Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some Favorite Quotes of the Day

If you asked me to tell you my all-time favorite quotes, I would take weeks or months to finish the personally daunting task. Too many people have said too many cool and meaningful things! But some of these are quotes that have stuck out to me lately. New or other quotes will probably appeal to me soon, but for now, these are on my mind.

"Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Thought we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely." --Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." --Henry David Thoreau

"Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at the blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forearm." --Gene Fowler

"Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness." --Helen Keller

"Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen." --Epictetus

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

14 Reasons Why I Love Tracy

Tracy and I don't get much of a Valentine's Day this year--we will be in an airport most of the day. His grandmother died, so we are going up to Washington for the funeral and to spend some much needed time with his family.

But just because we'll be stuck in an airport with long delays, short tempers, and abundant free peanuts, we can still find and feel love (especially if you've seen Love Actually, but I have to admit that I've only seen the edited version). So, I am going to list 14 (get it? Feb. 14) reasons why I love Tracy. I hope I can keep it to only 14 reasons.

1. Tracy works so hard. He often worries about providing for me and our future family, but he is doing a fantastic job!

2. Tracy always gives me an equal share of everything. Our bowls of ice cream look identical. He is happy to share the covers (but apparently I am not). He will save the last brownie for me if I haven't had as many as he has. And he always brings home leftovers for me if he gets free food or free gifts at work or school.

3. Tracy calls me his pretty lady when I am sad. Tracy is not a man of many words when it comes to romance, or consolation, but this one phrase melts me every time. As well as "I love you," of course.

4. Tracy is frugal. I hate spending money. And Tracy hates spending money even more than I do. Although this can be annoying when I go shopping with friends or family (my mom, sisters, and/or sister-in-law, basically not the boys), I really appreciate his concern for our budget. We have saved so much money because we talk about our purchases.

5. Tracy is manly enough to blow kisses at me--occasionally even in public.

6. Tracy has promised to take me to England and wants to take me many other places. That alone makes him so amazing! Of course all this other stuff helps too!

7. Tracy is my best friend. We talk about everything. He respects me. We are equals and partners in all we do together.

8. Tracy is a great driver, unless you cut him off, have your brights on, don't use your blinker, go to fast or too slow, or aren't paying attention. Then he's a very angry, but still safe, driver.

9. Tracy loves music. I can't imagine spending the rest of my life and eternity with anyone who didn't love music as much as I do. He underestimates his talents, and he is a great musician.

10. Tracy thanks me for dinner. I think he realizes that cooking is not the easiest or most enjoyable thing for me, so he thanks me for the food I make. I'm appreciated!

11. Tracy loves to surprise me. I was a naggy spoil sport when we were engaged, and I forced him to tell me where we were going on our honeymoon. Since then he has tried his best to pay me back and prove to me that he can keep surprises a secret. When we moved from Utah to Washington, he and my mom plotted to have her come up and help us get ready, unbeknownst to me. Then this Christmas, Tracy got me a sewing machine!! Everyone was in on it but me.

12. Tracy is very eloquent. He chooses his words very carefully and often uses words that are not exactly usual in casual conversation. He rarely stutters and is confident with speaking in public. So we both love words!

13. Tracy isn't perfect. Who is? He has his flaws, and I have mine. I really don't like some of his flaws, and I am sure vice versa is true too. What I love is that fact that he is imperfect, but he is trying to do the best he can. So am I!! We can be imperfect together and help each other become the best we can be.

14. Tracy is my prince in our love story. Tracy and I have very different memories of how our love story got started. Tracy says that we met when he was telling people about a ward activity coming up. He says that when I came to the door he stuttered and fumbled over his words (See #12). He says that he knew then that he had to get to know me better. The first time I remember him was when we were playing ultimate frisbee and he tackled me! I like to say he swept me off my feet--literally. Little did I know that that playful guy at the game would be my companion, my best friend, my husband.

Happy Valentine's Day, Tracy!! I love you!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Strengths Finder Test

Two weeks ago, I had a training meeting at the writing center where I work. We took a test that diagnosed our personalities and gave us what our strengths are. The purpose of the workshop was to understand, appreciate, and improve our strengths to work better with others.

I have to admit that during the test, I occasionally talked with my co-workers and I went too slow on some of the questions (it was a timed test). But I think some of the results are pretty accurate.

My top five themes:

What do these mean? Well . . .


"Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries. "

Very true. I do feel strongly that no matter where we come from or who we are, we can always find some common ground. Parents love their children everywhere. Love feels the same anywhere, although it doesn't necessarily manifest itself in the same way. I like how it said, "sensitive to the invisible hand," I'll just call it the Spirit. I'm trying to be sensitive to it. If anything, this theme tells me that my faith is a part of me, not just something I do once a week on Sunday or say to others. I believe that we are all brothers and sisters and we should treat each other that way.


"You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information—words, facts, books, and quotations—or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable. "

I do not collect butterflies, baseball cards, or stamps, but I do like to collect certain kinds of information--mostly travel-related, artistic, musical, and literary or written information. I want to know all I can. I want to read all I can (even though I haven't read as much as some of my peers). I want to learn more artistic and homemaking skills. I want to sing way more than I do. I want to gather as much music and I can. So much to do, so little time.


"You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the 'getting there.'"

I do love to learn. I want to learn about so many things that I don't think I could become an expert in any of them. I do enjoy the journey, but I also enjoy the feeling of competence in an area. I have to think of that goal before I start a difficult process of learning something; otherwise, I'll burn out.


"Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable. When assigning new responsibilities, people will look to you first because they know it will get done. When people come to you for help—and they soon will—you must be selective. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should. "

This is one that I'm not sure completely fits me. Aspects of it fit me for sure, and this one has been on my mind lately. While I do take ownership of my tasks and often take on more than I can handle (because I love when people think to ask me for help--see the previous post), I think I feel more emotionally and professionally bound to the person rather than the task or maintaining my good name (although keeping my good name is definitely a concern). When I read that part about taking on too much, I laughed out loud. That's me. I can't say no. Sometimes I don't know my limitations. I'm not complaining. I love doing all the things I do, but sometimes I don't know what I was thinking.


"You see the potential in others. Very often, in fact, potential is all you see. In your view no individual is fully formed. On the contrary, each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities. And you are drawn toward people for this very reason. When you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. You look for ways to challenge them. You devise interesting experiences that can stretch them and help them grow. And all the while you are on the lookout for the signs of growth—a new behavior learned or modified, a slight improvement in a skill, a glimpse of excellence or of “flow” where previously there were only halting steps. For you these small increments—invisible to some—are clear signs of potential being realized. These signs of growth in others are your fuel. They bring you strength and satisfaction. Over time many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you."

I do enjoy seeing improvement in the students that come in to the writing center. Even if they just realize that they're missing a comma or something small like that, I usually make a big deal about it, so they know that they are improving.

In general, the themes covered me pretty well. I think there were twenty or thirty characteristics, and the presenter said that each of us has some combination of all of them. She also said that the purpose of the program is to be aware of who you are, learn to appreciate your own strengths, and use them to your and others' benefit. I will try to use my powers for good!!