Friday, September 30, 2011

Leadership - Joan of Arc

Of all the many people and stories in history, Joan of Arc stands as one of my absolute favorites. She is a beakon of light in a dark world, but a world non the less much lighter for having her in it. Her personality, character, disposition, qualities, and integrity remind me of all that I strive to be. She is one of my heros! I pray to one day be, as she...

Here is an inspiring writing written about this amazing person. It was sent to me by a friend (thank you Dave!). I hope that reading this leaves you inspired, and that you greatly enJoy it, at least half as much as I do! ;) (PS I simply coppied and pasted with no concern for spelling or grammar errors. The content is amazing!)

You can’t kindle fire in others hearts until it is burning in your own! Leadership is influence. Everything rises and falls on Leadership. In the book,

Lessons From Great Lives by Sterling W. Sill

When we love some noble quality in another, we usually tend to embody it in ourselves. The quality of embodied love in others enables us to see this great trait with our eyes and hear it with our ears and treasure it more effectively in our hearts.

I recently felt some very pleasing emotions as I read an account of the life of Joan of Arc. It was written be Sier Louis de Conte, who was born in the same village as she, and he was constantly by her side as her page and secretary during her long war. An account of her life was also published in two volumes, by Mark Twain under the title of Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. In all the annals of our time, Joan’s life stands our as one of the most striking embodiments of goodness, nobility, and greatness. And it is profitable for us to be associated with a personal history of her short but useful career.

Her biography itself is unique. It was written in court and comes to us under oath from the witness stand. It was taken from the official records of the great trial held in the year 1431 at which she was condemned to be burned alive. Every intimate detail of her short and colorful like is still preserved in the National Historical Archives of France.

Joan of Arc was born in the little village of Domremy, France, in 1412. Throughout her childhood, she was extraordinarily healthy and happy. She was wholehearted in her play. Her merry disposition was supplemented by a warm, sympathetic nature. She had frank, winning ways, was genuinely religious, and was greatly admired and loved by everyone.

At this period, France was suffering the cruel pains of its Hundred Years’ War with England. France had lost almost every battle. Eight thousand Englishmen had wiped out sixty thousand Frenchmen at Agincourt. French courage had been paralyzed, and France had been reduced to little more than a British province. For Joan, who carried France upon her heart, the continual atrocities of war greatly sobered her spirit and frequently reduced her to tears. Then, in her thirteenth year, Joan began to hear voices, telling her that she would be God’s instrument in setting France free.

Among her instructors were Saint Margaret and Saint Catherine. Three years were required to prepare her for her mission. At first she had offered objections. She said to her instructors, “But I am so young to leave my home and mother. How can I talk with men and be a comrade of soldiers? I am only a girl and know nothing of war or even how to ride a horse. How can I lead armies?” Her voice was often broken with sobs, but finally she accepted her call and said, “If it is commanded, I will go. I know that France will rise again, for God has ordained her to be free.”

Her voices told her to go to the Governor of Vaucouleurs who would provide her with an escort of men-at-arms and send her to the Dauphin, who was the uncrowned heir to the throne. In leaving her village home Joan said, “I am enlisted. God helping me, I will not turn back until the British grip is loosened from the throat of France.” When the governor had heard her message he said, “What nonsense is this? You are but a child.” But Joan said, “Nevertheless, I am appointed by the King of Heaven to lead the armies of France to raise the British siege of Orleans and crown the Dauphin at Rheims.”

When the news reached the Dauphin that an unlearned seventeen-year-old peasant maid was coming to see him with a divine commission to free France, he appointed a committee of court advisors to hear her message. Confronting the committee she said, “Forgive me, reverend sirs, but I have no message save for the ears of his Grace, the Dauphin.” Their arguments and threats were useless.

After they had left in great anger, she said to her friends, “My mission is to move the Dauphin by argument and reasoning to give me men-at-arms and send me to the siege. Even if the committee carried the message in the exact words with no word missing, and yet left out the persuasions of gesture, the supplicating tone and beseeching looks that inform the words and make them live, then where were the value of that argument and whom could it convince?”

The untaught child had just discarded her shepherd’s crook, and yet she was able to penetrate the cunning devices of trained men and defeat them at their own game. She would soon stand unafraid before nobles and other mighty men; she was fully prepared to clothe herself in steel and become the deliverer of France.

When she finally gained an audience with him, the Dauphin said to her, “Tell me who you are.” Joan said, “I am called Joan the Maid. I am sent to say to you that the King of Heaven wills that you should give me men-at-arms and set me at my appointed work. For I will raise the siege of Orleans and break the British power.” But how could she win victories of France where the nation’s best-trained generals had had nothing but defeats for over fifty years? But Joan had said that “When God fights, it is a small matter whether the hand that holds the sword is big or little.”

