Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Day 56: A Letter

Our region choir festival is coming up next week and I selected music that has kicked all of our booties this term. Two of our three pieces are extremely difficult and we are running out of time. Everyone has worked hard and I'm so proud of them. I want them to feel like their hard work paid off, and we need a little extra oomph to get us there.  I talked to my Mads president about how to best motivate the class. She said thought I should talk to them about their potential. I wrote a letter on official school letterhead and had it delivered to their classes today.  I realized much of what I said to them I could apply directly back to myself when it comes to my fitness and health goals.

28 February 2018

Dear 2017-2018 HHS Madrigals,

I am pleased to inform you that you, along with 23 of your classmates, have been selected to reach your potential on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 at the Region 6 Chamber Choir Festival.  

You have been selected for this honor for many reasons, and not just because of your ability to sing difficult music.  Sophie brings fun and laughter to our group.  Holly brings kindness.  Lily brings inspiration.  Madeleine gives us richness.  Daria brings vocal leadership.  Ian gives strength.  Cameron contributes rhythmic and harmonic consistency.  Andrew P. always takes us higher- literally.  Sammy has outstanding work ethic.  Tanner gives us versatility. Anna contributes a never-wavering smile. Kate contributes reliability.  Kathryn demonstrates maturity. Andrew F. teaches us we can go outside our comfort zone and achieve more than we thought we could.  Josh contributes astronomical growth.  Maren brings a knack for sight-reading.  Jared gives us perseverance.  Claire adds humility.  Emma contributes personality.  Ben C. contributes stellar intonation. Ben L. gives total commitment.  Nina brings a classical tone.  Jake gives us likeability.  Caleb contributes courage. How could we not meet our goals with all of these invaluable attributes working together?     

In order to be successful one week from today, you must commit to the following things:

-Recognize what each person in our choir has to offer
-Take personal responsibility for knowing your notes and rhythms
-Have courage to sing out
-Keep your lip corners forward and your soft palate lifted
-Listen louder than you sing

In order to achieve the required tasks above, you must do the following in the next 7 days:

-Express appreciation for one another and serve each other.  See each other through different eyes.
-Spend time with your music outside of rehearsal, alone and with friends.
-Practice total awareness of your contribution to the whole musically- am I blending? Do my vowels match my neighbors? Am I balanced with the other sections?
-Reflect on your attitude and replace positivity with negativity.  Optimism has the power to help attain the unattainable.  Negativity can destroy potential.  

I look forward to our final rehearsals this week as you work together to attain unity of sound and of mind.  I have great faith in your team’s ability to meet the rigorous demands of the music you’ve been given. But it will require all 25 of us giving more focus, commitment, and positive attitude than we’ve ever given before.

Kathryn E. Houston, MM
Choir Director at Highland High School & Your Biggest Fan

So what can I take away from this when it comes to my health and fitness?

In order to be successful in my goals to return to a healthy, comfortable weight, I need to commit to the following things:

1) Recognizing my own strengths
2) Taking personal responsibility for what I eat and the amount of activity I do every day.
3) Have courage to keep going every day when I make mistakes

In order to achieve the required tasks above, I must do the following in the next 309 days:

1) Acknowledge my victories.  See myself through different eyes. 
2) Spend time being active, alone and with friends.
3) Practice total awareness of my body- am I hungry? Am I full?  Did I overeat? Am I eating foods that make me feel healthy?
4) Reflect on my attitude and replace positivity with negativity. 

I guess the process for reaching lofty goals, no matter what they are, is very similar: believing in ourselves, being accountable, being reflective, and being positive.  I really believe when we put these four principles in to practice, we can do great things. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Day 55: Squandered

I’ve decided that not much is worse than looking back at your day and seeing how you wasted your time. Life is such a precious gift. True, there are times we need to recharge and be lazy. But there are also times when we need to make an effort to be productive and do things we don’t want to do so we canultinately have more overall life satisfaction. I had some precious spare hours today that I should have spent in exercise and working on some projects. Instead, I took a nap. I wasn’t even tired. 

The exercise piece of my healthy living goals has been the slowest to come so far. At my physical, the doctor said I should be doing 30 minutes 5 days a week. That’s such a small amount of time, especially considering how much I spend per day checking my social media. I need to start looking at simpler workout options and not thinking that a workout is only beneficial if I go for 4 miles. When it’s cold, I’m a baby about working out outside. What about lifting weights to a YouTube video every day? Walking the stairs in my house? Doing squats? Yoga? So many indoor, quick and easy options. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 54: Yes, I know Heavenly Father Loves Me!

After my experience yesterdasy at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast, I woke up this morning and found this "time hop" on Facebook.

One morning this week as I was driving to work, I asked God if He loved me. Then I asked Him how much. And then I asked if He could please show me. It sounds a little childish for a grown woman, but I needed His reassurance. It is amazing to see how he answered that prayer undeniably this week in specific ways through others- an inspired text from a friend, an unexpected act of service from a family member, a quote discussed in a church lesson, etc. He is real and He knows me personally. I don't know how. I have absolutely no idea how, to be honest. But I know He does. 

