Requisit Respite

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Everything Will Work Out

I just wish I could believe this right now.
I am having an anniversary reaction. Two years ago this Labor Day weekend, I had my unfortunate accident. My foot is still not healed. I've had several blessings that my foot will be healed. I am impatient. I feel depressed. I need to take this advice.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

What I Do Today is Important

August 31?

As in the end of August?

Wait a minute.

Didn’t I just plant my annuals?

Wasn’t it just the longest day of the year?

Didn’t I just blog about fireworks on the Fourth of July?

But what else did I do?

Ever since I moved to Utah, I vowed I would live in the present—be present to all around me. But, considering how quickly time flies, and not seeing much to show for its passing, I’m wondering if I might be flittering away my life, not filling my moments with memories as I should.

I used to have a tagline with my emails:

“What I do today is important
because I am paying a day of my life for it.
What I accomplish must be worthwhile
because the price is high.”

Author Unknown

I think Author Unknown is one of the most profound human beings that ever lived. This person has
made me realize that minutes and seconds are precious. Instead of spending time watching television,
how about a meaningful conversation with someone? A book in hand is worth more than playing two
video games. Pen a thank-you note, rather than an email.

I have to re-commit to make each day meaningful in some way. What must I do before I lay my head on my pillow that will help me feel fulfilled?

Family, friends, having meaningful conversations, art, writing, reading, giving service, doing the best you can, leaving a place better than you found it. . .

What is important to you?

What is worth paying a day of your life for?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How Am I Doing?

A lot of my friends have been asking how my foot/ankle is doing. Oh, how I am tired of telling the sad tale. I mean, it will be two years that I've been hobbling along. It's been two years that I've been asked, "So, how's the ankle doing?" I will be so glad when nobody notices I've stopped limping.

The newest doctor (son of the second surgeon) who, not knowing my background (aren't they supposed to read my file before they see me?) said, "Your ankle is really weak," as he had me push into his hand.

I said, "I haven't walked right for almost two years. This was my second surgery. Didn't you read what your father wrote?" Okay, I was a little testy with him.

I was on the verge of tears, actually. I had been in a lot of pain and made this appointment two weeks in advance of my next scheduled appointment. I got a blessing from my youngest son which told me I would heal and be able to walk like a normal person; I have to do what the doctor tells me to do and I'll be okay.

While I sniffled and looked forlorn, he took a minute to skim the file. He closed the file and said, "It's only been six weeks from surgery. I think you are exactly where you're supposed to be right now."

"But your father said after 12 weeks I wouldn't remember which foot hurt." Sniffing began again.

He did some quick math in his head. "Yeah, that's three months. You should be fine by then."

I said, "Pardon me, but that's what the first doctor kept saying. 'Give it three months.' Then it was 'Give it six months,' then 'Give it a year' . . . "

He handed me a tissue. "I think you'll be fine. Your ankle is weak. You might need physical therapy to build up the strength, but even now you have good flexibility for six weeks out."

The doctor told me to use the recumbent bike at the gym at work for 10 minutes at a time, going slowly, not racing or aerobic, and build up to 30 minutes by the end of the month. He also said to do circles in the air. Write my name and the alphabet in the air. Get it moving. Get up and walk after sitting for an hour. I do that at work anyway. There's always some errand to run.

"You are still recuperating," he said. "You're not really rehabilitating yet. Go slow. Don't get discouraged. You're doing fine."

When I left, I remembered the blessing. "Do what the doctor tells you to do."

