Saturday, April 30, 2011

soul food

Sometimes all I need is a little soul food...

Happy kid screams
A little person grabbing my legs and a little voice saying, "I love you, Aunt Christine."
Hugs from my dad
My niece rolling her eyes and she's just turned one
The dogs going crazy 'cause the kids are here
Just being with my mom
Snow on the mountains and daffodils blooming
Oatmeal-banana-walnut pancakes for breakfast
Watching my brothers take care of their kids
Smacks on the bum from brother R2
My sister's cooking-Yum!
Playing trucks with my niece
My nephew trying to convince his parents to let Aunt Christine buy him a fish
Watching the sunset over the Wellsville mountains

Just being with my family.

Friday, April 29, 2011

there's no place like home

You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home. ~Og Mandino

Thursday, April 28, 2011

happiness is...

happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
~margaret lee runbeck, time for each other

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

i need to run away...

I need to run away to a beach closer to the Equator than where I am now. I need to rest, read, listen to music, and only move when I want.

I need to do a brain dump and think about nothing for a couple of days while watching white waves roll in and out, the sky change color and beach people.

I need to hear that subdued, low-level roar that is uniquely ocean waters hitting the beach, because somehow that is one of the most soothing noises I know.

From behind black sun glasses, I need to watch the sun move across a bright blue sky, and the shadows of palm trees and cabana huts dance on pristine white sand.

I need to feel warm, white sand between my toes, bright blue water wash over me, and the heat of the sun kissing my SPF50-drenched skin.

I need to drift in out and of sleep during an afternoon spent on a chaise lounge under a palm tree, waking only to put on more sunscreen or get a cold drink.

I need to watch a sunset painting the sky all kinds of colors, and feel cool evening breezes begin their dance.

I need to just sit on a beach somewhere... soon, I hope.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

he lives

"Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives."
"He is not here, he is risen."

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

things that made me smile this week

today is good friday. only two more days until easter sunday. happy easter!

the yellow and purple tulips, and hot pink hyacinths that i planted last fall are blooming this week, and they're gorgeous.

we had 80 degree weather on wednesday with no humidity. it was perfect. i opened my windows, let fresh air pour in and spent time in the sun.

an un-asked for apology from a friend, who felt her actions had let me down. it was refreshing to have someone own up and be sincere. thank you.

i am spring cleaning my home, downsizing a few things and making space.

the dental assistant told me that i have lovely white teeth, and that i should keep doing whatever it is that i'm doing. (i use sensodyne pronamel gentle whitening toothpaste and apparently it works well for me.)

my renter's insurance paid the claim from the robbery, and i have been able to start replacing items that were stolen. it's fun to have bright, shiny new toys to play with.

while purchasing some of my bright, shiny new toys, the clerk thanked me for my smile. she said she wasn't feeling well, and that my smile had reminded her to keep a smile on her face. i had spent the morning at the dentist and it hurt to smile. i was also feeling a bit self conscious of my smile due to the bruising of the gums around my front teeth, and it helped me realize that no one other than me or the dentist really looks that closely at my mouth. i need to remember this.

time spent with a lovely friend who has helped me let go of a lot of emotional baggage over the years. this week instead of her helping me, i got to help her let go. it was an awesome experience. i'm so honored she trusted me to help her and trusted that i could.

holding friend b's newly minted baby girl set the world right. baby girl made me very aware of how pure and precious we all are. some of us bury it way deep inside, but it's still in there.

fresh asparagus. blueberries. dark chocolate. good books. san pellegrino in single serving bright green bottles that come in a six-pack. deep sleep. good music. my pedometer. the first manicure of the warm season. open-toe shoes.

and from the wedding last week, a laugh. friend k, my escort to the wedding, took my champagne flute and went to get me some pellegrino for the champagne toasts. the waitress pouring the champagne asked: "are you pregnant?" "why, no!," i responded, taken aback. "oh, but he's taking such good care of you?" she questioned. "yes, he is," i said, hopefully proving that no excuse is needed for friends to take care of each other.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

woman power

Much of what we accomplish... is due to the selfless service of women. ~El. Quentin L. Cook

There is no earthly force greater than the divine power within a woman determined to rise.
~Barbara Barrington Jones

Monday, April 18, 2011

congressional cemetery

Sunday evening in Washington, DC was the epitome of spring. After spending the day at work, I was ready for a little spring. I went for a walk with a visiting friend, who is a bit of a history aficionado, and we ended up touring the Congressional Cemetery for a couple of hours.

