Thursday, March 31, 2011

opening day

The roar of the crowd. 
The smell of sausage and onions frying on the grill.
The thwack sound of the bat hitting the ball.
The disappointed sighing of the fans.
Singing take me out the ball game.
Spring has sprung and baseball is here!

Opening day of baseball season rocked!
Another check on my live life list.

It was seriously cold today and the Nats lost to the Braves,
but it was still baseball!

Can't wait for more.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Never be afraid to try something new. 
Remember, amateurs built the ark;
professionals built the Titanic. 
~Author Unknown

Given the comparison I think I want to be an amateur ark builder. Noah isn't just remembered as the ark builder, but also the savior of man and animal at the time. As an amateur, Noah depended on God for help, and God gave him directions.  

And God promised Noah rainbows after the rains as a sign that He would be keeping his promises. Lots of good things came from the ark.

And the Titanic? Well, we all know how that voyage ended.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

4 more years

Saturday was a big day. I bit the bullet and committed four more years of my life to spending at least one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year as a Navy Reservist. Seriously, deciding to reenlist was one of the hardest decisions of my life, right up there with deciding to go on a mission to Santiago, Chile and not marry the man to whom I was engaged. God works in mysterious ways, and I am meant to serve in the Navy Reserve for a few more years at least.

The fun part is that my good friend, newly commissioned Army Officer, 2Lt KGB, was my reenlisting officer. It was really cool to be a part of one of his first official acts as an officer as he delivered the enlistment oath and I repeated it back to him.

Each time I reenlist, it's a bit humbling to repeat the oath and re-commit to upholding and defending the Constitution. I always have a lump in my throat, because I love my country and really do believe in all the good things for which our country stands and the Constitution is basis for most of them.

"I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. I swear (or affirm) that I am fully aware and fully understand the conditions under which I am enlisting." (Navy Enlisted Oath)

Once I repeated the oath, I signed my contract and thus renewed my contract for another four years. Here's to the next, and hopefully last, four years being as great as first 19 years. Go Navy!

 P.S. Thanks to all my lovely friends who came to the ceremony. It meant a lot to have your support.

P.P.S. I have more photos, and will share them when I am able. I still need to buy a new computer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

happiness is a process

I used to think that either I was happy or I wasn't, and there wasn't really too much I could do to change that state. Boy, was I wrong. I've learned over time that happiness takes work.  I've been reading a lot about it lately and working at being happier.

I really like this: Happiness Engineering by the creator of Dilbert. Quick and practical ideas, nothing earth shattering or new here, just a nice list of principles of happiness.

And I really LOVE this: The Happiness Project a blog by Gretchen Rubin who also wrote a book with same title that is fantastic. I'm reading it now and will have a review to post soon. I borrowed this book from the library and love it so much that I'm buying my own copy to have on hand and mark up with my notes. I feel like I found a text book for happiness in my life with this book. My library copy has post-its sticking out every which way with all my notes.

I dubbed this year My Year of Happiness and so far it's been an interesting journey.  In just three short months with one situation after the other that would normally suck the happiness right out of me, like meeting someone new, falling in like and breaking up, learning hard lessons about trust, and even having my apartment robbed, I am experiencing greater amounts of happiness, which is definitely something that hasn't happened before in my life.

Happiness is a process and I'm just now starting to get a handle on it.

P.S. Spring has sprung here in DC. The hyacinth I planted last fall are starting to come up and in a few days they will look like these. Yay!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Character cannot be developed
in ease and quiet.
Only through experience 
of trial and suffering
can the soul be strengthened,
ambition inspired, 
and success achieved. 
~Helen Keller

Sunday, March 20, 2011

comfort food at 2am

So, last night at 0200 I was awake and hungry. What could I make to eat?

The answer: Oven Panackes! I used this recipe here, which I found in my copy of the Paradise Cookbook (big smile). I added vanilla, cinnamon and a carton of fresh raspberries to make it even better. I baked as directed and liberally sprinkled it powdered sugar. Let me tell you it was divine... mmmmmmmm yum!

And at 2am, when I couldn't sleep it was the perfect food.

Friday, March 18, 2011

people really are great

Most of you have heard that I was robbed on Wednesday afternoon. My upstairs neighbors were also robbed, in fact they were the ones who called me at work to let me know what was going on. I got home to find the police there, and the three guys upstairs, who are not only all very cute, but kind and polite, waiting for me, feeding me chicken stew and hot tea when I started shaking uncontrollably, and letting me use one of their laptops which amazingly wasn't stolen. 

