A place to share struggles and triumphs, a place to bless and serve - but never a place to murmur or complain. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

You're On Santa's Team Now

My grandma taught me everything about Christmas. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

"No Santa Claus!" she snorted."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough; but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat.

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a blue one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. I didn't see a price tag, but ten dollars ought to buy anything. I put the coat and my ten-dollar bill on the counter and pushed them toward the lady behind it. She looked at the coat, the money, and me. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" she asked kindly. "Yes," I replied shyly. "It's... for Bobbie. He's in my class, and he doesn't have a coat." The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Suddenly, Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell twice and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. He looked down, looked around, picked up his present, took it inside and closed the door.

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous! Santa was alive and well... AND WE WERE ON HIS TEAM!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

I have love.

I have love in my life. I am blessed. I have my children and my parents and my sisters and my friends. I am so very blessed. So very very blessed.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Good Thought to Remember

The difficulties of life are meant to make us better, not bitter...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where I want to be. . .

So, I have all these plans and they are great plans. I live in a beautiful place, truly enviable in it's beauty. It's a good place, where I am in my life—and it's where I want to be almost all the time. Today, however, is overcast and quite chilly. Today, I am experiencing a little wanderlust—ok fine, more than a little.
Last year we went to Grand Teton and Yellowstone in August. That was smashing fun! This morning, I was craving a little jaunt to Jackson. I had that "I'd rather be in Jackson" sticker on my virtual forehead. I moved on with my day, thinking about the mountains and meadows and lakes in the Grand Teton area. . . so lovely. My five year old needed some snuggle time, so I left my work and sat with her a while. I was thinking about, and telling her about when I was a child. I spent some of my formative years in San Diego, also a very beautiful place. No sooner had that thought passed through my mind than I was craving a little time at the beach. It's been a long time since I had some time at the beach and she has not been to the beach. . . such a shame! I really do miss the sound of the water and the waves washing up over my feet as I walked along the coast. I enjoy my evening beach memories most. I loved going with friends. The light of the moon reflected on the ocean and the feel of the sand. Ah yes. . . so lovely. . . and I moved on with my day.
I have some plans for a little travel in September—to a fun cabin by a lake. I want to work in some day trips with the kids when we have holiday time this summer. My ten year old really wants to visit her cousins and we've been trying to work that out for a year. I think it's about time we just make the trip, even if I can only get one extra day off work and we only have one full day there—for her, I think it will be worth it.
I suppose it's a good thing that I can't just go anywhere I please at any moment. Commitments and reality are demanding. I think it's important though, to listen to what your heart longs for. You could allow reality never to include pauses for beautiful journeys, but then what would you have to look back on for inspiration and joy on cloudy days? I could say that there just isn't time for a visit to the cousins, but then the memories we might have made won't be able to warm my daughter's heart when she is grown. Good memories are riches, and they are worth the treasure hunting and adventure necessary to make them.

Monday, March 28, 2011

You, who they call Lord



You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.
When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.
You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.
Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.
I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.
Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.
Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.
Amen

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Inexpressible Comfort

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”


George Eliot

My friend posted this on a blog today, and I got to thinking. . . isn't this the perfect description of prayer, in a relationship with Our Father in Heaven where we allow him to truly be a Father and a Friend to us? I have felt this way a lot recently as I poured my heart out to Him, and I have felt his encouraging loving comfort in my heart, assuring me that He wanted to hear how I truly felt. (Let's be honest: It isn't as though he doesn't already know.) As we share our feelings with him honestly—He can teach, guide and direct us. He can help us to see our feelings and experiences in His light and through His eyes. He can impress upon our hearts how much he loves us, cherishes our growing times, feels for our pain and rejoices with us when we are joyous. 
This is why I love Father so much. He never fails to assure me of His love, regardless of how lovable or worthy of His love I may feel.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some Photos and Some Quotes.

Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction. —Al Bernstein


Penicillin, X-rays, rubber, even Silly Putty and Post-It Notes
were all fortuitous by-products of looking for something else.
—Hirsch Goldberg.


Every exit is an entry somewhere else.
Remember that Columbus was looking for India
when he found America.
—Tom Stoppard


In every problem or set back there is the see of an equivalent
or greater benefit—if you will only stop and look for it.
—Bob Moawad

quotes from the book think big. . . compendium incorporated

Monday, March 14, 2011

Journals.

For or Against? I am for. Here is why. . .

