Thursday, September 30, 2010

In Search of Cooler Weather . . .

I am headed out in the morning to Utah for conference.

We haven't been for a few years so I am really excited to go. Besides being able to attend a session, we also will get to spend time with our two BYU daughters! I am super excited about that. I have missed them both terribly.

And I am hoping the weather will be at least a few degrees cooler than what we are experiencing in Arizona. I keep reading posts about how everyone is loving their fall weather, and if coveting weren't a sin, I would be filled to the brim with it.

I got to substitute in seminary last week. It was so much fun! I subbed a freshman class and they were all so sweet and excited about everything. I think it would have made me want to teach again if I hadn't felt so tired the rest of the day! That sure brought back memories!! I have felt so much better these past few months. I actually have energy after 2:00! It is hard to believe I lived for 12 years being that sleep deprived.

Yesterday my husband's brother and his son were in town visiting from Hawaii. They are here for a BYU-H soccer game and came over for dinner and swimming (yes it is still hot enough to swim here).

Michelle also had some friends from school over to work on an English project, and they came into the family room to discuss their project with me.

It was so much fun. I love having my house filled with people and lively conversation. It just warms my heart!

I really was not meant to live in a quiet house. Dear Mothers of young children. . . Enjoy them. All too soon they are gone.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Close Encounters of the Scurrying Kind

I walked into my bedroom last night and found this in the corner . . .


And next to it on the ground were little black droppings.

This could only mean one thing . . .

While I had been blissfully sleeping the night before, there were MICE running around my bedroom, not more than a couple feet from where I had been!!
I called to my husband in another room to tell him what I found. He said, "I scoop out mice all the time from the swimming pool."
I wasn't quite sure what that meant. Was it
a. Just a random comment?
b. A suggestion for me to get the mice to follow me out to the pool where they could then drowned themselves?
c. His way of telling me that he has disposed of his share of mice and these were mine?
I vacuumed up the mess and checked all over my bedroom and bathroom for additional evidence of nocturnal wanderings. I didn't find anything, but just in case I made my husband keep the lights on while I climbed into bed and tucked myself in--and then moved to the middle of the bed (sorry about that Honey). I spent the night intently listening for scurrying feet and/or munching.
It was a very long night.
And to my dismay, despite my vigil, this morning we discovered a pair of my husband's socks partially eaten and mouse droppings all over the bathroom floor.
Tonight my husband put out traps all over our house.
Already we have one mouse killed in action.
I am not sure what the rest of the night will bring, but just in case, I am thinking about sleeping in the basement.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Look At Me Now!!

Look at these pictures of me! I love this one.

And this one!

And especially this one!

Okay, so they really aren't of me. But I sure wish they were.

Maybe someday . . . .:-)

About a month ago my friend and walking partner, Susan, decided we needed more of a challenge in our exercise routine. Frankly, I was quite content to walk our few miles around the neighborhood each morning while solving the problems of the world. But since she was ready to move on, I had no choice but to either find a new walking partner (which I did not want to do) or move forward with her.

So, we joined a neighborhood gym and now my life is filled with treadmills, weights, zumba classes and yes . . yoga!

I have wanted to try yoga for a long time but lacked the nerve and courage. But with a friend at your side, everything becomes less frightening, so we started attending the "gentle yoga" class twice a week together. And gentle it was. We would come out of class ready to take a nap. I loved the stretching but after a couple weeks we decided we could probably do a little more.

We noticed there was another yoga class just before our gentle one, so we decided to try that. We knew some people in the class and figured if they could do it, we could.

Yikes!! Three minutes in to class I knew I had made a huge mistake. Trying to balance on one foot while bringing my back leg up behind me just was not going to happen. (I couldn't even balance let alone grab my back foot!) Half way through the class my legs were shaking, my arms were trembling and I was sweating like a marathon runner. I was so thankful for dim lights and kept hoping no one was watching me as I stumbled through.

But apparently they were. As soon as class ended, the teacher came up to congratulate us for sticking it out. Ends up we were in an intermediate yoga class. INTERMEDIATE!! This after just three weeks of a remedial one.