I couldn't believe that it was exactly a year ago that I was asking God the same questions that I was asking yesterday.  Pretty amazing.  I am so grateful for a God who knows me and loves me and is AWARE of me! Looking at the text of, "Thou Lovely Source of True Delight," there was a verse added in Mack Wiberg's version (see yesterday's post).  It says, "Where e'er my feet doth carry me, what e'er my hands shall do, Lord open thou mine eyes to see my love for thee is true."  I find this word choice so interesting- not "thy" love for "me" is true, but the other way around. We go through life having faith in God and loving Him, hoping He loves us in return.  Is our love in vain? We need Him to help us see that it isn't- that are faith is founded in truth.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Day 53: Clean Slate

Today was one of those days where all my imperfections glared at me fiercely. I was frustrated with myself and I felt like I was consciously letting people down. I was distracted all morning. I thought to myself, “I wish I could just start over. I want to wipe the slate clean.” And then I remembered that the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches me that I can. When I take the Sacrament, I wipe my slate clean. I am not starting the journey over; rather, I am starting again without anything weighing me down. I don’t lose the progress I’ve made. When we were singing our last song on the broadcast, “Thou Lovely Source of True Delight,” I was filled with God’s love for me. He knew I needed to feel His love this morning, because I was doubting that He could love me as I am.

As you may have gathered, I love words and poetry. Here is the exquisite, inspired text to the piece by Anne Steele, the daughter of a preacher in the 1700's.  The lines highlighted were changed/added later. In blue are additions by, I believe, Kevin Twit.  In yellow are the changes/additions for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version by Mack Wilberg).

Thou lovely Source of true delight,
Whom I unseen adore;
Unveil Thy beauties to my sight,
That I may love Thee more.
Thy glory o’er creation shines;
But in Thy sacred Word,
I read in fairer, brighter lines,
My dear redeeming Lord

'Tis here I bring my wounded soul
And here I bend my knee
Tis here I taste the burning coal
To gaze upon the tree.
Where e'er my feet doth carry me
What e'er my hands shall do
Lord open thou mine eyes to see 
My love for thee is true.

And even as my comforts droop,
And sins and sorrows rise,
Thy love with cheerful beams of hope,
My fainting heart supplies.

 But ah! Too soon the pleasing scene 
Is clouded o’er with pain 
My gloomy fears rise dark between 
And I again complain

Jesus, my Lord, my Life, my Light,
O come with
shining ray;
Break radiant through the shades of night,
And chase my fears away.
Then shall my soul with singing trace
The wonders of Thy love;
Then shall I see thy glorious face
In endless joy above

This morning, I woke up without a desire to eat because of the food I ate later in the evening the night before. I kind of fought with myself about whether or not I was “allowed” to skip breakfast. But I decided to go with how my body felt. I think it was a good choice. I want to tune in to eating when my body prompts me. I ate a great lunch and dinner and didn’t feel deprived. But, I ended up eating a lot of treats in the evening, more than I felt hungry for. I sort of gave myself permission to eat without tracking it and kept going back for more. I’m sad that I gave in to the temptation of “taking a break” because that’s the opposite of my goal. My goal is to create a lifestyle that doesn’t beg for breaks or free days. I’m going to keep working on this!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 52: My Hips Don’t Lie

The measurement I’ve been using to track my progress this new year is how my clothes fit. My clothes reveal the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Today was a frustrating experience trying on a bunch of formal outfits in my closet and acknowledging that I still have a long path ahead to a more normal and natural weight. This is going to be very slow and steady and my results won’t be instantaneous. But I prefer it this way, having done what felt like near starvation diets in the past.

I want to a party tonight with lots of delicious desserts. While I did choose to indulge a little, I definitely didn’t get the crazy binge feeling of “eat this all while you can!” Progress.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 51: Hobbit Dinner

I know this is not an earth shaking discovery, but here it goes: When I eat when I'm hungry, it takes away my hunger pains. Boom.

Let me explain. I come home from work starving.  My lunch at work is at 11:00 a.m., so I'm hungry early.  I always get nervous when I feel this way, because it's often too early for dinner and I don't want to end up eating the equivalent of two dinners.  But when I grab some snacks and eat until I don't feel that way anymore, I am satisfied without an entire meal.  The point is this: I am always afraid I will eat so much more than I actually do.  When I'm staying true to how I feel, my body fills up normally.  I had some snacks today after school and found that at dinner, I ate much less than I expected. I dealt with my hunger reasonably earlier in the day, which prevented a desire to binge at dinner.

This is a total change of subject, but here is some poetry I wrote a week ago.

Now I’m Found
By Katie Houston

They say love is blind
But I disagree.
We are blind
Because we love


We see the good
And tie the blindfold
Around our own eyes.
Because we believe in


The time sometimes comes
When the scale tips
Too far on one side
And balance cannot
Be restored.
Too much

Color blindness.