A while back I was feeling low. Life was so challenging, I felt as though I was struggling through each day. I decided to go back and read through some of my journals from 2005 to 2008. I was dumbfounded. As I read over those words, my words, it was as though I was standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, looking down into its depths. I was astonished at how deep my pain had been. I was sobered by those memories.
With that perspective, I recognized the simple joy of NOT BEING THERE ANYMORE! My challenges are different now, to be sure. I am living a LIFE. It is confusing sometimes. At times, it hurts—even now. Truly, though. . . life is good. I was so grateful to have my journals, to be able to reflect and truly see how far I've come. The pains are different up here on the canyon overlook. They are not nearly so overwhelming. I have so much more hope for happiness now and in the future. I am so grateful to be where I am now.

Keep a journal. You may need it someday. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In their Prosperous Circumstances.

I think this is the way to be. When I read the first four words, I was fairly sure this was a verse describing how weak and prideful we humans can be sometimes. . . but I was pleasantly surprised. If you Must have wealth, how wonderful would it be to share that with those who were in need. Their hearts were not set upon their riches. They were liberal with all. I hope I can do this someday, and for now, I'll do what I can.


Alma 1:30
And thus, in their aprosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were bnaked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon criches; therefore they were dliberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no erespect to persons as to those who stood in need.



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nauvoo Temple

I love that this Temple was rebuilt after it was lost. For me (and for so many others I think, as well) after very traumatic events and the complete loss of what I understood to be "my life," it gives me great hope to see something so beautiful standing where not so many years ago there was just a grassy area and a protective fence. It is a symbol of renewal, of resurrection, of faith, vision and of love.
They rebuilt the Temple exactly as it once was (on the exterior). My life, as I rebuild, will look much different from the way it did before—more beautiful, stronger. I'm building with a very different perspective and understanding of myself this time around. I truly believe that I made the right choices the first time around, the same as I believe the Saints of Nauvoo did the right thing when they built and dedicated their Temple. The fact that it was destroyed doesn't for one minute negate the value it had for them or the struggles they labored through to build it. I'm glad that I knew the grassy hill, and I'm grateful for the beautiful House of God that stands there now; It is a monument to them, and a beacon to us. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God… and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulations, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.

Orson F. Whitney, in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 98.

Friday, November 5, 2010

All Gummed Up!

I found this on my other blog tonight. . . it's an old story (nearly 2 1/2 years) but it is so funny. I don't think I posted it here, and everybody needs a good laugh now and then—I know I do—so here you go:

The following will someday be part of a movie, I'm sure of it. Truth IS stranger than fiction after all. My son told me this story on the way home from my parents' house last night. I laughed so hard I thought I might need to pull off the road. Driving under the influence of laughter, not always a very safe proposition.

Last month, my Dad and two of my sons (ages 12 and 5) were up on my roof. There had recently been a torrential downpour which had caused some leaking. We only knew about it because there was moisture around a ceiling fan in our family room. This upset the 5 year old beyond words. (He is still quite concerned about it. More on that later.) For some reason, a few drops of water on the ceiling spelled certain destruction to him. (I can't, unfortunately, say that it spelled hunky dorry for me either but I hadn't thought of calling in the US Army Corps of Engineers yet.) The fan area is directly below an attic vent on the roof. All of us big people figured that was probably the source of the water and sure enough - it had been installed incorrectly. My Dad, being a very practical man and knowing that kids often learn best through observation, had taken two of my boys up on the roof with him to watch. The third must have been away because otherwise I'm sure he'd have been up there, too. As my Dad was laying a bead of caulk around the attic vent, his gum got a little stale and he decided to toss it over his shoulder. Q, my five year old must have been uncharacteristically quiet up until that point. He let out a wail and everyone turned quickly to see what was the matter. (They were up on the roof, you know.)
There he was, frozen in time with my Dad's discarded gum right between between his eyes. He did not understand what everyone seemed to find so funny and he continued to wail until the situation was rectified - which I'm sure was not nearly soon enough for him.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where will you be five years from today?

The following is an excerpt from the book, Where will you be five years from today? It is an amazingly inspiring workbook style book published by Compendium Incorporated. (www.live-inspired.com) Turning the pages has been like harrowing the soil of my mind. . . a fantastic experience, and I haven't yet begun the "work". . . I've just been reading. The thing I like best is that I pretty much know what I want from the next five years of my life, and it's called, "Getting a Life." I'm going back to college for a BSN. That's big, and I figured it was going to take up all my time. After just one turn through this book, I realize that I need to grow in more than just the educational way. It would be like exercising only one arm. . . I need balance. I need to have goals in the other areas of my life at the same time. What I thought was going to be a tool to focus my goals, has actually turned out to be a tool to open my mind to broader possibilities. I'm really excited about it. I'm thrilled for the next five years.

