Top Ten Readers' Choice 2013




Another year gone by and I still have barely a clue as to what I'm doing here. We seem to have a pretty good racket going on though: I write. You read. We share. 

Without all of your encouragement, I might have quit writing at a few points during this past year. I seriously owe each one of you—whether you comment or not—for showing up to read and share what I have to offer. My confidence as a writer continues to wax stronger every day because of you. Thank you for being a part of this dynamic year of red, blue, and the ever-present purple moments. 

Without further ado, I give you the All Things Purple: Top Ten Readers' Choice 2013: 

Honorable Mention: PURPLE: An Acrostic Poem



All 52 Gems of Reflection


This year I have enjoyed writing from some of the journal prompts that my mother had saved. At first, I kept it regularly scheduled, but then—I fell apart a bit. School, children, an everlasting divorce, and just life happened in full force. But I still did it for the entire year, and it feels amazing to have created a year-long tribute to my mother. With the year's passing, I am made keenly aware that it has now been over ten years since she died. So much has gone on during this time. It leads me to hope that she is watching over us all and knows of my struggles and triumphs. I hope that when we meet again, we will only need to knowingly smile and then hug for half of a year.

One last thing, thank you for all of your support by reading and sharing my writing. You make my world go 'round, and I won't ever forget it.

Enjoy!

52 Gems of Reflection Collection

1. Introduction
2. Life Lessons
3. Bring It On!
4. Every Single One 
5. Aunts and Uncles
6. Colorful Flooring
7. Ten Very Important Things
8. Movies, Pirates, and Singing
9. Fried Chicken Picnics
10. To Good Health
11. To Be Worthwhile
12. Friend Exposé
13. My Most Valuable Gems
14. How to Love
15. My Baptism Day
16. A Confessional
17. The Dark
18. Purple is Always Part of the Answer
19. Answers to Prayers
20. Chores
21. My Education
22. Christmas Trees and Other Things
23. Significantly Random
24. The Best Half Birthday of All Time
25. I Was a Quitter
26. Church Service
27. More Than a House
28. Journey of a Lifetime
29. Television: My Gateway Drug to Becoming a Fangirl
30. Overcoming Negativity
31. Family
32. Just Joy
33. A Sweet Dream
34. Christmas Music
35. Dirt Clods and Board Games
36. Elusive and Beautiful
37. Uniquely Talented
38. Healthy Living
39. Snow!
40. Books and More Books
41. Game Playing
42. Memories of Childhood Friends
43. The Present
44. A Good Kiss Makes Everything Special
45. Memories of San Francisco
46. A Philosophy of Faith
47. Family By Choice
48. A Lasting Bond
49. Piles of Friends
50. Jobs
51. Thoughts on School
52. Forever Love





not holding my breath

Holding one's breath is exhausting
Time flits past me as I watch it flee
Past me with all the wishes it once held
Like a thief, I steal my own goals from me
By sitting back, overwhelmed, left wanting
Always waiting for another corner to be turned
What will it take for the past to be laid to rest
Upon the future's back, it rides and collides
With the new dreams I would like to dream
Running away from everything and nothing
Nothing more to be said but that I wish
I wish for an everlasting love to find me
And never leave—lasting through eternity

Seeking to Become - December 2013


I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 
3 John 1:11 
In my quest to become more like the Savior, I have come to know that joy is part of it. God wants us to be happy and find the joy that is to be had in life. Sometimes I allow myself to look past the positive things—the blessings—and I focus on everything that is going wrong in my life. But that is not the Lord's way. The truth about my life is that it has its challenges just like everyone else's lives. It can be difficult to face some of those challenges. However, for every challenge, a blessing of equal or greater measure is in force in my life. For me to have joy, I need to keep myself from losing sight of the truth. If I walk in truth, not only will I have joy as a result, but the Lord will have joy in my choices as well.

As we face the close of another year, I hope you will join me in striving to walk in truth that we might increase the joy in our lives.

crash and burn

The high was too much.
She didn't know what to do
With feeling success.
Time had passed for too long
Since the race to catch up
Had time enough to stop.
Even for a moment
She could not allow contentment
To take root within her heart.
Because success did not come
In the form she had wished
She never let any version
Give satisfaction or peace.
Defining her self
With one flicker of time
Like a lovesick fool.
Crashed into a dead end
Of dreams that never will be.
Burned up on the inside
With darkest disappointment.

forever love




52.

I can't think of a better way to finish up this year-long writing challenge honoring my mother than by writing about one of the most special days of her life. Some of what I share with you might not be accurate because both of my parents are gone now and I can't ask the only authorities on the subject. However, I will do my best to share only what I believe is true.

My mom's sister made her wedding dress. It was a fitted dress with a high waist and a blue ribbon. It was very 1970s to be sure, and she pulled it off beautifully. My mom was a very talented seamstress, so I'm not sure why her sister made it. I'm thinking it was due to time and my aunt wanting to do something nice for my mom.

