Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitude through the lens of charity

(please notice that the title of this post has been done in APA style. Thank you.)

This is the talk I gave in church last week. It was about gratitude sort of...

For two years, I lived downtown in Seoul South Korea. It was my first experience living overseas and as you can imagine I experienced a great amount of culture shock. Seoul itself is a beehive of a city that in recent years has become a strange conglomeration of cultures. Because of the US military’s presence, there are outback steakhouses (sometimes two across the street from one another!), gaps, starbucks, dunkin donuts(Koreans LOVE them some donuts) and mcdonalds sharing storefront space with boshintang restaurants (that’s DOG SOUP!) and little cobbler stands where you can get your shoes resoled for under 4 korean won, which about 3 us dollars.

Every day, I walked through the streets on my way to the bus that would take me to the newer, highrise dominated suburbs and after a while, the oddities of seoul stopped seeming so odd. I grew used to the smell of bundegi ( steamed silkworm larva, a popular street snack ) and the strange site of little children licking their lips and saying, “YUM DELICIOUS” as they stared at our pet goldfish swimming around in his tank. Eventually, even the anachronisms of this asian city ceased to call attention to themselves and everything started to look about normal. But there was one thing that continued to bother me. Every day as I made my way through pighead alley to the bus stop at 8 am, I would see an old man (and we’re talking 80 year old man) with a makeshift wheelbarrow loaded to overcapacity with cardboard boxes. Every day, he would pull his cart through the street alongside a sea of yellow taxi cabs and brand new Hyundai sedans. It was like a scene out of a national geographic.

I learned from some of my Korean friends that this was a common way of making money for older Koreans. All night long while the city sort of slept, these adjushis & adjumas (or old men & women) would pick through the recycling, load up their carts and then turn them in for a very small sum of money. There were sort of turf wars for the best garbage gathering place, and occasionally, I would come home late at night and discover an old man in my garbage hut, bickering with someone over who’s beat this was and who got to take the load. The man that I saw each morning bothered me in particular because he seemed too feeble to be hauling such a heavy load. Sometimes his cart was so heavy that he could barely maneuver it across the street with his bent back and gnarled weatherworn hands. Korean drivers are crazy to begin with, but their patience evidently ran even thinner when it came to the junk carts. I watched regularly as he tried in vain to heave the cart from one side of the street to the other, waiting cars honking and yelling for him to move! My heart was heavy as I watched him struggle morning after morning and I wondered about his life. Surely it was miserable. SURELY it must be miserable. He couldn’t possibly be happy. I didn’t understand where he got the strength to live each day, to get back out there and haul his load through honking cars and sometimes vicious rain and cold.

One particular morning, I was feeling very sorry for the old man as I contemplated his life again. I’m pretty sure I was wondering why God would allow him to be so much more miserable than me in this life. when suddenly (and I think by inspiration) I had this thought: Who am I to assume that his life is any less happy than mine simply because I have more things and different life work? Is it not entirely possible that within the scope of his life, there have been times when his peace and happiness and contentment have eclipsed mine? If I believe in the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then I must also believe that the gifts of spirit are available to all his children regardless of station in life.

This thought has been important to me as I contemplate my own life mission. As I prepare to work with the world’s poor and vulnerable populations, I must be able to see them not as objects of my pity or condescension, but rather as brothers and sisters with different life trajectories, no less capable of bearing the burdens placed upon them with joy and peace. I know plenty of people who have everything and still find themselves with gnarled hearts and bent spirits, unable to navigate their loaded carts through traffic.

So what does this mini, personal revelation have to do with gratitude? I submit that it is a lesson in Best practices…of HOW to cultivate a spirit of gratitude in true Christian form. I think that we can all agree that being grateful is important. It’s a moral truism that almost no one would find problematic. It’s such an important principle in the gospel of Christ that our prayers are structured to include a hefty portion of thanksgiving before just about anything else. I don’t need to spend 15 minutes convincing any of you that being grateful is a worthwhile pursuit. You’re already working on it. You’re here. You’re seeking to connect. Gratitude is part of that connection.

What I do think is worthwhile is thinking about how we use charity, the pure love of Christ in our efforts to be a grateful people.

Moroni 7:47-48 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever, and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Wherefore my beloved brethren (and sisters), pray unto the father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons (and daughters) of Christ; that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall SEE HIM AS HE IS; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified as he is pure. Amen.

