Friday, February 26, 2010

Be Smart

“Teach ye diligently … of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—that ye may be prepared in all things” (D&C 88:78–80).

There is so much knowledge to be had. So many things in this life to learn. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a child smile their first smile, take their first step, or say "I love you" for the first time. The sense of accomplishment felt as we graduate from High School and College, get a promotion, a new job, acheive a goal, etc. is one of the best feelings there is. There are so many ways to Be Smart. The main thing I think of, is making good decisions.
We make decisions every day. This morning, I decided to sleep for 5 extra minutes. I decided to eat a granola bar and fruit for breakfast. I decided what to wear, what time to leave for work, I decided to kiss my sweet puppy goodbye. They may seem like simple things done on auto-pilot, but each was a decision. I have made LOTS of good decisions in my life, and LOTS of not so great decisions. Each one has led me to where I am today. And I am SO HAPPY. I wouldn't have my life any other way. Would I love to win a million dollars, sure. But in reality, my life is wonderful. Mostly as a result of making good decisions. I thought I'd outline just a few:

Get An Education:

What a gigantic difference in life an education makes. It is a wonderful way to advance yourself, your career, and to gain knowledge. The world is awealth of opportunities and many of them are opened by furthering your education. I have learned this lesson the hard way, as I have not finished college yet. But I will. And I am so proud of my sweet hubby who is working hard and going to school right now. Way to BE SMART!

Choose Good Friends:

Your friends influence your life. They have the chance to uplift you, or bring you down. Choose good friends so that you can be a good influence on them, and they can influence you for good. Be Smart about who you spend your time with!

Value Your Family:

When all is said and done, your family is the only thing you can take with you. (Aside from your EDUCATION!) Build family relationships in this life, value those that are close to you. Don't take them for granted. They have been given to you to help you through the rough times and will always be there for you. Tell them you love them, one day you may not have the chance.

Love Your Spouse:

Bruce R. McConkie once said, "The most important single thing that any Latter-day Saint ever does in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority." I have the utmost love and respect for my husband. He is a wonderful man, and I am so lucky to be able to experience this journey through life with him. I think, when I made my decision, to marry him... I was being SMART!
Set Goals:

This is my current goal. One that I am working incredibly hard towards. I cannot wait for the blessings that I can receive through entering this holy place.
In addition to good decision making... lately my focus on Being Smart, has led me down another path. Listening to the Spirit. Heavenly Father will guide us if we simply listen. We need to put aside the cares of the world, go to our 'secret places', and offer ourselves to Him. He will guide us. I have been blessed so much lately, but attempting to heed his commandments and follow his council. Because I have been doing everything I can to invite it, I feel that the Spirit has had a more prominent place in my life and I am more prepared to receive inspiration, comfort, peace, love, and encouragement. It is definitely smart to open your heart and mind to the Holy Ghost.
When I graduated from High School, I received the book "Oh The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. What wonderful words of wisdome can be found...
Oh The Places You'll Go
"You have brains in your head.You have feet in your shoes.You can steer yourself any direction you choose.You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too...

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left."

Whew... Be Smart was almost as long as Be Grateful!! I am learning FABULOUS lessons by focusing on these "B's". :) Stay tuned for more!!

That Moment

Rarely in life do we realize in that very important moment...

This moment, right here right now, is going to change my life.

Typically it is a compilation of events that leads to a gradual change. This was not the case. Last night, I experienced one of those life-altering moments. It was spectacular. It was very personal, and spiritual. So I am not going to share the intimate details... but I needed to recognize that I felt it, and I know it. And my life will never be the same.
NO, I'm not pregnant : )

Monday, February 15, 2010

Be Grateful

The last week or so, I've been struggling to come up with something to begin my "Be Better" posts. The first B, Be Grateful, has been hard for me to focus on. Perhaps that's God's way of reminding me how much I have to be grateful for. Between things breaking in our apartment, no time to spend with my hubby, my job(s), etc. I've been feeling pretty down. I even considered skipping on to another B, and coming back to this one. I feel truly humbled. How silly I was!

I have SO MUCH to Be Grateful for! In the midst of my blog stalking, I came across 2 blogs, this BLOG and this BLOG. As I read through each and prayed for each member of those families, my heart was tremendously softened. Lately, every simple thing I do, I try to be grateful for. Yet, I still occasionally catch myself... complaining silently. As I was vacuuming last night, and fuming about how much dog hair there was, wondering how on earth the onion skin got into the living room from dinner last night, grumbling about Betty's toys all over the floor... I silently chastised myself and started to tear up. Stephanie can't even pick up her own children out of the bathtub. I should Be Grateful that I have the strength to push the vacuum. Sara didn't go home to clean her house for days because she was by her sweet little boy's hospital bed. I should Be Grateful that my family is healthy and strong, and my husband would be home in a few minutes to help.

