Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
That broke my heart.
I can understand a little how many times she might want to call her mother. I have three daughters away from home, and they all call regularly--as in daily, or sometimes even several times a day.
They call as they walk between classes. They call after class to let me know what they learned. They call after a test to share their success or failure.
They call to see how I am doing. They ask how seminary went and about my plans for the weekend.
I love their calls. I love hearing their voices on the phone and learning about their day. And never again will I take their calls for granted.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
So this morning, while sitting in church, I began to think of miracles that have recently occurred in my life and decided I needed to do a better job recording them so . . . here is #1.
A few weeks ago I bought some jewelry as a gift. As I was saving it to give later, I put it in a small bag and then placed the bag in a "safe" place. But, when I needed to retrieve it, I could not remember where it was.
This isn't really surprising. I am always playing the game, "Where are my reading glasses?" (usually on my head) "Where are my car keys?" (anywhere from outside on the porch to inside the washing machine), or "Where is my purse?" (you don't even want to know). So the fact that I was once again needing to find something I put down, was not very alarming.
But after I searched everywhere I could think to look, I began to worry. It is true I could replace the jewelry, but it was fairly expensive and I had ordered it over the Internet, which meant if I had to re-order, I would need to wait for it to be delivered and I wanted to give it away the next day.
I offered a quick prayer for help, and continued looking--still without success. Then I talked with one of my daughters who asked me if I had prayed. I told her I had, but not necessarily with "full purpose of heart." So after hanging up the phone, I knelt in prayer.
This time I explained the situation. I told how I had purchased the jewelry as a gift and although I could replace it, I would prefer not to waste the money that was already spent. I expressed my belief that I could receive help, and prayed for direction in finding it.
All through my prayer I kept thinking that it had to be in my closet. That just made the most sense. So when I finished my prayer, my intent was to search the closet again. However, instead I walked into my bathroom and opened my linen closet. I was a bit perplexed as to why I was there, but thought to myself, "Okay, I guess I will look here first, and then search the bedroom closet." Just as I was about to close the cupboard door, I noticed a small black sack in the back, up against the side of the closet. I opened the sack, and there inside was the jewelry.
I was so very grateful for such an immediate and powerful answer to my prayer. I felt as if an unseen power took me by the shoulders and directed me to the bathroom, since I thought rationally I should be walking in a different direction. I have no idea why I would have put the jewelry in there, but I was so grateful Heavenly Father heard my prayer and took the time to answer it.
I have had answers to prayers before, but this is one I am sure I will always remember. To me . . . it was a miracle.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
It started as just a few drops on the sidewalks.
And built until we had a drizzle off the rain gutter.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Then late Friday afternoon, I suddenly felt like me again! I don't know what happened to create the change, but I was thankful, since we had a busy weekend planned and I needed to be up for it.
Friday night we went to Michelle's basketball game. Ryan and Kali, along with the Bairds came to cheer with us. It is always more fun to have a crowd. Afterwards we went home and made crepes. I got a crepe griddle for Christmas and was eager to test it out, but Wes, the official pancake maker in the house, insisted on taking over while we all carefully supervised.
While we indulged in very delicious crepes, Michelle had a party of her own. She invited the entire girl's varsity basketball team over to spend the night! And a couple of the team members invited friends. They had quite a party going on in the basement that kept us up until 2:00 a.m. (Some of the girls didn't go to bed until 5, though) Thank goodness for our friends who were willing to stay nearly the entire time with us!! Otherwise I think it would have been a rather long night for the parents.
At 9:00 a.m. we rousted them all out of bed for breakfast. I loved having a full table again!! (They did not love having their picture taken, however.) Wes put his expert pancake making skills to work once again and everyone enjoyed the results.
Michelle is the only member of our church on her team. Many of the girls are very nice and good friends to Michelle. A few others, however, made me very concerned. We definitely did not share the same values. I realized even more the challenges the youth today face at school.
After nearly everyone left (one girl stayed the day with us) we went over to our church building to clean. It was our week, and along with our neighbors we vacuumed, washed windows, mopped floors and emptied trash cans. Megan cleaned right along with us and even took a Book of Mormon home as a gift!
