Thursday, September 29, 2011

thoughtful thursday: grant me the courage

God, grant me the courage to be happy.

Miss Fee from "the wild and wily ways of a brunette bombshell" wrote this in a recent post, and I liked it so much that I wanted to share. Sometimes lots of courage is required to allow yourself to feel worthy of happiness and she captures this perfectly in her post.

Thank you, Miss Fee for sharing your courage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

my life is a golden ticket

Remember the golden ticket from the imaginative story "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"? It promised fantastic things to those who would find it in their bar of Willy Wonka chocolate. People were desperate to find a golden ticket, so much so, that they lost appreciation for the simple joy of eating a chocolate bar if it didn't contain a golden ticket. They missed out on the happiness that was right in front of them.

On Saturday evening, Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, gave this sermon to the women of the LDS Church during a worldwide satellite broadcast:

It's only 20 minutes and well worth your time.

In it he talks about the dangers of waiting for a golden ticket and wanting it so much that it excludes all else in life. How sometimes wanting something so badly can cause us to miss out on the things in our lives, which, if recognized and appreciated, can bring so much fullness and joy to us.

It was a timely message. One that I fully understood and heartily applauded in my heart.  I remember discovering, that if I had to wait for happiness to find me, then I sure was going to be waiting a long time. I stopped waiting, and went in search of it, and have kept on having wonderful adventures.

After the broadcast on Saturday, as I was driving some friends home, one of their mothers called to tell her daughter not to wait for her golden ticket to be happy. My mom also called that night, but I missed the call because I was driving and it was late and I had to work early the next morning. I imagined that she was calling to tell me the same thing.

So, I thought about what I would tell my mom if she said the same thing to me, and I had this thought: My life right now is a golden ticket! I am so blessed with a rich full life. I am happy, and learning to be happier. I know who I am and am learning so much about what and who I love. I have so much that I love and enjoy in my life, that I can't quite appreciate it all at times. Sure, I get sad and have hard days, and hard things to overcome. Happiness takes a lot of work sometimes and some days are easier than others, but all of this contributes to the golden ticket that is my life.

I am so thankful that I learned how to turn my life into a golden ticket by appreciating the simple joys in life: enjoying and loving the people around me, being true to myself and my Father in Heaven, and choosing happiness right here, right now. And that, more than anything, is what Pres. Uchtdorf wants us to know.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

things that made me smile this week

*talking to my nephew B and having him say, "you need to be by us." so, so true. at the same time i was smiling, i was crying too with this one.

*i attended the world-wide broadcast of the LDS Church's General Relief Society Meeting on saturday. it was wonderful and i loved all the talks. i left inspired to do more to increase my connection with god. but the thing that night that really made me smile...

*learning quirky, little known, fun things about the sisters in my congregation. for instance, one sister was an mtv dancer while at university (back when mtv was actually music tv), another was a yellow peanut m&m for mars, another met her husband in third grade, another was tony the tiger (how grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-eat is this?!?!), another has 17 grandchildren, another is a marilyn monroe impersonator, and another (i won't say who...) admitted to having two star trek: tos uniforms in her closet.

*getting caught out in a monsoon rainstorm while in uniform. all i could do was laugh, because i was soaked to the skin.

*new bras. (i know too much information, but seriously a good thing.)

*the big bang theory season premiere. "it's not what it looks like." the red chair. paintball war. i about died laughing.

*singing at a friend's retirement ceremony this week. congrats PB. i'll miss you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

in my backyard

in my backyard are treasures.

getting ready to open its face to the sun.

gorgeousness abounds.

happy fall!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

just keep swimming

who knew that when i saw you again it would all come rushing back? every bit of how it felt to be in your circle, your arms, your life. the times you listened patiently while i tried to explain to you things i wasn't sure i even understood myself. when i cried for no discernible reason and you just let me. the quiet times we shared when the world was only ours and life seemed to stop moving for a minute. the way my heart would skip a beat and i would laugh when you asked me if i missed you after only a matter of hours. 

and then the times of frustration. how we knew we both wanted different paths, but didn't want to separate. when we both knew and tried to fight it. 

yes, all of that all over again in the moment when i saw you again.

