6.29.2010

Now, That's What I Call Motivation!

Motivation....something that motivates; inducement; incentive.

How's this for motivation?
Beverly had taught first grade for over 30 years, she was now 65,
so she COULD retire,
but her husband told her if she would teach just two more years,
she could get the
face lift
she had always wanted.
She's tired of teaching first grade, but she's
motivated!
ps. true story

6.28.2010

Beautiful People - Part Two - Achieving Perfection

When you think of someone who is perfect, what charcteristics come to mind?

Here's my partial list:

humble, happy, emotionally healthy, honest, righteous, kind, thoughtful of others, unselfish, are a few that I think of.

I've met six women who are as close to perfect as a person can be....here they are in alphabetical order:

Donna - allen's sister. when her husband left her with five very small children, she just shouldered the load with faith and guts.....going back to school to get her degree, and now having a really good job at the church office building. She has raised five of the most awesome children ever. She is so pure, innocent, good, and is totally committed to living a life in service to others. She's a wonderful mother and grandmother, as well as a loyal friend.

Estella - she disliked having her mother work when she was a young girl. Her father had become disabled, so her mother got a job in an uncle's furniture store. But none of the other mothers in the neighborhood worked, and that made it hard for Estella. Each day, Estell would go home to find her three brothers had made a mess of the kitchen and living room; the laundry would be piled high and she was very resentful. One day she realized her mother's situation could not change...her mother HAD to work. As a young pre-teen, she realized that the only thing that could change was her attitude. So, she would go home, straighten the home, fix dinner. She loved seeing how happy her mother was as she arrived home each day to a clean home and dinner. Then, as a mother of six, Estella's home was always neat and tidy. She would be surprised when I would ask how she kept her home so clean - with six kids. Estella is a true help meet for her husband...if he is working outside, she is right along side him. She is as perfect as a person can be.

Eunice - allen's aunt. Her life is one of beauty, serenity. She told me once that as a young girl she made up her mind that whatever she was asked to do in the church, she would be one hundred per cent obedient. When the scriptures say that God delights to honor those who honor him, her life seems to reflect the honor God has given her. She lives in a beautiful home, is surrounded by a large, loving stable family. She has not had major challenges and trials in her long life, but she is good to those who have faced heartwrenching situations. She is generous, good, and is perfect in every way.

Linda - when Linda's oldest daughter was killed in a tragic car accident as the result of icy roads, I went immediately to try to comfort her. As I walked away, I thought...what just happened here? She was the strong one, comforting me. Linda has no faults...she is the most thoughtful person I know. She remembers everyone's birthdays, sends notes, brings home-made goodies. She is just remarkable.

Michelle - my current relief society president. Anyone meeting Michelle for the first time can just sense her goodness, her humility, her gentle nature. And, she has four beautiful children who are just like that. She is goodness/perfection personified.

Stephanie - my nephew's wife. I don't even know how to describe her, but the instant I met her...I knew what a perfect person was like. She is kind, thoughtful, humble, a fantastic mom, patient, generous.....she's just GOOD to the bone!

I have many friends who are good, righteous,marvelous women, and I am inspired by them all.

But talking with one of the above mentioned women recently, I realized that some women are just PERFECT. I can try, but I'll never catch up to what they just naturally are!

6.27.2010

Beautiful People

"You are in my morning prayer ritual," Bernie said to us as we visited him in his living room.

"Come on over for a piece of chicken!" the total stranger said as we drove in his driveway to turn around.

"I had a horrendous childhood, and it has taken me many years to come to terms with and forgive my mother, but I love the healing power of the Gospel...all is good now," the Athabascan Indian said as we sat in the foyer of the church.

"I know going on a mission is the best decision I will ever make, and it will be the best two years of my life," Elder Ames said as he bore his testimony before heading to the mission field in Tampa, Florida.

"I want to thank my mother-in-law for raising such a strong faithful Priesthood holder. That has been a great blessing in my life," Donna said in her lesson.

"My wedding dress is a white suit. It's not frilly, or lacy, like most wedding dresses, but I saw a picture of my grandmother at the Salt Lake Temple in her wedding dress which was a white suit, and I have always loved the simple beauty and elegance she portrayed," said the excited bride-to-be, Celeste.

"I love you," said Dorothy as she held out her hand to her son-in-law; little did we realize those would be the last words we would hear her speak.

I am always in awe of a beautiful sunset; the wide variety and scent of flowers, the red hills of St. George, the sweeping tides of the ocean, the majestic mountains, the blue sky with wisps of white clouds.....

BUT,

I will always be most grateful for the beautiful people that we meet - whether by chance encounter or long-term friendship.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the goodness of people.