I was in shock for several hours. The police were kind and professional. The crime scene investigators were very thorough, leaving behind a thick coating of black fingerprint dust--think printer toner everywhere and the more you touch it... Thankfully, only personal electronics were stolen. All in all the crooks got away with three or four laptops, two televisions, assorted cameras, iPods, and other electronics. They left a lot of things alone and didn't destroy anything.

And most importantly, in a moment when the worst of humanity has reared its ugly head, comes the reminder that, yes, people really are great. Within a few hours, my apartment was filled with so many loving and kind people there to help me clean up, get the back door secured, and just fill me with love.

A big heartfelt thank you to:
  • The upstairs guys for calling the cops, feeding me, giving me computer access to look up numbers to banks and stuff, and for being my new friends. Too bad it took a breakin to have us become friends.
  • VT JB for bringing me chocolate milk, helping to clean up the finger print powder, finding the key that fell behind the radiator, and holding me while I cried. That's what VT sisters are for.
  • AB for making the Lowe's run and getting the needed latch hardware - She always comes to my rescue and I owe her so much.
  • SS for making up her spare bedroom for me again. Your spare bedroom has been my sanctuary of safety and peace so many times, my little home away from home. Bless you.
  • HT MQ for providing muscles, power tools and lumber to fix up the backdoor - If anybody tries to kick in that backdoor now, they're gonna break their freakin' foot.
  • EQ and little MQ for the delicious, home-cooked, traditional Japanese meal which totally hit the spot. I must get the recipes and learn how to make the yummy rice pastry. Yum!
  • The Elders for stopping by to lend support and for just bringing the Spirit with them.
  • Bishop SP for stopping by on his way from work to see how I was doing and for giving me a blessing.
  • LD who loaned me his old TV (a 200 lb. behemoth--try stealing that suckaz) and a two foot long machete. I sleep much better now with that machete under my bed... kind of.
  • And my friends and family who called, texted, posted on FB or emailed to show their love and support.
I truly felt loved that day and still do. People really are great. And it's good to have that reminder when I feel so violated and distrustful.

Yes, I had renter's insurance. I highly recommend it and it's relatively cheap in comparison to paying out of pocket to replace everything myself.


Happiness is neither a virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that,
but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. ~Yeats

Sprout is now growing up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

birthday brother

Brother R1 is over 35 today!
Yep, he's getting old. Don't tell anyone. It's a secret.

I love brother R1 for so many reasons.
He is a good man
an awesome dad to 5 super kids
works really, really hard
has a very dry sense of humor
loves his wife and kids
is funny even when he doesn't want to be
follows his heart
cooks amazing meals for his wife's birthday and Mother's Day
makes his kids do chores
remodels houses like nobody's business
upholds gospel truths in the way he lives his life
and most of all he's my oldest younger brother.
I look up to him a lot.

Happy St. Patrick's Day Birthday Raymond!
Love you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I am not a morning person. I have a really hard time waking up and getting out of bed. Over the years, I have learned that when it really matters I can get up when I need to.

I found this glimpse into Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule and liked his way of planning out his day. Aside from two hour lunches, four hours in the evening to straighten up the clutter and seven hours of sleep a night, I like his way of looking at his morning. Instead of waking, he rises and he gives himself three hours to do so. I think I shall rise too. Oh wait that means I have to wake up at 0500...

mr. franklin's schedule from here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

in the end hope

I've put off writing about this, because it hurts so much. But this evening decided that part of letting go, is putting the hurt out there, so here goes.

I have a lump where my heart is. It aches and twinges with each new thing I discover about the betrayal I've just been through. Someone I trusted and turned to for advice a while ago, felt the information needed to be shared with others, whose intentions were not so good, at least that how it seems from my perspective. The personal backlash has been pretty horrific. Never in a million years could I have foreseen this mess.

I now keenly feel the loss of two friends. One whom I don't trust anymore.  Another who doesn't trust me, and I know how this person feels, not being able to trust me, their friend. The other person's betrayal included another person, as betrayals often do. I also feel as though I've betrayed myself and my second friend, because I chickened out and didn't tell what had happened right away. By the time I did tell, it didn't matter and there was nothing I could do. I had my reasons for fearing and not telling, but as it turns out they don't matter. The thing that matters most is that I let fear rule me. Where as if I had just let go of my pride and told the story, then maybe... just maybe...

And my heart just aches. My eyes fill with tears so easily and without warning that I can't even stop them before it happens. I don't know what to do to regain the trust a friend once had in me. It's a difficult place to be, not knowing how to even start to rebuild, if it's possible or even wanted. For now, I suppose, time is the antidote.

