Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Girl and the Awful Morning

The girl sat in the waiting room. She was embarrassed. She was uncomfortable.She had woken up late that morning, and then been immediately distracted by the invasion of ants in her kitchen. Rather than showering and getting ready, she instead seized her vacuum cleaner and went after the ants. She sucked up ants, crumbs, and almost lost her favorite dishcloth in her zeal to dismiss those ants from her kitchen and the world.

When she had finally stepped into the shower, she then promptly forgot all sense of time. She took her own sweet time shaving- it would have been a massacre on her legs to go any faster, considering she hadn't shaved for several... whiles. By the time she was wrapped in her towel and looking at a clock, it was eight minutes past time to go. Oops. She threw on some clothes, hastily tied her long, soaking wet hair into a knot at the base of her neck, grabbed her keys, and fled the premises. Never mind makeup! Who had time for such frivolities?

After turning left onto the main road, she realized that she honestly didn't know where she was going. She'd only been to this doctor once before, and she couldn't remember the way to get there. She snatched her phone and attempted to phone her mother. No such luck.  She tried again.

"Please leave your message at the---" She shut the machine up with a savage jab at the end call button. She continued down the road in silence. She knew that she was supposed to be on this road for a good while. It was when she turned off the long road and faced all the turns in smaller roads that presented the looming danger. And she was already late. Brilliant! she thought, feeling suddenly clever. She called her father. As the phone rang, she wondered why she had even attempted to call her mother. Not only are mothers notorious for not picking up the phone, her mother in particular had a very poor sense of direction.

"Hello?" came her father's gruff voice. He never enjoyed the phone. He said it made his ears itch.

"Daddy! Hello!" Some silence. "How are you doing today?"


"Did you work until four in the morning again?" she asked. He did that sometimes while building the house.

"No. I slept," her daddy said with a short laugh.

"Well, that explains it," she replied. "You tried something new. That's never good for rest." They shared a laugh, and then some silence. "So, Daddy... I'm on my way to a doctor's appointment."

"Do you know where you're going, or do you need me to look up a map and give you directions?" he asked immediately.

"Funny that you should ask that, Daddy," she said with a laugh, "because I don't really know how to get where I'm going."

She told him where she was and could hear him typing and pulling up Google maps on his computer. "Found where you are," her daddy said. "Where are you going?"

Where...? If she hadn't been driving down the road at a goodly pace, she would have bonked her makeup-less face against the steering wheel. She settled on a strangled gargle instead. "Actually, Daddy, I have no idea where I'm going. I forgot the address. It's the doctor I go to when I pass Hairy Man Road. Does that help?"

She heard him laughing and rubbing his hand on his face. "You," he said, "are just like Mom."

Apparently more of her mother's directionless skills had been passed on than she had originally hoped. Her father, however, had a wonderfully accurate memory and sense of direction. He had given her directions to the doctor's office once before, and was able to get her there again. As she parked, she marveled that her father really was that good. He lived in another state, and he could still get her around better than she could. Of course, he'd always just been that good. Daddy really did know everything.

She jumped out of the car, and quick-marched to the building. She called her husband to let him know she had arrived safely, and scuttled into the now-closing elevator. The man already in there turned to ask which floor she wanted, but noticed she was on the phone and hesitated- especially since she was saying "I love you, too." The man pointed at the buttons. She realized she didn't know which floor she wanted. She hadn't paused to check the map in the lobby. She timidly held up three fingers, and the kind mind obligingly pressed the button for her. She felt doubly dumb: on the phone in the elevator, and she didn't even know which floor her doctor was on. Fortunately, the man exited a floor before she did. He wouldn't know if she exited and then immediately re-entered the elevator.

The elevator doors dinged open. She stuck out her head cautiously, and completely sideways, to see if it was the right floor. It was, and there were plenty of people there to see her sideways meerkat impersonation. Lovely. She scurried to the check-in line. She was very late. The line was very slow, and she was growing even more stressed. She really disliked being late. It was rude, and embarrassing. It was finally her turn at the window.

"I'd like to check in," she said and stated her name and her doctor. After the attendant scrolled and clicked for several moments, she added in an embarrassed tone, "I'm some twenty minutes late, I'm afraid."

"Oh, hon, I don't know if the doctor will be able to see you anymore. Let me call back and see."

Well, rats, she though. Now she was holding up the long waiting line by making the nurse attendant desk helper person call back to see if the doctor would be benevolent enough to see a very tardy patient. A very embarrassed tardy patient.

"The doctor will see you, but you'll be worked in around other appointments who make it on time. Take this paper and wait for your name to be called."

She took the paper with a meek thank you, and went to sit in the waiting room. She looked around. The other women were much better groomed than she. Sure, she had been late because of taking care grooming, but it had been her legs, not her face. And no once could even see her legs under her jeans and knee-high socks. She wished that she had taken time for such frivolities as makeup. She looked like she had no reason to be late.

But she was late. She was very embarrassed. She was very uncomfortable sitting in that waiting room. So she took her notebook and pen out of her purse, and began writing.

The girl sat in the waiting room. She was embarrassed. She was uncomfortable. She had woken up late that morning...

Tashya sighed and sank into her seat. What an awful morning.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Challenge of the Book Question Accepted!

Some of you may remember the fact that I am special. I talked about it a lot when I received the Liebster Award nomination from my friend Tanney on her blog Our Fairy Tale a week or so ago. Well, I nominated her in return because I like her and her blog. One of the questions that I posed for my nominees to answer is a genre of question that no book lover/English major/avid reader person enjoys answering. The questions that require them to pick AN book. Because you want to know a secret?

We can't. Picking just one is not an option.

I asked Tanney the following question: If you could be in any book, which would it be?

Well, Tanney answered, but not before issuing a challenge. She said, "Natashya!!! That's such a hard question! I expect you to answer it as well, either on the comments or make your own post about it! See how it feels to be put on the spot like that and go through the miles-long list of books you have read to see what book you would like to be in....(love you though)."

I'm glad that she reassured me of her love at the end of that rant. I was slightly worried. But I do accept her challenge. And I will see her challenge with some answers, and raise her some pictures. So there.

If Tashya could be in any book, which would it be? 

1. Pride and Prejudice, or First Impressions, by Jane Austen

Don't I look positively stunning in my Regency era garb? I think I look rather fetching. Much more handsome than barely tolerable or well enough or passable! Other than the fact that I love the story, there are several reasons that I wouldn't mind being in this story.