The wedding was simple. My parents were married in her parents' home on Sandy Lane with close friends and family in attendance. Since my grandpa is a baker by profession, he made the wedding cake. It had daisies on it from what I can tell in photographs.

One year later, my parents were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple, making the marriage one that would be bound into eternity. I'm thankful for their example of fortitude, forgiveness, and love. I would not be who I am today without their decision to marry and stick with it through better and worse.

And to have such a lovely mother has been a treasure I carry with me, in my heart, always.









thoughts on school



51.

I don't know if I should talk about such a sore subject right now. Just kidding. But seriously, I have hardly been out of school for my entire existence, so I don't really know how I feel.

I loved elementary school. Junior high was full of adventure and hard times. High school was a period of hardship, discovery, and even more adventures. My college phase was split between young single adult issues and young mother issues. And now my university experience has been fraught with marital strife and burgeoning with exponential learning.

As I reflect on my school experience as a whole, I see how everything has always had balance to it. I might not have been able to see how everything balanced out at the time—and I struggle currently to see it all—but school has always provided a facet of consistent balance in my life. I feel at home when I am learning new things at school.

Maybe that's why I'm crazy enough to want to be a teacher.




jobs




50.

I haven't had very many jobs compared to some people, but here goes. Don't laugh.

Miller's Outpost, where I learned to fold t-shirts the right way; Mervyns, temporary second job; Wet Seal, when I thought I was a hottie and wanted a job to prove it; Villa Pizza, waitress; Coffee Beanery, store opener and where I became addicted to coffee; California Hotel, credit giver and take away-er; babysitter; crossing guard; and, saving the best for last, stay at home mom

I'm currently working on adding freelance editor, published author, and English teacher extraordinaire to the list.








piles of friends



49.

Wow. I don't even know how to get started on this list! I have many people I consider my friends now. Maybe I'm too generous in my definition of what a friend looks like, but I don't think that's a negative thing.

All of these piles of friends I've got are important to me because I know that each one of them has been guided to me. The love and care I am given by every person adds up to blessings immeasurable. I can hardly think about all the love and support I've been given by friends without crying. I could not ask for more. And my gratitude exceeds my ability to express it. I have been given so much.







a lasting bond



48.

It might sound ridiculous coming from a divorced woman, but I would like to share my firm belief in the importance of marriage.

To begin, I will define marriage as a loving, committed relationship between a man and woman. Mine did not last, but I did my best to be loving and committed until I realized that I needed to get away for my own good. That might not make sense to you, but it does to me—unfortunately.

I know that a lasting marriage is possible; I've seen them in real life. My best friend has one. My parents had one. And there are many other people out there who have been able to somehow find someone to share a true marriage bond with. Therefore, I continue to hope for someone special to come my way who will reciprocate love and acceptance—and want to do what it takes to stay.






watching for the dawn

Dawning of a new day effortlessly arrives
With nothing to do but wait for someone to cast its light upon
To touch, an honest enticement to create more from each chance
Repeating old habits, holding onto hate, strangling the future
Crave effort beyond the reach of fingertips
Our hearts beckon, invite to begin anew
Pathways well-worn ache for a break in this monotony
Taste with me the adventure in tomorrow's dawn
As sunlight's rays strive to melt away the ice
Trickling onto our faces like tears—for joy and for pain
Happy glimmers of the past can light our way brightly
Forge a footpath beside me; make this day's dawn truly new
Set aside the brokenness and hurt within your soul
Let each piece find its own way, and come walk with me at peace





family by choice



47.

I'm not really into favoritism and never really have been, so I don't like this writing prompt very much. Instead of splitting hairs over a bunch of people who all do or should love me, I will make a short list of special memories I have with a few of the ones who have come to our family by choice.

1. Aunt Sherrie (wife of Sam)
I won't ever forget her french braiding my hair before we all piled in the car to head over to Disneyland. To this day, that memory is called to the front of my mind when I see my Aunt Sherrie.

2. Uncle Chris (husband of Marilyn)
Until I moved closer to my Aunt Marilyn, I never really knew Uncle Chris. But I have grown to truly love and admire him for his disinterested kindness and unassuming sense of humor since being around their family more.

3. Aunt Pat (wife of Bill)
When I was really young, I remember sitting in my aunt and uncle's kitchen in the morning after a sleepover with my cousin Melinda. Aunt Pat was cooking up something that I thought was cream of wheat, but when she served it I was thrown off by the different texture and flavor. When I think of my Aunt Pat, I think of grits with warm butter and loving kindness.

4. Aunt Ellen (wife of Ben)
I've never felt so loved and accepted by any other aunt who I've seen so little of. Every time I am with my Aunt Ellen, she makes me feel important, respected, and loved.

There are more special memories of aunts and uncles. I'm truly blessed to have so many aunts and uncles who love me.



Related links:

aunts and uncles

aunts

family: it's what's for dinner




a philosophy of faith



46.

