Monday, June 28, 2010

An insight

I have a confession. I've been bad-mouthing someone that I know very well. For a long time.

Her name is Maria and I spend a lot of time with her. And she does a lot of things that make me roll my eyes or tell her things like "wow, that was smooth." Or, "Good one, Maria!" Or just "Maria!" in a somewhat exasperated tone of voice- or thought.

The funny thing is that I would never vocalize things like this about other people and even thinking them is fairly rare. So not long ago I decided that this Maria girl deserves better treatment, too. She's really a pretty neat person.

Today as I was driving home from work I suddenly remembered how, when I was a wee thing, my mother worked to instill in my siblings and I the good habit of not saying unkind things about others. If she caught us badmouthing a family member, we were often required to say five nice things about that person. We, of course, did not really like this, since we wanted to vent our frustrations out. But my mom was on to something. Words have power. The more time I spend speaking negative words, the more negative my life will be. The more I focus on the negative aspects of my life, the larger and larger they will loom. And the more I speak uplifting words, the more optimistic and happy I will be.

So, although I was laughing about it a little bit, today when I got after Maria for being less than perfect, I told myself that I got to say five nice things about her. Because all those harsh words and attitudes are bent on controlling. And frankly, I'm not interested in controlling myself. What I strive for now is to inspire myself. Control works from the outside in while inspiration works from the inside out. And how can I hope to inspire myself by telling myself uninspiring things and beating myself up for not being "perfect?"

I want to inspire myself to live up to my dreams and aspirations. And in so doing, I want to inspire those around me to be positive and uplifting, also. In fact, I want to inspire you to live from the inside out, dear reader. Go forth. Ponder a little. How can you be inspiring? And then- do it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mighty even unto power of deliverance

my ward is doing a Book of Mormon reading challenge this summer- we are all working to complete the Book of Mormon entirely between June 6 and September 30. I haven't read straight through the Book of Mormon for a while, so I am excited to do this.

One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is in the first chapter, the last verse in 1 Nephi 1. I feel that it is a bookend to accompany the oft-quoted Moroni 10:4-5, which is the concluding testimony and invitation to seek testimony of the Book of Mormon. My verse is 1 Nephi 1:20, where Nephi writes:

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

I love this scripture. I have a list of scriptures that explain reasons to read the Book of Mormon, and this is one of the first ones on the list. So, this time through the Book of Mormon, I am specifically looking for stories that expound on this scripture- stories where the Lord showers tender mercies on those who are mighty because of their faith. Some of them will make their way onto the blog.

How does the Lord shower His tender mercies on you?

Art sleuthing

There is a large painting in the Salt Lake temple right by the entrance to the women's dressing room of the Savior with the apostles gathered around Him in what is pretty clearly a depiction of the Last Supper. I've always loved something about the colors and light in the painting and the way it looks so intimate and personal. I can feel the tenderness of the Savior as He gives His followers the new law of the sacrament that will take the place of the animal sacrifices of the Law of Moses. I've always wondered who the artist is and whether or not I could track down the painting.

Last week when I was in the temple, I stopped and looked for the signature on the painting as I was walking past. The first name was pretty clearly "Walter," but the last name was a little trickier. It looked like it might be "Rome," but it could just have easily have been "Rame," or "Rone" or "Rane." But since that didn't leave me with *too* many options, I recited the name to myself over and over so I wouldn't forget it on the drive home.

Upon arriving home, I typed "Walter Rome" into Google and didn't find anything relevant. Lots of stuff about guys named Walter who have connections to the city Rome, though. I tried the variants and still didn't see anything useful. It was late and I didn't know what else to try, so I went to bed.

This afternoon, a few days later, I realized that I still had the tab open for my Google search for Walter the mystery artist. I decided to try a slightly different search and entered "Walter Rame Jesus Christ" into the engine. Somehow, adding those last two words was enough to bring up a link for the artist Walter Rane's website, including a link for purchasing the very print that I loved! Hooray! And now, at the risk of setting up this painting to sound amazing and having someone whose taste in art is different than mine be disappointed, I am including a link so anyone who feels so inclined can see the sight that always makes me happy when I'm leaving the temple. Voila. I have never purchased actual high-end art prints before so I'm still working out what the next step is, but it sounds kind of cool to get a rolled-up canvas delivered in the mail and get it framed . . . hmmm.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Party animals!

We had our annual work party tonight- at the zoo. Laura graciously agreed to be my guest, and we hung out with Trevor for most of the night. Much fun and excitement esued:

Hooray for fun evenings at the zoo!

