I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Monday, February 28, 2011


Day 59

Non-stop, busy day! One of those days that feels like you were at work for 2 hours because you were so involved you didn't realize time had passed. One of those days that you just cannot get away for lunch until your stomach absolutely insists and you squeeze in 15 minutes to eat (while still doing work). I like those days. Especially when you are so tired because you can't get a complete night's rest because of the brace on your sprained wrist, and you know you're fighting yet another illness. 

But what was even more nice was that because I had a morning meeting, my work shift was moved earlier so that I had the evening off. Which meant I was able to attend the much-anticipated Ward Talent Show! And let me tell you, nothing compares to Ward Talent Shows like a Young Single Adult Ward Talent Show. Especially out here in Utah (SO much better than the ones in the east). 

First, it had me thinking (and cringing) of all the talent shows I've participated in--both school and Church.

-My first debut: a duet with my sister at the Ward Talent Show. I was 8. We sang "Love is Spoken Here." My I remember rehearsing for that. And feeling like I would just never get it, considering my sister's voice and talent.
-Very shortly after my debut (as in a few minutes later), I had a 2nd performance. 5 of us kids singing "I Point to Myself."
-A YW in Excellence Talent Show-like activity had me singing a duet with my friend Amy. We sang "Because I Have Been Given Much."
-Possibly at the same YW thing, I sang "Angel Lullaby" as a solo. 
-Junior High Talent Show. I auditioned a duet in 7th grade. Elizabeth and I tried "Right Here Waiting." With a dance during the instrumental. We didn't make it. Still embarrassing to remember the audition. 
-Either the same year or the year following, I also auditioned for a dance solo. This was hugely monumental (for rarely does ANYONE see my interpretative dancing, as it is personal and sacred to me), and also hugely embarrassing for me. I offered my lack of talent to others. Something so very special to me. And it was not accepted. Probably what kept me from ever wanting to share that again. Too personal to me to handle the rejection. (And the fact that I know I'm not good.)
-9th grade. I finally made it. I sang a solo. "On My Own." I really don't know what people thought of it. I'm not even sure I remember what I think of it. I just know I sang it because I loved it. And it was long before I knew how cliche of a song it was.
-YW talent show (my last) saw me attempting "Moonlight Sonata" at the piano. I worked so hard in preparation for that one. It will never be a beautiful performance, but that song is a part of me.
-same, last YW talent show also had my solo of "To Bring Them to Thee."
-BYU Talent Shows (can't remember which ones where) saw me singing the duet "In His Eyes" twice, once with my good friend Miranda and once with my roommate Dawn. 
-As an adult, I actually participated in family Ward Talent Shows. Two of them. One was me singing "Someone Like You." And accompanying myself on it. Those two never go well together.
-The other. Oh. Eek. I have it on tape. And I'm still embarrassed and slightly humiliated about. But I had just seen "Wicked" and HAD to do something! So I sang "Popular."

And that's pretty much why I really didn't want to participate in any more talent shows. Not doing my "real" talents anyhow. They were just, well, too serious. People applauded the talent. But I think they were bored to death. And I'm so critical of myself. Talent shows were not the best medium for me. Singing at other functions deems much more room for lacking and mistakes (in my opinion). Thus, I was determined not to participate in another one again.

But happily, I had fun roommates who were clever and talented and full of enthusiasm. And though my part was pathetic, I got to take part in a humorous and popular talent--that was one of the most fun times I've ever had: The Collegiate Cook-Off Championship!

So it was enjoyable to have those memories. But I was also happy to stay safely in my seat and laugh at what I saw, and admire the more serious talents as well. Too bad the sound system was really off.

Thus, today I am grateful for reflection (and knowing that I have not hid my candle under a bushel even if they were painful experiences that still leave me embarrassed) as well as seeing others' abilities to sing, play, dance, and especially provide an enjoyable evening for the rest of us.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm Full

Day 58

I had a day full of spiritual messages to contemplate, ponder, ingest, and relish in. We had Ward Conference tonight. Our Sacrament speakers were the Bishop and Stake President. Sunday School was taught by a CES teacher and consequently a member of our stake presidency. Relief Society was taught by a member of the Stake Relief Society presidency (maybe even the president herself). And the stake fireside this evening was taught by the same counselor who taught Sunday School. Each message carried spiritual food for thought and growth. I especially liked the Fireside's message of obtaining "bags with no holes"(Haggai 1:6; Luke 12:33), who can fix our bags with holes, and how to either avoid bags with holes or how to (eternally) invest in bags with no holes. This brother is really good with object lessons, so I liked seeing what he used.