She said how proud she was of us for being brave and trying some thing we obviously were not qualified for. (Those were not her exact words, but it was implied).

As we walked away, a member of the class must have thought we needed an additional pep talk because she then came over to visit with us as well. She told us that she was diagnosed with two herniated disks a year ago and so took up yoga. Now she attends class five days a week and loves it. In fact it is the only exercise she does.

I looked at her more closely. She was probably in her late 20's, tall, thin, beautiful, limber and very toned. VERY TONED!

As she walked away I watched her with just a touch [a lot] of envy.

Do you think if I stick it out I can look like that in a year?

Okay, probably not--in a million, billion years, ever! But, I think I am going to stick it out anyway.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fifteen Years Later . . . The Family Proclamation

Like many of you, I remember well the night "The Family, A Proclamation To The World" was presented during the Relief Society broadcast by then president of the church, Gordon B. Hinckley. But although I remember the reading of it, I had no idea at that moment how important the document would become to my family, nor how threatened the principles it teaches would become in our nation.

Today, September 23, 2010 marks the fifteen anniversary of that day. To commemorate the occasion, I wanted to share a few of my feelings, as well as some quotes from an article by Elder Henry B. Eyring, in the October 1998 Ensign.

During this past year our stake was asked to memorize the proclamation. This is the second time we have been asked to do this. Later, at stake conference, all who were willing to stand in defense of the family stood, and those who had memorized the proclamation recited it. It was a powerful moment, as hundreds joined their voices together in one voice and proclaimed the sanctity of life and the family.

I have come to love the proclamation. One thing that strikes me, is it teaches us that the family unit is eternal. Not just in the sense that we can be married here for all eternity, but that we ourselves belong to a spiritual family. And we always have. We have a heavenly mother and a heavenly father and we are their children. The family we have here is patterned after what we had there, and is also a type of what is to come. The family unit existing of a mother and a father has always existed and will always exist.

Everything about this life is to teach us about our heavenly parents so we can become like them, and we want to become like them so we can live with them again. Since they live in a family unit, having a family here is the best way for us to learn what they are like.

The world might teach us that the family unit is archaic, that fathers are unnescessary, that a woman's work is only valued outside the home, or that material possessions are what matter, but the proclamation helps us to know differently. And although achieving the ideal may be difficult, it is not impossible.

I love what Elder Eyring teaches us about that.

"Whoever we are, however difficult our circumstances, we can know that what our Father requires of us if we are to qualify for the blessings of eternal life will not be beyond our ability. What a young boy said long ago when he faced a seemingly impossible assignment is true: “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Ne. 3:7).

We may have to pray with faith to know what we are to do, [to improve our family and prepare for eternal life] and after obtaining such knowledge we must pray with a determination to obey. But we can know what to do and be sure that the way has been prepared for us by the Lord. As we read what the proclamation tells us about the family, we can expect—in fact, we must expect—impressions to come to our minds as to what we are to do. And we can be confident it is possible for us to do according to those impressions."

The Family Proclamation is truly a blue print for eternal life. It teaches us who we are, where we come from and where we are going. It teaches the importance of making sacred temple covenants and what we must to do keep them.

Basically it teaches us how to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

How grateful I am for inspired leaders who show the way. And for a Heavenly Father who loves us enough to allow us to be in families here, and families in the eternity.

For there is nothing my life that brings greater . . . joy to my journey, than my family.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A whole lot of this and a little of that . . . .and that . . .

I had plans to blog more last week.

But life got in the way.

And a whole lot of worry.

My daughter in law was in the hospital for two days. She is 20 weeks pregnant with a little baby boy. We are so excited for the baby to come we can hardly stand the wait. But this past week she developed some health issues, unrelated to the pregnancy, and that has had us all worrying and praying a little more fervently as she cannot be treated until after the baby is born. I think the next four months are going to be very long ones.

But there have been some positives as well.

Yesterday our stake had a special meeting (it was not stake conference) and Elder Richard Hinckley of the First Quorum of Seventy presided. It was fun to have him visit. He told several stories about growing up with his father and lessons he learned from him.