Follow your dreams, they know the way.

If you don't have a dream,
how can you have a dream come true?

Your imagination is the preview to life's coming attractions.
—Albert Einstein

So, and okay. . .
Here are the areas that the books suggests we make goals:

Spiritual
Family
Career
Health
Financial
Education
Recreation
Charitable
Adventure
Travel
Romance
Relationships

Now with these areas in mind, go back and read those three little things right above them. Set your imagination free. . . and enjoy the little mini-vacation from 'now'.

A little later in the book, I found this:

It's never too late
or too early.
Right now is a good time.

life is now

That's true, isn't it. Life is NOW. We need to live now, and not put off our joys or our growth until it's more convenient. We all fill many roles and wear many hats. We have more responsibilities than we care to talk about openly with others. Our first job, however, is to see to ourselves: our health and sanity. When we are healthy and sane, we have so much more to give to others. When we are inspired, we can inspire those around us. We can lift others best when we are buoyant ourselves. . . So DREAM! I'm giving you permission! Go Ahead. Who do you want to be, at your core? What would you need to do to become her? If you don't know then think about it. If you DO know, then GO GET HER!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Slow
Down.
Calm
Down.
Don't
Worry.
Don't
Hurry.
Trust the
Process.

Alexandra Stoddard

Friday, October 1, 2010

Peace

Peace.

It does not mean to be in a place

where there is no noise, trouble

or hard work. It means to be in

the midst of those things and still

be calm in your heart.

(unknown)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just as plants soak up water, your children need your loving words, and with them they will thrive. ~ Judy Ford

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I know how it feels to lose Q. . .

I'm pretty calm, generally. I go through the challenges that greet me without too much fanfare most of the time. Generally, that 'way' of doing things makes getting through said challenges much easier. So, today, I took the kids to Lagoon. (For those not familiar with my area of the country, Lagoon is a local amusement park which has been around more than 100 years. It's the only game in town, and VERY crowded in the summer.) My sister was with me, along with two of her children and T's best friend also came along. I knew that one of the biggest issues I'd have was keeping Q, my seven year old son, close. He's, shall we say, easily distracted. I was 100% correct. We had to stop progress from 'here' to 'there' at least four times during the day because we realized that Quinn was no longer with us. The first couple of times, a little backtracking resolved the problem with relative ease. . . in fact I'm not even sure HE knew that he was lost when we found him. When he is walking he looks EVERYWHERE, except at the people he's walking with. He's intrigued by things and wants to know. I know this though, right? So we just took stock consistently and most of the time we were good.
Now, within Lagoon, there is a Water Park known as 'Lagoon-A-Beach'. Very nice way to escape the horrible heat of the day. It was supposed to hit 100 today, and we were prepared. When that heat came on. . . we went to the water. We weren't the only smarties at the park though - it was near capacity and jammed like no other area. There were walkways in and around the people, but only just barely. We wandered for a bit until we found a fantastic, shady spot where a family was just about to leave behind three lounge chairs. It was Heaven. . . until I realized that Q had NOT made it there with us. I headed out on the hunt. I was stressed, this time. I am largely unfamiliar with the water park there. People everywhere, lounging, walking, busy - no one really worried about lost children. I knew the employees might care though so I asked, and was directed to the first aid area, not too far away. I started to talk to the man inside the room. It took him a moment to understand what I was saying. In the time it took to arouse his interest, and at the point where I was about to describe my son to him, Q walked by outside. Looking at me, Q's little face lit with relief. I excused myself with a quick, "That's him, " and grabbed him around the shoulders as quickly as I could. I asked him if he had been afraid. He said that he had been but that a little whisper told him "Go that way." Thank Heaven I was 'down that way' and not running frantically all over the place. Someone Somewhere knew I'd go with my gut—to look for help— and they told my boy. I get the feeling that helping my son to hear and recognize that voice as his friend could be very important in his life.

Just so you know, that's NOT when I knew how it felt to lose Q.

We had yet another incident of fairly easily rectified dalliance. He was glad to be once again scooped up and saved from himself, but only slightly shaken. . . and I should have known.