Our world Is shattered
As we remove our own blindfold,
Fall to the ground
And lie amidst the broken pieces of


But though one story
A new one begins.
We fight,
Eyes wide open,
To restore


In ourselves
And in

We forbid ourselves
From becoming
That which we
We refuse to allow

Color blindness

To extinguish
“The fire in [our] eyes”
We begin to lay hold on


And we become
Ready to stand again.
Because we love


And even in
We are

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 50: A chocolate a day keeps the cravings at bay

I’ve been sulking for hours about having to miss the Olympic women’s free skate tonight because of rehearsal. I’m a big girl. I could have stayed home from rehearsal, but I chose to go, and I need to learn to just suck it up and be happy. I feel like there are some people out there who are just saintly, patient humans and I feel so far from that ideal. Sometimes I think being single makes me focus too much on what I want. I don’t believe we are here on this earth to live primarily for ourselves. I want to find as much happiness serving others as I find doing things for myself that I enjoy.

 I got home and was watching the news about the aftermath of the school shootings- four schools in Utah investigated threats this week. There is an app called Safe UT that has apparently prevented 86 planned school attacks. I think that’s supposed to make me feel better, but it makes me feel worse because or how many people are considering violence as a way of coping with their feelings. It’s terrifying. It certainly puts in perspective missing a night of the Olympics for a rehearsal of beautiful music.

Little chocolate dove squares in moderation are really helping me curb the cravings without going overboard. I am happier with a little chocolate every day ;).

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 49: Chocolate Haiku

Cho-co-late conflict 
I want you but don’t need you
Except for sometimes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Day 48: Lip Service

Today has caused me to closely examine my entire philosophy behind my healthy living resolution and decide if I really believe it. Sometimes I feel like I am simply paying lip service to all of these ideas about intuitive eating but I am not really internalizing them. For example, I catch myself feeling guilty for being hungry. This is definitely not a principle of Intuitive Eating. Today I had to stop and remind myself that eating is fueling our body to do all the things we need it to do. Being hungry just means the system is working. We expend energy, and then we need more.

I went to the doctor today for a physical and got weighed. My weight is going in the right direction towards a healthier life. But I don’t want the numbers to become my primary focus, and already it is messing with my mind. I’m grateful not to have a functional scale at home. It seems as though I understand the principles of “care about how you feel and not about how you look or what the scale says,” but I don’t actually live that principle. I thought I did- but this weekend reminded me that there are still some unhealthy patterns of thought I need to expel from my mind in regard to food.

Do I believe that our bodies really can guide us to eat healthily and alert us when we have reached satisfaction? Yes, I absolutely do. Have I figured out how to do it yet? No. I honestly thought this might be a little easier. But I’m not giving up, even though I’ve kind of felt like it a few times. There are so, SO many reasons why we make unhealthy food decisions that have nothing to do with what our body actually wants and needs. For example- the more I eat chocolate, the more I crave chocolate (and feel like I need it to be satisfied). I eat chocolate usually because it’s tbere- it’s always available somehow. I also eat it because I can- because I’m the boss of me. But how often does my body and not my mind really ask for it? It’s complicsted. But I believe it can be done. In order to make it work, though, I HAVE to stop seeing hunger as negative, or seeing treats as evil. The more I see them that way, the more controlled and resentful I feel.

This self reflection really is valuable, though. I can’t get away with any kind of negative thoughts without taking a hard look at them. So I will persevere ;).

Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 47: Real Talk

And then there are the days when you want to give up your healthy eating goals forever because it just feels like too much work and you'll never really change. 

The last few days have been really tough for me. I had another really difficult day today in terms of healthy eating - my desire to eat everything sweet in sight returned in full force.  If I were to boil down the reasons why I threw all my intuitive eating goals out the window today, I would say three main things caused it:

1) I spent a lot of time indoors at home this weekend. It was a four day weekend and my sisters were both out of town. Usually on my long weekends, I go spend time with them in Provo.  There was a lot of time watching the Olympics and being at home alone without a whole lot to do and no deadlines.  My focus turned to food, as there was much less to distract me from it than normal. 

2) I've been discouraged about a couple things the past couple days.  The issues are nothing particularly worrisome, just frustrating.  Eating treats as much as I want is a power play.  It's a subconscious way to control something in my life when other things feel out of my control.  I never thought of myself as an emotional eater, but I think I might be sometimes.

3) I was in many situations where lots of treats were available to me, both at my house and other places I went.  Because my resolve was so weak, the abundance of available sugar compounded the problem.  There is no one to blame but myself, however.  Normally, I have better self-control and a broader perspective that allows me to walk away when I'm satisfied.   

A couple people cautioned me at the beginning of the year when I made my goals to avoid throwing in the towel after one bad day (or one bad weekend).  The true test of my commitment will be tomorrow when I come back to work.  Can I continue following the Intuitive Eating model? It makes me feel so great when I'm doing it the way it's intended.Or will I go back to how things were when I was gaining weight rapidly?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day 46: Have Miracles Ceased?