As I’ve thought about this scripture, I’ve wondered how charity will make it so that we will be able to see Christ as he is and I’ve come to the conclusion that love, specifically Christ-like love as described in the preceding verses (envieth not, is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, suffereth long, etc) creates a new perception of the world – a new way to see everything. It’s as though you’ve put on a pair of clarifying glasses in which you can suddenly see things from someone else’s eyes. I call it looking at the world through the LENS of CHARITY. I employed my charity lenses recently when I was feeling hurt by one of my friend’s seemingly careless actions. I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me look at the situation with my other eyes and suddenly, a new possibility opened up to me that helped to still my pain and understand that maybe there was more to the story than I could begin to perceive in my emotional state. After talking to my friend, I realized that indeed, there was more to the story. The lens of charity helped me to see things as they really were instead of how I perceived them. I believe that seeing things as they really is a gift that we must ask for and practice receiving. It is this gift that will ultimately makes us able to see Christ as he really is. We will see him through the same lens of charity that we have cultivated in this life.

Now for gratitude-

A few years ago, psychologists undertook a research study to determine how gratitude interacts with happiness. They used the idea of a gratitude journal and tested it against several different conditions. One condition was having subjects focus only on their hassles or struggles. You can imagine that this yielded very few positive results. The other condition that they tested against the gratitude journal was what social scientists called “downward social comparison” which they defined as ways in which participants thought they were better off than others. This is a happiness intervention that I bet we can all relate to. How many of us when feeling low about something quickly try to think about someone who has it worse than we do in order to feel better?

My friend's mom was very fond of reminding us, anytime we were dissatisfied with the fact that we were not married yet, to just think about that women who don’t have both of their legs or women who are put into arranged marriages. While it was sometimes good for a laugh, it didn’t really help us feel better about OUR own situation. In retrospect, I think this type of comparative gratitude can lead to a great deal of sorrow not only by diminishing or negating the authenticity of our own experiences but also, paradoxically intimating that someone else’s experience is more miserable than ours and that perhaps God has been kinder to us than to them. It’s a recipe for a slick kind of pride and denies the basic tenet of our understanding of who God is and that he gives gifts equally yet differently to each of his beloved children. It is the antithesis of seeing things with the lens of charity.

The results of the study showed that subjects who used the daily gratitude intervention (such as a gratitude journal) reported higher levels of positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to the subjects in the other group using downward social comparison. They were also more likely to have helped someone with a personal problem or offered emotional support to another person.

Science is simply reminding us of what King Benjamin said LONG LONG ago in his sermon to the nephites when he said, “ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

Perhaps thou shalt say, the man has brought upon himself his misery. Therefore I will stay my hand and will not give unto him of my food nor impart unto him of my substance that he many not suffer for his punishments are just.

But I say unto you, o man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent and except he repenteth of that which hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?"

Though King Benjamin is talking about the ways in which we impart of our material goods to the needy, his point is that we must focus on our own status with God in order to live the better law. It is the same principle that we see in the scientific study about gratitude. If we focus on what we are grateful for without using downward social comparison, we are better able to access our lens of charity. We can begin to see our brothers and sisters life experiences as different but equal with our own and treat them with dignity and respect instead of pity and condescension. We will be better able to acknowledge that God is working in the lives of every one of his sons and daughters. And we will see more clearly things as they really are instead of how our fallen intellect and narrow perceptions make them out to be.

Most importantly, we will be kinder to ourselves , HAPPIER and more content with the things allotted us in this life because we will understand that EVERYONE has a load to bear. Some of us carry our loads in the form of cardboard. Others are hauling around mental anguish, inability to move forward, fear, loneliness, exhaustion. But in each case, God is present, succoring and teaching. In each case, the atonement of Jesus Christ is sufficient to heal and bring peace. Our role in this great work of revelation (because I believe that missionaries are ultimately only revelators, wiping the dust off truth that exists in each person from birth) is to first believe and be grateful for that knowledge and then lovingly help others to see it as well.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Home Office (no *&%icle)

Sometimes being a student is cool. like on fridays and wednesdays when I don't have class and I wake up at 9 and take a leisurely stroll to the gym and then get dressed around 11am. But sometimes, sometimes, I miss having a place to go to that is mine for working, namely an office. I've been reduced to using my bed as my office (I have a desk, but really, who would choose that over that glorious memory foam mattress?). I generally don't get ready for work, as evidenced by my bird hair and on occassion I end up falling asleep mid sentence. But I suppose it's not that much different than any of the other jobs I've had. I guess this looks kind of awkward?Currently KA also works from home and now at least I get to have a co-worker! She favors the little chair in the living room facing the front door with the DVD player as a coaster for her office.