Explanation of previous post

Last night I was working with some songs that Danielle and I recorded when I visited her house in March. I don't know much about GarageBand so I was playing around to get individual songs out as tracks and what have you. Then I got curious to see if I could upload an audio file anywhere that I frequent on the internet. I can't see how to do it on Facebook, but I did discover that mp3 files can be uploaded onto Blogspot as videos. Therefore, we have me singing, Danielle playing the piano, and Danielle's kids making noises in the background. Such fun memories. I'm so glad we recorded those songs :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010


A lot has taken place in my life and in my character recently and it's all swirling around inside me. I had an awesome day today. I had an opportunity to confirm to myself how powerful it can be to drop barriers and converse freely with people I love about hard things. I got to feel the spirit give me power and comfort and confirmation as I pondered the things I've been learning, and the things I've been prompted to do. I got to ponder on the fact that every experience in life is an opportunity to springboard into something greater.
You know something? Life is amazing when the dominant feeling I allow to be present is love. Love for myself, love for my family, love for God, love for all my brothers and sisters all over the world who I haven't met yet in this life. I've contemplated a lot the idea that Ghandi verbalized about how we must be the change we would see in the world, and I'm getting more and more excited by that. I get to change, I get to let go of the garbage that I've dragged through life with me and allow myself to fly by not tying myself down to anything that has-or hasn't- happened in the past. The word I use in church to describe that process is repentance. And it makes me so happy to know that I get to let go of the garbage of the world, free myself from the mire, and soar. The power is in me. I am an agent unto myself. I get to do the acting, not the being acted upon- if I so choose. That's exciting.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A little bit of sun

So here's a surprise. I like Phoenix. A lot more than I thought I would. I'm such a phytophyll that I've always declared that there's no way I could live in a place more dry than Utah- but I am rather fond of Phoenix. And it partly has to do with the plant life. I went on a walk through downtown Phoenix tonight and found a lovely little shopping center where I stopped for dinner and then sat in a public garden for a while. And while I use the term garden loosely, it was a lovely little place and very aesthetically pleasing.

I continued on my wanderings and stumbled across Arizona State University, and the Historic District, which are right next to each other. By now I had bean pods from a mimosa tree in my backpack and I was holding a beautiful white flower in my hand. I am such a nerd. And it makes me happy.

On my way back, I wandered through the grounds surrounding the Francisca Catholic church near my hotel- St. Mary of the Basilica. Here I was met by a mystery. I found trees that had the leaves of a cottonwood with the bark of a birch, while sporting the podlike fruit of a legume. O mystery tree, what art thou? This is one very frustrating thing about not knowing what the foliage is- it's very tricky to find out. I can try just pinching random descriptive words into Google, but that doesn't seem like it would yield much fruit.

Oh yeah, I went to my conference today, too. Met a lot of nice people in the cytogenetics field. Learned a lot about melanoma and bone marrow sample preparation. Had a very nice, fancy business lunch. Ran through my presentation probably about ten times- I still clock in at about 11 1/2 minutes when I run it without looking at my notes, which is a minute and a half too long. If I look at my notes, I can get it in ten, but I guess I like to talk and throw in extra things? How many more times can I practice this thing before I go crazy? Good thing that I will be presenting it in twelve hours . . .

When did I get grown up enough to give presentations at national conferences?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Living life freely

I am tuckered. A half day at work followed by flying to Phoenix to get ready for the conference is apparently wiping me out.

However, it has been a very good day, as well. I ended up sitting next to a very nice, chatty woman in her mid-70s on the plane named Trudy, and Trudy and I had a great conversation. It was so pleasant, in fact, that we talked all the way from Salt Lake to Phoenix. She told me all kinds of stories and asked me lots of questions, too.

Then as I was waiting for my shuttle to take me to the hotel, I chatted briefly with a man who was a CPA in town for a different conference. He told me he was from Iowa, "believe it or not."

I wasn't sure what I shouldn't believe, so I guessed where he was heading and replied, "yeah, I guess a few people do live in Iowa."

He laughed heartily and gently slapped me on the shoulder and said, "yeah, a few people and a lot of Indians."

Right then my shuttle came up, so I have no idea if he was being serious or not. But I must admit that I have never pictured Iowa as being populated by a lot of Indians. Huh.

Upon getting to the hotel and getting up to my room, I saw my friend Brad was online and started a chat with him. I thought I recalled that he was in Phoenix for the summer, and that proved to be correct. Turns out that his ward holds Institute on Wednesday nights, and he offered to give me a ride over. So I went to Institute. The lesson was an excellent one about the dealings of the Lord with Nephi, son of Helaman in the beginning of the Book of Helaman, and it covered several things that I've been pondering a lot lately. Maybe someday some of them will make it on to this blog. In any case, I was grateful for the unexpected opportunity for spiritual nourishment tonight.

After Institute, Brad and I hung around and talked to people for a while. One of the girls there has pet sugar gliders- with her. I'd never actually seen a sugar glider before, and I was fascinated. The glider just ran up and down the girl's shirt- and then jumped on to mine. We got to be friends there for a minute, and it was a cute little thing. Now I have held a sugar glider.

Now I'm back at the hotel- fanciest place I've ever stayed, I think. I just ordered room service for the first time. I'm on the 21st floor of the building, which is really interesting when going down in the elevator with one glass side. Great view of the city, now that the sun isn't glaring in to my room. I had a pretty good day. Now I will go take advantage of the king-sized bed I have at my disposal and sleep soundly.


I love accidental yummy things to eat. Today I threw together a sandwich for lunch and wound up with a surprisingly delicious delicacy. i strongly recommend:
turkey, provolone, green onions, and poppyseed dressing
Surprisingly good.