I also loved hearing the musical numbers in Sacrament, R.S., and the fireside. The first two had a few musically off moments. But as I could feel the Spirit through their message and their testimonies in their offerings, it was still uplifting. Still, I cannot help feeling my soul swell to hear a lovely piece of music done so well and beautifully and also full of the Spirit. And that was the brothers' duet of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" at the Fireside.

The Lord has offered me a spiritual banquet on this Sabbath day, and I am so gratefully stuffed!

P.S. The stake is now embarking on a 2-month study of "The Living Christ" document in preparation for Easter. It makes me more excited to keep studying, and grateful that I made my music video for it to help me memorize and more internalize it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Temple, Food, and Friends--Great Combination

Day 57

I could choose my gratitude today as my first party here in my new home. It was a success. How could anything involving Amazing Grace not be a success? I had 4 guests, from Utah Parts 1, 2, and 3 of my life. It was kind of neat. Especially to see that all 3 parts were connected. Part 1 is cousins with someone who was in the same ward as both Part 2-ers and myself. And Part 1 is in the same stake as Part 3 and me. So, it was rather fun. And we enjoyed conversing. And I had a good evening. I am grateful for that.

But I am more grateful for our ward Salt Lake Temple trip. There were not as many as there should have been. But it was a good group. I enjoyed my car load of people. Good conversations both ways. Wonderful to be in the Salt Lake Temple again (my 3rd time to do an endowment session there). And nice to be in the same session with not only people I know from the ward, but also the bishop, one of the counselors, the stake president, one of his counselors, and their wives. And then for our small group to be treated to a wonderful lunch at The Garden Room in the Joseph Smith building! The food was great, the company was wonderful, and the conversation were enjoyable. It was one of the best temple trips for so many reasons.

And I was so grateful to share that wonderful experience from the Lord with friends and ward members.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Money Matters

Day 56

Getting the taxes done.

For the second time on my own.

And even though the self-employment tax took out a huge chunk of a possible refund, I still don't have to owe money.

And considering the recent (and kind of expensive) ER visit, and my struggles to financially adjust to this new life, and my strong desire and tries to get out of debt...

I am so grateful for a Savior who knows financial woes and sends little blessings in that regard--including not having to owe anything for my taxes this year.

P.S. I definitely attribute that to my new resolve last year in how I chose to pay my tithing. Tithing is always a most definite blessing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Because I Knew That

Day 55

I am grateful for having a testimony of various subjects related to the Gospel and how the Church is run. Even the difficult ones. Especially the difficult ones. For when they are discussed and taught in class, like tonight's Institute, I can nod and agree and know.

I remember how difficult it was for me in my Nauvoo semester when we were in our Teachings of Joseph Smith class. Some things spoken of were so very difficult for me. So hard. Spiritually shaking, even. It was a foundational block of my preparation to enter the temple. For I was able to see one of the ways I learn, and how I'm affected by new things, or going deeper into things I thought I knew. It has helped me in the ~9 years since control how I react (or don't react) to things that come in to my life.

So when the more difficult subjects come up, I no longer am thrown for a loop and overwhelmed. Not much anyhow. But when it is something that I have experienced for myself and gained a testimony for and of (like tonight's Institute topic, or one of Elder Scott's Conference talks a few years ago), I can nod with assurance that I know the truth of those matters. And my testimony can be added to.

And I'm grateful for each opportunity--no matter how difficult they were at the times--that the Lord has given me for experience and growth in my knowledge and my testimony to not only prepare me for those moments, but allow for deepening of what I have been able to gain up to that point.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not Small to Me

Day 54

Pre-planning and preparation. Very important things. For had I just waited until the activity, I would have learned that not only did our laptop's speakers not work, but that it also has no CD or DVD drive. A very important feature if one plans to show a movie.

They could seem trivial to others, but I think the Lord is mindful of the trivial just as much as the great, because in the end it is not as trivial to me and my testimony and my gratitude.

P.S. And another night full of friends and talking and laughing--bliss!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Time

Day 53

All I can say at this late, late hour at the end of a long, long day is that I'm grateful for the Lord's timing. That my insurance card could finally come in the mail on the day (night) that I needed it most--so I could make my trip to the ER and have my pained wrist X-rayed and treated.

Yes, the Lord's mindfulness of my finances and my health is amazing--and one I'm very grateful for!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rolling Along Together

Day 52

I had a slightly lazy day. Playing some games. Reading. Watching movies. I took a walk to the grocery store (and being able to say that brings such a smile). Lovely to have a day off. It also meant I could attend our Stake Family Home Evening. Which was roller skating. I hadn't been roller skating in about 7 years. And my knees could still remember the pain from the two falls I had. If I were better and not so afraid of maiming myself in any and all activities, I would probably enjoy roller skating more. But I was wary about going this evening. Especially as I had thoroughly enjoyed my hermit day. And was nervous about all of those people I didn't know in a place I was not familiar with in a situation I didn't know exactly what to expect from. (All of these being some of my main causes for social anxiety.)