6.26.2010

New Wheel Chair

"'I'm getting a new wheel chair," she said excitedly.

"I should get it next week. It's been twenty years since I got my first chair," she said. " I only used it if I had to go a long way. But, then I got so I couldn't walk at all."

"Will your new one be much different?"

She pointed to the chair, "It will still be bright red," she smiled. "But, it will have leg rests so the backs of my legs have something soft to rest on. I'll be able to raise my feet better on the new one, and of course, it will lay back so I can nap, just like this one does now."

We talked some more about lots of things, including our ward challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of August. We were both on Alma 5, and talked about what a powerful chapter it is....time to go.

So she went with me out to the sidewalk...she in her electric wheelchair, MOI on my legs.

"Thank you for coming," she said - as she always does.....

and, in my heart I said, "No, thank you dear Sylvia, for reminding me again and again of your beauty and strength of character. You face each day with such grace and hope and goodness. Oh, you remind me over and over about challenge and faith. Please don't thank me...it is I who always comes away a better person."

6.25.2010

How I Feel About Chocolate



Pictures taken at the world's largest fountain of chocolate.
The sign says...."No Eating!"
But one can drool, right?!?!??!

6.22.2010

It's a Modern World

Place: Seattle airport
Time: late afternoon
Activity: blogging, checking email, catching up on news, waiting for plane.

But. also thinking what an incredible world.

I can read my email, surf the net, pay my bills, shop, comparison shop...I don't even have to wait until I get home.

And, that is what I have come to expect, need, WANT.

INSTANT.

So, while I use it, love it, appreciate it, sometimes maybe having to WAIT is not such a bad thing after all.

Sometimes the joy of anticipation is also part of the fun of living.

6.20.2010

Saturday's Summer Solstice Selebration - Anchorage

A Tribute....

"Perhaps," the speaker said, "it is easier for people who grew up in a home with a caring, nurturing father to understand a caring, nurturing Heavenly Father."

Perhaps.

Whether that be true or not, I really do understand a loving Father in Heaven, because I had just such an earthly father.

Dad, I idolized you as a child, young adult, and even more now.

Thanks for the ideal home life, and for the fondest of memories.

6.18.2010

Overheard

Scene: gift shop at a glacier in extremely remote Alaskan village.
Conversants: 55 year old divorced female salesclerk; male tourist/customer

Clerk: yes, I came here after my divorce. I wouldn't mind finding just the right man to hook up with, however.

Customer: well, I've heard that here in Alaska there are actually more males than females.

Clerk (with wry smile on her face): yes,
they say the ODDS are GOOD,
but the GOODS are ODD!

Made me laugh.

6.17.2010

Alaska Remembered



























Lessons to Learn


They never wasted anything; the entire parts of animals were used in some way to help with survival; food or clothing or transportation, etc.,
They honored the animals and the land,
They were hardy, strong, hard-working,
They lived totally off the land, wherever they were,
They lived in extended family units - honoring their elders,
They created beauty in extremely harsh environs,
and they found ways to incorporate music, dance, and fun in their challenging lives.

Who are THEY?

Native Americans,
and we have much that we could learn from these beautiful people.

6.12.2010

Alaska: Betcha Didn't Know...

1. Alaska is the Number 1 state for retirees. Incredible but true, according to an article in the Senior Voice printed in Alaksa, June 2010.

2. The state of Alaska has no sales tax or state tax - a reason some people move to this state.

3. The highest mountain in North America - Mt. McKinley (or Denali as the locals call it) - is visible only 25-30% of the time! Even if you ride on the tour buses in Denali National Park and get pretty close to the base of this enourmous mountain, you may still not see this amazing peak because of the dense fog that is most often surrounding it. It is supposedly visible from Anchorage, but we have never seen it yet!

4. Sarah Palin's famous glass frames cost $415. And, the company that fit her for them, will actually come to YOUR home to fit you with just the right frames...now, that's service.

5. The people of Alaska are hardy and awesomely friendly. They are really great. And, 99% of them (my made-up statistic based on my random survey) absolutely love living here.

6. And, finally, yes...you did know this. It's very, very beautiful!

6.09.2010

Idiosyncracies....

we all have them.

This one made me smile....

"I hope you don't mind taking your shoes off," she said...."it's an Alaskan tradition to keep the dust and dirt out of our homes."

We didn't mind at all...we were happy to do it. But the irony of that statement hit me when we climbed the stairs and arrived in the living quarters of her town home.

For you see, the townhome was probably the most cluttered home I've really ever been in.