I am doing all these things. I have to have faith that my Heavenly Father is watching out for me. I have to be more positive.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Memories: High School Activities

From one of my other blogs: Mother's Memoirs: my life story in my own words: High School Activities: Today's question from my book:  In school, what extra-curricular activities did you participate in and why did you choose these activiti...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Few Fun Facts about the Fourth

By Susan Knight
July 4, 2013 

Being from the Philadelphia area, Independence Day is near and dear to my heart. I also have at least a half-dozen ancestors, of whom I am proud, who fought in the Revolutionary War—one who fought with George Washington in all his campaigns. This adds to my fondness for the date.
As an added bonus, two of my ancestors, sisters, married signers of the Declaration of Independence (which I discovered while researching during the July 4th holiday week some years ago).
One of the most interesting pieces of July 4th trivia, I think, is that three U.S. presidents died on that day. You might have heard that John Adams (second president) and Thomas Jefferson (third president), best friends and arch enemies at different times of their lives, died on the day they made famous together—on the sameday in 1826, hours apart. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the declaration. (They died the dearest of friends, so, happy ending.)
John Adams
America actually declared its independence from England July 2, 1776. John Adams wrote home to his beloved Abigail the next day and said the date, July 2nd, should from henceforth be celebrated with all sorts of pomp and circumstance. But, a few revisions were needed to the declaration document, so it wasn’t adopted until July 4th. Sorry, Mr. President.
John Adams spent his whole life celebrating July 2nd as Independence Day anyway, and, in protest, turned down speaking engagements offered him for July 4th events.
John Hancock was the only one to sign the document on July 4th. He made his signature large so the monarchy had no question of his feeling. He did a lot of sweating for a whole month, though, because it wasn’t until August 2nd that the other fifty-six signatures began to dribble in. The signers’ names were not published for another six months, in order to protect them. Announcing independence from Great Britain was an act of treason, punishable by death. (*gulp*) The biggest grievance—taxation without representation. Thomas McKean (who married my ancestor's niece) was the last to sign in January 1777. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest signatory at the age of seventy--and went on to be a signer of the Constitution in 1787. Let's see, that would make him . . .
The declaration document, printed by a newspaper in Philadelphia, didn't hit the streets until July 6th. The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of what was to become known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776, summoning its citizens to the first reading by a Colonel John Nixon.
Philadelphia, of course, celebrated the first First Anniversary of Independence on July 4, 1777. Ships in the Delaware River harbor were decked out in red, white and blue buntings.
The third president who gave up the ghost on the Fourth of July was James Madison (fifth president, and considered Father of the Constitution of the U.S.) in 1831. Calvin Coolidge (thirtieth president) was the only president born on July 4th, in 1872.Massachusetts was the first state to declare the date a state holiday. But the date didn’t become a national holiday until 1870. By 1941, federal employees were given a paid day off. So don’t expect any mail today.
In modern times, the Fourth of July is one of the few holidays that has not been moved to a Monday. I hope it never is. That would just be silly.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Being Optimistic

By Susan Knight

Was feeling a little down because my ankle doesn't seem to be healing as fast as I thought it would.

Got a wonderful blessing yesterday from my son and son-in-law. I was told to be optimistic, to do what the doctor tells me and that I will walk again.

That's what I wanted to hear. I've been praying so hard along those lines. I'm glad for priesthood blessings that let my Heavenly Father speak to me in no uncertain terms.

Going to see a new doctor tomorrow. The doctor who performed my surgery is leaving for a three-year mission (Mission Prez) tomorrow, so I'm seeing his son. A new guy. I'm told by those who have seen him, he is very good, too.

I'm still praying fervently, though.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Summer Solstice Makes Me Happy

Today is the longest day of the year. I love it when it's light out for so long. The sun didn't say good night until about 9:35 p.m. It's a perk of being on the western edge of the time zone.

I was outside cutting flowers at 9:15 p.m., then thought I'd better get inside. Picked a lot of flower arrangements. Roses, honeysuckle, daisies, lavender, petunias, and my lemon thyme is blooming little purple flowers, too.

My house smells delicious!

The scene above looks north and west along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast from Santa Severa, Italy. Appearing in the well-timed sequence, the small figure of the photographer himself is illuminated against the wall of the town's medieval castle. It's the picture on my blog at the very bottom today.

Happy Summer Solstice!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seeking Meaning in My Life Every Day

By Susan Knight

One of my favorite quotes by that well-known unknown author is this:

What I do today is important because I am paying a day of my life for it.
What I accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high.

