Thursday, February 28, 2008

Flashback Friday

Anna and Michelle at Heather's wedding reception on May 20, 2006. I absolutely love these photos. My friend, Kelly, captured the dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship so vividly! This little girl was in such a hurry to get into the world. Her dad went to the cafeteria in the hospital to get breakfast and he barely got out of the elevator when they called him back in to see the birth of Anna Elizabeth. I was blessed to be there to see her come into the world. She has not slowed down one bit since her birth. She is a delightful child. She has her mother's smile and dimple. Anna has an older brother, Hunter and he adores her when he is not wrestling her to the floor. For the longest time, he referred to Anna as "girl" girl wants some cold milk or girl wants a cookie. One of her other nicknames, which drives my mother crazy, is Anna Banana. Anna is charming like her dad and gets a healthy dose of stubborness from her mom, dad and grandparents (I am not saying which one) I love to watch the interaction between Anna and my daughter Michelle, can it be such a long time ago that Michelle and I did some of the same things? I love to watch Anna play with her dolls, she is such a little "mother" the nuturing/mothering instinctual they seem to know what to do so early in life. Michelle was sick recently, Anna (2 years old now) locked her brother(3 yr. old) in his room and rubbed her Mom's back and brought her water.

Having daughters has been such a joy. They have grown up to be wonderful women and we share a friendship that is priceless! Having delightful grandchildren is awesome!
Life is G*O*O*D!!!!

The Great Brain Drain

Are you one of those people that suffer from seemingly incurable insomnia? I am. What does one do in the wee hours when one should be asleep...hmmm...I clean house, read, pace, meditate, take a bath, eat or watch television.
I have no problem falling asleep, it is the staying asleep that makes me nuts. I have often joked about starting a service for new parents whereby I come sit with their babies in the middle of the night since I am NOT sleeping! Over the counter medications do not work for me and prescribed medications do not work until the next morning. So more often than not, I watch television. There is nothing educational, entertaining or worthwhile to watch in the wee hours. I watch anyway. I once purchased $200.00 worth of exercise videos. The actual cost was supposed to be much lower but they threw in a bunch of "free stuff". Those paid programming people know who they are dealing with at that time. Throw in lots of sleep deprivation, working full time, taking care of everyone's needs and what do you get...more television watching. Too tired to exercise, think or start a project, one sits down and turns into a slug. The thing is the more you watch, the more exhausted you become, television is not conducive to a good night's sleep. How many vampires, werewolves, chain-saw murders, walking zombies can you watch back to back and expect to rest that night or morning.
The Annual Turnoff for 2008 is April 21 - 27th. Maybe we can all wean ourselves and our children from too much television. I am not exactly sure when I started watching too much, I just know that there could be days where I never turned the thing on and was perfectly happy doing something more productive. 98% of Americans have at least one television in their home.
I'm not saying how many we have, my husband is more addicted than I am. 40% of Americans watch television while eating dinner. I did not grown up this way. We had one television and it was off during dinner. That was the time we actually talked to one another. My husband's family has always watched television and had televisions in every room. He still has trouble not watching t.v. while he is eating. The average child sees about 30,000 television commercials in one year and 200,000 violent acts before he or she reaches the age of 18. Incredible! 59% of Americans can name the "Three Stooges", only 17% can name three Supreme Court Justices. How about you, can you name three Supreme Court Justices? without "googling"! I'm not giving up "Project Runway" or "Top Chef" however, I will go back to my old habit of not watching so much television. Personally, the longer I sit in front of a television the more I feel my brain draining. Turn the thing off, go outside and play, read something worthwhile, create some art or talk to someone! Are you with me, can you tune out the television, practice now for small amounts and see if you can "turn off" for a week in April! You might actually like it.
The above "facts" about television were taken from the website