Death often comes with at least a touch of fear, but I do not fear death itself. I fear leaving my children while they still need me and I do not have my affairs in order. However, my faith in God tells me that He will not allow me to leave this existence until they would be taken care of by someone who would watch over them or they are old enough to be on their own and ready.

I have lost enough loved ones to know that my faith is grounded in truth. It never feels good to lose a loved one because we miss them. We mourn with bitter tears because our faith is tested to the brink. I know. Every day that I don't have my own mother here to call on the phone or get a hug or even receive chastisement from I am tested. Yet, somehow I know that it will all be okay and that she did not leave a moment too soon. It was her time. In my lingering grief, I know she needed to go so I could finish growing up.

Death is the parting of the body and soul in a temporary separation until Christ's Second Coming. Until then, I will cling to my hope of happy reunion with my parents and all the loved ones I've met and those who have long since passed on that I will meet when we are brought together once this earthly veil is lifted from my eyes. It will be a time of learning and loving and knowing. I look forward to eternal life.


I'd like to share a video with you. I was introduced to this song shortly after my mother passed away, so it holds a special place in my heart and always will. It seems to capture all the hopes and dreams my mother had for me, while also whispering to me that we will be together again.

And so you know, I can't ever hear this song without crying. I will miss hearing my mother's voice and feeling her kind and loving arms around me every day until we are reunited in the after-life.




related links:

missing her and waiting

ten years ago today

light now dimmed

my hope for eternity

heaven sent




memories of San Francisco


45.

This prompt is loaded with an assumption that I want to talk about my married years that have already occurred. I really don't feel like reminiscing on that period of my life just yet. But, in the interest of posterity, I will share a memory.

It was over a decade ago and we were headed to San Francisco. I grew up loving that city. My parents took my brothers and me on a family trip there. That's when I fell in love with riding trolleys and looking out across the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. Trips to San Francisco for a couple of choir competitions in high school sealed the deal though. There is nothing quite like being set loose with a handful of great friends in an amazing place. My only regret from my high school trips is that I didn't kiss anyone in San Francisco. I guess that might be why I still needed to go back.

We went for a three-day weekend. First thing off the plane and in the hotel room was unmentionable, then we hit up Chinatown for some delicious lunch, choosing the most randomly authentic looking Chinese restaurant we could find. And it was perfection. By the time we finished eating, it was raining, but that didn't stop us from our exploration. We walked all over the place, heading to Fisherman's Wharf and the beach, and then at nightfall, we were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot. I did not account for the rocking, and it freaked me out! We were almost halfway across when I realized how far up I was, over the ocean, on a manmade contraption, and my little children were at home, far away, without their mother. And to top it all off—it was windy. I became frozen with fear that I would fall somehow and became irrational. I was crying and so upset that he had to hold me really close and walk me back to firm ground. Just thinking about it now makes me feel like a big baby, but whatever. We caught a trolley back to downtown and found a hole in the wall pizza place that had the best New York style pizza I've ever had. When I ordered a slice of plain cheese, they handed me a fourth of a pizza on a plate. Good thing I was hungry, because I would have eaten it all even if I hadn't been so hungry.

So anyways. It was a fantastic trip, and I will admit it wasn't too painful to think about it all. I do hope to go back to San Francisco under new circumstances some day. My only regrets now for San Francisco are that I haven't been to the opera and Alcatraz. And I might even try walking across the bridge but only in broad daylight.




Christmas Traditions: Stories and Ornaments

Christmas is my favorite holiday for a few reasons. Foremost, I'm Christian and it's the holiday celebrating Christ's birth. Second, my family culture growing up had many special traditions that revolved around Christmas. And last, I have continued many of the Christmas traditions my parents handed down to me because I truly love Christmas time so very much. Two of those traditions are particularly special to me.

One of the traditions that I have carried on is reading Christmas stories to my children. I don't recall my mother reading the stories to us more often than on Christmas Eve, but I have expanded it and read Christmas stories to my children throughout the month of December. When I became a mother, my mom gave me her set of books that celebrate different Christmas traditions around the world, and those books are favorites now because there are photographs and chock full of interesting factoids that my children soak up like sponges.



When I was given the opportunity to review Christmas From Heaven, a zing of excitement went through me. I had been wanting a new Christmas story to add to our collection, and I was thinking this one might be a good choice. Well, after reading it to my children and enjoying the DVD included with it, the votes were in—this is a fabulous Christmas story!

What I like most about Christmas From Heaven is that it tells a story from history about how someone gave true Christian kindness in a time of post-war tragedy. I had heard of the Berlin Candy Bomber before, but I didn't really know the story in any detail. The book has photographs of the people, planes, and thank-you's sent to Lt. Halvorsen aka The Berlin Candy Bomber. An extra treat is having the Christmas DVD to watch with the story read by Tom Brokaw along with music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We had just read the book, but my children were just as engrossed in the telling of the story on the DVD because of the added features from the performance.