One of my favorites was he told how soon before President Hinckley passed away he performed a sealing for one of his grandchildren. There at the sealing, President Hinckley commented that he just realized he had performed the sealings for all five of his children and all of his grandchildren. He went on to say that he felt having his family all sealed together was his greatest accomplishment. Elder Hinckley emphasized that his father had accomplished a lot during his many years of church service, including the unprecedented building of temples, yet having his family all sealed is what he thought was the best thing he ever did. I loved that.

Another story he told was about Mike Wallace and the 60 Minutes interview. He said Wallace was amazed when he learned about the missionary program and especially how mission presidents were called. He asked President Hinckley how the church was able to get men, many in the prime of their careers, to give up their jobs, or put their career on hold, and leave their families to serve for three years. President Hinckley answered, "We ask them." I got a kick out of that. So simple, yet so true.

It was a great meeting and I feel so blessed we were able to have him speak to us. He was in town for training meetings with the bishops and stake presidency and stayed over an extra day to speak to our stake as well. What a great blessing that was!!

And lastly . . . Here are a few pictures from our ward activity a week ago. We had a competition between the men and the women in fashion design, musical performance and coordination skills. It was a ton of fun!! And we were amazed at the talent in our ward!

This first picture was fashion design. Don't you just love the outfits?!

This was one of the coordination challenges. They had to keep three balloons in the air for one minute.

And lastly here is musical performance. This is one of the groups of women.

And here is a group of the men. Too funny. And cute legs. :-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yes I Can!! (Three Short Stories)

1. When our oldest daughter Camille was about three years old, my husband and I went to Dairy Queen to buy blizzards. We ordered mediums for the two of us and a small for Camille. My husband suggested we get her a medium as well (he wasn't thinking what would be best for her health, but rather what she would enjoy). I said to him, "She can't eat that much". From the back of the car we heard a very emphatic, "Yes. I. Can!" And she did.

We laughed at the bold determination of a small child. She was not going to be told what she could or couldn't do, but rather make that decision herself. And the stubbornness that was exhibited then has continued with her and has been put to good use.

2. Today is my brother's birthday and so my next story is about him. Mark received a mission call to Japan and therefore, obviously, needed to learn Japanese--a rather difficult language. While in the MTC he struggled with even the basics. After a short time one of his teachers suggested Mark talk to the MTC President about getting his mission call changed to an English speaking mission.

Mark's response to being told he couldn't do it? He just thought, "Yes I can". And he did. With a great deal of hard work and prayer, Mark learned the language well and later served as an assistant to his mission president.

3. When my daughter Kristen was in 5th grade, she wanted to play the flute in the school band. So she borrowed her older sister's flute and began attending band class. By the end of the first semester all she could play was a B flat. Luckily she could read music so she always knew when the note was coming so she could play it with everyone else. By the end of the year she could finally play a scale.

Also at the end of the year her teacher made two observations which he shared with her. The first was that she played the flute like a fish. The second was that she would never learn to play the flute well and should therefore consider playing another instrument that didn't require as much talent--like the drums (his suggestion).

So what was Kristen's response when told she would never learn to play the flute? She thought, "Yes I can." And she did. Kristen continued practicing and in both 7th and 8th grade was not only first chair, but also earned All State Honors.

So what is the moral of my stories?

Don't ever let anyone tell you, you can't do something, because chances are, you can!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Lesson From "We The People"

Although I have strong political views, I have not used my blog to express them. However, what happened at my daughter's school last Friday is too tempting for me not to share.

Friday was the first pep assembly of the year and as part of the assembly, each class was to present their class cheer which was made up by the class officers when each class were freshmen.

But the Junior class doesn't like their cheer. It is lengthy and the cadence is different from the other classes. They asked their class officers to change it. They asked the administration to change it. They even suggested several alternatives.

But the answer has always been an emphatic "no". Those they had chosen to represent them made their choice, and the class had no choice but to accept it.

Or so they were told.

Shortly before the assembly where the class cheers were to be presented, someone started passing around a short, easy to learn replacement. It wasn't clever, and it really wasn't even kind, but it made a strong statement of protest. Quickly it passed from student to student and in just a few minutes everyone had learned the protest cheer.

