Archive for December, 2011

Resolutions for the soul

Given that I work for a newspaper, and I absolutely adore magazines, I can’t help but be bombarded by reflections on 2011 and promises for 2012. At the newspaper, we’re looking back on our most successful articles and our most creative photographs of the year. Meanwhile, Oprah and Martha Stewart are filling glossy pages with tips for wearing a pencil skirt and building citrus centerpieces, ensuring a successful start to 2012.

While I think that making goals for the approaching 365 days is a wonderful idea (and you’ll likely see me at Target grabbing glitter for that show-stopping Martha centerpiece), my resolutions for the coming year go beyond whittling my middle and organizing my closet.
The past year has taught me that the things I want most in 2012 — laughter, peace, adventure — require an entirely different set of resolutions.
To aid my explanation of these goals, let me share with you two collages by an insightful artist named Kelly Rae Roberts. I found one of her pieces at a local boutique, Hip and Humble, last year, and I’ve been collecting them ever since.
This first one hangs on my bedroom wall and was a gift from my mother.
I realize this may be a bit tricky to read, so here’s the witty wisdom you won’t want to forget: “Embrace change. Take the journey back to yourself. Love with abandon. Speak of your gratitude. Wear yellow shoes. Unleash your creative spirit. Dance in the moonlight. Be positive. Believe in healing. Share your inner light. Surprise yourself and do the thing you didn’t think you could do. Live as if you’ve only been given one chance.”
Lovely, no? I have room to improve in all of these areas. I know you’d think I’d at least have the yellow shoes one covered, but, alas, my collection of footwear does not yet include anything in that hue.
In all seriousness, though, many of these resolutions speak to my soul: I want to believe in healing — for me and for others. I want to be creative; I’ve decided I must buy a DSLR camera. I want to embrace the unexpected.
Just in case you aren’t feeling sufficiently inspired, here’s one more collage worth considering.
The font on this one is a bit easier to read, so I won’t spell it out, but I will say that I absolutely love the idea of finding “the sacred in the ordinary.”
So maybe your New Year’s resolutions include cutting back on chocolate and getting to bed by 10. These are admirable goals. Good luck :) But maybe you’ll want to include a few to-dos that will still seem inviting in February and will make an impact on more than just your dress size.

The best gifts

On this icy Christmas Eve, I’m slumped in bed nursing a cold that arrived just in time for the holidays.

Despite the congestion and unattractive coughing, I am feeling incredibly grateful for many things — not the least of which include early Christmas gifts of Sudafed and a humidifier, thanks to mom and dad. (Being at home when you’re sick really is the only way to go.)
Taking time to list all of the blessings that have filled my life this year would make me miss our annual Christmas Eve pageant, so I’ll spare you all the sappiness. What I will say, though, is that my most precious blessings this year have come in the form of caring people. They have appeared at the perfect moments and made deep and drastic impressions.
So I want to say, “Thank you” to each one of you. And I also want to express gratitude for the most important Person in my life, whose birth we celebrate this evening and tomorrow. None of the blessings in my life would exist without my Savior, Jesus Christ.
If you have a quiet moment, I hope you’ll enjoy watching my favorite Christmas video, which features “The Nativity,” produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven.”

Orange you glad?

Is it true that nothing rhymes with “orange”?

Why is it that the name “Macaroni and Cheese” makes an orange Crayola crayon far more appealing than any other stick of wax in the box?

Do the orange gummy bears really taste different than the other colors?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to these head-scratchers. If you need to waste a few hours, though, try Googling them and share your opinion on any of the numerous (and surprisingly passionate) discussion boards.

While my knowledge about certain aspects of this bold color is limited, there is one thing I know for certain about orange. Are you ready for this? Fans of grays, mauves and other muted tones, hold onto your taupe hats because — drumroll, please — orange is the official “it” color of 2012.

If you haven’t taken a trip to the beauty salon or stood in line at the grocery store without children dangling from your arms recently, then you’ve likely missed the many magazine covers that are promoting this fiery fashion choice.

Never fear, though. I’ve included a video below from the savvy editors at the Wall Street Journal. (If you’re not a WSJ subscriber, you may want to consider it. I think it’s well worth the money. Fun fact: They discuss more than just fashion at that prestigious paper.)

So, what do you think? Will you be trading in your browns and navy blues for a sun-kissed shade of orange?

I must admit that Christina Binkley’s warning about this new “it” color potentially becoming the awful avocado of the ’70s has me worried. I wasn’t alive when someone made the dreadful mistake of slapping that sad, mushy color all over everything from drapes to pantsuits, and I’m grateful for that. (There are a number of things about the ’70s I’m glad I missed. Hot pants, anyone?)

So when we flaunt orange handbags and ballet flats next year, do we run the risk of giving our children just one more reason to question our sanity?

Perhaps. But I think our future children and grandchildren are bound to roll their eyes regardless of what we wear or how we tease our hair, so I say, “Welcome, orange.” I will embrace you in all your many shades and in most of your many possible applications.

I draw the line at orange eye makeup, though. I must stop somewhere. I want my children to believe me when I tell them to wear sunscreen and brush their teeth. Because those things, unlike an orange trench coat, aren’t likely to go out of style anytime soon.

Home for the holidays

I’m looking forward to having the lyrics of the classic tune “I’ll be home for Christmas” apply to me this year.

I have a long week of work to wade through before I get to make the drive up to the arctic tundra in Idaho that I currently call home, but I can already smell the Balsam & Cedar Yankee Candle my mom will have warming in the kitchen and hear the sweet strains of Kenny G’s “Holiday Album” that always fill our home at this time of the year.

I’m well aware, though, that for many people, a trip home is something that, for whatever reason, can be true “only in (their) dreams.”

With this in mind, I’ve been worrying about these individuals and wondering how they will be able to feel the comfort and camaraderie that are so characteristic of this season if they can’t find it in a familiar family room or cozy kitchen.

(The great room of my childhood home, which my uncle now owns and has elevated to catalog-worthy status with his impeccable eye for design, is one of my favorite places.)

I had several experiences this weekend, though, that reminded me that while these feelings tend to thrive within the walls of a childhood home, they exist elsewhere. And, perhaps more important than physical location is those we surround ourselves with during this festive time.

While the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple, the cushy seats at the Conference Center, and my aunt and uncle’s home were inspired settings for this past weekend’s holiday events, I’m certain that the love and warmth I felt were emanating from the faces of those who stood near me just as much as they were from the walls that surrounded me.

So while I hope you will be able to visit beautiful, soul-strengthening places this week, I’m praying wonderful people help you feel at home — regardless of where you are.