Elizabeth is the second of five sisters. I'm the second oldest, and the second of six sisters. Of course, I also have four brothers, so my count does go up a little bit, but that's alright. I still feel a connection with Lizzy. Mr. Darcy is first fascinated with Elizabeth's fine eyes, beautiful and expressive. Now, call me a proud soul, but I have always fancied myself to have rather fine eyes. Andrew likes my eyes, you can ask him. He thinks they're beautiful. And of course, there is the very strong reason that this book became even closer to my heart. The original title of Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions. Our love story is a story of first impressions and what happens when you can overcome them. For more information, please read The Story. 

2. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

I love Shakespeare a lot. I really love this one. It's all about two people who are excellent verbal sparring partners, but hate the snot out of each other. And actually, that might be a useful side effect if you had a nasty cold. But they didn't have colds. They are also nosy, and fall for a trap set for them by their friends because of it. If you haven't read or seen this one, you should. The witty banter and quick dialogue make for much laughter. 

3. Star Wars by good ole Lucas

No, this isn't actually a book. Yes, this is Andrew's pick when I asked him what we would be in. Wouldn't we make a great Han Solo and Princess Leia? I will say that we're good with sass and words. I think that Andrew is better at fixing things than Han Solo, and all of our vehicles get us where we need to go. And we do have a mini itty-bitty key chain gun that makes tiny laser gun noises when you shoot it. If I did my hair right, sewed some yellow stripes on Andrew's pants, and hired some goons to chase us, it would be like we actually were living in Star Wars.

You know what? The truth is that I have many books that I like. I could have included The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, but after the horse, I didn't think anyone could stomach another animal drawing (just keep reading- you'll see soon enough). You want to know another truth? I don't want to be in many of the books that I like. They're great books, but they definitely aren't great fun to be in. For example, we have:

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

This is one of my favorite books. In it is one of the greatest lessons on redemption and charity that I have ever read outside of the Scriptures. A man is condemned, judged, for a transgression committed to save his sister's children from starvation. That man, Valjean, is changed when a Bishop buys his soul for God. Javert is the police man who chases Valjean throughout the years, and ultimately meets his demise because he cannot understand or accept that people can change, they can improve, they can be redeemed. And that's not even me going into all of the details and examples of how beautiful this lesson really is, and why it's important for us in our lives today. Maybe I'll go into that in another post sometime. However, for now, you have to admit that the book is just about the last place you'd like to be. Think about it. The very title means the MISERABLE PEOPLE. No. I think I'll learn from here.

Ben Hur by Lew Wallace.

In the same lines of favorite book-ness due to profound truths of the story, we have Ben Hur. Really, it's a wonderful story. Please don't let that horridly frightening horse turn you off of the book. You should read it. Don't let hatred and vengeance eat you from the inside out! And if you don't like reading books just for the lessons to be learned, then don't worry. I don't either. I don't like boring books. That's why I don't like Virginia Woolf. At all. But this book is filled with adventures and Romans and princesses and heroes who need to make very critical and pivotal decisions. It's a great read. And it's also filled with death, leprosy, and sorrow, which is the reason that I wouldn't want to be in this book either.

I have a lot of other books that I am fond of as well, and I would love to tell you all about them. In fact, my friend Michele and I are reading Oliver Twist and will be holding a discussion about it. If you'd like to read it as well, then great! Reading is great for your person and your mind. 

And, out of mild curiosity, I'd like to know. Which book would you like to live in?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Well and Good

There are a lot of rather nice people in my acquaintance. It's true. People that I had no idea knew that I was ill, or even that they knew about this blog, came and asked me today how I was doing today. To all of those people, thank you for caring. You are so very sweet and kind.

But you see, what's even more important than my followers is grammar. That's right. GRAMMAR. And do you know the correct response to the query "How are you today?" Andrew did his best, and answered with confidence.

NOTE: Andrew is the most handsome man alive. He looks very handsome and good in his suit. I can't draw. Just imagine him looking handsome and very presentable, with a perfectly knotted tie and all. Or you can take my image more literally if you'd like.

Now everyone who's read more than two of my posts knows two things. 1) I love Andrew more than anything, and think that he's the smartest, handsomest, sweetest, manliest, handiest, wonderfulest stud in the world, and 2) Grammar Abuse happens to be one of my all-time biggest pet peeves! These two facts put me into a difficult predicament whenever Andrew happens to say "good" instead of "well" when it definitely should be the adverb. That's why I have to look at him in both horror and awe at the same time, which is very hard to capture on Microsoft Paint, let me tell you!

But while I was thinking about how I love Andrew no matter how much he abuses my darling adverbs, a thought came to me. A thought about wellness and goodness, and how the two are so connected. So I will answer inquiries about my health and then give an idea about how to further the wellness of us all.

How am I doing?

"Very well, thank you, how are you?" That's what my baby sister Teannka says every time someone inquires after her health. She's cute. As to how I am doing these days, the answer is similar. I'm doing well for the most part. I'm healing, but not in some huge puff of magical smoke. There are definite improvements, however, that are quite noticeable.


No, not all days are pink and red sparklies and hearts, but days are getting better. I'm getting better. I'm less sick, and more healthy, and more happy. I have more energy and strength. This is great news, isn't it? And I can only account it to God, since I'm not taking any medicine right now. I am going to the chiropractor, but I still give the praise and glory to God.

Andrew's grammatical faux pas made me think, though. I'm doing well, but am I doing good? When Jesus Christ healed the infirm man at the pool of Bethesda, he said unto him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk" (John 5:8). And that man did exactly as his Lord commanded him. But do you think that maybe that man was walking somewhere? Just walking around is all very well and good for a stroll in the park, but it won't get you anywhere in life. You need a direction. I need a direction. Christ is the direction. But how to walk in that direction?

I see that once infirm man carrying his bed, going down the streets. He may have seen others who were in need, who lacked, who hurt, who suffered, who longed for relief. His hands full of bedding, and his heart full of gratitude, he must have wished to do something for those still languishing in pain in this world. Having been healed not long ago, I am sure that he desired to do as the Lord and to reach out to others. He desired to do good.

Doing good isn't just a nice intention to be put into effect when we have the time or inclination. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from this world" (James 1:27). Doing good, serving others, is the manifestation of true religion in our lives. When we follow Jesus and his gospel, then our attitudes towards other people change. We are filled with more love, with more desire to lift, to assist, to help, and to reach out.