Yesterday, I went to the temple. On the way there, I was praying for a miracle. No, it wasn’t to find a husband ;). It was a small little request for a friend who was especially deserving. The language of my prayer was, “I know this is a small thing...I know maybe it’s not something I should ask for...” and so on. Basically, my prayer was a little doubtful. When I got to the temple, I read Moroni 7. And three different tones, the phrase, “Have miracles ceased?” was repeated. Miracles haven’t cease. According to faith, they will happen. Not always in the way we want or expect, but they do come. I want to increase my faith in God’s ability to perform miracles in my life.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 45: Stop, drop, and recognize you’re full

Okay, hokey title. But I’m feeling a little traumatized right now from a full on binge attack. It happened right after returning from the movie theater where I ate the majority of a large popcorn. I didn’t eat lunch before i went, and that was a huge mistake. I figured the popcorn could be my lunch. Feeling guilty and bad about myself, I went straight to the candy bowl when I got home and ate a bunch, then went directly to the Tupperware on the table containing the leftover flourless chocolate cake. I was eating it straight from the container and putting whipped cream on each bite. I was a acknowledging the entire time that I was binging, but I didn’t want to stop. I finally willed myself to walk away, but definitely after the binge behaviors played themselves out. From here, I need to figure out how to let go and move on. I don’t feel awesome after eating all that sugar. I don’t feel free or empowered. I realize the reason this happened is partly because of what I acknowledged yesterday: I have started being afraid to eat any treats for fear of binging, so I’ve been restricting myself from foods I enjoy. This goes against the Intuitive Eating model because it encourages “last supper” binges in a weak moment. I don’t want that to be my life. So I have to learn how to be okay eating a treat in moderation. Otherwise, I’ll be resentful of food and take it out on my body by eating way too much of it in a binge moment. I want my control over my health and body back. And I can have it, starting right now.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Day 44: Stream of Consciousness

I am a homebody.  I love being home. I can spend an entire day at home reading, doing puzzles, cleaning my room, watching a favorite show, working on cards, etc. and be perfectly content.  I like a good adventure, but more often than not, I love being home. I am only just now coming to terms with this.  I always thought being a homebody was considered a weakness. I'm learning now to embrace it.

I realized today that I still don't trust myself with food, even though I've been working on avoiding the binge mentality. There is a candy bowl on our table and I look at it and am afraid to eat even one small piece. It's because I'm afraid I won't be able to stop with just one.  In my former life (44 days ago), it was either all or nothing.  I'm trying to avoid that line of thinking.  I should be able to eat one or two pieces of chocolate without feeling guilty or fearful that I won't be able to stop. 

The Olympics have taken over my life and I love it.

I HATE doing my taxes. I'm ALWAYS afraid I'm doing something wrong and I feel like it's a mistake for us to all be trusted with it.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 43: Procrastination

When I neglect to go grocery shopping, my eating habits are not great. The hardest part is not having an easy, low sugar snack like string cheese or celery sticks when I’m hungry between meals. It’s really important for me to keep my fridge stocked and stop putting off grocery shopping until the last possible moment.

I had so much fun doing my Valentine survey and subsequent blog posts. I’m going to miss it; but, I’m also glad to get back to reflections on healthy living, because it really does keep me on track. I made it through Valentine’s Day without any major binge issues, though I definitely ate more chocolate than usual. And Hailey made a flourless chocolate cake that was to die for. I don’t want to picture a life where I can’t enjoy decadent food. No sugar diets are not for me. If I can continue to pay attention to when I’m satisfied, I don’t have to pick between sugar and health.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day 42: Last Word

