Monday, September 1, 2014

U-Turns and ZigZag Trails

I had two of my grandsons, Tyler and Carter, Granny Buck Shopping awhile ago. They wanted to go to Ogden, which is okay. I'm familiar enough with the "regular" stops. It didn't help that it rained almost the whole time but I even handled that quite well...considering. As has been mentioned many times in my life, however, I am not....I repeat NOT....cut from the same cloth as cab drivers or bus drivers or tour guides. I have no internal compass. Well, maybe I do but it doesn't sync with getting around in the world.

And the GPS on my Smart Phone....well, that's another thing altogether! Almost as directionally dysfunctional as I am. But we did okay. There were a few mistakes and retracings.

Then I heard them.

Two boys whispering in the back seat.

"Have you ever been with anyone who has made this many U-turns?"

"No, I don't think so!"

"I think she's made five now!"

But I found Chuck-a-Rama and Sportsman's Warehouse and the mall. Eventually.

Last year at our family campout at Leatham Hollow, we went on a couple of hikes. The second hike wasn't that big but the kids saw a cave and wanted to go to it. We'd already taken them on a hike - a long hike - where we were misinformed about what was at the end of it. We finally ran into a rock mountain and had to turn around. Never did really find the meadow. We had a hard time finding the fence posts! So, honestly we owed the kids a shorter, more encouraging fun hike.

The kids raced right up the mountain. Straight up the trail. My theory is that kids can do that because that's all they see - the road in front of them. They haven't got a brain full of garbage and baggage demanding their attention and causing distraction from the main goal.

Most of the other adults shot right up the side of the mountain, too. Nellie and Krisy chose to stay behind - they had no desire to make it to the top. Me, on the other hand! Well, you know I have to be a pain! I wasn't going to be left behind.

Sometimes I think people feel obligated to help me too soon; sort of without giving me a chance to figure it out myself. I'm not that handicapped and incapacitated yet, I don't think. But that's okay. I appreciate the love and respect and caring it shows when their arms reach out to take my arm and steady my step, steering me on a safer path.

It took me awhile to get up but I did make it. Obviously I couldn't make it up the well-traveled path. Way too straight up and dusty and slick. But that's my life. Always taking the little harder way. Everything is a recipe; a project; a major undertaking.

Maybe that's why I understand my firstborn, Nathan, more than he knows. I admire and respect and covet the ones who find making the right choices and staying on the right path easy. I empathize and relate with the ones who take the rocky path.

My theory also is there is no ONE AND ONLY straight and narrow way. I think it's a personal journey for each of us based on our abilities and spiritual gifts and just exactly what we're being prepared for. Christ with all his tender mercies and his Atonement is there for us unconditionally.

So, anyway, Nathan isn't going to be left behind and let his old decrepit mother beat him up the mountain. He starts his assent. He stumbles a bit. He drops to the ground, losing his grip on his walking stick - and on the ground in general. Then he started to roll down a little. My breath stopped. I had a vision of broken artificial limb parts and bloody real body parts. But he stopped himself and started over. On another area of the mountain.

He zigzagged up the mountain. It was a slower climb but he was more sure of himself and he was in control of his movements. He made it to the cave with the rest of us.

So those of us who chose to make the hike, made it to our destination - the cave. Multiple roads and trails were taken to get there - each choosing the road that suited them best. I'm not saying that we don't have to conform at times and make ourselves take a road the Lord has laid out for us; letting go of the path that is comfortable for us. My body kind of lets go of a little twitch when someone says, "We're all on the road together, helping each other get home." I see it differently.

In my head, we're all on the mountain together. Each getting to the cave on a path laid out for us.

And, yes, still helping each other. Reaching out for the steady arm or listening for the words of encouragement or direction. Sharing an extra walking stick. Joining in a needed rest.

Watching as I possibly make a sixth U-turn.

But I'll meet you all at the cave. In due time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

First and Foremost...

