Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things I'm thank for this week - VII

We all know it's good to be thankful or in others words to cultivate an 'attitude of gratitude'.  I recently read an article on The Benefits of Being Thankful.  The author summarizes the benefits, which result from consciously spending a little time each day being thankful.  Participants in the study reported greater levels of optimism and more positive moods and a feeling of belonging, or in other words "experiencing gratitude promoted psychological well being."  Not only did they feel better, but they also spent more time helping someone else with their problems.  Participants in another study reported less physical illness symptoms and spent more time exersizing.  So, being thankful also promotes physical well being or good health. 

Another study, focused on participants with a neuromuscular disease, and they reported higher levels of positive sleep, as well as more and better quality sleep.  The study group participant's spouse or partner were also asked to track behaviors during the study and reported more positive outlooks and less negativity, meaning that the effects of gratitude were noticeable by others. 

I already knew all of this.  Okay, I hadn't consciously sat down and thought about how being grateful was making me happier or healthier, I just knew on some level that it was.  This article simply confirmed what I already knew and could feel within myself as I contemplated my blessings.

I love that God's commandments are for the benefit of his children.  And so it is with the commandment to " in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which He doth bestow upon you" (Alma 34:38).  I hope that you often spend time contemplating and listing those things for which you are thankful.  As you do, you will reap the blessings of being thankful.

It's hard to narrow the list to just a few things each day for which I'm thankul.
So, here is a long list:

leaves changing colors
raking leaves
sleep and rest
my savior and friend, jesus christ
hair cuts
good food
my job
good conversation
my grandma's orange chairs
my family
books on my shelves
art on my walls
time off
time alone
time with friends
hope, faith, love, service
testimony of christ, prayer, the restored gospel and god
being thankful

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Things I'm thankful for this week - VI

my sense of self

especially saturday mornings when i don't set an alarm.


light and truth


photo from:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Things I'm thankful for this week - V

warmth and heat

good books

the guidance of the holy spirit and answers to prayers

my comfy bed


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Things I'm thankful for this week - IV

great music
especially beethoven's ode to joy, which saved my sanity last year.

genuine laughter


the restored gospel of jesus christ.

i live in dc!

the view from the steps of the national portrait gallery

photo from me

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Things I'm thankful for this week - III

my sister
my nieces and nephews
my brothers
my parents
my siblings' spouses

in short my family who are my best friends.

p.s. the items and people in the lists are in no particular order.

image from:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Things I'm thankful for this week - II

Things I'm thankful for today:

1.  I'm not in Kuwait this year.
2.  My mom is recovering well from her fall down the stairs last Thanksgiving.  It's been a long road to recovery, but I think she's almost there.
3.  The scriptures
4.  My car
5.  Military service men and women all around the world, who are putting their lives on hold and even on the line to protect freedom and democracy, and make our world a safer place to live.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things I'm thankful for this week - I

The week of Thanksgiving and DC is at its best, color and sunshine everywhere.  Each day this week, I spend time thinking of five blessings I'm thankful for.  I thought I would share my lists this week.

Here's my list of blessings today:
1. fuzzy, thick socks
2. good friends
3. clean drinking water
4. fresh cut flowers
5. my job

Saturday, November 21, 2009

my vote

She was amazing.  The transformation from a woman who only has it together when she's inventing her reality to a woman completely unhinged and terrified of her true reality was breathtaking.
I couldn't take my eyes off her.

A choir director of mine once said to us that all art is about relating to or understanding the human experience in a whole new way.  'A Streetcar Named Desire' certainly did that for me.  The desperation in all the characters to have a good life, which for most meant keeping things the way they were.  For Blanche, played beautifully by Cate Blanchett, the desperation for a better life, for someone to love her and to get out of her previous was heart stopping.  She couldn't see beyond herself and couldn't move past her past.  She was trapped, she knew it, and she wanted to get out.  In the end Blanche was fighting like a trapped animal, caught by only one leg in the trap, thinking there is a chance for freedom.  The struggle was amazing to watch, and Cate Blanchett's depiction was absolutely riveting.

It's not easy to watch the struggle for survival, especially when it fails.  In a story like this, for me part of the experience is trying to see how it could have ended differently.  If people had acted better, looked for the good, had more compassion, or even just honestly talked would it have made a difference?  Would the struggle have ended so crushingly?  I'll be thinking about this for a while.

photo from

Thursday, November 19, 2009

plans for the weekend

a good friend is coming to town for the weekend.  we have plans.
i get to be a tourist this weekend and show a friend the sights and the sites.

tomorrow we will see this.

photo from
yes, that is cate blanchett seated in the middle,

and we will see her here.

photo from
i love the kennedy center.  it's a beautiful place to see and listen to art.

'a streetcar named desire' is such an aching, tumultuous story.
i am looking forward to it.  here's one review.

other plans include:
breakfast at eastern market -
i can't decide if i will have the brick, blueberry bucks, or the french toast.
decisions, decisions.

the '1934: a new deal for artists' exhibit at the smithsonian american art musem -
you can check it out for yourself here.

dinner or lunch at matchbox -
i love the mini trio appetizer, it's perfect for sharing with a salad.

and maybe this:

photo from
great falls is one of my most favoured spots in the dc area.
i go here to renew and think, and especially, when i need nature and not city.

i love dc.

have a great weekend wherever you are.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


the long awaited glimpse of the new apartment.
i took photos before i start moving things in.
the empty canvas, the blank walls, the open space... the possibilities.

the left side of the living room and the entryway.

the right side of the living room with the door to the cupboard under the stairs.

the little room that i've turned into my office space with a really great window. 


a corner of the office with one of the small, matching closets.
did i mention this place has storage like no other?

the long and skinny bedroom with the really great windows.
the door leads to the impossibly small bathroom.

i love the kitchen.
granite counter tops, marble tile floor, stainless steel appliances and stacked washer and dryer.
the door leads to the furnace with even more storage.

now for the during shots.  as you can see moving is a very messy process.
dad, you will probably be thinking, 'gosh, doesn't she ever clean her room.'
remember this is only the second day of being in my place.

i had stuff stacked everywhere.

literally stuff stacked everywhere.

it was even stacked up in front of the door.
slowly, i'm getting organized.  i don't have mountains of boxes any more.
i'll have the after photos in the next couple of weeks.

p.s. i'm reconnected to the world again.  i didn't have internet access for close to a month.
you'll be hearing more from me now.

photos by me