The Parable of the Rainbow That Doubled

August 4th, 2010

Today was filled with fabulous thunderstorms. I happen to think the sound of falling rain, especially heavy-falling rain, is one of nature’s most glorious sounds. So this evening has been pure delight. I took some time to sit on my front porch and watch the rain. And what should appear but a rainbow—a gorgeous complete rainbow. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a full rainbow fill the horizon. So I watched in splendor, and then I grabbed my camera.

After taking some photos, I decided to sit and watch a little longer. And what should appear but a second rainbow! A second beautiful and complete rainbow right in front of my eyes. It was a great reminder that when you sit and partake in the joys of nature, your joys tend to double—just like they did tonight. I’m glad I didn’t go inside after the first ten minutes, because the second ten minutes were twice as fantastic. That seems to be the case for many of life’s true beauties, doesn’t it?

Today I created a moment to partake in the joys of nature.

The Parable of the [Movie] Transformation

August 3rd, 2010

Tonight I opted to turn off a show instead of watching it. The show wasn’t bad; I just knew I could do something more constructive with my time. (I was tempted to watch a show because I’ve been under the weather without much energy to participate in other activities. I’m finally starting to feel better, though!) As I reflected this evening on that decision, I felt a sense of renewal and growth—a sense of putting off the everyday man for the hope of the eternal. And I wished for an instant that I were a professional photographer who could visually represent that feeling by capturing a young woman standing on a rock in a river, having just stepped out of the water—leaving a heavy coat of the world behind—and standing tall on the rock with a stream of light pouring upon her in a light, clean dress. Then I remembered I’ve seen that image many times before.

It’s Ariel when she bursts from the water as a human princess instead of a mermaid. It’s the Beast when he sheds his animal appearance for his human royalty. It’s Mrs. Potts and Chip as they transform into humans and run to each other’s arms. It’s a sense of renewal, of growth, and of becoming one’s true self. In the movies, this transformation is depicted as a one-time milestone. Yet tonight I remembered that it’s a daily occurrence. It’s the conscious decision to “put off the natural man” and live as a beacon of hope and light in a world filled with despair. But more than serving as a beacon for others, it’s a transformation that serves each of us personally first. It’s the decision to become one’s true self. And in becoming one’s true self, one can’t help but serve others.

Daily Creation

Today I downloaded MP3s of CES fireside archives so I can listen to them more frequently. These firesides are addressed to young adults ages 18–30, when they’re making many decisions that will shape their future (of course, I believe that’s true of any age). For me, listening to these firesides is like drinking a glass of water on a day spent working in the sun. It’s refreshing and gives you the strength to withstand the heat.

Today I created a playlist that’s good for the soul.

P.S. Why the “Daily Creation” section? It’s a new goal of mine. More to come about it in the near future.

The Parable of the Seen and Unseen Post-it Notes

August 1st, 2010

This afternoon I read Way to Be! by President Gordon B. Hinckley. As I pulled it off the bookshelf, I noticed numerous Post-it Notes sticking out the side and remembered a month I had forgotten about.
Around 2003, I read this book in preparation for a talk I had been asked to give in church on the subject—the “nine Be’s” that help you “be happy and make something of your life.” Since I was preparing for the talk, I realized I may mark the book different from what I would have if just reading for myself, so I opted to use sticky notes to mark potential passages I could quote for my talk.
Shortly after my talk, I told a friend how good the book was, and she asked to borrow it. I explained about the Post-it Notes. She ended up marking the book with sticky notes as well, and mentioned that it was like having a piece of her left with the book. I loved that idea, and I never removed either set of sticky notes.
Years later, I love having those notes. They not only remind me of a great friend, but they also capture a piece of our lives—of what was important to us at that time and what words of advice, knowledge, and comfort spoke to our souls.
Just as my friend Jessica left stick notes in my book with lessons important to her, I think we constantly leave unseen sticky notes in one another’s lives. I can immediately think of several lessons people have given me throughout life. And just like the notes in this book, I can continue to call upon those sticky-note lessons and the impact they left on me.
This parable has left me with two homework assignments today:
(1) Reflect on the wonderful lessons I have learned from good examples in my life, and apply them to my life today to become more and more like the person I want to be. (On a future day, I need to remember to send notes of gratitude to the people who taught me those lessons.)
(2). Meditate on the unseen sticky notes I’m leaving in the lives of others, and make sure the notes I’m leaving are positive ones left with care and love.
And with that, I’m off to ponder.

You Are Loved :)

February 14th, 2010

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s an important reminder to remember every moment of our lives:


The fun letters, which I photographed against fabric, come from Buzz and Bloom.

