This week the big summer release is Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds in the lead. So far the studio has only allowed one critic to review it on Rotten Tomatoes.com– Karina Long from the Village Voice. Usually when critics are not allowed to screen a film it is not a good sign- typically indicating their desire to milk it for opening weekend profits before it fizzles with bad reviews.
I obviously have not seen the film but Karina’s review points out what I see as a major flaw in most summer movies (or blockbusters in general). She says:
“Campbell’s (the director) ADD style privileges spectacle over story — so much so that the film never rewards the viewer for even trying to keep track of what is going on.”
“It’s 10 minutes before a human character appears on-screen in Green Lantern, a personality-free franchise-launcher that builds toward…
Since I just did a post on pain I figured I need to lighten things up a bit. I do after all smile a lot.
So here are some things that make me happy:
1. Fresh Cut Flowers- I wish I could get them every day or even just go into a little flower shop and stare at them, smelling them and feeling of their cheerfulness. One of the things I love about New York is the flower shops. I wish I could find a place like that in Draper. They have one flower store but it is pretty sterile. I love fresh flowers and wish I didn’t have to buy them for myself all the time. Someday!
2. Hallmark Original Movies- In fact I am watching one right now and loving it. It is called Remember Sunday about a man who has no short term memory because of an aneurism. He falls in love but is afraid to tell the girl he can’t remember her. So sweet. Hollywood romantic comedies/dramadies have gotten so crass and crude. I love the old fashioned sensibility of Hallmark movies.
3. Homemade Jams- Anything preserved by a loved one is just so wonderful. I got the cutest stickers for my jam and I’ve felt so good whenever I can give a jar to a friend. It’s just so personal and delicious. Makes me smile! If any of you preserve anything please share and I am dying to learn how to make pickles, or to can my own marinara sauce.
4. An unexpected day off. I don’t know of much better than when the boss says ‘take an hour off early’ or ‘take the day off’. Even though I work from home I still don’t get as much time off work as I would like and a free day is so wonderful.
5. Necklaces- I love necklaces. Here are some of my favorites.
6. I love when I’m sitting in church and a toddler eyes me and I can get him to smile and giggle all the way across a room.
7. The feeling of diving into water and being surrounded by liquid
8. Cooking when I’m either really tired or full of free time. Most memorable example in this blog:
9. Comments on my blog!! They really do make me smile
10. A delicious book that you can’t put down. Just read Guernsey Literary Potato Pie Society and LOVED IT! I have read it once before but we were reading it for book club but it engrossed me even more this time. I didn’t want to put id down!
11. Entertaining and making everything beautiful. This is especially nice when I can make the people I love happy and they come to the party.
12. This painting of Jesus
13. Spending 2 hours talking with someone and then looking at your watch/phone and thinking ‘wow we’ve been talking this long’. (Just happened last night! Actually it happened twice yesterday)
14. Staying in a hotel and getting room service
15. Farmers Markets and Bountiful Baskets
16. Teaching others how to cook, swim, about politics, books. Whatever!
17. Winder Dairy milk delivered in bottles to my door.
18. Calls from my nieces.
19. My bedroom
20. The Mindy Project. Yes, it’s hilarious
21. I love ‘a-month clubs’. Right now I am in a cookie of the month club and it is pretty awesome. I love not knowing what cookie is coming and will arrive in my doorstep. I would totally be in more if they weren’t so expensive!
21. This makes me smile (along with tarts, candies, cookies and just about anything else that is delicious)
Ok. I could go on for a while. There are a lot of things that make me smile. My life is pretty much 70% smiles, 10% tears, 10% pondering and 10% anxiety. All in all I’d say I have it pretty good. Wouldn’t you agree?
Last night I had a spirited discussion on twitter about trials. The statement was made “In the present, we call them trials; in the future we will call them tender mercies of The Lord.” . I took issue with the statement because trials are still trials even if they serve a noble purpose in the end. To me calling them tender mercies from the Lord is like giving people permission to cause pain because in the end the Lord uses it to do good. As my old seminary teacher used to say
‘Judas is not off the hook’.
I actually heard someone argue once that rape victims should be grateful for their experience because it made them strong and turn to the Lord. The person last night was not inferring this but isn’t it a necessary stretch of the argument that if trials are truly blessings from the Lord than when we are victimized (the worst kind of trial) it is secretly a blessing and we should be grateful for it.
