Sunday, April 1, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

This weekend, the General Conference of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints took place. President Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke and started his talk with the story of an observation he made while stationed in Osaka Japan as WWII ended. He spoke of a sycamore tree that had the nerve to grow a few limbs with yellow leaves on them. The surrounding scenery was bleak with bombed out buildings and rubble and ash. He say little girl whom he said "seemed un-aware" of the destruction around her. She went from tree to tree collecting the yellow leaves.
"She had found the one beauty left in her world. Perhaps I should say, she was the beautiful part of her world. Embodied in the child was hope."

I have a wonderful life and more blessings than I can really take in and that probably ends up being the problem really. This little girl found beauty in a world seemingly bereft of it. Sometimes I find myself dwelling too much on the "must dos" or "didn't dos" or lost in worry about the future. Then sometimes I catch a glimps of something just right or smell something or feel something and I remember beauty and it overtakes any shadows. Sycamore leaves are beautiful. Here are a few of the beautiful things in my world. Celebrate I must:

I cannot express the extreme comfort of my bed. The combination of yellow and gray and the coziness of it all are a bit intoxicating. In the morning, when a cool breeze comes in from my window, and the sheets are so gentle against my skin, I think, why do I ever leave this place. But it's such a fleeting moment because when it's light out, the time is passed and it's time for work. Ahhh... so lovely.

I like breathing a lot. I mean you all like breathing because the alternative is not. But I love breathing in. I love feeling my body work. I love the way my body moves when I've been good to it and how everything works together so nicely. I love the way sleep feels when I work out. I love the way swimming and running feel. I even like yawning or sneezing. They just make me feel healthy.

I like this scent Villain. I recently purchased it. It was next to other Ed Hardy scents and they had what looks like tattoos on them. Not my normal style. But I smelled it and liked it. I think I also like that it's unexpected, that it's not my style (the look). I feel dangerous (oh so dangerous).

I love looking up at the sky while laying on my back in the grass. It's just a cool perspective. I like it when looking back on swings too.

I love the funny things kids in my class will say.

I love the sound of my name in other people's voices.

I like making plans. I like when people say something like "we should do that" or, "we'll have to go there" because it means they plan on our friendship lasting.

I like wind.

I like getting angry and having someone listen and have it be okay that I wasn't perfect in that moment.

I like muscle pain.

I like seeing old friends. I like that they know who I was and can see how that person has changed and that they like both versions.

I like having really awesome conversations with people who are not my best friends or family members (though I love those too obviously). I like that human experience is sometimes the only thing we share and that sometimes, it's just enough to connect.

I like how soft the skin on forearms is.

I like clean kitchens. Kitchens especially. Sometimes if all I can do is the dishes and mop, then the rest of the house can fall apart.

I like being somewhere where only water or wind are the sounds.

I like the blue table in my kitchen.

I like this boy. I like this boy a lot. I've liked boys before. I've liked them a lot. I've never liked one like I like this one. That word "like" even is a bit tame.

Life is rich and good and hard sometimes. Hard is possible when we gather the beautiful things in our world. It's even fun and adventurous.

In conference, President Eyring quoted President Kimball and something he said about facing trials. "Give me this mountain. Give me these challenges."

I like mountains. Who's up for a hike?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


by John Burroughs (1837-1921)

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For, lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Funeral Address for Grandma October 8, 2011

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity denvieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

My name is Kathryn Rappleye and Oleta Kimball Rappleye is grandmother. Her life is an example of charity. I’d like to take examples from her life to illustrate four of the definitions of charity found in this scripture.

1)Charity is kind: My sister and I were able to come home from Utah to visit grandma last month. In a weekend we saw her three times and each time we were met by her love for us, but were unsure if she knew that we had already been there. At the end of our last visit, we all walked grandma down to lunch. As we left her room, we walked by an obviously distraught and uncomfortable new resident at the Hallmark. My dad asked if we could help her down to her meal but she wanted to take care of herself. Grandma offered service in another way. She simply reached down and hugged her and gave her a kiss on the cheek and spoke reassuring words. Her ability to offer physical assistance at this point would have been low. But her ability to show kindness was unfailing. I always found her ability to focus on others amazing, especially considering what I thought to be great trials of her own.

Sister Allred, the first counselor in the General Relief Society presidency, shared her thoughts on charity in her recent General Relief Society Meeting address. She said, “When we have charity, we are willing to serve and help others when it is inconvenient and with no thought of recognition or reciprocation. We don’t wait to be assigned to help, because it becomes our very nature. As we choose to be kind, caring, generous, patient, accepting, forgiving, inclusive, and selfless, we discover we are abounding in charity.”