This unlearned girl said to the Dauphin, “Be not afraid. God has sent me to save you.” Everyone knew that in her heart there was something that raised her above the greatest of men of her day. Whether she was come of God of not, they could feel that mysterious something that was later to put heart into her soldiers and turn mobs of cowards into armies of fighters. Her men forgot what fear was when they were in her presence. Her soldiers went into battle with joy in their eyes and a song on their lips. They swept over the battlefield like an irresistible storm. The Dauphin knew that that was the only spirit that could save France, come from whence it may.

Joan won the confidence of the Dauphin and the court with her sweetness, simplicity, sincerity, and unconscious eloquence. The best and the most capable among them recognized that she was formed on a grander plan and moved on a loftier plane than the ordinary mass of mankind. And whence could come such sublime courage and conviction but from God himself?

Finally Joan was given her command. In a public proclamation the Dauphin said, “Know all men, that the most illustrious Charles, by the grace of God, King of France, is pleased to confer upon this well-beloved servant, Joan of Arc, called the Maid, the title, emoluments, and authorities of General-in-Chief of the armies of France.”
A suit of armor was made for her at Tours. It was of the finest steel, heavily plated with silver, richly ornamented with the engraved designs and polished like a mirror. She was miraculously provided with a sacred sword long hidden behind the altar of St. Catherine’s at Fierbois. She herself designed and consecrated a banner which she always carried with her into battle.

As the war march of Joan of Arc began, the curtain went up on one of the most unusual of all military careers. Louis Kossuth said that “Since the writing of human history began, Joan of Arc is the only person of either sex who has ever held supreme command of the military forces of a great nation at age seventeen.” She rode a white horse and carried in her hand the sacred swords of Fierbois. It was also the symbol of her authority and the righteousness which she always maintained. She once said to her generals that even the “rude business of war could be better conducted without profanity or any of the other brutalities of speech.”

Some could not understand why Joan continued to be alert, vigorous, and confident while her strongest men were exhausted by heavy marches and exposure. They might have reflected that a great soul with a great purpose can make a weak body strong and able to bear the most exhausting fatigues.

Once with an almost impossible objective ahead, Joan said to one of her generals, “I will lead the men over the wall.” The general replied, “Not a man will follow you.” Joan said, “I will not look back to see whether anyone is following or not.”

But the soldiers of France did follow Joan of Arc. With her sacred sword, her consecrated banner, and her belief in her mission, she swept all before her. She sent a thrill of courage and enthusiasm through the French army such as neither king nor generals could produce. Then on May the 8th, 1430, by sheer strategy and force, she broke the siege at Orleans. This anniversary is still celebrated in France as “Joan of Arc Day.” It is the day that she drove out the British and saved France. Then at the head of her troops she marched to Rheims and crowned the Dauphin King.

With her mission accomplished, Joan planned to return to her family in Domremy, but she was treacherously betrayed and sold to the British. Then her long trial of over a year began. For many weary months she was kept in chains. She was threatened and abused. The judges and jurors were carefully selected enemies. Trumped-up charges of witchcraft and sorcery were brought against her. No one doubted that she had seen and conversed with supernatural beings. She had made many, many prophecies and had done many things that could not be explained otherwise.

But her enemies argued that her success came from Satan rather than God, and therefore she must be destroyed. Church influence and civil power were both used to discredit her. She was promised freedom if she would deny her voices and her mission. But Joan was immovable. She said, “If I were under sentence and saw the fire before me or even if I were in flames themselves I would not say other than what I have said at these trials, and I will abide by my testimony until I die.”

A full year had now passed since she had gone speeding across the plain at the head of her troops, her silver helmet shining, her silvery cape fluttering in the wind, her white plumes flowing and her sword held aloft. But Joan of Arc would ride no more. And as the fires were being lighted around the stake at which this nineteen-year-old French peasant maid would be burned alive, she was again given a chance to regain her liberty by denying what she believed.

In choosing the fire above her freedom, she said, “The world can use these words. I know this now—Every man gives his life for what he believes; every woman gives her life for what she believes.” Sometimes people believe in little of nothing, and yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it and then it is gone. But to surrender what you are, and live without belief, is more terrible than dying, even more terrible than dying young.”

Twenty-four years after her death, the Pope appointed a commission to examine the facts of Joan’s life, and award a judgment. The commission sat at Paris, at Domrey, at Rouen, and at Orleans. It worked for several months and reinvestigated every detail of her life. It examined the trial records and hundreds of personal witnesses. And through all of this exhaustive examination, Joan’s character remained as spotless as it had always been.

