Month: July 2013

Family Reunion Folsom Lake

So yesterday started the Richards family reunion and you could say I had fun…Spent whole day at the lake.  I swam, and swam and swam.  Probably a mile and a half.  I felt very strong which was exciting because I am trying to decide whether to do the 5 k again at Deer Creek and this made me lean towards the 5k (right now I’m signed up for mile swim).

It was really fun.

Here are some photos of the day.   (The next few posts are mostly photos so please indulge).

Blessings

Recently on pandora I came across my new favorite song.  Its written by a singer Laura Story who is a grammy nominated christian contemporary singer.   She describes writing the song:

“Blessings is just a bunch of songs about worshiping when life is hard”. Her husband Martin Elvington was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she wondered “Why didn’t you just fix it, God? You’re all powerful and all loving… just fix it.” Later after mentioning her desire to return back to normal, her sister said “You know, I think the detour is actually the road.” She realized that “Spending time with [husband] Martin obviously makes me happy, but it makes me a better person. That’s the blessing of it”

Why didn’t you just fix it, God?  Why does it seem hard to get an answer when I’m trying?  Why is the answer no when I want it so bad?  Where are you?  All of those questions are felt by every believer from time to time.  I’ve even known people who let these questions take away the faith they do have.  Can’t they see that God does not weak Saints?  He wants us to be stronger than the greatest trials, even cancer in the case of Laura.

Here are the lyrics.  I love it so much:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

I certainly haven’t experienced the trials of some but the one’s I’ve had were still hard for me.  I love the line ‘what if the greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy’.  I get choked up a little when I sing that line.  The aching of this life is to reveal a greater thirst for everlasting glory . How beautiful is that?

I also love “When friends betray us. When darkness seems to win. We know that pain reminds this heart. That this is not, This is not our home It’s not our home”   Who has not felt betrayed and darkness seeming to win?  The pain does remind us that this is not our home, that God wants us to come back to him.  He loves us more than we will ever know.  Enough to give us ‘a thousand sleepless nights’.   He doesn’t want us to believe only when it is convenient.  He wants us to believe when it is hard.  That’s why faith is so powerful.

I love CS Lewis’ take on this concept “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

I just wish everyone could believe and get through the tough times.  It’s so worth it.

Anyway, I don’t wish to preach to you but I just love this song.  I made a weak attempt to sing it.  Here you go.

https://smilingldsgirl.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/2013-07-17-12_35_41.mp3

Here is the real deal.  Laura Story Blessings

I Love Boxes

So lately I have gotten into the new trend of subscription boxes.  A friend told me about birchbox and I decided to sign up.  Its a monthly box of samples of health and beauty products.  For $110 a year or $10 a month you sign up and have no idea what you are going to get.  Since signing up for birchbox I’ve also signed up for ipsy and naturebox.

There are so many I could go box crazy.  I’ve always liked ‘a month’ clubs but they are usually so expensive that I couldn’t afford them.   For example, Harry and David fruit of the month is $405 a year and really the spoonable pears are the only thing they have that is very special.

You can also go on to any of the sites and order that month’s box items at full sizes for discount with free shipping.  If you like everything than you can order a full size version of the box. I’ve already ordered a few things that I’ve liked.  Its a lot of fun.

The coolest things about birchbox is you get points for putting reviews on their website of the products you receive.  You get 10 points per review and 100 points you get $10 off.  So I’ve only been a member for 3 months and already I’ve accumulated 168 points.  Not bad.  I can then get discounts.  Also if you buy full size products you get points that add up like I ordered nail polish for $8 including shipping and got 22 points.  Pretty cool!

Naturebox is cool because you get full size bags of all healthy products and you can go on the website and pick what you’d like or be surprised.  I am always on the lookout for healthy snacks so I love that. Another box I just signed up for is called Goodies that is only $7 and gives 4-5 full size healthy snacks that are a surprise but like birchbox they also have a points system that can save you money.  I mean what else can you get for $7 outside of a fast food meal?  So fun!

So here are some fun things I’ve gotten the last few months:

June Birchbox. I loved the apple peel and bark tea
May Birchbox. I loved the apple peel and bark tea
I loved the nail polish last month.  I ordered the whole set
I loved the nail polish last month. I ordered the whole set
July birchbox loved the detangler
July birchbox loved the detangler
July ipsy box.  Not as upscale as birchbox but a lot for the money.  Love the eye shadow
July ipsy box. Not as upscale as birchbox but a lot for the money. Love the eye shadow
Naturebox full of healthy snacks. 7 bags of $27. Dried fruits and yummy trail mix like bombay curried cashews, lone star snack mix and unami roasted nuts
Naturebox full of healthy snacks. 7 bags of $27. Dried fruits and yummy trail mix like bombay curried cashews, lone star snack mix and unami roasted nuts

Dancing

Ok all my twitter and facebook friends know the goings on of this evening so forgive the repetition.

