Sunday, August 31, 2008

Simple Gifts

For those of you who do not know already, I grew up going to Catholic school. All 12 years. So, I went to Mass a lot. I've grown up and Tyler and moved away and found a church setting that we love. But every so often I miss going to Mass. I now appreciate the true beauty of what I took for granted all those many years. There is still something very comforting to me about the order and process of it all - the tradition of it all ...

Yesterday afternoon Tyler and I were at Half-Price Books with my mom. I was flipping through the section of the store that I go to first to find fluff reading these days and I opened a book that I had been considering getting for a while and began to read. The story began with an old Shaker hymn - Simple Gifts ...

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
- Elder Joseph, c. 1848

I've had a tough week. I hurt. If I let myself, I'd crawl in a corner and wait for the world to go away. But I can't. Instead I choose to focus on the positives in my life. I've been truly blessed with amazing family and friends, my husband is a wonderful man. We have a great church and support system. We have a home and a place to lay our heads at night. Even though things have been incredibly difficult for us lately, we've been blessed.

Music has always been soothing for me. The sweet notes carry comfort and healing to my dry soul. In this painful time, I found a song that I grew up singing. And now, this will be with me as I grow again. Such a powerful reminder - 'tis a gift to be simple ...

In this time of turning and turning till I don't know which way is up ... I pray that I'll know when I've come round right ...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This time ...

... four years ago, today, I was eating breakfast. yeah ... I know ... that doesn't seem like such a big deal ... I eat breakfast most days. However, this day four years ago breakfast was different. I stood in the kitchen at my mom's house with my mom, Deidra, Caryn, Amy, Laurie, Mandy, and Crystal ... rarely in my life have there been that many people in my mom's house at once, never have there been so many girls. So here's what was different ... this time, four years ago, I was eating my last breakfast as a Daniels woman ... for in just 7 short hours, Daniels wouldn't be my name anymore. I know it wasn't all that long ago ... but I still remember it like it was yesterday. (I hope in 50 years that it's still this clear.)

Happy Anniversary, my love! Here's to the first 4 and the next (at least) 50 to come!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Big Read

I saw this on SarahCool's blog and thought it was interesting, so I'm copying. :) :) While my mom wasn't an English teacher like Sarah's, my mom is a teacher, so my love of books began at a very early age.

I LOVE to read, and really didn't have a lot of time for it in college, then didn't really make it a priority. Now my life is different, my faithful readers know that it is a regular occurrence for me to devour a book in a weekend. Not only do Tyler and I head to the library regularly ... but I'm a Half-Price Books addict and we MUST go whenever we're visiting my mom.

I've read 40 of these... how about you? And I was surprised at some of their choices for the list. Bridget Jones' Diary? Really?

The Big Read says that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed.

*A notable favorite book of mine that is NOT on this list below, but IS featured on their website right now is Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. I think that you should read it.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Underline the books you love. (I can't figure out how to underline today ... So I've noted my all-time favs with a *)
3) Italicize those you intend to read.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or for whatever reason loathe.

* And, like SarahCool, most of the books I haven't read, I have made a conscious decision NOT to, so I'm not bothering with 3 or 4.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*
6 The Bible - GOD!
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles*
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger*
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald*

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery*

47 Far From the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett*

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White*

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (and I wish I NEVER had ...)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Side Note

As you may or may not know, things are going absolutely swimmingly at South Main Designs. In the last month we've added over 40 new Sales Consultants to our team. And, because it's something that I am very excited about (and think you should be too), I've added a new section to the side of my blog - the section in which I update my faithful readers as to the numbers by which we are growing.

I recently celebrated my 1-year anniversary working there. This time last year, we had only 35 Sales Consultants. Our 100th Sales Consultant came in March. It took us just over a year and a half to get to 100, and now only 5 months to add another 100 ...

A few years ago, Andrea Rogers went to a conference where she heard the founder of another Direct Sales jewelry company speak. And Andrea often tells us how this founder was recounting their initial years and said that it took what seemed like forever to reach their 100th consultant, but the growth from 100 to 1,000 happened so quickly that she couldn't remember it ...

We're in that now. We can all feel it around the office.

And I have to say, it's a really cool place to be.