Tag: inspiration

First Day Jitters

So today is the first day of the new job!  I started to write this post many times but then would stop because it was seemingly more tweet than blog worthy.  I am part nervous, part excited, and that’s basically it.

It’s something entirely new as a career and I have no doubt that transitioning from hobbyist to a career in digital marketing will be a challenge.  However, I also know I am starting small, part-time and we are all committed to being patient with each other.

It feels strange starting something new.  It’s probably been since starting the job in accounting which was way out of my wheelhouse.  I also was thinking back to the the first day in the MTC and the mission field.

Wondering what it was going to be like and if I could do it.  On one hand I want to give both of the Rachel’s at those points a hug and say ‘you’ll get through the tough times’ and also say ‘you do it and you do it well’.

Looking back on those experiences I realize the worrying was justified and it wasn’t.  Those were some of the toughest times of my life beginning but the worry of failure wasn’t really justified.  I wasn’t perfect but I think I turned into a good missionary and then accounting clerk.  Regardless it all worked out for the best.

What about you my friends?  What in your 30’s+ have you started anew, afresh? Whether a new marriage, job, child etc?  Were you excited and freaked out like me?  Any advice?  How has it been different starting something new in your 30s vs 20s?  It seems like it could be more challenging and yet more rewarding.  Would love to hear your perspectives.

This morning we had a conference call to go over the company I will be working for and in the next week will be filling out forms and starting projects.  It is a new position so there will be some moving and stretching as we figure out what works best for everyone.  I will probably be going out to Georgia sometime this summer to see the facilities and meet my co-workers.  The main offices are in Dalton Georgia so that should be a fun place to visit.

So that was basically it.  We did a basic orientation of the company and most of the answers to questions were ‘I’ll get back to you on that’.

I think I may just have to read Julia Child’s book My Life in France.  It’s one of my favorites for a lot of reasons but I love that she had the guts to change her life later in life.  She didn’t graduate from culinary school till she was almost 39.  Then she spent the next 10 years of her life working on Mastering the Art of French Cooking and in 1961 when she was 49 it was published.

Everything we know about Julia Child started then.  At 50 she became the Julia Child we all know with the debut of The French Chef.  How many people do you know that have started something so big at 50?  It’s so inspiring to me.

Her marriage to Paul Child is another inspiration to me. They met when she was 32 and married at 34.  He seems to have been worth waiting for.  As an artist he no doubt wanted to be creative and energetic but he chose to work as a bureaucrat for his job so that Julia could go to culinary school and write her book.  What a wonderful example of love and support.

Most people would find the notion of a housewife going to Le Cordon Blu in the 60s to be silly but not Paul Child.  In fact, it was his insistence that  kept her motivated when it got difficult.

I wasn’t planning on talking about Julia and Paul on this post but they are an inspiration to me and as I start this new journey I hope to embrace the adventure like them.

Read My Life in France.  I know you will love it!

So share with me your new experiences.  What you learned from them?  What your inspiration was?  What was tougher at 30 than at 20? What was easier?  Thanks in advance.

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Speedy Rolls and #LDSConf

This weekend I had the great experience of listening to my church’s General Conference where the prophet and other leadership speak words of wisdom and counsel to all of us. The interesting thing about this weekend is there wasn’t one stand out talk.

They all were great and impacted me.  It all made me want to be a better person and strengthened my faith.  I am so excited to dive into them for the next 6 months and make them part of my life.

In the last 2 years I became more involved in the Church’s twitter movement known as #twitterstake.  This isn’t officially part of the church but they have embraced social networking and have established #ldsconf as the General Conference hashtag as well as tags for every speaker.

#ldsconf

Older members may be surprised by the embrace of such social media and wonder if it distracts viewers to be on twitter at the same time they are listening to the prophet and apostles?  If I had not participated myself I might wonder the same thing.

In fact, it is the reverse.  For a multisensory learner like myself being able to interact with a community of worldwide saints while watching General Conference only adds to my understanding and faith.

Not only do other viewers pick up on talk aspects that I don’t, but I am also using reading, writing, listening and viewing to process ideas instead of merely viewing.  I can’t understate how much it has helped me to get the most out of General Conference since I started in 2012.

It has also helped me to feel a part of a worldwide movement.  To literally bare my testimony to others all around the world.  I have made friends that are truly cherished, some that I have met and others that I communicate with frequently.

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One of my twitter friends @Stan_Way  described it well:

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Indeed, who reading my blog or tweet will become a lasting friend?  What a great world we live in.  Never any other time in the history of the world could a single woman have such a voice.  It’s just wonderful.