I don't know if anyone is even reading this blog anymore. I've let it slack even though I have every intention of "catching it up". Maybe if I just start now, I can fill in the gaps a little bit at a time. So much has happened since my Mother's Day post. I am so blessed and my life is so amazingly full.

So, I'm sitting here having a boob-fest while watching the Princess Diaries. Man, I love that show - 1 and 2. I love Julie Andrews and there couldn't be a better queen than her in my eyes.

Well, so anyway, Mia (the queen's granddaughter and princess-to-be) continues to fail at being everything a princess should be. She has failed big time and is tearfully apologizing to her grandmother and reassuring her she will relinquish her title of 'princess' so she will not continue to embarrass her.

Her grandmother turns to her and very graciously and emotionally says,

"Oh, Mia, you are first and foremost my granddaughter!"

That line gets me every time.

I hope I treat my children and grandchildren in such a way that they know they are 'first and foremost' my loves. That any success or failure they may have in their lives will not sway my love for them.

And secondly, I hope someday (with a lot of changes and recommitments in my life) I can hear my Heavenly Father say to me, "Oh, Janis, you are first and foremost my daughter!"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

I'm writing this letter to the fathers of my grandchildren. If you compare letters, you will find they are basically all four the same, barring a few personalizations here and there. I guess that's because I want to say the same thing to all of you.

As you are aware my daddy died when I was three years old. When all my children were small, I always figured if something happened to Alan, I would remarry. I made that decision based on a lot of important things I felt I missed out on by not having a dad in my life. Don’t get me wrong. My mom did the best she knew how but I still felt gypped by not having the influence of my dad and I didn't want my children to experience that lack. Fortunately, I didn't have to worry about that.

Today I’ve been thinking about all of you dads and want to share with you a few of my thoughts.

To this very day (and probably to my dying breath), I crave a father's pure love. To hear him say out loud the words "I love you", "I'm proud of you". To feel his hugs and pats on the back. To feel safe with the protection of a priesthood holder and listen to the direction and advice only a father can give. Words cannot express to you the depth of these cravings.

So, may I give to you some belated Father's Day challenges? You don't have to accept them or do them. I'm not going to check up on you. You can even stop reading now and throw this letter away. But at least I will have shared with you what is in my heart so you can get a small glimpse of a few things your children would be missing out on if you were not in their lives.
  1. At least once a day look each of your children in the eyes and tell them one good thing you saw them do that day and how happy you are to be their dad. If they’re familiar with your loving voice, they will seek you out when they need advice and perhaps they will even find Heavenly Father’s voice familiar.
  2. At least once a day softly touch each one of your children with a hug, a hand on their shoulder, rub your hand through their hair or caress their face. I can’t fathom the comfort of a father’s soft touch with such strong hands. Let them feel how comforting the Savior’s touch is though the power of your tender touch.
  3. At least once a day, sincerely tell each of your children you love them. The world will tear them down and beat them up. Your children need to know there is a safe place for them where they are loved. They need to know that beyond any doubt.
  4. Teach them. Show them. Then allow them the space to learn and figure things out. Space free from "I told you so" or looks of disapproval or criticizing words. Space to be their own person, make their own choices, do things their own way so they can build faith and confidence in themselves.
  5. Praise them. Praise them. Praise them! Let them go to bed at night remembering the ways they pleased you more than the mistakes they made.
These are just a few of the things I crave and wish I had memories from my dad. Your voice and
even your face may fade away in their memories but how you made them feel will live on in their hearts forever. I have no memories of my own. I remember people telling me to remember stuff but I personally don't have the memories. My mother, bless her heart, could only tell me negative things about my dad. "He would never have approved of you and your choices", "You two would never have gotten along", "He would have kicked you out", etc., etc. As an old lady, I now have to hope my daddy loves me and would be proud of the person I have become.