But, I went. I had after all said I would try to go to every social thing that I could. And working Monday evenings means FHE attendances are not frequent. And the stake had paid for it. So I went. And even got skates, because the stake might as well get its money's worth.

How wonderful it was to recognize people from my new ward, and have them excited to see me. And to enjoy sitting and talking or eating with them. And have some of them beg me to come out and skate with them. And one or two of them very kindly taking it slow with me. And one "stranger" from another ward invite me to do the 3-person challenge--which had my heart racing and me screaming with terror and fun because I was so bad at it, and have two people pick me up both times I fell. Once my heart calmed down, I realized it had been thoroughly exciting and thrilling. And probably the best part of the whole evening for me. But I would never have said so during the challenge!

I even did the Hokey Pokey. I know. I hate that dance. (As well as the Chicken dance, which I did afterwards as well.) Always have. Of course, before I even got to participating in the dance I don't like, I couldn't stop myself getting out to the circle. 'Cause I'm not good in stopping when I roller skate. (Read: I can't do it!) And I ran smack into my friend and some unknown boy. And fell back and down. With the entire Hokey Pokey circle watching me. And it could have been embarrassing, but the immediate replay in my mind of how I must have looked to everyone had me laughing as much as I was probably blushing. And the two people I "attacked" quickly helped me to my feet. In fact, I think that was one of my favorite things all evening--not only seeing SO many people falling (because some of those falls were hilarious, as I'm sure mine was), but seeing how eager and quickly SO many people were reaching out to help up the fallen. Ah--such spiritual symbolism to be had there.

By the end of the activity, I was exhausted. A bruise on the elbow from one of the 3-person falls, and a huge bruise on my lower palm from the Hokey Pokey fall. My crooked knees were getting weary and my legs were tired. And I was perfectly happy in watching others skate and laughing with my new ward members--truly feeling like I'm making friends.

And that was the bestest of the best parts of the whole evening--starting to feel like I belong in this place the Lord has brought me to.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Shrink Not from Your Duty"

Day 51

I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting today. I haven't given a talk in about 18 months (of course, in all that time I was frequently teaching Relief Society!), and this was my first talk in my new ward. Again, I was given a topic that has a personal application. Previously, I've been asked to speak about

-my family history--and what the work means to me
-my pioneer ancestry
-why I feel temple work is important
-my father

This time, my topic was Duty to God--and what it means to me.

I'm finding a pattern here. These topics are very introspective, helping me reflect on various aspects and strengthen my knowledge and testimony of these aspects. It was no different with this particular topic. Indeed, I gained much from it. I thought on it a lot while I was at the temple on Friday. One aspect was wonderful, in coming to see some of the reasons I have chosen to live parts of my life as I do. I was also filled with not seeing just how much I owe my Father, but how blessed I have been and grateful I am for those blessings and why would I not want to try to give all I owe--even if I'll never, ever be able to re-pay Heavenly Father or my Savior.

With four speakers, I didn't have long to speak. I was first. I began by explaining the duty means something required of us, that usually involves action and commitment and not just something that should be done. It implies a debt owed. Next I read a scripture that has meant a great deal to me since Primary days. Mosiah 2:34 - "I say unto you, that there are not any among you...but what knoweth that ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are." Then I shared a few personal insights of how I feel I could do more in my debt to my Father. And I ended with what I felt was the most important part of my duty to God--not that I should or ought to fulfill it, but because I want to. I even quoted the hymn's chorus, "Do your duty with a heart full of song."

With only 7 minutes, you can imagine that I didn't share anywhere near the many thoughts I'd had over the few days I reflected on this topic. Thus, I wanted to share some more of them here. Because I gained so much, and I don't want to forget it. Especially as I think it will be very important in helping me right now at this point in my life in my aim for improvement, better spiritual and physical habits, enduring emotional pain, and generally becoming more the daughter that Heavenly Father wants me to be. I'm thinking of making a little reminder note (like the many others I have on my wall) to help me be better in fulfilling my duty to God.

*I have been greatly blessed to be endowed with power from on high. 
-Do I not owe my Father trying to go to the temple as often I can to be reminded of my covenants, to know them better and try to live them better, and to also extend that work to those who have already passed on?
-It is my desire and goal to try to go weekly to the temple as long as it is in my power physically and "locationally." If the temple is a bit further away, then it is my desire and goal to try to go monthly to the temple. In good time, researching, and preparation, I also want to take family names to the temple when possible.

