Yet another obsession

I just finished the first season, and w-o-w am I impressed. Absolutely loved it. I am considering an upcoming purchase, because I have to give the season back and I just want to watch it again. However, I read a few episode descriptions for the second/third seasons, and I'm a little wary of pressing onward. You know how TV shows get weird in their old age (look at Smallville, for heaven's sake!) and the episodes later on sound a little...weird. I know I won't know until I see them, but the first season was just so perfect, I don't really want to taint it! I know, I'm weird. I'll prolly end up watching every episode there ever was, but for this moment in time, I'm just savoring the glorious experience that was Season 1.


Plight of the Caroler

A short blog about Apartment Christmas:

Basically, my college friends and I have our annual "Apartment Christmas", which started when we all lived together and has continued now even though we don't any more. We don't really have "traditions", so much that the thing is a tradition in and of itself. Sometimes we do Secret Santa (especially our more broke years), sometimes we do White Elephant. This year we did a $5 gift card white elephant. The idea was to get a $5 gift card from somewhere totally random. We ended up with some craft stores, movie theatre--I ended up with a card to Chevron. It was amusing.

During the course of the evening, we went Christmas caroling around my friends' apartment complex. And I do have to say, we sounded pretty good. There are some decent voices amongst this particular group. However, in the entire complex, no one came out to hear us sing. In point of fact, there were several instances when we heard people locking their doors when we came by. !!! What does that say about our world? Keep out the crazy carolers! I mean, of course we sang for our own enjoyment, but it was so sad that no one came out even to smile and wish us a Merry Christmas! It was madly depressing. So we went back to Ellen and Justin's to open presents, to make ourselves feel better and regain the Christmas spirit.

Oh, I also have a few things to say about Amazon wish lists, but this particular discussion will be truncated for sake of time. You see, I find Amazon wish lists to be immensely convenient. No guessing! No worries about disappointing the receiver! They can show you exactly what they want for Christmas. However. You almost always lose the personal touch. And what's more, there are no surprises! I mean honestly, it's such a difficult situation. On the one hand, you want to give them something that you know they want. But on the other, you want to give them something heartfelt, maybe with inside jokes, or something handmade and soul-invested. I don't know, it's a catch-22. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I worry a little about disappointing the recipients of my gifts. Hopefully all the gifts will blur together to make for general-overall contentment.

At any rate, yay for Christmas! And yay for driving home in the snow?


Christmas delights

I don't have to wait for Easter!!!


Only one more Sunday before Christmas!

Sundays are seriously becoming my favorite day of the week, which I could never have predicted at any point of my life up until now.

Church today was exciting. Firstly, we're singing/playing Christmas hymns in church, which I love. I just love Christmas, but singing Christmas hymns is definitely one of my favorite parts. I'm going caroling next week at Apartment Christmas, and I'm super excited.

I taught Gospel Doctrine today in Sunday School. It's so nervewracking. I've been nervous all week, but I'll tell you, I started trembling twenty minutes before Sacrament Meeting was over, and didn't stop trembling until halfway through Relief Society. All things considered, I think an angel taught my lesson, because it well so well and I certainly couldn't have done so well. Somehow I made a baby's first steps into a metaphor of the pride cycle on the spot. It worked out pretty well. :)

Actually, I just got back from a second Sacrament Meeting. There's a retirement home in my neighborhood that has a branch in our stake, and the wards rotate preparing their meetings, with the priesthood in charge of blessing and passing the sacrament, and the R.S. in charge of the music. So today I volunteered to play the piano for the meeting. It was cool. I haven't played the piano in a church meeting for a year now, since my last ward in Cedar City, and I realized that I miss it. I love playing the piano, its one of the talents that I am most thankful for because it brings so much joy into my life.

Oh, and a very good number of people signed up for the roadshow! I'm excited to start working on it. My current motto is Simplicity. I think keeping thing simple will save my sanity.

Life is good! Love and Christmasness to you all!