I fully intend to put my new found energy, wellness, and strength to good use. I fully believe that doing good and serving other people is the way to be happy. I believe that the more that I focus on lifting the burdens of others, the more that my burdens will be lifted. God gives no commandments unto the children of men without first preparing a way for them to accomplish that commandment (1 Nephi 3:7). Doing good is a commandment. God will help me to do it. I also believe that doing good for others will help me to become more self-reliant and even stronger. I will have to start out softly, but I will get stronger and have more endurance as I continue to work out my kinks and knots.

Walking towards Christ is walking towards life. Look to God and live. Christ spent his life reaching out to others who were suffering so much less than himself. He looked outwards and ministered. I want to be known as Jesus of Nazareth, my Savior and King. I want to be known as a person who "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38).

PS. For other posts about happiness, see How To Be A Blossoming Flower and How to Be Happy With Your Miserable Life.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Almost Murdered and Almost Murderer


Today was an interesting day in the life of Tashya. And by interesting, I definitely mean harrowing and life-threatening to the extreme! Or maybe there were two incidents that made today slightly less average than usual. But the manner of said incidents is what made them stand out. Both involved near death or maiming. Sorta. Or maybe you just had to be there. I'll see if I can recreate the scenes for you.

1. Almost Murdered

Have I ever told you that I love driving? If I did, I'm sorry. That was a lie. A downright dirty stinkin' lie. I'm generally a very honest person. I even announce when I'm about to cheat in a board game so that everyone knows in advance, so I doubt that I'd tell you as blatant a lie as me actually liking driving. I'm not a bad driver, I'm a safe driver. But loads of other people on the road tend to make nervous, especially if I'm the only one in the car.

Well, today I was out doing good in the world, and I was taught that Elphaba's song really is true: No good deed goes unpunished! I made some of my good brownies (and I mean, really good brownies. I really enjoy my brownies!) for a friend's Eagle Scout project thing, and took them over to his place to drop them off. I made it there alright, but on the way home, I really botched the job. I was trying to turn left onto a busy street from a side street, and it was kind of on a turn in the road. I waited a while, and then saw my chance. There was a small gap between loads of cars. I decided to take it!

I crept forward since no one was in the lanes going to the right, and prepared to gun it. The space came and opened before me exactly as planned! I gunned it exactly as planned! Only, I didn't. I missed the gas and hit the brake. Don't ask me how, I don't know. But by the time I got out into the lane and was going, the car was upon me, right on my bumper. And even though I was speeding up rather quickly, they did not slow down! I even went over the speed limit a little to try to get away from them, but that didn't work either! I was so glad to turn off that road into my apartment complex and leave the creepy tailer behind!

2. Almost Murderer

Andrew and I live in a gated apartment complex. We have little clicker remotes that open the three gates around the community. You don't need to click the button in order to get out, but if you don't click it, then you have to nose your car right up to the gate and then wait for it to open. It's faster if you use the clicker as you're approaching. Today my impatience with the gate almost maimed an innocent young woman.

Andrew, Teannka, and I were leaving to run some errands. Huzzah for the library! Hooray for mailing packages! Haloo for getting groceries! We got into the car, and started off towards the gate closest to us, which is around a sharp corner. I pulled my keys out in preparation for the clicking ceremony so I would be ready to speed our exodus from the apartment complex. When we turned the corner, we saw two people climbing over the fence to get out of the community. The guy had jumped down, but the girl was still crossing over the top. That fact registered about .5 seconds after I had clicked the button.

What had started as a button clicking ceremony to bring us out of the gate almost turned into a sacrificial ceremony offering up the girl's foot. Since her weight had been balanced on top of the gate, when it started to move, she fell forward. She didn't face plant because she caught herself on her hands, but her feet were still up in the air. It looked like an extremely showy push up that a guy could use to try to impress the ladies. Her foot got caught between the bars of the moving gate, and became lodged in the sliding gate as it continued to open. Fortunately, the good engineers who had designed the gate somehow incorporated magic into the machine so that it knew something was there, and it automatically closed again, releasing her foot.

Thank goodness that was over without anyone actually losing life and limb.

PS. I wrote this last Saturday. I'm not sure why it didn't go up. I am now busy with other posts, so I'm going to stop bothering with wondering if this post is quality or not, and just put it up. Have a nice day!

Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm Special! The Liebster Award!

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Tayler from Our Fairy Tale. You may remember her better as Tanney, the friend I posted about and her dastardly day with devilish students. She also did a guest post in which I give a great yellow cake recipe. She's definitely not new around here, and I happen to like her a lot. And she nominated me!


How cool is that? Almost as cool as that suave and awesome cat up there? I feel pretty honored. It means "dear" in German apparently. This basically translates into the fact that someone likes my blog. Huzzah! To accept the nomination, I have to take certain steps. I answer questions my nominator posed, I give 11 random facts about myself, and then I ask 11 questions of the bloggers that I nominate. I'm supposed to nominate 5-11 new people. The rule is that the people nominated have to have less than 200 followers- I'm well below that mark, so I'm surprised I even got this. But hey. I'll take it! So to the questions!

Questions from Tanney/Tayler/Whatever People Call Her:

1) What made you start blogging?
It was to keep in touch with our families after we were married. I suppose I could have written an email and then spammed it to everyone in the family, but we have a lot of extended family, and that would have been bothersome. Besides, once I developed Pictorials, it became a source of venting and great fun.

2) What is your blogging dream?
TO CONQUER THE WORLD! Or just to give people a good laugh when they need it, or a spiritual and emotional boost when it's something they need, or to share my love of food and Andrew with other people who love food. But they can't love Andrew. Well, they can, but they can't have him. He's mine.

3) What is your dream job, and do you have it/are you working toward it?
My dream job is a wife, mother, and homemaker. What more noble cause is there than to take a structure of walls and floors and ceilings, and to make that elaborate box into a home? A home is a place of love, refuge, comfort, peace, laughter, and goodwill. What more noble cause is there than to bring precious spirits down to Earth and to raise them in truth, light, and love? I love Andrew, and I love being his wife. We'll get to the children part when it's right.

4) What are you a junkie of?
Reading. And reading. Sometimes I read. And reading. Have I mentioned reading? Oh, and my brownies. I make good brownies. And 60's music. And Jane Austen. And Andrew.

5) Since I'm a teacher, what was your favorite subject in school? Why?
English and History because you can come to better understand the world and its people by understanding the stories and legacies they have recorded in their books and cultures.

