Sunday, March 31, 2013

How to Celebrate a Holiday Alone, and Other Lessons In Self Care'

 I have a friend that I can tell is starting to get burned out. Its been a slow burn, but sometimes those are the worst kind, because you don't see them sneaking up on you. I have had a few big callings in my life, and one thing I learned from them is that you can't take care of anyone else, and you can't magnify your callings if you don't take care of yourself and keep things in balance. 

 I think the first time I really learned this lesson was on my mission. About half way through there was a big enough clump of us that had focused so hard on serving with all of our might, mind, and strength, that we were just so tired and burned out we couldn't care as much as we needed or wanted to any more. It was at this point our AP (Assistant to the Mission President), Elder Walker talked to us about "filling (our) buckets" 

 Filling your bucket was making sure that you had taken a little bit of time for yourself. This may mean (as a missionary) doing a scripture study focused on your needs and not your investigators, or taking time on Preparation Day (a half a day that LDS missionaries get to do laundry, buy groceries, write letter, and sometimes have a bit of fun.)  to go bowling, or see an old castle in the city, or have a water balloon fight. OK, I am not exactly sure if the last one is allowable in the hand book, but if it is, its a way to fill your bucket. Basically take some time, have some fun, enjoy life and relax. 

 When I was the Relief Society presidency, I learned again how important that is. Unfortunately, I learned it a little late. I let my calling consume my life. I don't know that that served me or the sisters very well. First of all, It got me to caught up in drama, so tunnel visioned that I needed a reality check. It also made me mentally, spiritually, and emotionally exhausted. Every night was spent at the church, it seemed. Planning activities, carrying out activities, being everyone's friend. Good things, but too much. By the end I finally learned to step back, and balance a little better. 

 Now I am Primary Secretary. I started this calling out with three callings. I think the Lord wanted to ensure that I would know I had to have balance. I've done well, I think. I work on things, I work hard on them. I know when its time to work on something else, and I know that I have to take a little bit of time to have fun. If I don't, I would grow to hate the calling, be ornery and unable to think, and I would be of no use to anyone.  I've caught myself once or twice getting out of balance, and I have worked quickly to correct that. 

 I hope that my friend learns that lesson before its too late.  On airplanes, they always tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, then help a child or someone else, because you can't help them if you pass out. I think that is very true in life, and often we as Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints forget that, because we are trying to "Magnify our callings" or "forget ourselves and go to work."  That is important to do sometimes, but we have to also remember that we are human, there are limits to our abilities, and that "Men are that they might have joy."    

 If you are like me, the kind of person who works first and plays later, know this- There will always be more work. Prioritize fun. Not all the time, but if you are working hard, and your brain is tired, you need a break. Schedule some fun.  My roommates used to laugh at me because I scheduled free time, but if I hadn't done that, I probably wouldn't have allowed myself to take it. I don't have to schedule it now, because I've learned to recognize when my bucket is being depleted and I need to go fill it up. 

 You can't fill anyone else's bucket, if yours is empty- testimony,  physical or mental energy, love, all that good stuff. Can't love others till you love yourself, can't build someone else's testimony if yours has been left till its depleted, and you can't help others have joy if you are having none yourself. 

 This leaves me to my last point. Today is Easter. I have been dreading it. All I could think about leading up to this is all the fun things my family are doing without me. All the other people having fun with their children, and traditions, and chocolate. All I could think about was how I get to spend it alone, and its no fun to do your own Easter egg hunt.  I don't have a lot of money right now, so in a lot of ways I gave up, until I got thinking about my friend burning herself out.  And I thought to myself, Self, you are worth it, cook you an Easter feast, use the good china, and dye an egg and decorate it.  

 Once I realized that I was worth the effort, that I didn't need to have someone else around to make it worth my time, then I actually enjoyed this Easter. I'm writing this on my back deck in the sunshine. I BBQ'ed on my grill- just for me. I made potato salad, just for me. I even made me some jello with pineapple and bananas in it- just for me. I would love to share this all with someone, but if you don't have anyone to share the day with, share it with someone very special- YOU. You are special. You are worth it. You don't have to wait for a special guest to use the good china- YOU ARE A SPECIAL GUEST, even in your own home.  And you don't have to spend a lot of money to make it special, heck, I didn't spend any money at all, I used what I had around the house.  

 You are important enough, that you ought to take care of you. Find out what you need, and then take care of it. Then when your bucket is feeling a little fuller, go share it with someone else. If anyone wants some jello, come on over. If no one comes, I'm bringing it to work. And, tomorrow, I'll work better, because I took today to rest, and to refill my buckets. 

Spilling Water Can Be So Entertaining

 I got a text at 1:15 this morning that said "You know you've got a good hostess when you ask, 'Hey, can I have some water?' and she says 'No!'  and then she spills water all over you ;)!"  