One of my few professed culinary skills

I make a mean raspberry pie.

My company Christmas party is tomorrow. Entirely besides the dinner there's a dessert contest, and my coworker Cindy basically threatened me with my life if I didn't enter, so here is my beautiful (if unoriginal) masterpiece for the competition and consumption. Isn't it pretty?


Being Mormon...for real!

After my graduation, life toned down a lot. I will tell you that working a full time job is a lot easier in many ways than going to school. No homework, for one thing. And the schedule's a lot more consistent. There are other reasons. But beyond that, I don't stage manage, and I don't belong to any clubs, and my work isn't competing with those other things any more.

The exception to this rule is becoming my church involvement.

Throughout my life, I've been a relatively active member of my church. I go to church every Sunday, and I've always gone to the occasional ward activity that sparked my interest. But that was usually it. I was never a very good visiting teacher, and I can count on my fingers the number of times I've been visit-taught in my life. I thought I was doing fine.

But in my new ward (new being since August...) I'm finally finding out what being "active" can really mean. I was talking to my best friend about it the other night, and there is a marked difference. "Church" is no longer a Sunday thing...it's kind of like belonging to a really big, personal, all-inclusive and pro-active club that has an infinite number of faces and aspects.

For instance, there is Family Home Evening.

In singles' wards I've been in before, FHE has been broken down into smaller units of 10 people or so, with a "Mom and Dad" called to plan and execute the activities each week. This system certainly has its merits, and its possible that my ward will soon or eventually adopt the system. However, for the past few months, our FHE has not been broken down. Each week, every member of the ward is invited to come to the church--its always the same time and place, which is REALLY nice--to participate in a wide range of varying activites. There have been sports, games, serious religious talks and discussions, outings like bowling and visiting Temple Square, and any number of things. I've found this ward to be a lot more creative than others I've attended. With the whole ward invited to attend, I've met a lot more people than I would have by just attending church. Also...it's fun. :)

Also, as mentioned there are Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching. Now, I'm only on the receiving end of the latter, as I am of the female type (in case you hadn't heard). However, I'm gaining a newfound appreciation for visiting teaching. Basically, I have a partner (who is phenomenal, by the way, and I'm enjoying our growing friendship enormously) and we are assigned a handful of girls in our ward (3 at the moment). Once a month, we go visit these young ladies, to see how they're doing, if there's anything they need that we can do or arrange for them, and to offer them a brief spiritual message. I still have yet to be visited by my own such teachers, however I am finding that I enjoy going out and doing the visiting. It has helped me connect with other girls in the ward, and it helps me expand my own spirituality. That sounds vague, I know. But basically...I'm learning to love near-strangers simply by virtue of visiting them and sharing with them this gospel that I love so much. It's a pretty powerful high, actually.

There is also Ward Prayer. Now, I haven't been a frequent attender of this activity in my current ward, but I think I'll be changing that. Sunday night, the ward members are invited back to the church for a very brief gathering. There is a spotlight of one of the newer members (and my ward ALWAYS has new members), a hymn, a spiritual thought, and then everyone kneels down and prays together. And then there are treats and socializing afterward.

Ooh, and on Sundays themselves, there is Ward Choir. My attendance is often irregular, but man, there just isn't anything quite like singing in a choir, especially singing really beautiful arrangements of religious songs that you've known your whole life. I freaking love choir.

Then there are Ward Activities. These are similar to FHE, but on a grander scale. Recent editions have included a Halloween dance, a Thanksgiving dinner, going to the bowling alley (though that one didn't turn out so well), and this weekend we're going ice skating at the 7 Peaks arena.

Also there are temple trips. My ward is starting to get better about making baptisms a part of the ward trips, and though I haven't been with them, I still try to go on my own regularly. Makes a crazy difference in my life, I can't even tell you.

