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Showing posts from September, 2011

Introducing my Mother-in-Law to Disneyland

To sum it up, we're both having a great time!

Over the summer, John's mom mentioned that she had never been to Disneyland.  I quickly issued an open-ended invitation to come down anytime and we'd have a girls' vacation week.  Well, Wednesday I picked her up from the airport.  We dined at the Cheesecake Factory (yum), managed to find the car again after a Twilight Zone-esque experience, and stayed at the Ayres Hotel that night. 

Yesterday, we were off to the big D.  After procuring her "First Time Visitor" button, we were ready to hit the park.  It was much more crowded than I expected on a September weekday, but we still managed to see and do quite a bit.  We started in Fantasyland with the classics:  Peter Pan, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Snow White's Scary Adventures, and a walk through Sleeping Beauty's Castle.  We ate loaded baked potato soup at the Carnation Cafe, and shook chef Oscar's hand on the way out.  (He's been w…

Guide Dogs

This evening I met with the local Guide Dogs club.  I've met with them once before, but tonight's meeting was a training meeting, which means I got to work hands-on with the puppies.  Fun, fun, fun.  Oh, and did I mention cute, cute, cute?  I'm definitely sold.  I'm still learning exactly what the process is to becoming a puppy raiser, but hopefully it isn't terribly long. 

Thankful thought of the day:  What else could it be?  I'm thankful for dogs!

Patience

One of the five petals of the forget-me-not is now supposed to remind us to be patient with ourselves.  Well, that reminds me of a quotation I collected about roses.  I wish I could give the author credit, but I do not know who originally penned this (if you know, please let me know): Thanks to my mom's wonderful googling skills, I know that this is from W. Timothy Gallwey in The Inner Game of Tennis:

When we plant a rose seed in the earth we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as "rootless and stemless".  We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed.  When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don't condemn it as immature and underdeveloped, nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear.  We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. 

The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies.  Within it, at all times, i…

The Creative Language of Children (and Adults)

Roughly once a month, our church service is a "testimony meeting", which I suppose could be described in part as an open-mike opportunity for anyone to get up and share knowledge, feelings, and insights about the gospel.  One three- or four-year-old girl bravely stood at the podium today and announced, "I know my mom is true." 

She drew some chuckles with that statement, and I found myself thinking about other cute comments I have heard children say in church.  Once, when I was the chorister in Primary, I was teaching the song, "My Flag".  You can hear the song here.  One of the lines says, "...the banner of the free."  One little girl hopped out of her seat and declared, "I'm three!  I'm three!"  I tried to explain that the song wasn't talking about an age, but rather about freedom, like our ability to choose.  At this point, the same little girl jumped back out of her chair and shouted, "I have shoes!"  By now,…

General Relief Society Meeting...Or, Lessons from the Forget-Me-Not

I just got back from watching the broadcast of the General Relief Society Meeting.  (Click here to watch the General Relief Society Meeting.

The entire meeting was uplifting, of course, but I particularly enjoyed the final speaker. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk centered around the small blue Forget-Me-Not flower being a symbol of what makes life joyful and sweet.  He mentioned that each of the five petals could represent things we should not forget:

1. Do not forget to be patient with yourself. 
We are generally very patient and kind to others, but not always to ourselves.  Sometimes we compare ourselves to others--our weaknesses to their strengths--and thus never seem to measure up.

2. Do not forget the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice. 
One example of a good sacrifice is losing sleep to help comfort a child who is having a nightmare. One example of what could be a foolish sacrifice is staying up all night to finish sewing an accessory for an…

Common (?) Courtesy

Every weekday, I am at the church at 6 a.m. to drop youngest daughter off to seminary class.  This morning, three cars arrived at the same time, dropping off 2 girls and 1 boy.  I noticed the boy jump out of the car, hop up the stairs, and hold the door for both girls.  I smiled as I realized that this is a common occurrence.  The boys follow the men's examples and hold open the doors; the girls follow the women's examples and thank those who hold open the doors. 