100 Words a Day (or Thereabouts)

February 3rd, 2010

In 2009, I didn’t keep the best journal. Life became “busy,” and I let it slip. This year, I didn’t want to miss out on keeping my personal record. At bedtime on January 1, I was tired and wanted to go to sleep, but I wanted to start the year off right. I compromised: one sentence seemed like a fair trade. The next night, the same process. And the idea stuck—one sentence a day. It’s doable. It helps me evaluate the day. I like it.

Some nights I end up with one sentence, some nights I end up with eight sentences. Generally, it’s around 100 words. Today I realized that in January I ended up with over 3,000 words of personal history. One hundred words a day doesn’t seem like much, but the record adds up quickly. I’m glad I have a snapshot of at least one thought/happening/moment/realization that was important to me each day.

Small and Simple Means

January 2nd, 2010

Sometimes we make goals harder than they need to be. Small goals are great, too. Take my experience on Monday for instance, when I was in the middle of a workout and made a goal to continue exercising until the timer reached 23 minutes. I looked at the panel only to realize it did not show 22:15 minutes like I thought it would,* but rather 19:59. I’d eaten too many sweets that morning, so 23 minutes seemed like an eternity away. But I made it. In fact, I was so thrilled about reaching my goal without falling off the exercise machine that I decided to go even longer—until 40 minutes, in fact. Making it to 23 minutes—that’s a great goal. Making it to 40 minutes—that felt even better.

* Yes, my lofty goal was 45 more seconds. But to my credit, I was fighting off a cold and was more tired than normal.

The Parable of the Memory-Foam Pillow

December 8th, 2009

I recently purchased a memory-foam pillow. Man, I love this pillow.* The only drawback is that once you’ve** rested your head on it for a while, it’s hard to move your head*** just a quarter inch to the right or left. Since the memory foam temporarily retains the placement of your head, a subtle shift leads your head to fall back into the original position. I struggled with that dilemma the first few nights I used the pillow, trying to move gradually but feeling like my head would lean back into the center. Then a lightbulb turned on in my head. Rather than trying to shift my head a quarter inch, I could just shift the pillow a quarter inch. Then my head would be in the perfect spot. Brilliant, isn’t it?****

I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out that trick, but it did. Hmm, it sounds like many times when I’ve made tasks harder than they had to be because I was trying to change my circumstances with the wrong approach.

Lesson learned: Rather than trying to shift ourselves to fit into a mold, sometimes it’s best if we mold our circumstances to fit into our character.

* Word to the wise: You’ll likely either really love memory-foam pillows or greatly dislike them. The people I’ve recommended them to have had mixed feelings; oddly, the women seem to like them more than the men. I’m not sure what to think about that non-scientifically-proven fact.
** Yes, I just changed the voice from the first person.

*** I’m using “head” frequently in this post. In fact, I’d say I overuse the word. But I’m doing it for clarity. That means you’ll hear it again in this post—several times. Please forgive me. Just know the overuse is in fact there—it’s not just in your head. ; )

**** Perhaps that insight should earn me a spot at the head of the class.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2009

Today I’m expressing gratitude for so many, many blessings. Here’s a very small, random sampling of them.

* A most amazing family

* Friendships with incredible people

* Health and happiness

* Laughter

* A moon that shines at night and reminds me of the wonder of the universe

* The sun that warms us and gives light and life each day

* Technology that makes it so easy to keep in touch and hear the voices of loved ones

* Seat heaters in cars

* Umbrellas

* Photography, journaling and memory preservation

* My eighth-grade keyboarding class

* Engineers who make road travel so easy

* Employment I enjoy

* Service opportunities

* Holiday music

* The holiday spirit

* Soft tissues

* Flights through clouds

* Takeoffs on airplanes

* Golf and miniature-golf courses

* Bowling alleys

* Board games

* Teachers

* Water parks

* Sketchbooks and Sharpie pens

* Scripture, which teaches and brings peace

* Grass and gardens

* Fruits and veggies

* Peanut M&Ms and McDonald’s soft-serve ice-cream cones

* Aerobics classes

* A soft bed and pillow

* Angels in heaven and angels on earth

* Jane Austen’s decision to write books

* Nail polish

* Blow-dryers and flat irons

* Naturally curly hair

* Growth that comes through difficult times

* Modern building-construction equipment

* Roundabouts (when people know how to use them)

* Strangers who smile and say hello

* Mountains, oceans, rivers, and streams

* Telescopes

* Shoes for every type of activity

* The movie below (someone asked people on the streets of New York what they’re thankful for)

* The happy music on the movie below

* Knowledge of the gospel of Christ that helps me appreciate everything in life so much more

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Parable of the People Who Followed Their Dreams

November 8th, 2009

A few years ago, I visited the Big Apple. Seeing the amazing art in the museums, experiencing the hubbub of the big city, and strolling around the area was a blast. A highlight was seeing a Chihuly exhibit in The New York Botanical Garden—I love Chihuly’s work. One of my most memorable moments, though, came while seeing Wicked on Broadway. The musical itself was absolutely incredible, but there was a lesson that struck me even more.

