Friday, April 27, 2007


What makes a person happy? A recent study on the Today Show concluded that happiness comes not from children, religion or even having lots of money. The study showed that having a huge house in not important to one’s satisfaction but having the hugest house on the block is. This study seemed to imply that we should “one-up” everyone around us in order to feel good about ourselves.

At first I was shocked at what I was hearing. Is our world really so shallow that being the best is THAT important. But then I dissected my own behavior. I admit that I enjoy when I have the MOST fashion-forward dress at church and take pleasure that my son is the NAUGHTIEST little tot in the ward. I love showing off my house because I am quite sure we decorated it the CUTEST on the block. I also secretly feel a little smug at the knowledge that I married the BEST man in the world (Ha ha World…jokes on you).

So now you know. I am a prideful shameful woman. Probably more prideful and shameful then you… so beat that.

Douglas and I often take morning walks through the beautiful country club across the street from us. Interlaced throughout the brilliantly landscaped golf course are these multimillion dollar homes. They are amazing. I often daydream as we stroll through this area. If Ryan and I play our cards right…one day… maybe. As I walked passed this one particularly showy mansion I wondered about the lives of its occupants. While my life is far from perfect I could not imagine that the homeowners could be happier than me even though they had three-million-dollar-upped me.

The other night I was watching the American Idol Gives Back event. I was deeply moved by the images I saw. Thousands of Africans dying in filthy slums; children forced to fend for themselves because both of their parents are dead; mothers holding their sick infants knowing full-well that their babies would not make it through the night. The images of these beautiful babies haunted me the most. Their sweet round faces and big brown eyes did not look so different from my own little angel’s.

Did I feel happy because I have one-upped these suffering people? No. I felt ashamed of myself.

No matter what some study says happiness does not come through being or having the best. It comes from being immensely grateful for what we do have (great or small) and thankful to the Lord for providing it. It comes through treasuring the people you love and helping those who are suffering. I want to be the kind of person who does not put off generosity until I feel I have enough to spare. At times I can be a selfish girl but a girl who wants to better herself and can.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Regaining Sensation

After the nearby shooting at Columbine, I doubted if my life could ever go back to normal. I remember feeling like I was living in a fog: everything looked different, sounded different, even food didn’t taste the same. I continued feeling this way for weeks and began to accept this as my new reality. Gradually, this sensation did fade. But like many physical scars, in the place of my old wound all I felt was numb. So much so, that when the horrors of 9/11 took place, I didn’t feel the feelings I thought I should. While I was alarmed and saddened, I don’t recall shedding a tear. I felt guilty for this and wondered what sort of person I had become that I was hardened to perhaps the most awful tragedy in American history.

With the recent shooting in Virginia I was personally relieved when tears voluntarily fell from my eyes. I felt a great sadness for the lives taken too soon and for the families left with no answers. I felt anger at the media for crucifying the University leaders and police for not acting “fast enough” and then glorifying the killer by posting his hateful pictures and diatribes on the news for America’s entertainment. I felt joy in the knowledge that there is a plan for all of us to reunite with our families again one day if we choose. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much that he sent His Son so that we might live. I felt all these things… but the point is that I could.

Because I have not personally lost any one close to me through tragedy, I can not begin to understand the grief that others deal with daily. I believe, though, that time and prayer can soften blows no matter how painful. I am horrified by what happened in Virginia but glad at the small lesson it has taught me.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Universal Truth: Nobody cares to hear about your dreams.
When somebody starts a sentence with “Man, last night I had this crazy dream” I immediately start mentally alphabetizing my grocery list, rehashing the latest stake high-councilman’s talk, or contemplating the life of Tori Spelling,… really anything is more gripping than what they are about to say.

That being said... man, last night I had this crazy dream.
Actually, this dream was just a chapter in a series of similar dreams that I have quite regularly... the series being called “Why are all of my Teeth Falling Out?” I hate these dreams.
At first my mouth feels like a jig saw puzzle; everything is in the right place but there is no adhesive keeping my teeth all in. Then I start talking or eating something and the teeth start falling out. Within minutes I have lost hundreds and hundreds of teeth.

I finally decided to consult an expert on my disconcerting dreams. I learned a lot about myself after reading up on “loose teeth” dreams.
First, my certified and accredited dream psychic informed me that these dreams might mean that …I am concerned about loosing my teeth. While I consider dental hygiene a priority in my life, my subconscious, I am sure, has better things to worry about.

Second, these dreams might suggest that I am too absorbed in my physical appearance. Point taken.

Third, these dreams might indicate that I feel uneasy about a big change or right of passage coming up in my life. Could I be having these dreams because of the uncertainty I feel about my future? Definite possibility. Perhaps my dream psychic has more insight than I thought. Maybe I should also heed her advice to avoid paprika or my life will certainly be in peril.

Now that I have figured out why my teeth are falling out I should venture to understand why in my dreams I am also a middle-aged nudist named Stanley.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


No matter how early we wake up on Sunday, it is always a struggle to get to 9:00 church on time. Imagine our delight when we were all bathed, clothed and ready to go at 8:45 this past Easter Sunday. Doug looked especially cute in his new Khaki pants and striped collared shirt, hair brushed and face oatmeal-free. We all marched out of the house towards the car when Doug faked-left and speed-waddled into the neighbors yard.

It was only moments later when he disappeared completely from the waist down. Doug had apparently decided to take a soak in an inviting toilet-bowl shaped hole in the neighbor’s grass. Doug’s face conveyed a look of surprise and delight as he surveyed his murky personal Jacuzzi.

Ryan was the first to react. He ran and pulled the soggy mini Michael Phelps out of the puddle. Ryan quickly discovered, however, that a dripping Easter outfit was not the only mischief Doug had gotten into in the few nano-seconds we were outside. Doug’s stubby little fingers were clenched tightly around some mystery object. Upon closer examination Ryan discovered Doug had befriended an alarmingly large and foamy slug (Ryan later noted that the slug’s antennae eyes seemed to be pleading morosely “help…oh help”).

We took Doug inside, hosed him down, wiped the three ounces of slug-snot off his hands, changed him into a less-than-satisfactory outfit and hauled to church. The bishop had just made the opening announcements when we arrived and the only seats left were in the very front row. We walked to the front with our heads bowed in shame and our hands plunged guiltily in our front pockets. We were late for church again.