No! Now, we shouldn’t be bitter and allow it to control our life but call evil, evil, call trials, trials and be grateful for the Lord helping you through the evil and the trials. Just because you are able to clean dirty clothes does not mean the dirt didn’t exist!
This goes to the question of forgiving and forgetting- a question of much debate in the church, can you really forget? Some claim that through the atonement you can forget sins and move on. I’d say you can forget the pain but not the event itself. We are humans and I don’t see how you can just erase such trauma from your mind and I have about as intimate and close a relationship with Jesus Christ of anyone I know. So far no forgetting but the pain is lessened.
In fact, I have found that those moments of pain are sometimes the most clear, the most distinct of my life. I’ve always found it ironic that the memories of being bullied and harassed as a child are clear as day in my mind but the happy times like Christmases and family vacations are a blur. Why is that? Why do we remember the tough times so clearly and not the good? I’m not sure.
In any case, I have not been able to forget my pain; nor, do I necessarily want to. I learned a lot of hard lessons through God’s walking me through the pain. I grew close to Him as He helped me see the higher purpose and that I was loved by Him. Does that mean he sent down the bullies so that I would be close to Him? Of course not! Judas is not off the hook and neither are the bullies or rapists or whatever hurts us in this life!
Perhaps we cannot forgive and forget because time does not stand still and we can forever live with effects of even repented sin.
The reason I wanted to title this post Mormonism and Pain is I thought I might explain why some things seem to be particularly painful to Mormons compared to other Christians. You see, we believe in an eternal growth cycle. We believe the things we do here on this earth have eternal consequences and that a mistake now while always redeemable still can have eternal results.
For example, I met a family on my mission who years before decided that paying tithing was too hard and fallen away from the church. Eventually they came back to full fellowship and restored their temple covenants, which was great, but it could not take away years of inactivity when they were raising their children.
In addition, the family found no suitable replacement for teaching their children right and wrong (as many who leave Mormonism are able to do quite successfully) so they were without much of a moral compass and certainly far away from the teachings of the church. Zoom ahead to the present and the children are way off track with prison sentences and illegitimate pregnancies as examples. So, yes they came back to Jesus and His grace, which is fabulous but their eternal family could be forever damaged because of choices they had already made. They cannot after all raise their children over again. It is that eternal gravity that can make us sad.
Another example can be seen in marriage. While divorce is never a pleasant experience for anyone of any faith or persuasion, think of the added pressure for Mormons where an eternal family is being dissolved. Even a break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend can be all the more devastating because for at least a moment the individuals involved could see them as part of an eternal union. When things don’t work out its brutal because of the potential. Of course, when they do the eternal covenants make things all the more sweet and happy but there is that darker, more morose flip side to our beliefs.
So, when you scratch your head and wonder ‘Why are they making such a big deal over this?’ Remember that for Mormons we are seeing things through a longer and larger telescope than you. To us, we can see eternity and have it as our goal. There is nothing more important to a Mormon than eternal families but that is not a guarantee. Human action does affect whether we will be with our loved one’s again. The song after all says ‘families can be together forever through Heavenly Father’s plan’. Pain and trials are an essential part of getting there but still more weighty than just a ‘hard time that will pass by’ especially when they are the result of sins, whether our own or sins of others that can, even if repented and forgiven, have eternal ramifications.
We also believe in covenants made on earth have massive importance. In fact, they can only be made here or via proxy. That’s how important our behavior and life on earth is to Mormon theology. Mortality really matters, and the behaviors of human beings can have consequences for forever which can make us feel an eternal sadness (and joy!), and the sadness is sometimes shared even by God Himself:
Moses 7: 28-33 (this doesn’t sound like a God who is glad for trials/sadness of his people)
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the aresidue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst aweep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of aearths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy bcreations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;
31 And thou hast taken aZion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, bjustice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst cweep?
32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own ahands, and I gave unto them their bknowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his cagency;
33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should alove one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they bhate their own blood;
btw- I’m not necessarily saying this pain is right or wrong, it just is, and so if you puzzle at why certain things are so painful for your Mormon friends this is the lens that many I know are looking through. Just thought that might give a little empathy when you see the tears! Thanks
So I’ve been living with my roommate since the beginning of February and everything has gotten better than I could have ever hoped for. Seriously, I was worried after living alone for 3 years that I would be hard to live with, and I might be but things seem to be working. Phew! Maybe one of these days I will be able to convince her to do a profile on this blog.