*I have been blessed with a large, wonderful family. 
-Do I not owe my Father doing all I can to deepen and strengthen the relationships I have with each of those members? Even though many of us live far apart, have I not been blessed with technology to shorten that distance? Thus, do I not owe to do what I can to not just have an eternal family, but to help build us that we would not want to spend eternity without each other?
-It is my desire to try and write or call my nieces and nephews who are far away, that I may become the "Sheri Dew aunt" whom they have good friendships and relationships with. Whom they will want to spend time with, and want to talk to. It is my desire to let my siblings know how much I have always loved them, and still look up to them. It is my desire to feel equal with them even when I feel so far behind them in so many ways. It is my desire and goal to keep in touch with them and support them however I can.

*I am given 6 entire days to do what I want to. 
-Do I not owe my Father one whole day? Not just a few hours in a day. The entire day. And in all honesty, if I devote that day to Him, am I not blessed anyhow for that devotion? It's a double-blessing! :-)
-It is my desire and goal to study the Gospel more on the Sabbath. To attend my Church meetings with a proper attitude and willing heart and good Spirit. To spend my non-Church hours in service (whether in person or through the written word). To be reverent. To not watch, read, or listen to secular things that could be done on any of the other 6 days. To improve familial and friend relationships.

*I have so many books to read. Such a wealthy access to them as well--most of them for free! I am blessed to read books upon books.
-Do I not owe my Father a few minutes every day to immerse myself in His books? His words? To eagerly read return to reading them as I do some of the fictional fluff that I read?
-It is my desire and goal to be better at my daily Book of Mormon study (at least a chapter a day, being sure to read through the Book of Mormon once through completely every year). It is my desire and goal to more fully establish my daily Gospel study, improving my scripture knowledge as well as my Gospel knowledge. It is my desire to memorize more scriptural passages, thus instilling them more in my heart and mind and helping me to better live God's words and not just know them.

*I have been blessed with music in my life. Songs that have touched my life so much. I can remember lyrics to songs by Josh Groban, and the Monkees, and so many musicals. 
-Do I  not owe my Father to know the words to His hymns?
-It is my goal to memorize each of the hymns in our LDS hymnal.

*I am blessed to go and see, write to, or call almost anyone I desire to.
-Do I not owe my Father a few minutes several times a day to speak with Him?
-It is my desire and goal to have more meaningful, thoughtful, sincere prayers with my Father throughout the day. I desire to not only improve my communication "skills"with Him, but to also improve my relationship with Him as well as my Savior.

*I am blessed with not just a job, but a job in my desired field.
-Do I not owe my Father an honest labor and kind temperament in the vocation and employment he has blessed me with?
-It is my desire to give what I can to my job and to the patrons I serve, to do so cheerfully, and to take opportunities to help me be better and more knowledgeable at what I do. But mostly it is my desire to never forget Who has given me these skills, and Whose children I am able to serve.

*I am blessed with a lovely home and a fairly healthy financial situation/support.
-Do I not owe my Father frequent thanks as well as wise choices?
-It is my goal to be more wise with money and material things. It is my goal to be more prepared, as the Church leaders counsel.

*I am blessed with a voice. I am allowed to sing what I want, and usually when I want. I have been given wonderful choir, group, and solo opportunities literally around the world. Some of that can be said for my piano skills.
-Do I not owe my Father to use that voice and piano skills to praise Him? To help others either praise Him or feel His spirit? To express my testimony?
-It is my desire to use my musical talents where and when possible to praise God and bear my testimony.

*I am blessed to have a life to myself. So much time and opportunity to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
-Do I not owe my Father time devoted to not only improve myself as a Daughter of God, but to use all of this wonderful time to prepare myself for marriage and family--and to do so joyously and gratefully?
-It is my goal and desire to love my life. To be happy and joyous. To be more and more grateful. And to take every advantage of all this time to become...more.

*I--and each of us--has been blessed with the most wonderful gift ever, one beyond all comprehension: the Atonement.
-Do I not even more than anything else owe my Father and His Son for this atoning sacrifice in my behalf? Do I not owe more gratitude for this sacrifice? More attempt to live righteously? More...everything?
-It is my desire to be more deserving of this sacrifice by doing all in my power to be obedient and grateful and mindful. To help others where I can. To do all required of me to build God's kingdom. To do and be more.

But most importantly, to do all of this because I want to.

How truly grateful I am for my duty to God, and my recent time to reflect on what it really does mean to me and how I can better fulfill that duty.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

With Me

Day 50

A very full day. Full of...interesting. Busy at work. "New" projects that are fun but a learning effort for me. People needing so much help. Computer patrons (the same as always) who ask for help (the same help as always). And then, uh, interesting company in the evening. And tired all day from so little sleep because I was wide awake for hours after a crying spell.

