Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ever Since She Was Little She Has Wanted To Be . . . And Now She Is!

Ever since she was little, (although not quite this little)
she has wanted to be a teacher.

And now she is!!
Meet the newest third grade school teacher
in the Nebo School District!!
She starts in the fall
And is VERY excited.
I am excited for her,
But a little sad for me,
As it means she won't be moving back to Arizona any time soon.
So quickly they go from being babies
to being all grown up.
But that is a very lucky thing for a third grade class.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why You Should Never Let Your Children Dress Themselves

Yes, this is my daughter. Yesterday she participated in a four mile walk/run that served as a qualifier for the pioneer trek to be held this summer. I did not see her when she left so I did not know she had gone out in public dressed like this.
I was a little shocked when she came through the door afterward.
Has this child no fashion sense at all? :-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Few Things I Have Learned In My Many Years Of Parenthood

In a couple weeks my oldest daughter is going to turn . . . well, older . . . and much too old for me to be her mother. Two weeks later, my second child (my son) has a birthday as well. And I am wondering, when did they get so old? What happened to the little babies that used to give me hugs and kisses and come crying to me when they skinned their knees?

Their approaching birthdays have turned me to pondering on my long period of parenthood, and I have compiled a short list of lessons learned.

1. Only those with no children or small children know all the answers. Have you noticed that? You will be sitting in a class and the teacher will ask a parenting question and the first people to raise their hands are almost always the ones with little experience. The rest of us know we don’t know.

2. Those days you thought would last forever—the ones where all your kids were small and just meeting their physical needs demanded most of your time—now seem to have passed much too quickly, and you wonder why you didn’t appreciate them more.

3. Because . . .when they get older they still demand most of your time, but now you are worrying about their social, spiritual, educational, and emotional needs as well--and fervently praying for their safety.

4. Agency sounds like a good idea when you are the one exercising it, but not so great when your children think they should.

5. It is never a good thing to say, “My child would never . . . “ because they probably are. I can’t tell you how many times I heard parents discuss problems they were having with their children and thought how grateful I was not to have those same challenges—only to find out I did.

6. Just when you think you know what you are doing, the next child comes along.

7. There is a big difference between boys and girls. If I ask my daughters what they have been up to they look at each other, giggle and say, “nothing.” My son, on the other hand, would come in late at night and say, “Wow!! That was so cool! We found this old couch in the desert, and we poured gasoline on it and started it on fire and then took turns jumping over it. Do you want to see the video?”

8. Some of the best times to talk with your kids, will be inconvenient, but worth it. One of the best things I have done as a parent is wait up for my kids when they are out at night. It has been tiring, but has also proved to be critical. I wanted each of them to know that when they walked through the door they would have to look me in the eye and tell me about their evening. But I learned there were other benefits as well. My quietest children always had a hard time talking with me during the day, but their tongues seemed to be loosed after midnight. I have had many nights where I went to bed after two in the morning, due to late night chats. And I wouldn’t trade those talks for any amount of sleep.

9. Letting go requires faith. I am excited to see my kids get older, make good choices and have new opportunities, but it is also a bit scary when your sixteen year old drives off by herself in the car, or your eighteen year old tells you she is going on a road trip with friends. You just take a deep breath and pray a lot.

10. You aren't doing your kids any favors by not teaching them to work. Lazy kids will often grow up to be lazy adults, so for Heaven's sake teach them to do their own laundry, make them do the dishes, sweep and mop the floors, clean the toilets, take out the garbage and weed the garden. I am always shocked at how many parents don't make their kids do house work. I have had mothers ask me how I get my kids to work, and I tell them. I say to the kids, "Here are your jobs. Do them." Of course a stern scowl from their father doesn't hurt. :-)

And here is my most embarrassing parent moment.

One night my son came home and told me he and his friends found an old shopping cart in the desert. For fun, they tied it to the back of a truck, put another friend in it with a helmet on (thankfully!) and dragged him at 50 mile an hour speeds through the sage brush.

The next morning was Sunday and the mother of the poor dragged boy was teaching relief society. She commented on how grateful she was for her son’s friends, especially my son, because she knew if her boy was with mine, he would be safe.