6) What is your favorite book? Why?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I first fell in love with it when I was nine, and I never really changed my mind. Elizabeth is a snobbish judgmental person, and Darcy is an introverted snot head. I love that they change for each other, even admitting their character flaws in the process. True love makes you better. (And I can't help but mention Les Miserables by Hugo, Ben Hur by Wallace, and The Alliance by Lund. They're great books, too!)

7) Name a country you want to visit from every continent.
Canada, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Somewhere-With-Penguins, and Australia (SIDNEY! AHHHHH! Finding Nemo, anyone?)

8) What are all the languages you speak (real or fake, fluent or not)
English, Franglish, some French, and I'm learning Brazilian (more commonly known as Portuguese).

9) What is the most annoying thing people do?
I dislike it greatly when people butcher up adverbs. I did WELL at doing GOOD today.

10) What are three interesting things in your house?
a. This large and beruffled pillow by my side. It's pink, and looks like a flower attacked it. I like it.
b. A dog statue made out of a slinky-spring thing and some metal scraps and spray painted blue. Daddy got it for me for a high school graduation gift. His name is Fred, and it's the only pet I'll ever want.
c. Two quias. Those are cup/mug things from Brazil. They look pretty snazzy.

11) What is your favorite post that you've done in the past year?
That would depend on my mood. If I want a laugh, my Pictorials make me chuckle. Megan and Tashya- Sisters in Embarrassment may be my favorite in the past year. But if I want to feel clever, I read installments from The Story. Seriously. Go read Man Voice and the Water Heater and tell me that it's not hilarious and I'm not a writing genius. If we're talking about meaningful, then either Get Your Head Out of the Tomb or How to Be Happy With Your Miserable Life.

11 Random Facts:
  1. When I'm baking, I generally don't eat much of the finished product because I eat so much of the batter or dough along the way. 
  2. I like to paint my fingernails every week, and update my toes at least once every three weeks.
  3. I own three pink dresses. One is bright pink and has a huge bow on the front.
  4. I yell out "-LY" when someone forgets to do it themselves. Use your adverbs, people!
  5. I talk to myself when I'm writing to the point where I'll even have grand gesticulations going on. I don't write while in public.
  6. When I'm reading, I often make faces that reflect the feelings of the characters in the book. If they're confused, I look confused, if they quirk a brow, then so do I.
  7. I'm very proud of my eyes. I think that I have rather nice eyes, probably my best feature. In fact, I'm proud of my family's eyes. We all have great eyes.
  8. I love to sing. I love pretty songs. I love to listen to beautiful music. I burst out into song frequently.
  9. I don't like country or rap at all. I'll admit to a Taylor Swift song or two, but that's just about it.
  10. I love my daddy's voice. He sometimes wishes he could sing bass, but I wouldn't trade his voice for anything. Some of my fondest memories growing up involve the family singing around the piano together, and sometimes just listening to Daddy sing.
  11. Cigarette smoke makes me very ill. Very ill. And I'm very sensitive to it- I can smell it from across the parking lot when the wind is blowing the other way. Just ask Andrew.
Were those good random facts? I just wrote down some stuff. I tried not to repeat too much of what was already in the About Us tab up there. But now we're on to the last section!

My nominees!:
1. Suzzie from Suzzie Vehrs
2. Michele, Matt, and Offspring from Matt and Michele's Mundo
4. Danica from Our Fletcher Family
5. Tayler from Our Fairy Tale

11 Questions for the My Nominees:
1. What is your favorite color?
2. What is your favorite time of the year?
3. Do you have a Disney princess with whom you identify? Why?
4. What is your favorite genre of reading material?
5. What is your favorite thing to make (be it food, craft, drink, music, or whatnot)?
6. What do you think is your best feature?
7. What luxury item do you most want?
8. Why do you enjoy blogging?
9. Who is your hero, past or present?
10. What is your favorite thing to wear and why?
11. If you could be in any book, which would it be?

And so that's my participation in the Liebster Award nominations. As far as people that I've nominated, I really must confess to something. I don't really stalk all that many people on blogs. To be honest, I look at mine a lot. I realize that's really snobby sounding, but I like my style, and I like remembering what I did. I'm generally pretty picky about writing style, but sometimes I let that take a break if I think that there is good character behind the flaws, or if I like the person that's writing. So there's my nomination stuff. You'll notice that I didn't nominate myself. I am, however, about to go and draw some pictures.

Have a glorious day!

PS. Tanney, I had to nominate you. Your kinda sorta maybe all sorts of my blogger buddy. And you're better at blogging than I am. I had to return the favor. I love you!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hello Again!

It has been quite some time since I last posted. I apologize to all. I especially apologize to my family members who depend upon this blog to know that I am indeed alive, and what is happening in the life of Those Weird Heims down there in Texas. I also especially apologize to the dear, lovely people who have expressed their admiration for our blog, only to be summarily ignored. I do promise, though, that you were never summarily dismissed completely from my mind. In fact, I am even now at this moment sending you a mental package of love and a small box of cookies!

To Bugheera's roommates: Welcome. I hope that all of you ladies are having a wonderful time together. Bugheera likes the pictures on this blog, so we can see if you like them too. In time, I may learn your names and write stories about you if Bug tells me about any that are particularly spectacular.

At this time, I would like to give an update on how things have been going. About a year ago, I wrote a similar post with a paragraph about important things here and there. It was when we were moving down here to Texas, and it involved plenty of chaos. It does not, however, include the Horrorific and Panic-Inducing Tale of the Plague of Crickets. Let me tell you, no bueno! No me gusta! Except, one of the pictures is rather funny. Other than that, there was nothing good in that situation.

And so, here is the Recent Update List.

Numero Uno:

As you know, my older sister Megan was married on May 3rd. What you might not have known is that I flew out to Tennessee to be with my family for two weeks before the wedding. And then I drove to Utah with them. Yup. I flew so I could drive. Makes sense, doesn't it? But it was great fun. It was a bunch of us Chelsons having a grand old time together. I got to sleep in a big bed with more than half of my sisters for several nights. Did you know that some of them are funny when they sleep? It's true. I won't embarrass them here, but they should probably know that I'm laughing at them.

Nombre Deux:

When Andrew and I flew home from the wedding (no, I didn't drive to Tennessee to fly back to Texas), we had an extra person with us. Teannka is my youngest sister. She has been with us this past month. We've been doing a bit of a Princess Academy. We work on reading and confidence and the suchlike.