I think what makes it work is we have a similar cleaning style. She’s better than me but we’re in the same realm. We are also both hard core Republicans (love talking politics with her!), both strong in our LDS Faith and both have big, loud families. We also both like TV, which may seem like a little thing but it helps.
What has been interesting is to compare our television viewing. We both like bride shows and project runway (our biggest argument was over a PR elimination). I like Survivor, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, and Food Network shows. She likes the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Dexter and Girls.
The other day we were talking and she asked me ‘Do you like a single drama with a plot?’ To my surprise, I couldn’t think of a single one. Finally after thinking about it forever I came up with 1 show- Downton Abbey. I guess Masterpiece I like but that was it. I could think of shows I used to like such as 24, ER, Lost or an occasional old school Law and Order. (I watched Mad Men for a while but it got too adult themed and ridiculous for me)
This had never occurred to me. No drama in my TV life! I wonder why?
Part of it is I am an anxiety absorber and so if something is very tense and dramatic I feel tense and upset. I internalize things much more than I should but I honestly can’t really help it- especially if it is about murderers or rapists, things like that. I honestly don’t go to very many dramatic movies because they leave me unsettled. There has to be an element of hope in them (ie Slumdog Millionaire) for me to benefit from the experience.
Some shows like Drop Dead Diva or How I Met Your Mother have occasional moments of drama while carrying on a comedic tone, and that is nice. Some shows like Bones I liked but I got bored with. I tried shows like Breaking Bad and it was too violent, and too much profanity for my taste. Plus, it felt so pessimistic and somber.
I guess when it comes down to it I watch TV to be entertained. I’m tired at the end of the day and I don’t want to be challenged. I want to have fun and laugh. I also admit that I prefer things that are PGish on television, but I think I would lean to comedy and reality TV anyway. I don’t like seeing dead bodies or medical procedures and I don’t like being scared, upset, or seeing things about murderers, so that takes out most detective shows and medical dramas. I used to like X-files but even that got a little gross sometimes.
I also never watch shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians or other follow me around kind of shows. I do watch Pawn Stars and shows like that but I can’t even handle the reality version of drama. I don’t even like Restaurant Impossible. I want to have confidence in my restaurants and that show freaks me out.
Anyway, it was just a funny revelation. I don’t like drama. Is there anything I’m missing that I just have to see? Please let me know!
I do like the new BYU TV show Granite Flats which is a drama, so you never know!
I don’t think I have mentioned on this blog I have started a new pain treatment at the Utah Chronic Pain Center. This is a dual approach of hormone balancing and laser/decompression treatment all supervised by nurse practitioners and doctors. As part of the treatment I am supposed to remain active but not cause my muscles to be overly swollen, tender or pulled. This would revert all of our progress. I am also supposed avoid bending, twisting or sudden movement. As a result I have moved from working out 4-6 times a week to more like 2-3 times a week. I have also been a little less intense on the diet; although I don’t really have an excuse for that.
I have also been specifically told by the doctor to stop mixed martial arts for the moment because it is too jarring and too much potential for my muscles to be strained. I miss it and hope to be back soon but for the moment, the treatment is very expensive and I’m inclined to listen. :).
Here’s the weird thing- I feel great. I feel energetic, happy, and relatively free from pain. In all the years I was working out hard core I kept expecting to be energetic from exercise but never really felt it. All those endorphins were a myth to me, never a reality (and I mean never). I can’t explain it but I feel healthier now than I have in years. Hmmmm… Why does my body have to be a freakazoid and not response like everyone else’s! Can any of you relate to what I am saying? Please, please share your experiences.
Now I have to get training again soon because I have the GSL swim coming up and I have been woefully out of the water this year. (With everything crazy for Poler and Grabber I haven’t had time to get to the pool as much as I would like. Going tomorrow though!).
What do you think of this? Am I just deluding myself that these behaviors are making me feel good. I don’t think so. I really feel good. Most importantly I am not in constant pain when I breath, move, bend over or walk. What should I do in the future because I don’t want to lose all the training I worked so hard for but it was making me feel terrible and it never got easier after 3 years? Never. What would you do? It’s like I have to decide pain or fat?
It’s so hard because you feel like you should almost be feeling bad when you are training but usually that goes away after a while. For me it was a constant bad reaction to exercise. Even swimming would leave me weak and frustrated. There’s a limit how long a person can live like that especially without losing much weight.