As other mothers turned to me with looks of "Oh, that is so sweet, " I about slid to the floor.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Great Advice for Daily Living

I recently read this post from Becky Irvine . It is called "The Optimist Creed"and she found it in a book she has. I thought it was such good advice --some of it just what I needed to hear--that I have "borrowed" it from her to post here.

Commit Yourself:

-To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

-To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

-To make all your friends feel that there is something special in them.

-To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

-To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

-To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

-To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements of the future.

-To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

-To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

-To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Another post that also has good advice that I am sure you will want to check out is Nature Girl. Loved it!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

High On A Mountain Top--Near Sunset

I decided I needed to hike West Wing Mountain one more time before spring break ended, (while I still had the energy to do it) but this time just before sunset. And this time I took my camera!
I love the colors on the mountain at this time of night.

And how the sunlight illuminates the wild flowers.

There is a wonderful variety of flora, most of which is nice to look at but not to touch.

The wildflowers were all in bloom. That doesn't happen every year, just on special years when there is a lot of rain.
I love this picture!

And this one. I especially like the lighting and the view of the mountains in the distance.

I made it up and back down just before the sun set. What a beautiful way to end a vacation!

May you always find . . . joy in your journey!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh The Things You Can Do With Just A Little More Sleep!!

I normally get up at 4:30. And yes, I am usually tired all day. Oh, and on Friday nights--I am no fun at all. But by Saturday I am back to normal, and Monday morning, ready to start getting up early again.

But this week has been different!! With it being spring break, I have forced myself to stay in bed until 6:30--most days.

And the results? Oh the things you can do with just a little more sleep!

1. Watched a BYU-H basketball game. Unfortunately they lost which was oh, so sad, especially since my husband already bought a plane ticket to what would have been their next game in Massachusetts!

2. Went for a five-six mile bike ride. Which taught me that I really am in as bad of shape as I thought I was.

3. Had my son and his very cute wife over for dinner TWICE!

4. Cleaned out the kitchen mail box!

I forgot to take a "before" picture, but imagine all those boxes stuffed with papers. It took me a good hour to clean it, and some of the papers I found were dated back to 1998!

5. Cleaned off the top of my fridge. All of those items have found a new home now.

And a cute little plaque my sister gave me has taken their place! (Appropriate, don't you think?)

6. Cleaned my desk.
If I had any degree of pride, I wouldn't even show you the picture below. Believe me, this desk was clean at the start of the school year, but day by day, paper by paper, it has gotten completely destroyed.

But with all my extra energy I quickly (okay it took several hours) whipped that desk back into shape!! I can actually find everything I need now.

7. Hiked West Wing Mountain THREE times!
This morning was so beautiful. The wildflowers were all in bloom and a quick rainstorm had just come through and left everything looking so clean. AND I FORGOT MY CAMERA!! Which means of course, that there will need to be at least one more sunrise climb in the next week.
8. Spent time at the lake with friends, having a picnic and playing badminton. It was gorgeous up there and once again I forgot my camera, but my friend Lisa took pictures so I will have to get them from her. (What kind of a blogger doesn't take a camera?)
9. Service. Tuesday night we made green cupcakes and frosted them with green icing and delivered them around the neighborhood early Wednesday morning. We also cut out shamrocks and green footprints and put them on people's houses who had small children. We probably looked a little crazy up at 6 (one of the mornings I didn't sleep in) running around the neighborhood taping green footprints to people's doors.
10. And since we didn't spend any money on a trip this year, I splurged and got a pedicure.
With all that hiking and biking, I thought my feet deserved a treat.:-)
It has been a great week. But now I am ready to get back to work, and back to no sleep.:-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Sisterhood

Today is not only St. Patrick’s Day, but also the birthday of the Relief Society organization. One of the greatest blessings in my life has been the visiting teaching program. I have a wonderful companion and we visit two great women. I wrote the below about a month ago, following a breakfast I had with all three. I am posting it now, in honor of the day.