And oddly enough, I'm most grateful for that crying spell. For I need it. It is a part of my healing. And I'm usually too busy--or avoiding--to have these spells. But it's not that I love crying.

It's that I know my Savior knows what I'm going through, understands, and is always there to hold my heart during these crying spells.

Do others truly know and feel just how wonderful being "encircled about in the arms of His love" really is?

Friday, February 18, 2011


Day 49

Totally not in the plans I made when I left the house.

Riding the transit system to the Salt Lake temple ended up in me driving to Ogden to attend the temple there.

It was a humorous (though at the time irksome) progression. But I couldn't be more grateful that the "far away" temple still took less miles round trip than one-way to the temples I was close to in my last residence.

And I was grateful for the time I had to sit and reflect in the temple. I thought upon my topic for my talk this Sunday. And I gained a lot personally, especially in gratitude and recognizing the Lord's hand in my life.

He is there, in every little bit of it--and I am so grateful for Him watching out for me, and "leading me along."

The Lord Is My Light, no. 89
1. The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
By day and by night his presence is near.
He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.

2. The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
Then how can I ever in darkness remain?

3. The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I’ll conquer at length.
My weakness in mercy he covers with pow’r,
And, walking by faith, I am blest ev’ry hour.

4. The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
There is in his sight no darkness at all.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
With Saints and with angels his praises I’ll sing.

The Lord is my light;
He is my joy and my song.
By day and by night he leads,
He leads me along.

Text: James Nicholson, 1828–1876
Music: John R. Sweney, 1837–1899

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Day 48

In Institute, my teacher was mentioning a statistic of the 3 most traumatic experiences for adults.

1. Death of a loved one
2. Divorce
3. Moving to a new community

I laughed. Truly. Out loud. I'm not sure where he got the statistic, or how old it was. And the point was not stressful events (for if it were, my guesses of marriage, pregnancy, etc. would have qualified). But whatever, it made me feel just a little bit better.

You see, I used to hate moving. But now I despise it. I've moved enough for it to go from hate to despise. And I have noticed in the last few years that I am not the most pleasant person when I move--both in preparation for it, the actuality of it, and the ends of it when I'm unpacking, etc. The whole change and everything is very wearing on me, and upsetting. And I come out as rather a beast during the whole affair.

In the last ~10 years of my life--which have been the years since I entered adulthood--I have moved 13 times. At least eight of those could be considered a new community as far as local things not being familiar and/or a completely new ward and/or completely new neighbors and such. No wonder some of my stress levels are so high!

And while I don't like to make excuses for my bad behavior, it was relieving to know that there was a "just" cause. A true reason. Over and over not only did the stress rise, but so did the trauma of having to adjust to a new community. New places. New roads. New laws. New taxes. New people. Considering my social anxieties, these are traumatic indeed. So, no, I'm not excusing my being a beast.

But I'm grateful to see some reasons behind the behavior, to know that the Lord understands what I'm going through, and to hopefully learn from it each one and be ready for the next, inevitable move that lies somewhere in my future.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stress Less!

Day 47

I think my greatest gratitude right now is that my headache has not been severe these last few days. And that I have understanding co-workers. And to realize that I've only had about 3 headaches since moving here.

I'm grateful the Lord led me to a place and situation with much less stress and helps me to physically bear it up. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Room to Grow

Day 46

I'm now officially involved in Summer Reading for this system. Part of me wondered if I wanted to embark on such a huge undertaking (being that the system is huge and I have lots of things I'm already trying to learn). But then I realized that I've been involved in Summer Reading--to some rather large extents in some years--for the last 5 years. I wouldn't feel normal if I were not involved. And what better way to learn how it is done in this new system than to be involved with it? And as I was at the meeting, I actually enjoyed it. Not just the meeting, but being involved.
Getting to know all of these many people I am supposed to be acquainted with.
Feeling up to par in how things are run because of the experience I've been able to have.
Seeing myself become more a part of this system that I really wondered if I could belong before a few years had passed.

I could never have imagined that such opportunities and experiences could have awaited me, and I'm so grateful the Lord brought me to it!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh the Possibilities!

Day 45

I woke with remnants of last night's headache. Enough that I knew I needed to take it easy or it would come in full force. It lingered, but was bearable. Still, that certainly wasn't the happiest start to the day.

