Thursday, November 29, 2012


I ran across this yesterday.

A gentle reminder to be kind.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I have a problem.  Alright, it's been awhile since I've aired my weaknesses, so I figured we're due.  Thank goodness for teenagers, at least mine anyway, because they have absolutely no qualms about telling you exactly where you fall short in your social interactions with others.  Which is why I wasn't at all surprised when Caroline announced that I need to "take it easy" and try not to sound so condescending around people, especially other adults.  In her words:  "Mom, don't be such a know-it-all . . . it makes people feel dumb when they're around you."

Chris was in the room and burst out laughing because, yes, as much as I hate to admit it, there is some truth in her statement.  The problem is that I'm not intentionally trying to "one up" another person or be condescending, but rather that I seem to have so much information floating around my head, it needs to unload somewhere and I figure "who doesn't want to be enlightened by this knowledge?!"  Sigh.

Caroline's frustration arose after our "scripture feast" Young Women's activity last week (an annual tradition - such a wonderful evening), and I thought everything went off without a hitch and was fabulous . . . until Caroline mentioned my problem.  I know, she's a little extra sensitive because I'm her mom and I completely understand that my role is to never embarrass her.  Enough said.

Anyway, I suppose it began when I started pointing out extra scriptures and historical references to enhance the girls' understanding, which Caroline said was fine because the girls seemed to enjoy listening and learning, but when she realized none of the leaders knew what I was taking about, that's when I was hitting the danger zone. Then I really plowed into unwanted territory when I blurted out the correct quote someone had misquoted, and then without listening the the internal voice that was screaming for me to shut up, I offered the correct author of the quote.  UGH.  I must have sounded something like this . . . "oh, and I believe the person who originally penned that phrase was Eleanor Roosevelt."  Not Good.  Apparently I didn't see Caroline rolling her eyes as I dug myself into a pit of unsolicited, trivial information.

I applaud my daughter for bringing this short sightedness to my attention and I promised I would watch myself, especially during Young Women activities and in church.  Well, that lasted about, um, a day.  This morning during a meeting with the presidency and our advisers all was going well and I was keeping unnecessary comments and thoughts to myself . . . until our conversation drifted to include an unfamiliar neighbor (who is from Iran) whose mother is in the hospital, and what we could do to help the family.  I said, "Oh, I've met her, she's lovely, she's Persian, right?"  The gal next to me answered, "No she isn't, she's Iranian."  And before she could even exhale her remark, I responded with "It's the SAME THING . . . Persia is Iran, people who live in Iran are Persian."  And I'm sure she could hear the inaudible "duh" at the end because an immediate feeling of "Julie, could you be any more annoying" immediately presented itself from around the table before I could kick myself for being such an idiot.

Sigh.  I'll get better.  Please don't take offense and if it will help, just think of me as the female version of Dwight . . .

Thursday, November 22, 2012

happy thanksgiving

The turkey is roasting, the rolls are rising, dishes are (for the moment) done, the fire is blazing, big kids are skiing, and the girls and I are headed out for a Thanksgiving walk in the sun.

My heart is full and mere words cannot describe the gratitude I feel towards my family, the gospel, and the beauty which I have been so blessed to observe each day.

I am content . . .

Monday, November 19, 2012


"The most wasted of all days is 
one without laughter."
e.e. cummings

Thursday, November 15, 2012

welcome winter

Last weekend it snowed, and snowed, and snowed for almost two straight days.  We lost power for most of the day on Saturday, but no one minded much since they played outside the entire day, and even when it became dark and cold the girls thought it was awesome to play games by candlelight with headlamps (thank goodness we had power before bed :).  When the sun came out Sunday afternoon we had amassed over 30".  The kids couldn't have been more delighted!

Our yard on Saturday . . .
The same trees on Sunday (and patio table - crazy!). . .
The snow was so deep Lucy was literally swimming in the white stuff!

I couldn't resist taking a video.

I find great satisfaction in stepping in fresh snow - even if I'm still in my skirt and boots after church.

Caroline built an awesome igloo for all the neighbor kids and Chris and I made sledding tracks for them down our sidewalk. (Sophie wouldn't be in the picture and Liza wasn't that thrilled that I lost it after they had been arguing over hot chocolate for the past 15 minutes . . . )

Another video of the dog trying to find the squirrels on the mountainside across the street - too funny!

Monday morning - I couldn't let a morning like this pass by without a little snowshoeing in pristine Neff's Canyon . . . Ahhhh.

Caroline and friends enjoying their first day on the slopes together.  Opening day at Solitude was yesterday and Ryan celebrated his first day skiing today at Snowbird.  Yes, they both missed school and every year when the attendance secretary asks "reason for absence," I reply with "mental health day."  Always works :).