Charity had become part of Grandma’s nature through kindness.

2) Charity thinketh no evil: As a family, we knew more about people we had never met than about some of our own friends. But we didn’t know about them because of gossip or unkind observations. Grandma did not need to create intrigue by speaking in hushed tones about the imperfections or flaws of those around her. She always spoke with love and concern for the troubles happening in the lives of those in her family, neighborhood, and ward. She was concerned by the health or loneliness of others when her own status of widowhood had already extended past two decades of time and her health was in its own stages of decline.

Sister Allred quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith in her talk saying: “Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbors’ virtues. … You must enlarge your souls toward others if you [would] do like Jesus. … As you increase in innocence and virtue, as you increase in goodness, let your hearts expand—let them be enlarged towards others—you must be longsuffering and bear with the faults and errors of mankind. How precious are the souls of men!”

We learned about the heartaches of others because they had become her heartaches as she bore the burdens of others in the course of doing her visiting teaching and in being a good neighbor. She too could exclaim, “How precious are the souls of men!”

3) Charity rejoiceth in the truth: My grandma never failed to share her testimony of the gospel. She had hope in the doctrine that families can be forever and looked forward to the time when she would be reunited with her loved ones. She knew her Savior Jesus Christ and followed his example of charity. Today her grandson, who shares in her love of truth, is serving a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As every time she spoke to us she expressed gratitude for a good family and for the knowledge and peace offered through the gospel she helped to build our own testimonies.

I’d like to take this opportunity to testify that I have faith in the atoning power offered through Jesus Christ and that all mankind can be saved through repentance. I wear black because of the tradition of respect offered at funerals but not because any sadness at losing grandma’s company here on earth can outweigh my knowledge that I will be reunited with her when my own mortal work is complete.

4) Charity never faileth. Whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away: As Alzheimer’s took much of grandma’s knowledge away, it could not touch that which had become a part of her.

Sister Allred stated: “Mormon… teaches that charity is bestowed upon the Lord’s true disciples and that charity purifies those who have it.”

Grandmother’s heart was made pure by her continued practice of charity.

I was raised on cherry tomatoes, and oranges and grapefruit and along side the roses of grandma’s back yard. I was also raised on love and faith. My middle name is Lori which comes from my maternal grandmother’s name Lorena. The baby of our family is Erin Kimberly… her middle name coming from Grandma Rappleye’s maiden name Kimball. When you give an eight plus pound baby girl the genes of great size, you can be sure she will end up tall, as Erin and I did. But when you give a baby girl the name of a good woman, you hope she follows suit. Our goal is to live up to the legacy left for us. Whenever grandma would praise us for beauty, which grandmas are allowed to do, we would always say, “Grandma, we get it from you.” The last time I spoke to my grandma was on the phone a few days before she died. As Aunt Trish held the phone up to her ear, I told her I loved her and said that I’ve always looked up to her and hoped to be the kind of woman she is some day. If, when I am able once more to be at her side, and if at that point she can see in me a woman full of charity, I will be able to say again, “Grandma, I get it from you.” I bear testimony that charity is the pure love of Christ and that His love is made manifest through the mortal examples of those around us and that I had a shining example of it in the mortal life of the woman we honor today.

Moroni 7:47 reads, “But acharity is the pure blove of Christ, and it endurethcforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”

It is well with my grandma. May each of us live that it might be well with us is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Train of Thought- For Dad

I was on an evening walk with a good friend recently and we heard the sound of a train in the distance. I told him that that sound always reminds me of my dad. When I was in high school, I would always hear the sound of a train early in the morning. My schedule had trained my body pretty good to wake up naturally at a specific time even before my alarm and this was the order of events: 1) wake up 2) sound of train whistle 3) alarm clock buzz 4) Dad coming in the room and gently saying, "Kathy, time to get up." Now, every time I hear a train whistle I think of him. One time, during one of my first years away from home at college, I was going to bed late after working on homework or something and would be getting up very early for swim practice and I was praying, before going to bed, asking that I be given the strength to handle how tired life was making me. Then, in the distance, I heard the sound of a train, I thought of my dad, and I knew I could do it. It all comes back to the love of a father.