I’m puzzled because it seems to go against what doctors and medical science thinks for me to feel better not exercising. Thoughts? All I know is what my body is telling me and it is definitely telling me to slow things down.
Aside from sleep and a few errands I have had the TV on most of the last 2 days. Granted I was working and having the news coverage on as background, but still it was quite the experience to follow the events as they unfolded in Boston and Texas. Of course, I also had twitter up and would check it on every so often (I love twitter, sometimes they got news before the tv).
After having a tense week personally and in the world I felt pretty drained but around 6:30 I heard about the fertilizer plant explosion and was horrified so I turned on the news. Then came the update of a shooting at MIT. I thought ‘you have got to be kidding me’. Sucked in I watched until around 2 am as the scene moved from MIT, to Watertown, to a dramatic near-battlefield in the streets with explosions and loud gunshots. It was unreal.
The whole time I kept having to remind myself that this was not an episode of 24 and Jack Bauer was not about to save the day (someone on twitter did comment that between yesterday and today it has been like an entire season of 24. True story). I kept praying and hoping as if I could send good vibes to the officers (the great thing about twitter is you kind of can. How neat to be able to thank the officers through a tweet!).
Finally I went to sleep and in the morning there was news of the brothers with their eery photos with the one being killed in the gunfire. This was a new kind of terrorist. They looked so young, so American…A side of me wondered what I would do if I saw someone like that. I would be scared out of my mind. Just the whole house arrest thing for an entire city blew my mind. How terrifying! I mean they cancelled the Red Sox game!
Next I heard about the officer at MIT who was shot and killed. I thought of the campus security at BYU and how the greatest danger they come in contact with is jaywalking. It is a tragedy. No getting around it.
Then came the reaction of the shooters family and especially the uncle gave quite the press conference. When asked why his nephews had done this he said ‘because they are LOSERS’. I loved that. No parsing words or saying they were misdirected or upset or even crazy. They were losers. I agree.
The afternoon I had to go out for work and to take my car to the mechanic and when I got home there was news of the officers detonating an explosive device and of door to door searches and Boston looking like a ghost town. Finally around 6:30 they announced the seek shelter warning had been lifted and they were ‘back to where they were on Monday’. My heart sank. I thought of how as the days got greater the easier it was for this person to blend in, to hide, and what if there were others?
My internet buddy was at the marathon and she posted the most heart-wrenching artwork by her sons when she arrived home. One of them said ‘Welcome home. I’m glad you weren’t in that explosion XO. I love you!’ Another had a drawing of her finishing and ‘bad guys’ in the corner with explosion behind their mom. It looked like a super hero if there ever was one. (I would post the artwork but it seemed kind of private so I’ll just describe).
Anyway, the human element of this case had me transfixed. Normally even the most dramatic news ends up being a lot of the same information repeated again and again but today every time I listened there was something new. I ate some dinner, made banana bread and then the announcement of the lift on the ban happened and I was just about to turn to watching TLC bride day (quite the contrast!) when a reporter started shouting about more gunfire and the news that suspect #2 has been located but is putting up a fight. Holy cow!
As soon as I heard this I said a quick ‘yes’ but I was still worried that more people would be hurt.By the way, You’ve got to give a lot credit to the family that called about the boat. That took guts (all those associated have serious courage. Amazing). It was that guts, that human courage, the human drama which had me riveted to the TV, hoping good would win and that evil would be stopped.
It took what seemed like another half hour, maybe an hour, for the robot to go in, check everything out and then just to the left of the camera I could hear an officer say ‘We got’em’. I really did want to cheer. It was like I had gone on this journey with them emotionally and we had won. I know I did nothing but I’m just saying for the first nanosecond that’s how it felt.
Now he’s in surgery at the same hospital as many of his victims. We certainly have been better to him than he was to us. I am so grateful for all the men and women who keep me safe whether it is in the armed forces or police/fire/coast guard/military. They put their life on the lines and are true heroes.
Since the attack happened on Monday I have heard people say things like ‘this happens all the time and nobody cares in Iran’ or ‘I guess we only get sad when white people are attacked’ and I find these types of comments (especially the last one) to be annoying and offensive. For years the United States was the most peaceful nation in the world. Aside from the war of 1812, we had almost no international conflicts or wars for the first 140 or so years of our countries existence. Of course we had a little thing called the Civil War in between there but we have always been hesitant to pursue war with other lands.