That quote is an exhortation against laziness and having a purpose-filled life.

Each morning when I pray, I ask my Heavenly Father, "Please let me do some good today. Please help me to be cheerful so I might bring joy to someone's life."

Every night as I pray, I examine my conscience and ask myself, "Did I do enough today?" or "Did I do any good today?" I seem to always come up short--according to my expectations.

It's a heavy burden to lay on myself. But that's how I feel about my turn on this earth.

When one hits fifty-ish, one starts examining one's life. The urge to have laid up a legacy resonates in one's soul. Trust me. I'm at the highest end of fifty-ish, so I know.

"Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad, or made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed."

The words to that hymn pretty much sum up how I feel.

I want my life to have a purpose. My life comes at a great cost. I don't want to blend into the woodwork every day. I want my life to mean something.

As I finish up here, a song is playing on my blog: "Oh Very Young" by Cat Stevens.


Oh very young, what will you leave us this time?
You're only dancing on this earth for a short while.
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now . . .
They will vanish away . . .
. . . And though you want them to last forever, you know they never will.
You know they never will . . .

I take it as a sign to not be so melancholy about my life and keep dreaming anyway.
Keep hoping. Keep praying. Keep at it.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

All of the posts on Facebook about Father's Day are making me sad.
I wish I had someone to honor in my life about being a good father.
I mean, I've forgiven my father. Who knows why he acted the way he did? And he died young, before I had the courage to ask him where his anger came from.
Then there's the father of my children.
I want them to keep thinking he's a good father, so what they don't know won't hurt them.
Save face--look good. It's been the motto of my life, since I was a little girl.
Husband and father. The two people in one's life that should be honored.
It just makes me sad.
I'll get over it. . . tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Here's to an End of the Drama

I'm coming down the home stretch. After surgery on May 17, I will finally, I HOPE, get my cast off on Friday.
I pray that this second surgery will do the trick and I will be able to walk again and be pain free.
The doctor gave me a 95% chance. I'll take it. I'll be optimistic.
If anyone out there is reading this, please pray for me.

My purple cast with the blue wall that caused this drama in the background

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Tabernacle Experience

Last November, a friend in church invited me to join a community chorus. She said, "We'll be singing in the Tabernacle in March."
I said, "Whaaa?"
"The women's chorus is called We Also Sing. There's also a men's chorus called Because We Sing."
No audition necessary. Just come and sing. They were hoping for 364 women. What an invitation. I took her up on it.
Ten rehearsals. That was all that was necessary. Ten rehearsals and an amazing choir director, Merrilee Webb, apparently well-known in and around the Salt Lake area and beyond.
My first evening at a ward building in Taylorsville was not what I expected. It was filled--packed-- with women of all walks of life: mothers, grandmothers, teenagers, widows, divorcees, from 18 to 95 years old.
The warm-ups were hysterical. Sing fifths up three octaves, stay on the top fifth for three counts, then glide back down three octaves by fifths. It was FUN!
The director was funny, like a stand-up comedienne, yet spiritual, and posed many profound ideas. She would explain the songs, why they written, what they meant. I left spiritually fed every time. And she was stern enough to request and expect our best, which we delivered.
I persuaded Jewely to join. She loves to sing as much as I do. I knew she would like this. It was something we could do together.

Jewely and I ready to leave for the performance.
We had to wear all black with a solid-colored scarf.

After surviving the winter's flu season and snow season, the time for the dress rehearsal was upon us.
On Wednesday, February 27, all day at work I was anxious. I couldn't think. Distracted. Jewely and I and our friend, Linda Shirley, headed for Salt Lake City and arrived at 7:15.
Ready or not.
We found our seats. We sang. We paused for technical adjustments. We sang again.
Because I couldn't stand the whole time, I sat in the front row with the other "sitters." I sat next to a blind woman who had a Braille machine to help her. I never was able to talk to her long enough to have her explain it to me. On the other side was Merrilee's sister, Michelle Walker, who had a solo part in the first song.

