Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Easter Message

Today is Easter.  It was created to celebrate the Savior's resurrection and the final step after his crucifixion and death in order to pay for our sins.

The Atonement is Heavenly Father's and Jesus Christ's greatest gift to us.  While it was Jesus who died for our sins, it was Heavenly Father who sent His Beloved Son to earth in order to make this sacrifice.  He did it for us--for you and for me.  Whether you believe in Him or not, He died for you. Whether you have faith or not, He waits to embrace you with loving arms.  He loves you, He knows you, and He gave everything for you.  Let's not forget that, and let's live our lives the best we can in order to be worthy of all He did.

A blessed Easter to all.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Adventures in California...

It isn't often that I spend only a week in California while visiting my family, but I did this time.  "Tuesday to Tuesday," was what I named this trip.  And a busy one it was, too!

Having my plane delayed nearly 2 hours on my departure day wasn't the best way to begin, but things smoothed out later.  On my first full day there I gave my mom her perm (I've been doing that since I was 12,) and we went out to dinner at one of our favorite places in Pasadena, Kathleen's.  Everything they make is so fresh!  Cobb salad with creme brulee for dessert...yum!

On Thursday we went to go and get my mom a new printer.  After 9 years, her previous one was finally beyond help, refusing to print for months and mocking us with this little light that kept blinking and refused to stop.  She got a wireless one, similar to the one Eric and I have, and it only took me 2 hours to install it instead of 3 like ours.  I call that progress!

Thursday nights is when my niece and nephew come to spend the night at my mom's house.  Both my brother and sis-in-law start work very early on Fridays, and it makes it easier for everyone.  We had dinner together, chicken and homemade mac 'n cheese, and veggies.  After dinner and bathtime was storytime, a staple in that house all through my growing-up years.

(All pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them...)
"Abuelita" reading to the grandkids before bedtime...There's No Such Thing As A Dragon--a family favorite!

I caught this cute picture the next morning as the kids were waking up with their bed heads and sleepy eyes:
Good morning, sleepyheads!

And now...ready for school!

After we picked them up it was time to go to the nursery and buy some flowers for the pots in my mom's yard.  Little did we know that my niece was coming down with a cold.  Sick child equals cranky child, and she was asleep by the time we got back to the house.  A 3 hour nap helped.  Later that night my mom and I just collapsed after they got picked up.  They are fun, but a lot of work like most little ones!
Spring was just bursting with color at the local nursery!

I just love orchids. So beautiful and fascinating to behold.

Cute nephew in front of the little fountain

Self pic with my favorite boy!

On Saturday was the Steve Tyrell concert, the reason I was down there in the first place.  Eric and I had bought these amazing tickets for my mom's birthday back in October.  A dinner buffet was even included.  Our seats were in the 6th row and the show was incredibly enjoyable--one of the best concerts I think I've ever attended.  Steve had a great rapport with the audience, his songs were mostly old standards, and he has a cool easy-going way about him that just makes you relax and enjoy the music.

Sunday was church and relaxing.  Monday we went to the Norton Simon Art Museum for about 2 hours.  We have been going there for years and people who have been there will agree with me when I say that, for the size, it has probably the highest quality collection available.  All of the famous artists are there:  Rembrandt, Rafael, Boticelli, Degas, Pollock, Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gaugin, Fragonard, Van Gogh, Van Dyck, Klee...seriously, the list goes on and on.  I never get tired of going there and I always find something new that I never noticed before.
Iceland poppies outside the entrance of the Norton Simon.  I planted some in our front yard today!

Rodin's Burghers of Calais

Degas' Little Ballerina--I have a relief of this in my living room--with a Degas painting in the back on the left and a Monet on the right.  I love this museum!

Van Gogh's fiery tree.  Doesn't it look like it is moving? 

Renoir has always been my favorite.  I love his feathery brush strokes and the serenity of the faces.

Girl Writing a Love Letter--another favorite.  A canvas print of this painting hangs in my living room, and I love visiting the original.

The museum grounds, with sculptures by Henry Moore and Paul Klee.  Such a glorious, glorious place.

Monday night was my mom's Family Home Evening with some of the "empty nesters" from the ward, most of them close friends that I have known for nearly 30 years.  It was potluck night, so we noshed on lasagna, chili, salad, homemade bread, fruit, homemade candy....oh yum, everything was so good!

Tuesday morning was all about preparing to leave.  I cut it a little bit close with my bus to the airport, forgetting to make allowance for unforeseen Los Angeles traffic, but I made it in time, checked in and go through airport security relatively quickly.  The flight was uneventful, just the way it should be.

Eric was given extra work days, so my friend, Erin picked me up from the airport (I'm so grateful!)  I arrived home around 9pm back with my sweet husband, who was waiting up for me and ended up going to work the next day on about 5 hours of sleep.

The following morning I awoke early and rested, went to pick Bailey up at the kennel and went into "tornado mode" at the house getting everything into "Kristie's version" of "ship shape."

I'm glad I got to visit and I'm glad to be home.
It is days like this that really make me grateful to be back home.  This is the view half a block away from our house.  Is that gorgeous, or what?  I took this picture today while walking Bailey.  Home sweet home.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Some More Time Out...

You know how it is when you hear a really great talk that applies to your life and then--poof!--it's over and gone?  The talks at last November's Time Out for Women conference were so good that I bought the DVD so I could listen to them again and again.  Yes, they were that good.

Happily, some friends were interested in listening to them too.  So last night we had a mini Time Out for Women conference in our family room.  We watched the 3 talks that I consider to be the best of the weekend, pausing after each one to discuss its applications to our lives.  Rarely have I heard talks that resonated so strongly with me, with the way women think and feel and act, and with such spiritual connections.