Leave your children a legacy of love, of approval, of optimism. Leave them memories strong
enough to help them stay on the right path or want to return if they stray.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

My mom in 1945

It's been a great Mother's Day. Spent the weekend in Manti with Joe's family and had the rest of the family over for dinner today. I couldn't help but think about the good mothers in my life and how I am who I am and where I am because of them. My mom always did the best she knew how to do, considering she was in unchartered waters and away from her family.

I have tender memories of spending time with my Grandma Ward in Malad. I loved going up the farm. I know it was a burden to most everyone else. They were farmers, for heck sakes. We were city folk. We had vacations. Farmers don't have vacations. And then there we were - me, specifically - and I wanted to play with my cousins.

There are a lot of memories that I replay in my mind every time I make the drive to Amber's. I love going the "old" way where I reminisce the most. Lamb's Service Station where we got a bottle of pop. He'd let us take the bottle with us, without a deposit, as long as we remembered to drop it off on our way home. The road itself has changed multiple times, there aren't the same bends and turns that I remember but the spirit is still there.
My mom and Grandma Nellie

And then there are my girls. Four beautiful women and mothers who are each a constant example to me. Two of my girls I received through the pain of birth. Two of my girls I received through the pain of giving each of them one of my sons. All four of them mine, nonetheless. At least that's how I look at it :-).

Coming home from Manti yesterday, I actually had an ah-ha moment when I realized just how lucky I am. Thinking about these girls and their families, I just had the most peaceful feeling wash over me. I have been granted so much grace in my life. So many tender mercies and so much love.

I am open to receiving the blessings of a loving Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bad Parenting...I Don't Think So!

So this top picture was floating around the office for a day or two as a joke. It had the title, "Bad Parenting" scrawled across the top. It was supposed to be funny. On some level, yes, I let out a snicker but when I got to the third frame and saw how the Mama Duck was looking down the grate and wondering how her babies had gotten down there, it wasn't funny anymore.

I related to her. It made me tear up and that was more than a little embarrassing. Especially at work. As the days wore on, though and more people saw it, the majority empathized with the Mama Duck and didn't really find it funny, either.

How many times as a mother I have felt I walked the straight walk or said the right words only to look behind me and see no one following me. Hadn't they watched me? {Obviously there have been more times than I care to count that I was glad to see no one had followed me!} 

Mama Duck looks so helpless. She knows her babies are in a dangerous situation and she can't get to them. She can't undo their choices {purposeful or accidental} or change their consequences. She can only speak in Duck Talk and encourage them.

And she can pray. Oh, my, how I understand she can pray. What Mother doesn't understand the concept of prayer?

The picture laid on the counter for days. It bothered me more and more. Finally I had to google it and see what I could find.

That's when I found..."the rest of the story". {I used to love Paul Harvey and his 'rest of the story' stories!}

So glad to find out that Mama Duck's prayers did not go unanswered. Help arrived. So thankful someone was paying attention and was where they needed to be that day so they could be the answer to Mama Duck's prayers.

It was also a testimony to me that, as great of a parent as you want to be {or think you are} there will always come a time when you can't reach your babies. You need help from another source.

And that's why we Mothers pray. We pray for that right person who will say the right thing at the right time to your babies and they will hear and understand. A light will go on in their minds and it will shine on a landmark memory imprinted in their brain by a loving Mother who may or may not have understood what a life-changer that landmark would end up being.

And the age-old adage that it takes a whole village to raise a child is perfectly portrayed here, too.

Mama Duck's prayers were answered by someone who had the resources she didn't have in order to rescue her babies.

Not to say they won't fall through another grate on another day. But that's another prayer for another day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Faith to Jump From Trees

Watched the 1st movie of "The Hobbit" last night. I love those books by J. R. R. Tolkein even though I'm sure I don't catch all the symbolism. Towards the end of this movie, there is a point where they (all the good dwarves, the Wizard and Bilbo Boggins, the Hobbit) have had to escape the bad guys by climbing to the tops of some very tall trees.