Wendy sat next to me. Bold, courageous, resilient Wendy. From Wendy I learn determination, perseverance, and optimism. I learn the importance of getting back up, no matter how many times life knocks you down and how to face each day head on, no matter how daunting.

I first met Wendy when I was assigned to be her visiting teacher. Following a divorce she moved to Hawaii for a few years, and had just come back. We quickly became friends, so I was sad when our ward divided and she was on the other side of the division. But fate intervened and she moved back into our ward boundaries. Without even missing a month, we were back together. A year later our ward divided again and once again Wendy was on the other side of the division, but also once again she moved and was back in my ward.

Wendy graduated from high school early and had a college degree before most girls her age were settled into dorm life. She is smart, sassy and athletic. She rejoiced in making the US Olympic swimming team only to have her dreams dashed when it was announced the US was boycotting the Olympics. Her life since then continues to be filled with successes and setbacks. Yet despite the trials, and despite the challenges, she looks forward to each day with optimism. I love that!

Across from me sat Christy. I met Christy when she was a new convert to the church and a young blushing bride. From Christy I learn about facing life with faith instead of fear, and turning to the Lord in prayer and scripture study every day--- especially when life gets the very darkest.

Christy lost a son nearly two years ago in an accident that occurred in my front yard. A tree now stands in the spot where dear, young Ben slipped from this world into the next. Christy has faced many additional challenges since that day, but I have watched her quietly face each one-- day by day, scripture by scripture, prayer by prayer. You can not be in her presence without feeling the power of her spirit. She has gone from being the new convert, unsure and unknowing of the gospel, to having a powerful spirit and deep knowledge of spiritual things. When I asked another son who his hero was and he said, “My mom” I thought, “She is my hero too.”

Next to Christy sat Michelle. Of all the women at the breakfast table that morning, I have known Michelle the longest. We met when we were both fairly inexperienced in marriage and motherhood. I gave birth to my second child just a month after she gave birth to hers, and yet she drove across town to visit me in the hospital and bring me a baby blanket she had made. Other than my husband and my mother, she was my only other visitor.

We moved from our apartment into our house in another city and I lost track of Michelle. Eleven years later, we moved again. Then one day I learned she had moved into our stake. Later she moved into my ward and we were assigned to be visiting teaching companions. Twice. This is the second time.

From Michelle I learn about having a kind and compassionate heart. Michelle is tender and sweet. She is quiet and thoughtful. She is wise and hard working. After raising her own five children, she and her husband adopted a young boy and have taken many foster children into their home to love. Currently she has four foster boys, a new puppy and her adopted son. She serves in the relief society presidency, is taking college courses and trying to start a business. I don’t know anyone who is busier than Michelle.

And yet from her I also learn the importance of selfless service, and to be willing to stop whatever I am doing to help someone in need. One day I hurt my back and was down in bed. I had made plans with my daughter to take her to lunch, so she had not taken a lunch or money to school. Michelle was at a friend’s house helping sew table cloths for a wedding reception when she learned of my situation. She left that friend to run some money to my daughter for her lunch and then ran back, finished the table cloths, cooked me dinner and brought it to my house.
She is always the first person to volunteer to help and the last to leave when help is needed.

I love all three of these wonderful women. I am sure that through all eternity I will be grateful for the blessing they have been in my life.

And to think they are in my life because of Relief Society!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It is Spring Break!!
Which means . . .
Fun times with family,
Sleeping in past 4:30 a.m.,
Getting caught up on a myriad of projects,
Missing my seminary students!

Already we have had a fun time.

On Friday night we met up with my husband's brother Wilford, who was in town from Chicago for a convention. He brought along his friend Tim Ruettiger.

For anyone who has seen the movie, "Rudy" the name Ruettiger should be familiar.

Tim is the younger brother of Danny Ruettiger--or the real live "Rudy".

On Sunday morning Wilford and Tim also came to our house for breakfast and then attended one of the sacrament meetings in our stake. Tim comes from a very strong Catholic family and so he and Wilford teased each other a lot about how they were out to convert the other.

Tim was a very good sport to go to church with Wilford while here.
And we loved meeting him.