and for a minute i wished we could go back, and then i remembered why we are where we are right now. and you know what? i'm glad it's this way. i'm glad i'm moving forward on my separate path. moving on. moving towards what i really want.

hearts are funny, the things they hold on to, the things they make us remember. i sometimes wish i could turn mine off. but then i would miss out on this life i'm living. and no matter what i want this life. this laugh. this cry. this tiredness. this joy. this work. this time.

and so in the words of dori:

"hey mr. grumpy gills!  when life gets you down, you know what'cha gotta do? just keep swimming. just keep swimming. just keep swimming, swimming..." or moving. or running. or working. or reading. or writing. or playing the piano. or believing. or moving forward. or letting go. or loving. or whatever. 

just keep doing it. 'cause you know what? it helps.

thoughtful thursday: truth & love

the world is too dangerous for anything but truth
and too small for anything but love. 
~william sloan coffin

Monday, September 19, 2011


Because we all need a good laugh every now and then no matter how young we are...

LAUGHS! from Everynone on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

things that made me smile this week

* good sleep without running my ac unit. it's cooling off at night and it feels so great.

* spending two days with my "closest" friends out in the field training. 

* my super cool roommate and her dog. i'm so glad they're a part of my life.

* but this is what really made me happy....

being a part of dreams coming true for a dear friend.
love you tj!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

thoughtful thursday: joy for mourning

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

trees of righteousness illustration, by amy kopp

a friend quoted this scripture on her blog in her post on 9/11 and being brave enough to move forward in times of darkness. i thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it as well. thank you EKD.

Monday, September 12, 2011

things that made me smile

- chasing that darn dog!

- going to church with a friend from Afghanistan who was an answer to prayers.

- having a housemate.

- cooking for a group and for myself.

- sunshine!

- rain!

- a red velvet cupcake from the sweet lobby from my housemate.

- shoe shopping with friend OS when our sky diving was cancelled due to rain, and these new shoes.

- calling my mom to sing her "happy birthday".

- the movie Hitch. i laugh every time.

- remembering.

- reading out loud to myself poetry from the book "The Subject Tonight Is Love" by Hafiz. i highly recommend his poetry and this poem in particular:

"I caught the happy virus last night
When I was out singing beneath the stars.
It is remarkably contagious--
So kiss me."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

i remember

I was stationed in London and had been there for six months. It was the second day at my new job. I had just taken the sister missionaries to lunch at the American Embassy across the street from my office at Grosvenor Square and North Audley Street right in the heart of London, only three blocks from Hyde Park.

I walked back into my office to see that someone had turned on the television which was showing the images of a plane flying into the World Trade Center. "What movie are you guys watching?" I asked, because planes flying into the World Trade Center only happen in the movies. "It's not a movie. This is real and it just happened a few minutes ago," my leading petty officer explained.

We were immediately on lock down, the whole building. No one in without proper ID and definitely no one out, until we knew what the threat was for us. My roommate, SD, was a United Airlines flight attendant (and still is) was supposed to be in Boston that morning. My other roommate, JB, worked for a large printing company in the Financial District, she had called me to find out if we were evacuating or not, but instead had talked with an office mate who told her that he couldn't tell her anything without risking our own security.

Then word came that the Pentagon had been hit. We had people there on temporary duty. We scrambled to account for them and thankfully we did.

I called home and talked with my mom to tell her I was safe. She said that she figured I was because I was across the street from the Embassy and that was a safe place to be. I didn't have the heart to tell her we received weekly, if not daily, bomb threats. I told her I would call her when I got home and that I loved her. I also told her to tell my brother, Chris, happy 16th birthday. I didn't know when I would be able to talk to my family again. The conversation was less than two minutes and I went back to work.

I talked with my roommate who worked in London, who told me that SD hadn't flown to Boston, but instead had flown to India and had arrived back in London that morning. She was home safe in our apartment. That was when I started to sob. My Shipmates were concerned and relieved that my London family was safe, and then sternly told me to pull it together because I had a job to do.