I asked those who I surveyed if they had any final thoughts on Valentine's Day, Hallmark movies, celebrity crushes, love, etc.  Here are some of the responses I received!  It was so fun to read them all and respond to some.  Red comments are mine :-).  
  • I got married at 29, and I enjoyed being single very much. I love having kids more than anything, and being married is wonderful, but being single is not the tragedy many people see it as. Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love, which, to me, seems stupid. It’s like having a “rich people day,” or a “pretty person” day. But when Valentine’s Day is used to appreciate everyone you love in your life, THEN I can get behind it. I love seeing Valentine's Day as an opportunity to show people you love them! Today, my women's choir went around the room and said one thing they loved about the person to their left and then one thing they loved about themselves and it was perfect.  
  • Love Hallmark even with crazy falling in love timelines. Love that my husband loves to watch it with me. I told him today I probably would just want to re watch the new signed sealed delivered that airs Sunday for Valentine's day. Ha ha.  My dad totally loves the Hallmark movies, too!
  • I love Hallmark.
  • His main quality that has been PARAMOUNT in my happiness is how laid back he is. He never gets offended, and I'm so in love with that. He forgives me easily. I'm so lucky.  I feel like I'm going to need that someday because I'm such a stress case! 
  • Love is a choice you have to make every day, all day. Attraction helps, but it comes and goes. Real love means keeping up with the little things day in and day out, for better or worse.
  • Never give up. Never give up! Never give up!! Never, never, never-never-never-never!
  • Hugh Jackman = #1 celebrity crush This is the first appearance of this particular celeb crush. Take note.
  • My best Valentines Days were when I was single. You shared love and kindness with all sorts of people through all sorts of ways. Now that I’m married (and when I was dating for 2+ years) there is so much pressure on VD. I wish I could go back to single life this year because it was THE BEST.  #livingthedream
  • I’ve always enjoyed Valentines Day, and I’ve never had a boyfriend or significant other on that day. There are other fun things one can do to enjoy the day. Go out with family, watch favourite films (Hallmark or otherwise), buy a new’s a day to be enjoyed. Plus, I love pink & red together.  Red is my favorite color and it was very hard deciding WHICH red thing to wear today because I wanted to wear it ALL!
  • I love to make heart-shaped sugar cookies and give them to people, which is why I like Valentine's Day.  A soft, gluten-free sugar cookie is a gift to be cherished.  I need to learn how to make those. 
  • Valentine’s Day was designed by Hallmark and the candy companies. It’s great to celebrate love but not on a specific day. It should be every day. In our mind right now marriage is just an institution of the state and not necessary for us to enjoy what we have. I am adamantly against changing my last name. Female doctors don’t, why should a strong educator! I understand this more and more as I get older and my name is a defining part of who I am. But I really like the idea of having a family name that unifies the spouses, parents, and kids. 
  • I'm married and I still have celebrity husband knows about every single one and just laughs every time I fangirl.
  • Sometimes being single sucks, but then again it's a thousand times better than being in a toxic relationship. Plus, who needs a significant other when you have Netflix, junk food, and a dog? ;)
  • Embrace your “nowness,” whatever that might look like, and Valentine’s Day and every other day will be just lovely. And if it’s not, it will pass 😊   Today HAS been lovely! 
  • Why are boys so frustrating?!?!??!!! To teach people like me patience.
  • Romantic love is great and all but friendships are really truly what bring sturdiness and happiness in life. Love your friends. Hold their hands and cuddle them and love them. Everyone needs that.
  • We both have same sex crushes on people. For the woman, it’s Megan Markle and Jennifer Garner. For the man, it’s Bradley Cooper and Chris Evans. 😂😂
  • I don’t miss it. I love being single. :)
  • My Celebrity is Hugh Jackman Second appearance 
  • Don’t tell your husband he’s less cute than chris Pratt, even if it’s true. Speaking from personal experience...? LOL
  • I don't think there should be a day to tell someone you love them. You should tell them and show them everyday!
  • Love should be celebrated every day. Not once a year. Love is blind till the right person takes off the blindfold! Dating can be harsh! I hated it! Being single was worse. The only thing I miss about being single is the utter dead silence! Celebrity crushes would def be Jensen Ackles!
  • In Japan, the women dote on the men for Valentine’s Day.  
  • Do everything you can to live in the moment. The future will come soon enough.  I couldn't agree more! That's why I did this survey- to enjoy love despite not being in love.  I love Valentine's Day so much and this is a way to have fun celebrating it with everyone! 
  • Oscar Isaac is gorgeous.
  • We should at least get school off for this day, don’t you think? YES YES YES YES
  • I hate Hallmark. And Valentine’s Day is just another day. But, thankfully, my life is full of love and I have a lover as a spouse.  This makes me laugh! I love it.
  • It's really just a day made up by those who want to profit from it.
  • Nicmaforlife I don't know what this means, and when I tried to look it up, the two organizations I found were "Northern Ireland Childminding Association" and "National Ice-Cream Mix Association."
  • It isn't a big deal in our house, other than an anniversary of when Mike told me he loved me.  
  • Dating and love are both hard, discouraging, and demanding. Celebrity crushes are pretty much a waste of time. I’m never going to meet them in person, so what’s the point? As a single man in his mid thirties, it’s often hard to find the motivation to date nowadays.  I appreciate the honesty! I am romantic enough to imagine there will someday be someone who will motivate you to date just by her sheer awesomeness.  That might be naive, but I kind of hope it still happens! 
  • Celebrity crushes are a blessing and a curse.
  • Honestly, the biggest reason I love Valentine's Day is that it means winter is almost over! Also, my kids need a reason for small surprises, so that's good too.
  • I think good guys are often times scared to make any kind of move. I can relate. It's terrifying to put yourself out there, especially the older you get!
  • If you're a girl who is single be a tad pushy with nice guys- like ask them out more than a few times even if they say no the first time. I don't think I could EVER ask someone out again if they said no to me!! That takes some serious guts! 
  • It only has the power you give it. Once I started using V-Day to show all different types of love for others is when I started enjoying the holiday.  I haven't done it for a couple years-because newborns and then laziness, but my favorite tradition is to mail hand-made valentines to my friends and family. They are simple, but everyone loves them, and I love knowing I'm bringing a little joy.
  • Hugh Jackman! I love a man who can sing. This is the third appearance of this celebrity crush on the survey.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day 41: The Perfect Garbage

Survey says:

As cheesy as they are, most people don't hate Hallmark movies. I think that speaks positively for humanity.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Day 40: Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?

I need a laugh tonight, so tonight's survey results are funny pick up lines. I recognize that pick-up lines like these don't normally have a high success rate, but they are hilarious.  Here are 25 great ones for your reading pleasure. My very favorites are in blue.