That's me, behind the organ, in the blue scarf.
I was smack-dab behind the organ and it fascinated me, along with the organist and his techy machines. He didn't use sheet music, but an ipad. He said he had been coveting one for ages, so decided to splurge. I prayed the battery wouldn't run down. There was a small monitor on top of the organ that pointed directly at Merrilee and he could watch her without turning his head, but by glancing up at her on the monitor.
A picture of organist, Eric McKirdy, during dress rehearsal.
Jewely ended up sitting at the very top on the left side.
A blurry Jewely at the very top on the left.
These pictures were taken with Nick's phone before the performance.

Merrilee told us, due to the acoustics in the hall, we would only be able to hear ourselves sing and possibly the people next to us and behind us. She was right. I mostly just heard myself and occasionally I heard Michelle next to me. Never from behind, though. I sang solos on all songs, it seemed, and I sang with gusto.
I was concerned because I have been having trouble with my voice for more than a year. I wondered if it was from anesthesia from my surgery last year, or some other unknown trouble. I determined to sing in the choir, even if I had to move my mouth with no sound coming out.
During the course of rehearsing, my voice came back. I was overjoyed. I felt like I had lost part of my identity when my voice didn't always show up to the task. Now I can sing again!
When I left the Tabernacle Wednesday night, I felt I could stop there and be perfectly happy. Little did I know how much more awesome it would sound on performance night!
Again, all day Friday I was farklempt. Distracted. Anxious. Nervous. The songs kept invading my mind and I sang in my head all day long. I left work early and got home to relax a little before we had to leave and not be rushed. Jewely got off early, too.
We got there in time to hear the whole men's chorus performance. Awesome! The last song they sang was a rendition of "Nearer, My God, To Thee" that sounded like a Celtic chant. I can't explain how wonderful it was.
In the program was written: "We are 120 men who come from cities from Spanish Fork to Syracuse. Some of us go to jobs we love, and others go to our jobs anyway. Some of us are still in school, and our families wonder what our jobs will be. We try to be good sons, dads, and grandpas. We can forget you're in the room if there's a game on TV, and sometimes we don't throw our dirty cothes where you think they should go. But we know you love us . . . because we sing!"
Next up . . . the women.
The women's program stated: "We are 300 women who come from cities from Spanish Fork to Syracuse. Many of us are wives and mothers. Some of us are divorced, widowed, or single. We are housewives, employers, employees, and students. Some of us are rich and struggling, and others are poor and struggling. We laugh, we cry, and we try to make a difference. Oh, and . . . we also sing!"
The pink spotlights reflected onto us and we were all pink.
This shot is of the alto sections.

