Saturday, January 30, 2010

Don't you just love a good Synergy?

A synergy is where different entities cooperate advantageously for a final outcome. Simply defined, it means that the effect of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I particularly love it when there is a collaboration of some of my favorite things, and they come together to create something that is timeless and memorable.  An example is the movie, Now, Voyager.  Never heard of it?  Let me enlighten you!

Now, Voyager
Now, Voyager is a 1942 American drama film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Olive Higgins Prouty. She borrowed her title from a line in the Walt Whitman poem "The Untold Want," which reads in its entirety,
"The untold want by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find."

This classic oldie stars one of my favorite misunderstood actresses, Bette Davis, as the leading character Charlotte Vale.  I think this may be her best role.  Never too proud to appear at her worst, the film begins with her severely depressed and put upon by a tyrant mother, suffering from the lowest self-esteem.  As the film progresses, she nurtures her desire for a more fulfilled life through the help of a psychiatrist and friend, played by Claude Rains.  Her timidity is replaced by confidence, and her mousiness is replaced by the beauty that comes from such confidence.

Eventually her heart is given to a married man, who also cautiously returns her hesitant love.  Through a journey of frustration and heartache she finally comes to a place in which she can find fulfillment, if not the full measure of happiness that we all aspire to attain.

When Jerry, the man of her affection, asks her if she's happy, Charlotte finds much to value in her life and if it isn't everything she would want, tells him, "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon... we have the stars," a line ranked #46 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotes in American cinema.  And the music behind the line swells with my heart everytime it is delivered.  Masterful.

I first discovered this gem of a movie, several years ago.  I still remember that Saturday night.  My family had all gone to bed, and as an exhausted mother of four young children who just desperately needed some alone time, I chose to stay up and watch whatever was on the American Movie Classics channel.  I had never heard of Now, Voyager but I was intrigued by Bette Davis so I gave it a chance.

So where's the synergy?  Well, I love old movies, I love Bette Davis, I love the poetry of Walt Whitman, I love powerful sound tracks, and I love camelias.

Camelias?  Yes.  That's right.  As a tribute to their unfulfilled love, Jerry would often send Charlotte camelias to wear.  I love camelias.  I have a couple of camelia bushes in my garden.  The uniqueness of camelias is in the timing of their blooming.  They are unexpected; they are unique; they are beautiful in their boldness.  You see, they blossom in January.  While the rest of the garden sleeps, they choose to brighten my life during the dead of winter, when I am most needing a lift, when I am most needing a reminder of the beauty to come once the dismal gray days of winter come to a close.

A couple of days ago, I looked out my kitchen window, and sure enough, there they were. 

 I think in some ways I identify with Bette Davis, and camelias.  They may not represent the most mainstream beauty, but they celebrate their unique style and nonconformity. I can relate to that... 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Treasures on Ebay

What have you found?  It is exciting to find something you have been wanting, but it is even more fun to discover something you never knew you needed.

As you may have been catching on to, I tend to ride different waves of interest.  I focus on something quite intensely for a period of time, then when something else strikes my fancy I move my focus somewhere else.

A few years back, I caught the ebay bug.  How fun was that?!  Talk about a global shopping center.  I enjoyed putting ebay to the test.  I would try to think of something completely random, and see if by any chance it was offered in an auction.  Usually it was.

But the most fun was when I would discover something that I had no idea was out there. 
I have discovered some treasured old, rare books to add to my collection of hardbound classic literature.  A dust jacket in fairly good condition, like this one from "The Scarlet Pimpernel", is a bonus.

Old sheet music, particularly from favorite musicals, is always a fun thing to look for.  "I've Never Been in Love Before" was a fun discovery at the time my son was in Guys and Dolls.  This copy came all the way from Australia. And it is always a bonus when the music features a favorite star, like Marlon Brando, on this copy of "Adelaide" (Oh yea, and that other guy, Frank somebody...).  My sheet music collection graces the walls of my guest room.