Eventually with all that weight and the bad guys pushing on the trees, they begin to become uprooted. Once uprooted the trees topple against each other like dominoes. All the people in the trees jump from one to another to avoid being thrown to the ground.

While all this is happening, the Wizard has sent a butterfly off With a message for help.

Everyone is hanging from the last tree and are eventually forced to jump or be captured or burned. As they jump, large eagles appear and catch them, flying them to safety.

I had to ask myself : Do I have the knowledge that my Heavenly Father will always provide my needs for me? He provides my next breath without me thinking about it. Could I leap into space with that same assumption?

Previously I mentioned having two feet of faith. Is that enough to leap from falling trees?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Diaper Service


So, everyone is always ranting and raving about how awesome {and cheap} it is to 'subscribe' to merchandise on By subscribing, they automatically send it to you at whatever time interval you choose. Not to be left out, I decided to try it out.

With toilet paper.

I already think going to the bathroom is the biggest waste of time so you can just imagine what I think about having to go to the store to buy toilet paper.

I subscribe to my toilet paper. And I wait for the upcoming shipment date and arrival date. Instead of getting my toilet paper, I get the typical small card in the mailbox saying there is a box for me at the post office. Please come and pick it up. I was pretty sure what it was and that kinda irritated me {more than scratchy toilet paper}.

The whole purpose of subscribing to the toilet paper {I wonder if anyone has ever named a publication that...yeah...probably not}, was to avoid the whole going to the store thing. Now I have to go to the post office. Difference?

Anywho, I forget about it for a day or two. After all, I go to work before the post office opens and I am heading home after it's closed so it pretty much has to wait for Friday or Saturday anyway. In the meantime, Krisy and Nellie and Amber bring their kids and come over to play and have lunch.

We're all calmly eating our lunch when in walks LOML/Grampa. The first words out of his mouth are, "So, did you order some diapers or something?" His seriousness was enough to crack us all up but overall, I was stunned speechless. He went on to explain that IFA's postman had told him that his wife had a case of diapers waiting for her at the post office. Really? Breech of confidentiality, I think! HIPPA violation to the nth degree! I compose myself and reply,

"Gosh dangit! I had come up with the best plan to break the news to you that you were going to be a dad again and the darn postman has gone and spoiled it!"

We all crack up again. I can't breath, it's one of those laughs. Nellie, Amber and Krisy are all crying. The grandkids are laughing even though they really don't know what's going on. And LOML/Grampa? He's just standing there not understanding but sort of chuckling.

I thought it was hilarious enough to share. I'm thinking about whether or not to continue my subscription to toilet paper. Maybe I should add some Depends onto my order?

Not seeing anywhere on here where it says "Diapers" so I've got to wonder

about IFA's postman just a little bit. And LOML for really having to ask me!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Because He Loves Me!

I hate making comments in church classes. I avoid it like the plague. The only thing worse is probably getting called on and forced to comment or answer a question. At that point, it's a given that I was most likely daydreaming and will say something totally off the mark. In a perfect world, if I volunteer a comment, it should be well thought out, completely inspired and right on subject.

Yeah, well, I'm too perfect of a wild card to live in a perfect world so...hence my dislike for making comments.

But there are those times when my palms get sweaty, I get jittery and my adrenalin starts pumping. {Joe says I even start making little grunting noises}. I try to think through exactly what I want to say and compare it to what is currently being said to make sure I'm not off subject. And I always start my comments out with some sort of disclaimer or straight out apology if what I'm going to say doesn't make sense.

The lesson in Relief Society today was on the significance of the Sacrament, per President Joseph Fielding Smith's words. Since I'd heard this lesson a couple of weeks ago in Manti, I remembered a part that I really liked and that was significant to the way I think and feel. And I've actually been thinking about it a lot since.

