Bring it on!

I feel like I blinked and summer was gone! Normally, I'd be feeling abandoned by the season of sun, water, boating, laying out, etc...but not this year. I say bring on the fall--and winter for that matter. Time could not pass quickly enough for me right now.

Besides, how can I not love this??

I am lucky to have several crafty sisters, especially ones who let me sell stuff in their booths at events like the Sundance Harvest Market...

We couldn't resist a photo-op in the fall grass

It wasn't quite our target market, but it was fun to be outside on possibly the last hot Saturday of the year, enjoying non-stop, live bluegrass music and the smell of BBQ.
Thanks Em-bone!

The sign of true health and some sage advice

The other day at work I was checking out some patients, an older couple. The wife had long white hair pulled back loosely from her face with those curved combs (you know what I'm talking about?) and happy blue eyes. Her husband said, as I told them their total, "We're seniors" seeming to expect a discount. His wife chuckled and gave him a playful nudge, "He always says that." And as I'm admiring their affectionate interaction, she looks at me in awe, her breath catching in her throat, and says, "You have such a wide jaw!" I look at her with a degree of disbelief, thinking "Did she really just tell me that I have an abnormally wide face? 'Happy cheeks' really was just a nice way of saying I have a super fat face!" I think she saw the shock in my eyes and recovered by telling me how some lady who writes books says that a strong jaw is the sign of ultimate health! It shows that my mother was healthy while she carried me in her womb. Well, how can I refuse a compliment like that and from such a cute "senior"??? Thank you! And thanks, Mom, for being such a conscientious pregnant woman! If a fat face indicates good health, then maybe rolls and chub mean I was super healthy! (oh yes, see me at 1 year above...I wonder what bald indicates??)

Oh, just got a kick out of it. I turn back to her husband to reply to his "senior" joke and say that I can't wait until I get discounts on everything. He he gives me a stern look and says, "Don't you dare wish to speed up your youth!" I nod apologetically, pause, lean forward on my elbows and ask, "Is there anything you would do differently? Any wise advice for me?" I'm prepared to make mental notes. He strokes his wrinkled chin and holds up two fingers. "Never borrow money to relatives." Okay, never loan money to relatives. Noted. "And two, I would've invested more carefully." Make more money so I can invest. Duly noted.

That reminds me that I still need to write about my path towards financial freedom :). Our relief society lesson last week was on Elder Hales' general conference talk on being a "provident provider". I was so excited to comment and share what I've learned with the other girls. Something about me, if I think someone may learn a lesson from my mistakes, I will be the first to admit where I've gone wrong. It really does feel SO good to... (I better stop there or I'll ruin it for the real post)... stay tuned.


...that missionary work can be done in happy valley.

Meet my friend Anastasia.
We met five weeks ago after she showed up at my ward one Sunday with a woman who is a patient at the clinic where I work. Because of my background in family therapy/counseling I am very familiar with the regulations of HIPAA in regards to patient privilege and confidentiality so I just noticed her from across the room and resisted approaching her to say hi. A couple days later, this patient was in the clinic and we talked.

I explained why I didn't say hi and she told me about Stasia, how she came to BYU for athletics and remained here for five years having limited contact with the LDS church to her coaches (after being bombarded in the dorms her freshman year, she has lived with other non-LDS athletes). I gave her my phone number to give to Stasia since she had expressed interest in coming to the activity we had planned for that week. Thursday, at the end of the day, the phone rang at the office after hours. I almost let it go to voicemail, but answered it at the last second. It was this patient-friend of Stasia's saying she had lost my number. I told her to give me Stasia's number and I would call her. That was our first "introduction", me calling her to invite her to our ward BBQ. It was like we had been friends forever on the phone and she immediately accepted my invitation.

After that night I invited her to church again. She seemed a little hesitant, saying that if she was up and didn't have anything else, she would come. After her response, I wasn't too hopeful about her showing up, but she did. And she came to the activity the next week (see above) and again to church the next Sunday. Later that week as we were playing tennis (well, she really was just giving me a lesson on how to hit) she told me she was having her first discussion with the missionaries. I was a little shocked. I knew she had lots of conversations with our mutual friend about the gospel--this lady is an amazingly positive example--but, she had told me that she had just needed friends. I asked her if I could come. The discussion was so different than I am used to, no invitation to be baptized, no challenge to read the Book of Mormon. The elders simply asked her what she knew about missionaries and then invited her to pray everyday (to which she replied she already was). My thought was, this girl is ready and these elders are totally unprepared. BUT it left her wanting more. They set up an appointment to come back on Wednesday (I couldn't make it because of a scheduling conflict in schedule).

Tuesday night after work, Stasia and I met up to hike the Y (my first time ever--I know, right?). At the top, as we looked over the valley she told me everything she loves about the LDS Church. I just listened in awe and tried my best to validate what she was saying and help her recognize the Spirit's witness. On the descent, she told me she wanted to be baptized before the end of next week and she was going to tell the missionaries at her appointment the next day. I couldn't have been more excited. "Really?" I said. "You really want to get baptized next week?" And with the biggest smile I've ever seen, she said, "Yes!" I got a call from her Wednesday night around 11:30, "Charity, will you come to my baptism this Saturday at 3:00?" Ha! And yesterday we got to watch as she was "reborn"..."no more [a] stranger and foreigner, but [a] fellowcitizen with the saints and the household of God."

It was a combined effort of her coaches, friends, professors, even Tom Homo the athletic director at many people participated in Stasia's conversion. I feel so honored to have played a small part. It was a great reminder to me of the power of example and friendship AND a great reminder of why I am LDS.

Flowers travel better than cookies

I sent some cookies overseas a couple weeks ago. I wish I had taken pictures of the process, which included [baking*,] freezing them overnight, sealing in airtight baggies, packing in styrofoam with ice packs and sending on a prayer that they would only take a week to arrive. This is what I received upon their arrival, "It was a melted mess. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." Great response!! It's the thought that long as they tasted good, right?

Apparently there are things that ship better than others...

If only a camera could've captured the look on my face when these showed up at work yesterday! Absolute perfection on a rather dreary week.

Is it amazing to anyone else that these flowers were sent all the way from Iraq? :)

ps, I do know that they came from a local flower shop, but still! Do you want to know what really made me swoon? When he said after that he had tried to find pink peonies [my favorite], but they aren't in season. Uh...who are you and where did you come from?