  1. "Can you hold this?" (Holding out hand.)
  2. "Are you a gardener? Cause you can plant your two lips on mine!" 😘
  3. "I forgot my library card. Can I still check you out?"
  4. "Is this your name tag?" (Holding a sugar packet)
  5. "I'm not in charge, do whatever you want."
  6. "If I said you had a nice body would you hold it against me?"
  7. Guy walks up and says, "Are you comfortable?" He then proceeds to sit next to me, put his head on my shoulder and say, "Yeah you’re comfortable."
  8. Just keep it honest. My husband told me, "You are really beautiful. I'd like to get to know you better." The raw honesty was so refreshing.
  9. "You and I are like 2 sides of a ziploc bag and I think we ought to get sealed."
  10. "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoyea, prepare to fall in love with me!"
  11. "What material is my shirt?" 
  12. "Are you afraid of the dark? I am, will you hold my hand?"
  13. *sneezes* Other person says, "I'd say God bless you, but it looks like He already has"
  14. "You're so beautiful that you made me forget my pick up line."
  15. "Did you know your body is 60% water? I sure am thirsty.."
  16. "I would drown just so you could do CPR on me."
  17. "Are you tired? Because you've been running around in my mind all day!"
  18. "You are a capable woman and I respect your opinion."
  19. "They say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. Well apparently, no one has ever been standing next to you."
  20. "What is your patronus?"
  21. My lab partner in Chem 113 once told me that we should call each other “babe” to improve our chemistry.
  22. "Do you have a quarter so I can call your dad and ask to marry you?"
  23. "Are you my appendix? Because I don't really understand you, but this feeling in my stomach makes me want to take you out."
  24. "What's you favorite temple? Cause I'm staring at mine."
  25. "Hey baby. I've got a library at home. Wanna read with me?"

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Day 39: Surprise!

I want to share a couple paragraphs from our Music and the Spoken Word broadcast this morning, message written by Lloyd K. Newell.  

Have you ever thought of love as an act of courage? It often seems safer to close one’s heart, to turn inward and avoid the possibility of heartache. As British writer C. S. Lewis wrote in "The Four Loves": “To love … is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” It takes faith and hope to truly love another, because there’s always the risk of being hurt as we expose our weaknesses, our worries and our dreams.

I love this.  To love someone can be quite scary.

We all have secret fears, insecurities, desires and dreams that we guard. To share such things with someone else is a sacred act. So when someone is brave enough to give us their heart, we need to hold it gently — with both hands and with love, kindness and respect. Yes, to open your heart in love is risky, but as all who have truly loved know, it’s well worth the risk.

It takes significant effort from two people to make the whole love thing work.  But when it does, it is a privilege to share one's hopes and fears with someone else.

On to today's survey results.  Movies and books often like to portray grand gestures of love and romance.  Often these come as big, welcome surprises to one of the two people in the relationship.  What do people in the real world think of such things?

I asked my friends whether or not they enjoy being surprised on Valentine's Day by their significant other.  69 people, or just over 80%, said they DO like being surprised.  Approximately 20% said they don't like being surprised.  I wasn't expecting such a landslide in favor of surprises.  Whether it's a heartfelt letter, flowers at work, a special date, or a secret gift, most people enjoy being surprised on February 14th, probably because it shows their significant other spent time thinking about them.

The biggest grand gesture is often the marriage proposal. On the survey, I put a few options of what kind of proposal people prefer.  Here are the results based on the answers received:  

The best kind of proposal is...

Alone with one's significant other: 75%
In front of family and maybe a few close friends: 9%
Casual and unplanned: 6.7%
A big surprise in front of a lot of people: 1%

The rest of the responses were write-ins under "other": 
  • Whatever feels right. My husband proposed on the phone when we were in different states. It wasn’t romantic but it got the job done.
  • My proposal! At the top of a mountain filled with snow!
  • A well-planned night with a romantic dinner or walk and a very low key proposal.
  • It depends on the couple.

Again, I was surprised by the landslide in favor of a proposal just with one's partner.  This time, I was surprised because it seems a lot of people do grand gesture proposals in front of others- but very few people tend to like that kind of thing.

Moral of the story: surprise the one you love, but don't put him/her on the spot in front of other people.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Day 38 Part 2: Are You My Boyfriend?

The title of today's post is from a parody of the children's book, Are You My Mother? My friend Ann received it from a co-worker as a Christmas gift and it's darling. It really hits home for people who've been on quite the journey to find a long term love (or who are still looking!).  There's a gift idea for you for that friend of yours who is waiting to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. You're welcome. ;-)

The survey responses have increased to 88! I'm so excited.  Thanks to everyone for humoring me on my little Valentine's Day project.  It continues to be so much fun to see how my friends respond to questions about love and romance. I wish I knew who said what, but I think the anonymity was very important for accuracy. 

Today's topic is meeting and dating significant others.  Any red comments are mine :-). 

How old were you when you met your partner?

31.8% (27 people) met their partners when they were between 19-25
30.6% (26 people) are still looking
22.4% (19 people) met their partners when they were between 25-35
11.8% (10 people) met their partners when they were 11-18 years old (so cute! I wonder which of my students will marry each other- a couple already have!) 
2.4% (2 people) met their partners when they were 10 years old or under (will you two please reveal yourselves and tell me your stories?! I'm dying to hear!)
1.2% (1 person) met his/her partner between the ages of 35-50
0% met their partners over 50 years of age

How did you meet?

