Best Reads in 2014

31 December 2014

This year, I read a lot of self-help and personality psychology books.  Not really any novels (except a John Grisham because he's always a delight).  Needless to say, it was a huge year of progression and self-discovery for me.  As such, I forego the awards for Best Discovered Novelist and Best Writing, and I just selected a couple Best New Mentors!

Best Discovered Novelist:  ----

Best Writing:   ----

Best New Mentor:  Andy Andrews and Brene Brown.

Below is my bookshelf of best reads in 2014:

Upward and onward,

The swing of our many hearts

28 December 2014

Sometimes the past beats inside like a second heart.  When the pendulum of my emotions needs to swing that way.

But I've been studying acceptance lately.  Accepting the pendulum to swing as it may. 

Then, I breathe in deep and put my primary heart back into focus.  Pulling my pendulum back in place. Allowing my thoughts and actions to become free of all previous fear, insecurity, or withholding.   Reigning from the power of accepting myself as a fresh new person in every moment that I need.  The feeling of total uninhibition and renewal.

Here's to quiet Sunday evenings, making mini collages, and using acceptance to be in control.

Upward and onward,

One Image Source

Too Crood to Remember

26 December 2014

Tonight after family games had been played and leftover Christmas dinner had been eaten, it was time to watch.... The Croods.  I honestly wasn't expecting much, but it was one of Brennan's Christmas gifts that he was eager to watch, and I wanted to hang out with him.  So I put my earlier Audrey Hepburn film on pause, and nestled into the couch with him and my parents to watch.

I loved the movie.  I'll get to that.

But mostly, I LOVED being with Brennan.  He was laughing SO much, as he always does.  It's so easy to get him laughing, and he just keeps going and going.  He's never anything but happy, calm, and easygoing.  And tonight I thought about how Brennan is one of the people I feel most happy around.  And when I see him experience any bad emotion, I can hardly handle it.  Is that what parenting feels like?  Feeling your child's emotions times 10?  Because if so, I don't think I could even handle watching my child eat a pea. For example, yesterday Trevor and Brennan were playing a video game upstairs.  I was sitting between them "meditating," which is what I tell Ryan is my Pinteresting time, ha!  But after a round of the game, Trevor started taunting Brennan - "why aren't you fighting better!" "how are you not better at this!"  The older brothers often tease Brennan.  But this time Brennan said, "Stop Trevor!  Stop teasing me!"  Which means business coming from the always-happy-calm boy.  So I stopped "meditating" and looked over at him.  His lip started quivering and his eyes welled up with tears.  It broke my heart.  Sometimes you just need someone in your corner.  So I flung my head the other way.  Protective sister mode.  "Trevor, encourage Brennan at what he does.  Do not bring him down.  Look at him, and then apologize."  Trevor looked over and Brennan was looking down at his controller with sad tears.  I saw Trevor look sad too.  "Sorry Bren."  Then I pulled Brennan close and just hugged him until he felt like playing again.  It made me feel SO sad to see him that deflated, though Trevor was noticeably uplifting towards him for the rest of the day. 

And then, earlier today, Brennan and I were downstairs just chatting.  I was asking him about school, who he hangs out with, who his friends are.  He didn't really have an answer.  "Who do you sit with at lunch?" I asked.  "I mostly just sit by myself."  "Do people come sit by you?  Are they your friends?"  "Yeah, people come sit by me and sometimes talk to me.  I don't know if they're my friends.  I don't really hang out with them."  He wasn't bothered by this, as it was just a fact to him, which is commendable that he's so comfortable and approving of himself during such a need-to-be-popular time.  And I can understand why he is this way, because we live outside of all the neighborhoods so there's really no kids around, and Brennan is so much younger than the rest of us siblings that he's used to not having people his age to connect with.  So probably at school, it feels normal to just be... more alone.

But that makes me feel so bad.

