Tuesday, April 28, 2009
We are headed to Women's Conference at BYU. Yep, I am going with five other women from my ward. My daughter tells me she saw the bookstore was getting ready for the onslaught of women by adding more cashiers to the candy counter. Ouch!
Two of my friends sewed some very cute bags for each of us to use while there. I will have to post a picture when I get back of the AZ Bag Ladies! :-) I am sure we will have a great time, but probably won't get much sleep. It will be a three night slumber party! Oh dear! I am not quite sure I am up to that.
After the conference I am staying for a couple more days to visit with my mother and bring my daughter Kristen home for the summer. Hooray!! I can't wait to have her home. But until then . . . I hope everyone is doing well and has a wonderful week. I will give a full report with pictures and catch up on every thing else--including every one's wonderful blogs --when I get back.
I am off to bed. . . .
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Ryan is our only son and if we could only have one, we are glad it is him!
Friday night we celebrated his birthday in our traditional way. We went out to eat dinner and then returned home for cake and gifts.
Michelle getting ready to hit the Superman pinata
Watch those pieces fly!!!
There are many things we love about Ryan. Here are a few.
1. His faith. He has always had great faith, even as a child. When he was about three he heard on TV about young boy dying of kidney failure. Ryan begged me to call the family and tell them about priesthood blessings so the boy could be healed.
2. His enthusiasm. Every year on Christmas morning (even after he returned from his mission to Australia) Ryan was the first to awake. He would then wake up his sisters and visit with them in the basement until 6:00, when they were all allowed to come upstairs to open presents. Ryan was also known to wake up his sisters at 2:00 a.m. to hunt for Easter baskets.
3. His ability to remember everything sports. Wes was so excited to have a boy in the family to play basketball and talk sports with. Ryan was not only a great basketball player but he can also remember the name of every athlete in any professional sport, along with all his career statistics. Pretty impressive!
4. His generosity. Ryan will probably never be wealthy in a worldly sense because whenever he has money, he spends it on someone or gives it away. One example is when he was in Brazil with Alliance for Youth Services. They were there to help build a school and he soon realized they could be much more effective with better tools. So, Ryan emptied his bank account (money he had been saving to attend school in the fall) and used the money to purchase tools that were left behind to benefit the villagers.
5. His tender heart. I have two stories for this one—one of which is my favorite story about Ryan. When he was three, his older sister, Camille was five. Camille had gone next door to play with her friend, Stephanie but Stephanie didn’t want to play so Camille came home with hurt feelings. Upon seeing Camille crying, Ryan went over to Stephanie’s and soon returned with her in tow. I had to laugh as they walked through the door, however, and I heard Ryan say, “Just a minute and I will get you your penny.” Apparently he had bribed her to come.
My next story is about Ryan as an adult. His wife of five months, Kali, told us she is going to put his picture up at the humane societies in AZ to warn them not to let him through the door. Kali had a dog when he and Ryan were married, so Ryan wanted to get one of his own. He did. But then he saw another dog he felt needed rescuing, and then another . . .
Here is a picture of Kali's dog Daisy (the toy poodle) and two of the three dogs
Ryan has rescued.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Karine Eliason shared an interesting story. She and Gordon are good friends with the Uchtdorfs. (As in President Uchtdorf of the First Presidency and his wife.) They met back in Glendale while Dieter was at Luke Air Force base teaching pilots. In fact, we ALL were in the same ward. The six of us even traveled to Utah when two couples from the ward went to be sealed. Ten couples went together up to share in this exciting experience. A sad point is that I do not even remember the Uchtdorfs at all.
Last year Karine had surgery and was at home recovering. One day the doorbell and rang and it was the Uchtdorfs. They were just in town and had heard that she was in need of a visit.
This is a wonderful story; nevertheless, I learned a valuable lesson from it. I am envious of the relationship the Uchtdorfs and Eliasons have with each other. Then I think that we could be long time friends with the Uchtdorfs as well. We were in the same ward at the same time. As I look back and wonder why I do not even remember them, I realize that I had kept in my own little world, busy with family and the friends I already had. I was probably not interested in trying to make friends with people who could barely speak English and would not be there very long anyway. Because I did not go out of my “comfort zone”, I missed some wonderful friends.
How many other people have I missed rich experiences with because I did not reach out to them? Each person on earth has something that could enrich my life. I am trying harder here on my mission to meet people and get to know them.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Then I got married.
I knew I had married the only man in the world for me and after a beautiful wedding day filled with family and feasting, he lifted me onto his white stallion and together we galloped off into the sunset in search of our happily ever after. Well, actually, we loaded our meager belongings into his car and drove south to Mexico City, with me crying all the way because I was not ready to leave my family, my home, and my country so soon after returning from a mission to Ecuador. But Mexico City is where he was raised, it was where his family lived and most importantly, it was where he planned to spend the rest of his life working in the family business.