Sunday, November 11, 2012


 Last week I finished reading Marilynne Robinson's exquisite novel, Gilead yet again. This is a book to be savored. A beautiful story told by the Reverend John Ames through a series of letters to his young son as he contemplates his life, his history, and the future of his wife and son. Robinson's brilliant observations and lyrical prose set this novel apart from so many other contemporary writings. Her knowledge of the relationship between fathers and sons, as well as her deep understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ is remarkable. This is one of my favorite books and after finishing the final chapter, I felt as if saying good-bye to an old friend. However, I'm sure it won't be long I pick it up once again to be tutored by the ever wise, yet humble, John Ames.

Here are a few excerpts that I found particularly noteworthy during this reading:

". . . it's your existence I love you for, mainly.  Existence seems to me now the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined.  I'm about to put on imperishability.  In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye . . .  The twinkling of an eye. That is the most wonderful expression.  I've thought from time to time it was the best thing in life, that little incandescence you see in people when the charm of a thing strikes them, or the humor of it. The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart.  That's a fact."

 "Our dream of life will end as dreams do end, abruptly and completely, when the sun rises, when the light comes.  And we will think, All that fear and all that grief were about nothing.  But that cannot be true.  I can't believe we will forget our sorrows altogether.  That would mean forgetting that we had lived, humanly speaking.  Sorrow seems to me to be a great part of the substance of human life. . . ."

"This is an important thing, which I have told many people, and which my father told me, and which his father told him.  When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you.  So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation?  If you confront insult or antagonism, your first impulse will be to respond in kind.  But if you think, as it were, This is an emissary sent from the Lord, and some benefit is intended for me . . . You are free to act by your own lights.  You are freed at the same time of the impulse to hate or resent that person.  He would probably laugh at the thought that the Lord sent him to you for your benefit (and his), but that is the perfection of the disguise, his own ignorance of it."

"In every important way we are such secrets from each other, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence.  Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable-- which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live.  We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity.  But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, untraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

so grateful

It's November and I would be amiss not to post at least one "gratitude" post.

So here it is . . .

Salt Lake City finally has it's very own TITLE NINE store and yes, I was so ecstatic that I visited this weekend before the sign was even up.

And, to make life even sweeter, ATHLETA will open in 9 days at City Creek (yep, just sent in my RSVP for the pre-opening event).

Alright, call me shallow, but I don't really "shop" and to have my TWO favorite stores arrive in Salt Lake within a few weeks of each other is nothing short of miraculous.

Truly grateful :).

Sunday, November 4, 2012

images of china

 Last week Chris and I returned from China.

It was amazing and I would go back in a heartbeat.  I wasn't prepared to love it as much as I did and enjoyed every minute.  Chris was working in Shanghai during the first few days of the trip while I was visiting the sites with a guide, then we flew to Bejing to spend the last three days together.  Hopefully I'll get around to a day-by-day posting of my favorite pictures (I took a TON), but for now I just had to share a few from my phone . . .

One of the many bronze lions guarding the halls in the Forbidden City

Shanghai financial district (Pudong) along the Huangpu river.  This was our view from the restaurant one evening (one of the perks that comes with accompanying Chris on business :).

Bejing - outside the Forbidden City north gate.  
The pollution added just the right touch to this pic ;).

One of the many "lake rock" formations within the Forbidden City

The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu.  UNBELIEVABLE!

This was our turn around spot on the great wall . . . it was breathtaking.

"Jade Buddah" Temple (working Buddhist temple) in Shanghai.
I loved the incense burners and watching the believers burn incense and pray.

Kumning Lake - Summer Palace, Bejing

Tai Chi Master practicing along the banks of the lake.  This was really fascinating to watch.

About the coolest wall I've ever seen (Shanghai) . . .  a mile of FLOWERS!

The Forbidden City - in front of one of the grand halls.  
We were quite the tourist attraction for all the Chinese coming to Bejing . . . 
really, it seemed we were the only westerners visiting the city that day and garnered quite a few stares.

Forbidden City "Hall of Supreme Harmony"

Yu Yuen Gardens, Shanghai.  I loved old Shanghai and these gardens which are remnants of a noble family's home and gardens during the Ming and Xing dynasties

Beautiful "wish" lanterns at the Jade Buddah Temple, Shanghai

Charting our course on the wall . . . 
yep, climb that hill, traverse across the ridge and up to the next mountain range!!

Hopefully more pictures and tales from our adventures coming soon (but don't hold your breath - this may be it or follow my "instagram" posts - I uploaded a bunch while we were on the trip: username = juliecantera).