Some may argue with Vietnam and Iraq we have lost that reputation and they may be right; however, I still think it helps explain why such events are so surprising compared with other countries. The fact is we see each other as a peaceful, loving, democratic republic and who wants to harm such noble endeavors?
Well, clearly some do. It feels shocking for goodness to be attacked by evil. It just does. Especially when you are talking about an 8 year old boy cheering on his mother and is killed. Also, I will not apologize for feeling more for my fellow countrymen when they are mercilessly killed and maimed in such a peaceful enterprise as a marathon.
Also, as a human being I cannot absorb all the sadness of the world. I can only take so much. If I internalized every tragedy which happened around the world I’d have a breakdown.
I still about had a breakdown on Wednesday. It was a very stressful day and I slept about 3 hours that night. (Got kind of worked up over everything happening in the world and my own life. Felt very tense).
Once the suspect was in custody everyone cheered and applauded and I was right with them! Hurrah! Just awesome. Next, I heard the President speak and I thought he was great. You might be surprised to hear me say that but no matter who the president is I appreciate hearing from them in moments of trial and intensity.
It’s interesting because I can’t say I learned anything from my 2 days of news absorption but I feel at peace and an enthusiasm for justice and our wonderful citizens than I did at the beginning of the week.
I am so grateful for all involved including the reporters. Their coverage was a great gift to me. Thanks also for all the twitterers who kept me almost more up to date than the news. So great!
Now let’s not let these evil people steal our confidence in our fellow man. Let’s not allow him to take away our comfort-level in going to group sporting events, movies, schools or churches. They can’t win! I agree with the president ‘we will not be terrorized’. (and no hell has not frozen over because I just agreed with the president!).
So, its been a long couple of days and I’m exhausted. (After Newtown and this Boston area needs a break. Maybe we should just all vote to give the Red Sox the pennant 😉 ).
All involved in the tragedy will be and have been in my thoughts and prayers. It was just awful. I’ve felt bad about it all week. It’s evil incarnate and I am so grateful that this time good conquered evil. Same thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Texas as well. What a week we’ve had!
The drama thank goodness is over. Goodnight! (sorry if this was a little rambling. I’m super tired.
A lot of people have asked me for advice on buying a home in the last few months. This makes me laugh a little because I was a total spazz when buying mine but maybe you all can learn from my mistakes!
So here goes:
RACHEL’S TIPS FOR BUYING, BUILDING YOUR FIRST HOUSE
1. Make a list of 10 must haves and be willing to compromise on half of those things. I had no interest in building. Thought my budget was about 75k less than I ended up spending, wasn’t thinking of an income property and was looking at Daybreak instead of Draper. All those things changed. I also had to compromise on wanting an island in the kitchen and have a non-private back yard that isn’t ideal for entertaining.
2. Focus on the monthly payment not the total price. That’s what got me to expand my budget. Once I divided it down it became less overwhelming. Also, don’t forget to include HOAs, taxes and other expenses into your pricing decision.
3. Someone told me to plan on the house finishing 30 days after the cabinets installed. It was I think 35 days. Pretty good advice.
4. If trying to get FHA loan make sure FHA approvals are in for the unit you are buying. FHA is whacked out and they can refuse a unit within a complex that everything else is approved. It took me an additional month to get FHA approval on the house and it was super stressful.
5. Have a mortgage broker you can trust. Mine was fabulous. Marc and Christopher at City Creek Home Mortgages were very patient. One time Marc went through all the fees and escrows of my home purchase and then after talking with my uncle I was freaking out and he explained it all over again to me. Can’t ask much more than that. https://citycreekmortgage.com/
Their rates were also competitive with others that I checked.
6. FHA loans are low down payment (I think I paid 3% plus closing costs), mortgage insurance for first 5 years but a lower interest rate. Traditional loans have higher interest rate, no mortgage insurance and at least a 10% downpayment. I decided I was diving into my house for the long haul so I went with the lower interest rate and capital fluidity FHA loan gave me.
7. Do as much of the packing early on as you can. I did pretty well with this one. I also recommend buying a packet of boxes from Uhaul. It is very reasonable and if you don’t use any they will buy them back. I needed so many boxes! The nice thing about the Uhaul boxes is they have handles and are really sturdy. http://www.uhaul.com/MovingSupplies/Boxes/
8. It might take a long time. It might not to find the place for you. I was surprised how quickly I decided to build. I also always thought I would need tons of time to weigh my options and make such a big decision, but when it came down to it there is a finite number of factors and at a certain point I was just mulling over the same stats again and again. Just make the decision your gut tells you to make.