Also on Friday we went to dinner with Wes' brother, two sisters and their husbands at a very fun Mexican restaurant in Chandler, AZ.

Unfortunately Dan forgot his glasses and had to borrow a pair from his wife.

Very Cute Dan!

AND . . .

Today is March 14!

I gave these balloons to my husband exactly one month ago and they are still floating.

Proof that my love is ever lasting.:-)

Overheard at church . . "I love all my children, but sometimes some of them shine brighter than the others. And I like to go where the sunshine is."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guess Who Is Speaking At Women's Conference!!

If you have ever been to Women's Conference before, you have probably received in the mail a brochure with this year's schedule.

Open it up!

See the first day?

Look in the middle column--the12:30-1:30 time period.

Scan down about 3/4's of the way.

See the class called, "The Work of Creating Something Beautiful"?

Notice the first presenter for that class--Terri L. Ballstaedt.


Probably the most creative and gifted person I know.

I wasn't planning on going to Women's Conference this year, but now I am!

I am so excited!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mammos And Other Things That Are Smashed

I did it! I actually lived long enough to go to my doctor's appointment. I was sure after both my friends Lisa and Susan felt impressed to tell me to see a doctor that I was on the verge of extinction. But no, I am still alive and hopefully well.

I met my doctor--the one that had the least amount of patients and therefore could see me in less than a six month wait. She was nice, soft spoken and appeared to be competent.

She also prescribed a whole slew of tests that she wants me to take for no other reason than that I am old. I left with prescriptions for a mammogram, colonoscopy, lab work, and a bone density test.

Yesterday was my mammogram. I have had an intense fear of them since I had a bad experience many years ago. Since then I have just collected the prescriptions in a drawer--always with the intention of calling to schedule the appointment, but never quite working up the courage to do it.

So after nagging me daily, Susan sent an email saying she felt "imPRESSED" to remind me of the "PRESSING" conversation we had and that if I weren't too "PRESSED" for time, I needed to schedule that. What is more, she offered to go with me to hold my hand--figuratively speaking--and treat me to lunch afterward.

Well, who can pass up having lunch with a friend?:-)

I arrived with Susan by my side giving moral support. (Yes, I know!! I am the world's biggest baby!!:-) Finally I was called back and alone faced the technician.

"Stand here. Lean forward. Drop your elbow. Raise your chin. Hold your other hand out. Relax your arm. Don't move. Hold your breath. Let me know if the pain becomes unbearable."

Six times I went through that routine.

And then I was done.

And Susan took me to lunch where, in honor of the mammogram we ate----Paninis. A wonderful little sandwich that also gets smashed.

Monday, March 8, 2010

HELP!! My Family Is Veggie Challenged!

I was raised on lots of fresh vegetables straight from the garden. Zucchini, carrots, green peppers, spinach, broccoli--we had it all. And we loved them! Whenever my mother would place a home grown veggie on the table, she would comment on how delicious it was. As a child I was convinced sliced zucchini with a sprinkle of cheese was the greatest treat at dinner we could ever hope for.

Then I got married.

My husband's idea of a variety of vegetables is potatoes prepared several different ways. And don't even think about giving him cauliflower, egg plant, or Swiss chard.

Whenever I would try to introduce a new vegetable to my kids, Wes would say, "Okay, if I have to eat this, so do you." He would then gag down a bite, and the kids, convinced I was the wicked witch dishing up poison, would turn up their noses. Occasionally they would take a bite and usually gag, but often I would just find the item wrapped in a napkin or hidden under their plate. (Yes, Ryan, I am talking about you.:-) And so I gave up and limited their vegetables to only those on the Wesley Approved List. (Wes has expanded his tastes to include corn, peas, green beans, and carrots. )

As some of the kids got older and moved out of the house, they discovered many wonderful vegetables on their own, but my husband and youngest daughter are still unconvinced.
And so yesterday I proposed a veggie challenge to our veggie challenged family. Between now and March 31 I am going to serve 15 new vegetables. These can come in soups, stews, sandwiches, salads or just plain, but one way or another, they are going to eat them , and hopefully like them.

