My goal during mortality is to come to know the Savior so well that His image will be reflected in my countenance—and that He will know me when He sees me, because I will have become like Him.

With that goal as a destination, I am finding great joy in the journey. There is so much to love in this world! I love violets, the soft cry of a newborn baby, rainbows, wispy clouds, crisp autumn mornings, and sunsets that splash the sky with colors no artist could duplicate. I love meadows dotted with wildflowers, romantic movies, fragrant pines, huge flakes of snow that casually drift through the air, and the way Rain in sunaspen leaves quiver in even the softest hint of a breeze.

I love chocolate, rugged mountains, rainfall while the sun is shining, and the smooth beauty of a practiced tenor. I love long drives with no destination, plump cherries so ripe they are almost black, a cool patch of shade on a blistering day, the taste of salt on my lips at the ocean’s edge, and the smell of a baby’s soft skin.

I love Mozart and Beethoven and Vivaldi and Tschaikovsky. Autumn leavesI love the melancholy discourse of a cello and the lilting joy of a flute. I love the sounds of nature, too: the cacophony of birds on a late spring morning, the chirping symphony of crickets at summer twilight, the gentle rustle of autumn leaves in a gust of wind, and the rain as it dances across my windows. I love the sound of children’s choirs and Christmas carols recanting the story of the Christ child.

I love narrow glimpses of lace tatted by my grandmother, colorful quilts pieced and stitched by women I know, tiny buttons, and the creamy comfort of tapioca pudding. I love the gentle patina of old wood, deep bathtubs, and furniture that has gracefully drifted from one generation to another.

Cabbage rosesI love the tattered softness of old baby blankets, the exuberance of cabbage roses, tall stands of hollyhocks, peaches still warm from the sun, the intoxicating scent of hyacinths, trees covered with fragrant blossoms, crisp white shirts, pussy willows, and the way the world smells after a summer rain. I love sincere smiles, giving hearts, gentle hands, and strong arms. I love good friends and kind strangers. I love old photographs, the splash of rhythmic ocean waves against the craggy rocks of an inlet, eucalyptus, weathered cemeteries, and freshly baked bread.

RaspberriesI love the four seasons that bring diversity to an ever-changing landscape. I love the first glimpse of tulip leaves, the sunny cheer of daffodils, the plucky courage of a purple crocus pushing its way through the snow, and the earth as it begins to warm after winter’s quiet. I love impromptu picnics, branches laden with plump raspberries, dangling my feet in meandering mountain streams, the smell of freshly mown grass, ice-cold lemonade in the middle of July, and the magical glow of fireflies.

I love crisp afternoons, steaming cocoa in a crowded stadium, mountains awash in fiery orange, the warmth of soup simmering in my mother’s kitchen, hand-knit sweaters, and richly hued leaves dancing softly across the autumn air as they drift to earth.

PomegranateI love the first snowfall of winter, the comforting aroma of roasted turkey, the exciting anticipation of Christmas, the ruby-red jewels clustered in a pomegranate, decorating the Christmas tree, hushed whispers amid the rustles of wrapping paper, snowmen in all their varieties, and the anchoring safety of traditions.

Easter eggsI love the sweet surprise of lacy Valentines and the rich decadence of chocolate-dipped strawberries. I love the pastel hues of marbled eggs, fancy new dresses, a chocolate-covered marshmallow rabbit peeking out of its hiding place, and the simple delight of an Easter basket.

May Day basketI love the small cluster of spring blooms nestled in the May Day basket, hung quietly and secretly on a rounded doorknob. I love the American flag, the bagpipers that punctuate the summer morning in a well-orchestrated parade, juicy watermelon at the conclusion of a patriotic picnic, and fireworks bursting across the blackened sky.

I love fat pumpkins and gangly scarecrows and hot apple cider with doughnuts. I love the comfort of family gathered around a table, giving thanks for Wreathall that gives them joy in a world that is sometimes cold and dark. I love twinkling lights along the eaves, ribboned wreaths against paned windows, the distant sound of carols breaking the thick quiet of a winter night, arms wrapped carefully around bundles of brightly wrapped boxes, sweet images of a baby cradled in a manger, and the rich goodness of Granny’s steamed pudding.