Someone said that for “all of the qualities that men call great, look for them in Joan of Arc, and there you will find them.” As a result of the Pope’s official investigation, Joan of Arc was canonized as a saint. The greatest of praise was placed upon the official record of her life, there to remain forever.

It has been said that Joan of Arc lived in the most brutal, wicked and rotten ages since the Dark Ages. But Joan was truthful when lying was the common speech of man. She was honest when honesty was a lost virtue. She maintained her personal dignity, unimpaired in an age of fawnings and servilities.

She had dauntless courage when hope had perished in the hearts of her countrymen. She was spotlessly pure in mind and body when most of society was foul in both. In nineteen short years, this untaught girl had become the deliverer of France, the savior of her country. She was the genius of patriotism and the embodiment of sainthood, with a martyr’s crown upon her head. All of this Joan of Arc was when crime was the common business of mankind.

She was, perhaps, the only entirely unselfish person whose name has held a high place in profane history. No vestige or suggestion of self-seeking can be found in any word or deed of hers. When she rescues her king and set the crown upon his head, she was offered many rewards and honors, but she refused them all. Although she was the companion of princes, the general of victorious armies, and the idol of an applauding and grateful nation, yet all she desired was to go back to her village and tend her sheep, and to feel her mother’s arms about her.

The work of Joan of Arc may fairly be regarded as ranking among the greatest in history. She found a great nation lying in chains, helpless and hopeless under an alien conqueror, its treasury bankrupt, its soldiers disheartened, its king cowed and preparing to flee the country. But when she laid her hand upon this withered nation, its people arose and followed her. Her soul was the embodiment of nobility and righteousness. And it was said that she was the most lovely and the most adorable embodiment of good that any age has yet produced.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blessed to Have Family and Friends... :)

Hi! :D The coolest thing happened recently. One of my brothers called me and said that he and dad wanted to buy a plane ticket for me and ship me to Utah, then meet me there, and the three of us would attend a wedding and spend the weekend together. Rock on! I feel so incredibly blessed to have family who LOVE me, enough to go out of their way to do such sweet things for me! Thanks a million, Dad and Ben!!!! :D

By the way, I wish I could tell you how gorgeous the wedding was (not to mention the bride. ;) The decorations and theme were of fall, and absolutely, simply beautiful (of course, I'm partial to fall :). The bride was beautiful, and I was super happy to find that the groom seems to be a nice guy who I think the bride will be very happy with.

By the way, in case you're wondering why my dad and brother and I all went to the same wedding (despite the fact that we haven't lived in the same area for over 22 years), it is because the bride is someone we all really love. Her name is Shawna, and she and her family have been adopted family to our family for many, many years. In fact, she and her brother Jason (the oldest 2 of their bunch of 5 kids) were my very best friends growing up (perhaps Ben's too, now that I think about it) and I love them like I love my blood brothers and sisters. Their younger siblings are great, too; it has been fun getting to see them a little now and then through the years.

I am so thankful that I got to go on this trip. I had so much fun bouncing around hugging and visiting family members who I have only seldom seen for so many years. Mom #2 made my day by telling me she loved me, that she always will, and that "some people were just born into the wrong families." Dad #2 told me he loved me, and even gave me a kiss on the cheek! :o :D (Had he been born a few years later than he had, maybe I would have married him. ;) JK... I also got to meet his new wife, Patsy... great lady; I'm very happy for them both! It was a very cool bonus to discover that Jason was throwing a party at his house the night of the wedding, and have dad #2 insist that we come... (I LOVE  that man!).

I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful family and friends (especially the friends who come to your mind when you think of family)! :D

PS. Miles had the camera with him on a trip he was on at the same time - so I had no camera with me to take photos with - thus... sorry no photos! I may have to ask Jason for some of the photos he took. I had an unusual moment of camera shyness - and stood there like a dead fish without poise (an experience which was sadly not unusual for the first many years of my life). I also really over did it in the area of  "casual dress." :o I don't know though... Jason is an amazing photographer. :) I wonder if he somehow, managed to get a good one of me??  I'll at least snag a photo of the bride and groom from him.

Here's to friends and family! :D

PS. My dad is here in my home, visiting with me and my family now, so more to come once the visiting is done! ;)

Corine :D

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just Another Day...

Four months ago, I rejoiced because I discovered (after about 7 weeks of training) that I can run a half marathon...

(sorry, this photo isn't from the half marathon...
My daughter brought a disposable camera, which we still need to develop. :o
So I just stuck this one from the triathlon here... :)
Today, I ran about 13 miles, then worked at the Family Research Center, then went shopping, and am now getting ready to go out of town in the morning. Today was just another day. A week ago today I did pretty much the same things I did today, with a 12 mile run. I was a little stiff that day (not very common any more), but today I feel totally and completely normal.