For some reason this conference everyone was making cinnamon rolls on twitter.  After about the 300th tweet I broke down and made my own.  I’m not the hugest baker in the world, but I have a recipe for ‘Speedy Rolls’ in my cookbook (see post for more on the cookbook)  for many years. For all of you that aren’t bakers it is the easiest recipe.  Fail proof!

It can also be used as cinnamon rolls and works great.

cinnamonrolls

Speedy Rolls/Cinnamon Rolls

Place in mixing bowl and let disolve

2 cups warm water

2 tbsp yeast (2 packages)

1/3 cup sugar

Add and beat for 2 minutes

1 tbsp salt

2 cups flour

Add and beat for 1 minute

2 eggs

1/3 cup melted shortening or butter

Gradually add until dough forms

4 1/2 cups flour

Let stand for 20 minutes.  Then shape and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Put lots of cooking spray on the pan.

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes depending on size. Until godlen brown

If making cinnamon rolls using rolling pin to make dough about 1/4 inch thick.  Then spread cinnamon, sugar, butter and brown sugar very liberally.  Roll up into one large log then cut into 1 inch slices.

Let rise and it took me around 25 minutes to cook because they are so big.

Top with glaze made from butter, powdered sugar and a little milk.

 

The cinnamon rolls also gave me an excuse to meet my neighbors.  Win-win!

 

The Pioneering Spirit

Today I was looking through my stationery collection (yes I have a stationery collection that craves a pen pal) when I saw my Minerva Teichert note cards I bought several years ago at the BYU Museum of Art.  Minerva was an artist that reached her prime in the 1930s in Utah.  She is primarily known within the Mormon community but she deserves a wider audience.  Her palate is unique and relaxing- using mostly pastel colors.   Some of my favorite of her paintings are:

Don’t you think these paintings are beautiful? I actually have the Martha and Mary one (the middle one) framed in my dining room.  Seeing that painting reminds me to take a second and “choose the better part.”

Anyway, today I was looking through my note cards and one of Teicherts painting called Zion Ho! stood out to me.  It is a painting of a pioneer woman raising her hands to the heavens as she pushes her hand cart through a mountain valley.  I can only imagine that she is saying “Yes! I did it! Another mountain done!”

I’ve always looked at the pioneers and thought “I could never do that.”  I am so not a hiker/camper.  My survival skills are next to nothing and I know I would be a complainer.  (I’d drive everyone crazy.)  That said- when I looked at this painting I felt a moment of connection with the woman.  Right now I am fighting the battle of my life.  I don’t know why I’ve been given this trial or why it has to be so hard but I suppose valiant saints of any era have not known the answers to those questions.  As I looked at her I felt a comfort almost speaking from her saying “you can do it! It is hard and scary!  Keep going! We set the path for you now run on it!”

The pioneer women didn’t know why they were persecuted, kicked out of their country, forced to travel thousands of miles across a snowy wilderness, to find a home in a salt-lake’d desert surrounded by ominous mountains.  They must have had moments of discouragement and frustration.  I wish I could have heard those conversations. Can you imagine how the women must have comforted each other?  I actually can because I think of the comfort and support given to me with my trial.

I know my trials are light in comparison to the deep suffering of the Pioneers  but their legacy of thriving through trials makes me want to push harder until I conquer.  It’s almost like a  “fellowship of sufferings” (Philipians  3:10).  The strength of the pioneer women strengthen me, and I in-turn strengthen others.  Our various trials may be different but the experience of suffering is the same.

Looking at the painting I felt the sufferings of the woman but also the exclamation of victory.  I wanted to go up and hug her but sadly it is a painting!  Still, the moment of connection reminded me that many have faced difficult trials that never seemed to end, yet they persevered with faith. I know if they could do it then, I can do it now. Zion Ho!

Inspirational Quotes Quiz

Tomorrow I am teaching a Sunday School lesson on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.  It is a challenging lesson because both books are collections of inspirational quotes that jump from one topic to another.  Reportedly written by Solomon the “words of wisdom” cover everything from marriage to overcoming grief.  While reading I couldn’t help but think of my own love for poetry and inspirational quotes.  I’m often quoting poetry on this blog, and  I have 2 inspiration boards full of motivational quotes/images in my office.  I’ve taken a few attempts at writing my own poerty but failed miserably- I just enjoy reading it! I love the power of words and the way a verse can capture my emotions and life experiences perfectly. Poetry and inspirational quotes also help me to keep an eternal perspective and remember my many blessings.  Life is often hard and when I face challenges it is nice to hear encouraging words.  As the name suggests I find motivational quotes motivating!

