Tag: country music

Summer Updates

S0 it got to be 103 degrees today. Let’s just say SUMMERRR is here! I have been having a great time.  Summer is always so much more fun for me than Winter.  Just the addition of open water swimming makes my life better.  (Swimming in an indoor pool just isn’t the same). I’ve been able to see all my swim friends that I somehow miss in the winter.

Here are some highlights

I’ve been to plays including Wrinkle in Time at BYU which was mind blowing and Tarzan at Scera which was good.

My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time.  She's so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I've ever seen
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time. She’s so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I’ve ever seen

I’ve been working really hard at my new job with Poler.

like this photo tons.  Been a happy time in my life.
In my office. I like this photo tons. Been a happy time in my life lately.

I’ve been reading a lot, especially rereading Jane Austen to get ready for book club. Its funny because I talk about them a lot but I haven’t actually read them in a long time.  They are just as brilliant as I remember.


I’ve been swimming up a storm.  I wish I could go everyday but with work and other responsibilities there just isn’t time.  Went last Saturday to Deer Creek and today to Blackridge Pond in Herriman.

The girls ready for a swim.  Love open water women!
The girls ready for a swim. Love open water women!
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek.  Got curves?
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek. Got curves?


Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek.  First swimming injury
Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek. First swimming injury
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.

Other fun things…I performed in master class on Wednesday and sang Wishing You Were Somehow Here from Phantom of the Opera.  I’m no opera singer but it was fun to let my diva out.

Speaking of diva’s Drop Dead Diva started on lifetime which made my BFF Emily and I very happy. We had dinner together and a little diva watching party.  It did not disappoint.  Great season opening.  I think made even better by the fact that it almost didn’t happen.

emilyThe meal turned out really good.  It was buccatini (my new favorite pasta) with fresh cherry tomatoes, sausage, parm and fresh herbs from my container gardens which drumroll ARE STILL ALIVE!

Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my basil has gotten.  I guess I don't kill all living creatures :)
Look how big my basil has gotten. I guess I don’t kill all living creatures 🙂

I also made flank steak for the first time to great success

flank steak
Not bad looking right? Flank steak is my new favorite

I went to a Josh Turner concert with my friends Emilee and Rachel M (I know a lot of Rachel’s and Emily’s!).  He was super entertaining and has the most sexy voice I think I’ve ever heard.  Its low and he has an old fashioned southern drawl.  His band was really good too.  It was a great night.

Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Josh Turner and the crowd
Josh Turner and the crowd

All in all its been a great summer!  Hope you all have a great 4th and enjoy the hot weather as much as I do. 🙂

Blessings, Blessings and Blessings

So, this week started out pretty bad.  To begin with there was a change in my work that on first glance felt like a failure in my leadership abilities.  I can’t get into it much but suffice it to say several years of stress culminated into a not unexpected but bittersweet moment.  The older I get the more I realize I just am not built to get along with everyone.  I like to think of myself as someone who is a good leader but every once in a while I meet a human being that I just can’t figure out (there are 4 in my life to be more precise).   For instance, my old mission companion who treated me like garbage for nearly 2 months.  I tried everything to make her happy and nothing worked.  Was I perfect?- of course not, but no change in strategy seemed to help either.

Internet community out there- have you ever felt this way? Did you ever find someone that you just couldn’t get along with? What did you do about it?  Is there something I’m missing? Perhaps I should just give up sooner, but I always hope the next attempt will be the magic solution.  With certain people that will not happen and while this knocks down my Pollyanna complex, it is a reality.  I suppose nobody but Jesus Christ could love all, even his enemies, equally.  How did he do that? I have a long way to go on that front.

Anyway, the week started out pretty sucky but it got worse.  In addition to the change at work there was a physical scare.  While doing my new routine Saturday I pulled a muscle in my back.   It didn’t hurt bad at first but by Monday I was in a lot of pain (the same day all the work mess hit the fan! Isn’t that the way it always happens?).  Needless to say my apartment smells like bengay and my ice packs have been in constant rotation.  My greatest fear (and initial discouragement) was that an injury would throw me off track in my fitness quest.  I’ve never been as consistent or determined to get in shape- never.  Ever since March I have rarely missed more than a day or two of exercise and for the last month or so have been doing 4-5 days a week of both cardio and weight training. I have been praying constantly that nothing would stop me or lessen my enthusiasm.   With the pain at its peak I called my trainer Michelle (who is awesome- see photo below) and she gave me some interesting advice.

My awesome trainer Michelle. I think I'm starting to look skinny in this photo. Thoughts?

She said, “Most people think that you want to remain sedentary with a muscle ache.  The truth is that lying flat will cause the muscle to freeze up, leading to more pain.  The best thing you can do is keep moving.”  Isn’t that interesting?  I have been thinking about it all week.  Maybe with physical and relationship struggles (maybe with all struggles) the greatest healing comes from continuing to move and grow? That’s one of maybe a hundred ‘moments of clarity’ I’ve had this week (I love those!).

With a bit of trepidation and my trainers words echoing in my mind I went to the gym on Tuesday for a swim.  Fortunately my swim coach Dave was there and he was awesome- so encouraging.  With his support I got through a normal work out and afterwords felt great.   It was such a relief to get through the first work out.  It’s hard to explain how it felt but basically it was a big exclamation of  “Yes!” .  (On Wednesday I got a deep body massage which was GREAT!!)