My bedroom has  my collection of black and white movie stills on its walls.  Some were purchased at a shop in Little Italy of New York City; the rest were purchased on ebay, particularly the autographed ones.

Who doesn't love Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

Or Cary Grant in "North by Northwest", and "Notorious", and "To Catch a Thief"?

And who doesn't love "It's a Wonderful Life"?

I also found this portrait of Jane Seymour playing Marguerite in "The Scarlet Pimpernel".  So beautiful. 

Here is John Travolta's autograph.  You know it is authentic if it is addressed to some random person. 

Jump ahead a few decades for this amazing portrait of Ioan Gruffudd as "Horatio Hornblower", one of my all time favorites.

Have there been any lessons learned during my ebay escapades?  Of course. A couple particularly painful ones.

The first happened when as a novice ebayer, I got caught up in the thrill of the auction and bid way too much on an autographed picture of Survivor's Ethan Zohn for my daughter's birthday.  It is probably packed away in a box somewhere. I hope she didn't toss it.  It looks something like this.

I received an authenticity certificate of its autograph, but who really knows?

The most painful lesson was learned on the following. 

This is an album featuring the sound track from the movie "Captain Horatio Hornblower" starring my beloved Gregory Peck.  It is still in the wrapper, never been opened.  Apparently I was not the only one interested in this auction.  I could tell it was a find, but I had no idea how much it was worth.  In my bidding war in the final minutes of the auction, I accidently pushed the "Send" button before I realized my typographical error.  Instead of putting in a bid of $30.00, I put in a bid of $3000.  I am not kidding.  Imagine my heart sinking.  I was in shock.  I knew I was in big trouble.

Fortunately, the other bids didn't go anywhere near that high, so I ended up "winning" the auction for considerably less than that, BUT way more than the intended $30 dollars.  I think I have blocked it from my memory because I can't even remember exactly what the final price was.

But believe me, it was a lot more than the price tag still intact on the wrapping.

Have I done much ebaying lately?  Well, obviously after the previous debacle, I put it aside for awhile.  I did have a period where I sold scrapbook pages on ebay.  That was fun.  Way more work than profitable.

Yesterday, I was able to successfully win an antique cursive typewriter that supposedly works like a charm.  I'll let you know...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Doesn't everyone?

My family loves to tease me about my trip-planning tendencies, particularly my penchant for wardrobe planning.  Naturally I figure out well ahead of time exactly what I am going to be wearing for which day and for which activity and for which destination. And I have a schedule all typed up to keep in my suitcase to remind me which swim suit to wear with which swim suit cover-up, and what I will be wearing to dinner on any given evening, AND which pair of shoes will be my best choice. Doesn't everyone do this?

I really can't understand the packing system of "Let's see, I will be there 8 days, I will pack 8 shirts."  Come on!  Does that really feel adequately prepared?  I don't get it.

I once received a compliment that I had "effortless style".  This made me chuckle inwardly, because my style is anything but effortless.  There is a lot of thought and effort that goes into it, and the fact that it appears effortless means that I have accomplished my goal.

Perhaps I better explain a little further though.  Do I do this all the time?  Heavens, no!  I only do this type of planning when I am going on a trip that requires as effective packing as possible.  It is so much easier to only take exactly what I need, based upon the preliminary planning, rather than throwing in a bunch of stuff that I may or may not use that will only take up valuable space.

So you see, my compulsiveness is really due to efficiency.  On any other given day I just choose the nearest pair of blue jeans and couple it with a comfortable hoodie sweatshirt.  How's THAT for effortless style?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What is it about love letters?

Or rather, the dream of love letters?  I have recently seen two movies whose driving force behind the romance was the exchange of love letters.  The first was Bright Star, the utterly gorgeous, breathtaking journey into the love story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne.  The second was the tender, sweet, and ever so real historic courtship of Queen Victoria of England and her Prince Albert, in Young Victoria.

