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Showing posts from 2018

New Calling

In the LDS church, members are asked to serve in various ways. Church leaders come to us and ask us to take on a formal service assignment. No matter what is is we're asked to do, whether the task is large or small, we consider it a very sacred responsibility. Our "callings" generally last for a year or two, and then we're "released" and "called" to fill another assignment. Several months ago I was released from my calling as a Relief Society Teacher, and have been without another calling since then. It's the longest I've ever gone without a formal calling, and I have to say, I have struggled a bit not having one. I believe in serving in the church, and I felt a bit off. I prayed for an opportunity to serve somehow, and did my best to help out where I could. But I still just haven't felt quite right. Well, the opportunity finally came today and I was asked to serve as the ward choir director. Of course I accepted. Now lest you think t

Family Heirloom

Back when I was home over the New Year, my mom gifted me with a treasured family heirloom. It's an antique anniversary clock that belonged to her Grandmother. All my life, for every move, the clock went with us. Sadly though, I can never remember the clock having worked. So, when I brought it home, it was with the intent to see if I could get it fixed. I even managed to get it home in one piece, thanks to Mom's packaging efforts. I happen to live in a neighborhood that has a family owned clock shop, that's been in business since the 1940's. I took it to them, and they assured me they could get it up and running again. I handed it over to them, and they had it for about 6 months (they have quite a backlog). Finally, about a month ago, the shop called to tell me it was ready. I ran down to the shop, and got a quick lesson in proper care of anniversary clocks, then brought it home. The great news is that the clock runs! And it's beautiful! As a time keeper however,

Temple Night

Made it to a late session of the Jordan River temple last night, my first session there since it was rededicated. I walked out of the session around 10:00 PM, and this was my view. The temple was so bright and the moon was so lovely, I couldn't resist a quick picture.


My friend and former visiting teacher dropped by the other night with a big bag of tomatoes fresh from her garden. And what does one do with that many tomatoes, and it's stifling hot outside? One takes said tomatoes, puts them in the ninja blender and makes gazpacho. And I have to say it was particularly delicious because of the homegrown tomatoes. It's how gazpacho should always be made. YUM!

Watermelon Party

I have some pretty great neighbors. A couple of weeks ago we got together for a community watermelon party out by the pool. There was plenty of watermelon, plenty of music, plenty of chit-chat, and a good time was had by all. And I have to say, the watermelon smoothie was amazing!

Smiling Kitty

Look at that cute smiling face. I think I have a pretty happy kitty...

Oquirrh Mountain Temple

For the past year or two, when I go to the temple, it's generally the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. It's a bit of a hike to get there, but it's also a little quieter, and easier to get in and out than in Salt Lake. I've had some amazing experiences there. I made a quick trip to do some initiatory last week, and couldn't resist this photo op from the parking lot. The way Moroni seemed to be flying in the breeze from the top of the steeple, made me think of Revelation 14:6-7, where John refers to a vision he sees of an angel flying to share the everlasting gospel to the whole earth. Needless to say, it was quite a moment.

Honored Veterans

C.R. England is a very patriotic organization, and every year they honor a few drivers who are veterans of the armed forces, as well as have a superior safety record. Each driver has his praises sung in a special patriotic program, and is decked out with a beautiful new truck proclaiming their company status. Isn't is a beauty?!

Truck Rodeo

C.R. England held it's annul Summer Games the last couple of weeks, and as part of that event, they held a truck rodeo. The truck rodeo gives a chance for any employee and their families and friends to drive an actual big rig. Of course, I couldn't pass that up, so I jumped in and backed up a truck and trailer, then pulled it forward again. It was great fun, and in case this Business Analysis career doesn't work out, I just might have something else to fall back on.

Balcony Garden 2018

What with school and changing jobs, I've neglected putting in a garden this year. But the other day on a whim, I purchased a few basil plants and some flowers, and yesterday, I planted them. It's not as much as I'm used to doing, but it will at least be manageable, and give my balcony some color.

Carrot Dogs

As a general rule, I avoid hot dogs (it's a mostly vegetarian thing). But this week a friend sent me a recipe for a "Carrot Dog". It's basically a carrot boiled in a special sauce, placed in a hot dog bun and covered in favorite toppings. At first hearing, it sounds unappealing. However...I figured I'll try most things at least once, so I cooked some up for myself yesterday, and topped them with some yellow mustard and relish. And you know what, they were actually pretty good. And since they were all healthy, I could afford to eat two! I think I'll make them again!

Lazy Kitty

If there's anything Toby loves besides food, is a good nap. And said nap is generally right on top of ME. Here we have a few examples of him napping and lazing away in all his enormous glory... Toby loves the niece and nephew and will interrupt his naps to snuggle with them One of his odd quirks - He has this thing where he rests his back leg on my arm, then nestles his head in my hand Need I say more?

