Sunday, August 29, 2010


I know that the Lord's purposes are wise and I don't expect to understand them. But I just wish I could understand why some of His children feel so alone and hopeless to the point where they feel there is no other choice than to take their own life. We had a family friend who reached this breaking point on Thursday. I don't know any details of what kinds of things he was dealing with but I hope he is feeling better now. Sometimes I wonder, though, how much regret you might suffer seeing your family and children dealing with such a loss. I am not judging, I have certainly entertained the thoughts, as I am sure most of us have at some time, but I just wonder. I hope our friend is free of his pain and knows how much he is missed and loved.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

thanks grandma

One more thing grandma taught me...without speaking. Grandma had a quote on her fridge for the longest time. ( I wonder if its still there...I guess I will check next time I go over). But it always stuck with me and I share it with my students EVERY year because I think it is one of life's most important lessons.
"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." Let's always remember that we are all children of God and treat each other as such.

happy birthday, Grandma Irene

Grandma just celebrated her birthday this week and since she is such an amazing woman, I thought I would share 82 amazing things about her. Happy birthday, Grandma! I am so grateful to have had you as the rock you have been inmylife!

1. She brought the Gospel to our family by accepting it and being baptized.
2. She can do everything with one hand that it takes me two hands to do.
3. She has taught me how to sew.
4. She has a brave, strong heart.
5. I can see a lot of myself in her.
6. She helped provide the things we needed growing up, like school clothes and cars.
7. She is a stylin' grandma.
8. She has always had tons of energy.
9. Her house and clothes smell so wonderful.
10. She is neat and organized.
11. She is smart and values education. Even though she didn't finish school as a child she went back as an adult and got her GED and other vocational training.
12. She has worked hard all her life to be self sufficient.
13. She is very talented at sewing and made us dresses when we were children. She made most of my mom's clothes.
14. She loves family history and served as a missionary in the FHC.
15. She is forgiving.
16. She is generous.
17. She took us in when we needed a safe place to live.
18. She has a "beauty mark " on her lip.
19. She fought cancer bravely and won.
20. She has a wonderful sense of humor.
21. She is a proud American and is concerned and informed in politics.
22. She has an eye for beautiful antiques.
23. She always has the most amazing quilts.
24. She still has dolls.
25. She got me my first Cabbage Patch Kid and I still have it.
26. She has a quiet, but strong, testimony of the Lord and His church.
27. She decorates her home beautifully.
28. She let us sleep in her bed with her even though we kicked and stole the covers.
29. She had sleepovers with us and we would watch "Golden Girls" and "Johnny Carson" with her.
30. She loves dogs, especially pugs.
31. She always wrote me on my mission faithfully.
32. She has a caring heart and took special care of Deeda and Fowie in their final years.
33. She draws cute Smiley faces.
34. She has lots of neat things that she enjoys telling the history of.
35. She is interested in me.
36. She is proud of me and my siblings for even small accomplishments.
37. She is stubborn about the things she believes in.
38. She doesn't give up.
39. She has great stories of growing up in Arkansas.
40. She still tries to learn new things.
41. She is a great friend.
42. She has a great vocabulary- "whoopie!" "For Pithie's sake" and "dear Gussy"
43. She still looks great in jeans.
44. She has traveled many places.
45. She put up with us to drive us to Arkansas when I was ten to see her family.
46. She has overcome great challenges in life.
47. She cooks great Southern Comfort foods: fried chicken, fried potatoes, fried okra.
48. She raised my mom and taught her to be a loving mother.
49. She is a good listener.
50. She patiently taught me how to drive.
51. She colored with me when I was little.
52. She taught Erin and me how to make paper dolls.
53. She took me to Disneyland by myself when I was 8.
54. She is a shopping pro. She wore me out as a child.
55. She knows how to find the best bargains at the best stores.
56. She has always been involved in our lives.
57. She is protective.
58. She has spent many hours helping my brother and his wife with paperwork and dealing with government agencies.
59. She always looks great.
60. She took me places and picked me up when Mom was at work.
61. She is always willing to help or listen, no matter the hour.
62. She chose an amazing husband who took my mother as his daughter and loved his grandkids fiercely.
63. She chose another amazing husband who accepts us as his family and blesses us with his Priesthood and is always willing to help in any way he can.
64. She let me live with her while I went to college.
65. She looks at least 20 years younger than she is.
66. She knows exactly the right gifts to buy.
67. She loves kids...not a grumpy old lady.
68. She knows and remembers my friends.
69. She makes the best spaghetti.
70. She hurts when you hurt.
71. She is always thinking of someone else.
72. She would watch Jazz games with me.
73. She likes football.
74. She has a wonderful laugh.
75. She likes to play and have fun.
76. She's classy. :)
77. She worries about me.
78. She always brings back special presents when she goes on a trip.
79. She has lived a life of faith.
80. She is a good example to me.
81. She still colors her hair red.
82. She is beautiful and wise.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another quick, but deep, thought