At my actual school they have three computer stations in a closet designated as the graduate student office. There are books and papers in all the cubbys from like 10 years ago. I've threatened to decorate and clean it up during the thanksgiving break just so that we have something that seems kind of officey. This is a sickness.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Stairway to....HELL...a post halloween post

This is what I do every day.

By this point, I'm sweating and pulling my legs up one at a time with my hands in the manner of frankenstein. I am also dropping more than one F bomb (gasp!) and cursing the bar that separates me from the people moving up the stairwell more quickly than me. It's preventing me from subtley sweeping my leg out to the side to trip up the 19 year old biscuit who beat me to the top by taking the stairs two at a time. Bitch.
Ahh....sweet respite. I think I'll stop here and pretend to adjust my computer satchel and/or pantyhose which have fallen to my knees in the rigorous climb. Thank goodness there's no more....dun dun dun!!!!
Evidently, I'm not the only one with problems. Everytime I get to the top I see this:

Just in case I thought I was done...

Are you scared? My thighs are.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Scissor Sister

I cut it all off. But I stayed blonde. I'll probably get more Kate Gosselin than Charlize Theron, but so far, I like it. Also, I don't have spikey back head business, just in case you were wondering just how butch I've gone. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Where have you been, Ninny B?

I've just been in the world of "the literature" thank you very much... which is a scary, exhilirating place to be. I'm reading article after article after article in preparation for my first papers and my first RESEARCH PROJECT (that's right, RESEARCH...let's say it again, RESEARCH!) I don't think I really understand everything that I'm reading and I am amazed at the way these scholars are able to extrapolate theories and connect the dots in their lit reviews. It's made me think a lot about my intellect and question whether I'm academically fit enough to write a thesis. It's as though I can't ever really be complete secure about ANYTHING. I get the body image thing somewhat under control and then I'm like, oh, where is there a soft spot now? Brain. There's a soft spot in my brain. You thought you were smart and creative, try this, brain. what? Can't do it? muhahahahahahahahahah! (evil rubbing of hands) Bastard.

Yesterday I was reminded of something. I was struggling with these feelings of inadequacy and blaming it on the fact that I skated through my undergrad which left me unequipped to deal with the challenge of graduate level research. But you know how memory is usually kinder than it should be. I was remembering what it was like to be a senior undergraduate, FOUR years into the program. THAT was easy only because along the way, I had those FRESHMAN crying phone calls home to my Dad when I was paralyzed with fear at writing my first 8 page essay for a feminism class (don't get me started...this was the class that prompted my grandmother to say,
"What? FEM-I-NISM????? you'll come back as one of those LIBERALS!"). I was reminded that my freshman year, I constantly doubted my capacity to swim with the big dogs...wait, I think I got that wrong...but again, you know what I mean. I always told people that I got into Penn so they could fill their diversity quotient (because every ivy league school is looking for another white girl from the north eastern united states). I never thought I belonged there in the beginning.

The point is that now is not that different. I'm a baby. I'm a little freshman! And I'm not really up to the task of writing a thesis and understanding every theory perfectly and connecting ALL the dots....YET. But I'm here. And I love to learn. And I'm diligent. Soon I'll be a senior and before I know it, I'll be remember grad school with the soft lense of time. I might even remember it so fondly that I (gasp) sign up for a Ph.D. program. But probably not.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This Paper Moth Belongs to A Long and Brown Girl

oh oh.... because once I was a poet. Once I wrote and wrote and wrote not because I needed to find the hole in your argument or because it was due, but because once there were words that meant 200 different things in one syllable. And trumpets. There were words that were trumpets. Once I was a poet. But now I am a just a grave digger, an un-tangler of necklaces stuck in your casket....but sometimes people and their art make me alive to words this:


A Paper Moth

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I have so many things to write about...I keep this list of topics for the blog...dutifully take pictures when I do something cool...and then promptly never write about it. Remember when you thought that NB moving to Provo and attending BYU was going to provide endless humorous anecdotes?