When I got home from the church, I started reading the newspaper.  One of the editorials was lamenting the state of societal manners.  The author was upset by unsupervised children in stores, by the general sloppiness of dress, and by the coarseness of language.  She concluded her editorial by asking if she was the only one who had noticed this decline of decorum. 

In answer to that question, I will say that it seems that society is more divided now than in the past; more extreme.  I have witnessed the situations t…

48 Years!

Today is my parents' 48th wedding anniversary.  Individually, each of my parents is a good person.  Together, they are a great team.  They aren't exactly complete opposites, but they each definitely have their own personalities.  They complement each other well, and it is obvious that they love each other. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad! 

Thankful thought:  Thanks to my parents, who provided a very stable, loving, calm, and fun environment for my siblings and me, and who are now not just great parents, but also wonderful grandparents!

The Visiting Teachers Are Coming!

My visiting teachers are coming this morning.  I love the visiting teaching program.  Basically, it provides every woman in the church the opportunity to have two other women come into her home each month to chat, offer assistance, and share a short gospel message.  Here's a short video about visiting teaching:  Visiting Teaching.

Today, my thankful shoutout goes to all the wonderful women I have gotten to know due to visiting teaching, both those who have visit taught me, those I have visit taught, and the visiting teaching companions I have had.  A few specific examples:

Techincally, these women weren't my visiting teachers, but my mom's, but this story is pretty well set in my memory.  I remember being in the living room when these women were at my home.  The next thing I know, they were running out the front door.  Apparently they were expecting a cute, furry head to poke out of the box inside the completely-enclosed cage that was on top of the piano.  When they caught…

September Garden Walk

It's nearly fall, I think.  The calendar says so.  The pumpkins think so, too.


As the weather is still in the 90's, though, the crook-necked squash is still blooming.


I didn't fully think through the implications of planting watermelon.  Only two of us left at home can eat it.  I harvested three from one plant yesterday.  Another vine still has two huge watermelons left to harvest.  So, as we enter fall, we are still eating a traditional summertime treat. 


I had to harvest three yesterday, though, so I could have room to plant my fall garden.  I taught fall gardening a couple of weeks ago.  I knew it was definitely time to plant when some of the attendees started reporting to me that they had planted their seeds.  Time for me to get out there and follow their great example!  (I cheated a bit and used some bedding plants along with seeds.)  When I pick the other watermelons and declare tomato and zucchini season over, I will plant the other beds, too.


One of my favorite t…

Thanks for the Little Things

Today in church, a woman related an experience that reminded me of the importance of our small acts of kindness. She knew a woman who, as a girl, attended church due to an invitation to sing with the choir.  The chorister had no idea that the invitation she offered would have such far-reaching effects.  The girl continued to attend church because of the choir, and she grew up to have a family who actively participated in church.  Some of her children served missions, and they introduced others to the church.  This all came about because one chorister invited a girl to join the choir. 

It is easy for us to discount the impact we have on others, yet it is also easy to see the impact small acts of kindness have had on us.  Don't be discouraged if you think your contributions are small.  You never know the impact you might have.

I want to mention a few kindnesses I have experienced through the years.  This list is very incomplete.  I might end up making this topic a regular thread, b…

Friends and Family Welcome

I finally pounded some nails and decided to post photos of the guest/hobby room.  I wanted the room to be comfortable for visitors, yet provide a space for me to organize my family history research and finallly catch up on my kids' scrapbooks.  The result is a room which combines those elements.  The decor of the room is full of family history.


My mom made the quilt on the bed with fabrics left over from projects she sewed while we were growing up.  She also put together the framed piece on the nightstand.  It is a photo, along with a poem my mom wrote in tribute to her grandma. 


John deserves praise for his work on the nightstand.  We found it at a garage sale last week, and the top was scratched up pretty badly.  He sanded the top down, and was able to find a finish that matched the rest of the nightstand exactly! 

My grandma made the cross-stitched picture, and I remember seeing it hanging in her house. 