       Three hours earlier I was warning her and her sister that I had spilled some water earlier in the day, and thanks to the incredible ability of my carpet not to be mopped up, there was still a damp spot.  When she asked for the water to drink, I was totally kidding. I don't know why, but its one of those things that is so obvious that the answer is going to be yes, whenever someone asks me for water I just have to say no.  

 I went into the kitchen and got a water for her, her sister, and one for me. I sat down on the couch. We were watching Vantage point. If you've never seen it, its kind of like Ground Hogs Day meets any run of the mill spy/police/ action drama, and I will leave it at that.  Any way, fifteen minutes after I got the waters, a bomb exploded on the movie and I knocked over my water (which was sitting ON the couch). Instantly ice water soaked my pants, and then, well, we'll go British and just say pants again. I got up to grab a towel and everyone had a good laugh. Except , I hadn't mopped up that water yet, so before I could get back my friend was also getting an ice water surprise.   

 I grabbed a second towel, and we pretty much laughed about it for the rest of the night as we sat in our uncomfortably wet clothes and enjoyed our movie. I could have changed my clothes, as it was my house, but that would have been unfair, since I caused the spill in the first place, so I waited till everyone went home. It was actually a super fun night despite a special effect that would have been more suitable if we had been watching Titanic. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Loss For Words

 I have so many thoughts on my mind right now, so much that I want to say to you, to tell you about. 
But I can't find the words to do it. I dont know where to begin. There is so much I should say, but I can't seem to find my voice.  I haven't forgotten you, and I promise, soon, Im going to write something you are really going to want to read. Just not tonight.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Waiting for That Phone Call

 Hanging out with some of my amazing friends last night made me realize I need to open up about a few more things in my life, or I may implode, or just get mean and start pushing people away again.  For some reason its way easier for me to write things than to talk about them, so I decided to write this one.  

I am waiting for a phone call. I feel like it will come any day now, and every time the phone rings I wonder, is it my parents calling, or is it one of the Universities I recently inquired about MA programs recently. So far, Its been the universities. I hate talking on the phone.  

 So why would my parents be calling?  Well, My Grandpa (Dad's Dad) has congestive heart failure, and unlike my Grandma (Mom's Mom) Its not looking like he is going to be the Energizer bunny and just keep going for three years, In fact, I've was told a few days ago that they were surprised he had made it through the night.  

 Being 800 miles away, all I get is second hand information. I don't know what is really happening. I've gotten panicked messages and phone calls in the past saying they didn't think he would make it, and then he seemingly recovered and was fine for a few months. This time I am taking it more seriously, because it was my mom, and she's not dramatic. 

 So I called my Grandpa the other day, and I talked to him for about five minutes. That was probably my goodbye. I don't think I'm going to call again, and I know I'm not going to make it out there. It was good that I called, I'm glad I talked to him a bit, but he is so out of it that its really hard to carry on a conversation, and it feels one sided and I don't know what to say. My Grandpa has always been so talkative you can't get him to shut up so you can get a word in.  I hate talking on the phone. I run out of things to say. 

 How do I feel? well, to be honest I don't know. I have such a mix of feelings and emotions right now that I don't know how to even put a finger on what they are. I love my Grandpa, I have some good memories with him, I spent a lot of time with him five years ago. He was always there for my birthday and graduation, and I loved hanging out with him in his cabin. I don't think his quality of life is that great, so it may best be time for him moving on, I'll see him again.  I live so far away, that I don't see much of him any more any way. But emotionally I think the biggest thing is that when he goes, I will have a step Grandma left, and that's it, end of the Grand Parents.  I love my Grandparents, I miss all my Grandma's. My Moms Dad died before I was born, so this is the only Grandpa I've ever known.   

 As much as anything though, this signals a change in my life. The lack of Grand Parents means I'm getting older, and it means we are that much closer to it being my parents at that stage, and that scares me far more than anything.  

 Well, I've got to go change my oil now, Who knows, maybe Grandpa Marquardt will pull a Grandma Byington, surprise us all and make it three more years, but if not... well, that's life. I'll cry a little, write a song about it, and see him on the other side.   Oils calling. Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Simple Act of Trust

I am a person who has always struggled with trusting anyone, at times that even has included God.

In recient years, I have started to do something that is simple, but incredibly difficult for me, I am starting to trust. 

Especially in the moments when I have let go, said a prayer of faith and trusted my Heavenly Father, I have found not only are his angels round about to protect me, but I more greatly feel his love for me, and a guiding hand in my life.

I think of the many times this happened on my mission, when I decided to move to washington-job or no job, and three days before moving day i got a job,  and many, many times since.

In the past year, I have started to open up and trust people. Contrary to my past beliefs this has resulted in deeper, stronger friendships and a feeling of far greater security.