God has promised, "He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious." (D&C 78:19). When Gordon B. Hinckley gave his talk about the "B's", he said this about GRATITUDE:

Be grateful. There are two little words in the English language that perhaps mean more than all others. They are “thank you.” Comparable words are found in every other language, such as gracias, merci, danke, obrigado, domo.

The habit of saying thank you is the mark of an educated man or woman. With whom is the Lord displeased? He names “those who confess not his hand in all things” (D&C 59:21). That is, those who walk without grateful expression. Walk with gratitude in your hearts, my dear friends. Be thankful for the wonderful blessings which are yours. Be grateful for the tremendous opportunities that you have. Be thankful to your parents, who care so very much about you and who have worked so very hard to provide for you. Let them know that you are grateful. Say thank you to your mother and your father. Say thank you to your friends. Say thank you to your teachers. Express appreciation to everyone who does you a favor or assists you in any way.

Thank the Lord for His goodness to you. Thank the Almighty for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who has done for you what none other in all this world could do. Thank Him for His great example, for His tremendous teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help. Think about the meaning of His Atonement. Read about Him and read His words in the New Testament and in 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. Read them quietly to yourself and then ponder them. Pour out your heart to your Father in Heaven in gratitude for the gift of His Beloved Son.

Thank the Lord for His marvelous Church restored in this great season of history. Thank Him for all that it offers you. Thank Him for friends and loved ones, for parents and brothers and sisters, for family. Let a spirit of thanksgiving guide and bless your days and nights. Work at it. You will find it will yield wonderful results.

I have been blessed with so much!! As I sit down and try to come up with everything I am grateful for, I can't even begin to come up with every single one. So if I miss anything, I'm sorry... I'm sure there's much more!

My Sweet Hubby: I have the most wonderful hubby in the world. (Sorry girls, I know you think yours is great... but mine wins!) I even wrote an entire blog POST about him recently because I am so ridiculously in love with him.

My Family: I have an amazing family. I have a fabulous Dad and Sister. My sister and I are still working on our relationship, but who isn't? My niece is the most adorable, fabulous baby on the planet and I love her more than I can possibly say. Her smile lights up my world. I was lucky enough to have the most incredible mother a little girl could ask for. My time with her was cut short. But my memories of her are some of my most treasured. My cousins, aunts, uncles, etc are all wonderful people who I love spending time with. In addition, I have a biological family that has recently come into my life and blown me over. My bio-Dad was 17 when I was born so I was put up for adoption. He is married, with a wonderful wife and two sweet little girls. I got to spend the weekend with them in Baltimore a few weeks ago, and it was WONDERFUL. Along with my new-found family I got countless more aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, etc. My family has quadrupled overnight.

My Betty: I have the best dog in the world. Hands down. Sure she gets smelly sometimes, and I can never wear black pants without carrying a lint roller. But she's a fabulous snuggler and such a sweet girl.

My Friends: They are wonderful. I don't know where I'd be without them. I can't even begin to name each one, and say what I am grateful for about them... if you want to know. Just ask! And know that I love you!

My Health: I went to have a physical in January and I am healthy as can be! So many people are not, and it's something I take for granted daily.

My Job(s): I have a job! That's something that a lot of people can't say right now. And I am grateful for it. I also have a part-time job. On top of that, I just got a promotion and a raise.

My Home: I have a roof over my head. Yep, it's an apartment, and I'd rather have a house. Yep, my linen closet door has fallen off track 3 times since we moved in. Yep, my kitchen has half the cabinet space of my old one. But... we have a huge apartment and the rent is less, thus we can save for our house.

Shoes: A silly thing to be grateful for? Perhaps. But shoes always fit. It's easy to find a fabulous pair on sale. They can totally transform an outfit and my attitude. So yes, I am grateful for shoes.
Lastly, but most importantly...

My Faith: I would be nowhere without it. I would be nothing. I would have no purpose. Through my faith in Christ, I know why I'm here and where I'm going. My life has meaning. And I know I can be with my family forever.