During the movie, as Brennan was laughing so hard next to me, and then as he grew tired, resting his head on my shoulder, I thought about this.  I thought what a tragedy it was for THEM, all those weirdo middle school kids.  Because of every kid at that place, I'd want to hang out with Brennan.  He's such a JOY to be around.  Move over zitty tweens!  Don't mind us laughing so hard about the caveman grandma who has nasty armpit hair.

I feel really really grateful that he is my brother and that I'm his "Best Friend."  Whether he means that truly, or because he's been coaxed all his older siblings for so long that he's primed in his answers.  But he is very much that role for me, as just being around him makes me SO happy.  Two goofy peas in a pod.

And as for those cavemen Croods, well, I was seriously impressed.  Nothing gets me like a feel-good movie with all these inspiring messages.  I mean, who knew a movie about CAVEMEN would make me feel so happy.  What I liked - besides Brennan hysterically laughing every time someone got punched in the face by a monkey or a rock, which was making it all equally hysterical for me - but I LOVED the following messages from the film:

-letting go of the way things have always been to allow for new ideas.
 (Guy being a risktaker, which kept fueling better and better innovations.  I believe in that!)

-find the differences in other people as a positive contribution.
 (Guy and the dad having a heart-to-heart in the tar, and they accept each other and note how each is offering benefit)

-moving beyond tragedy and still being a stellar person.
 (how Guy's family all died in a tar accident, and he never once let it hold him back)

-accepting ways you can be better and putting it straight to action.
 (the dad realizing he could be more open to new ideas and more loving to his daughter.  Changed the whole energy of his family.  I loved that!)

It was good.  It was all just so good.  And texting Ryan during the whole film was also fantastic :)

Here's to hilarious brothers, positive messages, and gratitude towards having just the people we need.

Upward and onward,


A simple night for myself

02 December 2014

Tonight I stole some solitudinal time for myself.

First I walked to the temple, just down the campus of my office, and did my favorite work of iniatories.  Worked with a woman who had a permanently deformed neck, and as she talked to me with her head completely cranked sideways, my own neck started to itch horribly in the same spot.  I thought of those movies that are like, "when we go in to see him, whatever you do, don't stare it his unibrow."  And then the scary guy turns around in his chair and all the main character can do is gape wide-eyed at his unibrow.  Stop itching neck.  

I recovered, felt an amazing calm while doing the temple work.  That was my first time doing initiatories in the Salt Lake temple. 

Then I came home and went for a run. Runs are few and far between these days.  It is always well passed dark, which makes me long for my sunshine evening runs.... ah gosh.  So I swaddled up and sprinted down to the city park and began running laps around the mile and a half loop, dodging from lamp post to lamp post, decompressing my mind.  A few laps in, I became aware of the one other runner in the park.  A young fellow, dressed in all black spandex, running in the same spot of the park as I was.  He was running sprints and walking the hills, and I ran steadily.  So we leapfrogged back and forth, back and forth, for many laps.  The park was entirely barren, except for the two of us running close by each other, so we grow to be somewhat of comforting companions.  Though we never spoke, or even acknowledged the other, it was really nice to not be alone.  I told myself that I would just keep running until he went home, and then I'd go home too.  So we kept going and going.  Always passing each other in the sames spots.  I reached mile 8, holding myself firm down a hill.  I reached the spot where he usually passed me, and I turned around to see if he was coming.  He was gone.

Well, that marks the end of my run too then.  So I walk-danced the last part of the loop to a Chris Brown song, which is my signature thing to do when I know no one is around to see.  And then I lollygaged the mile and a half back home, texting Ryan who was still working late.

Now I write in my "unds" on my bedroom floor.  That saying goes way back to grad school when I would blog in my underwear and Leslie would sit in the hallway and laugh with me.  Some things never change I suppose. 

Here's to calming nights.  The same things that make me feel peaceful time and time again.

Upward and onward,

And some happy pictures!!

A cute little house on my run!  CHRISTMAS IS COMING! 

Happy view from my room.  My favorite scripture next to my brothers.  My mangled vision board on the left and my new vision board on the right.  And of course my two house plants that are miraculously STILL ALIVE.  

And a visual for said writing location.  Everything just feels so cozy and right tonight.