We have gone to the library, the pool, the park, and have made all sorts of different recipes. We have also played a lot of Super Smash Bros. because that is an awesome game, and Teannka realizes that too. She has also learned about Portal and Netflix. And we sing songs.

Teannka and I had a tea party using my fine china set. I don't have a tea pot, but I do have tea cups and saucers. We used orange peach mango juice, which is one of my favorites. We had fancy little sandwiches, Greek yogurt, and awesomely tasty sundried tomato and basil crackers. We were going to make crumpets to be super official and English, but we looked at the recipe. Turns out that I'll need to expend some effort for that recipe. So, I'll be doing that later.

Tres (Foreign Language for Three):

My health has been somewhat improving. After deciding that I didn't want to take even MORE prescriptions that may or may not be helpful, Andrew and I found a chiropractor that we could go to. We found out that my neck is not how it should be. The spine is actually starting to bend the wrong way. So I'm going in about three times a week to try to fix things. I've already noticed some improvements, so that's good.

Number Four:

I'm an original blogger for a new website. If you'd like to see some of my posts there, then look at the following links. I wrote one about menus in How to Avoid Stress and Save Happiness in the Kitchen. I think that menus are very important. I was going to write about it on here, but I wrote about it over there. I might redo it for this blog as well. We'll see. I put up two of the recipes that have already been on here (for my recipes, check the Edibles tab up there). And I also wrote one on something that really helps me out: A Spot o' Tea and a Splash o' Smile. So yes. Although I don't even read all of the other articles put up there by some of the other girls (because I'm not really interested in some of those topics- honestly, I don't really need to be as skinny as a model, I'm happy with being fit), it's still fine to share goodness and send my fun words out into the world.  I hope some of them can help someone smile and brighten someone's day (or in the case of this last article, warm someone's evening). (Andrew totally ended that sentence for me, and I'm going to leave it like that.)

And really, I suppose that's the Update List for today. I don't really have all that many wonderful things to tell you in list form. I have some great tales that will be told in Pictorial form in the coming days. So look ahead! Now that I'm back, I intend to stay here. Well, not all the time. Just long enough to post, and then I'll go back to the real world.

PS. Suzzie, did you know that I love your comments? True story.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Two Days Late Still Counts For Something

I don't know if any of you folks realized this, but Mother's Day happened to be this Sunday. Two days ago. I didn't say anything at the time, but I thought that I'd let you in on the fact that I do have a mother. A very good one. I might even venture to say the best one in the entire world. And so, even though I have lots of things to say about the trip I just took, the wedding, and some really interesting Pictorials to share, I'm going to write a few words about my mother.

What this picture lacks in artistic skillz it makes up for in veracity of relationship portrayal. I love Mama. By the way, see that lovely sweater she's wearing? I bought her that. Happy Mother's Day, Mama! Mother is the one who taught me how to find the best deals when out shopping. She's the one who taught me how to plan a menu. She's the one who taught me how to love, serve, and listen. She's the one who taught me to play piano. She's the one who is always there to listen. She's the one who can always say "Everything is going to be okay!" and actually mean it.

She's the one who taught me to feel beautiful and look beautiful. She's the one who taught me to love being a woman. She's the one who taught me to be appreciative of the finer things in life. Like good stores. Like the best store.

Ya, Mama and I have shared many happy moments together within the walls of Kohl's stores across the country. Lots of good times there. You have got to love Kohl's Cards- you get all sorts of coupons! It was a mark of my womanhood when I was approved for my Kohl's Card. Andrew knows that whenever Mama and I get together, a trip to Kohl's must be on the agenda.

I'm also very glad for the things that my mother is not. Although she is still very beautiful and could pass as my sister, she is nothing at all like Mother Gothel from Rapunzel. She doesn't try to scare me into hiding, or into any kind of submission.

This is my favorite moment of Mother Gothel in Tangled. While my mother is hilarious, she is not devious.
And you know what? In addition to a magnificently wonderful mother, I also have two glorious grandmothers. Mama's mama is pretty darn awesome. She can decorate cakes, and in fact did the wedding cakes for both mine and Megan's weddings. She can also supply you with good things like slippery elm, which is good for what ails ye! When I think of Grandma Taylor, I think of the comforting smell of warm bread dough rising, delicious peach cream toppings for french toast, and the funnest game ever, Don't Eat Pete! Here is Grandma Taylor and Mama at Megan's wedding:

Grandma Chelson is Daddy's mama. She is very good at worrying about things. It's part of her adorable grandmotherliness. And she really is adorable. Grandma is amazing when it comes to genealogy. She has actually published a book about our family history. Isn't that amazing? She also does Baptism Books. When a grandchild (and she has a lot) turns eight and is baptized, she makes a scrapbook for them about their families and who they are. I've had mine for years, and I still love looking at mine! Here is Grandma Chelson looking adorable with Megan and Ray at the wedding:

I have so many wonderful blessings in my life because of these three women- and no, that doesn't include Mother Gothel. They have taught me about the true gospel of Jesus Christ, they have taught me about being a woman and a wife, they have taught me about the joy of serving and lifting others. I love Mama, and I love Grandma Taylor, and I love Grandma Chelson. They are wonderful women. Happy Mother's Day Two Days Later!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Speech the Maid of Honor Didn't Get to Give

Hello, dear family and friends! How are you doing? Was your month as wonderfully chaotic and full and wonderful as my own? I'm guessing that, seeing as most of you are related to me, you will be answering "YES, Tash, it most definitely WAS!" And do you know what I say to that? FANTASTIC!

For those of you who don't know, I shall enlighten you. BEHOLD!

Do you remember Megan of Shower Ninja and Musical fiasco fame? Well, that's her, freshly married to her best friend Ray! Huzzah for Meggum and Raymond! The loveliest couple of them all! They were married May 3, 2013 in the Oquirrh Mountain Utah temple. Megan is absolutely radiant! Raymond is so handsome! Wanna see a better personality shot? Of course you do!

Perfect. Ray is smug, and Megan exultant. Congratulations to the both of you!

Raymond, I want to say something to you. I didn't get to give a speech at the wedding, so I'll say what I wanted to say here:

You should know that Megan's name means "priceless treasure, or pearl." She really is a pearl of great price! She is beautiful, isn't she? She has lovely golden curls, fantastic blue eyes that constantly sparkle with merriment, rosy cheeks that blossom like the flowers she loves so much. But Megan's beauty is so many other things, too. It's the way that her laughter simmers just under the surface, ready to burst out of her mouth like bubbles and chimes. It's the way that she can't walk without giving off an air of joie de vie. It's the way that she revels in the glory and beauty with God's creations. It's the way that her love and devotion are clear and visible to anyone who looks. Isn't she so beautiful?