Friday, February 22, 2008

Flashback Friday

It is a rainy, dreary Friday. To put a little fun in my day...I have been working on job costing and payroll, woohoo, I decided to browse through some pictures. I do not have the express permission of Ashley (in back) Mari (left) and Keeley (right) however, if you ham in front of my camera, you are fair game for the blog! I was privileged to work with these young ladies and many others in our Young Women's organization at church. Due to time constraints, family illness and it was just time to get someone younger in there, I no longer teach these girls a class on Sunday. I hope that I continue teaching them and the other young ladies by example. I loved each of them so much. I am still bombarded with hugs every Sunday! I love it. You can never get too many hugs and be shown too much affection. A little bit about the girls in the you can see they are definately outgoing and good friends. Ashley is beautiful, kind, helpful, smart (more than she lets on sometimes) and extremely gifted athletically. Mari is beautiful, goes out of her way to be of service, sets a positive example for the younger girls, and is a very talented dancer particularly ballet. Keeley is gorgeous, has an award winning smile that she gets from her mother, is absolutely fabulous with children and has a great sense of humor! All the young ladies that I associated with during my time in this wonderful organization were the sweetest, most spiritual daughters of Heavenly Father. I wish I had a fraction of their knowledge when I was that age. They collectively have the most awesome testimonies.
I spent many fun filled hours involved in a variety of activities, often not to good on my poor bones! (the dates on the pictures are incorrect) I was challenged to ride this horse, with a ..."but you have to"... I am terrified of heights. What was really sad is that this horse is a quarter horse, the breed not being extremely big or tall. To save face I attempted a ride and was okay until one of my clever girls spooked said horse. Yes I was ready for the dismount and how. Another dare was a challenge issued by the young women and the young men at an ice skating rink. This turned out okay surprisingly enough. We had a breakfast at my house, these girls can C*O*O*K! I was also privileged to work with Michelle, Karen and Amy, the other "adults" in the group. Those women were such great examples to me and we developed a love for each other that the Gospel encourages and supports. I can still call them if I need something.
Thanks to each of you, young women and leaders for being such a powerful influence on my life.
Thanks for the joy, the tears, the hard work, and all the fun. I Love Ya All!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Woman of Many Talents

Feeling a little more than bruised and battered and having no control over certain situations I have decided to focus on the positive role models in my life. One such person is a lady I met 34 years ago when I started dating her son. Lillie is a woman of many talents and of extraordinary personality. Always kind, loving and helpful to all. She has mentored me in many ways. She is an exemplary mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Lillie is the grandmother of my children, the great-grandmother of my grandchildren. We have attended church together for years. There were a few awkward years when her son and I were divorcing and she became mother in law to his new wife. Due to knee replacement surgery and the fact that none of us are getting younger, her children have moved her to a lovely house in Columbia. This means we will not attend church together anymore and I will not see her as frequently, which is my loss! Lillie invited Michelle and me to lunch last week. She was delighted to show us her new home and made us feel very welcome. I was delighted to see things I had given her or made for her in the new home. We feasted on a fabulous chicken casserole and homemade blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries. Yum!!! We had a great time! Lillie, mother to six children has had an eventful life. She was creative with meals, clothes and vacations on a shoestring budget. One son was bitten by a rattlesnake and nearly died as a result, his mom always at his side. This same son was almost killed by a reckless driver getting out of his car one night. This same mom stayed by his side in the hospital for months watching her son suffer horrendous pain. She was widowed due to a drunken driver. She lost a daughter to a long battle with cancer. She is longsuffering, patient all the things that we are striving to become. She has fulfilled many roles and callings at church. She has a wonderful testimony of the Gospel. Lillie played an awesome game of softball in a league and was a darn good pitcher. She could catch a line drive like nobody's business! She sews clothes, makes quilts and fabulous Christmas gifts. We always looked forward to the Christmas stockings. I have continued many of the traditions I have learned from Lillie. My grown children and their spouses still expect Christmas stockings every year. She taught me "Southern cookin" as my mom taught me German dishes. She has chronicled the lives of her children and grandchildren in wonderful scrapbooks. She writes amazing poetry, stories and limmericks. So much of my creativity comes from having her as an example. Lillie loved to travel before her knees got the best of her...I was blessed to travel many places with her, as far away as Utah, as close as North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. My favorite times were spent with her and some of her sisters travelling to the Atlanta Temple. We would eat, laugh, cry, laugh some more and work ourselves silly doing ordinances at the temple! Her grandchildren were also the recipients of her love of travel and generosity. They have been all over the country. Her oldest grandson now resides in Oregan as a result of a trip there with Grandma. (She also served on an LDS Mission there) There is not much this amazing woman has not accomplished and she shows no sign of stopping maybe slowing down but definately not stopping!!! Everyone loves her. I cannot put a price on what she has meant in my life, and the lives of my children and grandchildren. We love you so much Lillie! You are a Woman of Many Talents.

Monday, February 18, 2008


"Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. Vultures are found in every continent except Antarctica and Oceania. Although the vulture plays an important natural role, in the Western world, the image of the vulture is quite negative with 'vulture' used as a metaphor for those who prey on the weak or dying, with associated negative connotations of cowardice and selfishness" (Wikepedia) Hey I could not have said it better myself! Every now and then, we must encounter vultures. We see them circling in the sky and know that something is dying or we see them on the side of the road enjoying the kill of the day.
As previously stated, this is an important role in the natural world. The vultures are part of the food chain and will continue to feed until a bigger "cat" comes along to feed on them. One also encounters "vultures" in the human world. Their purpose is not natural and try as we might we often cannot avoid these vultures either. They circle around until opportunity arises and then the attack is eminent. The only protection we are afforded from the human vulture is to not give them an opportunity to swoop into your life. Or once there, I have found that living a happy life and ignoring them as much as possible deflates their need for drama. Vultures of both varieties can be quite sickening, one serves a purpose and is not disgusting on purpose, the other serves no valuable purpose but does leave a certain level of disgust behind. That said, I feel better already. And yes I am being ambiguous on purpose. The moral behind all of this is found in the immortal words of the song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" plus put in the proper perspective, a laugh or many can be had on the human vultures...the time will come when a bigger "cat" comes along and makes dinner out of them! I hope everyone is having a terrific Monday!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