After swimming on Tuesday I went to my best friend Emily’s house and she made a delicious salad lunch for me and we chatted.  She always has the best perspective on life and it was the perfect person to help me weed through my problems.   After our visit I had the thought- maybe I needed these experiences to humble me and remind a very prideful Rachel that my accomplishments both in work and training are not my own but Heavenly Fathers?….Hmmm.  With this thought I went to my master class and sang my best solo ever! (Maybe Heavenly Father knew I needed a boost of pride to end the day! A girl can only take so much.).

Without boring you with a travelogue of the rest of the week let me just say that each day has been just like Tuesday- full of challenges but even more full of blessings.  Everywhere I look friends and family are supporting me, expressing love for me and helping me work out my problems.  Without their amazing perspectives I would be one big moping mess (or more of a moping mess).  In addition, I have been particularly sensitive to little blessings like a good laugh over my favorite shows coming back (Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are  so great!), or making apple butter for the first time (delicious- got lots if anyone wants some), or finding a new song to obsess over (see below- Sara Bareilles is amazing.  I love this song!).  Even today I was planning on working the whole day but ended up meeting my great friend Stefanie to exercise, then we went to look for an apartment for her (she’ s moving so close- another blessing!), and then went to a delicious lunch (2 sandwiches split- BLT and Turkey with cranberry jalapeno jelly- yum! Is there anything better than a good deli sandwich?).  Then tonight I have chatted with my sister and had my own mini dance party listening to my favorite song.  It’s turned into a great day!By the way- don’t worry, I did get some work done!

Its funny because when I look at this week I see the challenges but they pale in comparison to the blessings.  I am so fortunate. Can you believe that after Monday I spent time with friends every single day? Normally I am lucky to get a visit or 2 a week! Heavenly Father knew I needed to feel loved this week.  Isn’t that an amazing thing to think about?  The Lord of the whole earth, the God of everything, knows me and knew I needed to be loved. Wow!

I don’t think I thank my Heavenly Father enough for all the blessings He gives me.   The list goes on and on but mostly I am grateful for His hand in my life.  I’m thankful that He loves me and wants me to smile- even if it means inspiring a friend to call me or helping me get the care I need for my back.  I know that I am watched over by Heavenly Father and that Jesus died for me.  I know that Their tender mercies shine in my life every day.  I just have to be humble enough to recognize them, which is why I face obstacles and disappointments (and disappointing people.). Today I feel full of BLESSINGS!

Also thank you to all those friends who responded to the spirit and came to my rescue.  I know it meant putting up with a lot of whining from me but I appreciate it.  I promise to be there for your whining moments!

If this video doesn’t make you smile you have problems. I LOVE IT!!!!!


On the softer side- another song I love is by the Zac Brown Band. I think they could be the new Crosby Steels and Nash. Enjoy!


Today I worked and relaxed while watching one of my favorite TV on DVD shows- Reba.  First of all, I love Reba McEntire.  I love her music and she just seems like the nicest person.  In her long career she has had 24 #1 hits with an amazing variety of country songs.  When I was younger I used to lump Reba in with singers I deemed as “too honky-tonk”.  Then in 2005 I got into her TV show, which then introduced me to her music.  I quickly realized there was much more to Reba than I had given her credit for.   While she does have a few generic cowgirl songs most of her hits are remarkably lyrical and poetic.  Many of her songs tell a story including Whoever’s in New England, Last One to Know, Walk On, Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Does He Love You, How Was I to Know, What Do You Say, and even Because of You with Kelly Clarkson.  My friend Stefanie said she saw Reba live and that she was an amazing performer.  I would love to see her live someday.

Another reason I love Reba is that she has done everything in her life and yet still seems down to earth.  If I had 24 #1 hits I might be tempted to coast a little but Reba keeps embracing new challenges.  She has tried everything including of course singing, acting, Broadway  and even fashion design.  I wish I could have seen her when she played Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway.  She should go back and do it again.  I would totally fly out to New York and see her.

That brings me to her sitcom.  I know that sitcoms have their flaws but I love Reba’s self-titled show.  It has a fairly edgy premise but the show is quite family friendly.  The story revolves around Reba Hart (of course played by Reba McEntire) who is going through a divorce from her husband Brock who is having a baby with his assistant named Barbara Jean (played hilariously by Melissa Peterman).  At the same time Reba’s daughter Cheyenne is pregnant at 17 and marrying the father of her baby named Van Montgomery.  There are 2 other children Kyra and Jake in the family.  The casting is part of what makes this series so great.  All of the performers, even the children, are wonderful.  Plus, almost every scene is an ensemble piece with the actors working well off of each other.  One of my favorite episodes is in season 2 when the entire family films a time capsule for Van and Cheyenne’s baby thinking it will be confidential.  Naturally they all say things they don’t want others to hear, but the tape ends up getting played and pandemonium ensues.  Look at the way the actors play off each other in this clip- its almost like watching a live play.

In addition to the acting the writing is strong on Reba.  I have all 6 seasons and each year the writers manage to balance dealing with the tough topics of divorce, teenage pregnancy, and raising a blended family while still keeping the show light and appropriate for the entire family.  The Barbara Jean/Reba dialogue is especially sharp and funny.  Many people have called them the new “Lucy and Ethel” and I may just agree (in fact, I’ve never been a huge I Love Lucy fan). The best thing about Reba is that it makes me laugh.  While I won’t guarantee the same for you, I would encourage you to check it out.  If you want to borrow the seasons from me, just ask.

Also, check out Reba’s music and I’m sure you will like it as much as I do.  Isn’t it nice to support someone that believes in marriage, family and hard work?  That’s what you get with Reba.  (Plus, she’s like Oprah and Cher, a one-named woman, yet she’s not a diva.  Pretty impressive!) Enjoy!