Those are the things I love.

And here is a list of my favorites:

Animal: I think cat would have to be first, followed closely by dog. I also have a great fondness for the supple beauty of big cats (lions, tigers) and the pristine nature of polar bears.

Artist: Carl Bloch and his portrayal of the Savior.

Author: Jodi Picoult.

Book: So difficult to narrow it down to one; perhaps Little Women or The Help.

Candy: CHOCOLATE. Individual candy, turtles—a decadent combination of chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

Card game: Hands and Feet.

Color: Yellow.

Cookie: A tie between chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin.

Drink: Water.

LilacsFlavor of ice cream: Baskin Robbins German Chocolate Cake (which they no longer make!).

Flower: A tie between lilacs and violets.

Fruit: Raspberries.

Holiday: Christmas.

Meal: If I could design my favorite meal, it would consist of baked potato soup, cheddar biscuits, a small green salad with baby shrimp and hard-boiled eggs with Thousand Island dressing, butterflied shrimp, sautéed scallops, lobster tail, mashed potatoes with lobster sauce, and chocolate bread pudding for dessert.

Movie star: Johnny Depp, Diane Lane, and Meryl Streep.

Movie: Steel Magnolias.

Luciano PavarottiMusical group: The Beatles.

Singer: Luciano Pavarotti.

Song: “The Prayer.”

Hymn: Tie between “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “How Firm a Foundation,” and “Redeemer of Israel.”

Musical instrument: Violin.

Style of music: Classical.

Painting: Gentle Healer by Greg Olsen.

Poem: Ode on Intimations of Immortality.

Walt WhitmanPoet: Walt Whitman.

Restaurant: Red Lobster.

Season: Tie between spring and fall.

Sport: Football.

Tree: Tie between Canadian maple and flowering plum.

Vegetable: I love vegetables! Among my favorites are corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and potatoes.

Now you know a little about me—especially about the things I love and the things that capture my imagination. One of the greatest desires of my heart, though, has undoubtedly not come through in my careful lists of those things that delight my senses: it is the legacy I hope to leave.

At various times during my life, I have felt the frustration of not having made an incredible and lasting contribution to mankind. I have pondered the lives of people like Mother Teresa, who spent all of her time, her energies, and her resources improving the lives of the poor in Calcutta; of Nelson Mandela, who spent solitary years confined in prison and who immediately took up the cause of equanimity for his people the day he was released; of Jonas Salk, who dedicated himself to eradicating a crippling disease from the planet; of Moses, who led the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years and who, on a rugged mountain, received from the Lord the commandments that still stand today as a code for a moral life. I realize that my own life pales in comparison.

As I ponder what my most meaningful contribution can be, I hope that with the Savior’s help, I can leave a powerful legacy of faith, testimony, patience, endurance, and strength during adversity for my posterity. If my children, my grandchildren, and those in my family who are waiting to experience mortality can look at my life and see that I knew the Savior and that I relied on Him to guide me through every eventuality, I will feel that I have left a worthwhile legacy to those I love.

Though my contribution may not be as widespread as that of Jonas Salk or as globally acknowledged as that of Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela, I know that it can have a profound effect if those I love will be inspired enough by it to hold fast to the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and thereby earn their exaltation. I can think of no greater legacy than the sweet and eternal association with those I love in the kingdom of heaven.

Writer

"Kathy writes compellingly and swiftly, has an eye for detail, and possesses an uncanny sense for how to shape a story to make it pulsate with energy."
 —Taylor Halverson

Editor

"Kathy Jenkins has honed her editing skills with such precision and excellence that today she is viewed by many (including me) as the best editor on the planet. No matter how many times I have read and reworked a manuscript, Kathy improves my writing with meticulous care and good will."
 —Susan Easton Black

Mentor

"Kathy has been so helpful to me in bringing my manuscripts to fruition, encouraging me to work diligently on my writing craft. She makes every author better in every way."
 —Ed J. Pinegar

Consultant

"Kathy brings life in her writing, wisdom in her editing, and experience in her consulting; she has made me a better and more confident author."
 —Ganel-Lyn Condie