A Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Karey,

It's been awhile. I turned fifty this year. Can you believe that? I'm sure you think you'll never get here, but I assure you, it will come before you know it and when you arrive, you'll be stunned because you'll still feel young. The biggest reminder that you're no longer young will be your creaking joints and your adult and nearly adult children. I guess that's not entirely true. The older you get, the more you learn and there are a few things I'd like to tell you so you can avoid some of the pitfalls I've fallen into.

You need to relax about your future. You worry about more than you need to. You don't need to wonder if you'll ever find a good guy. You will. It will take you a little longer than you thought, so don't stress. Enjoy meeting people and maybe take a couple of good vacations while you wait to meet him. You're going to like him a lot. You don't need to worry when you don't get pregnant immediately. You'll get to have four amazing kids, so don't panic.

Don't help your kids practice their musical instruments. It's stressful and sometimes you're too much of a control freak. Encourage them, but don't get annoyed or frustrated when they act like kids. You have good kids so worry about them a little less and enjoy them a little more. I promise you're going to be thrilled when you see how they're turning out and you're going to like them a lot. Sometimes they're going to blow your mind with how smart, funny, talented and clever they are.

Remember when your parents said the most important friends you'll ever have will be your family? How friends come and go but family is eternal? They're right. You'll find as you get older that your parents and your siblings are some of the funniest, most amazing people you'll ever meet, so love them, love their spouses, and love your nieces and nephews.

Do more walking and yoga and less stair-stepping and step aerobics. Your joints are going to turn crackly and painful, so be kinder to them when you're younger and maybe they'll bother you less when you get older.

The American Medical Association says to start getting colonoscopies when you're fifty. That won't work for you. You'll be dead if you wait that long. Schedule one when you're forty-three and not a day later. Seriously!

Speaking of your body, eat healthy but don't do Atkins, Body for Life, Weight Watchers or any other "program." Your doctor will explain to you later that your body doesn't react like most and that as long as you have healthy habits, you don't need to worry about the scale. (You probably won't do it, but I think you'd be a happier person if you just threw the scale away.) When you're tempted to do Weight Watchers, let me just warn you that a woman who doesn't smile will tell you that you're not being honest in your food record and that you must be taking in more calories than you're reporting. She's not very nice and she'll make you feel horrible even though you know she's wrong. Just ignore her.

If you do something wrong, apologize for it and then move on. There will be a couple of times when you'll try to make amends with someone who picked a fight with you and then refused to forgive you, even when you apologize and make cookies. Move on. Don't stew over it. Sometimes people just aren't nice. Sometimes they're miserable and they want you to feel bad. Fill your life with people who forgive and don't hold grudges. There are a lot of really nice, positive people out there. There won't even be time to build friendships with all the nice ones, so don't worry about pleasing the negative ones.

Watch less news. It's good to know what's going on, but don't get caught up in the sensational, constant barrage of bad stuff. Right now you like to have the radio or tv on as background noise. I've learned that quiet is much better than background noise, so turn it off most of the time.

Don't cut the toenails on your big toes. File them instead. It will save you about a thousand painful, ingrown toenails.

Accept your curly hair and don't waste so much of your life trying to straighten it. You'll be a lot happier when you stop fighting it.

Don't try Sees candies. Ever. If someone offers to share theirs with you, say no. If someone brings you a box as a gift, re-gift it. If you never taste them, you won't know what you're missing and you'll be able to drive on I-15 without hearing marzipan, California brittle, and butterscotch squares calling your name. They're like a drug. Just say no.

When your husband comes home and he's spent good money on rims for the car (or a new stereo, or having a sunroof installed in a pickup), just smile. It's a guy thing and he'll outgrow it and it's not worth all night fights. I promise.

Don't worry that your mother-in-law doesn't like you. It's okay. She's probably just sad to be losing her son to you. She gets over it and eventually you win her over.

Go ahead and sign a contract with a publisher for Gifted. It will be good experience and you'll learn a lot about the publishing business. But don't give them For What It's Worth. You'll regret that a lot.

And finally, I want to thank you. Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for developing faith when you were young and for putting yourself in places where you could have spiritual experiences that would stay with you for decades. Thank you for serving a mission and for learning how to pray. You've made it a lot easier for me to get through the hard times.

I know you probably don't give the fifty-year-old you much thought, but thanks for helping me get where I am today. I'm super blessed.

Have a great life.

Karey

Movie Review - Saints and Soldiers - The Void


Last month I received an invitation to go to the world premier of Saints and Soldiers - The Void. I was told I could bring a guest. I ignored the invitation because I was worried I might not like it. I thought the first Saints and Soldiers was really well done. It was touching and gritty and emotional. So when the second one came out (Saints and Soldiers - Airborne Creed), I bought the DVD and we watched it as a family. We really didn't like it much. The whole romance angle felt contrived and I never felt emotionally connected to the movie. That's why at first I ignored the invitation.

Then I told my family about it and my teenage son wanted to go and everyone thought I was crazy to not take the chance to go to a world premier for free. So I RSVPed and Joe and I attended the premier.

I've never been to a premier before. The director said a few words and then the movie started. When the character Sgt. Jesse Owens came on the screen, Joe leaned over and whispered, "I think that's him sitting right there." Sure enough, K. Danor Gerald was sitting just a few seats away from us on our row.

And much to my relief, I really liked the movie. A lot. The characters were interesting and there was emotion and great conflict and a satisfying resolution. I was so glad it was so well done so I could encourage all of you to to go to it and I'd know I wouldn't be encouraging you to waste your time or money.

After the movie, the actors, the director, and the producer took questions. I enjoyed that part a lot. The movie is quite serious and it was fun to see the actors joking and teasing each other and it was interesting to learn some of the logistics of filming the movie. I found out it was filmed in the foothills just a couple of miles from where I live. Crazy.

Joe and I both liked the movie a lot and I feel confident that most moviegoers will enjoy it. When a new movie comes out, the first weekend is crucial. Fair or not, that first weekend determines how long the movie will be in theaters. So if you're going to go, I'd encourage you to go this weekend to help it get off to a good start.



Two Book Reviews (I loved them both!)

I signed up for the blog tour for The Peter Potential, but there was some complication and it didn't come in time for the blog tour. But I have it now and have had a chance to read it and I have to say, it really, REALLY touched me.
The Peter Potential by David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman is a smaller, gift-sized book. It took me about half an hour to read it because I read it slowly. On purpose. It felt loaded and I didn't want to miss anything.

I have long loved Peter, the apostle. I relate to him. I often feel his insecurities and I often feel filled with great faith. But then I mess up and feel like a failure.

This book is so beautiful, so full of faith, so hopeful and so affirming that it brought tears to my eyes. I loved it. I loved the way it described Peter and his potential and how that relates to me and my potential. This is a wonderful book to give a as a gift or to keep for yourself. Or both. I know I'll be reading it again and again.

The other book I read is a children's book, mostly aimed at girls, but with valuable lessons for all of us, no matter our gender or age. It's called Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible by McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding, with illustrations by Kathleen Peterson.

I loved the format of this book. It began a story of a woman from the Bible, then explained her choice. Then it finished the story, telling us what she chose. Finally, it posed a question to the reader to prompt us to think about what we would choose to do in similar situations.

I'll admit that when I first saw the book, I wasn't completely sold on the illustrations. Don't get me wrong. It isn't that I think I can do better because I certainly can't. I just didn't love the style of the artwork. But as I read the stories and looked at the pictures in the context of the stories, it really grew on me.

This is a wonderful book and I look forward to sharing it with my children and eventually, my grandchildren.