What have I learned from this? Once again, to choose carefully who I will trust. To really listen to my heart and follow it. Fear is crippling and hurtful and so is pride. To tell the story as soon as it happens so that fear can't build up. To hope and pray for forgiveness and opportunities to rebuild trust. Betrayal hurts. To swallow my pride and reach out in hope. That life and people just plain stink sometimes.

Overall, I am hopeful, even though I hurt and my heart aches. I am beginning to feel the start of healing and it's a good thing.

little things

It is by studying little things, that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible. ~Samuel Johnson

Monday, March 14, 2011

daily teachings

A friend at work sends an email entitled Daily Teachings, which are little nuggets of wisdom and light. She sent this one out a few months ago.  I printed it and taped it to the top of my keyboard, and I read it every day.

I'm going to be happy. I'm going to skip. I'm going to be glad. I'm going to smile a lot. I'm going to be easy. I'm going to count my blessings. I'm going to look for reasons to geel good. I'm going to dig up postitive things from the past. I'm going to look for positive things where I stand. I'm going to look for positive things in future. It is my natural state to be a happy person. It's natural for me to love and to laugh. This is what is most natural for me. I am a happy person! ~Author unknown

Don't you just want to skip into that sunset?

photo here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

homemade pop tarts

brunch with friend AB at Ted's Bulletin today was awesome.
a great follow up to a morning spent at the DC DMV

and the kidlets lined up at the pastry case begging for 
homemade pop tarts were too cute for words.

and, yes, homemade pop tarts are the bomb!
these would be super easy to make and so much better than the store bought ones.

seriously, check out the 1920s inspired decor and food photos here from Ted's.
it was a fun place to meet up and the food is gooooooooooooood. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

what i watch - gentleman's agreement

I love Gregory Peck. If only I could find a man like him... But I digress.

He is brilliant in the 1947 film Gentleman's Agreement as recently widowed reporter, Phil Green, who moves to New York City with his son and decides to go undercover as Phil Greenburg to explore the effects of anti-Semitism for an article. Little does he know how much of an effect his decision will have on his personal life.

While the exploration of anti-Semitism in the film is confined mainly to the upper class, the film still resonates. Interestingly, this film didn't set too well with House Un-American Activities Committee and several people involved in production of the film were placed on the Hollywood black list. Still the film was well received by critics and public alike, and went on to receive Oscars for Best Picture and Director. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

sometimes you can't have what you want...


a. it's not good for you

b. you would have to hurt someone to get it

c. the answer is no

d. there are rules

e. things just don't work out that way.

f. timing is everything

g. you wouldn't let go

and guess what? sometimes when you can't have what you want it stinks-a lot. and it's really hard to let go. and you still want it even though you can't have it.

here's a few thoughts to help you get through:

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. — Unknown

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Holding on to anything is like holding on to your breath. You will suffocate. The only way to get anything in the physical universe is by letting go of it. Let go and it will be yours forever. – Deepak Chopra

40 days to transformation

I've always liked the idea of observing Lent. The idea that it's symbolic of the forty days and nights that Christ spent in the wilderness fasting, praying and talking with his Father before he began his three year ministry. The idea of abstaining from worldly things in the days and weeks leading up to Easter, the celebration of Christ's return to the living from the dead and his ultimate sacrifice.

Lent is not about deprivation for the sake of deprivation, but about greater spiritual engagement, more holiness and a deeper connection with God and Christ. It's about self examination and removing obstacles. As I learned more, I realized Lent is about preparing for a transformation. After all Easter is the holiday of the ultimate transformation and Christ is the transformer.

While Lent is not a religious tradition that grew up with, I've become familiar with it over the years and have enjoyed talking with friends about what they decide to set aside during this time. One year a friend of mine said she was giving up all white foods, like yogurt, milk, vanilla ice cream, shortbread cookies, bread, pasta, potatoes, sugar and white chocolate. When I pointed out that it also included cauliflower, white beans, turnips, onions and egg whites, she laughed and said she hadn't thought of that. One friend gave up his Crackberry for Lent, and boy was that hard for him. Another gave up television. Others have given up chocolate, sugar, internet and even their car except in emergencies. And others have devoted volunteer time to causes in which they believe.