15 people met at school
11 people met at church
8 people met at work
7 people met at a party
6 people met online
5 people met on a blind date

And then here were some of the unique answers under "other":

  • At church about 25 years before I was romantically interested in him
  • Probably the pre-mortal existence but who knows? He's still M.I.A.
  • Who?
  • At rehearsal
  • I don’t have one at the moment but I met my first one at ZCMI in high school and my 2nd one in Monterey Calif. while in the Air Force
  • Through friends
  • Family
  • I'm pretty sure it's hopeless.
  • Lived on the same street
  • Through a dating service. Not online. (I want to hear about this!)
  •  At a club function
  • At a dance place
  • Working at a Haunted House together
  • Ask sometime. I'm not shy. (Neither am I.  PM me who you are and I will!)
And my favorite response: at a TACO STAND! Love it.  I'm actually surprised only 6 people met online.  It gives me hope that maybe there are other ways to meet people, because online dating is so depressing.  I like to imagine sometimes that I already met the person I'm going to marry- and that it will sneak up on me and surprise me one of these days.  My mom once told me that she pictured me marrying someone who was my friend first.  It's hard to imagine, but I know it's possible. I'm sure this happened to many of you!

How long did you date before you got married (for those married)?

18 people dated 6-12 months before marriage
17 people dated 24+ months before marriage
10 people dated 12-24 months before marriage
8 people dated 4-6 months before marriage
2 people dated 3 months or less before marriage

I was surprised at how many people dated for over two years before marriage.  That probably shouldn't surprise me, but it does anyway.  I would love to hear those stories. I want to know if there were some breakups in-between.  Sometimes it feels like peoples' dating stories are so simple- things felt different when they met "the one" and they knew.  But I know there have to be stories out there that are a bit more complicated but have just as happy results.   

Day 38 Part 1: Progress

Though I’ve been interrupting my healthy living posts for some Valentine’s day loving, I wanted to check in today about what I’m discovering. Last night marked the end of a really, really, REALLY hard week of auditions and unhappy parents and students. When I came home, I just wanted to watch the Opening Ceremonies and eat whatever I wanted. My roommate brought home my favorite pizza, Settabellos, and we went and picked up some ice-cream from the store. I was going to allow myself to eat the whole pizza, but decided to pace myself. I ate three pieces, then took a break. Then I ate a fourth and we went to get the ice cream. I realized while in the store just how full I was. I knew that eating more pizza would be overeating and wouldn’t feel good. So I decided to leave the last two pieces, even though it was heavenly. I served up ice-cream when I got home, WITHOUT telling myself I had to have a certain amount or couldn’t go back for seconds if I wanted to (another Intuitive Eating principle- taking out the shaming). After my normal sized bowl, I was done. I had two Hershey kisses and that was the end of what started out as a determination to binge. Yes, I ate unhealthy food. But I only did it up to the point where my body was satisfied. And I didn’t feel guilty.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past 38 days is that food has stopped becoming one of my main focuses. When I eat, I enjoy it, but I’m not always looking for food to be my source of comfort or life enjoyment. This is progress for me! Though I’m still resolved to not step on a scale, I evaluated some progress pics of myself today and can see a difference in my body. This is a good motivator, especially because it shows me what simply changing my outlook on food can do. I have not had as much time to exercise as I’d like (or I haven’t made the time), so this has all been from Intuitive Eating. But I want to make exercise a more integral part of my life, because I believe it’s important not just physically, but mentally too. I’ll start today with a brisk walk!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Day 37: Date Night

It's Friday night!  I figured this would be the perfect day to share the funny stories from my survey. These were SO fun to read.

In no particular order, here are ten favorites:

1. One of my first dates with my now-husband was at Magic Mountain. I spent the day pushing him into crowds of people. I wasn’t about to continue dating someone who didn’t think it was hilarious to be pushed into a crowd of people at Magic Mountain

2. He was a Jedi...

3.  When I was a freshman in college, I went on a double date where the guys decided we were going to channel our inner Jackson Pollock and paint some large sheets of canvas material. The other girl on the date decided we should paint each others' faces instead of just the material. At the end of the night, I discovered the blue paint all over my face was outdoor paint with sealant in it. Getting it off was near impossible and resulted in me scrubbing the skin off my face in several places. I had scabs all over my face by the next morning. On Monday, I was sitting in the front row of a class on campus. When my professor saw me, he stopped in his tracks and (very loudly) said "What happened to you?!" I simply replied, "I went on a date..."

4. When I first started dating Ryan, he wasn't a member of the church and was very involved with the football team. Shortly after asking me to Prom, by lighting the beach on fire, long story there, he had a cute picnic idea set up on the cliffs edge. It was dark by now, we were far away from anyone or any cars, plus I didn't really trust him yet. When he handed me the warmed up hot chocolate I tossed it over the cliff edge when I thought he was looking the other way. He kept refilling mine which made me more anxious to get rid of it! Years later, we were married in the LA temple and I confessed what I had done on one of our first dates. He smiled and said, "I know! I saw you dumping it out! It was so good! I wondered what was wrong with yours!" Whoops! Better to play it safe than to be sorry though!