They say that all good things must come to an end. Well all good things had a beginning too and my good life began in California under the care of two very loving parents. Now, I live in Utah and, when my parents visit me here, they like to have an "our place." It has been Zupas for their soup and sandwich combo, Rooster for their desserts, and is now Thai Drift (coconut soup and pineapple curry... yum). I think it's my parents' way of feeling like they have a spot my my life still. How little they understand about their "spot" here... it's a bit bigger than that. This blog is to honor my dad for Father's Day and to show how many trains of thought in my every day life lead back to him. There is a whole train yard full for my mom as well. All roads lead home and all trains of thought lead back to you Dad.

Wake up. Early. Get ready and put makeup on a pair of green eyes with one brown freckle in the right one. A matching set is probably grading physics papers right now (hold the makeup). That set has two freckles. Lucky.

Downstairs to eat. Hmmm... what to have? Ah! Bread with peanut butter and honey on it... opened face and eaten with a fork. Tall glass of milk. (Sometime I like eating peanut butter just so milk is even more refreshing.) I spread peanut butter. A small smile. Dad's peanut butter is usually spread almost as thick as the bread. The honey is poured generously too. The man likes his toppings.

Hop in the car. Country song on the radio. Country was the music we listened to on the way to seminary and to swimming. We'd sing along even if we only knew some of the words.

Go for a swim. A random stranger asks for advice because she's having problems breathing correctly and she wants to compete in a triathalon. Know how to help her. Teach her about her stroke using physics. Dad always explained things so well.

Plan to go to a shooting range this weekend with a friend. My dad was in the National Guard. He did rock climbing and a lot of sports with his girls but didn't take us shooting. There are so many things he's so good at that were a big part of who he was, before we became a big part of who he was, that we have never even seen. He was a big skier before we were born too. Maybe next time Dad is in town he could take me shooting.

Shop for shoes. Head straight to the big sizes. There are only two places (Payless and Target) that I can shop for shoes because they carry my size. Other than that I have to shop online for them at department stores. Tall people problems. Ah, you get used to them. I love being tall. I get that from my dad's side of the family.

Meet up with Megan to get a hamburger for lunch at Five Guys. They have such good burgers. The best hamburgers in world are found at Happy Jacks. Happy Jacks is small, family owned place in my hometown. It was always a place Erin, Dad, and I would go. Last time I talked to Dad on the phone, we made a plan to go when I'm in town this summer.

Read something about the happenings in the middle east. Want some clarification on the background of the story. Call Dad.

See an advertisement for The Scottish Games. Ah, HIghland High School... those were some good times. Teenage years are hard, but they're better knowing someone you love is near by. Dad was there.

Counsel with a good friend. Have that friend walk me through the pros and cons list of a big decision. He does a good job of helping me see the options and asks the right questions to get at what my concerns are. He leaves me with the feeling that I can work things out and that I will make a right choice. He has helped to clear my mind but it is my mind that gets to make the decision. I feel able. The choice I make will be a good one and I don't feel pressure one way or the other and don't necessarily know what my friend thinks is the right choice. My dad counsels with me like this too and always has. I was never really a teenager who was told what to do. I came to him and we sorted through things and then I would hear something like, "You know Kath, I think that you've got a good idea. That makes a lot of sense. Good luck." (I even heard that this week from him.)

See a boy I could be interested in at a party. He may ask me out someday... or not. Whatever happens I know that I deserve a good man and that the only option is to find one who respects and treats me with kindness. I expect and assume great things will come from the man I love. The first man to love me on earth adored me and cared for me as one of the richest blessings of his life. I am one of four women he devotes everything to. We are treated as queens and he is honored in return. The next man to treat me that well has no idea how much love and care he'll receive from me in return. I was taught to recognize love and taught to give it.

Go on an evening walk. I wish Dad were here and he could go with me. We could walk and talk or walk and not talk and feel completely comfortable. Look at the incoming storm. I love clouds. This time I think of another father. This father created this beautiful world I live in. He sent me to an earthly father who would teach me to have faith and hope in Him. This particular father, and how well he did at expressing his love through kind service to his family, would make it easy for me to understand the love of a Heavenly Father. It would just make sense. Having lived a life filled with love from an earthly father, love I could not earn but was just freely given, I could conceive of the love of a Heavenly Father. Again this love would simply be given because it had not been earned. I recognize that weak and flawed as I am, I am loveable. That is a rich blessing indeed and my Lifetime Blessing Quota is filled from Day 1. Life is also full of challenges. But I can face those challenges remembering the love of both fathers. I go home and pray to the one and for the other.