It is amazing to me how many doors, and hearts the simple act of trusting opens up. Im still not likely going to trust a lot of strangers, or become naieve and hand out personal info to everyone and anyone, but, learning that there are a great many people I can and should trust has been an uplifting, enlightening, and freeing experience, and all my readers have been a part of it. Thanks for being trustworthy folks.

   Got Trust?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Remember... Humility, Diligence

 Remember faith, avirtue, knowledge, btemperancecpatience,dbrotherly ekindnessfgodliness, charity, ghumilityhdiligence.
 aAsk, and ye shall receive; bknock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.  
          I can't do everything on my own like I want to. I am not a self-contained unit that can go through life without relying on anyone else, and without anyone else relying on me. We weren't designed to be that way, any of us. 
  Yet, I've always had a hard time asking for help.  I always try to solve things myself, then I beat myself up because I cant, and then I just shut down.  
 Earlier today, I had a bit of a moment with God, where I reached that point where I was doing everything except humbly asking for his help. I felt like a horrible failure. I went through my head that I had indeed done everything I could think of to resolve the problem and the situation, and then I was ready to shut down. 
 Luckily, Heavenly Father kind of responded to me with "Well, why do you think I would expect or want you to do everything on your own. Think of the atonement, you can't get back to me on your own. Its that way for a reason."  
 I broke down and said "Heavenly Father, I need and want your help." then I proceeded to list everything that has been weighing me down, stressing me out, and bringing me nearer to the snapping point. "I don't know what to do, everything I have tried isn't working. Help me know what to do."          
      I felt some inspiration come to me  of who I need to talk to, and then I received this scripture response as I finished out my prayer...
  "Humility, Diligence.  Ask and ye shall receive, Knock and it shall be opened unto you."
The first two words, the last two words of a scripture verse hit me hard. Humility first, then diligence.  For some maybe this isn't the answer, but for me it was a good reminder. Pride is nobody's friend.  The combination of Humility, recognizing the need for our Savior Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father to guide and direct our lives and our works for their success is vitally important. Then, diligently working to accomplish those things that need to be done , that is the key to success.  President Hinkely once said "We pray, and then we go."  
Pray, humbly ask for Gods direction and assistance, and then go get to work.   I know as I do this, I will find answers, and peace, doors opened up to me. Funny, I think I keep learning this lesson over and over again. Hopefully one day I will get it. Glad I got a reminder tonight though.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Very Sci-Fi Sharing Time

 So, we had some time traveling going on in sharing time today for Primary.  We had visitors come from the Bible and one Nephite from the Book of Mormon. They came to share their testimonies of Christ. 

 Before that could happen, we needed a device invented to allow for time travel. Naturally, Since I am such a nerd and know so much about time travel, My Primary President turned to me, as her Secretary to create such a device. I tell you, it was no easy feat, but the rewards of creating such a device were beyond description. 

 Before anyone tracks me down to borrow the device, I must warn you, That the device used to activate it is not in my possession, and it will not work without that device.  

 Any way, as I set about making my time traveling device, I had  a few options to consider.  The President wanted a time machine, so I wanted to make a TARDIS. Unfortunately,  I am not a Time Lord. I used to be half time Lady, I was River Songs double. But I cut my hair and lost those powers, and so I could not make a TARDIS. I had no phone booth to work with, so the Bill and Ted way of doing things was also out of the equation.  I also don't have a Delorian, and I didn't want to go back in time to collect the people myself anyway.   

  I Next looked to the Stargate. Now, Stargates are usually used for traveling in space, not so much in time. There are a few accidental exceptions to that which I know of, but they had to be timed with solar eclipses. However, I Mandi, being lead by the spirit, not knowing before hand the things that I should do stumbled upon an  ancient arch. This arch was similar to the Stargate, but was used by ancient Hebrews as a time and space traveling portal.  It took me about four hours to redesign it and get it in working condition, which I admit wasn't long, but I took it to Primary today, and it worked perfectly for transporting our ancient people to come visit our class.  

 Its currently sitting in my living room, but it got damaged a little when I transported it back home from the church, and like I said, when the activation device was separated from it, it quit working.  here is a picture though, if you want to see my time and space portal.  The writings are the Proto-Hebrew alphabet. Just like on the Stargate, these letters can be used to choose an arch address in any time period to visit or come from, if they also have an arch time portal thingy.  (And yes, It is the archway with the keystone in the center that always gets used to explain what a keystone is when talking about the keystone of our religion.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Dew-La's

 I had the funniest thing happen today at my counseling session. I was telling all about my weekend adventures with Sheri Dew coming to town and how awesome that was. At some point in my story, I mentioned something about riding in a van with a friend that I keep forgetting is a Doula and that it was so interesting because one of the other ladies in the van is pregnant and was asking some interesting questions about things I know next to nothing about- like Braxton Hicks contractions.  

 Because I had been talking about Sheri Dew, my counselor thought that Doula was Dew-La, which apparently he thought was the name for a bunch of Sheri Dew groupies.  He then excitedly proclaimed that if it were the Sheri Dew thing,  he would totally be a Dew-La.   