The first, by Virginia Hinckley Pierce, was on Forgiveness.  She addresses the topic with logic that I have never heard before--the idea that forgiveness is between you and the Lord, not necessarily you and the person who hurt you.  That person has already been forgiven.  She talks about what a gift forgiveness you and to the other person.  It allows you to move on and it allows the other person to spiritually progress.  Does it mean saying "it's OK?"  or putting yourself in Harm's way again?  Certainly not.  But it is about healing and letting go of your own pride that may be an obstacle in your current "forgiveness project."

The second was by Sheri Dew, an absolute force of nature of a woman who is also the CEO of Deseret Book.  Never married, she addressed the role of women in the LDS church.  Mainly, she addressed the "poor oppressed Mormon woman" as many who are not familiar with the church think exists.  She reminded us that everything that the Lord promises men he also promises women.  That significant events in the Bible and Book of Mormon happened to women and because of women.  Hers was the last talk of Friday evening for those of us who attended in person, and we left feeling very empowered...or should I say...reminded that we are already empowered.

The last talk was by Laurel Christensen, a VP at Deseret Book.  She's a year younger than me, one of the main organizers of the Time Out for Women event, and was single at the time that she gave her talk (she has since become engaged.)  She spoke on the idea of waiting, and living "As If" what you are waiting for and praying for is right around the corner.  She reminded us of the Lord's timeline, and that we are exactly where He knew we would be in our lives.  And that the Lord waits too, waiting to answer our prayers if we would just pray and ask.  Waiting to give us His richest blessings if we would just get our lives in order, or maybe do things in the right order.  The most poignant quote from her talk?  "The Lord values our [free] agency more than our happiness."  How powerful is that?

So that was my Saturday night--sitting in the presence of 5 wonderful women who came over to partake of all that wisdom.  We munched on many goodies strewn across the bar in our huge downstairs family room, we listened intently, and we internalized the amazing messages that these 3 women shared with us.

A really good night.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Birthday Blog...the big 4-2

Another year passed.  Call me childish and immature, but even at this age I still like having a fuss made over me on my birthday. 

Today was a lovely one. 

Thanks to a dog with potty issues half the night, I was awake bright and early as Eric left for work.  A beautiful card with loving sentiment inside awaited me. 

The next few hours were spent fruitlessly trying to go back to sleep.  It wasn't to be. 

After prepping some pepper steak for Eric's dinner tonight I got ready for my birthday lunch, attended by 4 lovely ladies from church.  Even the snarky waitress couldn't spoil the fun.  I had a chicken chef salad...dark meat!  It's almost as if they knew.  I received a beautiful yellow tulip, a gift certificate, and some Wild Orange essential oil.  Mmmm. Plus some gorgeous cards with loving words from friends inside.

After lunch I scrambled to run errands and walk the dog before leaving to help with the set-up at our Relief Society Anniversary dinner.  The time flew, I helped with the meal, and still had time to eat nd enjoy the program.  After being involved in the planning, it was thrilling to see the night go off without a hitch and to see everyone have a good time.  Another good friend presented me with a sweet basket filled with lavender-scented items and a lovely card.

I was able to spend a short time in the evening with my hubby upon arriving home.  He makes me so very grateful for the life we lead together. 

As another birthday comes to a close I thank the many who made today special.  Cards and phone calls from friends and family, a fun lunch, countless Facebook birthday greetings...(If you want to feel loved on your birthday, go to Facebook.)  As an extra treat, the sun was shining brightly and the day was gorgeous.

I am truly content, not wanting to take any of these things for granted.  Thank you, Heavenly Father for another year, my husband, family, friends, and this life I enjoy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pink Polka Dot Creations...The Creativity Never Ends!

This week I was visited by new Visiting Teachers and I learned about a new website.

Sidebar for those who do not know what Visiting Teaching is: in the LDS (Mormon) church the ladies are paired up and assigned to visit a small number of other ladies once a month (about 3-4.)  The Church provides a message for us to share when we go visiting and we are encouraged to think of the ladies we visit as a stewardship, but to get to know them and love them.  We should know their needs, if they're sick or having problems, and they should know that they can call on their Visiting Teachers at any time.  Each man is assigned a group of families to visit, and his responsibilities to them are the same.  That is called Home Teaching.  These are amazing programs because it means that if you ever need something, you know you can call on your Visiting or Home Teachers.  No one is forgotten.  Isn't that wonderful?

Well, when my new Visiting Teachers arrived this week I was given a mini loaf of homemade bread and a cute little card with the month's spiritual thought.  Anything cute and creative on the computer immediately catches my eye (since I have no plans to make homemade bread.) After a lovely visit with my company, I went to the website where the card came from and was so impressed.  Pink Polka Dot Creations. (The name is the link.)

Pink Polka Dot Creations

Aside from the monthly printables for Visiting Teachers to use, there are recipes, crafts, ideas for making your own household items, and many other unique and very doable ideas.  I am just amazed at the level and variety of creativity exhibited by Rita, the lady who runs the site.  Whenever she posts a new printable or craft she is already talking about the next one.  And the best part?  She shares all of her incredible ideas with the rest of us who are a little slower on the uptake.  Yes, one day I'll jump onto the digital scrapbooking bandwagon..or not.

Here's an example of her gorgeous Visiting Teaching handouts.  All credits to Rita at

Aren't those beautiful?  For $2.99 I bought a 25 pack of cardstock, plus some scalloped crafting scissors and, voila, my VT companion and I are all set for our March visits.  (You are welcome to use the March message I have posted here, but I will not be doing this on a monthly basis. But rest assured, her site is very user-friendly.)
Yay!  I love discovering new sites, new ideas, and new ways to be creative!