New Job

This past week, after a little over 3 years at SelectHealth, I left my role there and started a new job. It's difficult to really know how to share the journey that got me to this point, but let's just say it was full of trials and miracles, all at the same time. My career at SelectHealth was difficult to begin with, and became even more so this past April. For months I had been looking for a new job, off and on, without success. But it eventually got to a point where something needed to change, and quickly.  Towards the end of April, in desperation, I applied for a couple of jobs, and changed my LinkedIn profile to allow recruiters from other companies to reach out to me directly. The following Monday, a recruiter from C.R. England Trucking company sent me a note. He didn't know if I was open to opportunities or not, or if I knew anyone who was, and sent along a job description.  Now, let's just say that a job in the trucking industry was never at any time on my rad

Catching Up 4: Vestibular Migraines

About 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with something called Meniere's Disease. It's an inner ear condition, which results in episodes of dizziness and vertigo, and eventual loss of hearing. I know several people who are afflicted with it, and it is not pleasant. This last number of years, I've lived my life as a meniere's patient. I've dealt with periodic dizziness and vertigo, had my hearing tested regularly, been mostly off salt, and otherwise lived my normal life as best I could.  Earlier this year, I started having more dizzy spells, so when it was time for my annual checkup, I brought it up. My ear doctor thought this was odd, that all of a sudden I should be having more difficulty. And I've never lost my hearing, so he was suspicious something else might be going on and had me re-tested. I then went through a battery of balance tests, and an MRI, and was referred to a middle ear specialist. Lo and behold, after all these years, I DO NOT have Meniere's

Catching Up 3: Personal Finance Class

The Church has a new self-reliance initiative, and this past few months I've been privileged to have participated in it. Last fall I went through the Find a better Job group, and this time around I went through the Personal Finance group. I have to say the program has been such a blessing in my life. Over the course of twelve weeks, we meet weekly for two hours as a group, with a facilitator. We review the materials, which all have a spiritual foundation, then we counsel together and offer ideas and suggestions to each other. I thoroughly enjoyed the Better Jobs group, and the Spirit that I had with me. This was even more evident with the Personal Finance class. I met with other members of my stake, who I did not previously know, and we all got to be very close. We had a regular text chain where we sent notes of encouragement, or asked for faith and prayers. I also got to be close friends with my action partner. We now go walking together on Saturday mornings, and continue to text

Catching Up 2: General Conference

This past April, in what was known as a "Solemn Assembly" we of the LDS Church had the opportunity to sustain a new First Presidency, and two new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At the time, President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, encouraged us all to record in our journals how we felt about the experience, and any impressions we received. I should have done this sooner, but in an effort to follow his counsel, here goes. First off, it was a deeply spiritual and profoundly moving experience. It happens quite infrequently, so it's difficult to remember from one solemn assembly to the next what will occur and how the sustaining will go. But I felt a thrill to lend my sustaining vote to President Russell M. Nelson as our new Church President and Prophet, and he was obviously deeply moved at that moment as well, as you could tell by the tears in his eyes, and the tears in mine.  My tears became even more intense as they ann

Catching Up 1: Toby

It's been several months since I last wrote. Blame it on laziness, or an early morning meeting schedule, or on a host of challenges, or all of the above. But much has happened since then, so I thought it was worth a report. First off, back in February, Toby and I celebrated our first anniversary as cat and cat owner. I have to say that when I first brought him home, I had no idea what to do with him. It was a pretty rocky start to my becoming a responsible pet owner, he has patiently persisted, and I have sure grown to love this enormous ball of fur. He has helped to bring out best in me. He loves to eat, snuggle on the couch, and chase his string around the house. And I love that he is always waiting for me on the stairs after I get home from a long day. I can never make it up the stairs without him rolling on to his side for a quick chin or belly rub - which can be difficult when I'm carrying a purse, a computer, and any groceries. But it's really good to have someone b

Charity is Hard

One of my "stones of light" for this year is Charity. Not just the type of charity which means giving to the less fortunate, but the pure love of Christ. It's a characteristic I truly want to develop. However... let me just say, charity is hard. This last couple of years I've been reprimanded, made fun of, sabotaged (and I'm not talking about a certain oversize cat), harassed, and in general, had many opportunities to develop charity. And boy, have I struggled with it. I'm someone who just wants to like everyone and have everyone like me. So it is really hard to not take offense or run away in those situations. I also am someone who stews about it for weeks or even months afterwards. Why did I shrink, why can't I "give it right back" and then some? Why do I always think of the perfect response ten minutes later? Woe is me. The thing about charity is that it's not something we can plan ahead. We're usually confronted with it on the spur