However, if anyone has any suggestions for your favorite vegetable or favorite recipes, I would love to hear from you. You can email me at joy4yourjrney@gmail.com


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weddings and Proms! What a Weekend!

This weekend was so much fun!! We had the opportunity to attend the wedding of our neighbor, Natalie to her now husband Andrew. We have known both since they were born and have watched them grow up. In fact, I was in the hospital the day Natalie was born--down the hall having my own baby girl, Kristen, and I worked with Andrew in seminary when he was our seminary council president.

Here is the picture of the happy couple with their grandparents in front of the Mesa Temple.

And here is my favorite picture from the wedding. The little groomsman, all dressed up and cheeks filled with animal crackers! (And not really happy about having his picture taken)

After the wedding we hurried home to get ready for Prom. A large group of kids were getting together at our Bishop's house for dinner and we were helping with the food for that. I wanted to go over and take pictures of the group, but I was also helping with the food at the wedding at the same time and so went over there. I have friends who have promised to send me pictures though so hopefully I will get those soon and can add them.
BUT . . . here is a picture of Michelle and her date Kyle, taken from my front porch. Don't they look cute!! I love how well they match!

The prom was held year at our stake center. Numerous people put in countless hours to make the evening a success. We went over earlier in the day to check it out and were amazed at how beautiful it was. The room was designed to be an Italian piazza, with little cafe tables and chairs around the edges and every inch of the walls covered in murals. It was so beautiful! I wish my pictures did a better job showing how impressive it was.

Here is a little closer up picture. Notice all the detail!

They even had a market!! So cute!

Michelle had such a wonderful time. I am sure everyone else who attended did as well.
And lastly, here is one of my favorite pictures of the day. Later in the evening I went out on my front porch and saw this! Notice the rain on the mountains being lit up by sunlight. Proof that God is still the master decorator.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy 83rd Birthday!!!

Today is my father's 83rd Birthday!!
Happy Birthday Dad!!
I hope you have a wonderful day--and many more years of life ahead!!
Last year I posted all about my dad on his 82nd birthday. In that post I tell all about his wonderful life and what a great man he is--complete with pictures!
To read it, click here!

Thank you Dad for being such a great father and grandfather!
We love you!
Hard working.
Still gets up at 3:30 every Friday and Saturday morning to work at the Timpanogos Temple.
Is always the first person up--every day--and then greets anyone who sleeps in after 8 with "Good Afternoon".
Always serving. He often not only takes out his garbage can on garbage day, but the neighbor's as well--and then puts all the cans back after the garbage truck comes.
Can still walk faster than almost anyone I know.
Organized--with a capital O. (I did not inherit that gene)
Always a teacher--When I wrote letters home from my mission he would circle in red the misspelled words.
Defender of the faith
Honest--more so than anyone else I have ever met in my life.
A powerful example of diligence and enduring to the end.
Athletic--go see the pictures on last year's post to see what I mean.
Adventurous!! (Still doesn't pass up an opportunity to do something fun)
And a great care giver. He has been helping care for my mother this past year with patience and love. His example has been inspiring.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Gotta Be A Miracle!!

On Friday we did the dreaded prom dress shopping! Michelle's friend, Megan, went with us and on the way Michelle explained to her the rules of Mormon prom dresses--not too short, not too tight, not too low in the back or the front, can't be sleeveless or strapless.

Megan looked incredulous.

"Do they really make dresses like that?" she asked.

"Not enough of them" I grumbled.

I hate prom dress shopping. There are so few modest dresses and the ones you find are rarely very cute. So we usually end up driving to Mesa (a two-hour round trip drive) in hopes of finding something there.

But on Friday we decided to check our mall first, and then make the trip to Mesa in the morning.

AND . . . Thirty minutes later, we had a dress!!

We walked in to one department store that had two modest dresses hanging on the wall. Both were cute, and one looked very cute on Michelle.

So we bought it. Done. Half an hour.

That has got to be a miracle!!

I wanted to post a picture of the dress on my blog, but Michelle didn't want me to show everyone in advance--and before she could look cute in the picture. So--here it is a bit disguised.

May you have a joyful day!