The armoire is compliments of a family in our neighborhood, who put it o…

"The Manner of Happiness"

I've kept a journal since the time I was young, but sometime after getting married and having kids, my journal writing became sporatic at best.  A few years ago, I stumbled across an article that inspired me to be more consistent in my journal writing.  I've noticed that when I'm journaling more regularly, even if what I write is neither particularly interesting nor insightful, I am happier.  While trying to find that article again, this speech transcript came up:

http://lds.org/ensign/2002/12/living-after-the-manner-of-happiness?lang=eng&query=journal

I'm pretty sure the "...and we lived after the manner of happiness" scripture is my mom's favorite.  I used to think it was a pretty short and simple favorite scripture, but the older I get, the more I realize the depth that can come from simple ideas.   

I think that Elder Jensen does an excellent job analyzing what we can do to "live after the manner of happiness."  I love the fact that &quo…

Goal: To Be Organized. Deadline: About 25 Years

In June, my mom gave me a box filled with letters that I had written home over the years.  A couple of months later, John's mom gave me a box filled with letters that John had written home over the years.  I figure I better start sorting through the letters my kids have written, because in 25 years or so, it will be the traditional time to pass those letters along to the kids.

I have such a hard time sorting through the mementos without taking time to read and reminisce.  Unfortunately, this letter isn't signed, so I'm not 100% sure who wrote it.  I have a pretty good guess, though.  I hope you enjoy it! 


In case you are wondering whether or not Santa ever pot the prast in the triu, I can assure you that he did indeed put presents in (or under) the tree.  :-) 


Scattered Thoughts from My Scattered Mind

Some days just don't seem conducive to blog posts.  It seems that lately I've been working on several projects, but none of them are ready for photo shoots.  Here's what I've been doing/thinking lately:

I painted more in the guest/craft room today.  John and I have a system that works great for us.  I like painting the broad, easy surfaces, and he enjoys the detail work.  Tonight, we finished the painting.  Over the next few days, hopefully I'll get the furniture organized and the room decorated a bit.

I found a bed at a garage sale that looks great in youngest daughter's bedroom.  The bed she had been using was part of a bunk bed.  Now I can put both halves of the bunk bed together side-by-side to form another king-size bed.  I found a mattress pad at Ross tonight, along with a sheet set and blanket. 

How many king-from-twin beds am I going to assemble, you might be asking.  Every Thanksgiving, we have a houseful of relatives and friends come.  The younger se…

Labor Day Play Day

I suppose if today were Wednesday, and if I participated in "Wordless Wednesday" posts, I wouldn't have to say much about this picture.  Since it is Monday, though, you'll get my commentary.  We normally don't purchase photos, but since we were the only ones in the log, and since we both have appropriate facial expressions (I think this is the first time I've actually kept my eyes open on the drop!), we couldn't pass up the photo.  Youngest daughter chose not to join us on Splash Mountain, instead preferring to ride Pirates of the Carribean. 

While walking throughout the parks today, I kept thinking about my next trip to Disneyland.  I think my dream job (after wife and mom, of course) would be to be a personal tour guide at Disneyland.  I just love being able to help others have fun on their vacations.  Today, for instance, we ended up in line 1 at Indiana Jones, which meant someone in our party would end up "driving" the car.  There was a fa…

One Child Left at Home, but a Houseful of Teens

Youngest daughter is throwing a party.  Badminton, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, foosball, wii, movies, and just talking...everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.  I'm thankful for my daughter's friends.  They are a well-behaved bunch.  I have a feeling we'll be hosting more parties this year, and that's fine with me.

A Gradual Transformation

I will post photos again on this blog someday, I promise.  Meanwhile, I am little by little working on another room transformation.  Ever since my middle daughter moved out, her bedroom has been semi-functioning as a guest room/craft room.  I'm starting to dream of making it beautiful. 

Lowe's has a sale on paint this weekend (I knew waiting for a holiday weekend would pay off!), so this morning we went to our local store to get three gallons of eggshell finish paint in "desert sand".  The top half of the room is already that color.  We had a tiny bit of paint left over, with the color recipe tag on the lid, so we took it in with us, thinking that would make it easy for the employee to mix the paint. When the paint was mixed and we were putting it in our cart, we realized the front of each can said, "Matte Finish".  After a quick question to John, "Is matte the same as eggshell?",  I told the man at the paint counter that we had wanted 3 cans of …