It's really only one sentence in the whole four or five pages of the lesson material. The teacher was going straight through the lesson and...I'll be darned she skipped the very sentence I'd been looking forward to! I couldn't believe it. My adrenalin started making my body jittery and I dreaded the idea that I knew was lurking. She was winding down and I wasn't sure she was even going to look my direction. And then she did. So I apprehensively raised my hand.

Now to the point of this whole thing.

The Atonement. I know, like President Smith stated, the more significant and painful part of the suffering my Savior did for me took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yes, He died a very painful, humiliating death but, as horrific as that was, it was nothing compared to what He had already been through. And, yes, I know I added to that suffering in Gethsemane.

Whenever I fall short or screw up or just feel inadequate, I remember that my Savior suffered for all these mistakes I'm too weak to overcome. And my shoulders hunch a bit. I'm sorry.

And then there are the lessons and the talks about the Atonement. The speaker/teacher reminds us, in vivid detail, how we each contributed to the suffering of Jesus Christ. And then they proceed to throw out the names of specific areas of weakness, seeming to enjoy the reactions and sighs and intakes of breath and tears as their descriptive words tear into their listeners' hearts and souls. And my shoulders hunch a bit more.

And after so much of this, I'm pretty hunched over. The Atonement is heavy enough without constantly being reminded of how I personally made it worse. That's a dark place I can't stay in very long.

Please! Don't get me wrong! I'm not minimizing my Savior's suffering. And I'm not minimizing my part in it. I just need to remember:

Jesus Christ CHOSE to pay the price for me long before I, or anyone else, had left Heaven to come and dwell on Earth. Long before any of us could even fathom sinning or the need for a Savior to satisfy Justice. Jesus Christ CHOSE to suffer in Gethsemane and die on the cross because He LOVES me.

I cannot fathom the depth of the suffering He endured in Gethsemane.

I cannot fathom the depth of His love for me, either.

But I choose to stay in the light of His love. I choose to dwell on the fact that, yes, He suffered for me but because He LOVES me. So much lighter there. So much more positive. Maybe one of the original affirmations, even! I AM LOVED! I AM SAFE!

And my shoulders straighten up and I can stand a little taller knowing that.

That's what I wanted to say when I raised my hand in Relief Society. Considerably shorter in length, that's what I thought I said. But then hands started shooting up and comments were made about our need to let go and give the suffering back to our Savior...well, I shut down.

I was replaying in my head what I'd said to take the conversation this direction. No one mentioned sunshine or positivity or happy places or love or not having weighted down, hunched shoulders. But it motivated me to write down my feelings and testimony here and so that's a good thing, I guess. And I'll think longer before raising my hand again!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Two Feet of Faith

My stomach was kinda unsettled Saturday night. Not horrible but enough that it had my attention. Mainly because Hunter has had the stomach flu and I had gotten a text earlier in the evening from Amber saying Aspen was throwing up now and Amber wasn't feeling so good herself. I'd been around them a couple of times before and after they'd gotten sick.

At approximately 3:39am this morning, it started. And there's no one to hold my hair out of the toilet. Thank goodness for elastics! Today has gone by in a blur of sleeping, puking and wondering where the garbage can is. I realized the older I get, it's not so much how fast I can get to the bathroom as it is how fast I can get on my knees!

I had traded with another Relief Society teacher to teach today, too. 6:30am I'm texting the Relief Society president, apologizing as I explain there is no way I will be there to teach. The lesson was on Faith and Repentance. And, even though it has only been two weeks since I last taught, I actually had some good ideas. And I'd had an experience that fit right in.

Last weekend I helped Joe and Mandy out with their kids while Mandy was at a young women retreat and Joe was working. I decided to take off a day early and stay with Betty for the evening. I left after work on Thursday night and headed south. Did I mention it had started to rain?