And of course you can't forget the Calling. Some people fear it, some people resent it, some people avoid it like the plague. Others tolerate and endure. Some find fulfillment, others actual joy in their calling. Some just go about it like its nothing out of the ordinary. Most of my callings have been music-oriented, whether playing the piano for some meeting or other, music coordinator, chorister, etc. Now, I am...{drumroll please!} a Gospel Doctrine teacher. Yes, you may wince in sympathy here, laugh, or whatever best pleases you. I've only taught once so far (#2 coming up this Sunday). It's definitely a challenge, but I think it helps me expand my own thinking and studying skills. So, I guess I'm in the endure/fulfillment category. Hopefully enjoyment will come.

And now, the real summation of my blog--this weekend I was asked to head up my ward's portion of the Stake Roadshow. I've been to one roadshow in my life, many years ago, and I don't have strong memories of it, besides it being cheesy and almost painful, thespian that I am. However. I heard that there was going to be a roadshow a few weeks (months?) ago, and I'll admit that it perked my interest. However, with things like this, me knowing myself as I do, I know that I have to be in charge, or not involved at all. Events of which I have an inkling of what I'm doing drive me crazy to watch someone else fumbling through with no idead of what they're doing. So yes, while I will enlist the help and support of as many people as possible, I'm glad that I've been actually put in charge. Committees have the tendancy to drive me up the wall. As a friend of mine said, "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

So at any rate, I'm in charge of the roadshow. It has to be 15 minutes long, the setting is in front of a garage (although it may be inside a garage or beside a garage, the packet isn't entirely clear), and our ward's theme is Service. Oh, and it's in just over a month. The other wards have been prepping for a couple of months now. Yeah...funsies!

Actually, I'm pretty excited about it. It's been too long since I've done anything dramatic, so being given free license to take charge of the project makes me immensely satisfied with life. I'm sure that once I've dived headfirst into the madness I'll be a little...um...shall we say irrascible? But there can be no denying the enthusiasm that even this mockery of theatre brings to my soul.

In all, I think my church is the bomb. (Bet you haven't heard THAT phrase for awhile! Hee hee). Oh, and I think you all should go, cuz it's rockin'. :)


Lights at Temple Square

If it's at all feasible for you to go see the Christmas lights at Temple Square, take an evening and go. They're beautiful, and it's a wonderful way to celebrate the season.

Merry Christmas!


A wave of gratitude

Now, as you should know as a reader of this blog if you do not already, I have a two-and-a-half-almost-three-year-old son, whom I placed for adoption a few days after he was born. Unlike my own adoption, Ian's has been almost completely open. To this day, I exchange emails and photos with his family on a fairly regular basis, and communication has been very open. This summer while they were in Utah for a family wedding, we were also able to meet for lunch, and I saw my son for the first time in two years, which was AMAZING, no lie there. And this evening I at last received the photos from the occasion.

I just can't even express my gratitude. If ever I were to be a proponent for something, for just one thing in the entire world (besides the gospel of Jesus Christ) it would be adoption, and open ones at that. The blessings that have entered my life because of that one choice are too numerous to name. To any dear friends or complete strangers who might have this as a consideration for their own, may I recommend it to you with all my heart. Adoption blesses lives, for children, birthparents and adoptive parents alike.

I have moved on with my life since that time, there is no doubt. And this is one of the true blessings for me--that I have been able to move on and live my life. My son is living an amazing, astounding life, even at this young age, and it is a life that I in no way could have given him. And I have been able to live my life, to continue to grow and progress, hopefully to a point where I may someday find a companion who will love me forever and be a loving, stable parent to our children. That is the blessing for both our houses--entirely besides the blessing of the adoptive parents receiving a child. Everyone wins, and everyone can be happy. These are the wonders of adoption.

I love my son. I have not forgotten him, just as I have not forgotten my own birthparents, who loved me enough to give me to a better life. I am so incredibly happy that my son is a growing, happy, healthy little boy, and that he has such wonderful people to love him. Because that's what adoption is really about--it's just expanding the circle of love, and growing a bigger family for that small, special life. And as they say, all you need is love. :)