Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Thoughts

I've always loved Easter. One of my fondest Easter memories from childhood has to be the candy. It probably sounds like a no-brainer since kids love candy, but my dad loved candy and would always have a fun time picking out Easter candy… different kinds of Russell Stover eggs, Reeses eggs, Cadbury cream eggs, etc. 

Now that I'm older Easter has much more importance/significance to it than candy. I still love candy, don't get me wrong, but I know that Easter is a time to remember Christ and all of that He did for us and how indebted we are to Him. I love this short video that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently put out. It's very thought-provoking and definitely worth 2 minutes and 44 seconds of your time:
Because of Him we can start again (and again and again). Because of Him we have second chances, clean slates and new beginnings. Because of Him death has no sting. Because of Him we will live again. I know that this is true and I wish everyone knew it as surely as I know it because I think there would be much more hope and happiness in the world.

Here are two quotes that I really like:

Our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials, and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God. Our Father knew that because of the nature of mortality, we would be tempted, would sin, and would fall short. So that we might have every chance of success, He provided a Savior, who would suffer and die for us. Not only would He atone for our sins, but as a part of that Atonement, He would also overcome the physical death to which we would be subject because of the Fall of Adam.  – Thomas S. Monson
Thus, the Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy.  –D. Todd Christofferson

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bloopers

My friend Linda knows how much I love assorted chocolates, so when she saw a new Russell Stover store when she was driving around the other day she stopped in. The next day she brought over a 3 lbs box of bloopers (chocolates that didn't make the cut because they might've been a little smooshed, stuck together or scuffed on the outside of the chocolate). The 3 lbs box was only $10, so that's a great deal considering it would've cost far more than that at regular practice, so it was too much of a steal to pass up on. 
I said, "Linda! You're going to make me put back on all the weight I've lost!" I have a pretty strong willpower, but I have a wicked sweet tooth and am powerless when it comes to chocolate! :) My mom, Chandra and I have been enjoying them and there hasn't been a bad blooper yet!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Is in the Air

We had quite the winter here in Missouri this past year, as did lots of places in the country. It seemed to last longer than usual, probably because it was really cold and snowy. I think it was the 10th coldest winter on record and the 19th snowiest, so spring seemed so late in coming. It's taken forever to warm up, forever for the grass to get green and forever for the trees to bud/blossom.

It's still none too warm and it seems like we are several weeks behind where we usually are this time of year (spring-wise). It's really only been in the past week or two that there have been any noticeable signs of spring. There were several days last week where it just poured and poured and there were lots of storms (which included lots of lightning). The grass literally greened right before our eyes. I tell you, the grass greened considerably last Wednesday in the 12 or so hours that my shade was up. That's what a little moisture and lightning will do for the grass! (Yes, it's a proven that lightning is a natural fertilizer. I don't understand all of the science behind it, but it has to do with nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere.)

My friend/helper's birthday was last week. I really try hard to be thoughtful and creative when it comes to the gifts I give, but after you've known someone so long it gets hard to come up with something fresh/new year after year. So I just made things easy on myself and asked my friend where she wanted a gift card to. She said, "Forget the gift card; what I'd really like is a hyacinth." She said that she loves the smell of them (they do smell wonderful) and it's something she wouldn't buy for herself. So My mom picked up a beautiful, pink hyacinth at the store last week (and a gift card). I happily watched over the hyacinth in my room until we saw our friend two days later. It was fun to enjoy the beauty/fragrance of it. Now it's been replaced with some beautiful azaleas given to us by a friend. I'm glad spring is here!
 

Monday, April 7, 2014

"Dead Poets Society"

In my Valentine's Day post I wrote about giving my mom the movie Dead Poets Society. It wasn't anything she had expressed wanting, but I know it's a movie she really likes, and I thought she and I would enjoy watching it for one of our "dinner and a movie" dates. (It's usually just my mom and me for dinner, so we always watch a movie or an episode of a TV show we enjoy. It's our "dinner ritual" and it's always disappointing whenever someone/something prevents us having our dinner tradition!) We watched DPS shortly after Valentine's Day, but I've been so busy I haven't had time to make a post about watching it yet.