By the time I hit Willard, I was a nervous wreck. Rain was coming down harder and harder. The wet roads eat up the light from the headlights. Semi trucks were throwing back water and mist from all 18 of their wheels and I swear it was all coming right down on my windshield. The overhead LED signs all warned to "slow down" because there was "standing water" over the road. And all that water that was "standing" on the road made it hard to see the lines and there I was in the middle of four or five lanes of traffic. I'd try and follow tail lights. There was a time or two I'm not sure I was following a car in my lane. I was probably doing subtle lane changes without even knowing it. Fortunately I didn't hear any horns honk or brakes screech as others tried to avoid me.

And I gripped, grasped, clung, with white knuckles, to the steering wheel just as if it were the Rod of Iron. Nothing short of being broadsided from both sides would shake me lose - and even then there might still be a finger or two with joints that would never be straightened out.

Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I cried for rescue from Heavenly Father. I would have turned around many times over but {thankfully} I was with it enough to realize I would still have to drive through it to get home. So why back track? I should just keep moving forward if it's going to be storming both directions.

I was praying to Heavenly Father to just get me out of there. I didn't care how. I even envisioned Him lifting me - car and all - up and out of the mess. Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang style. Then, in the back of my head, I was told to focus. I focused on what I could see instead of all that was out there confusing me. My headlights lit up the road about two feet in front of the hood of my car. That was two feet of reality that I made myself focus on. And after I reached the end of the span of the headlights, another two feet became illuminated. I focused on the next two feet.

I have approximately two feet of faith. And that's pushing it. But, on the other hand, I HAVE TWO FEET OF FAITH! That's two feet that I can build a foundation on.

And, two feet at a time, I made it to the Point of the Mountain, and the rain had stopped by then.

And I thanked my Heavenly Father. Oh, man, did I thank my Heavenly Father. I pulled off at Lehi and had my mini breakdown. Then I was ready to take the next two feet.

And, relying on what little faith I did have, I made it to my destination. No worse for the wear and tear and stress. Maybe a little stronger. Definitely wiser.

That was my experience that I was going to share in Relief Society. An experience that made Faith a little more concrete for me. More specifically, rain on concrete. Ha, ha.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Iron Rod

LOML Holding to the Rod :-)

My lesson in Relief Society a couple of weeks ago was the conference talk from the October 2013 General Conference entitled "Continually Holding Fast". I learned a lot about Lehi's dream as I studied for this lesson.

I found this artwork {below} by James C. Christensen {no relation} that I have learned to love. I've seen it before but I've never taken the time to understand what it was actually depicting. It's entitled, "Hold to the Rod" and you can see the rod, steady, strong, continuous, right there waiting for the little lady to grab a hold of it. And she's looking at it, so she knows it's there and I'm sure she'd love the stability it would give her wobbly legs and loaded down body.

As you can tell, though, she has collected too much 'stuff' and, as much as she appears to want to grasp the rod, she doesn't seem willing to let go of anything so she can. I think some of the artist's words in describing it were that she has 'become a vessel for all her collections'. I liked that description. I don't think everything she's collected can be called 'good' or 'bad'. I think most of it is just 'too much'. The more I look at this picture, the more I relate. I wish someone could snap a picture like this of me so I could have a visual of all the stuff I've become a vessel for. All the material, worldly things that are keeping me from gripping the Rod of Iron with both hands and continually holding on.

After my lesson, I found this picture, also by James C. Christensen {still no relation}. Actually LOML found it. I was excited to see that the little lady rallied and she got rid of some of her 'stuff' and she's going to grab that rod. Looks like there's still plenty she could let go of, but she's made a start.

I hope I can make a start. And soon.

In Lehi's Dream, there are four groups of people. One group wanders off at the onset and wanders onto strange paths. Another group reaches out and grabs the end of the rod but they are soon distracted by the great and spacious building and the mists of darkness. Another group 'grasps' the rod and actually makes it to the Tree and partakes of the fruit but then they see the spacious building and, they, too, become embarrassed and wander off. The group that makes it to partake of the fruit of the Tree are the ones who continually held fast to the Iron Rod and 'fell down' and partook of the fruit of the Tree.