Megan's love is constant, but her expressions of love burst forth in rays and pops of loving sunshine and fireworks. Having to constantly express that affection makes the storage puddle more depleted, and it's harder for her to store up for her pops of natural, un-forced affectionate actions. You won't be starved for love or attention, however, because it doesn't take that long between the bursts for Megan's loving, joyful, and passionate heart to fill up again.

You now have my sister for your wife. You are a very lucky man. Megan brings with her the love of her family, the loyalty of the people whose lives she has touched with laughter, and the pride of those who have seen her grow and develop. Megan is priceless. Megan is a treasure. When I think of you, the words "steadfast," and "devotion" come to mind. Together, you and Megan's life together will be filled with music, laughter, strength, companionship, growth, and wonder. I love you both. To the happy couple!

*End Speech!*

"A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous." 
-Ingrid Bergman

"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." 
-Albert Einstein

"At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet." -Plato

Megan, my only older sibling, is a wonderful human, and my best friend. She and I aren't extremely similar in some things. She's the blonde to my brunette, the Marianne to my Elinor, the Ariel to my... strange combination of Flounder, Sebastian, and a more musically talented Scuttle. But we're also so very alike. Ask us about Anne of Green Gables sometime. Or music. Megan is generally more outspoken about her passions than I am, but we share many interests.

I feel like I should receive some sort of credit for their marriage. Years ago, when I was going to school at BYU-I still, I lived in the same house as Megan. We were roomies three out of the four semesters we were there together. It was near Christmas time, and I saw that there was going to be a singalong for Handel's wonderful Messiah. I LOVE singing, and what soprano doesn't get a kick out of those beautiful melismas? Seriously. I had spoken to this guy named Ray a few times during the semester, and knew that he had one fantastic voice. I decided to ask if he'd like to come along with me.

And BOY, am I glad that he did! Not only did we have a fabulous time trying to get to the singalong (try walking on ice in vicious heels without murdering the kindly gentleman by either spearing him with said deadly heels or bashing his head against the hard sidewalk- it's hard), we also had a great time singing (and Ray shouted AMEN in the ONE silent moment of the entire evening, and I spent the rest of the night trying not to laugh too obnoxiously- and you know how much funnier everything is when you're trying not to laugh!). But the evening came to an end, and Ray walked me home. Where he met my sister. He joined us in singing some Christmas carols. Megan's voice seems to have done the trick in getting Ray to notice her.

Next thing I know, the two are officially dating. A half a year later, I'd transferred to BYU in Provo, and the two are madly in love. And then, next thing I knew, Megan was putting in her papers to serve as a missionary. Ray was very supportive of her doing what she felt the Lord wanted her to do. So Megan left to serve the Lord in Santiago, Chile. Right before she left, she commanded me to not marry until her return so she can be at my wedding. Next thing I knew, I was engaged and getting married. Whoops. Sorry, Meggum!

But then Megan came home, and had no idea what to do with the English language or the opposite gender. Raymond was patient, the good man that he is, and by the time that Megan was getting better at recognizing the difference between Spanish and English, the two were getting it together! Next thing I knew, I was planning a wedding.

So, after a good few years, lots of waiting, being in different schools, different states, and even on different continents, Megan and Ray have found their way to the altar at least. They have been married for one week today! I love you, Megan and Ray!

NOTE: I didn't post anything in the past while because of my many adventures in preparing for the wedding. Those posts will be upcoming. This one was just about Megan and her beloved.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Settling the Score

Hello, everyone!  Andrew here.

So word has it that Tashya is always saying good things about me here.  Actually, I look over most posts before they go up, so I'm probably where that idea comes from.  But I'm here to (try to) settle the score (a little bit).

So, I asked a few people that know Tashya really well what they think of her.  B
ecause somehow because I know her the best and spend every day with her, my opinion should be discounted.  Does anyone else wonder why things seem to happen that way? Anyways, here are their responses, edited only enough so that (I hope) she can't tell who said what:

"She is wonderful, and kind. And really sweet. Whenever you need her she's there. I love her."

"OH! what a marvelous idea! Tashya is so wonderfully amazing! there are so many qualities that I absolutely admire and adore about her. The biggest thing is her kindness and concern for others. She is one I go to just to get sympathy, comfort, and just plain ol' love. She is just so wonderful."

"Tashya has always been the one that would give comfort to anyone in need. She's spiritually in tune and does what God want her to do. She loves everyone and everyone loves her. If there is a woman in this world who is more deserving than Tashya to be a princess, I have yet to make meet her."

"She knows how to get things done and I go to her when I have a problem. One day, I was looking through my things and I noticed she had written me a note. It was a cute, touching note saying how much she loved me and gave me some advice."

"Ohboyohboyohboy!!!!  What to say about the amazing Natashya Chelson Heim...well, she's quirky, she's delightful, she's smart, she's thoughtful, she's amusing, and she has great nails. She really knows how to make a person feel SPECIAL."
"One thing I really love about Natashya is that she is just plain nice. She doesn't gossip or say mean things about people. She isn't dramatic, well like in the bad sense. (She can get pretty dramatic over how wonderful some recipes are.) She seems to love people for who they are, and that's enough for her. I really love watching it in her marriage. I have never heard her say anything less than loving about Andy, and I think that's really sweet.PS. We also like her sense of socks and over-all princess attitude."
"She is very funny! I love her blogs and her pictures! Oh, sorry, I seem to be blabbing. It's impossible to think of all of the things and stories I remember about her. hmm. Tashya is Charity."

So there, Tash.  Every one of these things is true, and I say it often. But this time didn't come out of my mouth, so you can't discount them.  So there.  Ha!
Granted, we do have our differences.  Sometimes,  you seems to make the world more complicated than it needs to be:

How things really are

How Tashya sees things
And sometimes you feel hot when it's 73 degrees but freeze if it's 69.  And sometimes you steal my blankets. But I wouldn't trade you for the world.  I want to always be with you.  Because you are so wonderful.