Next Steps

Been a bit distracted lately, going through what I can only term as my mid-life crisis. Here I am, in middle age, and I'm still trying to find my path in life. I've been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of reading, and a lot of soul searching. Frankly, it's left me kind of stuck and in a funk. But as I was pondering yet again today (the Sabbath is a great time for pondering), I was struck by something said by a gentleman whose work I've recently begun following. His recommendation was not to focus on the thousandth step, just focus on the next step. This really rang true for me. It's something I learned last year when I was contemplating going back to school, and I guess I needed to be reminded of it. I need to be less concerned with "figuring it all out", and more so about the opportunities right in front of me. So - I promise to try harder at not getting too far ahead of myself. And to try to see and keep taking steps in front of me. Keep you posted.

16 Stones

I've been pondering on my personal goals for this year, and as I was reading in the Book of Mormon the other day, I was struck by the story of the Brother of Jared. I've thought on this quite a lot over the years, but this time, what jumped out at me was how he counsels with the Lord over how to have light in the barges they'll be building for their journey to the Promised Land. He thinks about it and the solution he lands on is to prepare 16 small stones, 2 for each vessel, with the intention that the Lord will touch the stones, and make them give off light, enough to last the length of their journey. This time of year I often struggle to see and feel light. It's cold, and dark, and the inversion makes it even more so. To avoid these, I often don't go out as much. However, the lack of light can sometimes impact me both physically and spiritually. So I'm usually needing to find ways to keep light in my life. And here's where the Brother of Jared's 16 s

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

Went for a walk yesterday morning, and the day could not have been more beautiful. I snapped this shot on the way home. Blue sky and sunshine you say? Count me in!

Nutter Butters Cereal!

Something you may not know about me is that I love Nutter Butters cookies. It's two peanut butter cookies, with peanut butter filling in the middle. What's not to love? They're my go-to for long road trips or hikes. Especially the mini's in the little containers. I can go through one of those containers in a heartbeat. Anyhoo - through the miracle of the twitterverse, I was able to discover that there is now such a thing as Nutter Butters cereal. Well, as soon as I found that out, I couldn't wait to get to my nearest store and grab a few boxes. Mind you, I'm not much of a sugary cereal person, but this one had my name all over it. I must say that although the texture is not the same - instead of the usual peanut butter cookies, it's more the texture say of Honeycomb cereal, coated in peanut butter. But delicious and fun nonetheless. A definite must-try!


For some time now, I've had an interest in doing more teaching and presenting. It's something I enjoy doing, and I thought it would be helpful if I were to get some more exposure and training. So this week, I attended my first Toastmasters meeting. I have a few friends that have a group where they work, and their work happens to be not too far from mine. So with the New Year, I finally took the opportunity and got myself over there during my lunch hour. I ended up having a good time. The group was smaller than I expected, but the people were nice - and it helped that I already had some friends there. There were prepared speeches, along with extemporaneous speeches (known as Table Topics). Figuring what the heck, I decided to try my hand at the Table Topics, and ended up tying for best speech. Go figure. Anyhoo, it seems that it will be useful and fun, and help me make more connections, so I'm planning to keep going. Here's to Toastmasters!

Cozying Up With Some Good Books

Last weekend dawned cold and drizzly. And after running my errands, I figured it was a perfect opportunity to curl up with some good books. So I walked next door to the library, and checked out a few, and then hunkered down. You can tell from my selections that I prefer the classics.

Together Again

The only difficulty with getting away for a weekend is how much I hate to leave his highness. He my be a pill, and have too big of an appetite, but he's a pretty cool cat, and being separated is hard. Thankfully my brother's family here is willing to help look after him when I'm gone. They love him and he loves them, so he's always well cared for. But it's always a relief to come home, and reunite. I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual. Happy Tracie and Happy Kitty.

New Year in the Herm

Drove up to the old homestead over New Year's to celebrate with Mom and Dad and some of the siblings and their kids. It's been several years since I've celebrated the Holidays with them, so this was a special treat. Thanks to La Nina, the weather cooperated, and the drive was uneventful.  My first stop was LaGrande, Oregon, where one of my sister's and her family live. I took along the Jane Seymour version of "The Scarlet Pimpernel", and we had a fun evening with the nieces, watching movies and making Italian sodas, and in general making sure they were plenty spoiled. The next day I left LaGrande and drove up to the Herm. The first night was a "Sound of Music" slumber party with 3 more of the nieces. We laughed and sang and ate so much popcorn we were sick.  Sunday was New Year's Eve, and after church we gathered with my brother's family for our traditional New Year's Eve snacks. We ate cheesy dip, and chips, and crackers