 I made a tee-shirt for the sisters of the peninsula because of Sister Dew's visit, but I am thinking I need to modify it now to say something about us being a bunch of Dew-Las

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rejoicing Over Spilled Milk

 Forget about not crying over spilled milk, I just found myself being happy about it. Sure, when I heard the milk sizzling into my stove top, boiling out of its pan, I may have said a mild curse word and sprinted out to the kitchen  like a bat out of hell, but I still had a smile on my face when I cleaned the still hot mess up. 

  You see, I was "multi-tasking" again. Which I can sometimes do well, but if I get too involved in one task and completely forget the other, then I don't do so well. What happened today was, that I really really wanted a Starbucks Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate, and I really needed to get my documents together for my insurance claims for my counseling.  So, I started milk boiling in the kitchen, and went to the printer in my bedroom to print out the receipts, which are e-mailed to me.   

 I don't think I was in my bedroom for five seconds before I completely forgot about the milk and the hot chocolate. As I was finishing printing I heard that lovely boiling over sizzling milk sound from the kitchen. Suddenly I remembered the hot chocolate, and I hurdled my dogs carrier, my bed, and countless other obstacles, and sprinted to the kitchen. Luckily, Not much milk had boiled out, there was enough  for my hot chocolate. 

 This is probably the second time I have done this, and both times, I was slightly glad. You see, things like this remind me that I need to clean the stove top IMMEDIATELY.  So I bust out my Pampered Chef Silicon oven mitt, (Thank you Julie Shaver for getting married, and having a Pampered Chef bridal shower so I could buy that wonderful wonderful invention.) and then I took the burner apart and cleaned off the milk before it got all sticky and impossible to get off .In the mean time, I cleaned the stove top, and the space underneath it, and it seems like the milk loosened up some of those hard to get off spots that had been there a while. 

 My stove top has never looked cleaner. Now, I have to finish my hot chocolate before I head to the church for a baptism for one of our Primary kids.  Oh, but really quickly, one more thing. I got a hand written letter from a Jehovah's Witness today inviting me to have free Bible studies in my home with  some authorized teachers of the bible. I'm really not interested in meeting with them, but it was nice to get a hand written letter, and I enjoyed reading the testimony of whomever wrote it.  I thought about sending them a pass along card, but then decided to just respect our religious differences and move on. They didn't have a name on the letter any way, so it probably would have gone in the trash, but it would have been a fun exchange I am sure.  More people should write hand written letters, they just make you feel good. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

F-uh-HE= Family Home Evening

I remember my second year of college one of my all time favorite roommates always referred to Family Home Evening, AKA F.H.E.  as F-uh-HE.  That was over a decade ago, and to this day I still call it F-uh-HE.  Sheri Dew talked about our influence on people, My dearest Mind (short for Mindy- not pronounced mind)  look at how you have impacted my life!!  I still love listening to Peter Brianholdt and pretending I am on a cooking show called "Mind (again like Mindy with out the y) and Mand  can cook"

 (Japaneses accent) "And remember if Mind and Mand can cook, you and your friend can cook too!"

Man, those were the days.  Oh yeah, I was talking about FHE.  Well, I love FHE, my whole life, even when I was alone on an island I made it a point to have an FHE. Even if it was just me and the dog!. Hymn, Scripture/thought, Prayer ,Activity and Treat!   HSPAT  if we were to make an acronym.  I usually even went out of my way to include PMG- Preach My Gospel for those not familiar with LDS -Latter-Day Saint Acronyms.

 Well, now is the part where I practice my honesty again. So, I kind of quit doing the FHE thing about two months ago. I was going over to a friends house, but then I got sick, her kids got sick ,they went on vacation, and somewhere in that time I turned FHE  into WOPE - Work On Primary Evening.  WOPE is not a good substitute for hope, nor is it a good substitute for FHE. It is a good substitute for draining all your mental energy and burning you out. (I have WOPE on Friday,  Saturday, and Sunday  usually, so four days is just too many in a row).  

  I probably didn't really need to have WOPE on Monday so much, it was more an excuse- Oh, I don't really want to drive any where, and I don't feel like doing anything overly spiritual, but if I work on Primary stuff, then I am fulfilling my calling, so that can count for something without me having to actually crack my scriptures or sing a hymn. I can watch a comedy while I do it, that will lighten my load.

 Sheri Dew kind of helped adjust my attitude on Saturday. This morning I read a friends thoughts and adjusted a little more. I was going to go to my friends for FHE, but it didn't work, So finally, I had my own FHE again. A real one. With a prayer, a thought, and a hymn (in Lithuanian).   It was probably one of the best FHE's I have ever had. I had prayed earlier with some questions about my life, and I got answers.