My dear husband and I have been married for eleven interesting years today! It has been an amazing rollercoaster ride for both of us! We have experienced every aspect of living, some good, some not so good. We have watched children grow up, experience some hard knocks, get married and have children. We have experienced reunions and sadly loss of family members and friends. Mostly we have loved each other, forgiven each other and laughed a whole lot!

I know everyone just loves my lists! I am an avid list maker...without further ado...11 reasons
my marriage works
  • Laughter, no matter what we can always laugh together

  • Adventure, he is always up to new things

  • Passion, my husband is extremely passionate about everything he does, he never does anything halfway (except maybe honey do lists)

  • Music, our home is never quiet unless I am there alone. Who else gets serenaded at 5:30 am?(Maybe not at 5:30 so much)
  • Family is very important to both of us
  • Bravery, me not so much, my husband will take risks and be successful with them

  • Daring, again me not so much, we did dare each other to eat Sushi and now it is one of our favorite things to eat

  • Ambitious, we both work hard to reap the benefits of a good life

  • He thinks I am beautiful, intelligent and funny. Smart man!
  • He rubs my feet with lotion, I scratch his back

  • Generosity, we both make an effort to make each other feel special. Plus that sweet man gave me a Porsche Boxster for my birthday last year!

Happy Anniversary Hon, I love ya and heres to many, many more....

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Are Loved

Today is Valentine's Day, a day set apart to really emphasize L*O*V*E
A song from the Children's Primary Songbook came to mind this morning and I thought I would share it, "As I Have Loved You", words and music by Luacine Clark Fox:

As I have loved you, Love one another
This new commandment, Love one another
By this shall men know Ye are my disciples,
If ye have loved One to Another
A simple song so full of meaning. Today is a good day to show love, however let us keep in mind that everyday is a Great day to show someone you care. There is too much pain and misery in the world, I challenge each of you to be crusaders in the cause of Love and Kindness.
P.S. Scripture references for the above song are: 1John 4:11 and John 13:34-35

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free to Choose

Last night I was able to meet with a group of friends of all ages and discuss our latest book club selection. We met without fear of recrimination and could talk about whatever came to our minds. Our recent book club selection is entitled "Veil of Roses" by Laura Fitzgerald. It chronicles the efforts of a young Iranian woman seeking to get married and stay in the United States. She is torn by a love of her own country and by a desire to by happy. The story is fiction but based on some actual occurances. Can you imagine living in a country where you must cover yourself or be beaten, arrested or worse. What about being arrested for any slight infraction with no leniency? The mother of this woman was arrested and placed in jail for 5 months. It is written that this completely broke her spirit. She does not speak of what happened during those 5 months. There are so many places where every word must be measured and uttered with extreme caution. We are allowed freedom of speech and people pretty much say whatever they want to without fear of arrest. A young women is raped and she is hanged. After all surely it was her fault that she was raped. The man responsible gets a beating, he gets to stay alive!
There is no justice for women in such a country. Opportunities for work that you love are inconceivable. Marriages are arranged. As a mother of daughters, it gives me great anxiety and pain to know that women are mistreated in so many places all over the globe. We always told our children that they could accomplish anything. One hears so many complaints about our government, yea it is not always great, however, think of the alternative. We are privileged beyond measure, the only thing that gets in our way is usually ourselves. When you have a coulda, shoulda, woulda kind of day...think about what's holding you up...ego, fear, what? You probably won't get arrested (unless you are clearly breaking the law). You and I, we are free to many many choices...what a blessing!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Flashback Friday

On several of the Australian blogs I read they have this Flashback Friday post. I really enjoy looking at pictures of times gone by and thought I would share a few of my own. I'm still working out the kinks of blogging and scanning and so on. Hopefully, the quality of the pictures will get better! As you can see, my mom's taste in children's clothing is questionable. I guess it was the style at the time! My brother, James and I did just about everything together as small children. We shared the same friends and often shared a room in small military housing. We were inseparable until I was about 12 and it was just not cool to hang with your little brother anymore. We went our separate ways through the teenage years. After I was married, James would come over and hang out with us. Until he died 4 years ago, we spent a lot of time together. He had a fabulous sense of humor and was great with children. He was extremely athletic and hiked the 2500 miles of the Appalachian Trail twice. We planned to do some hiking together and unfortunately that was not to be. My husband and I hike very short trails. My plan is to get physically fit enough to hike some of Mt. Ranier. This was one of my brother's goals. I would park and hike part of it! I'm not too good at staying in the woods for more than a day. Hotels are more my style. These lovely photos were taken circa (love that word) 1965ish!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Feeling Peevish