Our first year of marriage was neither harmonious nor trial free. We spent the first six months either living with relatives or in an apartment with walls blackened from smog, and water that ran only two days in seven. Wes went off to work six days a week, leaving me home alone, in a country where I had no friends, no family of my own, and no diversion. (I tried driving once and it scared me to death so I never tried again). Being a person who thrives on being busy and social, I felt utterly lonely and depressed. And, I soon discovered, pregnant.
Over the next six months the Mexican economy collapsed, making it impossible for us to earn a living, so my husband immigrated to Utah (yes, he was a Mexican citizen) where we hoped for a better life. Happy to be back with family, life was better for me, but difficult for Wes who had to find a new dream.
After a difficult pregnancy, Camille was born. The insurance company that should have covered the cost went bankrupt and couldn’t pay, and while driving home from the hospital following her birth, Wes was broadsided by an uninsured drunk driver who totaled our car. Overwhelmed by the debt suddenly heaped upon us, still recovering from complications to child birth and lacking transportation, we would sit at dinner together in stony silence.
And I wondered . . . whatever happened to ‘happily ever after’?
Now many years later, I realize I was just as naïve to think life would never get better, as I was to think it would hold no challenges. Real, true, meaningful life comes with both good and bad—together. My father sent me a quote I love, and have posted on my side bar. It says, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain.”
So I gave some thought to those things in my life, that even in stormy weather bring me great joy. Here is a list of ten of them, not in any particular order.
1. Looking across a crowded room filled with people who want my husband’s attention and having him look directly at me and wink. (I love that!)
2. Family dinners where all who live at home are gathered together. These are harder now, with Kathryn working, but when we all happen to be home at the same time, my heart swells with joy.
3. Enjoying nature. Whether it is hiking, walking in the rain, seeing a sunset, or watching the quail in my front yard early in the morning, taking note of the beauty in nature always makes me happy.
4. Hearing laughter coming from another room. One of life’s most simple pleasures is listening to my daughters laughing together in another room while they do dishes and/or share stories.
5. Anything funny that makes me laugh. Following the birth of my third child, I struggled with postpartum depression. I didn’t realize it at the time though. I just thought I was tired and miserable. However, six months after her birth we were on vacation in California. While jumping waves in the ocean, I was hit hard by a wave that pushed me under the water. When I surfaced, I started to laugh. My laughter sounded so strange in my ears and I realized it had been a very long time since I had laughed at anything. But that moment seemed to break a barrier around my heart and from then on I got better. From that experience, however, I also learned to appreciate very much the people who bring laughter into my life.
6. Hot running water—particularly in a bathtub filled with bubbles. On my mission we rarely had hot water, and when we did it ran only for a few minutes. I have never turned on a water faucet since, without expressing gratitude for hot running water.
7. Time spent with friends. There are few things that bring me greater joy than an unexpected telephone call or email from a friend. And there are few things I would rather do than go to lunch with, or spend the evening, long into the night, visiting with those who are dear to me.
8. Learning something new. I love to learn. I love to visit with people who are different than I am, travel to far away countries, or read a book that teaches me something I didn’t know before. There is something magical about learning, I think, that makes me feel so very alive.
9. Doing something hard. It isn’t that I like to do hard things, but I really like how I feel after I have done them. It always brings such a sense of accomplishment and boosts my self-esteem.
10. Perform a service. My mission president always told us when we were discouraged to get out and serve. I have found that to be true. It is a basic principle that service brings joy. I recently had an experience with this. On our last visiting teaching appointment of the day we came to a home of a sister whose kitchen was filled with meat and vegetables needing to be bottled that day. So, putting away our message and putting on our aprons, we went to work helping her. I spent the next two hours browning meat and peeling potatoes. But I also spent the time, working and visiting with two wonderful, strong and spiritual sisters, whose association brought great joy into my life that day.
So there you have it. Ten ways that even in the storms of life, help me to find . . . joy in the journey.
Friday, April 17, 2009
5. The average person spends 336 hours of his or her life kissing.
6. Ever wonder how an “X” came to represent a kiss? Starting in the Middle Ages, people who could not read used an X as a signature. They would kiss this mark as a sign of sincerity. Eventually, the X came to represent the kiss itself.
7. Talk about a rush! Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters in our brains as parachuting, bungee jumping, and running.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I told my husband when we were dating that we would be having a baby nine months after we were married. I was eager to start my family and I kept feeling there was a spirit in heaven eager to be a part of it.
Camille was good, sweet, fun and a great helper. In 8th grade she did television news spots for the WBTV, and in high school, she lettered in tennis, jazz band, and academics and graduated in the top 3% of her class.
She graduated from BYU with a degree in linguistics and is currently finishing her masters degree in special education.
But most importantly, on March 7, 2008 she married her college sweetheart, Dave, in the Mount Timpanogos Temple.
Camille and Dave on their wedding day
And, nine and a half months later, gave birth to her own sweet, little daughter, Carly Amelia. They currently live so very, very, very far away in Colorado!
Coloring Easter Eggs, with Carly, April 2009
(and yes, Camille I stole this picture off your blog!:-)
I have always felt I have known Camille forever--Not just in this life, but before as well.
In the past I always teased her that the reason I was born first, and was her mother instead of her being mine,was because I had the wisdom and spiritual maturity necessary to help her navigate through life.