I highly recommend Christmas From Heaven to anyone who would like an uplifting historical story for Christmas time.  If you don't want to wait to see if you win the book giveaway, I have a direct link for purchasing a copy:  http://deseretbook.com/Christmas-Heaven-Tom-Brokaw/i/5108410




The other tradition I would like to share with you is collecting ornaments for the Christmas tree. My mom had a lovely collection herself, but she started one for me from the first year I was born and continued adding to it until her last Christmas. So, ornaments are a precious part of my Christmas each year. Taking out each ornament and finding a perfect spot on the tree is a wonderful time for me. 

Another exciting thing for me with this review was that, in addition to the book, I was sent a set of Biblical Names of Christ ornaments. These ornaments come in a set of twelve and are simple yet perfect for focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. I'm one for glitter and lots of color, but I really was impressed by the quality of each ornament. Another nice thing about these ornaments is you can tie a ribbon through the top or use ornament hooks. I'm going with a sheer purple ribbon, but that's just me. 

For anyone wanting a quality ornament set that is unique and places emphasis on Christ, this set would be an excellent purchase. To get a set for yourself or as a gift, here is a direct link: http://bit.ly/1h3s7JD

*GIVEAWAY*

Now, for the really fun part. I hope all of you enter to win a copy of the fantastic Christmas story Christmas From Heaven, the true story of the Berlin Candy Bomber. Good luck, and remember to spread the Christmas giveaway cheer by sharing news of the giveaway: tweet on Twitter, post to Facebook, and email the link!






a good kiss makes everything special



44.

To be honest with you, I am having a hard time whittling down the list to just one special date. I am easy to please, so I think that might be partly to blame for me believing so many dates were special. The real question would be to ask the guys on this list of mine for their take on the dates. But since none of those sweethearts are here, I will make a list of a few of my favorites.

1. When I was 16, my steady boyfriend at the time, David, was only 15, and neither of us were allowed to (officially) date until 16. So, being the dutiful and kind girlfriend that I was, I waited to go on that first official date until he turned 16. Then, his family was busy with moving around his birthday, so we had to wait a bit more. I can't tell you how much I was anticipating this date. The poor guy. So anyways, we went to see a movie (I can't remember which movie) and stopped at Wendy's. I remember eating a frosty in front of my house and then some not even close to first kisses.

2. The second half of high school was filled with a second steady boyfriend (the first one moved, remember?). Erik was one grade behind me, so all my friends said I was robbing the cradle. We had no clue what we were talking about. So, to get to the point, I think he knew I was something else being an "older woman" and all, so he would get romantic and creative. I have always loved surprises, so anytime he came up with some idea for a picnic or going for a drive, I was wrapped around his little finger. However, one of the most special dates with Erik was when we went on a ski trip to Big Bear for his nineteenth birthday. We got all dressed up and ate at the best restaurant in the lodge. It was lovely and romantic with snow piled everywhere. The setting was immaculate and so was the company. The kisses at that dinner table alone were delicious.

3. Last but not least, I have this friend Jimy. He and I "dated" before I was allowed to date, so when I was around nineteen and in the midst of a breakup from Erik, he asked me out on an official date. We had become very good friends; I would talk to him about my troubles and he could make me laugh like no other. Therefore, he blurred the line some with that invitation. But, I've always been one to walk the line, so I said yes. I had known Jimy for about five years at this point, so I should not have been nervous, but I was. I think it was the part about him telling me to be sure to dress up. After picking me up, he drove us to the Rio where they had a nice Italian restaurant inside. The place was dripping with romance. I'm big on details like chandeliers, candles, and fresh flowers, and I'm pretty sure Jimy set me up. The meal was perfect and so was the date. I had forgotten how good he kissed until he reminded me that night. Wow.

So, the moral (not sure if that's the best word choice but whatever) of these stories is that it all boils down to if the boy can kiss or not. Just kidding. But seriously, as I reflected on all the best of times, they were all sealed with amazingly beautiful kisses.






P.S.

For your further enjoyment, here is a silly video about kisses. Warning: it's as corny as a corn dog.





Celebrating National Adoption Month

Since beginning this blog adventure I have become friends, to varying degrees, with scads of people. The adventure of it all has been peeling off in layers of pure blissful discovery. I've always loved learning, but I never thought I would learn so much just by connecting with a global audience of complete strangers. 

Two of these new friends happen to be adoptive parents. Becoming friends with Abby and Jeremy Kidd has taught me about adoptive parents from a perspective I couldn't have gained any other way. The pure love they have for their first adopted child is heartening and provides a wonderful example of how adoption can turn complicated situations into blessings for everyone. 

Now, Abby and Jeremy are seeking a new addition to their family (and from what I've heard, their oldest is more than ready to be a big sister). So, in order to help the Kidd family in their quest to make their family more complete, I want to share with you how we all can help them. 