I love you,

Your Andrew

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Because Today Went So Well

Dear Folks,

Because today went so well, I am exhausted. I'm not sure what I'd be like if all had come to pass in an ill manner. I am, however, functioning slightly under peak performance. Or optimal. Or mostly alright. But I am well enough to say that everyone should laugh at this highfalutin man trying to be hip:

Because you didn't need to see his face anyway.

And also, in case you are like me and enjoy Shakespearean tongue and get a kick out of this, INSULT AWAY! Here's a handy chart! How many lines can you identify from the Bard's plays?


If you enjoy laughing AT ALL, and you have experienced the horridly boring, yet mildly interesting, irritation of channel surfing, then watch this:

AAAAAAND one last thing. You should definitely go read about my post about SURGERY from last year, because I had another procedure done today. While wholly unrelated in the health problem in question, there are some similarities to state of mind situations. Here's a picture from that post:

I shall report on today's proceedings tomorrow. Until then, adieu!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Loserly Door Openers Need Not Apply

Being a stay at home wife means several things for me. One, I have a good bit of freedom in my schedule and my life. Two, because I lack both children and employment, I am available for daytime child care. I have done several jobs around the area. I love kids. Growing up second of ten, I am used to children hanging from the rafters, hollering and having a grand old time. I like to play and have fun with them. Babysitting is really something I enjoy. Mothers tend to trust me as well, seeing as I've had so much experience with children and such my whole life. In fact, I did babysitting and childcare things to pay for a lot of college. So my friend Leah thought that she was making a great decision by calling me. But did she?

Leah called me late Wednesday. A last minute meeting had come up in her schedule, and she needed someone to be able to watch her two kids between 1:30 and 3:30. I had no prior commitments, so I was free to accept. The front door was going to be left unlocked, since they would be leaving about five minutes before I was scheduled to arrive. I was to walk in, make myself at home, and prepare for June to get home at 1:45, and then Roy would get home around 2:45. Super easy, right?

Apparently not.

I got to the house alright and on time. I felt pretty good about myself. As I was getting out of the car, I developed a small case of paranoia. What if this wasn't the right house, and I just strolled right in? Talk about an awkward encounter. So I knocked lightly on the door. I waited. I knocked harder. I waited. I rang the bell. I waited. Nothing. I figured that this was the right house after all. I pushed on the handle, and pressed against the door. Nothing.

Having nothing in response to knocking was alright. Having nothing in response to opening the door was not alright. I tried again.

This did not exactly work either. I then realized that my frantic shoving against the door could make me look like a mad creeper forcing entrance into an unwilling house. Not the best appearance to be giving in a suburb with NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH signs everywhere.

Unfortunately for me, this sign describes my exact appearance and situation at that precise moment. This was not good. I immediately ceased and desisted all attempts to barge into the house, whether or not I had the owners' permission to do so. Instead, I decided to sit down and read my book on the front step. It was a GORGEOUS day, not too hot, not humid, and absolutely beautiful. I, as always, had my book with me.

As I was in the process of jutting out my tush to sit down, I was swarmed by a massive herd of bees, all of which were of one mind: DESTROY AND MANGLE THE TASHYA GIRL!

I hadn't done anything! I wasn't even pretending to be a little black rain cloud! I wasn't stealing honey! I just wanted to read! Sheesh. Pooh Bear has left a bad taste in the mouths of bees everywhere. Good thing Winnie the Pooh is so cute, or I'd be so mad at him right now.

So I just sat in the car with the door open. I was hoping that when June got home, she'd know a great way to get into the house without being a total creeper about it. She would be my ticket in! Only that didn't work, because, hey, she's like four and doesn't know how to break into houses.

My friend Shannon was the one that brought June home from school. She walked around the house with me, despite the fact that she had two children of her own in the van, and tried to help me get in. It didn't work out so well. So she invited us back to her house to play, since she lived just around the corner. And since I had no other options at that point, I took her up on that offer.

NOTE: Only the little blonde girl isn't named Alissa. She's named AlYssa. There's a difference. Alissa is a different girl from a different family that I babysit for. AlYssa is Shannon's little girl. She's cute.

We played around with bikes, hula hoops, scooters, and other little doodads until Roy got out of school. Little Alyssa does very well with the hula hoop. She definitely schooled me. She kept her body in tight and neat control. It should be noted that pathetic hip gyrations that rack the entire body do not maintain hoop levitation, but instead places it closer to the knees. Later, I was allowed to stop humiliating myself when we fetched Roy from the school. Then then debated what we should do at that point.

I was then informed by Shannon, who had called another lady, who had called the kids' dad, that the door was not in fact locked. The door was not locked? The door had a tendency to stick. You had to push really hard to open the door. I protested because I had SHOVED against the door! I was about to be ARRESTED from showing so hard against the door!

I packed up the kids and went with Shannon back over to The House With the Lousy Door. We went up to the door. I touched the door, TOUCHED it. And it swung open. Swung open at the same time as my mouth falling wide open. Seriously. That just left me feeling like a real fool. After that, I was only at their house with the kids for about 15 minutes before the job was over, and I was allowed to go home.

Later that night I got a call from Leah. She kept saying how sorry she was that they had forgotten to tell me about the Sticky Door. I just laughed it off and told her it was all good fun. She said that she was glad that I was having such a great sense of humor about it all instead of being mad.

I was glad she wasn't mad about hiring the village idiot to watch her kids. Honestly. Who can't open a door?

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Lovely Day-iversary!

Two years ago today, a wonderful thing happened. A tall handsome bloke came and interrupted me from my frantic typing. He saw the dazed, somewhat manic gleam in my eye. He became slightly concerned. Because I am a loving and caring individual, I attempted to tone down my high stress levels, and pay attention to him and him alone despite the fact that this paper was due in just about 12 hours. A paper that I had just started. A paper that was the major research paper at the end of the semester. Rats. But I paid attention to the tall handsome bloke.

AND GOOD THING I DID! How else would I wind up with this gorgeous shiny thing on my finger? Or this magnificent bouquet of my favorite kind of roses?

That is a pretty ring. It has a large sparkly thing on top, and loads of small sparkly things on the band. I wouldn't let Andrew hold my left hand for a week. ESPECIALLY if we were in the sunshine. Nope. No way that anyone was allowed to cover that sucker up. My ring bling needed some flaunting!

I won't tell you how he did it quite yet. I will tell you that it involved his sneaky roommates, a coffee table, the "engagement circles" on BYU campus, a favorite passage from Cyrano de Bergerac, and three too many rings. I'm not telling you the whole story because I'm writing up the whole fantastic scene in "The Story."

