So for all of my grand plans to post every day, well, obviously that didn't work.

My excuse is sick.  Lots of it.  Everyone in my family except my DH has gotten some sort of bug.  It includes lots of coughing and some fever and, for one child, some vomit.  For one child there was extreme fatigue.  We are still trying to figure that one out.

But isn't life all about getting back up and running the race, even when you trip and fall on your face?

I've always loved that poem.  I've probably shared it on here before, the one about getting up and winning the race.

It's a hard thing to do sometimes, but I've always thought that the measure of a human being is their ability to get back up when everything in them is screaming to stay on the ground.  I've been there.  There are days when it's been all I could do to get out of bed, emotionally speaking.  And sometimes I have to visualize myself getting up off the ground and standing up.

Rascal Flatts--Stand--one of my anthems.  This is what it's all about.

So, as part of my mindset change, I'm trying to focus on the nice.

I wander past nice all the time.  Cool patterns in the snow.  Skies that are riddled with clouds and color.  That kind of stuff happens.  But lately all I've been seeing is the smog in the air and the dirt in the snow and the fact that my world is drab.  Brown roof-tops, brown dirt where the snow is melting. Dirty gray/green air.  Mountains that are a boring white and blue.  Skies that are grey.

But I happened to look up this morning, out my office window, and saw nice.  My view is mostly blocked, out my front window, by the houses across the street, and behind them, a couple of businesses.  But in between all of those things you can see some mountain.  Two mountains coming together.

And for a moment, I just stopped at look.  Nestled right up into the pass was light coming through the grey.  It wasn't anything particularly colorful, more grey on grey, but there was bright and dark and contrast and, as it hit me, clarity.

We have a storm coming in and the wind before the storm has scrubbed my valley clean of the smog.  I could see the details of the clouds.  And I loved it, for just a few moments.  It wasn't very much of the sky, just a little corner, but there it was.

It's gone now.  The contrast is gone.  There are all sorts of clouds happening though.  I can't see them as well because the impending sunrise contrast is gone.

There could be something to be learned here.  That contrast is what gives interest to the world around us.  That diamonds shine better against a black background.  That there are always spots of beauty in the earth, if you look hard enough.  That different can be amazing.  You can figure it out.

As for me, I'm off to get stuff done today.  I have goals to reach and a sick child to care for and nice to find.

Years ago, back in my college days, I spent a semester or two studying Whitman and Emerson and all of those amazing writers in that era.  I loved it!  It resonated with me in ways I'm still not sure I fully understand.

Someone in that era wrote an essay about the poet and I loved, and I remember writing pages of response, titled The Do-er, the See-er and the Say-er.

I talked about how we all have times in our lives where we have to focus on one thing or the other, and that in order to be a true Say-er, we have to really participate in the other two.

I've forgotten about this in the intervening years.  I've done, seen, and said a lot of things, but this focus, this...I'm not even sure the word I'm looking's been gone.  I've been swept up in many directions.  I've had more children.  I've moved many times.  We've gone through bankruptcy, martial discord, children-ish discord, illness, travel, and more.

But this idea of The Do-er, the See-er and the Say-er has been on my mind.  Alot.

And so, I'm trying to do something about it.  I need to do, see, and say more in my life.

I have set some small goals this year.  They are part of bigger goals, but I can only think in terms of small right now.

1-Run a 5k.
2-Write every day.
3-Practice my violin every day.

Here are the huge goals that go with it.

1-Iron Man
2-Finish my WIP and start anew
3-Become the concert master of the orchestra I'm currently in

I can't believe I just said that out loud.

So, as part of my goal to write every day, I'm coming back here to my long forgotten blog.

Writing here, every day, in order to get/keep my juices flowing.  I have no idea what will pop up here, but I'm determined to do it.  Every morning, right after I take my kids to school.

So, off we go.
As I was puttering about my house this morning getting things done I had a thought.

Yes, I know, stop the presses, right?


What was amazing though is that when I thought this thought, that I've thought so many times before, the emphasis came in on a different word, and suddenly the thought is new again.

In the LDS church there is an oft quoted verse found in the Doctrine of Covenants (modern day scripture revealed to Joseph Smith).

I love this verse.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:16
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

I love the admonition here to be still. I don't think it's something we do very well as a society, and it's certainly not something I'm very good at myself.