First the freshmen enthusiastically gave their cheer. Then the sophomores loudly shouted theirs.

Then it was time for the juniors.

In the past the class of 2012 has never cheered very loudly. Not liking their cheer, only a few voices could ever be heard coming from the crowd. But this time, while the class officers and cheerleaders stood in front of the crowd, holding posters with the words of the previously selected cheer, all the juniors stood and in one voice loudly shouted the words that had just recently passed from student to student.

The student council was confused. The administration was angry and disqualified the students from the cheer competition.

I applauded.

I am tired of elected officials forcing their agenda on the public, despite the protests of the people. And it sickens me that one solitary judge can over throw the votes of millions. I am beyond disillusioned with the corrupt politics in our country right now.

But something I learned from the class of 2012 is that when we all stand together, and shout in one voice, "we the people" can be heard.

Thank you Junior Class, for teaching me this. It gives me hope for our future.

Comments have been turned off. I am just venting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oops! How did that get there?

I walked in the door after church today and my husband said, "You have something on the back of your skirt." I looked down at my white skirt and saw a brown sticky glob stuck right on my rear.

It looked like a squished Milk Dud.

I had to wonder, how did it get there? And how long had it been since it took up residence on my backside?

Was it there when I walked into the chapel and passed around flyers for our social this Friday to everyone seated?

Was it there when I walked to the front of the chapel to lead the music?

Was it there when I walked back to my seat after the sacrament and then back up to the front again for the closing song?

Was it there when I subbed in the fifteen year old Sunday School class?

Was it there during RS and when I walked across the parking lot to my car?

And what were people thinking when they saw a big brown glob on the back of my white skirt?

I am sure I have had more embarrassing moments in the past, and will probably have more in the future, but still . . .

Why didn't anyone else tell me?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Coping With Unfulfilled Expectations

A while back the question arose in a discussion, "What do you do when your life doesn't turn out how you thought it would?" The man who posed the question expressed that he had many dreams and hopes in his life that were unfulfilled and consequently he was living each day with regret and self pity.

I spent the next few days thinking about his situation. I think all of us have dreams we will never see achieved. Maybe bad health restricts us from participating fully in physical activities, or the death of a spouse eliminates some opportunities. Maybe infertility has caused us to put away dreams of raising children, or the need to help out the family financially has put on hold a desire to stay at home with the kids.

I realize I don't have the answer for all those who feel they are missing out in life, but here are three suggestions that have helped me cope with disappointment.

Develop a habit of expressing gratitude.
I have learned that when I am unhappy, it is usually because I am focusing on what I don't have rather than on what I have. Initially it might be hard to express gratitude for what we have when we feel deprived of so many things, but like any other talent, we get better with practice. As I kneel each day and express gratitude for my blessings, I have become aware of many that have slipped by unnoticed. Expressing gratitude each day also helps me focus on what is good in my life and that brings joy and peace.

Redefine your dreams.
Although it may be true many of the dreams I had at 20 will never be achieved, I have accomplished much I never dreamed of doing in my younger years. Perhaps a dream of seeing all your children married in the temple does not appear likely, but maybe you have taught and influenced other youth through teaching Sunday School. Maybe your dream of finding the cure for cancer won't happen, but perhaps you have been the means of helping heal broken hearts through service.

Make a list of what you have done, enjoy the satisfaction from that, and then make another list of what you realistically would still like to do and get up and start doing it. Sitting around feeling regret and sadness for what we haven't accomplished while refusing to move forward, will only guarantee that at the end of our lives we will still be sad.

Realize the fulfillment of dreams doesn't always have a time limit.
There may be dreams that realistically need to be let go, but just because we are middle aged, or even elderly and have not done all we had hoped, does not mean it still can't be done. Blind men climb mountains and ninety-year-old women have gone back to college. It may take longer than we expected, and it may not even happen in this lifetime, but if it is possible to do, we should not give up. Life for most will last quite a long time, and eternity is even longer.

Most of all, the biggest lesson I have learned in life is this . . . there is time to accomplish a lot; we just need to be patient and in the meantime learn to find . . . joy in the journey.