So it was with some elation and happiness when I was leaving my apartment to do some laundry and find, laying at my door, a cold, solitary, white flower. (I, the wannabe botanist, am terrible about what flowers are what, but my guess is it's a tulip.) The poor thing was so cold. But I put it in some Kangen water and it perked up beautifully. I have to resist from taking more pictures than is needful. :-)

Then, of course, the fun began:

Who left the flower?

Somehow it became even more fun when I realized the options are relatively few because less than 10 people know where I live. But each one that came to mind brought a smile, that I wanted to enjoy each one. Here are the possibilities:

1. My brother. He definitely knows where I live. And he wakes up insanely early to be on his way to work. If he is able to work out where he goes, he could have swung by here and left it. And if that were so and possible, that would have been very sweet of him.

2. One of the elders. There were four elders who helped me move my things in. 
    a. One is the ward mission leader who always smiles and says hello to me. He was one of my partners at the Latin dancing FHE. It would be like him to want to make the new girl (new to everything!) have a smile on Valentine's Day.
    b. One is one of the Elders' Quorum presidents. We met at Waffle Wednesday. He is in my Institute class. And I've been in wards before where the EQ want to give a smile to the sisters in the ward, and either deliver chocolate or flowers or something. 
    c. I can't remember what one of their callings was, but I have seen him at my work once. And we happened to sit in the same pew yesterday. He, too, says hello and asks how I'm settling in. He and elder #4 could have brought something also for the EQ possibility.

3. One of my 3 sister friends who has been to the apartment complex. Of course, they only know which building I am in. They didn't really know the apartment, unless they have excellent memories and heard me say something in passing. Either way, it would be sweet if any of those 3 sisters left the flower.

4. My friend from BYU #2 who has been by to visit. He is the kind to want to deliver a smile, though I would think my place is out of his way.

5. The older couple from my "home" ward (family ward building across the street) who came by to see what members were living where.

6. The least likely of all, but possible someone else in the ward who has access--or got access--to my address, and then hunted around the many buildings until they figured out which one was mine.

Each of these possibilities makes me happy. But not just because it's which one is actual. It's that each one is possible. It's hard to describe it, but it is all of the possibilites--individually and together--which is what brings the happiness and gratitude today.

And I'm grateful that not only did the Lord prompt someone to bring that happiness to me, and that the someone followed it, but that I know each of those possibilities was possible because of people who honestly and truly care about me--flower delivered or not.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On this the Sabbath Day

Day 44

Who would have thought that Church could have been so great, fun, funny, and spiritually fulfilling? Granted, I did pray that I would be able to gain much from my day at Church. I really needed it, since last Sunday I just wasn't quite....um, there? With it? Don't know how to describe it. But I wanted a good Sabbath day.

So when the first speaker announced the topic assigned to all four speakers, I began to wonder:

What Women Want (...in Guys)

Yeah. It went along with the whole Valentine's thing. And both the brothers and the sisters spoke on it. As one brother said, "It's all about the women today."

But they actually all did quite well. I was laughing, of course. The first sister's talk was fabulous. I agreed with so much and was grateful that she spoke on it respectfully, reverently, and honestly. She also quoted Elder Oaks famous "No hanging out" talk, which I don't think can ever be over-quoted. The first brother's talk was very sweet and sincere, and scripturally based. Both of those speakers are engaged. Kind of relieving to hear them speak. The other talks went well, too. And add to that, the hymns were very inspiring and uplifting for me. Considering all that has been creeping into my consciousness in the last week, I really needed this. And needed it done lightly but still seriously and spiritually. 

But it didn't end there. The Sunday School lesson was incredible. It was on the Savior's miracles. And I even spoke up. More than once. I shared my recent experiences with my Locked-In Syndrome friend, as it was standing out to me a lot as I prepared for this lesson. The teacher had a wonderful, upbeat, positive, energetic style. And the class was very responsive and full of discussion. Absolutely wonderful. And I was very much filled with the Spirit on the reality of miracles then, and miracles now. And seeing all of the many miracles in my life both past and present.

The day could have been complete and wonderful just there. Especially as a headache and a low-protein episode hit me in the evening and I was laying down waiting for them to pass or at least run their course. So it was a shock yet a great joy to finally receive a phone call from my best friend. If I'd known he was going to call, I would have cancelled my plans to walk to ward prayer with one of my friends. But it was probably best that I didn't, else we would have talked twice as long as we did and it was already late for him to still be awake. Still, it was a great end for my day, especially as I was laying there in pain and it distracted me while also made me feel less alone.

I love spiritually, mentally, and emotionally uplifting Sabbath days--and I know the Lord knows, intends, and loves that, too.

Together Forever

Day 43

We had a stake Relief Society temple day. First we met for lunch. Which was yummy. Especially the berry pie. Oh yum. Then we had a message from a Temple Presidency member and his wife.