We later both decided, however, that the real reason I was born first was because she had the wisdom and knowledge necessary to help me navigate around modern day technology. Camille is a computer whiz. Anytime I have a question, or need something researched, I call her. She always knows the answers to my questions, and she can find anything on the Internet in just a few minutes. So now the secret is out. See anything cutesy on my blog? Yeah, it was Camille!
I am so glad she is ours and will be ours forever.
We love you Camille!
And for my favorite story about Camille . . . read the previous post! It is a good one!
Soon after her sixth birthday, my husband left town to attend his aunt's funeral. He took our four year old son, Ryan with him, leaving Camille, myself and my one year old daughter, Kristen home alone over night.
The night he left, a storm swept into Phoenix, leaving the weather hot and muggy, and our home without electricity. After sitting in darkness for close to an hour, Camille suggested we pray and ask Heavenly Father to turn the power back on. We had already reported the power outage to the electric company and I was sure they were working as quickly as they could to restore power, but not wanting to discourage the faith of my young, sweet daughter, I agreed.
So we knelt in prayer and I prayed for the electricity to come back on so we wouldn't have to be so hot and would have light to see.
After sitting in darkness for an additional ten minutes or so, Camille said to me, "I guess I am going to have to do this myself." She then went into a corner of our family room, knelt and offered a silent prayer.
Immediately upon standing, our home lit up with lights. Camille, looked at me with a rather disgusted look and said, "Now, that's better!"
Oh, how humbling that moment was!!! Never again would I doubt the faith of a child.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I was making my children's and husband's Easter baskets at the same time and so in some I put one flavor and in the other baskets, the other. In my friend's basket, I went to put in peppermint, when I suddenly changed my mind and placed wintergreen in her basket instead. I did not know which gum she would prefer but I hoped I had chosen correctly.
This morning I was sitting by my friend in Relief Society and glanced down at her purse. There inside was a package of wintergreen gum. I said to her, "Oh, I see you like wintergreen gum." She answered, "I do! It is my favorite." Later I gave her the Easter basket I had made--complete with the wintergreen gum.
It was such a simple thing, and I know she would have been happy to have received either flavor, but to me it was a sweet sign that Heavenly Father was very much aware of her on this Easter Sunday. It also made me think how often we pass through large, and difficult trials and feel so very alone. Yet, if Heaven can take notice of gum flavor and take the time to prompt me to change it, I am pretty sure we will never be left to walk alone through the times that really matter.
And that thought brings sweet comfort, and . . . joy to my journey.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
On His final night, His journey would not only take Him through Gethsemane, but He would stop there as well. Here in a grove of olive trees, Christ would take upon Himself the sins, suffering, sickness and imperfections of all mankind.
On Friday morning, following an illegal trial where He was sentenced to death, Christ was taken to Golgotha, where He would offer His life as a sacrifice for each of us.
“Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.” (Mark 14:14-15)
And they [brought] him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. (Mark 15: 22.25)
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. (John 19:41)
They took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. (John 19:40)
And laid His body in the garden tomb.
"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they (the women) came unto the sepulchre. . . . And they found the stone rolled away. . . .
And so it was on that first Easter morning that Jesus Christ was resurrected. He suffered that we might overcome, He died that we might live.
For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only begotten of the Father—
That by him and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
No primping or preparing.
Just snap a picture.
Load the picture onto your blog.
Tag some people to play.
Monday, April 6, 2009
So here is an idea I got from my SIL, Judy S. Instead of using a bowl, use a platter!
And for a salad dressing, here are two ideas. The first one is from another SIL, Jackie M. Take 3 parts Poppy seed dressing and mix with 1 part pesto. I know it doesn't sound that great, but it is easy, original and really does taste delicious!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The barren, waste land that exists today will be gone, and in its place will be rich, abundant life, just as the Jordan River gives life to the land near Galilee.
On the top of the conference center there is a fountain that pours water over the side of the building. It flows every night and every day, all year long. This fountain is also symbolic of the "living water" the Savior offers to the world as taught by his prophets in the latter-days. It is the water that heals broken hearts and mends wounded souls.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths . . .
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Although she is only three months old, since our time with her is so rare, we wanted it to be memorable. So, Grandpa donned his real life Crocodile Dundee hat--complete with real crocodile teeth--and headed to the outback for a dangerous animal adventure!
Okay, so it was only the Wildlife Zoo in Surprise, AZ, but at $26.00 a person (when did zoo prices become so exorbitant?!!) it would definitely be memorable!
She admired the rare (and rather lazy) white tiger.
She peered at the tired tortoise.
And got rather up close and personal with a curious giraffe.
Going to the zoo with Grandpa was sooo much fun!
And so exhausting! After about an hour she was done. So we got her out of the stoller and gave her a hug (how could you NOT want to hug this very sweet thing!) and took her home to bed.
I know she won't remember a thing about her big day in the wild, but that is what online books are for! :-) I am going to compile a book with all the pictures of the animals along with these pictures of Carly, and for years to come she can read about her first trip to the zoo!