After mourning the loss of the Phoenix Cardinals, we got together with two couples for dinner and to watch the movie "One Good Man". Suzy made some of the yummiest chicken I have ever eaten. (The recipe is at the bottom of this post) We also had Jenny's delicious potatoes and for dessert we had . . . yes, crepes! (We are experts now.) Wes made these as well and they were even better than the night before.Tonight we have company coming for Family Night. Wes' cousin from Idaho is in town visiting and he and his wife are joining us. We are excited to get caught up with him, and also hear about his brother who lives in Moscow and another brother who lives in Dubai. Should be a fun night!
And now here is Suzy's Recipe For Savory Chicken! You will love it!!
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
Mix all of the above in blender. Set aside a little of the sauce for basting. Marinate six chicken breasts in the remainder of the sauce for one hour. Grill on a low heat, turning and basting frequently until done.
Enjoy! Oh, and if anyone else wants to come by some night for crepes . . . you are invited!!
Friday, January 15, 2010
I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am intentionally omitting the year—but Barbie and I do have one thing in common. I was welcomed into the family by loving parents, two sisters and a brother. (Four more kids came later)
As a toddler I was either precocious or dumb. I prefer precocious. When my mother was trying to teach me my name, she would say my name and then ask me to repeat it. But instead I would say “Duff.” “No”, she would say, “that isn’t your name. Now let’s try again,” and again I would say “Duff”. Later I changed it to “Duffy,”. Finally my family gave up and called me Duffy—a name I went by until I was nine and we moved to Costa Rica. However, my dad does still call me Duffy on occasion.
Marbles were big when I was little and my older siblings loved to play them. And I liked to get in their way. One of my first memories is of my sister tying me to the rocking chair in the living room while they played so I couldn’t mess things up. I am pretty sure my mother was not very happy about that one.
That was the same chair my parents would pull up to the kitchen door so I could watch them eat dinner when I was three and too sick with hepatitis to join them. Also over the course of my first few years I had mumps, measles, German measles and chicken pox.
I hated Barbies, but loved baby dolls. My favorite was Thumbelina. I would bathe her, take her for walks in a little stroller and rock her to sleep. I also loved to play “teacher”. I spent many hours in my father’s office, holding my flannel board and teaching my imaginary students.
My first real hero was John Glenn---the astronaut who was the first person to circle the earth. I was fascinated by him—until I grew older and learned he was a Democrat. :-)
My best friends were Mary Ellen McMurray and Ann Marie Rasmussen and we lived on a quiet little cul-de-sac where everyone knew each other, everyone was friends and our summer evenings were spent playing “Kick the Can” and “Hide and Go Seek”, with all the neighborhood kids. Our summer days were spent learning to waltz and putting on plays (under my sister’s direction) or watching magic shows in the McMurray’s garage, with the neighborhood’s teenage boys as the stars.
It was a very happy, very secure, and very comfortable life which all came to a screeching halt the night my parents told us my father had been called to serve as the mission president of the Central American Mission. This included the countries of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. I was nine years old at the time and my mother was in her early 30’s. (My father is 8 years older than my mom). So we sold our house, packed up our belongings and moved to a foreign country where Spanish was the only language spoken and there were no other members of the church our age.
But that is a story for another day. . .
May you all have a wonderful weekend and may you always find . . . joy in your journey.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Exercise: 1 point per 10 minutes
Smile: 5 pts. for smiling throughout the day. (the power of positive thinking....VERY HEALTHY!)
Water= Fresh water. Reusable container is recommended, not required. Sorry, but juice, milk, coffee, soda, tea, lemonade etc. do not count. (It's a CHALLENGE)
Veggies and Fruit= Fresh, frozen, canned all qualify. Please do not count juice (high in calories and no fiber). What qualifies as a 1/2 cup serving? Any of the following....1/2 cup celery, 1/2 medium tomato, 1 small apple, 1/2 large banana, 6 baby carrots (you get the point). We'll just have to measure a bit. Add veggies and fruit to each meal and for snacks!!
So . . . Keep track of your points....and on February 8th, email your points to In This Small House. She will total the points and announce the winner. But seriously, if we do this for four weeks aren't we all winners anyway?!! :-)
Saturday, January 9, 2010
But most importantly, this week has strengthened my faith that families can be together forever. This life is not the end, but rather the family unit began today can exist beyond death, and someday we can be reunited with those who have passed on.
How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ and my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation!!
Especially the little flower girls who spent much of the time playing in the fountain.
Friday, January 8, 2010
1. Remember that when you leave this life, all you can take with you is your knowledge/experiences and your relationships. Make learning, serving, growing and loving others a priority.
