Monday, August 29, 2011


I am not a grateful person by nature.  You know how when you're asked to give a talk or lesson in church it's usually on a principle that you need to work on?  Starting in my middle teens and extending through my junior year of university, I believe I was asked to give at least five talks on gratitude.  Ouch.  The last talk assignment was actually gratitude and humility.  Double ouch.  More often than not, I feel like God has to give me a good smack over the head with a spiritual 2x4 before I "get it."  

Though I haven't given a talk on gratitude for a while, it's a subject that has remained on the edges of my thoughts.  It is still a principle I struggle with--it's such a reflex to devote all attention to this moment's petty trial--but I have tried to be more grateful.  Looking at my life--past, present, and future--through the lens of gratitude turns my heart softer, my countenance brighter, my thoughts happier.  I am more pleasant.  I am more content.  I am closer to God.  

Today, sitting in church, I was overwhelmed by gratitude.  It didn't stem from the speakers (though they were great), it didn't stem from any big change (though there have been some); it sprung from some internal well I don't often draw deeply from.  And because I was grateful, not just for any one thing but for my life in general, I was transcendently happy, content, and at peace.  

I was still floating when I went to Relief Society, filled with a strong sense that life is good.  Our instructor asked us each to think of a trial we're going through.  I'll be darned, but I couldn't think of one for at least a minute or two.  My life is not challenge-free, but in those couple of hours, my pesky trials were so dwarfed by blessings! happiness! contentment! that they ceased to merit any attention.  

When I finally did "remember" the main thorn in my side, I was shocked I'd forgotten it.  Hadn't I cried and lost sleep over this thing?  Wasn't it my main cause of stress?  But just like that, it was no longer on my radar.  Insignificant.  A non-issue.

I'm still not grateful by nature.  But I am grateful for the reminder that happiness comes from within, that trials are rarely as significant as they seem, and that, holy moly, I am sure blessed.

And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.  - D&C 78:19

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I am so done with summer.  I am craving fall with every pore of my sweat-soaked body.  It has been miserably, unbearably hot for months upon months upon months with no rain and no reprieve.  

Yesterday, my friend and I walked into Hobby Lobby.  Big mistake.  I almost cried when I saw the rows of craft tables piled high with ornamental gourds, wreaths of fall leaves, and pumpkins of varying sizes and motifs.  Not to mention the towering display of fake Christmas trees and aisle after aisle of ornaments and Christmas-y crafts.  The whole store smelled of cinnamon and spice and crisp, wonderful autumn.  It was nearly more than I could handle when we walked out the doors and the heat and stink of sizzling asphalt punched us in the face.  Hobby Lobby, how could you be so cruel?

All I want is a little of this:

Or even this:

Or a cold snap.  Or a hurricane.  Or pretty much anything other than day after day of cloudless sunny skies, 103 degrees, and 60+ percent humidity.  

I checked the weather forecast this morning and saw that there is a one percent chance of rain tomorrow.  

I got pretty excited.

I may be getting desperate.

Or maybe not--is anyone else out there dressing in sweaters and mittens and standing in front of a full-blast air conditioner while drinking hot chocolate and humming Christmas carols?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grammar Geek Tutorial: Definitely

Want to appear more credible, professional, and/or grammar geeky when you write?  I'm going to sporadically post a few common, but glaring, typos I see every day--and how to fix them.

Let's talk about the word "definite" for a minute.  It means absolute.  Positive.  Assured.  Decided.  

And so, when people want to put emphasis on something, they use one of those words:
"We'll definitely be there."
"He is absolutely, positively the best."
"I am decidedly yours."

Definitely is a popular word these days.  It's taken the place of totally from the 90's.  It pops up daily in blog posts, emails, and Facebook status updates.  

Sadly, it's embarrassingly rare to find it correctly spelled.  

Most frequent is the addition of an A, as in definately.  This is a typical, run-of-the-mill typo.  "Definately" is not actually a word.  Remember that there's definitely no A in definite.  Or you could think of it as "Nate" is never definite, so he definitely does not belong in defiNATEly.  I'll stop beating this horse now.

Also common is a twist on this misspelling: defiantly.  This one always makes me smile.  Defiant means rebellious, intentionally contemptuous, hostile, openly resistant.
So posting on your friend's Facebook wall something like, "I'll defiantly be at your party Saturday" actually means that you'll be there, all right, but you'll be there in hostile opposition to whatever's being celebrated.

Which is kinda funny.  

Or maybe just to a grammar geek like me.

Anyway, to sum up:
- Definite definitely does not have an A in it
- Definitely don't write defiantly (unless, of course, you're feeling a bit hostile and rebellious--in which case, go right ahead)

Disclaimer:  I don't have a major or a minor in English, grammar, or editing.  Nor have I taken a grammar or editing course in college, elementary school,  or online.  I make errors all the time; there are probably even some in this post.  I just like giving unsolicited and occasionally hypocritical advice.