Part of the reason why we love this movie so much (in addition to the fact that it's an excellent movie) is because it was one of the few movies we actually owned when I was a kid. It was a Johnson family favorite and I've probably seen it at least a dozen times. I'm including two short summaries of the movie for you to read so you can get the gist of the movie if you aren't familiar with it. (For a more thorough plot summary read this Wikipedia article about it.)

Robin Williams stars as John Keating, an unconventional teacher who inspires students through poetry. When the school fires him, his devastated students rally behind him, mindful of the ways he has changed their lives.

Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His roommate, Neil, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each, in their own way, does this, and are changed for life.
If you've seen the movie there is a good chance you're familiar with this scene from the end of the movie pictured below. After being unjustly fired, Mr. Keating comes to clear out his office and the boys stand on their desks one by one in allegiance/respect to their beloved teacher. This is a gutsy move because they do it despite repeated orders to "sit down" by the brutally rigid Dr. Nolan, Headmaster of Welton Acadamy, who had taken over the class. 
My mom and I couldn't get over how young Robin Williams looked when we watched the movie again. He still had brown hair back then, but even though he's gone gray and gotten wrinklier, I still think he's a nice-looking man for his age. (The movie came out in 1989––it's hard to believe it's been 25 years already!––so I guess he would've been 37-ish at the time since he's now 62.) 
There are so many quotable quotes from this movie that teach really good lessons. Here are several. The first has to be one of the most well-known lines/scenes from the movie:
As I said, I've seen this movie many, many times before, so I obviously knew the entire story. That being said, I was surprised that I cried; several times, actually. And to say that I cried is actually putting it mildly because I sobbed! I did the "ugly cry"––the kind of cry you'd be self-conscious of having anyone else observe because no one wants to be seen losing composure in the face-contorting, tears streaming way that often accompanies sobbing. Highly embarrassing! I'm not easily moved to tears (usually) so this was surprising.

It was interesting how even though I haven't watched this movie in a good 15+ years, how I remembered so many of the lines and in many instances could recite/recall what was coming up next if it was a memorable line  or one that we frequently quoted in our family. (There were a lot of those we quoted, like, "Rip... I don't hear enough ripping!" I can't say enough good things about this movie, and I highly recommend it!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Birthday Party x Four

I've been so busy lately with my surgeries, going to doctor's appointments and preparing a talk for my church's stake conference, all in addition to trying to stay on top of all of the other things I'm involved in that I've neglected my blog lately. So now I'm trying to catch up by making some posts about a few things that happened earlier this month.

At the beginning of March I saw my sister Sharon and her family when they took a trip over spring break. Three of Sharon's six kids have birthdays in March, and another one has a birthday in April, so we had a combined birthday party for them.  My mom tried a new cake recipe… it was good, but we all agreed that the recipe wasn't worth saving.
Three out of four of the birthday kiddos were sick, so we left it to Sharon to blow out the candles to prevent germs from being blown over top of it. We made sure she held her hair back and she and my mom reminisced about Sharon's 9th birthday when she caught her hair on fire while blowing out her birthday candles. Thankfully that's never happened again!
After dinner we opened birthday presents. Here's Sharon with little Poodle, and Kate with the Webkinz owl she eyed while shopping at Hobby Lobby with my mom and sister when they went shopping after Christmas. My mom went back and bought it and got an awesome deal on it. [I didn't know what Webkinz were until a couple years ago. They are toy stuffed animals that have a playable online counterpart in "Webkinz World". On Webkinz World the user is able to own a virtual version of the pet for online play.]
To say that Matt is all-boy seems like an understatement when you consider his love of all things tool/lawn equipment (read more about "Manly Matt" in THIS cute post). My mom and I decided to get him a toy weed whacker, or "bee-whacker" as Matt refers to it. I'm not sure why, but he also calls his lawnmower a "blawnmower." :) Anyway, Mattie loved his present!
I gave Rachel some reusable sticker books (where were those when I was a kid?!) and my mom gave her a puzzle and a Pinkalicious book.
My mom gave Emi a pounding bench and I gave her a little dress, which she looks adorable in, I might add!
Matt and Emi are so cute together; I'm glad they're such great friends! It's hard to believe they are 4 and 2 already! 
Yay for birthdays; they're always much more fun when you can celebrate them with family!
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