We were all ready to go. We had some final treats in hand. The older boys needed to get their tickets validated and headed off in that direction. My middle children followed happily, and I expected to be right on their heels. The last of the treats, however, made a HUGE mess on the counter before I could even pick it up. It got on my keys, and and anything within about 6 inches of it. The young man apologetically helped me to clean it up. When I finally got everything I needed, without the extra-sticky coating, I started to walk to where I knew they'd be waiting. A was the only one who had stayed with me. The sun had set and it was getting very dark. I recognized as I was walking, how different the park was at night. Lower visibility, lights flashing everywhere. Even though we had been there all day, and we had become fairly familiar with things, it was all different now. When I arrived, everyone was relaxing and waiting. . . I took stock. "Where's Q?" Heads darted in every direction. T and his best friend took off immediately. I got the C settled with the girls in a well lit spot near the main crossroads of the park and headed out to look myself. This time, however, I WAS frantic. The thought of Q trying to find his way around in the dark was overwhelming to me. I went to every place that we'd been in the previous 10 minutes. Every place he'd shown obvious interest in. I talked to the employees along the way, describing him. No one had seen him. I saw T running a couple of times along the way as well. My heart was melting. I had looked for him so many times already that day. His little image and my relief at "seeing" it again so many times, was burned on my mind. I knew I needed help. I stopped a Security employee of the park and he was quick to spread the word. I described my son to him. "He is seven years old. He is wearing a Turquoise shirt with white stripes. He has on navy blue shorts. He has dark hair. When he walks, he looks at everything. He doesn't pay much attention to where he's going." The young man asked if I knew where the security office was, and said that I should check there in about 20 minutes. That seemed like SO long.

I was panicking. My heart was breaking wide open, as I contemplated the possibility that those clothes I had 'found' him in time after time today might be the last things I'd ever see him wear. I went once again on the loop that I had made previously, hoping that he'd go back to one of those spots to look for me. It hadn't been nearly the twenty minutes originally estimated, but even so, I KNEW what an eternity without Q would feel like and it was devastating. Finally, without success, I felt I should return to where C and the girls were waiting for me, and I did. As I came around the corner, my hope was that he would be sitting there with them as though nothing had happened. I was not soothed, however. He was not there. I didn't want to upset the other children, and did my best not to show them how worried I was. It was a fairly futile effort however. They knew it was serious.
Then, just as I was about to break into sobs of grief, those tears turned miraculously to joy. A tall young man in a light blue Lagoon polo shirt and khaki pants rounded the corner with his arm draped around the shoulders of a small dark-haired boy. Dressed in a striped turquoise shirt. Wearing navy blue shorts. This time however, that little boy's eyes were riveted to me. He started to cry, as did I. I ran to him and threw my arms around him . . one more time. We cried and cried. It seemed like ages. I looked gratefully at the young man, and thanked him. He commented that my description of him had been absolutely perfect. "It should be," I said. "He's my son."
I'm grateful to know a loving Father in Heaven loves me no less than I love this little child. He loves me, each of us, so much more even that I can imagine. Love is the reason I believe so firmly in God. I know that Someone Somewhere understands.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Longing

I went back in my journals to March 2008, and found this gem. It couldn't be more true today.
I'm so grateful to have kept good journals. Most surprising to me? I had NOT already posted this in my blog! Really? So, here you go. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Life is full of longing. I’ve heard so many people say this in different ways. Leaning to live in the moment, I think, is much more than just eschewing consequences. We want things to happen quickly. We don’t want some things to happen at all. If we have to endure those things, we can’t just wait until they are “over.” I don’t think that it’s ever really over. I think that no matter what is happening in life, we could be wishing that there was some magic pill that could instantly transport us to an easier place, where life will fall into it’s “correct” rhythm and THEN we would be happy. If we could just get such and such accomplished, we would be satisfied. Whether we realize it or not, most of us quickly pass by almost without acknowledging those things when they DO happen. We find some other reason not to be happy.That is the longing I’m talking about.
I hope that I am able to make the very most out of those threshold moments in my life as the years ahead pass by. I want to be happy now, and not wait until some big event comes along. I think that, in not putting off my happiness, I will be able to truly savor and cherish the good things to come. I don’t want to rush through anything just to get to the next thing. I know that there are going to be so many challenges. I want to take each day with courage and live deliberately. I think it’s really the only way to live. I think that living any other way isn’t really living, it's actually putting off living your life until some future time which you will never allow to come. I don’t want that. I want to be alive, now. I want to live my life with purpose and do things for good reasons. I want to be able to look back and say, “I learned this.” or “I’m different now because. . .” and build each day on the choices of yesterday, and do it happily.