I remember though that I wasn't exactly sure what my job was because I was still learning it. I remember thinking that we were probably going to be at the forefront of a lot of things. I knew our Nation would have a military response to this day. There was no way we wouldn't respond to this without our military might. I knew my life had changed and that someday I would go to war in the country that perpetrated these events. I knew all this then and six years later when I received a phone call telling me I was going to Afghanistan, it came as a shock, but I wasn't surprised because I already knew.

I left work that evening with a group of Shipmates, and we flagged down the first cab we saw and piled in for the short one mile journey to the train station. Our bosses didn't want groups of Americans walking on the street that evening. The driver heard our accents and in his East London accent expressed his sympathy. He was the first of many to share his sympathy with us.

My roommates and I went out for dinner at a fast food place, and young people stopped to talk with us. A young woman, not British, told me, that America deserved the attack because of our arrogance.  I remember being so hurt by what she said and simply replied that people from many nations were killed in the attack and did they deserve it as well? She had no reply and just walked away.

The next day we drove by Grosvenor Square to see the makeshift memorial that had been set up on a traffic island with a tree. We got out and walked over to take a look. Flowers and cards from Londoners were pouring in. London taxi drivers, who are a special brand of people--bless them, were pulling up in their cabs and handing flowers out through their windows to be put with the others. I saw Brendan Fraser, the actor, visiting with some people on the sidewalk near by. He was in town doing a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Later that week, my roommate DC and I went to St. Paul's Cathedral for the memorial service, and miraculously were able to find our other roommate in the throngs of people outside the in the surrounding streets. We talked with those around us, Americans and others, about the events of the past days. It was a beautiful service.

A few days later my roommate SD and I went the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace where a tribute to the victims of 9/11 was planned. After the guards were changed, the American Ambassador and Prince Charles came out and a color guard presented our flag as they band played the National Anthem. It was so moving to be there for that tribute and to sing the words with the crowd with tears in my eyes. Then they played God Save the Queen (the tune is My Country 'Tis of Thee). As I stood there respectfully, a woman behind me started loudly singing, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty..." I quickly turned and explained to her that it was not our song, but England's and she stopped singing. It was a moment of great solemnity and importance, because the Changing of the Guard had never played another country's anthem before. It was a great symbol of England's support.

The outpouring of support and sympathy from the people of London, and indeed all of England, was humbling and appreciated. I am grateful for the show of support and caring I received from my friends while I was there. The world is a good place, full of good people. I am grateful that during that particular time kindness and support were the  overwhelming responses, which I experienced.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

happy birthday mama bear

We call my mom Mama Bear. She used to get so mad at my youngest brothers when they would call her this. She thought they were commenting on her nature and that they thought she was grouchy like a bear or something. Then my brother J (I think it was him) explained why they called her this.

Mom rescued a tiny, black baby kitten. For the longest time, it was so tiny that the palm of her hand dwarfed it. She fed it with a medicine dropper and it grew until it was a tiny fist size ball of black fur that stuck out all over. He was the cutest little kitten, so funny looking. When he sucked down his milk, his ears would curl up and we would all laugh.

Then we all read an article from the Reader's Digest about a family who adopted a black bear cub and named it Little Bit. One of my brothers thought that the little ball fur looked like Little Bit when he curled his ears back, so the name stuck for the cat. And Mom became Mother Bear or Mama Bear depending on our mood. The cat grew up to be quite the handful and earned himself the nickname of Little Sh*t.

Well, when Mom found this out, she liked her nickname and it's stuck ever since. And now we are the Boyer Bears as well. We have Papa Bear, Christine-a-Bear, Raynbo Bear, Roberto Bear, Becky Bear, Jonny Bear and Christo Bear. It's a fun tradition.

Mama Bear totally lives up to her nickname as well. She is pretty ferocious in defending her family and taking of all her cubs. I certainly do love her!

Happy birthday, Mama Bear. I'm glad you're my mom.

I love this photo! She has the best laugh ever.

Two of my favorite moms in Paradise. 
(Thanks for the photo Jim!)

And Grandma Bear too!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

thoughtful thursday: perfect

i love this. found via unabellvita

some sneak peeks of the house

My dad is funny. He keeps asking when I am going to share more photos of my house.
He got a new pacemaker yesterday.  Everything went well and he is doing great!
So, here is a sneak peek of the house. It's still a work in progress.