Ugh. Well, the two years aren't over yet, and I will someday need somewhere to put all of the HILARIOUS flyers that I've begun collecting from the women's bathroom in the Brimhall Building...but for now, I'm going to record something kind of not funny, but still cool.

You know I didn't go to a "church" school for my undergrad right? And you know that I was called to be the Institute Council President during my senior year but then never ever went to institute, right? And of course you know that during college, my crowning religious achievement was organizing JELL-O wrestling at Valley Forge National Park, right? (no, seriously, it was awesome...a huge pool of rainbow jello and like 40 single mormons sliding around.)

But now here I am, 33 and at BYU where I am doing what many of you did years ago. I'm taking a religion class to round out my credit hours. I decided to take a Joseph Smith History class and was not disappointed when the professor turned out to be a softy with a penchant for open book quizzes and reading instead of papers. The thought did cross my mind that maybe I would learn something new about the founder of Mormonism and the man that I consider to be a modern day Prophet of God. But I think I'm getting way more than I bargained for.

You know what I thought about today? Repentence. I thought about sin. And not in that "OH, I'm going to be damned to hell" kind of way...but in that "maybe just maybe I have some unfinished business that I need to take care of if I'm going to be right with God" kind of way. And then I had a sweet prayer...the kind that reaffirms life and reminds you that you aren't alone. The kind that opens your soul and helps you to desire the things of the spirit more than you have in a long time. A prayer of repentence...and the end result is that I'm thinking about forgiveness now instead of sin.

All of this because of my Joseph Smith History class. I'm learning a lot about the prophet and his imperfections. We have to read a book of our choosing along with the other coursework, and I've chosen (probably unwisely due to the sheer length and weight of the tome) Bushman's cultural biography about JS, "Rough Stone Rolling". I like that Bushman doesn't shy away from the critics of the prophet and their theories. It's forcing me to decide if he was a charlatan or a prophet with an informed logical spirituality as I like to call it. Along with the details of his life, I'm finding application. Joseph Smith didn't go to a grove of trees to have a revelation and to see God and the Savior. Joseph Smith didn't go to a grove of trees to become a leader of a people, a standard bearer of what believers consider a restoration of religious truth. He went into the grove of trees to seek forgiveness of his sins and to be made whole as an individual. In fact, in the early days of the church's history, that was the part of the account that he relayed most often and most fervently. The other stuff, you know, that whole founder of a huge religious sect thing, was SECONDARY to his personal relationship with diety.

It's reminding me to take care. To be more connected. To believe in those things that are most important. Church governance and structure is a big deal and I believe inspired. The growth of the church is a big deal and I believe due to the truthfulness of the message. BUT, what's really important is this: One girl. On her knees. With God.

Joseph was a huge proponent of each person having a miraculous relationship with God and having big personal revelation just like him. And I believe. I believe.

Monday, September 06, 2010

My fingers will now breed love...

Today was miraculous. Please notice the sweeping light of angels bending down from heaven to guide me out of the Guitar Center doors as I leave with my prize...a Pro Series Breedlove C25 on sale for labor day. That's and easy, the way a Ninny Beth guitar should be.See as I walk carefully to Ray, a little nervous to introduce him to the new baby...I don't want him to get jealous. But it's going to be hard not to play favorites...Doreen (we think that's her name but I'm not signing anything until I know her a little longer) is rosewood and cedar with deep bass tones and a working pickup. She sounds like a choir of a million little Dolly Partons. How can you not favor that?Lest you think I suddenly got good enough with money to afford something without an insurance company, I would like to take a minute to thank my arts benefactor for the birthday present. My 33rd year will be a much better one because of you and your generosity.... xoxoxox. I will write a song about you....

And now, I can provo properly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Rituals of the End

I had a pretty important realization as I prepared to make my exit from DC to the land of Provo. I've been doing this forever...this leaving thing. I even have rituals that have been cultivated over the years. You've probably been part of one of my rituals and if you haven't, don't worry, I'll leave somewhere soon and you won't be spared. Here's how it goes:

1. I stop answering phone calls and text messages and email

2. I start hording bubble wrap and smallish boxes, sometimes stealing them from the amazon boxes that come to work

3. I begin organizing my memories, in shoe boxes, to be exhumed sometime in the near distant future and maybe stuck to a cork board in my new location to remind me of where I've just come from

4. I plan a concert

5. I pretend that I am crafty and stay up late into the night making handmade gifts (water color magnets, felted t-shirts, picture frames) for the people I love. Never mind that I haven't done anything of the sort the entire time I've been's a gift entirely cultivated to say farewell.