The following information was written by Abby Kidd (and edited and embellished by me): 

We are home studied and approved, hoping to adopt an infant or sibling group of two children one year of age or younger through private adoption or the agency LDS Family Services.  To learn more about our story, we have included several links for you to choose from: 
Our profile on itsaboutlove.org can be found here: https://itsaboutlove.org/ial/profiles/27857648/ourMessage.jsf%E2%80%9D 
You can learn more about us at our blog here: http://jeremyandabbyadopt.wordpress.com 
Follow the Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/jeremyandabbyadopt   
Follow us on Twitter: @jeremyandabby 
We are doing various things to raise funds to cover fees. We have an Etsy shop with beautiful handmade aprons and dishcloths. Currently, there are two aprons available in the shop, and I can do made-to-order aprons as well if you contact me through one of the gazillion links I've provided. The dishcloths are made with 100% cotton yarn. Many people like hand-knit dishcloths because they are good scrubbers while still being gentle. These products would also make a nice gift to give for any occasion: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JeremyandAbbyAdopt 
If you aren't interested in our Etsy shop offerings, alternate ways to help us raise funds can be found here: http://jeremyandabbyadopt.wordpress.com/fundraising/. 
The very best way to help us is to follow and share. In order to find an adoption match for our family, we need for women experiencing crisis pregnancies to see our links and learn about our family. We kindly ask for support in any way that you can.  
Also, we love to meet other adoptive families, adoptees, and birth mothers who have placed children for adoption. So, as you follow and share, we also hope to benefit by creating an even richer network of families similar to ours. 
--  Abby and Jeremy  

A GIVEAWAY ***ENDED DECEMBER 2, 2013***

November is National Adoption Month. In celebration of it, we will have a giveaway! Abby has generously offered one of her hand-crafted aprons from their Etsy shop to give to one lucky winner. And it's fabulously PURPLE (surprise, surprise)!


The apron we're giving away is an adult size, made to fit just about anyone.
What I hope is that my small effort to lend a hand to the Kidd family will somehow send out a ripple effect in the pond, thus helping these friends of mine who have taught me so much about parental love and determination. 

Remember to follow, share, and enter this special giveaway honoring National Adoption Month!







inspiration's sonnet



Creativity does not flow freely.
Pressuring demands weigh down heavily.
A humble request for felicity
Placed on a revolving door carefully
Reads, "True companionship and loyalty
Wanted. Inquire within. Please honestly
Consider this behest, because empty
Promised words wither expeditiously."
Gaining a lasting connection with free
Will at the helm entices both to please.
Sunrises, pathways lit, become where we
Lead each other in new ways, with sweet ease.
This dream rekindles a spark within me.
I search for you yet only feel the breeze.




Seeking to Become: Thanksgiving 2013 (3)


Singing the song of gratitude this month is a gift I've given myself. I have been able to look past the dulled senses of those people who make fun of daily gratitude lists, and I've also been able to keep myself from feeling trite in my gratitude expressions. Gratitude comes from the heart, and I have been able to truly draw upon the spirit in my life to realize the abundance surrounding me. Cultivating more positive reflections is an essential I want to keep going, and expressing gratitude will help me.

I hope you've found time to sing with thanksgiving a little more and that we will all continue to recognize all the goodness around us.


Gratitude List 3

1.  Good books to read (Fahrenheit 451 has been on my mind)
2.  Children who love me despite my personal hamartia collection 
3.  Comfortable and safe living conditions
4.  The ability to write--quality yet to be determined
5.  Innate creativity 
6.  People who reach outside their comfort zone to give a helping hand
7.  Forgiveness
8.  Beautiful music that heals hearts
9.  Being able to feel--even when it hurts--but most especially when tears of joy overflow
10. The gift of sight, so I can fully appreciate all of God's lovely creations with my own eyes


Related Links:

Week 1

Week 2




sunshine in the rain

When life gets to be nearly unbearable, something always--without fail--shows me how life is not unbearable but blessed and wonderful.

Negativity began to creep in yesterday, peaking as I went to sleep last night. I woke up in a static mood and not wanting to get moving for the day. Then, I remembered about a special luncheon for one of my scholarships and had to get dressed. Remembering about that luncheon was the first good thing that occurred to help me get out of my dark cloud.

Then, I had the pleasure of helping a good friend with a project about blogging and all that's entailed in getting blogs out into the wild blue yonder (the internet). His detailed questions helped me realize how much I do know, which inadvertently proved that I'm not as much of a poser as I was leading myself to believe. And he bought me whatever I wanted for breakfast, and that translated into bacon and chocolate milk (try not to be too jealous).

Part of my anxiety was stemming from a presentation I had to give in my leadership course. I haven't been able to put my ideas into a concrete form, because life has been jacked. I was feeling so unprepared. I'd really like to know how to turn off all the stress and family demands and just get to work when I need to. So anyway, I went to class and did my presentation and didn't die or even faint. When class was over, I was able to realize how I had worked myself up into a perfectionist's nightmare.