So... Today, I rejoice because running 13 miles is no longer big, because running 13 miles is now one of the simple weekly pleasures in my life, because running 13 miles, is...  - just another run on an ordinary day!  :)

Today, I am rejoicing because I think it is SO COOL to run this many miles, on a normal, busy day, and NOT have it be a big deal/accomplishment. The fact that running is NOT being a big deal... IS a big deal!  :D

LOVE the simple pleasures each day brings! :D

Corine :D

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9/11 ~ Spiritually Rebuilding...

9/11 has come and gone, but its lessons and thoughts linger with us still... I wish to share a very compelling and inspirational article which I found in the Washington Post on the topic of 9/11. This article is written to the world... by a prophet of God.
Enjoy! :)
Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 09/08/2011

9/11 destruction allowed us to spiritually rebuild

Badge from fire helmet discovered in the debris post 9/11/01. (Ira Block)   
The calamity of September 11th, 2001 has cast a long shadow. Ten years later, many of us are still haunted by its terrible tragedy of lost lives and broken hearts. It is an episode of anguish that has become a defining moment in the history of the American nation and the world. This week, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, along with Tom Brokaw, will pay its own homage to the unforgettable events of September 11, 2001.

There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.

Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.

Our Father’s commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change.

But we are less faithful than He is. By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.

If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season.

The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly “need Him every hour,” not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.
It is constancy that God would have from us. Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm.

Thomas S. Monson is president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sweet Serendipity ~

Hi! :D I just found this song... (Thanks Valerie!) and I LOVE it!

So I thought I'd share it... :)

Enjoy! :D

PS. I did some MAJOR de-cluttering in my bedroom. I can't wait for my daughter to see it! :D She will be SO proud of me. :)

PPS. Dausen grew this week (I kid u NOT. He is so big I jumped on his back yesterday, and he stayed firm! - true story... ) He is HUGE (OK... so, everyone is huge compared to me. But I think he might be 5 ft 11 now)! I wonder if his twin brother grew this week, too. I'm so excited for all my kids to be home together again!!! :D (two of my kids are out of town together).

BTW. The really cool thing about two of the kids being out of the house is that the two that are home are really bonding. I'm so happy for the little brother whose big brother keeps asking him, "so, what do you want to do?" Music to my ears...  I LOVE my kids!!! :D

Monday, September 19, 2011

Discoveries of Parenthood...

"The ability and willingness to properly rear children, the gift to live, and eagerness... to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world. She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, ...deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God."
David O. McKay
When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to grow up and have a family, and I was SURE I would be an AWESOME mom! I would be one like David O. McKay described above. I would never yell (I used to, but I stopped!) and be the BEST MOM EVER!! My kids would be perfect, too! ;O

Then I got married and started a family, I was SHOCKED to find out how hard it was! Psychologically, it was like someone had taken a frying pan and hit me in the face with it! I WAS CLUELESS!
Maybe some of that was because I never dreamed of what kind of wife I would be. It never occurred to me that I would be a wife,  first (speaking of roles), and then a mom. It never occurred to me that my husband and I would have struggles that would HUGELY affect our child rearing. There were things I simply failed to take into consideration, and was too young and way too inexperienced to even imagine...
Now, I have been married for 22 years, and a mom for nearly 20 years. And I'm STILL trying to get good at it. But, I think I have figured it out (finally!). Now that I can see more clearly,  I hope to actually get good at it before the grand kids come. :o

Here is a small list of what I consider vital components in raising a happy family (heard from the pupet, but learned by trial and error). These are a few things which I ONLY WISH I had committed to, YEARS AGO!!!

1.) Fill my children's time with good things. (Kids that get into trouble, get into trouble because they are BORED. They have too much time on their hands! The more time they spend doing good things, the less time they will have to spend on less worthy activities).

2.) Fill my children's lives with light - CONSISTENTLY. I believe that darkness, or a dark life, may well simply be the result of the absence of light. (Light: Family gospel/scripture study, family prayers, FHE (family time), good pictures, good movies, good music - find uplifting music that they like, and play it so often that it becomes more appealing to them than music which is less worthy of their time.)

3.) Establish a few fair rules, with consequences - and consistently enforce them. Let kids see and know there are consequences to actions, and order will prevail!

4.) (And perhaps this should be #1 - it is the most important) Take time, daily, consistently, always... to LOVE the kids in a way that is recognizable to them. Spend 1-on-1 time with each of them weekly or more. Hug and tell them you love them daily. Smile at them. Let them know you love them in so many ways. Meet their needs. Talk WITH them. Be there FOR them. Talk to them about THEIR hopes, dreams, goals, etc. Love them so much and so well, that when they see the light of Christ in your countenance, they will desire to seek Him, too.