2. People are more important than projects.
3. Forgive everyone. It is a waste of energy to carry a grudge.
4. Learn a new skill or read a good book. Everyone feels better about themselves when they are learning and growing.
5. Smile. You never know when just a smile to a stranger will brighten their day. Besides, everyone looks prettier with a smile on their face.
6. Take time each day to count your blessings and express gratitude to God for your life. Just learning to be grateful each day will make you a lot happier.
7. Be kind. You will never regret being too nice to someone. And even if someone chooses to be unkind to you, you can still choose to be kind back.
8. Make time for friends and family. When you are in need, your job or your list of “to-dos” will not be there to take care of you, but your friends and family will. Besides, friends and family members are gifts that should be treasured.
9. The best things in life usually require a sacrifice.
10. Some of our most difficult experiences will in the end provide some of our sweetest memories.
11. What we learn from a trial depends on us. We can learn to grow and turn to the Lord, or we can become bitter and angry. It is totally our choice.
12. You don’t have to win every argument. Sometimes it is best just to agree to disagree.
13. Every day will be a better day if at least part of it is spent in prayer and scripture study.
14. Take time each day to ponder.
15. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
16. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
17. Don’t compare your life to others—you really have no idea what their life is about.
18. You will always find time for what is really most important to you.
19. Don’t get so caught up in to-do lists, that you miss out on the best part of life—the sweet quiet moments spent with the people you love.
20. Take time each day to serve. Pray for promptings to help others and then follow the promptings when they come—even if it is inconvenient. If you will help God with His work, He will help you with yours.
21. Having a good sense of humor can get you through a lot of bad situations.
22. Last but not least--live your life with the three E's Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
So what about you? What lessons have you learned over the course of your lifetime?
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
The first time I met Nona was in Quito, Ecuador. She was the wife of my mission president, and she and her husband met us at the airport upon our arrival. She was happy, gracious and having served a mission herself, a staunch supporter of sister missionaries. She was also the best missionary I have ever met.
One day while on my mission, I had the opportunity to go shopping with her. She talked with EVERYONE about the gospel. No sales clerk or store patron was exempt. Over the years she has also shared the gospel with every repairman who visited her home, handing out many Book of Mormons, and helping to bring numerous people into the church. I also came to know her as a great speaker, teacher, and a woman of tremendous faith.
Another trait she possessed which I always admired was her graciousness to all who visited her home. I first noticed this as a newlywed, when we were visiting my in-laws while they were living in northern Mexico. Many people were traveling through town during the time we were there, and all were welcomed into her home. Although there was a steady stream of company, never once was anyone turned away or made to feel they were an inconvenience. And in fact, I am sure every person who stayed at the house left feeling welcomed, cared for, loved and appreciated.
As an observer, I knew the constant company required a lot of work, expense, and frequent changes in plans. I was so impressed, however, that none of that was ever obvious to the guests. It made me want to be sure that no one ever entered my home without feeling welcome.
The last trait I want to mention is one all the in-laws laugh over and joke about—and the family members can’t figure out why we think it is so funny. :-) But . . . Nona truly believed all of her children were perfect. They were the smartest, the best looking, the most athletic, kindest, most talented children ever. (So it came as quite a shock to her when my husband became the one and only person ever asked not to participate in the high school choir:-)
One brother told me he loved having his mother at his football games. Although she didn’t always know what was happening, she was positive he was the star. (You just have to love a mother like that.) So even though those of us who married into the family now have to deal with the egos :-) Nona left her children a wonderful gift. They all grew up confident, believing in themselves, and unafraid of exploring new paths.
She will be greatly missed.
Quote for the day: It is such a blessing to love someone so much that it hurts when they are gone. The real tragedy is when you do not feel the sorrow. (Donise Price)
And as a gift from her to you, I am leaving you with Nona's Ritz Cracker Chicken recipe. She was a great cook, but I think her chicken will always be my favorite. (This has been modified a little to simplify and reduce the fat, but it retains its great flavor)
Easy Ritz Cracker Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts, cut into 2-3 pieces each
1 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed
4 Tbsp. butter, melted. (or more if needed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together yogurt, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and poultry seasoning. Take a piece of chicken and dredge in yogurt mixture and then roll in the crushed Ritz crackers. Place in buttered baking dish. Continue until all pieces are coated. Drizzle melted butter on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Enjoy!!