 I sang "How Firm a Foundation" for my opening hymn. I think that song is better in Lithuanian, because it said exactly how I have been feeling lately followed by basically "I am your God, and I totally have your back" (those are my own words, not the hymns in any language probably).  The Scripture was kind of long. I read the 1st chapter of the book of Moses, and it stuck out to me that I am a Daughter of God ,and that actually means something, it isn't just a nice saying.

 Then I went to the church website expecting to watch a Mormon Message. I saw there was a First Presidency message on families and Priesthood. I watched all the segments. It was good. It all reminded me of what Sheri Dew said about tapping into the power of priesthood in the lives of the sisters.

I was feeling really overwhelmed with my life today. One of the little segments I watched talked about how single sisters and those without priesthood in the home especially need to feel like they can go to their home teachers for help, even with things around the house. One thing that has been stressing me out, is that I need an oil change, but I don't like taking my car to shops, i don't trust shops. I can change my own oil, but I don't have the equipment.  I decided to follow the council of the brethren and turn to my home teacher.  So turns out his wife needs an oil change soon too. We are going to have an oil changing party, and it will be a great time for all. I can't wait, and I am less stressed out.

 Mainly today I learned God loves me a lot. He tries to tell me all the time. If I had FHE every week, Id probably know that better, have better direction in my life, and be more in tune with the spirit.  When the prophet says EVERYONE single, families what ever your weird situations may bee- NEED to have FHE every Monday, then we need to do it. If we do, we'll be blessed.  If you have family, have family home evening with them. If you are single - have family home evening with yourself, or if you can find one to go to, a Family Home Evening group. It may feel like a waste of time at the beginning, but it wont by then end.  Oh, also I did some cooking as part of my FHE, in honor of ST Patrick's day- St Patrick's day sliders - mm mm best burger EVER!!  Yes, that is a shamrock shaped bread. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sheri Dew and M&M's

 "I have a weakness for Eminem"  I announced to my van load of fellow Relief Society sisters. 
 Some blank looks came my way.

"You know, the rapper?" I tried to clarify

"Oh, I thought you meant M&M's"  many responded.  We then proceeded to talk about M&M's and what our favorite ones were, and why pretzel M&M's were a big flop, but Pretzels and chocolate go so well together. Any marketing people wondering, a van full of women decided you got your chocolate to pretzel ratio way wrong- HELLO MORE CHOCOLATE PLEASE!!

  It was rather a strange time for me to bring up that I liked Eminem, and an audience that I don't think shares my Achilles heal for profanity laden white boy rap.  You see, we were just returning from a whole Saturday spent in what I would like to call "spiritual bliss" , well apart from the metal chairs any way, it was pretty close to Heaven on Earth.  

 From 9 am this morning, until probably about 2, 2:30 we were spiritually enriched in a multi-stake Relief Society activity where Sheri Dew was our guest speaker, and she very much enriched our souls. I have pages of notes I took, and at least five years worth of scripture study topics and ideas.  Sheri Dew is amazing, because, well she is her. But really, What makes her so amazing? I think its because she is so real, and she speaks to everyone. I especially loved her dating advice, which consisted of, when you feel sorry for yourself because you are not married and dating is hard,  think of Sister Dew, she's had to go through this nonsense much longer.  (that is my summary, not her words)   

 Most of her talks, which were incredible, were about realizing our great potential and influence in the world, and our strength in our testimonies and faith. I'm not going to recap the whole conference, or much of what she said, apart from that she wants a "Sisters of the Peninsula" Tee shirt, and I intend to design it- today.   
No, if you weren't there, I really can't help to recapture what she said, or much of what I felt. But I think I can sum it up with one experience. 

 Between sessions, she did a brief meet and greet. I felt strongly that I should just go shake her hand. So I did. I got in line, and she shook my hand. She talked a bit with the bunch of us there, and then she shook my hand again, gave me a hug, and told me to go change the world.  I am sure she told a lot of sisters that today, it was kind of the theme, but I felt like this was a special charge that I was meant to hear. I know I have changed the world to some degree already, I am well on the path to doing that, but sometimes I feel discouraged and overwhelmed and I don't think I can go on. Sister Dew told us she has that problem too. But she told us how to overcome that, and since she speaks from many more years of experience than me, and because she too is single and understands what that is like, and yet is still a champion for marriage, families, motherhood, and the importance of raising children, well, her testimony and experience helped me today to see the strength one can posses when one relies on the lord and is anchored in the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 She didn't hid from us that life is hard. She didn't hide from us that life is joyful and happy. Its both. Its sad sometimes, its heartbreaking at times, but Jesus Christ has power to heal us, and to comfort any storm. God loves us, and often its through simple things we do for each other that we can feel that love and healing. 