In everything that has been going on since April, I have come to realize that I was pretty dang smart when I was 6 years old and realized that "Life's not fair!" This has been something that I grew up knowing but not accepting. Why is life not fair?!?!
I realized it recently.
Life isn't fair and we should be happy that its not fair, because if it was fair, we would get what we deserved... and that would mostly be bad.
Christ suffered not only for our sins, but also all of our pains, so that life wouldn't have to be fair.
That's pretty amazing, if you think about it.
(but I still wish I could win the lottery and have a perfect family like they do...)<3

More on the meaning of suffering

Facebook friends will have seen my recent update with the quote from Viktor Frankl on the meaning of suffering. "Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of sacrifice. . . ‎In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end. In other words, life's meaning is an unconditional one, for It even includes the potential meaning of suffering." -Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor and author of Man's Search for Meaning). When I read this, considering all the crap I have had to deal with the past 4 months, or so, I just started to bawl. This was a man that suffered in Auschwitz saying this, and here I am suffering in my own little "garden" (which I am not minimizing at all, but it is not a concentration camp, after all), expressing such courage and strength about pain and challenges. I am on this search for meaning. (That sounds so chivalrous! "a quest for the meaning of suffering.")
In thinking about all of this, I am reminded of a quote that a friend sent me when all this first started. Hopefully, I will someday reach this point where I can recognize the growth I have made and look back on all of it and say, "Wow, that really wasn't that bad after all! Look at me now!!!"
"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God....and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulations, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven...." ~Orson F. Whitney


Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Let It Be" The story behind the lyrics

"I was going through a really difficult time around the autumn of 1968. It was late in the Beatles' career and we had begun making a new album, a follow-up to the "White Album." As a group we were starting to have problems. I think I was sensing the Beatles were breaking up, so I was staying up late at night, drinking, doing drugs, clubbing, the way a lot of people were at the time. I was really living and playing hard.

The other guys were all living out in the country with their partners, but I was still a bachelor in London with my own house in St. John's Wood. And that was kind of at the back of my mind also, that maybe it was about time I found someone, because it was before I got together with Linda.

So, I was exhausted! Some nights I'd go to bed and my head would just flop on the pillow; and when I'd wake up I'd have difficulty pulling it off, thinking, "Good job I woke up just then or I might have suffocated." Then one night, somewhere between deep sleep and insomnia, I had the most comforting dream about my mother, who died when I was only 14. She had been a nurse, my mum, and very hardworking, because she wanted the best for us. We weren't a well-off family- we didn't have a car, we just about had a television – so both of my parents went out to work, and Mum contributed a good half to the family income. At night when she came home, she would cook, so we didn't have a lot of time with each other. But she was just a very comforting presence in my life. And when she died, one of the difficulties I had, as the years went by, was that I couldn't recall her face so easily. That's how it is for everyone, I think. As each day goes by, you just can't bring their face into your mind, you have to use photographs and reminders like that.