5. Met online. Agreed to meet on BYU campus at a restaurant for a lunch date. But instead, we sat outside the restaurant and I watched him make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the supplies from his backpack. Halfway thru his second sandwich he said, “oh do you want one?” I texted my brother under the table asking him to pick me up early. 😂

6. When you're young and don't know how to get out of awkward situations, you may find yourself stuck in a date listening to his plans about building a cologne business for 3 hours.

7. He threw up on me.

8. I hit THREE skunks on the way to drop her off after the date. THREE!!!

9.  The first time he kissed me it was right after I stood up and my blood pressure dropped and I kinda fainted... he thought it was his awesome kissing skills. I was just dehydrated...

10. When the car broke down on our homecoming date and we had to hitchhike home.

One of my most funny-in-retrospect dates was when I was turning 27 and my roommate set me up with a friend of a friend. He was 40.  At the time, that seemed ancient to me.  He met me in the parking lot on his motorcycle because we were doing a ride through the canyon with some of his friends. One of the first things I noticed is that he didn't have a helmet on, nor had he brought one for me. I freaked out on the inside.  Nervous, I went to put something in the trunk of my car and accidentally threw my purse in it with my cell phone and keys and slammed it shut. I decided to worry about it when I got back.  I got on the back of a motorcycle with a total stranger without my car keys or phone.  Then, we went to the meeting place for the date.  As we waited, we made small talk.  He had never been married.  I said, "So are you the favorite uncle?" He said, "No, my siblings don't really like me to be around their kids." And this was before the date even started.  He brought me back in one piece, and helped me break in to my car.  But, needless to say, that was our last date!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Day 36: Love is a Song

I have to admit that I didn't have the best attitude tonight when I was introduced to the text of the song, "Love is a Song."  I had an extremely long, hard day of choir auditions and dealing with unhappy people.  When I saw lyrics to this song, my first thought was, "I hate this so much and it's all lies." 

Love is a song that never ends
Life may be swift and fleeting
Hope may die yet love's beautiful music
Comes each day like the dawn
Love is a song that never ends
One simple theme repeating
Like the voice of a heavenly choir
Love's sweet music flows on

But then I found out this song is from Bambi, and I decided I hated it less. "Hope may die," but the love of my family sustains me through every moment of discouragement.  And it's a forever kind of love.  Romantic love is not something I understand very well. But I do know love.

Out of the 79 people I anonymously surveyed, 35.9% were not married. 

When asked to rate their feelings about Valentine's Day on a scale from 1-5, 53.2% voted 3.  This is an interesting statistic to me.  I think sometimes people fall in the trap of thinking that Valentine's Day would be magical if only they had a Valentine.  But the majority of my friends, married or not, feel pretty neutral about the day.  The other 47% of those surveyed were pretty much evenly distributed on either side of 3, with only 2 people saying they absolutely LOVE Valentine's Day (giving a score of a '5') and 5 people saying they simply HATE it (giving a score of a '1'). 

If I had taken my own survey, I would have been the third person to vote '5.'  Being a hopeless romantic practically from the womb, I've ALWAYS loved Valentine's Day.  No matter how hard it is to not be in a relationship, I don't think I'll ever stop loving Valentine's Day.  I get a kick out of seeing people show love for each other, especially in cheesy, romantic ways.  Which, I suppose, contradicts me hating the song, "Love is a Song."  Humans are complicated beings.

So what should you get for your special Valentines this year?

First, 81.1% of my friends said flowers are sweet and thoughtful. Only 18.9% thought they are cliche and boring. So flowers is still a pretty safe bet, folks.  Timeless.

If you're planning on dinner with your love:

  • 44.9% of people surveyed like fancy restaurants best
  • 20.5% like a home cooked meal
  • 19.2% like takeout at home
Oh, and one person out there wants Taco Bell.  Hopefully he/she has communicated that to his/her S.O. so they don't accidentally end up at a fancy restaurant.

And chocolate.  Here are the votes on the best chocolate out there to get for the people you love.

Lindt (4)
Dove (4)
See’s (3)
Godiva (3)
The one in my hand! JK I like Lindt, Godiva, See’s, (2)
Toblerone (2)
Symphony milk choc
Rocky Mountain
usually European.
Milka chocolate
Anything European!
Dove milk chocolate.
Perugina Baci
Sees dark chocolate
Any brand that pairs chocolate with carmel
Anything European
Hershey’s 😂
Something European.
Anything dark. At least 60% cacao
Any kind of dark chocolate.
Hershey's Symphony bar
Hersheys. JK definitely anything European... American would be Lindt probably.
Pump Street
Any dark chocolate with almonds
Ritter Sport
Cadbury mini eggs
Hershey Kiss
Francois Pralus
Lindor dark chocolate & sea salt...
Godiva Chocolatier
Sees candy
Ferrero Rocher
Lindt. Get the midnight mint one or the dark orange. They are everything.
Anything Swiss
Sees nuts and chews
Dove dark

Happy Valentine's preparations, everyone!