 As I rode in that van home, full of sisters that have been apart of that strength and healing for me, I thought about that meeting, before it, after it, during it. I thought about all the people that love me, and that I dearly love.  And I had to agree, the sisters of the Peninsula are amazing people, amazing friends, with strong spirits and deep testimonies. I am so glad I moved her to meet them, and I am so glad we could influence each others lives. 

 As Sister Dew started her talk, she talked about how each of us has a direct influence on a MINIMUM of 1,000 people.  I don't know how many people I have influenced, but I was surrounded by a lot of people that have changed my life so much just by their love and their examples. And that is how the world is changed, people who love each other, serve each other, and reach out to perfect strangers. 

I made a new friend today. I can't remember her name, and I couldn't write it if I did, but there was a sister sitting with us from the Seabeck ward, her smile and her warmth added to the brightness of my day. I don't know much about her. But she has a  calling teaching Sunday school to the youth, and she is a stay at home mom with five kids. Yeah, She's changing the world.  I don't have kids, but I have Primary. Sometimes I don't feel like I do much to help the world, but you know what, I think there are a few kids I have taught in primary that I may have influenced in some small way. I rode to the meeting with one of the kids moms. He cried the day he found out I wasn't going to be his teacher any more.  

 Bottom line, Living the gospel makes me happy, It enriches my life,  and fills it with loads of love. I live alone. I have no family close by me, and yet I know I have as much family as anyone else, I know I am loved, and I know I am taken care of, where ever I go.  I am about to go see my Lithuanian family, I haven't seen them for seven years, but I don't love them any less today than I did seven years ago when I got on that plane and flew home.  What a wonderful thing that is. This is charity, the pure love of Christ in action in my life.   Well, time to go design a tee shirt. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Les Miserables Du Bureau

 It was a Friday afternoon in an office overlooking the Puget Sound. As I gazed out my window, sunshine filled my soul and music came into my head, beautiful voices ringing in joy..
        One day more, another day another destiny,... I did not live until today, tomorrow I will have a party. One more day here at a desk. One more day with me not caring. What a life I might have know, but alas I'm working here..... One more day till weekend comes. Man the barricades of freedom. Do I stay? Do I dare? The time is now, the day is here!! One day more!! One day more to revolution... watch 'em run a muck.. returning to my domicile I miss it much!! Every man will be a king, there's a new world to be won! My place is here, till 3:30. One day more!! Then I can have a free for all!! Tomorrow I'll discover what my God in heaven has in store!! ONE DAY MOOOOOOOORE!!

(yes, I sing at work, and if I don't sing, I lip sink or make up new words in my head.)

 I was so excited.  Yes, just make it through today then its the weekend. I was so excited, I ran to message my mom my excitement. Do you know her reply?

   Look down, Look down your here until you die!

Suddenly a new musical was playing out in my head, Les Miserables Du Bureau.  The eternal struggle of the office worker, Do I hope and rejoice in the weekend, or do I realize...

 You'll starve again, unless you learn the meaning of a job... five years for what you done, the rest for lack of imagination and  ingenuity  24601. Look down, look down, you'll always be a slave, Look down look down, your standing in your grave...

 Oh mom !  =(

   There was a time when you were kind, and the world was a song, and the song was exciting! there was a time, then it all went wrong.   I dreamed a dream  in time gone by , when hope was high and life worth living, I dreamed that I had a cool job, that Gods will was my bidding. and I was young and unafraid, to dream of big things.  But now I'm a secretary, I'm a slave, to bills that needed paid, and lack of confidence like thunder, as it turned my dream to shame.  I spent a summer in French country side, studies filled my mind with endless wonder, but it was gone after graduation day. Still I dream it'll comes to me, that I can live my years in wonder, but there are dreams that cannot be, and there are storms I cannot weather. I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I'm living.  But life has killed the dream I dreamed...

  Suddenly the struggle of my dreams battled violently against my own Javert, The Man, the job.

  I am warning you Javert, I'm a stronger man by far, there is power in me yet...
 you know nothing of Javert, I was born just like you, I had dreams, but they are through, you will be here all your life, you will know of toil and strife 24601....

 And in my mind, it was Monday again, not Friday. Hope seemed so far away....

  At the end of the day I'm another year older. At the end of the day  I'm still stuck in my job. Its a struggle, its a bore,  and its further from my dreams, standing about what is it for? at the end of the day I'm another day colder, another day deeper in debt, and my age is creeping up fast ready to kill... and there's gonna be hell to pay at the end of the day. At the end of the day you get nothin for nothin'. Sitting flat on your back doesn't buy any bread.  But I'm lucky to be in a job, and have a place to live and have a bed. at the end of the day its another day over, with enough in your pocket to last a week.  and the government threatening shut down and furlough. Roommates departing, and bills up the wazoo at the end of the day.   Is there anyone here who can swear we've nothing to fear of unemployment lines? ... At the end of the day.

  For a moment, it seemed hopeless, It was me or Javert, The Man.