Some things I read made it sound like grasping the Iron Rod wasn't good enough. I know I'm just playing with words here but I know there have been times in my life when all I could do was grasp. Other times I could grip with both hands and continually hold on. Personally, I think the key was the group that made it to the Tree and stayed "FELL DOWN" and partook of the fruit. I think there was some gratitude; some humility; some weariness; some sincere contrite spirits and broken hearts that caused them to 'fall down' and express gratitude their Heavenly Father for helping them endure.

Just my thoughts and ideas and I'm glad I had the chance to study and think about Lehi's Dream. I can see why Nephi went to the Lord and asked for an explanation of the things that his father had seen. I'm glad I know I can go to Heavenly Father and ask for explanations and help and He will hear me and answer me and ease my confusion.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The E's

I think I'm so clever. At least once a year, that is. Yeah, the annual changing of the passwords at work. And, yeah, that's plural. I have to come up with two new ones every years that meet their criteria.

My first clever idea was to have my password be something motivational. spurring me on to greatness every time I typed it in. Instead of using a word or two, though, my second clever idea was to just use the first letter of each word in the phrase. I've created quite the monstrosities with that second clever idea.

So one of my passwords this year is 1eeteol. Of course, since you have to include at least one number in it, the '1' stands for the letter 'I'. I need to find the original phrase because I can't remember what the third 'e' stands for. Which means as I'm typing it in, my head's voice is saying, "I eagerly embrace the E's of life". What the original 'e' of life was is what I can't remember. Through the course of the year, it's been experiences, efforts, exhilarations, excitement, elements, encounters, events, emotions and probably others but I don't remember them either.

Today when I was typing it in I had a different image in my head. Instead of seeing a group of 'eeeee's, I saw the word 'ease'. Wow, that's hilarious.

Do I eagerly embrace the ease of life? Maybe. Sometimes. It's relieving after a long stretch of dis-ease. I wonder, though, if I embrace the 'ease' of life so much that I don't push myself to be better or do more. Is 'ease' a graven image I worship?

I don't want to say I seek out the moments of dis-ease but I definitely do more growing and learning and progressing during those periods of life. Like the potter's refining fire or the welder's shaping flame producing amazing finished products but not because they let the clay or the metal just sit there doing nothing.

So while, 1eeteol, I guess 1weetdeol2!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Just Let It Ring Once

We bounced up the front stairs to our house on the afternoon of November 3, 1997 - just like coming home from Springville any other time. Not sure who it was that said it, or if it was even actually said. We may have all just looked at each other and admitted to thinking the same thing at the same time.

Back in the day, before our addiction to cell phones, we hadn't pulled in the driveway (Delta or Tremonton) before the kids were hollering out, speaking to be the one to call Grandma G and 'let it ring once'.

That was our tricky little code to avoid long distance charges but, at the same time, let her know we were home, safe and sound.


Mom always answered the phone {whether or not she ended up in the bathroom before the conversation was over}; was willing to listen to all the silly, menial, mundane, pointless little events and peeves in my life I felt the need to tell her about; gave me a good laugh {as she described that she was currently lying on her back, in her chair with both of her feet in the air}; and had new ideas and ways for me to look at my current issues. I probably talked to her more often than I should have but, what the heck, she had me on a guilt trip from the time I was old enough to promise I would never leave her alone until I was 65!

The tradition of  'letting it ring once' is a little difficult to keep going thanks to modern technology. Texting works pretty good, though.

I've always felt like I was in contact with my Heavenly Father multiple times through the day. I just talk to Him in my head and review things that are happening and share fears and anxieties and ask Him to help me carry the heavy issues. He's never let me down - always answers. However, I think I probably do a lot of 'letting it ring once'. Maybe more than I should.