My mom always liked to have noise as background. Towards the end of my time as a child living in my parents house the TV was always on to an old movie or an old show. I think I came away from this needing noise of my own. It also translated in to not wanting to be alone. I still struggle with that. I'm working on the be still part. That's the one most emphasized in the LDS church. The be still and have faith part. Relax. Don't fear.

This morning as I was thinking though, the emphasis came to me on the I part. So, let me re-write it, changing the punctuation just a little.

"Be still, and know that I am God."

Implicit in this emphasis is the fact that God is God, not me.

I wonder how often I try to be "God"--all knowing, all powerful, full of wrath and fury (Old Testament) and doctrines of salvation?

We are commanded to be perfect, even as God is perfect, but we are also assured that the full process of perfection cannot be completed in this life. Jesus Christ did not refer to himself as perfect until after He was resurrected.

I suddenly feel like I'm babbling. I'm not exactly sure where this is leading me, but I felt this thought so powerfully this morning.

It is faith, but for me it seems like faith on a whole new level. That I don't have to do it all. That I can rest in the Atonement of Christ. I can be still in faith and peace and know that He is God, not me.

- - -

On a related note, an author(ess) that I love is GG Vandagriff. She has a lovely blog and some lovely books. Her book, The Last Waltz, won the Whitney award for historical fiction. I loved it. I've read it twice now.

That's not quite the related note, however. On her web page she has posted an article entitled GG's jottings April, 2011. I read it this morning and was moved by it. I love her thoughts on marriage and the sacredness of covenants. I was particularly moved by her thoughts on the fact that God can reach us in our darkest hours, and that those times are strengthening to us. She also bears testimony to the truth of the scripture about "my yoke is easy and my burden is light". Please go read it. It dovetails in quite nicely with my thoughts above.

Heidi's roses, to be precise.

Except that I should probably not be talking about roses as the book cover has no roses on it. But I love that cover and I want that dress! I have always wanted to get dressed up in a quality Regency era costume. You know, something actually from that era and really beautiful, as opposed to the fake things they sell at WalMart. Wouldn't that be fun?

Oh wait. I'm supposed to be talking about a book.

Which book?

Miss Delacourt Has Her Day by Heidi Ashworth.

Methinks you should read this book. Here are 7 good reasons.

1-It's Regency! Mr. Darcy? Mr. Knightly? Add Sir Anthony to the list of leading men. I'm still in a swoon from the kiss in book one. Need I say more? (I will here add that Heidi's ability to peg the Regency era is spot on!)

2-It's a romance! I'm suddenly very in to romances, so much so that I find myself wanting to write one. I'm also loving having such a wonderful, clean option available. Not only do I enjoy reading Heidi's books, but I don't mind them sitting on my shelf for my daughter's consumption either.

3-It's funny. I read one scene and giggled out loud through it, twice! I never do that. Heidi's wit is never more perfectly on display than here in this fabulous sequel.

4-It's fun. Yes, this is different than funny. Books can be funny, but you end the book feeling somehow let down or dark. This book will not do that. It's a fun romp through the park. I walked away from reading this book feeling lighter and happier about life.

5-The Duke of Marcross and Lady Derby. I will say no more. You must read to find out!

6-My name is in there!!!! It's like a look and find to find my name! Well, my last name anyway. . .if you know it. I'm totally famous!!!

7-I'm not threatening or anything, but I do LOVE to hang around with people who read Regency romances and kind of think that those who don't are a little weird.

Hrm. It seems to me that I have said nothing about roses.

Ah, there they are.

This lovely painting was inspired by Heidi's first book, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind and was painted by the gorgeous and amazing Jana Parkin. Unbelievably, Jana donated this painting and Heidi has the giveaway going on her blog. It's worth $530.00 and I can vouch for the fact that Jana's art is well worth it. Hop on over to Heidi's blog to enter the giveaway and find links to other reviews (including some male ones!). Then hop on over to Jana's blog to enter her giveaway of signed copies of the book and/or some note cards with the above painting on them.

But first, go read the book!
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So, really, March is mad in our house. My family has our own bracket challenge every year.

Wait. If you don't follow college basketball in the US this might not make any sense.

Feel free to keep reading.

No guarantees that it will make any more sense by the time you are done, but you never know.

Anyway, my family has it's own bracket challenge that has gone on to include some of the kids. We have 27 or so participants this year. It's rather fun.