For example, there was a little walkway into her kitchen. The ENTIRE kitchen floor, except for a teeny footpath leading to the sink, was covered in sacks. It looked like she would just put all the groceries on her floor when she arrived home from the grocery store. There was no space on the kitchen counter at all - for anything - as every little space was taken with something...books, papers, cans, food, spices, more papers, boxes, knick knacks, just stuff.

The other room we saw was very similar....items, papers, boxes, DVDs, knick knacks, magazines, sacks, stuff was everywhere.

She was delightful, wonderful, and obviously a collector of things, but certainly NOT Alaskan dust and dirt!

6.08.2010

A Tale of Two WWII Veterans

This is a look at two good men who have some things in common. By comparing these two people, I am not passing judgement in any way, but just showing a different set of values. One is not necessarily the right way and one is not the wrong way - just different philosophies.

Both were in the Pacific in WWII....one as a member of the medic core and Marine band. The other was in the Navy.

Both returned when the war was over and were blue collar workers; neither ever earning a lot of money.

Both loved their wives deeply, and had big families.

These are some of their similarities, now let me tell you a little about their differences:

Carl loved life; he was a man who enjoyed his family and his life to the fullest. One year, while living in a very modest home, he and his wife sold the home, piled their large family, plus 2 neighbor kids into a station wagon, and took the family to Disneyland for a week. They returned home and moved into a very small trailer. He was hard-working and was also generous with his time and talents. He loved people and people loved him. He never really had a large home, but was happy with the little trailer where he and his wife lived. After the death of his wife, each month on the day his social security check came, he went to the neighboring town to do a little gambling on the Indian reservation. He loved going golfing and spent a portion of his meager income on that hobby. On the day he died, he had no money and very little in the way of worldly possessions, but a large contingent of good friends. His children went in together to pay the funeral expenses. Within hours of his death, his few possessions had been distributed. And, since he was living in a small trailer that his children had paid for, there was nothing to leave the children....except a lasting legacy of happiness, family fun, laughter, music, and fond memories.

Ed was a stern man with his family while they were growing up. He worked hard every day and looked forward to some peace/quiet at his family table. But, he believed in paying his bills...he was very proud of the fact that he rarely owed anyone any money. He paid as he went. He saved a little money from his modest income each month, paid for his and his wife's funerals so that his children would not have to worry about that expense. After the death of his wife, he visited neighbors and friends, until they were all deceased. He found pleasure in reading his wife's journals, having his family visit, and was very proud of the fact that he had saved a small amount that he could give each child on his death (if health bills did not take the modest amount of money first). He wanted very badly to leave them a small inheritance at his death.

Ed and Carl both looked at life a little differently. Each loved life in his own way, each man was very proud of his children and the chidren honored and loved their father deeply, and each enjoyed his time on this earth.

Perhaps there are lessons to learn from both of these men.

The Dinner

It was so incredibly thoughtful of her to invite us for dinner.

After all, we didn't really know her, but we had had a passing acquaintance with her father many many years ago. So, for her to ask us to come to her home was above and beyond.

The dinner smelled delicious; then it was served.

The meal actually reminded me of something I would have fixed when I was newly-married, and didn't know how to cook. Or even of something I might fix now. In other words, it was sort of, how shall I say it...let me describe it....

the chicken was dry and rather tough. It was smothered in some sort of globby gloop that I'm not even really sure what it was....potatoes, rice - I couldn't really tell. Let me just say that it was very difficult to eat. The bread, fresh from the bread machine, had a distinctly odd taste to it. The salad at least, was good... it was fresh.

But, my point is certainly not to complain about her food, but rather to point out that I am a VERY picky eater, and that scares the heck out of me when I think of the upcoming Sept through June.

Whatever am I going to do when eating in a foreign country with food that I cannot identify????????

Okay, so now I'm terrified; but could this finally be my way to lose weight?

6.05.2010

Saturday Market in Anchorage

Saturday we walked around the market and these are just a few of the delightful sights we saw, and I'm just going to say it was an experience and it was fun!













































































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She's Having a Birthday!

When she was born, the doctor said, "It's a GIRL!"
Oh, I had so badly wanted another girl and so I said, "Are you SURE?"

The doctor assured me it was so.

That little baby girl has brought me so much JOY and happiness over the ensuing years. Because you see, she's almost perfect!

From her earliest years, she was so strong-willed and independent.

She knew what she wanted, and one thing she didn't want was to be dressed all frilly and girly. (I love how now she loves to put on spiky red or black or whatever color shoes with her toenails painted red and be all feminine!)

So, here's to Kristi D....Happy Birthday.. to a very beautiful, talented, smart, thoughtful, good, kind, happy, intelligent, hard-working, nature-loving, fish-catching, bike-riding, scooter-riding, great-cook daughter!