It doesn't get any better than this. I am so blessed. I am a lucky lucky girl. And I have SO SO MUCH to be grateful for. I am so glad that this was the first "B" I got to focus on. Hopefully I can continue to be more grateful, and show gratitude to those around me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Be Better

Typically at the turn of the year, we set goals. Resolutions, if you will. I am horrible with "New Year's Resolutions." I never follow through and lose 35 pounds. :) This year I decided to set a goal that I knew I could achieve; one that I can work on throughout the year. And if I slack a little, it's okay... and I can still keep working on it. I know it's already February... but better late than never, right? So for 2010 I want to:


Sounds simple right? Every day I think of little things I can do to better myself. Whether it's learn a new skill, correct a bad habit, volunteer more, etc. My inspiration stemmed from a talk that Gordon B. Hinckley gave in January 2001, "A Prophet's Counsel and Prayer for Youth". In his talk he gave us six B's.


Later he added:


I'd like to focus on one at a time. Spend a week to a month trying to be better at each of the B's in turn. As I work on each goal… I’m going to attempt to blog about each one, and make small changes. So this year, I want to BE BETTER. I can’t begin to describe the feeling I felt that night, listening to President Hinckley’s guiding words… at the end of his remarks, he prayed for the Youth of the church. I will never forget the sweet Spirit that filled my heart as I heard this prayer uttered for me…

“O God, our Eternal Father, as Thy servant I bow before Thee in prayer in behalf of these young people scattered over the earth who are gathered tonight in assemblies everywhere. Please smile with favor upon them. Please listen to them as they lift their voices in prayer unto Thee. Please lead them gently by the hand in the direction they should follow.

Please help them to walk in paths of truth and righteousness and keep them from the evils of the world. Bless them that they shall be happy at times and serious at times, that they may enjoy life and drink of its fullness. Bless them that they may walk acceptably before Thee as Thy cherished sons and daughters. Each is Thy child with capacity to do great and noble things. Keep them on the high road that leads to achievement. Save them from the mistakes that could destroy them. If they have erred, forgive their trespasses and lead them back to ways of peace and progress. For these blessings I humbly pray with gratitude for them and invoke Thy blessings upon them with love and affection, in the name of Him who carries the burdens of our sins, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.”

It is my prayer… that this year I can BE BETTER. That through applying all of these attributes to my life; I can become a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, and daughter of God.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pet Peeves

How many times are you out and about, on the phone at work, watching tv, ect. and you see or hear something that REALLY REALLY bothers you. Yesterday and this morning, I feel like 9 out of 10 of my pet peeves have shown up just to annoy me. So I thought I'd blog about it.

1. Lib-ary. I am a pronunciation nut. I have wanted to be an English teacher since I was a child. It is not LIB-ARY. It is the libRary. There are two R's for a reason. And while we're talking about R's...

2. "Are-uh". If you are from the South, I guarantee you have at some point heard somebody pronounce the letter R 'are-uh'. It drives me bonkers. I can't stand it, and I will correct you. Never did your kindergarten teacher teach you: Q, aRe-uh, S, T, U, V. Are-uh is not a letter of the alphabet. Frankly I think the alphabet is embarrassed to be associated with you.

3. People who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle. You know the ones. You come down the whole aisle and the toothpaste you want is right at the end. You have to clear your throat, stand there for 5 minutes, then loudly say excuse me before they even notice you. Then they look annoyed like YOU did something wrong by having the audacity to come down their aisle!! You do not own aisle 13... I'm sorry it takes you 30 minute to pick out deodorant. And then I, for whatever reason, feel the need to apologize. No more!

4. Socks with sandals. If you are going to wear open toed shoes, NEVER have anything covering your toes. That's all there is to it. No pantyhose, no socks, and for heaven's sake if you even thing about putting on a pair of toe socks with flip flops, I will not associate with you in public. It actually makes me sick to think about.

5. Mullets- enough said.

6. Explanation first on this one... I think breast-feeding is beautiful. It is a natural, wonderful thing. I think women should be comfortable doing it, and Mommy & Baby should enjoy and treasure the experience. I plan on nursing myself (eventually when we decide to have children)... discreetly. That being said, if you are at home... get nakey, I don't care. I don't even mind if I'm around and see everything. It doesn't bother me, in private. Like I said, I think it's a wonderful thing. BUT, if you are in public (ex: in the front row during sacrament meeting) please please please use a blanket. Breast-feeding is beautiful, but I can't concentrate on the service because my husband is making gagging noises and your sweet baby is staring at me over your boob. Use a tiny bit of couth here. A blanket, a burp cloth, an udder-cover, ANYTHING. I do believe that in public (ex: a restaurant, the park, the mall food court, etc.) your private parts should not be showing, even if they are currently being used as a smorgasbord for your little one.