I'm such a sucker for these kind of movies.  Give me someone with the capacity to put two words together in a lovely way and I will swoon every time.  Give me the angst of pining, waiting for the postman and my buttons are pushed.

Is this reality?  Do most people find themselves in similar situations?  It must be!  How else could there be so many books and movies that share this common thread?  Personally, I have never been in a circumstance of a long-distance love affair.  After I met and started dating my husband, I don't think we were ever apart more than a day or two before we were married.  And that is how it has remained.  We don't do well separated.

I did write to a missionary for awhile, but the nature of those letters, by necessity, was not very romantic, nor very frequent.

And in junior high, I did pass notes to a very cute boy on a regular basis.  I think it was the passing period between our second and third classes.  He was coming from Industrial Arts; I was heading to band...

I guess it is a good thing that other great romances have been so well documented.  Some of the greatest literature of all time was written to express devotion.  That is probably the only way I will ever get my fix of the thrill of love letters.

P.S.  Who cannot identify with this masterpiece taken from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass?

O YOU  whom I often and silently come where you
are, that I may be with you,
As I walk by your side, or sit near, or remain in the
same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your
sake is playing within me.

Chew on that a little...How can you not have a great day now?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I think I need one!

My blogging, crafty friend, Laura Peterson, is one of the people that inspired me to start a blog.  She highlights the beautiful pictures that she takes, and always manages to bring a smile as she chronicles her busy life.  Four boys!  Imagine.

She is offering a giveaway on her blog.  Please stop by and check out the prize.  Sounds great! 

I think I could find some wall space in my scrapbook room for a giant "A"... Wouldn't that be cool?

Monday, January 25, 2010

There is a song...

that is truly one of the most corny, smaltzy little songs I have ever heard.  And I love it!  It has become sort of an anthem for our family.  It can be found in the old purple Young Women's songbook.  Some of you know what I'm talking about.

The song's title is "A Family is Forever" by Gwen M. Cundick and nothing brings nostalgic feelings quite like that little song does.  When my children were younger they learned to sing it, and their sister voices blend together in the most unique way, so that this simple little song becomes something extraordinary.

As I was laying in bed this morning, I was thinking about the wonderful phone calls I had had with my children last night.  And this song came into my head.  It may be corny, but so what?  I'm a little corny, too.  Here are the lyrics, and you can judge for yourself:

A Family is forever, Eternally together.
We're never far apart, 'though miles between.
Our family's dream is that one day
If we do what we should do,
We will still be one, And I'll be me,
And you will still be you.

A family is forever, Eternally together,
Whenever we are sick or feeling sad,
Our dad is there to bless us,
And our mother has a smile,
And we know inside with lots of pride,
That our family makes it all worthwhile.

A family is forever, Eternally together,
And 'though the years may take me far from home,
I will always have a family of my own.

I sure love my kids...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not Really?!! I'm having a bout with...

GOUT!!!!!   Say it ain't so!!  That is an old man's disease, isn't it?! 

Awhile back my husband suffered a bout with gout.  I tried to sympathize with him.  Tried to console him. Tried to understand why he was being such a baby about a sore toe...

Oh my stars.  Now it is MY turn.  And it hurts like heck!  Not fun!  For the past two days I have behaved very badly.  I even wore my pajamas all day on Thursday, feeling sorry for myself.  Could not figure out what I could possibly have done to hurt my foot.  I thought maybe it was fractured but I couldn't think of anything that would have caused it.

I decided I must go in to the doctor for an X-ray.  When I was finally able to talk to someone at the doctor's office, the nurse's best guess from my description was GOUT!  I couldn't believe it.  I didn't want to believe it.  But there it was, staring me in the face.  As I honestly faced the symptoms, I could see that gout was probably the most accurate diagnosis.

So here I am.  Realizing that even though most of the time I feel young enough to do anything I want, the facts is facts.  I am getting OLD.  I guess it is time to commence pining for my youth. Can I wear my pajamas again today?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Surprising Myself!