5.) Eat meals together as a family... Make home and family life wonderful! :D

6.) Lead by example.

Parenting is about LEADING. It is the most far reaching and influential position a person can ever hope to have; no other group of people will ever observe and mimic you like your children will... And of all the leading I desire to do for my children (to be smart, to go to college, make the most of themselves... to be responsible and hardworking, honest and true etc), it all boils down to leading them to Christ; for everything I desire for them encompasses a Christ-like attribute.

How is leading done?

If we want to lead our children to Christ, we have to go to Christ ourselves, in all we say and do. We have to preach the gospel to our children.

I used to think this meant I needed to talk a lot. Consequently - I HAVE TALKED WAY TOO MUCH! That was a really big mistake, because my family learned to just tune me OUT.

I love the quiet confidence that I see in some women, women who, like Valerie Johnson, speak through actions so eloquently you hang on to the edge of your seat just waiting to see what she will "say" next. She understands well, how, to preach the gospel. :)

 "Preach the gospel all your life, and when necessary, use words."
Gordon B. Hinckley
I am trying to become like that. I have a long way to go... but I think it would be really cool, if the day actually comes, when my friends and family will be able to say of me...

"she speaks through actions so eloquently you hang on to the edge of your seat just waiting to see what she will 'say' next. She understands, so well, how, to preach the gospel."

That would be really cool... I think I'll just keep hoping and trying. :)

Corine :D

Since this is a very "meditative" post (;o) and since I love the host, my dear friend, Laura. I'm linking up with her for Meditation Mondays. I hope you feel free to join in on the fun! :D

Friday, September 16, 2011

Choosing Joy - Five Minute Friday

I've finally done it! :D I finally participated in Five Minute Friday link up with Gypsy Mama! :D I just posted a writing last night, and now I'm posting this... so you get to read two writings from me this morning! :D I hope you enJoy! ;)

Choosing Joy

Sometimes, I forget what I was created for... WHY I was created.

But on the really happy days, I REMEMBER.

I remember that "men are, that they might have joy."  2 Nephi 2:25 We, you, me, all of God's children... are literally created, for the purpose of experiencing joy.

Sometimes, when I am not experiencing joy, it is because I forget that I must experience the bitter to know the sweet; the rough to know the gentle; the sadness, to know the happiness...

Each day is a gift from God.

The good days,

 ...and the not so good days.

 The strong days,

...and the days in which I cry and wish I were stronger.

My life is a gift, a gift of joy from my Father in Heaven who loves me so much that He purposefully created me just as I am, unique to every other person on the planet.

He created me with special gifts and talents uniquely mine.

He created me with purpose...

...the purpose that I might have joy, and in my own unique way, bring joy to others.

 So I choose joy.

I choose to be  the joyful person I was created to be.

I choose to be thankful for every aspect of my joyful life!

STOP: 5 minutes is up!

PS. I actually did this TWICE, (so this is more like 10 minute Friday for me! :o)and decided to include the first writing at the bottom of this page. LOL (I finally do it, and I do it twice! ) I just wasn't happy with the first one, but maybe someone else will like it, so here it is!

Today is the first day, of the rest of my life.

Today, I am choosing Joy.

I am choosing to live a joyful life.

I am choosing NOT to be overwhelmed about the many tasks at hand... but to instead be thankful for a full life with many opportunities for learning and growth.

I am choosing not to over analyze,

but to instead let God take care of the worries, and simply go forward with faith.

I am choosing to toss out all thoughts which are idle... thoughts which do nothing to help me or others to have joy in life.

"Men are that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25

I was created so that I can have joy.

I am a source of joy to my Father in Heaven.

I choose to live my life in such a way, as to have great joy.

I choose to simplify.

To always obey God's commandments, take time for family, love and serve as many people as I can,

... and not worry about the rest.

I choose to live with Joy. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Until Today...

Hi. :)

Today - Tonight, I am happy. :D

For the past week or more, I have been incredibly stressed out,overwhelmed, and often quite sad. I have even cried (I can't tell you how many times).

So I decided to simplify. The amazing thing, is that I'm not just simplifying

my home,



or even

just my schedule.

I'm simplifying ME.

My Mind.

My goals.

My aspirations.

And my expectations.

I don't like being overwhelmed. Lately, I have been too overwhelmed to even write.

Until today.

Until today, when I would get overwhelmed, I would sometimes freeze... my body and mind would become physically and psychologically immobilized... as if a life can be shot with Novocain from the the skillful hand of a dentist.