7. People who park like this:

Why do you get to take up two parking spots? I would really like to be able to park close to the door. Especially when it's snowing. This is simply rude. We have just enough parking spaces at our office for those of us who work here. Why are you entitled to two of them?

8. People who analyze what you're eating 24/7. I have a coworker that does this. (The same one that can't park to save her life.) Breakfast, lunch and dinner. "What are you eating? Oatmeal? Eww that's disgusting, I can't eat my oatmeal with that little water in it." Good for you, I like oatmeal and I don't like drinking it. Lunch, "What are you eating? Peanut butter crackers and a fruit cup? How do you eat that little? You're not losing weight. What kind of fruit? I hate cherries." Who cares if you hate cherries, and yes I have lost 3 pounds! Dinner, "What are you making for dinner? Lasagna and salad? Eww, why would you have salad with that. That's gross." Every single day! I don't give a flying fart in space what you're eating and I'm tired of you analyzing my diet! Grr.

9. "Broke." Another pronunciation peeve here. Example: "My dvd is broke." No it's not... it is BROKEN. BROKEN BROKEN BROKEN! You may have broken it. Ok, I'm sorry, I broke it. Past tense possessive verb. It is NOT an adjective!!!!!

10. Nail biting. It's disgusting... did you wash your hands after you left Wal-Mart? Didn't think so... you just ingested every germ from every item you touched at Wal-Mart. Makes you think twice about putting those nasty things in your mouth ever again huh?? Wonder why you had to pick up cold medicine while you were there...

11. Cigarette Smoking. Don't you realize you stink. I'd rather lick a stranger's face then sit anywhere near you. Disgusting. Oh, and you're going to get cancer... good luck with that.

12. Rihanna.

13. People who think that simply because you're using a cell phone, you have to scream into it for the other person to hear you. Why don't you just stick your head out the door and yell, because everyone in the 3 surrounding counties can hear you anyway.

14. Mafia Wars, Farmville, & pointless Facebook quizzes. "What Barbie Are You?" I mean really, who cares? Can't we find time to I don't know, cure world hunger or something productive, rather than devoting 5 wasted minutes of our lives to finding out which member of Jersey Shore you are?

15. Mondays.

16. People who capitalize eVeRY oThER lETteR wHiLe tYPiNg. It's obnoxious, and I can't read it anyway.

17. 4 way intersections. For crying out loud, I pay enough taxes... just put a darn light there so that the morons who forgot what they learned in drivers ed don't run me over.

18. Putting the toilet paper on the wrong way. Let me remind you:

AND not refilling the toilet paper!!! One ragged sheet hanging desperately to the roll is not going to do me any good.

19. Hot dogs come in packages of 8, and the buns come in packages of 10. I just don't get it.

20. Having to "Press 1 for English". We are in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. If you do not speak English, either 1) GO HOME, 2) or LEARN IT! If you do not speak English, yet you have benefits through my insurance company, have Comcast, go to the DMV, or call my office 5 times a day, there is a major issue.

Monday, February 1, 2010

*Snow Day*

We don't get a lot of snow in Virginia... typically. The last two months have been a different story. We've gotten two HUGE snowstorms for this area. The last one was a week before Christmas, and I was too busy running around like crazy trying to get ready for the holidays, that I couldn't enjoy it. This time was different! It started snowing late Friday night and we woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow on Saturday morning. And it kept snowing and snowing and snowing! Around 1:30 we decided to take Betty out to play. It was so much fun. Matt cleaned off the cars (he's the best!) while I threw Betty's ball and she dove/burrowed after it. She is the most adorable girl! Of course, Matt felt the need to push me over, so I made the most of it and made snow angels. So fun!!

Our front 'yard'. Gorgeous!

She found this darn thing every single time I threw it.

Bounding after it, the snow came up to her belly so she had to leap around.

Matt feeling sheepish after whitewashing me.

Pretty girl searching for her ball.

Found it!!!

Cold? Who me?!

Sunday church was cancelled. So we snuggled on the couch and watched our wedding video. :) Cheesy, yes... but we both sniffled a bit. Then we decided to deep clean the apartment! It felt SO nice! Is it considered "spring cleaning" when there's snow on the ground? We organized the back bedroom (almost ready for furniture!), did all of the laundry, scrubbed both bathrooms, and the kitchen, vacuumed, clean sheets, etc. It feel SO GREAT! I got new organizers for our bathroom, and it made it so nice to get ready this morning. Matt made a super yummy dinner last night (roast chicken, stuffing, potatoes, & green beans mmm!) and we played Apples to Apples with Dad & Catie. I LOVE being snowed in!!

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