  And if I live in the debt of the thief? there is nothing on earth that we share, it is either my dreams or Javert! and my thoughts lie upon, can The Man be believed,  can their sins be forgiven, will civil servants ever have reprieve?  Is he from heaven, or from hell? and does he know that giving me enough from day to day, The Man has killed me even so...   I'll escape now from the world, to the world of Jean Val Jean. that is where I will turn, forget Javert, I'll go on...

 And a short ferry ride later I arrived home, greeted by a fluffy white little dog.

       On my own,  a clean and happy home. All alone I walk with him till morning. Without him I miss his fluffy whiteness, and when I lose my way, I close my eyes, and he has found me. In the rain, Seattle shines like silver.  In the darkness all I see is him and me forever and forever. and I know hes always by my side, and although I know that dogs live short lives, still I say, theres a way for us. I love him, but when the night is over, I am gone, to work again without him. without him the world around me changes. I love him, but everyday I'm learning, all my life I've only  been pretending. Without me, he's sad and poops to spite me.  I must do more for me and him , the dream I have must be dreamed. I love him, I love him, but only on my own.....

  One day more, another day another destiny,.... I did not live until today, I will live, I ll go to Europe. Tomorrow I'll be worlds away, and yet right here my world has started. One more day all on my  own. One more day and I am caring. What a life I still might know, If I just will see it there....  the barricades of freedom, shall I join my brothers there? should I go ? do I dare? One more day to revolution!! I may go join some school boys after all... One day to a new beginning. EVERY MAN WILL BE A KING.  There's a new world to be won. My place is here,I fight with you ... One day more....  Tomorrow I'll be far away, tomorrow is another day, tomorrow I'll discover what my God in heaven has in store- ONE DAY MORE...

 and with that, my favorite songs had told a tale,  I left some of the songs out. You missed the really fun part about a love in the mail room, and  someones retirement, but I think you get an idea of what a day is like in my head at work on a sunny Friday afternoon, with the eternal battle of dreams and reality.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Seven Years, Wow!

So, based  off of Baltic time, Its already a new day, so even though I'm two hours away on PST, I'm calling it. Happy anniversary to me and all the missionaries on the plane with me seven years ago. Seven years ago, we left Riga Airport, flew to Sweden, Flew to Chicago, and I think most of us flew to Utah.  

 Wow! seven years. that's a long time. I feel old now. Its not helped by the fact that in tribute to my beloved Lithuania, I attempted to play basket ball for stake women's basketball night. Why does my hand hurt of all things? I mean, I understand my foot throbbing, I probably was jumping on it way more than it is ready for, but what the crap hand? come on!  

 I had nowhere near my old stamina and speed, but then I haven't really been able to do much of anything in the name of sports for nearly a year. Still with floor hockey my puck handling made up the difference, not so in basketball. Turns out my foot speed was a lot of my skill. I now have no foot speed, or maybe one speed- snail.  

 Still, if I can't honor my beloved Baltics with my mad basketball skills, perhaps it will be enough for me to finally grace them with my presence after seven years of promising to return?  My Lithuanian has to be less rusty than my basketball skills, Right? We will soon find out. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Survived a Five Hour Commute? Now Its Time for the Hunger Games

When I left for work at five thirty this morning, I was expecting my typical 3 hr round trip commute to work- 1.5 there, 1.5 back.  Well, It started well. The first half the journey stuck to the plan, the second half, not so much. 

 I decided to work late tonight, because I had a project that needed to be done. If I had left on time, I still would have spent a great deal of time sitting in traffic, on a nice warm bus. I didn't, and the second the ferry started to pull out an announcement came over the intercom that made me question that decision. 

 As happens at least once every six months, there was a massive car accident on the Agate Pass Bridge that connects Banbridge Island to mainland Kitsap County. I saw pictures, It looked horrible, and I hope everyone survives is. 

 That said, I wished I could have gotten off that boat, hopped on the Bremerton ferry, and caught a ride home with a friend, because I knew it was going to be a long long night, and it had already been a long day.  The accident happened at two, and the bridge was closed from my understanding at four. I left Seattle at four thirty.  My regular bus wouldn't have gotten me off the island on time, I would have been stuck in traffic till six. As it was, I ended up stuck at the ferry terminal, out in the cold four an hour waiting for the bridge to open and buses to get back to us. 

 I should have been reading a book, but I couldn't concentrate. Finally at around six fifteen some buses made it through to us.  We loaded and it was standing room only. People took turns rotating out of seats, because we were on the bus until 8.  Forty five minutes through, we weren't half way home, we were just half way across Bainbridge- normally I think getting all the way across takes 10-15 min, maybe 20 if its rush hour.  I read a book and FB chatted with a friend in Ireland, until I realized I needed to save my battery. 