I remember looking at the actors about twenty minutes into the production and thinking, “These people made it to Broadway. They achieved their dreams. They must be thrilled.” They were living a dream—a dream that had been many years and hours upon hours of hard work in the making. They overcame doubt and fear and pursued one of their talents with a depth that allowed them to share their work with the world. It made me completely ecstatic to see them fulfilling a dream.

This week, Creating Keepsakes made an announcement I can’t help but compare to the experience I had watching Wicked. We announced the 2010 Dream Team—a group of 10 amazingly talented women whose work will grace our magazine and website for the next year. I want to add my sincere congratulations to

1. Wendy Sue Anderson
2. Maggie Holmes
3. Jen Jockisch
4. Suzy Plantamura
5. Cindy Tobey
6. Laura Vegas
7. Kim Watson
8. Susan Weinroth
9. Sara Winnick
10. Deena Wuest

The Creating Keepsakes 2010 Dream Team

Plus, Mou Saha was announced as a new contributing writer for 2010. She is a creative genius.

I’ve had the chance to work with each of these incredible women, and they never cease to inspire me. They’re fantastic scrappers and fantastic people who I am grateful to know. A huge thanks to each of them for being so wonderful and for sharing their talents and their lives. I know many of them had dreamed of achieving this honor, and I congratulate them for their hard work and thank them for their example in pursuing their dreams.

So, what goal have you been dreaming about? Let’s let the passion of these women and the people on Broadway inspire us to pursue a dream we’re each passionate about. I have a goal I’ve wanted to pursue for years, but I’ve always been too afraid to make the plunge. (It seems like the first step is always the most daunting, doesn’t it?) Today I was motivated by these women to make one of my dreams a reality. I won’t put it off any longer. I’m setting a goal to work on it at least once a week (that sounds doable, doesn’t it?). I’ll check back in with you every once in a while to let you know how it’s going. If you’ve had a goal you’ve wanted to pursue for a while, today feels like a good day to start, doesn’t it?

From M.E. to me

November 1st, 2009

The Parable of the Girl Who Decided to Reclaim Her Life

This WillowTree is called "Happiness," with the caption "free to sing, laugh, dance . . . create!" It has always inspired me.

This WillowTree statue is called "Happiness," with the caption "free to sing, laugh, dance . . . create!" It has always inspired me.

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who loved to edit (much to the dismay of her middle-school and high-school peers who thought she used too much red pencil when peer editing their papers, thank you very much). When the girl went to college, she decided editing would be just the ticket for her (and she was right—she loves it). During a business class, she met the founding editor of Creating Keepsakes magazine. She knew immediately the company would be the perfect place for her and hoped to one day find a home there.

Shortly after graduating, she applied for a position at the magazine. Heavenly Father blessed her very much, and she was able to obtain the job. A year later, she was promoted, and she was very grateful. A little while later, she was promoted again and then again. The girl felt very blessed and humbled with each change. She’d dreamed of going to the moon, and she found she’d been able to travel through an entire galaxy—what an incredible ride.

Then one day the girl realized her world had changed a little. She’d always dreamed of being a girl with many adventures, one of which was working for the magazine. With each promotion, she viewed the change as a great step in her grand adventure and didn’t mind working more hours because she enjoyed her job. With her great love for the magazine, she soon developed a habit of working way too many overtime hours each week, and she didn’t have time for many other adventures anymore. The girl wanted adventures and wanted to keep in better touch with the people who mean so much to her, so she realized she needed a change—one where she could still fulfill her dream of working for the magazine but where she would also have time to pursue other dreams (and get a little more sleep at night).

She made the decision to apply for a new position where she would have more time to be with her family and friends, develop new talents, play in the sun, and explore the kingdom. At first she was worried people may think she made a bad decision in her career by stepping away from her current job, but she knew the change felt right, and so she decided not to worry anymore. To her delight, she received the job offer. She couldn’t wait to begin a new adventure and reclaim her grand adventure, and she smiled ever time she thought about the change and the new job.

Now her story begins again, once upon a time. . . .


It’s true: after 3.5 incredible years of working as the managing editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine, I’m making a change. It’s time to reclaim my life in full, and I’m excited for what’s coming. I’ll still be at CK (of course!), but starting tomorrow it’s time to go from M.E. (managing editor at the magazine) to me (plain and simple me who happens to have an extremely cool job of senior online editor for Creating Keepsakes). Wish me luck on my new adventure and the many more that are soon to come as a result. :)