6. I find a person or people in my new location to fixate on so that I can be excited about the moving on, the leaving behind, the changing

7. I stop cleaning

8. My mom comes to help me pack all my belongings into very small spaces and drive with me to where e're it is I'm going (this one doesn't apply to korea - She's too afraid of long flights)

9. I mourn the sadness by eating things, lots of things. Hopefully I'm mostly eating them with friends, but sometimes I just eat them by myself. I gain at least 5 pounds

And I did it again. Here are some pictures to prove it. Don't freak out if this looks at all familiar from the last time I left you. Its just what I do, evidently.

The Triple Threat Diva Concert. Three roommates, all musicians, all the time. I had been trying to make this concert happen since February, but it was a perfect capstone to the amazing house that I lived in. Patti Papworth, Shannon Simmons and I each performed our own songs and a couple of collaborative three part harmony songs. The highlight for me was Patti playing a drum during "Oh, Seoul". She added this whole element of Korea to the song that was missing when I play it by myself. Talk about painting a picture. Amazing. I love these girls.
> Patti sings JAZZ.
We sang, "Down in the River To Pray" by alison was ril cool.
Patti was the drummer in the band. Do you have a crush on her? Everyone always has a crush on the drummer.
some well loved patrons of the arts.

Shannon sings ROCK and the ROLL.
My lizzie came all the way from Connecticut to be here in all her cute yellow-ness. That is true best friend.

People people everywhere. I think we fit 65 people in our living room, dining room and backyard. Although we are extremely boho, the scarves on the light fixture have a non-decorative purpose to help unusally tall people not bonk their heads on the unusually low dining room light. Obviously there has been a casualty before.

It was an amazing experience. Thanks to everyone who helped make this ritual what it was meant to be. A delicious farewell.
And I love Sang Hai Lung. I call her my old lady...emphasis on the MY. I was her lucky visiting teacher for the past year and she taught me so much about generosity and sass. Sister Lung had no front teeth and would often teach me lessons in broken english. When I broke up with SB, she was the first to console me by telling me as I cried in her living room, "He good looking man. But you better be single. Get married, is like bird in cage. Now you free. Be friend." Sang Hai came to America as a bride in an arranged marriage at 15. She worked hard at a restaurant that her husband wanted and bore 8 children, none of whom speak Chinese. She is now 80 years old and has crippling arthritis and joined the LDS church only 8 months ago. She is strong willed and determined and loves God. Its been a joy to be with her.

Here is my Ray...well packed to the hilt by my talented momma. Somehow she made my life fit and I love her for that and for much much more. It was amazing to spend so much dedicated time with her. I guess that's one blessing of being a single girl...

And of course, one final round with my roommates at Bob and Edith's...a special place where you can get pamcakes, scrapple, AND french fries. A place where no one asks questions and the homeless man who likes to come in and order lettuce is served with a smile. (please note that Patti is wearing her felted t-shirt!)
And then we drove.....

2,106 miles to be exact.

My Childhood in Food

Before I left DC, I did a little east coast touring. My mom came and we traveled to the Hometown market and then to Hazleton and Conyngham where I grew up.