 I was really really blessed in a lot of ways. 1- I didn't have to pee during this bus ride. 2- I wasn't hungry, strangely enough ( I was on the ferry). 3- I got a seat, in the back corner, so I couldn't rotate out to stand, and I have short legs so I didn't need to stand up after an hour to stretch them . 

About two hours after leaving the ferry terminal, 3.5 hrs after leaving work, I arrived home, threw dinner together and thought, Well, I survived that, What next?  Hunger Games!!!  Nothing cheers you up from a long hard commute home that realizing it could be much worse, you could be a citizen of Panem.  So I am watching Hunger Games, doing some laundry, and going to bed. EXHAUSTED.  Thank goodness I have friends to take care of my dog for me when things like this happen, my poor little buddy needed a potty break, a walk, and someone to love him.  Fourteen and a half hours is just too long for a little spunky Jack Russell to be all alone and bored.   

 Well, I survived, I know Katniss will too. night

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Con Life

 Words like "Cosplay" and "Panel"  lit up the corridors, and "Geek Chic" gaming tables of all kinds and sizes graced the Sky Bridge. A hand full of women, too averagely American in looks and size roamed the halls in costumes too skimpy to be considered family appropriate, unless in the process of creating their own. Grown men pranced about in tight spandex Superman and Spider man body suits. Some looked impeccable, and some looked inappropriate.

  Little children dressed as Ewoks posed side by side with parents dressed as Storm Troopers. Batmen were everywhere, and so were his villains- Baine, the Joker, and Two-Face. Despite the hand full of over exposing costumes, most of them are fun, family appropriate and totally awesome. That is Cosplay- dressing up, and this was Emerald City Comicon 2013.  Despite how odd that first paragraph sounds, it really is something unique and amazing to go to a Comicon. I am by no stretch of imagination an expert. This was my second "Con"  and both times I went in Seattle.

At first it can seem like such and odd and foreign place, but after an hour or so, you can feel your soul just becoming a part of the fun and imagination that surrounds you.  My favorite thing about Comicon is the people watching. Oh how I love it. Its better than normal people watching, because its like people watching on Halloween with people who are completely in character. I am always amazed at what I see, mostly in a good way. People are also very friendly, new friends can be made quite quickly just because you have a geeky passion in common. I didn't try it, but they even had speed dating. I wanted to, thought it would be fun, but I didn't want to loose my group, and most of them are in relationships, so no speed dating.

 This year, Comicon sold out for Saturday, It was packed, and it was fun. It has gotten better every year. The guest list was incredible, someone for everyone, and if not, Patrick Stewart is all you need to know- because he is for everyone. They even had the costumes from Hunger Games on display, which was freaking awesome. I took loads of pictures so I can make a better Katniss costume in future.  My favorite part every year however, has been the panels.

 Guest stars will take one hour (or more) spots and just talk to an auditorium full of fans. Half the time is spent talking with a host, answering questions and joking around, and then they let the fans ask their questions. Its nice, because its usually hilarious, and after hours and hours of walking around carrying cameras or maybe heavy swords and costume pieces, one can sit down and take a load off.

 This time I went to two panels. One for the actress that played Tonks on Harry Potter, and one for Michael Shanks who has been on a number of programs including my favorite- Stargate SG-1. I was really looking forward to the second one, and went to the first one just because I had time. I had more fun at the Tonks panel. That actress is a riot! and super talented and personable,hilarious,  and we had close seats so we could see.

 Michael Shanks got lost, so that panel started nearly a half hour late. They had a giant screen set up, but didn't have it hooked up or something, so we couldn't see Mr. Shanks from the back. He was fun, but because of the short time, it wasn't as much fun as Tonks. Also there was a crazy German lady in the audience sitting close by where I was, and she was being really inconsiderate of everyone else around her in the room, standing up to take pictures constantly, so we couldn't see, and just wondering about the room a lot. It was a packed room, we all wanted a picture, and we all wanted to see.   Michael Shanks is an incredible actor, and from what we got of the panel, I think I would have enjoyed if we had got the whole hour, or at least if they had the TV screen so us in the back could see.

 Over all , it was a great, but exhausting day. Much needed fun, joy and spontaneity. Full of happy surprises- Like this, My encounter with three Doctors- and the Tardis. Next year, I plan to go again, and to dress up.   This was a really happy day to make up for the wave of sadness that hit me when my roommate said goodbye and left  with the last of her stuff leaving me alone in a kind of empty house.  I was a lot more sad about that than I thought I would be. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Leprechaun Awareness Month

 I love St Patricks day. Its my favorite. I plan to celebrate it hard core Mormon style this year, just like every year with Leprechaun sprite. Its magical regular sprite that turns green when you pour it into a clear glass. Its my favorite thing from my childhood. 

 I just found out that Dublin has a Leprechaun museum. I intend to visit this museum when I go to Ireland in May.   I love March. I love St. Patricks day. I love corn beef and cabbage, and I love boxty. Happy day to all, and welcome to March.