And instead of working faster to catch up (so I could have less to be overwhelmed about), I would slow down to almost a stop. And then things got worse - way worse -  as the vicious cycle continued...

I didn't mean to.

I sure didn't WANT to.

But I did it...


Today I decided to let the world, and all the world's expectations stand still instead of me.

Today, I decided that I don't have to do and be EVERYTHING, right now..

Today I decided to take a little time to do what I WANT to do, instead of what I feel I HAVE to do.

It may sound selfish, and it may sound crazy... but I don't think it was either.

I think it was inspired by a loving Father in Heaven who truly DESIRES for me to be happy. :)

Happiness in a community, is only as happy as the individuals in a community. And I am the individual that I have the greatest power to influence for better or for worse.

So I ditched a couple of responsibilities that I have to the community and the world for just one day, and did what I needed to do to have peace at home.

It was hard to do.

I hoped I wasn't being a slacker.

I told my Father in Heaven that I have been really overwhelmed, and needed time to catch up on some things at home (after my 12 mile de-stress run). I prayed to know if it was OK.

I felt that it was.

And now, I have canned peaches on my counter top (to add to the other foods which I have recently preserved - yeah!), and a mess in my bedroom to verify that clean, organized, and simplified...

are again on their way into my life... :)

I would like to tell you how I know this transformation of simplifying is actually beginning to happen...

I have papers (many papers, PILES of papers which have been collected over the past couple of YEARS). In addition to old bills, there were papers with goals written on them, and huge lists of expectations for myself as a princess, and daughter of my Father in Heaven.

The lists were heartfelt, and yet...

Today they were somehow quite easily thrown in the burning pile.

The lists were too long, and too complex...

There were too many of them.

And when I threw those papers out, I did something I have never done before...

I DIDN'T CARE. I didn't mind not having all those goals to look through, because, finally, I didn't want to look at that many of them!

That is when I realized, this wasn't just a simplifying of my surroundings by eliminating papers messes...

I was choosing to simplify my thoughts and my life.

Princesses... daughters of kings, daughters of God... deserve simple lives! ;)

And this means simplifying everything, even goals. No, I'm definitely not tossing goals out the window... I love goals! simple goals!

Of course, I kept the photos and letters from friends; these bring me joy. I smiled warmly as I glanced at a couple of them that I came upon while cleaning. But the over analytical notes I wrote to myself - I tossed in the burn pile, without so much as a crooked grin.

I feel at peace. :)

I am home. :D

And I have a feeling,

 ...I'm REALLY going to enjoy my new simplified life! :D

 Corine :D

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My New Labor Day Tradition! :D

Happy Late Labor Day! :D

Yesterday was a very happy day for me. :) I'm anxious to tell you about it, but first, a little background information is needed.

This spring I determined to "try a triathlon." I had plans to do the triathlon in Hayden Idaho, right here in my home town, on roads which I myself regularly tromp on... I was so excited!

But then my mom got sick. So of course I left town for three weeks to care for her, played catch up when I got back home, and since I still hadn't trained for the swim... I reluctantly, I let the opportunity pass me by; it was excruciatingly disappointing. I comforted myself with the hope of signing myself up for swimming lessons and entering another triathlon in a nearby town later in the year.

But you know how unpredictable life can be. :o  Summer continued to keep me busy. As badly as I needed it, swimming still happened only 4 times this year - no lessons (It was much more feasible for me to step out my door and run or roller blade, than it was to go to the lake or across town to the pool). So I went to Daily Mile and changed my goal from...
"Right now, my goals are to successfully complete my first half marathon and triathlon, this year"
"Right now, my goals are to successfully complete my first half marathon and triathlon."
(Note that the "this year" was dropped off the goal. And if you are new here, you might like to know that, YES, I did complete my first Half Marathon!). I tried to tell myself that it was "OK to wait until next year to do a triathlon," but honestly... it was very disheartening. The wind had been totally taken from my sails. This was a very sad decision.

Then, Sunday at church my husband was handed a flier advertising a sprint triathlon for Labor day morning... the next morning.

This was quite spontaneously put on by a friend in our church. Not even waiting to get home from church to let me know about it, Miles brought the flier straight to me (good man... he knows his wife! ;). The moment he showed it to me, I KNEW, I HAD to be in it.