The next part of my day was beautiful. I couldn't find the banquet room where the luncheon was being held, and time was running out for being on-time. I began to sink back into feeling like I can't ever get things to go right, then a gentleman crossed my path (literally) who looked like he might know something about something. Well, he did. He even found me someone who was going to the luncheon and would drive me there, so I wouldn't be late. How fortunate is that? I mean seriously. I was in awe for about fifteen minutes over the whole transaction.

That lunch was a really special time, too. I feel more than fortunate to have been able to get there and share in hearing and telling of the single moms' stories of how we all came to be in need of the scholarship. I also heard stories from children and grandchildren about the husband and wife who set up the endowment funding the scholarships. Receiving such a generous scholarship has blessed me so greatly that I didn't think this family could give me, a stranger, anything more. I was wrong. Sharing a meal with them and seeing how they were so completely invested in my success was an honor I will never forget.

My day has continued to be an avalanche of good tidings. I found out that I impressed a colleague with my editing skills so much so that she wants to hire me to edit a website for her. I realized that I have some time this weekend to work on school projects. And an old friend teased me like old times. I'm not really sure how that last one is so great, but it made me smile and laugh so much.

Today was slated to be 100% chance of rain, but instead, my expectations were dashed to pieces and replaced with sunshine and the best of times.


Seeking to Become: Thanksgiving 2013 (2)


Gratitude List 2

1.  Friends near and far who buoy me up amidst this raging storm called life
2.  Neighbors who help me to take care of my house and yard
3.  Glitter because it's just really great stuff
4.  Snow--so long as the power doesn't shut off
5.  Goodly parents who taught me how to be a good person
6.  The Internet (and Internet service because without connection the Internet is stupid)
7.  A nice cell phone that works well and allows me to explore photography in news ways
8.  Cameras--good ones like Nikon and Canon but also cameras on phones and point and shoot
9.  Pool tables, bowling alleys, batting cages, swimming pools, and movie theaters
10. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook (yes, Twitter people, I included Facebook) because all of these social media sites connect me to new and old friends, my family, and readers like you



Follow the link below for information about this month's Seeking to Become focus
and Gratitude List 1:

Thanksgiving 2013: Week 1



lost but found

On my seventeenth birthday, I woke up in the morning to get ready for school, and my parents came into my room with a card and a ring box. They didn't have a lot of money when I was a teenager, so I didn't really expect much even though I always wished for more than the moon. I remember my mom's nervous anticipation for me to open the box and see their gift (I've inherited that quality from her of loving to give gifts almost more than receiving them). They were standing in the doorway as I opened the box and glimpsed the purple sparkling awesomeness. I put it on right away, and, of course, it was a perfect fit. It has been one of my most prized possession since that day.

I like to wear jewelry. Genuine or costume, jewelry makes a statement. For this reason I don't wear the same thing more than once a month or much longer, except for my favorites. When I get in the mood to wear one of my favorites, I might wear that one thing every day for a week or two without taking it off but to shower. There are a few gold pendants that have my initial that come into favor from time to time, plus some gold hoop earrings, and then, there is my silver and amethyst purple sparkling awesomeness that my parents gave me for my birthday that I revisit for a few weeks in a row once or twice a year. 

I tend to get into the mood to wear the amethyst ring when I miss my parents the most, and that time has arrived over this past month. When stress is high, I catch myself wishing them here again for a hug or words of encouragement. But it is impossible. So, I reach for a physical reminder that I can touch. I put that ring back on three weeks ago. 

Wearing this special ring breaks my heart as much as it comforts it. I miss my mom and dad so much.  So when I lost my ring last week, I was nearly inconsolable. Telling myself that it is just a thing and pushing the thought of it out of my mind were all I could do to avoid crying over it. The car was searched a few times, and I thought to call the store I visited to see if someone found it in the parking lot, but I just couldn't face the fact that it might be missing forever. 

However, after several days of coming to terms with the idea that it was truly lost, my brother, as he bent down to pick up the newspaper off the driveway, found it just laying there on the ground! I totally yelled out in jubilation and grabbed him for a hug and skipped about. Yes, I skipped about. There's no better way to describe it. I skipped about on the driveway, up the stairs onto the porch, and into the house. Then, what did I do? I skipped about a little more.  

All my hope and happiness does not hang on a piece of jewelry, but I felt a little extra heartbroken the past few days thinking that the ring was never to be seen again. I am so grateful it is no longer lost but found. 






the present



43.

As I read this writing prompt, I almost laughed, cried, and yelled all at the same time. My life has been and continues to be a trial by fire. I think it's because I'm just a little too wicked for my own good, so God has to keep me in check so I don't get too far gone.

As I reflect on all of life's trials, I would have to say that the one we are currently experiencing would be the most trying. While I can recall how much I suffered in the past, it all pales in comparison to the present, even though those trials were severe, tragic, and the most trying experiences at the time. Time does heal wounds.

All of that said, it stands as proof for how I will get through my current trials--once they are laid to rest in the past where they belong.





memories of childhood friends



42.

