And the winner is Slim! (Who is exactly one half of Slyck and Slim, but Slyck never actually posts.)
I've actually known for a few days now, but Conference weekend isn't exactly conducive to blogging. Especially when the temperature hits nearly 70 degrees and the sun decides to make an appearance. Conference and sunshine are, however, very inspirational for posting. Maybe in a few days when I've had time to internalize it a bit more.
I would send you to Slim's excellent blog here, but it is private, so instead I will tell you a little bit about my fantastic friend and what knowing her has taught me. It's almost too bad you can't go to her blog; I risk a fair amount of disloyalty here to tell you that her kids might actually be the cutest ones I've ever seen. Yes, my own included.
When we moved to our house in Texas, there were not all that many young couples in our ward yet, though later on there would be, literally, dozens. Slim and her husband, Slyck, invited us to dinner at their apartment. I was immediately impressed that though their space was very small, Slim managed to have everything in exactly the right place so that you felt cozy instead of crowded, and very welcome.
Slyck and Plantboy became home teaching companions and were together over the next three (or four?) years. I quickly learned to admire Slim as I came to see her many and varied talents. So many and varied, in fact, that for a time I wondered if the Ministry of Magic had sanctioned Slim's use of a time-turner. I ruled this theory out for two reasons--first of all, Harry and his buddies destroyed all of the time turners when they broke into the Ministry of Magic, and secondly because there is no such thing as magic. My next theory for Slim's amazing abilities quickly became apparent--Slim is probably the most self-disciplined woman I have ever met.
I think she is probably one of those people who always smiles through clenched teeth when people tell her how lucky she is to be so talented. She smiles because she in so nice, she clenches her teeth because luck has very little to do with what she has made of her natural abilities. Slim sews and paints. She could probably make a million dollars a year interior decorating but her whole heart and focus is on her mothering. Slim plays the piano and sings. Violin too, I think. Her house is unbelievably beautiful and so welcoming, though all of her decorating is done on a shoe-string budget and strictly cash only. Slim was also a ballroom dancer at BYU; but lest you think her interests run only to artistic pursuits, she also runs, bikes, has babies naturally and rides horses. She looks equally at ease camping in the mountains of Utah as attending the symphony in Houston. Slim is a true Renaissance girl.
Now that she probably hates me for saying so many wonderful things about her, I'm going to say a few more. . .
But with all of Slim's wonderful, hard-earned, outward talents, she knows that the Lord looks on the heart. Slim's committment to her abilities is her way of consecrating her whole self to the Lord. I mentioned the mothering thing, but she spends a lot of time using her music to bless people in the ward in various capacities as well as offering inexpensive lessons for children learning the piano. Slim never hesitates to help a friend learn how to do something new and crafty and is ready to give free decorating advice to anyone who needs it, even though at one time she was able to charge $100/hour just to go shopping with someone. For all that they are her talents, she is perhaps more generous with them than anyone I've ever met.
Slim and I are not alike, hardly at all. Even our physical appearances are nearly opposites. Our ideas and attitudes about all kinds of things are practically dichotomies of one another. But the Gospel has held us together as sisters. She and I were blessed to serve together for nearly three years as Young Women leaders, and in that time I never saw her fail to act with love, even when she wasn't entirely sure what to do. Every few months, she and I will fire off a series of very lengthy emails to one another, re-affirming our differences (politiely) and our friendship (fervently). I think fifty years could pass and Slim and I would still be able to sit down and have a wonderful conversation and put our arms around each other at the end grateful for the things we've learned from one another.
Again, she hates this kind of thing, but I'm so grateful for her friendship over the years and the things I've learned from her that I couldn't help it.
* A copy of Pride and Prejudice. (The NON-zombie version.) I told you that Slim and I didn't have much in common--she isn't much of a reader, particularly of fiction. Still, it is my feeling that no self-respecting woman should be without a copy of this essential tome and so I am sending it to her in the fond hope that she will find time to read it. Though, no doubt, that time will be found after all the work is done.
* A box of chocolates from the Euphoria Chocolate Company. They are a local chocalatier in my fair city and they are SO GOOD. I only regret that I couldn't send the truffles: they are made with fresh cream and have to be refrigerated.
* A "small plates" journal. I started one of these for conference the other day. I don't know if Slim keeps a journal or not, but I haven't since I started this blog, and often hear other bloggers say the same. While I'm writing more now than ever, and keeping an accurate record of our lives, my deepest thoughts are often edited for fear of giving offense where none is intended. Slim is an introvert; perhaps the journal will be a place to bare her soul without risk of discovery.
I loved doing a contest, if only for all of the friends that showed up. Choosing the perfect AWESOME prize was also very fun. I'll do this again in a few months, and if I know you and you win then I'll say all kinds of sweet things about you too.
The prize is in the mail, Slim, but my personal feeling is that the actual prize is the friendship we share. Thanks for being a part of my journey.