Somehow, I knew I was ready. Somehow, not having swimming lessons I planned to take DIDN'T MATTER. Somehow, knowing I had never swam anywhere near a half mile before in my life, didn't matter. Somehow, having to find both a bike, and a wetsuit - by tomorrow morning, didn't matter. NOTHING MATTERED... except for the fact that I had been given a second chance - and I knew I had to take it! (Actually, there was one other thing that did matter; there would be kayaks there to rescue me if I absolutely had to rest! :o)

Of course, you know the rest of the story. :) I called my friend, Valerie and got permission to borrow her daughters bike and wetsuit; I woke early the next morning and had a bowl of oatmeal with black strap molasses and real butter (that's how I like it), and a cup of alkaline Nikken water with a shot of liquid chlorophyll and peppermint added to it to swallow down a few nutritional supplements; I showed up for the race with my water bottle, goggles and cap; AND, I did not have to be rescued.  :D

I'm choosing to believe that I'm ready! I can do this!

There were 9 people in this first annual Triathlon... I'm the one on the far right.
Though the numbers of participants were few, I heard that the course we took was actually tougher than the Coeur d'Alene Triathlon course, which I intended to participate in earlier this year and missed. It was an AWESOME course! :)

Getting goggles ready for the swim...

I was so excited about having done it, (not to mention SO exhausted) that when I got back to shore I didn't even rush to take off my wetsuit. I sat on the ground, just basking in the moment - in awe. I had done it! :D

My friend, Dave, pulled me out of my trance as he started yanking my wet suit off of me so I could continue the triathlon. His wife, Valerie, has been in triathlons many times, so he knows how to be a good tri-athlete support (when helping out is allowed - depending upon the race). My husband was also a support crew member. He was to stand at a particular bend in the road... making sure no one missed a turn that might be easy to miss. What I didn't know, was that he was also off posting signs while we swam... so participants would know where to go (Probably for me... He knows me well!! :o). The funny thing is that I didn't know he was out posting signs, so I stayed with Laurel for the rest of the race (bike ride and run).

Laurel tried to get me to run ahead of her here... can you believe that? I said, "No way!" Then I grabbed her by the hand (hard to see in this photo) and we ran through together. We raced together, after all! :o

Now, I need to tell you how the race went. You probably wonder how I did... :o Well, you already know. I went, I raced, I rocked! ;) Not enough info??? All right then, I'll tell you more. :)

Like I told you, I stuck with Laurel so I would know where to go. Unfortunately, Laurel had also borrowed a bike for the race, and there were some MAJOR issues with shifting going on. Laurel had to bike up steep hills in a large gear. That REALLY slowed things down! I'm super impressed that she made it up the hills without walking, but wonder if walking might have been faster. :o Laurel seemed to feel bad about her bike slowing me down. By the way, there were other things which slowed us down as well... by A LOT, but I won't bore you with the details. Worried about her bike slowing me down, Laurel offered to tell me the route and encouraged me to go on without her, but I had to be honest with her; "Laurel," I told her, "I'd rather finish LAST, than not finish at all - because I went the wrong way." I really meant it. I was there to prove to myself that I could do the swim, and to enjoy the experience. Nothing else mattered, and I really enjoyed visiting with Laurel! :D    

Laurel and I DID come in last. But we completed the triathlon. We accomplished our goals. We swam! We lived! ;D And I know Laurel has done this before, so she already knew she could do it; but for me, I discovered (once again) that I am FAR MORE CAPABLE than I realized. Not only did I live, I wonder how much farther I could have swam... I wonder what else I can do? :o ... :D

PS. There were a many friends and family members there cheering us on as we finished each of the three portions of the race; each of the three portions of the race ended and began at the same location. We swam first, then biked, and last of all we ran. When I came in from the bike portion, I was completely alone, and totally last (I stopped at a friends house to use the bathroom just before the bike portion ended, so Laurel got ahead of me during that time. I didn't realize we were so close to the checkpoint; the plan was to catch up to her BEFORE getting there! Thankfully, Laurel kindly waited for me at the check point for the running portion of the race).

For just a minute - knowing that I was LAST (and that I had actually spent a portion of the race - not racing, but instead standing still or just walking, - due to reasons not mentioned in this post) I was a little embarrassed to be cheered for so heavily because I didn't think I had earned the cheering. I was also a little embarrassed to take so long getting there - and not have anyone know why (pride is a terrible thing).

Having this experience of coming in last got me thinking about how our Father in Heaven might feel as he watches us, sometimes come in last. I figured that if these friends were proud of those of us who strangled in at the end... Heavenly Father surely must also be proud of us all, for all of our accomplishments. In God's eyes, there are no comparisons between His children. HE KNOWS what is going on in each and every one of our lives. I think, He is probably as proud of us when we come in last, as He is when we come in first; the point is that we enter and finish the race!

Wouldn't it be great if we could all see each other the way God does... and view everyone as winners?

Wishing for us all ~ humility and the ability to see others through God's eyes...