I had a lot of special friends when I was younger, so I don't really know how to choose just one! So, I won't. The only thing I worry about is if I forget someone. If you're reading this and you're one of my awesome friends from childhood, leave a comment and I will edit this. I don't want to leave out any of you.

A Handful of the Most Awesome Friends List

Teresa: playing at the park until late at night with her family, eating soup during the blazing Las Vegas summer in the shade of her tree in the front yard, walking to school together, learning to eat with chopsticks because there weren't any forks
Diana: rollerskating until we drop, making out with our pillows, homemade Orange Julius, the raging bonfire in my backyard
Tammy: Barbies, bypassing her house alarm and climbing out her bedroom window, traipsing around the neighborhood in the black of night, flocked Christmas trees
Sarah and Becky: Tang tea parties, scones, clogging, sleeping on trampolines, piling on layers and layers of clothes to play strip poker until we got down to decent exposure, "ballroom dancing"
My cousin, Sara: picking on the little cousins, giggling endlessly about nothing, peanut butter and chocolate bars at the beach in grandma's car, one of the best pen pals ever, "That chaps my hide!"



love hard

I barely know what to say. I don't want to write nonsense just to fill up the page, and I certainly don't want to give any false impressions. But there is something to be said for not unloading too much information constantly. So, I will share a mini slice of life today, in an effort to not spew negativity on the world. We certainly know it has enough of that.

A nice way to describe my slice of life right now is that I live in a pressure cooker most days. I would much rather simmer on low like a nice stew, but I must be meant for a life of intense heat.

Love hard. Live hard.

I guess that's how it goes.




game playing



41.

When I was growing up, Monopoly was my absolute favorite game of all time, but as time goes on I'm not so sure anymore. I still love to play Monopoly, but I have become much less exclusive. Playing chess has become something I like even though I'm not that great at it. Scrabble, Taboo, Jenga, Apples to Apples, Battleship, and many more are seriously the bee's knees in my book. I can't and won't choose a favorite. I will say that my favorite thing about games is that you're playing them with others, and that's what makes them so fun--win or lose.





Seeking to Become - Thanksgiving 2013 (1)

"Sing unto the Lord with Thanksgiving." Psalms 147:7


As Thanksgiving approaches, my heart turns to focus on how my year has gone thus far, and I reflect on how well I am doing at seeking to become more like the Savior. The past few weeks have been very trying for me, so if I only look at how things are in this very moment I honestly don't think I'm doing so hot. I would have to admit that I am failing miserably. And I do admit it. However, looking at life microscopically is no way to live. Because I seek and strive to become more what God would have me be most of the time, I am reassured that things are not so bleak.

The many changes that have occurred over the past year have come to pass through great trials and tireless work to listen to my heart and become a more spiritually-centered person. The temptation to quit pulls at me more often than I'd like to admit, but through the strength of the Lord I am able to continue on to a bright future.

Blessings abound. Therefore, the remainder of this month will have more focus on singing praises of thanksgiving for all that makes life beautiful and worth living. I will sing unto the Lord my gratitude by taking time to ponder on all that I've been blessed with and share those things with you.

I invite any and all to join with me. You can link up your gratitude blogs or jot down some thoughts directly in the comments section, or you may also comment on The Purple Lady Facebook Page or tweet at me on Twitter: @th_purpl_lady.

Gratitude List 1

1. Children to love and care for
2. The gospel of Jesus Christ in my life
3. Fresh and delicious food to eat every day
4. A beautiful home with a yard full of strawberry plants, raspberry bushes, apricot and almond trees, and lovely flowers, bushes, and climbing vines
5. Nice furniture and electronics for enjoying movie time with family, friends, and by myself
6. A good running vehicle that gets me where I need to go
7. A sharp intellect (on most days)
8. Sisters-in-law who love me to my face and behind my back
9. Brothers who appreciate my efforts to keep our family together
10. All of my whacky and wonderful cousins, aunt, uncles, grandparents, nieces, and nephews





books and more books



40. 

Books are a beloved topic for me. I was an early reader and have learned to love many books and authors, so I don't really have a particular favorite per se, but I have more of a list of most favorites which can fluctuate with my mood. 

That said, the best fiction novel of all time does happen to be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I really loved the classics my mom would read to us when I was a child, like Stuart Little, Where the Wild Things Are, and others. As a teenager, I really got into Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, The Good Earth, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and A Wrinkle in Time. As an adult, I have come to love many series of books, including Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, Matched, Twilight, and Hunger Games. I also have appreciated Paradise by Toni Morrison, Lord of the Flies, Hatchet, Gone With the Wind, and more. 

There have been many, many more books, but these are the ones that come to mind. 

I have a small collection of book reviews for your reading pleasure, if you want to find a good book or two to get started on something new. Check the table of contents on the right side bar of the blogsite, then click reviews to see the several titles. 

More on Jane EyreJane's Silence








snow!



39.

It snowed only a couple of times ever while I was growing up in Las Vegas. It was a rare treat that never stuck for long when it did grace us with its presence. I think that's partly why I love snow so much. There is something so magical to me about snow. Many people love Las Vegas because of its warm temperatures, but give me the snow!