And as I hit the pillow, I hear the distant sound of a train.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Paralyzingly Self-Fullfilling Prophesy Power of Fear

Fear by Shel Silverstein
Barnabus Browning
Was scared of drowning,
So he never would swim
Or get into a boat
Or take a bath
Or cross a moat.
He just sat day and night
With his door locked tight
And the windows nailed down,
Shaking with fear
That a wave might appear,
And cried so many tears
That they filled up the room
And he drowned.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Twits by Roald Dahl

"If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly you can hardly bear to look at it.
"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
"Nothing good shone out of Mrs. Twit's face."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The greatest thing, you'll ever learn...

Yesterday I had a nice day. I spent most of the time with my best friend Megan. I started this particular day of days with (gentle overture) cleaning my bathroom and the kitchen (Fun huh? You're jealous...a lot jealous...). Then we got dressed up in adorable gear and went on a walk in the rain. It was lovely outside. When we got home we were sufficiently hungry and so (crescendo) while she read to me from Harry Potter (build, build), I set to work making us lunch and ended up producing a fairly mediocre version of a Pad Thai recipe I'd never tried before (climax!). Then, Megan had to go into work and I wanted to go look around Borders (decrescendo) and so she dropped me off and I hung ten until she was ready to go and we were headed to groceries afterward.

Epiphany: Megan and I spent the whole day together because it just happened to work out that way. And, we did just regular stuff. And it was great! Some/most Saturdays we don't get that chance and we just do our own thing. I wonder what it would be like to spend that kind of day with a man because it was assumed that we spend time together when we can and I could kiss his face too! Even more fun!

Assessment of mankind:

1) While at Borders I had a random and wonderful conversation with a complete stranger as I drank hot chocolate and read while he worked on some writing. He was, I assume (by the ring), married and we were definitely different "types" of human being and so we were able to carry on a purely "interested in other human being and their thoughts with no ulterior motive or pretension because I will never see her/him again" moment and it felt wonderful! We talked about a documentary movie he had helped with and the obesity problem in the United States. We inquired and showed interest in the other and left with not even a name to identify each other with and I felt completely connected to the human race and so alive I was just floating. So cool. People like other people.

2) A conversation with a male friend a week or two ago: Said friend likes to read stories of men who were changed by the women who love them. He likes to hear stories from church leaders of how a wife has made a great man the man he is. He relishes in that kind of love story, as well he should. We all should want that. My worry, as dictated to him, consists of the fear that we all expect that kind of love to, have us at "hello." I expressed to him my concern that he does this in his own relationships. That love that can be told of and relished in is a love that grows over years of time together and a lot of regular, not lightening bolt days. Do we get that? Are we okay with that?

My advertisement for love:
Pretty regular girl seeks pretty regular boy.
Plan on my hips getting bigger.
I'll plan on you losing hair.
Plan on days of errands and dishes.
Plan for days of sickness and bath robes.
And plan on this too;
Plan on having more love than you know what to do with unleashed on you from a fire hydrant of wonderfulness. I've have been waiting for you to come along and allow me to be what I could be for someone. But plan on this...
Someday you will wake up and I will be gone. You will look back on our lives together and think, "No woman ever loved a man as I was loved by Kathryn." And, you will, naturally, be quite wrong. What a selfish thing to believe. How would that be fair to the rest of the world? Women have loved men and men have loved women for many years now. Why would we get to be that special? You will be right in this: No woman ever loved YOU as I loved you. That will be the only difference and the difference that makes all the difference in the world. I was important and you could give a talk in church or write poetry, if you feel so inclined, about how I changed your life simply because I was the one that shared it.

Mundane is typically thought of and defined as ordinary or common. Another definition for it though is earthly. is I think of the day I spent doing the "mundane" tasks of life with my roommate. As she went off to bed that night and I hung on the couch reading a book we said goodnight and she said, "That was a really nice day." It really was. I was not in my most entertaining mood. Truth is I'm really stressed with work these days and it has kind of consumed my energy. I was just kind of regular that day. I didn't feel like I needed to entertain her and I didn't try hard to show more enthusiasm than I am currently feeling in life. But it was good. That simple, tired, laid back version of myself was enough for her. I am enough. Isn't that all we need? Spending time with her validated my existence. My shared experience with that artsy human being in saddle shoes and horned rimmed glasses at Borders was validating as well. If mundane means earthly then yes, I want to spend time with people in the mundane of life. What I want is that one person in life who commits to spend Saturdays in the mundane tasks with me and to sharing human experience with me for the rest of my life. I need that. That's all.

Lyric from Moulin Rouge: "The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."