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!

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.

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


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.