Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let It Be a Lesson

Yesterday my sister told me a sad story about a young woman who was killed in a car accident last Thursday morning. 32-year-old Courtney Sanford was taking selfies and posting a status update to Facebook when her car crossed the center median, slammed into a recycling truck and caught fire. Courtney was killed instantly. (Fortunately the 73-year-old driver of the recycling truck was uninjured.)

After investigators examined Courtney's cell phone, police determined that she made a Facebook status from her phone at 8:33 AM that said, "The happy song makes me  HAPPY!" At 8:34 AM police got the call about the accident. Lieutenant Chris Weisner of  the High Point Police department in North Carolina told a news station, "In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy." The fact that Courtney was using her phone for something so unnecessary is what makes her death so tragic. Any accident resulting in a death/disability is sad, but especially one like this that was 100% preventable. I really feel for Courtney's family and friends because it would be really hard to deal with losing a loved one, especially when they were being reckless. Sometimes people just don't stop to think about the consequences of their actions.
I hope Courtney's tragic death strikes a chord with other drivers and reminds them of the dangerous consequences of using your phone at the wheel. Distracted driving is SO hazardous and leaves you just as impaired as driving under the influence of alcohol or driving sleep deprived. Sending that text, snapping that selfie, answering that call or updating that status just isn't worth the risk! Let this be a reminder of what NOT to do.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Check out this amazing sketch drawn by a 16-year-old girl named Shania. She called the portrait "Coleman" and entered it into an art contest where she won the overall first prize. All of the elements on the man's face are so detailed, even down to the most minute things like the eyebrows, wrinkles, pores and facial stubble. Everything is so intricate and precise making this look more like a black-and-white photograph than a drawing.

I've always enjoyed art and would love to possess even a fraction of the artistic talent that this young woman has. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chan's Hidden Talent

My sister Chandra learned to crochet relatively recently. She really liked it which kind of surprised since me since crafting/sewing has never really interested her. However, she enjoyed it so much that she decided to try her hand at making a baby blanket for a friend who recently adopted a baby. It was fun watching the blanket come together bit by bit and every time I saw her working on it I'd ask her to hold it up so I could see how it was coming along. When she mentioned making a blanket I didn't know how the finished product would turn out since this was her first attempt, but it turned out beautifully! I was seriously impressed. She ran into a couple snags a few times, but was able to figure things out without too much trouble. I could see a lot of first-timers getting frustrated and giving up, so I really have to hand it to her for having the patience to see it through to the end.

I started calling Chandra "Granny Chan" or "Channie the Granny" when I would see her bust out her yarn and crochet hook. The other day when she and I were at Hobby Lobby we were in the yarn isle looking at baby afghan patterns and different crochet books and I asked her if she thinks she'll keep crocheting and she said, "yes" and that she wishes she could quit her job and crochet all day long. I look forward to seeing more projects from her in the future.

Our friend loved the blanket Chandra made her and she was so touched that Chandra would go to all that work for her and her baby. I made sure Chan took a few pictures of the blanket before she gave it away since I was so proud of how it turned out. I knew it was worthy of a blog post.

Every time I saw Chandra working on her blanket I joked with her that I was jealous of her arms/hands that work because I know crocheting is something I'd be good at and would enjoy doing if I could. I know the basics of crocheting (the picture below is evidence) but I never followed a pattern to make anything. It's times like these where I just how to sigh and think, "one day."

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


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!
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