To prepare for my lesson, I gathered a number of my favorite quotes and created a little quiz.  I’m not sure if I will have time to use it, but I figured I’d post it on the blog to see if anyone out there in cyberworld could guess who said what!  I will post the answers in a comment tomorrow (I don’t want to give the answer away for my students!).  Enjoy these modern-day Proverbs!

Guess the Quote

Thomas Edison            Walt Disney             Eleanor Roosevelt

Ralph Waldo Emerson       Michelangelo         Dr. Seuss

Mother Theresa          Winston Churchill    Albert Einstein

Gordon B. Hinckley       Mahatma Gandhi    CS Lewis

1. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured

2.  Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

3. The ancestor of every action is a thought

4. If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius

5. I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much

6. All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.

7. You’re off to great places.  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!

8. Success is never final.  Failure is never fatal.  It is courage that counts

9. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

10. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe

11. Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

12. Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another:  What! You too?  I thought I was the only one!

I particularly like this last one about friendship!

An Inspirational Video- America’s Got Talent

I know that shows like America’s Got Talent are built to tug at your heart strings, but in this case it worked.  What a beautiful voice and a hidden talent.  I have been on cruises before and the talent is a joke.  To think they passed up on this star.  It inspires me to keep on singing.  Think how much potential there is in all of us if we would just encourage one another, and believe in ourselves.  Amazing!

So often in life it feels like the good guy’s don’t ever get a fair shake- that only those with enough money or pizazz are able to make a difference.  Here is an example of a quiet, sincere woman who never gave up on herself, who never stopped trying.  In a world that rarely has room for the humble voice, that is inspiring!

Will write more later but I wanted to share this with all of you.  It made me cry!  Life is good for the moment.  I don’t know what exactly changed but I feel at peace with things.  I have done what I can and now I just have to let the situation develop.  That’s all I can do- work hard and pray. Thanks for all of your continuing support!

Music Galore

As I plugged in my IPOD today and put it on shuffle I thought about the variety of music that I like and how each type had touched my life. My mom and dad used to sit in bafflement over the power music had over me. I would spend way too much time figuring out the perfect song/CD to do silly things such as clean my room. They also didn’t understand why I felt so offended at the idea of anyone (particularly them) not liking my music. Neither of them understood how much of my heart went into the selection of my music. I have always felt that music had a special power to connect me to moments- to express my inside when my words failed miserably. As I’ve grown up I have learned to accept that music is an organic experience and can not be transferred to another person no matter how we might wish it could be. My parents will never understand my music and nothing can make them. It’s just doesn’t move them the way it does me- and that’s the way it is. In this spirit it may seem futile for me to share with you my favorite bands/musicians. I am well aware that each of these groups may not suit your tastes; however, perhaps in my sharing them you will understand a little more of my heart- what moves me, makes me laugh, and motivates me to keep going.

You will notice that many of these are groups from the 90’s. Sorry I can’t help it. That’s when I experienced my most formative musical period. These are in no particular order.

1. REM- Their Automatic for the People album is still one of my favorites. It is one of those great CDs that I can play start to finish. It was actually the first tape (yes cassette tape) that I remember purchasing on my own. I love Everybody Hurts, Man on the Moon, Sidewinder Sleeps, Try Not to Breath, and more. Other albums feature It’s the End of the World As We Know It, What’s the Frequency Kenneth, Losing my Religion, Stand, the Great Beyond and At My Most Beautiful. They are wonderful songs I could listen to again and again.

2. The Cranberries- 2 albums are essentials in my music collection No Need to Argue and Everybody Else is Doing it so Why Can’t We? Songs like Dreams, 21, No Need to Argue, Zombie, Pretty, Dreaming My Dreams and Linger are hauntingly beautiful and bold. Dolores O’Riordan is the only woman who could make yodeling cool.

3. Jewel- I know that she has a cheesy side, but I can’t deny the effect her albums have had on me. Pieces of You came out when I was a freshman in high school and while my friends were all into Oasis I couldn’t get enough of Jewel. Foolish Games, Who will Save Your Soul, You Were Meant for Me are amazing. I also listened her album Spirit over and over again and it is still one of my favorites with songs like Hands, Little Bird, Down So Long and Life Uncommon. It is no small chance that one of the first songs I learned while taking voice lessons was Foolish Games. It’s perfect.

4. Kenny Chesney- I am not going to try and argue that Kenny is an original performer; nevertheless he was my introduction to country music and his songs make me smile every time. He hasn’t put out a bad album yet. He is also important because Anna and I went to one of his outdoor concerts in 2005 and the memory is one of my favorites of the last few years. I love You Save Me, There Goes my Life, Don’t Blink, No Shoes No Shirt No Problems, Summertime, Big Star, Live Those Songs, You Had Me at Hello, Tin Man, and Good Stuff. He’s also the cutest man in a cowboy hat for my money.