That picture pretty accurately describes the beginning of our relationship. And most of the rest of our relationship up until about the point where we figured that it was alright to actually like each other. "The Story" is, believe it or not, the story of how Andrew and I found each other. It started with me falling in love with him before I'd ever even seen him- or heard of him for that matter. It involved cold. I don't like being cold. (I changed the names in the story, because I never want to tell stories about people that they don't want to hear. And it's funny, because people are guessing at who is who. It makes me laugh.)

Andrew and I complement each other. We can fill in with our expertise in areas where the other doesn't exactly overflow with that same competency. He is my rock. He is steady, dependable, honest, wonderful. When I get panicked, he remains calm and helps bring me back to some semblance of sanity. He makes me laugh all the time. He has a dashing and quick wit that keeps you on your toes- and at times a hand on your stomach, trying to help the ache in your abs from laughing too hard for too long! Andrew is also good at math, science, logic, and other (somewhat superfluous) skills. He can fix my computer when it breaks, which is good, because technology has a tendency to spontaneously combust when exposed to my person for too long. Andrew is also intelligent and well-read, meaning that we can have intellectual as well as silly conversations. That is a very nice quality to have in your life's companion!

And I had one of the best bridal shower treats ever at my hometown shower. (I had two-one up at school with my friends, and the other back home with all my other friends and my family.) Behold! Edible man!

My friend Jeni took one of my favorite engagement pictures and had a custom cake made. Not only was it one of the best cakes I'd ever eaten, it had Andrew printed on it. Printed on white chocolate. I told everyone that I was the only one allowed to eat Andrew's likeness, and that was that. They humored me, and I was happy. I took the portion of chocolate that had his face on it, and left (most) of the cake to the ladies. I can be a pretty jealous woman when it comes to my man and white chocolate. You have to admit, though, that's a pretty adorable picture, right?

Yes, it's true. I'm rather fond of my Andrew. He took my overly horrid evening and made it one of the best days in my life. It made it ridiculously impossible to focus for the rest of the night, but hey, what can I say? Have you ever tried typing with a brand new ring on your finger? Do you know how much the light plays with diamonds? Thank goodness my teacher allowed me to walk in two minutes late to give him my paper! And thank goodness Andrew gave me such a lovely day!

Exactly four months after that lovely day, Andrew added another ring to my finger. And this time, I got to give him a ring too.

What a lovely day. What a lovely memory. What a lovely beginning.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How To Be A Blossoming Flower

This weekend was General Conference. Every six months, the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak to the members around the world to give inspired counsel and commandments from the Lord. We sit around and listen to eight (or ten, for the men) hours of goodness in the form of talks and music. Some of the most inspiring words to me this General Conference were about light and life. I would like to share some of the thoughts that most touched my heart with you.

An oft repeated thought was that if we will draw near to the Lord, then Lord will draw near unto us. The Lord does not expect us to come struggling to Him while He sits there watching us flounder about like a bunch of ducks on the ice. He is not so unkind. President Uchtdorf said quite emphatically that the Lord does not desire to break our spirits! No, the Lord desires to dwell in us, and also to empower us.

Jesus Christ is the Light and Life of the world. President Uchtdorf reminded us that we need never fear that the darkness will triumph over the good. The light of Christ is ever constant and ever available. It is the hope that we can always look to and follow. It is the light that will bless our lives as we allow it into our hearts, and allow it to banish all shadows. Light and dark cannot occupy the same space. Light can fill our souls. It does not need to be filled with darkness or despair.

I think that one of my favorite phrases really ties this all together: 

Bloom where you are planted.

Blooming means to blossom, and to grow- and we don't have to be somewhere specific to do so.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ gives the parable of the sower. The seeds only grew in the good soil. The seed is the word of God. The soil is our hearts. We can make our hearts to be good soil. We don't have to have hard hearts, or be too busy to take time for God, or to allow concerns to choke out our testimonies of Christ. It takes effort, but we can do it.

Christ gave the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20). There are four kinds of soil, but only one allowed the seed to grow. I can make my heart be good soil, the kind that will nourish the good word of God. Potting soil made up of belief, prayer, Scripture study, love, service, and good desires. I can then water and give light (Christ) to the seed. I can bring my soil with me wherever I go because it is inside of me, in my heart. I need not be in a specific location or situation to bloom!

With good potting soil, the Light and Life of the World, and the Living Water, we can bloom where we are planted and make life more beautiful for everyone.

I can bloom, blossom, in the light of Christ, the hope of Christ. The love that Christ has for each of His children is tremendous. That love shines down on us. Like a flower leans towards the sun, we can lean towards the Son. We can grow upwards, and as we do so, we are drawing near to our Lord. The nearer that we draw to the Lord, the more that we can bask in his light.

I will admit something. I don't always feel very at home here in Texas. I moved here less than a year ago. It's my first time in Texas. It's a different climate than anything that I'm used to. There aren't many people my age, or in my situation. I'm far from family. I have a lousy health problem. Am I miserable here? No. Are people here horrible? Not at all! There are many wonderful people here, and I do have friends. But is this what I'm used to? Nope.

But you know what? That's alright. Because I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that light and hope are always available through Him, I can also know that everything is going to be alright.

I can find ways to bloom and grow right here in my home in Texas. It doesn't matter what difficult times are happening in my personal life. It doesn't matter what scary things may be happening in the world. I can find ways to bloom right here.

Christ said that by their fruits ye shall know them. Apples are good food, but they begin as blossoms. By bearing fruit and flowers of kindness and service, I can beautify and bless life for the people around me, giving both food and comfort. The Savior will come, and I'll be one that visited the Savior in prison, and gave Him food and drink, because I will have done it unto one of the least of these His brethren (see Matthew 25: 35-40).

As I blossom, I can produce fruits (cool apples, eh?) and flowers that can help to cheer up other people. I can be a blessing for Andrew. I can beautify and bring joy to the lives of my friends, neighbors, and random people in the grocery store.

Remember that the light and love of Christ are always available to us, His precious children. The sun is sometimes hidden by clouds, but the light and warmth are still there- otherwise it would a freezing night all the time!

"Know that there is darkness in the world, but walk in the light"- Pres. Uchtdorf. Andrew likes this thought. He thinks "walking" is staying, pressing forward, expressing faith, working towards good things. I agree.

Find the good in life. If you can't find a whole lot of good, become the good in life. For yourself, and for the people around you. You can be happy. You can blossom.