And I quote:

"Well, sisters. All I can say is there are a lot of dumb men out there." - President Bateman

It made me smile.

But the best part was that after lunch, we split off to do whatever work we wished. And as I hadn't done so in a few months (and it coming up on Valentine's Day and it is tradition for me), I did sealings.

I so love sealings! And we had a good group. And I got to hear the ordinance in another language for the first time. The sealer occasionally jumbled up names, and we all kindly forgave and corrected him. But my first time to act as a daughter, he read the father's name as "Tice." And we all thought he had flubbed again. So he and the witnesses looked again. Nope. The family was a Tice family. So, I, Sister Tice, acted proxy for another Sister Tice. It was neat. My line comes from Germany, and they were from England. But you never know....

I think there is nothing greater for a celebration of love than sealing families together--and I'm grateful that my Savior makes eternal families possible.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do You Wanna Dance?

Day 42

I felt that I should go to the disco-themed Valentine's dance for our stake. I figured I shouldn't let the last and quite awful experience persuade all of my feelings and opinions about dances, even if the dances just haven't been the same over the last however many years. So in spite of not feeling all that healthy, I knew I needed to go. I needed a distraction. And I had the "kinda promise" about going to whatever social things I could go to.

So, I followed the prompting and went.

And, of course, the Spirit (hence the Lord) were correct in knowing that I needed it. Of course, I had to make sure my attitude was what it should and needed to be, which certainly made a difference. I had SO much fun! I think it helped that they played more music that I was familiar with. And didn't know people well or at all, so was less self-conscious than typical. And had free chocolate and cookies. And the music wasn't ridiculously loud. And I had some friends there. And....

Well, I had a wonderful time and a great workout and it didn't matter how emotionally or physically upset I was--I was happy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Always Learning

Day 41

I still can't get over Institute. Not that I'm surprised by it. Just can't get over the joy I get to be learning and feeling what I do. See, much of what my teacher goes over are things I know. He is making sure to pull many of the students out of the stereotypical mind-frames concerning the Book of Mormon of Gospel principles. You know--the ideas and "traditions" we start to latch on to. It isn't harmful per se, but it (in my opinion) hinders deeper learning. For example, so many people think the prophet Abinadi was old. All because of the well-drawn painting of the amazing Arnold Frieberg. But some years ago I had a strong inclination to think that Abinadi very well could have been young--and oh what a change in the story it made for me! Little things like that, but still important to pull us out of that. (My teacher even brought that particular instance up.)

So much of what he does or says is not new to me. It's very reassuring to me to see how much I've come to learn in the last years of studying. To appreciate the study habits I've worked around, altered, and done whatever else to get the most out of. It will always be a work in progress. But I'm grateful to see the connections I've made, and the knowledge I've gained--all through the Spirit.

And yet my teacher still always brings out something new (if not a few more than that) that just hits home. Or something I've known but he words it so simply and clearly. The entire Gospel is being connected before me--and in such excitement yet reverence. And it lifts me so much. It has been a while since I've had a teacher who regularly does this. In the last couple of years, a lot of my learning was all on my own. Not that that is bad. But it is so wonderful to have a teacher--knowledgeable and full of the Spirit--to guide me along in paths of learning.

I love Institute and am so grateful not only for the inspiration from the Lord to have it (and for me to attend!), but also for all that it has to offer me in my life right now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"I LOVE that [insert object of affection]"

Day 40

I went to Waffle Wednesdays again this evening. And it was so nice to be welcomed by every one there. And to be a part of it. ("I [was] makin' waffles!") And then to get into a fun, girly-gushing-involved conversation about our adorations concerning various musicals.


It has been a while since I could really gush (vocally) about one of my interests, and I believe He knew I was missing that and needed it. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good Fluff

Day 39

I love fun, simple, silly, fluff books! Those that catch your interest from the beginning, read fast, and keep you awake (which is saying something for me right now!). And I had such a book last night and this morning. It was fabulous. Delightful. Fun. Distracting. And well-written. Oh, what a difference.

I love when the Lord places things in our paths at the times He knows we will truly appreciate/enjoy/need/use them--even if it is "just a book."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Work and Play

Day 38

Today was my first Monday evening at this new job. Wow. It sure felt long. I know part of that was because this library closes later. And part of me wants to use the excuse that I'm still adjusting to time zone differences. But I don't know.

But long days still go by fast. Especially when you get hours of desk time. Time to work on fun, it-isn't-fair-to-others-that-I-get-paid-for-this work. Summer program planning. Review writing. Creativity attempting.