So in this dream twelve years later, my mother appeared, and there was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes, and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly: "Let it be." It was lovely. I woke up with a great feeling. It was really like she had visited me at this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: Be gentle, don't fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out.

So, being a musician, I went right over to the piano and started writing a song: "When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me"... Mary was my mother's name... "Speaking words of wisdom, let it be." There will be an answer, let it be." It didn't take long. I wrote the main body of it in one go, and then the subsequent verses developed from there: "When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be." I thought it was special, so I played it to the guys and 'round alot of people, and later it also became the title of the album, because it had so much value to me, and because it just seemed definitive, those three little syllables. Plus, when something happens like that, as if by magic, I think it has a resonance that other people notice too.

Not very long after the dream, I got together with Linda, which was the saving of me. And it was as if my mum had sent her, you could say. The song is also one of the first things Linda and I ever did together musically. We went over to Abbey Road Studios one day, where the recording sessions were in place. I lived nearby and often used to just drop in when I knew an engineer would be there and do little bits on my own. And I just thought, "Oh it would be good to try harmony in mind, and although Linda wasn't a professional singer, I'd heard her sing around the house, and knew she could hold a note and sing that high. So she tried it, and it worked and it stayed on the record. You can hear it to this day.

These days, the song has become almost like a hymn. We sang it at Linda's memorial service. And after September 11 the radio played it alot, which made it the obvious choice for me to sing when I did the benefit concert in New York City. Even before September 11th, people used to lean out of cars and trucks and say, "Yo, Paul, let it be."

So those words are really very special to me, because not only did my mum come to me in a dream and reassure me with them at a very difficult time in my life – and sure enough, things did get better after that – but also, in putting them into a song, and recording it with the Beatles, it became a comforting, healing statement for other people too."
- Paul McCartney

Life's Challenges

Disclaimer: This is a bittersweet post. Mostly bitter, but slightly sweet. . . maybe.

I'm back! I know I need to get back into this blogging thing, but I always think that my life is so boring, what with having no children or husband to add excitement to my daily journey. I don't have a whole lot going on myself, just work and that's pretty much it. After I got my own place in April, things started to take a plunge inmylife. Pain that I thought was long ago buried somehow found a way of creeping up and haunting me. I found things that I wanted to change and wounds I wanted to heal. This has been a very difficult journey, to say the least. I have lost friends, or so it seems. Something inside of me is still hoping that maybe things will get better eventually and friendships will rekindle, but I am not sure. I have cried nearly every day since May. Sometimes, all day long. I wonder if the Lord really hears and answers my prayers because, although things have become at least bearable, I don't think they are really better. At least I can make it through each day and say, "I'm alive," which at least, on some level is a huge accomplishment.
However, now that school has started, things are somewhat back to normal. I am not doing karate any more. Although, I hope that within the year, I can get back into it. With everything that has been going on, I am not in a place emotionally to be able to do it and have fun. I was starting to get burned out anyway as I got closer to my black belt. Since quitting, I have found other reasons, too, that I needed to take a break from it. I need to take care of some debts . . . my school loans are barely coming out of deferment/forbearance, so I need to start paying those off and I need to start working on my Master's (which will put the loans back into deferment if I want to). But I am hoping to get back to the karate in the spring or summer if everything works out and I find that things have gotten better.
Right now, though, it seems as though all I do is work and then go home and spend time reading or on Facebook, which I hate, but I feel like I have nothing better to do (when I know I really could be doing better things). But I guess I am not doing so bad after all since I am surviving and starting to feel a little hopeful about things in the future. Let's just see how I feel tomorrow.

Oh, and P.S. another good thing is that I am will be an auntie again. This time a little niece. Lauren Michelle Watts is due mid January. January 18th, to be exact, and that is my sister Kelly's birthday. She is a proud auntie and hoping that Lauren makes her debut on schedule.
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