10. Find a realtor that gels with your personality and style. If you want someone who will work quickly and be proactive find that kind of realtor. If you want someone that will be cool and relaxed, no pressure, find that type. Mine was the latter. Since most sellers pay realtor fees I don’t see why anyone would want to brave buying a house alone. Why not!
11. Think about the potential of an area. Look at what is being built around it and if there are any vacant lots or construction planned. I know my location is always going to be hot because of the closeness to the freeway and the new adobe building, ikea, outlets, etc. Up in Suncrest is a little bit more removed, which could be a good or bad thing.
12. Get a therapist. I know you think I am joking but I’m so glad I had one. It was a very anxious time for me. So many decisions to make, so much to do, so much waiting (that’s the hardest part) and so much out of your control. I can imagine a therapist would be good for a couple as well (of course, I think that is generally a good idea for couples. Call me crazy!). It’s just a tough time.
13. Find out rules and restrictions of your area for special projects. This would have saved me a lot of grief with my income property. When the range got unapproved I panicked. It didn’t have anything to do with safety but a multi-family code. I don’t think I would have done anything differently because it has all worked out but it would have saved some anxious moments.
14. Be nice to your friends. You will need them for the move 😉 (Some wards don’t do moves any more I discovered)
15. Find projects you can do right away to keep yourself from going nuts. Pick out paint colors or get a patio set. Whatever. I had a lot of fun designing my curtains, closets and furniture before I moved and it least helped me feel somewhat productive. (Although make sure you have enough to pay your downpayment!
16. Don’t buy a house over Christmas! That was super hard.
17. I know I initially felt some anxiety about getting pre-approved. It’s a really easy process and doesn’t commit you to anything. You are not committed to that lender (and in some cases builders have particular lenders they want you to use for preapproval).
18. Get ready to sign your name like a million times, middle name included.
19. You will probably gain 10-15 lbs while waiting and moving and that’s ok. (or maybe that is just me…)
20. It’s a hard experience for everyone but the most seasoned buyers. It’s ok to freak out and have break downs. Its a big deal.
21. Throw a open house and celebrate your move in! (Another fun thing to plan while waiting). I did a big custom cake and told all my friends. You don’t have to do that but its nice to show your house to all your friends.
22. Outsource! I outsourced light fixture installation, tv mounting, artwork placement, setting up my grill, furniture assembly. Best money I ever spent. Plus, you get references that can be used throughout the life of your home.
23. Splurge on at least 1 item. For me it was my black out curtains. You are buying a house. Don’t be a cheapskate on everything.
24. Don’t forget to look out for storage. Be open to creative solutions, like in my basement apartment we used a pocket door and set up shelving in the closet under the stairs to make it more usable. It was not expensive and works great. I also spent $453 to put storage in the garage. Great investment
25. If you have an income property call references, and get to know them a little bit. Usually a nice place will get you nice tenants. And don’t enter their apartment without their approval unless it is an emergency. I also spent $300 to put insulation in the ceiling boards to give them more privacy and so they’d have less upstairs noise. Well worth it. I kept thinking if I lived there what would I want? As I lived in a basement apartment for 2 years it was easy to answer!
26. Hold a family/group meal soon after you move in. It just makes a house a home.
27. It’s ok to house brag a little. I felt kind of guilty at first that I was showing off but none of my friends cared. I figure they had to hear all the complaining, the least I could do is let them in on some of the joy.
28. Don’t forget to think ahead. My friend’s husband bought his house before they had met and didn’t think of getting good closets being a man and all. Your life might change and you need a place with at least a little bit of flexibility and that you won’t grow out of in 2 years.
29. Get ready and go for it. It is super hard. No doubt about it but it is worth it.
30. Pray before putting in your offer for confirmation it is right. Pray for strength, peace, assurance and help. Also, once you have moved in have the house dedicated in some way. In our church there is a prayer for that but it could be a new agey thing. Whatever. I think it helps with a sense of closure to the buying process and the beginning of living in your house.