Would you believe with this post I have hit the remarkable 100 blogposts plateau?  And I have only been blogging since the end of September!  Incredible!

Recently I came across a quote by Steve Martin, of all people, surely one of the wise men of our day.  It was this:  "The greatest thing you can do is to surprise yourself."  I loved the idea of that.  How often do we surprise ourselves by excelling at something, by accomplishing something, by changing a bad habit, by forgiving without condition, by rising above our personal status quo.  You get the idea.  This caused me to examine my own life and consider if I had done anything lately that had surprised me.  The truth is sometimes painful.  I couldn't think of anything.  I determined then that I needed to change that.

Yesterday, I happened to notice on my Blogger dashboard that my blogposts numbered 99.  There was my surprise.  Really?  Have I managed to ramble on about that many topics? Unbelievable.  And perhaps the biggest surprise of all is in the growth of my following.  How humbling it is to know that there are actually a good number of you "out there" who actually do read this thing!  Amazing.  Gratifying.

I have really been enjoying this forum and mini-world that is the Blogosphere.  There is something very liberating about being able to present ideas in a very informal, conversational format on such a wide variety of topics.  Perhaps that is the real draw for me.  I can discuss whatever seems to be floating through my consciousness.

Jamie Lee Curtis is also a blogger.  She posted a great quote from John Steinbeck in East of Eden

"Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man... And this I believe:  that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.  And this I would fight for:  the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected."

I love that!  I love the freedom of my mind being able to take any direction it wishes, to be able to put those thoughts together in some coherent way, to have a place to "publish" them, to share them with my family and friends almost instantaneously as they roll out of my mind and through my fingertips.

Are you enjoying Ardith's Quest?  I often wonder who you readers are, and where you are from, and if you ever like what you read well enough to tell someone else about it.  I know some of you may be apprehensive about disclosing who you are, and that is fine.  Anonymous comments are always welcome.  Perhaps you might just leave a comment showing from which part of the world you are following.  That might be interesting.

Either way, I hope this shows sufficiently how much I appreciate the encouragement I have received, particularly from those that bravely disclose who you are and are not afraid to share your opinions. I'm certain I never would have made it to 100 without your support.

Have a great day, my blog friends!  It will be interesting to see how far this thing takes us.  Here's to the next 100!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My grandmother's typewriter...

was an important part of my life. I used it steadily throughout my high school years for homework assignments, thrilled to be able to use this wonderful tool that had belonged to my grandma, Frances Yost.

After she and my grandfather both passed away when I was fourteen, my family moved from Wichita, Kansas to live in their home in Grace, Idaho.  Without really knowing how, I ended up with almost exclusive use of my grandmother's typewriter.  Shortly after moving in, it set up permanent residence on the desk in my bedroom.  I feel so privileged to have been able to use it.  I can't imagine all the amazing things she composed on that delightful old typewriter.

She was a prolific writer.  She wrote weekly newspaper columns for as long as I knew her, several books of poetry and stories, as well as having forty-two short stories and poems published in the old Relief Society Magazine.  And of course she wrote lots of letters, back in the day when personal correspondence included envelopes and stamps. Not a week went by without her familiar letter arriving to keep us up to date on her activities while living in Bancroft, and later Grace.  Regularly she would write about going to "Poky" which always made me giggle (ever since, I have referred to Pocatello the same way, also to my children's amusement); or she would make some mention of her neighbor-boy, Jimmy, whom they adored (who later became my great boy-next-door friend, Jim).

It was easy to distinguish grandma's letters from the other mail because of the distinct nature of her typewriter.  It typed in cursive.  It really did.  Here is a photo I found online that shows exactly what the font looked like.

  I'm sure she must have been thrilled when she was able to upgrade to such a fancy machine.

I  became pretty proficient at the hunt and peck system until I enrolled in Mrs. Harris's typing class in the 10th grade. And then a whole new world opened up to me. I loved being able to really type. I recall during the learning process that my fingers would constantly "practice" what they were learning. I couldn't sit and watch TV without spelling out the dialogue with my fingers.