After much thought about this observance I decided to try it out this year. I am going to try this Paleo diet that a friend keeps recommending which recommends no dairy or grains. I'm giving myself two days to cheat, one is my birthday and another is a friend's wedding, and I will be eating cake on those days. I figure I can do anything for 40 (38) days and giving up grains (bread, pasta and cookies) and dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream and my favorite cheese) seems pretty small in the grand scheme of things. Maybe I'll give up TV too....

Here's to transformation!

I think this poster from the Church of England perfectly captures the essence of Lent.

Monday, March 7, 2011


i love march

the world is waking from a dark, cold sleep
little bits of green are starting to poke up through the dirt
the sun is warm but the wind is cold
it rains a lot
the sun stays up a little longer
my favorite flowers start to bloom
trees come back to life
everything feels so new and full of promise

i love march

Thursday, March 3, 2011

fun at work

Last week I got to go downtown for Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) National Capitol Area (NCA) awards ceremony and represent my organization along with a co-worker.  We received First Prize for one of our fundraising events last fall, the CFC Pinewood Derby. We didn't even know that we had won, until we were looking through the program and saw our organization listed as a winner.

If you think that a Cub Scout Pinewood Derby is fun, then just imagine one with cars made by adults, some of whom are engineers and like to play. We had a great time at that fundraiser.  I was so proud to represent our CFC team. Way to go!!!

Just another reason why I like my job.

priorities - martha and mary

I've been thinking and reading a lot about Martha and Mary from the New Testament this week. Most of us are familiar with the story from Luke, where Christ and some of his disciples come the house of Martha.

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. ~Luke 10:38-42
So, here is Martha the good host, accepting her Lord into her home and working hard to make sure that both he and his company are comfortable. And here is Mary, sitting at the foot of her Lord, soaking up the gospel treasures he is teaching, and, more than likely, bucking against the Jewish traditions of that time regarding a woman's place when men are being taught by a rabbi.

In another part of the story about these two sisters, we learn that their brother Lazarus has died. Word reaches Jesus and he waits two days before going to see them. Martha runs to meet Jesus as he enters the town of Bethany and her sister Mary stays, sitting, in the house.  Martha's earlier concerns about worldly cares do reflect on her faith at all when she tells Jesus, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died" (John 11:20), nor when she testifies to Him, "Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God..." (John 11:27).

Martha had developed her faith to the point where she knew, without doubt, that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, and that whatsoever thing he would ask of God it would be given him (John 11:22), and that if he would ask God to save her brother from death then it would be done. She was obviously able to balance the worldly and the spiritual cares. I believe that it was through her faith, along with the faith of many others there that day, that Jesus was able to ask God to loose the bands death and release Lazarus from the grave, and it was done.

Both Martha and Mary are doing good things and many lessons can be pulled from the story of these sisters.  The one I keep thinking about is balance, taking care of the needful things of both the world and the spiritual. I need to do things like clean my bathroom, cook dinner, keep up with admin requirements for my reserve unit and just veg in front of the TV at times. I also need to spend time studying my scriptures, meditating, praying and serving others. Both are good and needful things, but often I find it hard to balance both.

I get caught up in my worldly cares and sometimes--okay, a lot of times--forget about my spiritual cares until the last minutes in the day. I feel as though I have the internal equivalent of Martha and Mary going on. I know I'm not the only one who does, because I hear many others express the same concerns in church or during my conversations with them. It helps to know I'm not alone in this.

I am learning how to make it all work. Each day I have to decide, if the dirty bathroom is the priority or sitting and reading my scriptures. If getting caught up on work or sitting for an hour in quiet meditation and placing myself in His presence will be the priority. It's the choices I make that show where my priorities are. Sometimes, the priority has to be the dirty bathroom or getting caught up on work. Sometimes, it's getting to spend time with Him. I know this, but I still struggle with it.

I thought for sure that by now I would have this figured out. Ha! There is so much I'm still figuring out. I do love that even Martha, whose faith in Jesus Christ made it possible for God's will to be manifest through her brother, struggled with this balance. I mean, wouldn't you stop everything to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him teach? I think Martha was somehow able to see the bigger picture.  She knew that sometimes we do have to take care of those around us and meet our worldly obligations. Yet she still found time to have the necessary spiritual experiences which enabled her faith to grow. I know I can too.

And now, the rest of the story according to me:  I am willing to bet that, later, once the company was all gone, Mary stood with her sister, Martha, at the kitchen sink while they washed the dishes and cleaned up the meal, and shared the things she had learned at the feet of her Lord. After all, that's what any good sister would do.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

hello march

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  ~Charles Dickens

March is a month of considerable frustration--it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away. ~ Thalassa Cruso