things happening in their lives. I love seeing them with their families and hearing of their successes and joys. I'm proud of the things they've accomplished and who they are.
So, even though life gets busy, the demands of work bombard us and our family life gets hectic, remember that they are what matter most. Be grateful for every day that you have with them.