This week I am starting a new fitness challenge with my friends. It is sort of like the show Biggest Loser where 10 of us are competing to see who can lose the most weight at the end of 12 weeks. To make it more motivating most of us are contributing $25 to a pool for the winner. I don’t know if I will win (some of the girls are exercising hours a day!) but the process will be a win in and of itself. I feel more motivated than I have in years. I’ve always hated dieting but this time I feel like I am doing it with friends- because I am! It is also fun because my sister Anna has joined in. Since we will be together more starting in September it is nice to know we can support each other. I will keep the blog updated on…
Her thoughts about creating a ‘hope testimony’ made me think about how I have reconciled the same issues for myself. I love that she has found a happy solution in her life and am totally inspired by her efforts, and it made think about me and my own unique internal struggle to believe.
I suppose it is easy to think on such things when tragedy strikes as it did today in Boston. My friend Tracy, frequent commenter on this blog, was racing and even though I don’t know her well I felt great concern for her safety. It just made it all feel more real to know someone there. It also struck home because I participate in group sporting events all the time. Each time I enter a masters meet or a marathon swim I put my trust in strangers. I hope that goodness and a spirit of friendly competition will prevail and thankfully it always has.
Anyway, back to my own reconciliation of faith. Here’s how I feel. There are some things I know in my mind and some things I know in my heart. I know that 2+2=4 in my mind. That is a truth. I know that my name is Rachel Wagner and that my parents are John and Jane. I know any number of facts and data. I also know that gravity is a true principle. I know that being a good listener is important to relationships. There are a lot of things I know in my mind and many more things that I need to learn.
Then there are things I know in my heart. I know my parents love me because I have felt it in my heart. I know that good and evil exist because I have felt the presence of both in my soul or heart. I know when something is just and also unjust. I can’t explain it but I know. I know that my Heavenly Father lives and loves me because I have felt it in my heart.
Do I have any proof of this? Yes, the proof is in my heart. That is not proof I can transfer to another individual easily but it is nevertheless truth (why the righteous virgins could not give their lamp oil to another. They could just as easily rip out their hearts). That is the reason I can say I ‘know the church is true’. Not because of data or statistics. It’s because I know it in my heart. I have felt it again and again and living its principles has always left me with a confirmation in my heart.
Do I blame people for not believing? No. I think they all can have this same confirmation, but it takes a sincere and willing heart coupled with the correct timing of God. As Moroni says “ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. ” He is not talking about a worldly manifestation. Such data and facts are not the kind of thing that can stabilize a life. They can often be disproven and explained away with the next passing fad. Knowledge in your heart is a different story.
It can be a concept that is is hard to explain. All I can say is I know the gospel is true in my heart. I got a witness when I was a young girl and it has never steered me wrong or abandoned me. It has always been in my pocket for hard times. I know in my heart that President Monson is a prophet and that God reveals his promises to all of his children in all eras. I know in my heart that families can be eternal and that covenants are real. I know in my heart that the priesthood is real and direct authority from Christ.
That’s what makes sense to me. So you can tell me all kinds of data about Joseph Smith, Church history, or the Book of Mormon and it does not matter because such data is not what my testimony is about. (and yes I’ve heard it ALL before). The Book of Mormon could be based on a cartoon and I wouldn’t care. My testimony is not about any of the data. Its a truth from the heart.
I believe this is even true for God. He knows how weak and frail we are. He has all that data of every moment that we reject Him; yet His heart loves anyway. This is why I have always thought of a testimony as a relationship with God. Just as relationships with humans ebb and flow so does our relationship with God. Relationships are not based on data but on the heart. Data also has finite limits; whereas, a relationship can always be better, stronger, more in-depth and close.
I would challenge all of you to think about how you know or do not know and how life makes sense for you? Have the integrity to write it out and share it. There is no judgment here- Merely a process of figuring out this crazy thing called mortality. Maybe I can learn something from you, and you learn something from me? Maybe we can learn something in our minds and hearts?
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love” Ephesians 3:17.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Collossians 3:15
PS. I think it goes without saying that my thoughts and prayers go out to the city of Boston, all the runners and all affected by the tragedy.
Throughout my life when I push myself I almost always get sick right after (doesn’t bode well if I ever have a honeymoon! 🙂 ). Even when I was in high school after a swim meet or play I would get sick the next week. These are not imagined illnesses but real legitimate sicknesses. It is then no surprise after my 5k that yesterday I felt unwell all day. I tried to fight it through lunch with an old friend but when I got home it was official. I was sick. I wish I could stop this from happening but it seems no matter how hard I try with the positive self-talk my body can only take so much and it becomes vulnerable.
Anyway, today I was sick and despite a few emails (it is impossible for me to not work a little in a day!) I had the whole…