Merrilee started from out in the audience singing a Hawaiin chant which we joined in on as she proceeded up the steps to her post at the podium. It was a warm-up we did at the beginning of every practice.
The first song, "This is One of those Moments," from "Yentl," was a fitting herald to my feelings of singing in that venue. There are moments that no man can take away, no wave can wash away, no wind can blow away . . . There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life . . . I felt like standing up and shouting "THIS is one of THOSE moments!"
Merrilee, years ago, had arranged a medley of three Primary songs for her Hawaiin primary students when she taught at BYU-Hawaii. "My Heavenly Father Loves Me," "My Light is But a Little One," and "Lift Up Your Voice and Sing."
Next came "Praise to the Lord," which I had sung in Catholic church growing up, but there are different words here. I loved the harmonies in this rendition.
My very favorite song we sang was "Psalm 23" aranged by Z. Randall Stroope. The flutists were superb. When we ended the song, the sound reverberated and ricocheted off the ceiling and walls. Stupendous! Tears filled my eyes. Michelle, sitting next to me, had to wipe the tears from her face. I hope the echo is audible on the CD recorded that night.
Another one of Stroope's pieces, "Revelation," was powerful. Scary. Conveyed the message. Locusts, scorpions, hail and fire. The percussionists had fun with the drums on that one. Even though I knew it was coming, the sound made me jump.
Orson F. Whitney's "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" is one I've been singing in my head ever since. It's the same rendition from "17 Miracles." A flute accompanied this song as well.
I have loved "The Mom Song" ever since my sister Kathy shared the YouTube of Anita Renfroe's stand-up a few years ago. I was delighted we would sing it. It went so fast I could hardly get all the words out. But it was effective. Everyone loved it and applauded their arms off.
The next song we sang was not a favorite of mine. Very depressing. "My Love's in Germany," a Scottish Folk Song. I believe it was written during WWI. However, singing it in the Tabernacle made all the difference. That "you can hear a pin drop" mantra came to life as the reverb resounded and caught in my throat. I guess I like that song now.
Merrilee told the audience she chose her 10 favorite songs that the chorus has sung in the years past. There was nothing new, except for me and Jewely and whoever else was singing for the first time.
"The Pilgrim Song," an American folk hymn, next on the program, was also one of my favorites. I loved, loved, loved the solists. Brought a tear to my eye. Do you know how hard it is to sing when you cry?
As the applause died down and Merrilee prepped for the next song, I heard the Spirit speak to me; yell to me, "Look around! Take note! You don't ever want to forget this feeling or this experience!"
I heeded the prompting and looked at the women across the way, then out into the lights blurring the audience. I looked at Merrilee, so beautiful, looking back at all of us. I didn't realize it was time for the last song. I'm so glad the Spirit was audible through the haze of my emotions.
"Mo Ghile Mear," an Irish folk song, was last on the agenda. It was one of the two songs we had to memorize. I can see now why she picked it for last. I thought "The Mom Song" would garner a standing ovation in itself and we even took a bow after that song, but the one phrase from the soloist's words to this Celtic song said it best. "Now the time has come to leave . . ." I never really heard those words until that moment. Ah-ha, thought I, that's why we're singing this last. It also ended with a loud drum to match our loud shout. The echo rush was priceless!
I can't wait for the CD!
Afterward, Jewely met me with my coat. She confided she enjoyed it so much more that night than the dress rehearsal.
Yes, my dear, so did I. One hundred times more!

Thank you to all our friends and ward members who made the trek to SLC to attend the performance.

Friday, February 15, 2013

LDStorymakers 2013 Show Your Love Contest

I just sent in my first chapter of "The Year of My Divorce" to the First Chapter Contest for the LDStorymakers 2013 Conference. I can't wait for the conference. I always learn so much.

The keynote speaker this year is international best-selling author Anne Perry. You don't have to register for the conference to come to hear her. If you follow the link above , you will be able to find out about admission to "Keynote Only" to hear her speak on Friday night, May 10.

I'm writing about this through the "Show Your Love" contest so I can possibly win a seat at the VIP table with Anne Perry and other authors. I might even win a Query Critique or Manuscript Critique.

Wish me luck on my first chapter--and the contest! Check out the links!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Not In Your Face

 I have "face blindness," also called prosopagnosia. It's interesting I only found out about this since I moved to Utah.

A few years ago, I was at a writer's conference boot camp. The mentor at my table apologized if she didn't recognize us if she ran into us during the conference. I didn't think anything of it. I knew I wouldn't recognize anyone either. I thought, "Isn't everyone like that?"

She went on to say she had "face blindness." This intrigued me. I spoke with her after our meeting and learned that she had to interact with people many times before she would recognize them again.

I said, "Me, too!" She told me she always apologizes ahead of time so people wouldn't think she was snubbing them.

What a revelation that was to me.

Though my “face blindness” is not extreme, I have a problem unless I have many interactions or have known someone a long time. And if a woman changes her hairdo or hair color, I’m doomed.

I mentioned to my daughter Jewely on Sunday how much easier it was back east to be in a ward where I knew everyone. When someone new came to church it was only one person or family to remember. I told her I have trouble recognizing faces.

There are hundreds of new people to meet in a new ward. That is a challenge for me. When I had been at my job in Utah for four months, I told my friend Bonnie I finally got a handle on who everyone was. That was with seeing my co-workers every day.