When I was a senior, I utilized grandma's typewriter for another purpose that I believe she would have approved of.  I was given the assignment as Student Body Reporter for my high school to write a weekly column for the local paper, entitled "The Bear Facts".  Clever, huh?  I can't take any credit for the title.

Why do I share this?  Because as I have been writing my blog I have been reminded of those days when I would try to take the day-to-day happenings at Grace High School and spin them into something interesting to read about.  I tried to come up with new perspectives, new ways of looking at events that perhaps told the story in a fresh way.

I have been reminded how much I enjoyed the process.  The ideas just seem to flow right out of me. 

My sweet grandmother has always been an inspiration to me.  She managed to fill her days with interesting and productive pursuits.  Grandma, I'm trying...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Can't believe I'm writing this...

I think I am done with the present-day scrapbooking industry.  Yesterday I sat down in between laundry loads to browse a magazine that had come several weeks ago.  It was a scrapbooking magazine.  The delay in reading it should have been some kind of tip-off of my waning interest.  I remember when a new scrapbooking magazine was the most exciting part of the mail call.

As I wandered through the pages filled with intricate layouts I quickly realized I had absolutely no interest in studying them, learning from them, gleaning ideas from them.  They failed to speak to me in any way. 

I looked at the ads for new products, hoping to find something that was calling for my dollar.  Nope.  Nothing.  Not a thing that I couldn't live without.

Does this mean that I am no longer interested in pursuing my love of scrapbooking?  No, I don't think so.  I love the processes I have already learned.  I love the tools I have amassed.  I love the results of years spent documenting our lives in beautiful, creative ways.  I think it just means that I am willing to continue with the things I already have.

My favorite scrapbook store is no longer around anyway. My participation in their Design Team is a thing of the past.  I am no longer scheduled to teach any classes or design any weekly kits.  I welcome the opportunity to scrap simply for the pure love and enjoyment of the process and the result.

Any regrets?  None.  Will I miss the camaraderie of other fanatic scrappers? Probably. I acquired friends from all over the world that I shared my hobby with.  But the nice thing is that I have created a sanctuary in my own home, which has recently been tidied up again, in which I have at my fingertips ALL the scrapbooking supplies that any one person could ever need or want.

Wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Best. Sports. Movie. Ever.

What do you get when you combine the acting brilliance of Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, and add to it directing mastery of Clint Eastwood?  INVICTUS!

Over the years my husband has brought me along to many sports movies.  He loves them.  They speak to him on some entirely different level than they do to me.  In his youth, he was blessed with the body of an athlete and he excelled at every sport he tried.  His father, Brent Haws, recognized his ability and encouraged his participation and domination. 

Because of his background, he relives his "other life" whenever he watches the struggle, the physicality, the mental preparation, and the triumphs of his favorite movie genre.

I don't have the capacity to relate in the same way.  I am the world's biggest klutz.  period.  I can't deny it.  But I do love spending time with my husband, and I find sports movies genuinely entertaining.

INVICTUS is different.  For the first time, the purpose for the struggle transcended the usual desire to win.  Winning is great, and the best sports movies often involve some other personal triumph.  This movie involved something even more important than that.  It involved the triumph of a nation in becoming unifed after the most impossible odds.

What is Invictus?  It is the poem that Nelson Mandela would recite to himself during his years of imprisonment that gave him the courage to press forward, to not resign, to overcome the blackest of times.  POWERFUL stuff!

I would encourage all of you not to overlook this movie.  For some reason it doesn't stand out on the movie rosters.  The theatre was almost empty.  It deserves packed houses and long runs.

"I am the master of my fate.  I am the captain of my soul." My new personal mantra.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happier times in Haiti...

The whole world has stopped to mourn with the lovely Haitian people over the loss of their paradise home.  Such tragic pictures are coming out of that ordinarily charming spot in the Caribbean,  pictures that make us all ponder the whys and how comes.