I didn’t have anything planned and I heard about a midsingles dance close to my house.  I would normally not give it a second thought because I don’t like dances but feeling like I should make some effort on the dating/get-to-know-others scene I thought about going.  In fact, I thought about it for about 4 hours, talking myself in and out of it.  I even got my friend Rachel to go and then I cancelled on her and then tried to get her to go again…Sorry Rachel!

I’m not a good dancer.  Plus, I don’t like most of the music and its so hard to talk to anyone that I don’t think it really is a great way to meet new people. Unfortunately, it is the activity of choice for meeting new people in Utah. Particularly those of the opposite sex…Sigh.   It goes way back to pioneer times but Mormons love dancing.  Much to my chagrin.

Well, finally 9:30 came and I figured what the heck?  I’ve certainly spent $11 on less of a risk so I went.  It was way out of my comfort zone (I would have taken photos but it was so dark they wouldn’t have really turned out.  Here is me before the dance. I think I looked pretty good.  I got new lipstick which I really like, and I love my blue dress.  I felt pretty so at least that was going for me. 🙂

beforeSo it wasn’t at a churchhouse but in a club which was a new experience.  (A very Mormon-standard club but still I’ve never been to something like that).  The music was loud, it was dark but I decided I was there so go for it.  I danced pretty much every fast song and even asked someone to dance for a slow song.

Just to put it in a bit of perspective- how many of you have gone somewhere where you know nobody, doing something you know you aren’t great at and still had a good time? Props to me if I don’t say so myself.  Of course, I went on a cruise to Mexico by myself, so maybe it isn’t too big a surprise to my loyal readers.  Tonight actually reminded me of the clubs on the cruise.

You’ve got to challenge yourself in life to get anywhere.  Did I meet the love of my life? No, and if I did it was too loud to talk to him anyway, but I did something that was hard and that is a good thing.

Go do something you think is hard.  It feels really good.

And just to give you an idea of the moves you missed I made this 🙂 :

PS I totally like this song…I know. Unexpected right?

A Laugh for a Friday: Things We Learn from the Movies

I heard this the other day and thought it was funny.  So at the end of this long hot week have a laugh on me.

movies

Things We’ve Learned From the Movie Industry

  1. Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people – whether they are employed or not.
  2. At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.
  3. Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don’t worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.
  4. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.
  5. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts – your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.
  6. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.
  7. Radiation causes interesting mutations – not to your future children, but to you, right then and there.
  8. If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.
  9. Honest and hard-working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.
  10. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their arch-enemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers, and man-eating sharks, which will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.
  11. During all police investigations, it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
  12. Most dogs are immortal.
  13. All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.
  14. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one loaf of French bread.
  15. It’s easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
  16. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off – even while scuba diving.
  17. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.
  18. You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
  19. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.
  20. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.
  21. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
  22. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.
  23. Kitchens don’t have light switches.
  24. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.
  25. Word processors never display a cursor on screen but will always say: Enter Password Now.
  26. Any person waking from a nightmare will bolt upright and pant.
  27. It is not necessary to say hello or goodbye when beginning or ending phone conversations.
  28. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.
  29. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.
  30. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
  31. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.
  32. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.
  33. When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.
  34. An electric fence powerful enough to kill a dinosaur will cause no lasting damage to an eight-year-old child.
  35. Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at that precise moment.

Cheese Plate and a Movie

Recently Before Midnight came out to great acclaim.  It is the third in a trilogy of movies starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. They start out with Before Sunrise in 1995, then Before Sunset in 2004 and just recently Before Midnight in 2013.

They are very simple, but lovely movies.  It starts out with an American man played by Hawke and a french woman played by Delpy meeting on a train from Budapest to Vienna.  He is finishing up 2 weeks travel after being dumped by his girlfriend in Madrid and has an early morning flight out of Vienna.  They begin talking on the train and on a whim  decide to spend the next 14 hours together.  They visit a ferris wheel, a graveyard, a church, restaurants, parks, etc but mostly they just talk.  Talk about what they want out of life.  What they hate about the world, their parents, and the fears of the future.

It is dialogue that feels real and natural.  The chemistry is perfect.  I can’t help but think of teh scores of lame romantic comedies that involve convoluted premises to get the character together such as bets, articles, challenges, or unrealistic work situations.  You don’t need any of that when you have good characters who live and fall in love!  This my friends is how you do a romantic movie!

Keeping in the European mood I made a cheese plate.  It was really fun.  I got most of the food at Pirate O’s a local gourmet food shop. These types of platters are great because they give the appearance of a lot of work when truly it was just opening containers and putting them on a plate.  No work at all.

cheese plate

Starting at the top we had a swiss cheese, blue cheese, salami with herbs de provence, irish cheddar and apricot stilton (our favorite).  The dips are a bruscheta topping and a salmon spread (both excellent).  Oh and we had gluten free crackers to keep all stomachs happy.

Doesn't this just scream EUROPE
Doesn’t this just scream EUROPE

Doesn’t that sound like the most delightful evening?  Come with us when we watch Before Sunset and then go to the movies to see Before Midnight.