Corine :D

PPS Valerie, my running partner was also there. She took 5th place; way to go Valerie! :D Here are a couple photos of the three of us women who were in the triathlon... (all friends :)

I'm the one in the middle. ;o

...just goofing off! :D
I hope this triathlon snowballs and we get a huge turnout next year! But regardless of how many people participate - I'll be there! :)

PS I’m thankful for the once in a lifetime opportunity to be last… as well as for opportunities to be kept humble. But I’m also looking forward to entering future triathlons… and kicking butt! LOL ;D

Corine :D

Friday, September 2, 2011

Expressions of Love

Miles and I just celebrated our 22nd anniversary. Twenty two years! Can you believe that? And though I'm sure Miles would have found out where I live and come to me to start the courting process with or without my friend, Karen... I am thankful that Karen obliged his request to take him to my home, I'm thankful that she did! :D

Miles took me to one of my absolute, FA-VOR-ITE places... Spokane River Front Park. Here are a few photos which I took while we were out celebrating together:


I took this photo of my shadow over the water at River Front Park (this is the sort of thing my husband patiently puts up with when ever we are out and about and I have a camera in hand). I held the camera in front of me in one hand, and the other hand held up my awesome little sandals. Isn't it a cool shot? :)

From there, we walked to Anthonys for dinner, and ate OUTSIDE (I LOVE the outdoors! :)...

The view from where we ate overlooked parts of River Front Park and the Spokane Convention Center (I love that place! ~ Good memories ...).

I've decided that I must share a few more photos taken at River Front Park...

 After walking River Front Park that glorious morning, Miles took me to Perkins for breakfast.

The food was SO GOOD! I really wish I had taken photos of our meals. :o Oh well... :) Instead I took a photo of some decorations (I only took one, so as to not embarrass my shy husband. ;o). Miles had scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and something else. I had scrambled eggs, french toast with strawberries and whipped topping, and something else. :o What ever it was... it was good. :)

After breakfast, I was swept off my feet again and taken to a Japanese Garden. :D

So many photos to share... I think I'll stop posting one by one and make a collage! :)

That's much better. :)

Now, a little about US...
Miles and I were married in the Portland Oregon Temple on August 26th, 1989. Yes, I WAS a baby. :) (According to my husband, I'm still "his baby." According to me, he's the baby! ;o j.k.) Seriously though, this journey of marriage has been quite a roller coaster of a ride for us crazy kids... but hey, after 22 years of marriage, we're learning from each other, rubbing off on each other, ironing out all the wrinkles... and this marriage thing is working out beautifully! :D  I'm so happy to be blessed to be creating an eternal family with this wonderful and amazing man!

Speaking of "babies," the two of us honestly are a couple of kids at heart. Maybe that is why my playful husband keeps asking me the question, "Do you think we'll ever get married?"     I used to answer back something completely boring, like... "already have!" But then I realized he was having a lot of fun with his little game, and I wasn't. Sometime during this past year, though, I finally learned to play back! :D And I'm surprised at how much fun it really is! :) So now days, I teasingly respond back to his teasing with something like, "Oh... I don't know. I'll have to think about it." OR, I might wink at him flirtatiously and say, ;) "I think that can be arranged!" ;) Of course, it's not really what's said, but all in HOW it is said; that makes ALL the difference! :)

This little way of teasing is an example of one of the many little expressions of love which Miles shows to me on a regular basis. Expressing himself is not something which has come naturally for Miles (or maybe... understanding HOW he expressed his love didn't come naturally to me); I have really enjoyed the progression and awesome expansion of ways in which he has come to show love for me over the years. Especially lately; Lately, he has been expressing love for me, more than I ever imagined possible. He smiles at me; tells me he loves me; makes me laugh; serves me; invites me to go everywhere he goes with him (though I don't always get to go, I love that he wants to be with me - and I want to be with him.); he builds me up and tells me that I'm beautiful; holds my hand - always - every where we go, and when we watch a movie together, we do it cuddling... I feel very loved. :) These expressions of love cause me to be VERY happy that I am married to him ~ for eternity! :)

What do you do to show expressions of love to your companion? I am sure I will be watching myself and asking myself this question a lot more often from now on. I hope my husband feels as loved by me, as I feel loved by him - on the best of days!

Wishing us all a day, week, month, life of eyes wide open to seeing and seizing - opportunities to express love, to the people we love. Happy Day Living...

Corine :D

PS. To read about our courtship, click on this link. I wrote about it about a year ago. :)

PPS. f you would like to see a gorgeous photo of the temple we were married in, go to this website: Temples By Tyler - :LDS Temples Photography. These temples are AMAZING! You might want to share this link with your friends. :)