"Nonneeeeeeeeeee, please turn the hose back on, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!" This photo of my grandson depicts how I am feeling today! Lest you think I am always in a sunshine kind of mood. No, sometimes, I must succumb to a case of pure irritability! After spending several hours at the doctor's office and pharmacy yesterday, with a lighter wallet and a bag of "meds" I went to bed early and fully expected to feel better today! No such miracle occurred. To humor myself, I have decided this is a great day to make a short list of pet peeves! Here they are in no particular order in terms of the irritability factor

  • negative people
  • rude service people, if you do not like your job, get a new one.
  • inconsiderate drivers
  • people that litter
  • self righteous people, that insist on inflicting their opinion on you.
  • my husband watching tv when I'm trying to talk to him, usually about something he doesn't want to hear...or him responding "whatever" this makes me very dangerous
  • toilet seats being left up by the male population
  • crooked pictures (it's that OCD thing)
  • meaness and pettiness
  • dishes in the sink
  • scrunched up shower curtains, why bother with a pretty one if you can't see it!
  • when a new register opens after a long wait and the cashier says I'll take the next person in line and the people that just got in line rush over.
  • knee highs with dresses that are too short when you sit down, the only exception being extremely "old" ladies.
  • ugly shoes
  • the car next to you or behind you having that boom, boom bass going on
  • tacky billboards and signs everywhere
  • tiny purses
  • cigars
  • telemarketers at dinner time - why doesn't the no call thing work?
Well, I think that will do for now. I could probably come up with some more given my current frame of mind! I read something recently that said, "Energy flows where attention goes" so I better focus on uplifting ideas!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Feathering Your Nest

Like most of the work outside of the home people in the world I look forward to the weekends. It is a time for rest and recreation. Many weekends require what my friend, Jayne calls home care. Doesn't that sound so much nicer than housework? I like my house clean! I like things to be in order! I can't rely on my memory all the time so I like to be able to find things in their proper places. My children and their spouses find it quite amusing to rearrange items. Bets have been made as to how quickly I would notice the errant object. How cruel! We all have a laugh at my expense. So happy to please. Recently, I purchased a book called, "Feathering Your Nest" by Nell Hill. It is aptly named as it has wonderful advice and pictures of making your house a home with items that you love. I like to think of my time spent arranging, rearranging and tending our "stuff" as feathering our nest! Staying at home is a luxury as far too often I am called away for any number of reasons. The main one being I go to work every day for most of the day! I enjoy making our home comfortable for family and friends. Nothing gives me greater delight than someone feeling at home and wanting to stay awhile. One of the girl's friends once said, "I love the way your house smells." Well said, I love the smell of soup cooking on the stove and bread baking and if it is a work night, candles that smell like cookies or sage and citrus. Hmmmmmm, what shall I cook this evening?

Leaving a Life Behind

Prior to our marriage, my husband lived in a quaint white house with black shutters. The house was moved from one location to its current address and gently restored. Hours were spent on walls, floors, wallpaper. I have fond recollections of this sweet cottage. I took meals to the sweet man when he was ill. He cooked for me. He poured through Architectural Digest and made this small home as nice as he possibly was able. We married and moved the sweet man and all his "stuff" to what would become "our" home (the one I was already living in) as it was considerably larger. Fortunately, the house had no mortgage and we have rented to some very wonderful tenants for many years. One young couple stayed there through the birth of their first child and then purchased their own home. An elderly couple lived there while waiting to downsize from a larger home. Each took great care and added a personal touch in the way of flowers, bushes or paint. We appreciated the care they took of our property. The last few years we rented to a friend of a friend and things were okay for awhile. The couple split up. One stayed and moved her mother in with her. Fast forward to chasing down rent money, electricity being turned off, phone calls not returned. A home abandoned. Who leaves a life of stuff behind? Clothes, hobbies, pictures, furniture, you name it , it was left behind. Are they on the run, mentally ill, foul play or is this a result of substance or alcohol abuse? Sadly, I believe alcoholism is the culprit and everything else is a result of that terrible problem. As I walked through the damaged house that my husband once called home, I was terribly saddened. Many attempts were made to contact the tenants. Assurances were made that their belongings would be removed. Months later, everything was still there including two grown cats and four starving, dying kittens. Floors and carpet were burned and water damaged, and had to be ripped up and replaced, walls must be patched and painted, leaks repaired, garbage hauled off. One bedroom smelled of cat feces so badly one could not breathe in there. Houses have memories, I believe, will this house remember the happy times or will it remember the abuse and neglect? Will someone new come along and make it a home again?