Up the stairs is my prayer rug from Afghanistan.
I love this rug and the red wall.

"I am a great woman."
I love this reminder in French on my way out the door each morning.
I found this at Eastern Market a couple of years ago and fell in love with it.

A view of my dining room into the entryway.
I carried those terracotta angels in my backpack through Italy
and somehow kept them safe. Believe it or not, that was the easy part.

A somewhat dark view of the dining room and into the living room.
See my piano in the corner? It makes me very happy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

roommate #2: the escapee

so, i have two new roommates PL and her dog J. J is a lovely black with white markings medium size border collie. PL is lovely too and i feel so blessed to have her as a roommate.

this evening, i came home from work and changed into t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops to head out into the pouring down rain to get the 5 free sandbags that the city was handing out. we are having epic amounts of rain here in dc and flooding is common. i wanted to be able to protect the basement if needed. i loaded up the sandbags and then headed to frager's for some other home care stuff.

by the time i got back J was beside himself. he was in his kennel, but clearly ready to be out. i'm sure hearing the heavy rain and thunder didn't help him stay to calm today. he's a really good and cuddly dog, so i was looking forward to having him out and to myself until PL got home.

we went downstairs together and i let him out into the backyard. i stopped to talk with the neighbor for a minute and kept an eye on J. the next thing i know, he has figured out that the back gate was not locked, opened it and slipped out into the back alley. i immediately take off after him. keep in mind that it's raining, i'm wearing flip-flops, and i don't have his leash or my cell phone with me, and i left the back  door wide open. all i have is the key to the laundry room and my driver's license in my pocket.

at first i think i have a chance of catching him, because he's letting me get pretty close before taking off again and he's moving pretty slow. we get to the front corner and he's stopped, trying to do his business, so i try to grab his collar but he jumps back and snaps at me with a little growl. he's obviously not ready to be caught.

after that it's game on, and J just simply takes off with me in hot pursuit after him. i'm yelling for him to come,  he'll stop and mark a tree, and then wait until i about catch up with him before taking off again. this darn dog is playing with me. well, then it gets serious, because he's running into traffic at the intersections. thankfully, drivers are stopping for him and me, so he gets through safe. after about five blocks of running after him, two young men start helping me as well and then a third joins in. they are younger and can run a lot faster, so they can keep up better with J.

by this time, we are well on our way to lincoln park, but i can't see J any more. i'm praying, that those young men can keep up with him and that no matter what happens he doesn't get hurt. i get to lincoln park and can hear a dog crying in the distance like it's in distress. i just know it's J and that he's been hurt.

i get to the middle of the park, and i see three young men with an older gentleman walking towards me. they have a black and white dog on a leash, and it's J safe and sound. i'm so relieved. i grab onto J's collar, say thank you to all four gentlemen, and start walking home.

as we walk home, we pass by people sitting outside who are all happy that i caught him and making comments to that effect. the young men are also following me part of the way and J keeps trying to go back and say hi to them. J is also having trouble breathing because i'm holding onto his collar and it's pressing on his throat. this causes a guy to stop and ask me what sort of dog J is. i tell him, adding that he's in trouble because he ran away and we are on our way home. the concern on the man's face clears up when he hears this and i'm just glad that he doesn't say anything else to me, because i'm mad at J for this little adventure we just went on.

we get home finally and my roommate is at the backdoor wondering what the heck happened. i explain and J gets put in time out. i'm just thankful the escapee is home safe and sound. he's now totally exhausted after his two mile run/walk, and so am i.

J in timeout. isn't he a beauty?
my roommate is pretty cool and hadn't panicked, but was starting to feel concerned when she went to go upstairs after realizing that J and i were not home, and saw J's lease in the basket inside the front door. that's when she knew something was up. thankfully we got home just after she started putting everything together.

all in all, a very unexpected exciting evening. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the best family photo ever

Boyer Family Reunion 2011 at Bear Lake State Park, Idaho

Yep, we're quite the crew!
I love you guys.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

thoughtful thursday: measure of your love

You are rewarded
not according to your work or your time,
but according to the measure of your love.
~ St. Catherine of Siena