I wrote about some things we did to enjoy the the snow here: The Snow Lay on the Ground


healthy living



38.

I don't know how I feel about these two questions! But here goes.

My secret to good health is probably to enjoy it while it lasts, and then go to the doctor when it isn't so good. I do believe in hand washing religiously. My children and I are not sick very often, and I attribute that to my demanding of them to wash hands when we come home from places such as school, stores, playing with friends, and so on. It's so simple, but I think it helps.

And now to how it is to live with me? Good grief.

I like having help from anyone who lives with me regardless of age. That expectation can get me feeling impatient, and I don't like that. So, I try to find ways to communicate what I need, and I hope things aren't too bad for anyone living with me. Well, my kids can just get over it, but you know what I mean. As of late, I have been quite the definition of a hot mess as far as my bedroom, study, and craft room go, so my disorganized state might bother some people. I am really looking forward to Christmas break just so I can unwind and get things organized! Maybe I will become easier to live with then.


uniquely talented



37.

One talent I can think of right off the top of my head that was handed down to me is being able to talk to anyone. My dad used to embarrass me so much in grocery stores and on the side of the road, but now I see why he did it, and I do it, too. He'd stop anyone who looked distressed and ask how they were doing--and really want to know the answer. I remember one time when he had a feeling about a guy walking down the street as we were driving down the road. He said that guy looks like he needs help, so he stopped and asked him if he could use a ride, and the man said yes. Long story short, the man ended up needing money, shelter, and someone to care for his daughter while he found work or something in another state. I'm not sure how long his daughter was with us, but I remember sharing my room for what I thought was a week or two.

That brings me to another talent that has been passed down to me. My parents had an open door to anyone who needed somewhere to stay. We had cousins in and out of our house like there was a revolving door, and many aunts and uncles had a turn at the family hotel. Everyone knew that if they were having a tough time themselves or with their children, my parents would welcome them with no judgment and offer all the assistance possible. Even a stranger from the side of the road could tell my parents could be trusted with his child so he could get on his feet.

These might not seem like talents in a traditional sense, but they truly are talents, and I have embraced them. I haven't quite mastered some aspects, but I believe that I was handed down the talent of being seen as someone people can tell things to, as well as someone who maintains a home where people can come to feel loved.

I'm not perfect at them yet, but these are two talents that I try to cultivate and hope to master before my life is done.


tired

I wonder sometimes about how everything will turn out. To skim the surface for so long when you have so many hopes and dreams cannot make for a very promising future. I work so hard only to barely make it. And what I'm finding out is that somehow people think I'm doing so great considering my circumstances. I don't feel so great. I feel like I won't ever be able to get out of this place I'm in. I go to counseling, and everything doesn't seem so bad, but then I have days like today when I just want someone to be by my side helping me. I'm tired of being strong all by myself, having to make all the difficult decisions alone. My heart has too many holes left gaping. I'm tired of waiting for nothing to happen, never able to take care of myself. I recognize that I am surrounded by blessings. Without them, I could not go on. Yet on days like today, I can hardly put one foot in front of the other. There aren't enough shoulders to cry on. There are not enough words to quell the flood of emotions. And only tears come. 

to stop is to live



Precious moments keep slipping past
Slipping through my fingers
Yet as I feel each moment 
Leaving quickly from the present
I reach out, stopping to grab hold
Of a glimmer of the beauty
That only living life can provide
Grasping on almost too tightly
Because I don't want to lose 
One more minute of treasured time
To the ticking of the clock



in the middle forever

Playing the untuned strings of my heart
Using the music masterfully to enchant
The words within each perfect song
Say all I could want to hear in this moment
With wishful hearing I keep listening
Yet I fear it is all imagination and just nice words
 Even still, friendship now has a blurry line

When romantic hearts like ours meet
Drawing ourselves together
Then quickly apart
With inner fear keeping us
From reaching the other deeply
Like a maddening bondage
That might never be broken

The eroding canyon of our disconnect
Should not be given breathing space
It has more than its fair share
In the middle forever, darling
Build an unbreakable bridge that reaches
From each side coming together
Peeling off layers of guardedness in the process



Where does the time go?

As I reflect on this month, I can hardly believe it is nearly over. Where did October go? I must admit that I'm thankful for the time passing by so quickly. I'm not sure how well I'd be able to cope with all the stress if it lingered as if the days were more like weeks, instead of vice versa. 

The beauty of autumn time has not been lost with the passing days. I have made sure to stop amidst the crazy to snap (more than) a few photos. The crunch of leaves and the crispness of the air cannot be captured, but all the changing colors and lingering sunshine can. I'd like to share a few of my favorite snapshots from Instagram. 

Out of these three, I'm probably going to create a logo for a weekly gratitude blog challenge for November. If you care to, leave a comment with which one you like best. And then, you can come back and see which one I chose once November rolls around. 

Happy October!