I have personal memories of Haiti.  My family and a group of friends spent a beautiful day there during Springbreak of 2003.  It was a magical place, with picturesque vistas on every side.  I remember the Haitian people to be very gracious and genuine, anxious for my American dollar, but not too pushy.  As a souvenir of my visit, I purchased a painting depicting our carefree afternoon spent there.

As I try to wrap my mind around the destruction and tragedy that is present-day Haiti, I am reminded to marvel at the power of the elements, remember that God is still in charge, and to pray for the continued blessings of peace and safety that we enjoy in my little corner of the world.

I am thankful for the opportunities my family has had to discover the world.  It has given us a broader perspective and made us more aware of our world family.  The people of Haiti are just like us when you look at them eye-to-eye.  May the Lord bless them with comfort, patience, and charity towards one another as the world attempts to step in and help bring some relief.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This is a gift... embarrassing gift, but I think gifts that give a real part of one's self are the best gifts anyway.  So with this gift goes some of my pride.

Awhile back, I wrote a blogpost about trains in which I made a reference to a notebook I wrote in while aboard a train on my way to college for the first time.  I indicated that it would probably be good for a chuckle.  I recently happened upon that long forgotten notebook and not only did I laugh a little, mostly I groaned at what my children have referred to as my "Anne of Green Gables" tendencies. 

Miranda, this one's for you... (I promise I will not edit, I promise I will not edit, I promise...)

Written in the Fall of 1981:

"Well, any attempt at sleep seems futile!  I can't understand; usually traveling can drop me off automatically.  I suppose my sleeplessness is due to all the thoughts of anticipation and apprehension racing through my mind.

(This next part is particularly embarrassing...)

"If I were to illustrate my life at this moment, I could use my paints to fill a canvas with bright, expectant flashes of fiery red and orange, while contrasting it with subdued tones of hazy blue and gray, portraying my feelings of sadness, anxiety, and yes, even occasional dread.  The kaleidoscope of color would combine to represent a young girl leaving the secure life of dependence to encounter the terrifying, yet hopefully fulfilling life of independent adulthood.

"Of course, the painting would also show a young woman looking much younger than her eighteen years, yet somehow struggling to attain a more sophistocated aire, having painfully put to the back of her closet the high school bib-overalls, t-shirts, and tennies.

"But why painfully?  Isn't this what I've been wanting?  To become a woman?  To finally prove to myself and others that I am responsible enough to manage on my own?  But I suppose it's typical to feel such second thoughts.

"Looking out the train window, into the vast darkness of the night, passing by so quickly, I feel as though this is a time channel through which I am passing.  It's all going by so quickly and at the end, I will surely encounter the freedom and independence one begins to crave during that one-time, so important senior year.

"As I see a light in the distance, I can't help but look to it with excitement and wonderment as it represents my beacon for the future; a future I hope will contain success, wisdom, and unceasing happiness.  My, such big, glorious thoughts are these coming from a recent high school graduate.  Or I guess I could say, from a pending college freshman.  Two totally different titles to be pinned to one person.  The former can be viewed with earned respect and congratulations.  Oh, how proud I was graduation night. (more groans) I recall labeling it "the biggest moment of my life."  As I marched down the aisle, leading the rest of my graduating class to the spine-tingling thrill of Pomp and Circumstance bellowing from the organ (oh, brother!), tears filled my eyes.  Yes, tears.  Tears of expectation, tears of achievement, tears of success, tears of possible sadness?  No, I was so happy that night.  With diploma in hand and cords draped from my shoulders, I had the world by the tail.

"But, I guess now the joke is on me.  That wasn't really the end of the road.  No, it was a marvelous beginning.  Not such an original thought to the world, maybe, but certainly a concept that must be learned and accepted by every individual at some point in their life.