This is the house that I consider my childhood home, although I realized when we went back to my "hometown" that my parents have actually lived in Portland, OR longer than we ever lived in Conyngham, PA. But this is the place where a young nerdy ninny concocted a pully system to bring books and potato chips to the top branches of the backyard tree. I can still remember the feeling of lolling on the brown carpet in the sunlight pouring through the formal living room window and the turquoise walls of my bedroom sanctuary where I had a pink telephone and the top of a bunk bed with my sister, Mo. There was Mrs. Ferrazano in the house behind us who cut pizza with scissors and paid $5 to mow her yard. The church parking lot that filled with puddles full of worms on rainy mornings - a perfect battleground for me and my brothers as we walked to the bus stop every morning on our way to Rock Glen Jr. High. This is the Valley Hi drive-inn. When I saw it, I freaked out because evidently it was somewhere important to my teenage years. The truth about the streets of the "big city" Hazelton is that it was and is a dump. But I didn't realize it as a was just the place where I grew up and the home of my friends.
You know memory is subjective, right? When I was a kid, all the richest kids seemed to be able to do all kinds of things that I NEVER got to do. Like eat icecream EVERYDAY at stewarts drive inn. This orange eyesore is right in the main strip of Conyngham (which consists of a grocery store and well...stewarts) and it features orange picnic tables and loads of shiftless youth after softball and football games. I made my mom get icecream there because I NEVER got to do it as a child (which she kindly reminded me is a falsehood. I actually had plenty of stewarts experiences).At the hometown market we ate every kind of delicious food that Pennsylvania has to offer.
Birch Beer. I don't really know what this stuff is, but you can only really get it in PA. Also, you can only really call it P.A. if you've lived there.

Whoopie Pies made by real amish ladies.

Pennsylvania pretzels. The only real pretzels.

The market was sweltering and smelled like new orleans in august. My mom likes to cool off with a little beverage.
My old young women's leader and her husband came to accompany us to the market. I was happy to show that I had overcome my painfully awkward phase and become just plain awkward (or painful...not sure which).

We bought senapes pizza and took a trip through the Gould's IGA. It was the perfect trip down memory lane and now I can safely say that I don't need to go back. Ever.
However, my family is another story. I am very aware that this time on the East Coast with my mom's extended family was a gift. My nan and pap and their scary freezer food. My crazy great aunt katie who now knows how to use predictive text because of me and sends me pictures of herself kissing her dog Bandit goodmorning. My 30 + cousins and their children, my uncles and aunts who are easy to be with not because we have anything in common but because we share something more important than interests...memories, ancestry, history, blood.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Welcome to Provo, SINGLE LADY.

Today I was looking on craigs list and saw this posting for a LOVELY MARRIED APARTMENT.
I'm not really sure what a married apartment is, but I'm happy for it. Good job, apartment! I can only suppose that just like in real life, this apartment recently took the plunge and has magically stopped being able to relate to the pathetic single apartments that dropped $50 on their wedding present only 2 months ago.

The best part about ad was the assertion that the apartment gets lots of light. And then they posted THIS PICTURE to illustrate:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Behold, the sacred grove of the Lovely Married Apartment, bathed in glorious light from above. I think I have nothing else to say about this. I keep trying, but words are not working.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Closing Out the East Coast

Family. Isn't it about time? As I get closer and closer to leaving DC, I realize that I'm not just leaving a place...or even good friends...I'm moving away from all my maternal extended family. Nanny. Pappy. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. A million and one cousins. Family. Acceptance and belonging just because I exist and for no other reason. This weekend, I went to the Fultz family homestead for a painting party. My brother, Ian drove up from South Carolina to see my mom and sister who had just arrived by car from Cali. We ate, we worked, we cleaned, we partied...we made fun of a crappy talk in sacrament meeting but only after we quietly and reverently participated in the sacrament. It reminded me of everything good about my family. And I cried a little. Of course. Because that's the other thing we Fultz's do.

Three sisters and a cute nanny.

Two sisters and a cute nanny.

Meg and Me. We've always been totally different in our personalities, but that's the amazing thing about sisters...different doesn't stop the love. And look at our eyes! One and the same. Just like our momma's.Aunt Kathy and Great Aunt Katy...Kathy gave me my childhood nickname and Katy took me shopping for my very first NEON outfit. Those are some awesome legacies of love.
One granddaughter and a cute pappy.

And then there is the matter of my other family...these girls. I don't know if it's a function of being single for so long or if it's because I've lived away from my biological family for so many years, but my friends have truly become my family. I've been so lucky here in DC to find such an immediate and perfect for me family.
Thanks for making me laugh so hard that I had to get up and run around the room and then massage my face. No matter what happens, you will always be one T behind....
Thanks for lending me your babies and letting them build crusty baby ponds in our firepit...
Thanks for travelling hours upon hours to eat cookies and play dress up with me.... (not that you'll ever read this, lizzie)
Thanks for serving with me and giving my 14 year old dating advice (which sadly applied almost every time)....
Thank you for teaching me and letting me love you....