There are lots of different veterans interred here.

There are beautiful, aging sculptures.

We ran into some good friends who were releasing butterflies at their grandfather's grave site. They invited us to join them and we had a great little visit, and a celebration of life. The butterflies were definitely enjoying the moment and wouldn't separate from each other. It was a great end to our walk.

This is the description of the Native American Indian carving, which was carved in remembrance of 9-11 to serve as a symbol of peace and healing. Click on the photo to enlarge it for reading.

Congressional Cemetery is beautiful. It's actually a favorite place to walk. The tours there are great and give such great glimpses into the history of DC and our country.

the wedding of J & M

Friday evening I attended the wedding of my great friends Jeremy and Melina. It was a perfect, simple and moving ceremony. I'll always remember the happiness and love present on this perfect evening. 

Meadowlark Gardens provided the perfect backdrop for the ceremony.

Can you see the love?

I was so honored when they asked me to sing.

"And I, I love it when you give me things.
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings."

The sand-unity ceremony.

The I'm-gorgeous-and-totally-feelin'-it shot.
She was so beautiful in her dress.

Proof that Jeremy can dance... no excuses now. 

Cutting the cake. Seriously, some of the best wedding cake I've ever had.

Three good friends. Mari, Jeremy and I went through Chief's training together last summer. It was so fun to hang out with Mari and be there to celebrate with Jeremy and Melina.

I love these two people and will treasure these memories.


meadowlark gardens

Last week I drove out to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens for a wedding rehearsal. As I hit the George Washington Parkway, Ralph Vaughn Williams' The Lark Ascending began to play on the radio and it was the perfect musical accompaniment for the drive. Unfortunately, I couldn't snap photos while driving on the parkway, but I did take lots of photos at Meadowlark Gardens. Enjoy the music with the photos from Meadowlark!

Tulips are the best-est flowers.

Blossoming trees... sigh...

Daffodils just make me feel so happy.

Johnny Jump Ups are such cute little flowers.

A view of the lake and gazebo.

Hello, I starred in that really bad movie Gnomeo & Juliet.
No, I did not watch it, just saw the previews.

Bleeding Heart in full bloom.

These little flowers are so pretty.

Daffodils are the second best-est flower.

This little guy surprised me and I almost stepped on him.

I got so homesick listening to this bird sing. It took me right back to Paradise, Utah.

Let's go for a walk under the blossoms.

The dogwood trees are so beautiful and with such a simple, unfettered blossom.

Don't you just want to sit here and watch the sunset?

The perfect blue sky and budding trees...

I think these are apple blossoms.

Hyacinths smell like heaven, at least I hope this is how heaven will smell.

Tulips are this girl's best friend.

More heavenly hyacinth... deep, deep breaths...

Little curly pansies touched with yellow gold, growing in the corner of the garden... 

It's well worth the drive to visit Meadowlark Gardens for a proper spring welcome.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the deepest fear

[My] deepest fear is not that [I am] inadequate.
[My] deepest fear is that [I am] powerful beyond measure. 
It is [my] light, not [my] darkness, that frightens [me] most.
[I] ask [myself], “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?”
Actually, who [am I] not to be?  [I am] a child of God.
[My] playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around [me].  
[I was] born to make manifest the glory of God that is within [me].
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us[; it's in me].
And when [I] let [my] own light shine,
[I] unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As [I am] liberated from [my] own fear, [my] presence automatically liberates others.
–Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugeral Speech

i changed the pronouns to 
 make this more personal.

Monday, April 11, 2011

a tree

there is a tree i pass every day on my way to and from
work. this tree marks the seasons and changes colors.
this tree is my favorite tree. and it's particularly beautiful
in the spring.

this tree is my dream tree.

this spring i'm finding it quite difficult to hold onto
my dreams, but i'm trying to keep my grip firm.
while showing its pale pink, lacy beauty, the tree
reminded me that many good things last only for 
a season, a short time before a transformation
to something different, greener, more subtle and
appropriate for the next season. and maybe that's
me. maybe this is just a season of change before
my true spring. a truly beautiful reminder that next
year spring will return as expected and as dreamed.

cherry blossoms

last sunday evening after general conference i went in search of the dc springtime phenomenon. cherry blossoms at the tidal basin!

this year the blossoms were very white. in years past they have been pink.

i'm going to climb the pagoda and conquer it this year...

ducks in the tidal basin!

memorial bridge

a few pink cherry blossoms away from the tidal basin near the potomac river.

another beautiful year of cherry blossoms