"So, now I look at the world through the eyes of a college freshman.  What an absolutely terrifying, exhilarating thought!  Here I am, jetting through the night on a superliner passenger train to an uncertain existence (can't believe I am typing this for the world to see).  The other passengers seated around me are absorbed in their own thoughts, not paying any particular attention to me, seeming not to care that every minute is taking me further from my home and the people I love, only to deposit me on destiny's doorstep.  But even I realize that's unfair.  I certainly hope I don't look green from homesickness, and that my anticipation of new college life isn't clearly displayed on my sleeve.

(I apologize for the length of this)

"Moments ago as I wandered through the train to secure a latenight snack from the dining car, I found it particularly interesting to liken it to a person's life.  The only time one can stand with completely secure footing, the train isn't in motion.  But what progress comes from staying in one place?  Then, as the train moves forward at its steady, constant pace, progress can be made.  Granted, it becomes difficult to keep one's footing at times, but life is never always smooth sailing either if you expect to gain any rewards. (brilliant!)

"But I enjoy likening my position in life to the somewhat unsettling experience of moving from one car to the next.  It becomes increasingly difficult to stay on your feet.  Constant guard is necessary to watch your step and secure a firm hand hold to keep you up and moving forward.  Care must also be taken to avoid getting the door closed on you, either the door shutting out the past or the one beckoning the future."

Present day again:

Wasn't I profound? ;-)  I hope you enjoyed the chuckle at my expense.  I have recently become reconnected with several of my friends from the past, many of which were present at my high school graduation.  Hopefully they enjoyed a little walk down memory lane with me.  One of them, Sara Jo Hansen, has been writing a blog containing some of her escapades from high school.  They have been very entertaining as they have swept us all back to the halls of Grace High. I love hearing about many things that I was vaguely aware of, and many things I had no idea were happening!

In looking back perhaps the thing I have learned with the most impact is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I hope my children, who are embarking on exciting new futures for themselves, will be able to relate to good old mom a little bit better and realize that I haven't always been this rock of wisdom, maturity, and confidence that they see before them today...
Photo credit:  my friend, Jon Lowe

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Regrets, I've had a few...

But then again, too few to mention" croons Frank Sinatra in the song "My Way". (This is purely as an aside, but am I the only one that thinks Frank consistently goes flat...?)

Moving on.  Sometimes it is a good idea to ask ourselves if we are living the lives we would have chosen, if we are fulfilling our goals and dreams, if we are indeed living the lives we want to remember and to be remembered for.

Several years ago my sweet father-in-law passed away very suddenly from a heart attack while attending a football game at Ricks College (back in the day when you COULD attend a football game at Ricks College...)  He was only 59 years old when this tragic loss occurred, which came as a great shock to his family.

In one of the quiet conversations he had with his surviving mother, Brian learned a powerful lesson.  His mother told him that in regards to the relationship she had with her husband there existed absolutely no regrets.  No loving words had been left unspoken; no quarrels had been left unresolved; no misunderstandings had been unclarified.

What a wonderful example and legacy to have been passed on to their posterity.

Recently, Brian and I were having a conversation about his term as the bishop in the Pringle Ward.  In our stake, bishops are released almost to the day that five years have transpired since their call.  In Brian's case, that will be near the end of 2010, which in bishop time is NOT very far away.

This has caused quite a bit of introspection on his part.  Has he done all that he could do?  Has he magnified the calling that has been given to him?  I tried to reassure him that from my perspective he has dedicated his whole heart, might, mind and strength to serving in this taxing position as the Lord's servant and representative.  Is he perfect? Sorry, no.  Does he give everything he has to offer?  Resoundingly, yes!

As I look back on my life, on callings I have had, on relationships I have valued, on dreams I have pursued (or not), I find that asking the simple question, Any regrets? is a powerful wake-up call.

I hope that I still have in me many years ahead to do some good.  I hope that my loved ones know, without a doubt, of my devotion to them.  I hope that I have used the gifts I have been given to serve, to enlighten, to teach, to uplift, atleast in some small way. 

Thanks for listening.  I hope, too, that this might be a wake-up call for all of us...

I love you Brian.