It's easier to 'touch base', 'check in', or 'let it ring once' than to take the time to get into a deep conversation. But the times I get into the deep conversations, and take the time to listen for His advice and responses, I feel much more peaceful and reassured that He really is aware of me and where I'm at in this journey of mine.

And it's always good to check in and let Him know I've made it home.

And tell Him thanks.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Good Sport

Games seem to be making their way...slowly...back into family get togethers. Grampa is a good sport playing with the youngest of the kids and trying to teach them the rules - over and over and over again.

Playing checkers with Aspen.

Putting a puzzle together with Paisley.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Baptism/Fire Drill

We're now halfway through our baptisms! Colton is #6! And what a great day it was for a baptism! Lots of support from his extensive family and some close friends.


Dressed up in Uncle Nate's fire gear

representing how he is prepared to

go out in life and fight his battles now

that he has the Holy Ghost. Colton was

also told that it was possible to make his

protective gear clean again, too, if he

made a mistake once in awhile.

Colton following Jesus' example to be baptized

Garrett, Colton and Carter

Gramma and Grampa and Colton

Colton with his dad waiting to be baptized

Colton with his whole family

Some snapshots of supportive family enjoying the day

Adam, Nellie and the boys worked especially hard to get to this day of baptism and confirmation. The adversary was working against them but they fought back and WON!

Congratulations to Colton on his choice to be baptized! Lots of little eyes watching and following his example just like he's followed the examples of those before him!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Falling to Pieces...or From Pieces...or an InVESTment in Finding Peace

I think enough time has passed that I can maybe look at this experience objectively. Or at least write about it with having my eyes get all blurry from the tears. Hopefully it stays with me as the strong learning experience I need it to be and it doesn't turn into that awesome labor and delivery experience that you forget all the details about and are ready to do it again almost as naively as the first time.

This is what six (6) sports vests looked like the day before Christmas. They weren't supposed to look like this. They should have been folded up, stuffed in empty cereal boxes, wrapped in red and green Christmas paper and placed under the Christmas tree with the other presents.

Hence the meltdown. And it was an ugly one. Not that there is such a thing as a pretty meltdown.

I have a quote on my laptop that I really like. It says, "Arrange whatever pieces come your way." I love it. It doesn't say your puzzle will be perfect or beautiful or that you'll even have all the pieces you need all at once. It says figure out where the pieces go that you have in your hand right now - even if you don't totally understand how they are all going to fit together or what the finished picture will be.

Fortunately {or not so fortunately} I knew what these pieces were supposed to become if put together correctly. That could have been part of the discouragement. Mine did not look like the picture said they should look. Well, duh! I was comparing myself at my worst moment to the pattern cover's perfect picture of how it should look. Hence the bruising I gave myself.

But, in the days following, as I proceeded to arrange the pieces that were in front of me, I found myself being ever so grateful for the knowledge I have of a loving Heavenly Father who knows what pieces I have. He knows how to best support me as I struggle with arranging those pieces. He has spoke to me quietly at the base of my neck. He has placed people in my path who have shown me new ways to arrange my pieces. Obviously they have had to figure out their pieces and are, gratefully, sharing the knowledge they gained with me. And then, of course, there are always the written instructions - words that were written hundreds of years ago but they were written for my puzzling pieces.

And so my attack on those daunting pieces continued with the guide sheet in plain and perfect view at all times. I should do the same with my scriptures as I sort and re-sort and arrange and re-arrange and marvel at the pieces I am thrown on a daily basis.

And then, ta-da! The pieces are finally arranged in pretty much the way they were supposed to be. Thank goodness there's a little room for imagination and creativity!

And the smiles when the six boys got the finished product brought to me a satisfying peace!

Carter, Colton, Garrett


Tyler and Layne

So, I guess I was taught multiple lessons. The pieces do fit together if approached one or two pieces at a time. I may not have an exact picture of what my finished product will look like but I do have instructions and a general idea given to me. And, last but not least, sometimes my life needs to fall to pieces in order for me to remember my Source of Peace.