He certainly knows that I love to play at work! (And I am grateful.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Turtles and Friends

Day 37

This has been a weekend of friends and friendship. A friend from the BYU part 2 chapter of my life called and came by Saturday evening for a visit. It was very nice to catch up, and also nice to see how much the Lord knew this friendship was something I needed right now in not only this new chapter of life, but also with some of the personal struggles I'm having.

Then it was nice at Church to be able to call people by name and say hello and do the regular chit-chats of how one's week has been instead of the "Who are you" and such.

But what shocked me most was when one of the very friendly girls in the ward (who happens to share my name) sat next to me right before Sacrament meeting began. She turned and asked, "You're the one who likes turtles, right? I have a present for you!" And she handed me this little red sparkly bag and a spiritual quote and told me to open it right then. Inside, an adorable little sea turtle!

I'm not used to gifts, especially random out-of-the-blue ones. I have learned that gifts is not a love language of mine, unless it is truly meaningful with much thought and care behind it. (This is a whole different discussion that I'm not getting into right now.) So I sat there shocked that something that must have been told in passing to her a while ago was not only remembered, but acted upon. It was, I'm just....I don't even know how to describe it all. I still feel so new, and still feel very much like I don't fully belong here or in my new ward. And yet this girl was so outgoing and friendly and considerate and thoughtful.

And to me, she (and the cute little turtle) represents many of the people I have been getting to know--and how grateful I am the Lord has put such nice, friendly, welcoming people in my path.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Day 36

I do so love being busy at work again.

And I don't mean the kind of busy that I had for the last year where I was running all over trying to take care of this and that and everything else.

I mean having people constantly coming up to the reference desk seeking help. I love it! And the fact that they are so grateful for the help makes it an even more enjoyable experience for me.

But I do love that the Lord knows that often I function so much better at work when my brain is going 20 different directions and at all speeds, knows what the last 3 years have been like, and knows how much happiness this new position brings me.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Day 35

Another good temple visit. Very good.

And then a fun visit with family. We even went to an Asian buffet that had some really tasty food. (Including cheese wontons, a variety of sushi, and really good black pepper chicken.) It was a great way to wind-up my small recognitions of Chinese New Year. But it wasn't the great food that made the visit great.

It's getting to be close to family again!!! When all of my siblings who were nearby to my last home (and the nearest was 3 hours away), it began to take a very heavy toll on me. My family has always been everything to me. I don't know if that's my personality or having been the youngest for 10 years, or both. But at school, people used to tell me to stop talking about my family since that's all I ever talked about. And I feel very disconnected and incomplete being away from family. Last summer was very hard for me when the siblings all moved further away. It made my desire to leave "there" and move closer to family much stronger. Of course, I didn't expect that close to family would mean only half an hour away!

Yet one more reason to add to the ever-growing list of how the Lord knows best that I am to be here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

With the Spirit

Day 34

I wondered about the substitute teacher we had in Institute. It takes me a lesson or two to adjust to a teacher's style. At the beginning, I was struggling with adjusting to her style. But soon, I felt the Spirit and was left with so much food for spiritual thought that it ended up being a wonderful lesson.

The best part about teaching (especially where the Gospel is concerned), is that if the teacher has the Spirit and I strive to have it as well, then the outcome is always a good, needed growing experience/lesson that the Lord was just waiting for me to have.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In the Freezing Cold

Day 33

I went running today. Well, my kind of running is more like jogging. But I went. Funny that as I lay in bed, the thought of doing one of my cardio workouts--even the 20 minute one!--just seemed too *groan* and yet the thought of going running in the negative degree winter weather seemed appealing. Yes, it was the lazy part of knowing I'd only be able to make it four about 10 minutes. And yes, it was partly to be able to brag/prove/encourage myself that I could not only get back into running, but that I could do so in the winter. I guess the memory of all the many days I ran around at 5 am to deliver newspapers in every kind of Delaware and West Virginia weather (including winters much harsher than where I am now) has poked at me with its You-did-this-before-you-can-still-do-this taunting.

So I did.

And while my lungs screamed at me for a very long time after, I felt so invigorated that I did it. I ran for 10 minutes in negative weather with wind blowing and tears streaming and breath panting and legs crying. All bundled up. Wearing my awesome BYU paw gloves. And getting to listen to my own music on my iPod (one of the pluses against the cardio workouts).

Strange prompting, but I'm grateful I followed because the Lord knew how it would affect me for....how it always affects me even though I often forget.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Into the Warmth

Day 32

Maybe it's an odd thing to be grateful for.

But I don't think so.

From some of the shivering-because-I-can't-remember-ever-being-colder moments in my life, no. I don't think it is odd.

I am extremely grateful for warm, sheltered buildings with working heaters in which I can live and work.