So, Faramir and I filled out two sets of brackets together. Faramir's is the serious one. He knows his teams and we pondered and filled out and all is well.

My brackets? We had a ton of fun with.

We did the "dark alley" option. This means, if you shoved the two mascots at each other in a dark alley and had them fight it out, who would win?

It's not working out so well for me.

See, the fighting Irish (have you seen Far and Away?) were supposed to be able to shoot the grizzlies.

Oh wait, it was messed up long before that. See, really the fighting Irish guy was supposed to be able to take on the Seminole and win, although this one probably could have gone either way.

In another bracket, the lion was supposed to crush the bulldog.

But you know what? Not only did the bulldog beat the lion, he also beat the panther.

It is a puzzlement.

Between the above losses, pretty much the whole south side of my bracket is toast.

- - -

Thankfully whoever was supposed to beat the peacocks.

- - -

And I did make one rather noteable exception to my rule.

This? is a buckeye. It's a freaking nut. And it goes all the way to the final four in my brackets. Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe because anyone who picks a nut to be it's mascot is gutsy and deserves it.

Granted the nut is inedible and poisonous, I think, but still. It's a nut.

- - -

I picked the Blue Devils to take the whole thing, maybe because I grew up a Red Devil. I think that growing up with such a mascot as made me really wonder why people pick the things they do for mascots. I know there are stories behind all of these things, but really? How do you make a peacock look like something scary in a dark alley? I'm not getting it. I always look for strong ones, and somehow Boston Terrier's aren't really it.

But the Cougars beat up on them--just like they were supposed to. Then were super good about beating up on the bulldogs.

So, how do you think they are going to fare against the gators?

- - -

Okay, so maybe you don't really understand any more now than you did when you started, but you all had mascots, did you not?

- - -

Think a pedigree chart with your name in the middle and one parent out either side and. . .heck. . .I'll just link you to one so you can see.

Here's the national average.

Basically you pick who you think is going to win and hope that you have the least red on by the time you are done.

I have lots more red on mine than that one does.


- - -

And, for the what it's worth department, I think that the cougars, when they are all playing, not just Jimmer-the-amazing, are a formidable team.

That's BYU for you un-mascot initiated.
My little sister called this afternoon to turn me on to this post. Go ahead. Go read. Read on in to the comments. You will laugh.

And perhaps be a little embarrassed at how many of those you've said yourself.

And then you'll laugh some more.

But then, you might see a button over on the side that says The Disease Called Perfection, and you just might click on it.

In fact, you probably should.

Don't be turned completely off by the picture. It will make sense.

I was fascinated by this post. It really has me thinking. Is it life changing for me? No. But I think it was for a lot of other people.

I have so many thoughts whirling around in my head about it.

1-Why do I not need to bare my soul, like 4,175 other people do?

2-It breaks my heart to see so many people who are or were a part of my religion saying that they struggle with this. I am terrified to move to a neighborhood where this is expected. I live in a fairly laid back place here.

3-Is there a difference between being real and being too real? I have struggles that I do not feel the need to share with everyone. But I have sisters and friends--very close on all counts--that I can share these struggles with who will support me and love me anyway. But wouldn't sharing all of my struggles with everyone border on cruel towards perhaps those people that I struggle with?

4-I ponder how many of the 10 commandments we, as a society, have forgotten to live. As I read through probably 10 pages of the comments, I felt so much pain for some of these people, and so many of the 10 commandments came to mind. Most notably, "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and "Thou shalt not bear false witness".

The loving thy neighbor thing is really getting to me because obviously we aren't doing it enough--otherwise so many of these people would not feel the way they do.

And the false witness one is getting to me because--well, lots of reasons. So many people not feeling able to admit they made a mistake. So many people choosing to play this false game. It reminds me of a post another blogger wrote that I found very powerful and has stayed with me. It was all about Satan being the Father of all Lies. I found in this post that I read today, and in so many of the comments, so much more of this deception that he pulls.

Ironically, I go back and read the post and it doesn't say as much as I thought it said, so one of these days I'll have to ponder it and write another whole post about Satan as the Father of Lies.

5-I'm pondering the lives of the people around me. The people that have those seemingly perfect lives (that I feel no need to compete with, in case you are wondering). I'm wondering how many have burdens like these that I'm seeing in these comments--even the simple ones--and I'm ignoring them or not helping. How many of them see me as perfect and think they need to measure up? I hope none. I try very hard to be exactly who I am.