I always wondered how people could identify actors so readily in movies. I had an argument with my son Alex about an actor in a TV show. I said, "Look, it's the sidekick from 'National Treasure'."

He said, "No, it's not."

I said, "Yes, it is." Back and forth we went.

He got out his smartphone, tapped on it a few times, and showed me the actor I thought I was talking about. I looked at the TV. I looked at the phone. It looked like him.

"But I recognized his voice, too," I told my son, daunted. Alex said they did sound similar, but it wasn't who I thought. I guess it wasn't facial, but audio recognition that made me think it was the actor in "National Treasure." He had the same hair style, hair color and voice. The face was very different, I had to admit.

Describing eyes, a nose, a mouth or chin to a police sketch artist on TV detective shows always baffled me. And picking someone from a lineup? They all look alike! For me, there’s no way. I would never be able to describe someone. I would say the hair color, hair style, body shape and that would be it. The face would be a blur.

At work, I saw someone familiar in the lobby. I thought it was the cute caterer for Wingers and told her I was just getting ready to call her to place an order for an event. The woman, squinting, graciously said, "Well, let me know how I can help you with that," and gave me a funny, tentative look.

All of a sudden, I realized who she was--the cute young woman in marketing that I have worked with many times, but hadn't seen for awhile. I apologized profusely about my mistake. She must have thought I was losing it. No, lost it!

Today I attended my second meeting of the Employee Advisory Council. At the last meeting I was introduced to the marketing representative in the group who would help me make digital fliers for announcements. I worked with him via about a dozen emails over the last month. I remember thinking to myself today, "Oh, I'll get to see what Mike looks like," even though I had already met him.

Right now, I remember he’s thin, has strawberry blond hair and a beard--and glasses. I don't know if that's enough to recognize him if I see him in the elevator. I wonder now if I've been on an elevator ride with him over the last month. Yikes!

Also, at that first EAC meeting last month, a young brunette woman sat across from me. She smiled at me like she knew me. I had no idea who she was and only vaguely smiled back. We went around the table to introduce ourselves. It turns out, the week before the meeting, I had spent a whole hour, one-on-one, with her in a small, intimate conference room as she went over the nuances of the payroll time clock. (!!!) Only the week before.

Her hair was different; not like I remember.

Now, when I see her, in her cubicle, in her accounting setting and recognize her in that context, I make a big fuss over her in some way--cute shoes, pretty jewelry. I've got to make up for not recognizing her.

At one ANWA chapter meeting, I erroneously introduced one sister as another when she came to my door for her first meeting. She was gracious and politely corrected her name. I thought she was the presenter. (Insert blushing smiley face here.) Thank goodness for Facebook. I am determined now to study our chapter’s page and pictures before the meetings. Please forgive me, new members!

In my ward, I can’t distinguish people unless I’m their visiting teacher or they’re mine. I need to see the bishopric sitting up front each week or Relief Society presidency, or do something together with someone many times.

A thought came to me Sunday morning during Relief Society. I got up and bore my testimony and announced that I have Face Blindness and to “please forgive me if I don't recognize you.”

I compared it to being familiar with Deity. How will we know our Savior if we don’t make him part of our everyday lives through prayer and fasting, reading our scriptures or attending the temple? We won’t be able to distinguish when the Holy Ghost is near unless we have “met” more than once or twice and know His still, small voice.

Through trials I have developed a relationship with the Holy Ghost. His presence is palpable to me. He walks beside me, guiding me, coaching me. And, through trials, I know the Savior loves me and has carried me as I looked back to see one set of footprints. I have a testimony that my Heavenly Father loves me. He knows who I am--by name.

Trials aren’t necessary to know Deity, but we must interact every day in order to be acquainted with the countenances of divine beings.

Perhaps most people are more perceptive at discerning facial features than I am, but I’m sure, without a doubt, I will know the face of Christ when I finally see Him.

Yes, I’m sure of it.