5. Fleetwood Mac- Can you top Stevie Nicks? Not for me. Silver Springs, Landslide, Rhianon, Everywhere, Dreams and Go Your Own Way are all great songs. Her voice is raspy but deep and the lyrics are beautiful and fun. I have liked Fleetwood Mac since I was in Middle School. I bought their Greatest Hits right when I purchased the REM tape, so it was one my firsts. I still like it at 27 and that says something!

6. Jack Johnson- Can we all be grateful that Jack took a break from surfing to take a crack at music. What a talent! He just keeps putting out one great album after another. Even his soundtrack for Curious George had great songs. Perhaps it is my love of Hawaii that enhances my appreciation for Jack Johnson, but I could listen to his music all day. Flake, Good People, Sitting Waiting Wishing, Dreams by Dreams, Upside Down, Supposed to Be and If I had Eyes are some of my favorites. I can’t wait to see him live in August!!

7. Michael Buble- My mom has always groaned at Megan and my pleasure at what she calls lounge music. Michael Buble has taken that to a new level for me. He is the only person I have seen live twice and each time he amazed me. Entertaining is the word. He is funny, engaging and of course talented. He sings with a massive band and yet is still the star of the show- now that takes charisma. Not only is he great at singing classics like World on a String, Feeling Good, and Try a little Tenderness but he is a great songwriter penning one of my favorite recent songs Home along with Everything, Lost, and That’s Life. It also doesn’t hurt that he isn’t too hard on the eyes and that voice…

8. Josh Groban- Another performer that I have always liked but gained a whole new infatuation for after seeing him live. It’s a long story but through some luck Camille and I got bumped to the 5th row. He even touched my fingers! I know I sound like a gaping teen, but I can’t help it. It was that cool! I wondered before seeing him if his voice would carry in a large stadium. It certainly did. What a talent! On key, singing in Italian half the time, and completely mesmerizing. Where do I start on his songs- all amazing. My favorites are Awake, So She Dances, February Song, The Prayer, Weeping, To Where You Are, and You Raise Me Up. I just hope that David Foster decides to do a Buble/Groban tour- that would be awesome!

9. Joni Mitchell- There have been so many copy cats of Joni that she doesn’t seem as original as she deserves to be. I joke with my teacher that I love bitter woman songs. Joni definitely fits this category. I don’t know why I love these songs, but they hit an emotion in me and in so doing I feel more understood by the world- more able to move on. Both Sides Now, River, California and of course Blue are pure and peacefully melancholy. If I could sing like anyone it would probably be her. I just love her voice and the simple beauty of one woman singing at a piano or a guitar with no airs or pretense for the crowd!

10. Norah Jones- Rarely do I hear a song on the radio and think- “I love that song, I have to pick it up”. Norah Jones’ Don’t Know Why was one of those songs. Her Come Away album is perfect. Every song could be listened to many times and is great for relaxed settings-even work. She has such a beautiful voice and her arrangements are smart and simple. You can picture her sitting at a piano singing her favorite songs- and then oops they got recorded. I have appreciated all of her albums but Come Away is the best.

11. The Beatles- It would be hard to not put the Beatles on such a list. They have so many great songs- songs that you can dance to, songs that are slow and melodic and songs that are poetic-telling you a story. How different are She Loves Me, 8 Days a Week, Something, Eleanor Rigby and Let it Be? It doesn’t seem like it could be the same band. I am jealous of anyone who ever got to go to a concert live.

12. Judy Garland- I feel sorry for Judy Garland. She had so little choice in her life. She listened dutifully to her mother and doctors and ended up drug addicted and unhappy. I admire that despite everything she kept singing- trying to find something over the rainbow. When I was younger I appreciated Judy as a kind of Disney singer but her songs have a bittersweet meaning to me that I find very moving. Only those that have studied voice understand the difficulty of her arrangements and the purity of her voice. If I could sing like anybody she would be at the top of my list. Incredible.

Wow! That was hard There are so many more I want to include Rascal Flatts, Counting Crows, Maroon 5, Barbra Streisand, Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel, Barenaked Ladies, Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Harry Connick Jr., Adam Pascal, Natalie Merchant, Annie Lenox, Elliot Yamin, James Taylor, John Mayer, Alicia Keyes, KT Tunstall, Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt, Johnie Cash, Reba, U2, They Might Be Giants, ColdPlay, Beach Boys and more. I am so blessed to have music in my life and hope that I never stop appreciating it and developing my own talents. I can’t imagine heaven without music and I don’t think it will be all hymns up there either! Take care friends and share with me your favorites.