From the Past - June 5, 1976

It was a spectacular Saturday morning in June in the little communities of southeastern Idaho:

moms were hanging out the laundry,
dads were putting in the garden,
kids were out bike riding or mowing the lawn....

because it was a perfect MORNING.

A radio station owner/operator from Rexburg decided to take a look at the newly completed Teton Dam built in Fremont County, Idaho. What he saw as he stood atop the dam, terrified him...

he saw a leak, and as he watched, the leak continued to get bigger.

And somehow, with no cell phones, texting, IM, word spread rapidly that morning the old-fashioned way - neighbor to neighbor or phone calls - and the word was simply,

"Get to higher ground - NOW!"

Sometimes I think back on that day all those years ago, and I am so grateful to Heavenly Father that the event happened in the MORNING, not during the middle of the night, as it is highly likely many, many more lives would have been lost.

I know that many disasters occur and lives are lost, and disasters happen at inconvenient times, but in this case, because of the timing of the flood, people were able to be warned and get to safety. (Three of our four children would have been sleeping downstairs and possibly would have been swept away or drowned, as our basement was totally destroyed.)

That this happened in the daytime, I will be eternally grateful.

During that summer of 1976, most residents in that little corner of the world, spent their days mucking out mud and debris.

Thank you to the many, many, many people who came by the busloads (mainly from Utah, but other areas also), to lighten our loads and to give us hope, as they stood beside us shoveling, cleaning, dumping, hauling, helping.

(If you would like to read an accurate account of that day's events, you can go to Wikipedia, or look at this first-person account here:)

The dam flood happened many years ago, and I certainly don't think of it often, but when I do, I am filled with gratitude for the many little blessings that we each felt.

6.03.2010

Wasilla - It's Not Just the Home of Sarah Palin

It's a beautiful small town; it totally reminded me of Island Park, or West Yellowstone...

But, unlike those towns in the lower 48, Wasilla has several claims to fame:

Wasilla, Alaska is the official home of the Iditarod. Not that the race is held there, but all the official paperwork, a museum, movie, and a place to ride on a sleigh with the famous dogs is located in Wasilla.

It's also the Duct tape capital of the world...here's a girl we met who showed us this picture taken on her wedding day. Her dress is made from blue plastic and her niece's dress is plastic with a nice duct tape accent; the groom was also dressed quite similarly.

And, how does a city get to be the duct tape capital...you use more duct tape than any other city!

But, of course, right now, perhaps Wasilla is most known for its famous resident: Sarah Palin.

So, naturally we wanted to know where she lived; here is a picture of her home with her new, famous 16 foot wall to keep out peeping reporters. She lives in a very secluded location with a view of the lake out her front door. We are as close as people are allowed to get, so here's the home of the almost-vice-president of the united states of america....which I love (America...not necesssarily this home!)

America, I love your diversity, your landscapes, your peoples, your opportunities. And, I am grateful to visit places that I have only heard of, but never dreamed I would actually get to see.

Randy

Randy came from North Carolina to work on a crab boat 35 years ago - and he just stayed.

He loves this little obscure eating place that came highly recommended to us.

To me, Randy encapsulates the people of Alaska; hardy, friendly, and they love it here!
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6.02.2010

Now, This Is Really Weird!

It's ten p.m.

It's light outside....more like seven than ten.

It's gotta be hard on parents trying to put little kids to bed...goodness, I don't even see how I can go to bed, and I'm a ten o'clock go-to-bed-person.

I tried to sit outside and enjoy the incredibly gorgeous evening, but the mosquitoes nailed me big time. My ankles right now are the size of Texas, and the mosquitoes always go for my ankles, which meant there was plenty for those moquitoes to feast on. I hadn't put on my Avon lotion given to me by Dorothy...who knew mosquitoes could make it all the way to Alaska?

So, I came inside...

to write this blog about my first day in Anchorage, and to say that I am thankful for America, the beautiful world, good books, good friends, great family, health, eyesight, food, and sunlight.

And, to say....here's to light....even if it is ten o'clock at night!

"WHY....

did he get old?" the young child asked.

Why indeed...why does everything get old?

the smell of a new car is so fleeting,

the feel of a new baby's soft hair gives way to just hair,

the breath-taking rosebush fades all too quickly,

the new furniture becomes worn and faded,

the carpet is threadbare,

the face shows the ravages of time with wrinkles and age spots...

It just happens....it's the way of life....everything creeps slowly towards OLD.

And, so young child, you must learn to not worry about the "WHY" of getting old, but be concerned with the living of each glorious day as it unfolds.