Mother/Daughter Fun

Oh, she works hard, but every once-in-awhile, she has a minute for play....


From the Files - Family Matters

Getting acquainted with her was a delight on that afternoon.

She was bright, articulate, and beautiful.  She had gone to graduate school, worked hard, and was now a very successful business woman. 

She also, coincidentally, worked in the same business where one of her brothers worked.  They didn't see each other often, but would occasionally run into each other in the halls of the large corporation where they were both employed.  She told me how excited and happy they would be when they had  unexpected meetings in the busy workplace.

She had been raised in the Mid West.  Her parents were hardworking, modest-income wage earners.  There were also 3 brothers in the family.  Growing up, they had worked hard and played hard - together.  The four children were all well-educated and successful in their chosen fields.She loved her family a great deal.

"I recently went to see a counselor," she said sort of out of the blue.  That startled me, but then, a lot of us have issues we need help to get resolved.

"All my life, I have had self-esteem issues.  It is a constant struggle, as it is with one of my brothers; the other two are the opposite - they have enough self-esteem for an entire family.  Sometimes it gets in the way of my work and social life, but especially my work.  I'm under a lot of pressure all the time...I just always feel so INADEQUATE.

"So, I went to see a conselor who had been recommended by a friend.  The first session was pretty much the learned counselor exploring who I was, all about me, etc...

"Then I had to miss the 2nd week's appointment because my brother, a friend, and I went on a week-long trip to Europe.  We had been planning this for quite some time, so off the three of us went.

"When I went for my second time with the counselor, he asked where I had been and with whom?   I told him I had been with a friend and my brother. Then when he learned that we have gone on other trips together with my boyfriend and my brother and his wife, that we occasionally see each other unexpectedly at our joint place of work, and that we love hanging out together (either singly or with our other family members when they are around), this psycho said to me...

'Your family is NOT a normal American family, and you are too close.'

"I was irate!!!!

"And, I also realized that I was not paying $150.00 to anyone to listen to that kind of psycho-babble - I'll talk to my friends and my family, when I need some encouragement.  That statement made me so mad!"

Oh, world, what is happening out there?

When people become anormal because they enjoy being with family; it is a sicko society. 

And, that is just the way Satan wants it.


Enquiring Minds Want to Know

"Didn't you say you were school teachers?" she asked.

"Yes, both of us were."

"Well, I don't mean to be rude, but how can you afford the vacations you go on...Cape Cod, Hilton Head, Manhatten, Florida?  I mean, you go to some pricey places."

I didn't blame her for wondering...we do get to some high-priced locations.

But, the answer is quite simple.  We don't spend any money on hotels. 

Because we swap homes

We stay in other people's homes while they stay in our home.  And, until this very last exchange, we drive their car while they drive our car.

We spend money on gas and food, which we would do anyway at home in Utah.  We eat most of our meals in the kitchen in the people's homes, but we do enjoy trying out some of the local eateries.

Now, it is true that we have to spend money on airfare to get to the places, but we look for bargains and fly at odd hours.

Home exchanges have allowed us to visit and see some marvelous places in America/Canada/England, that we would not otherwise be able to afford. 

And, people have had the opportunity to see some marvelous places close to our home.
This lovely, unique setting is right off Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.  The people who own this home have been enjoying the national parks, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and the red rock country of St. George. 

It's been a great deal for all of us...

Loni in front of Elaine's lovely home on Cape Cod...while we were in this delightful home,
Elaine and her son were in our home  in St. George....quite a great arrangement.
Here's to Home Exchanges and Economical Vacations!


The Lady and Sons in Savannah

It's Southern, down-home cooking at its best.
And, it's RAH's absolutely favorite: a B.U.F.F.E.T!
And all that equals a perfect meal of fried or baked chicken, black-eyed peas, butter beans, collard greens, mashed potatoes and gravy, cheese biscuits, sweet potatoes, green beans with ham, and dessert. 
Oh, my, good-bye diets!

The Six Hours

We picked her up at 11:00 a.m.

We took her back home at 5:00 p.m.

During that time, she asked Allen one question:  How many children do ya'll have?

Then she talked the E.N.T.I.R.E time.

Six hours of stories, experiences, reminisces, people, places...all in her delightful Southern accent.

Six hours.

Amen, brother!


The Picture in the Inbox

There might be a picture,
a newspaper article,
a television report,
a book title,

about CHINA...

and then my heart soars, as I remember...

the students,
the sights,
the smells,
the beauty,
the heat,
the mosquitoes,
the food,
the people...

and I miss it.


Tender Mercies

Sunday was a memorable and unforgettable day. Here's how it played out:

About every three days, I buy a local newspaper from the Hilton Head, South Carolina area where we are staying. So, when I picked up the paper, and went to discard the sports page, which I always do, I saw the large football picture talking about Ridgeland High School. That name hit me like a bolt. THAT WAS THE NAME OF THE TOWN WHERE MY PARENTS SERVED A MISSION and my brother and I had not been able to recall the name of the city! Since it was in the local newspaper, that meant the town was nearby. Did it possibly have a ward in the city?

(I love LDS.org, which has helped us on so many trips find a ward house.)

I looked at LDS.org, and yes, there was a ward in Ridgland, which was just about a half hour from where we were staying!

Upon arriving in the chapel, Allen spoke to one man telling him why we were visiting, and he said, “You need to talk to my mother.” So, we walked over to a beautiful lady in bright green and told her who my parents were. She threw her arms around me, and told me how much she loved my parents.
(We have arranged to meet on Tuesday, and she will show us where my parents lived, while they served their mission in Ridgeland, South Carolina).
This was such an amazing thrill for me, as she told me of her love for my dear wonderful parents.

She knew of dad's horrible headaches, but said he served so faithfully. He taught gospel classes in his home, and she would never miss his weekly lessons, they were so wonderful and inspiring.

After Relief Society, a woman came up to me and told me how much she loved my parents.
She shared with me a couple of stories about my parents. She told me that she was a collector of Precious Moments, and had been looking for a certain statue, but had been unable to find it even after considerable searching. It was also an expensive one costing about $34.00 in the 1980s. My mother found one and gave it to Sister Roach. She said that was such a thoughtful thing for mom to do, as that represented a lot of money at that time.

She then went on to tell about my father. She told me about a terrible murder that happened involving some members in the ward. The murdered man was well-known in the community, and his funeral was very large. The audience included many non LDS members. Dad was one of the main speakers. She told me that she could not remember what he said, (remember, this was about 30 years ago), but she did remember the feeling of that talk. She rubbed her arms and said, “The talk was so inspirational, it gave all of us goosebumps. I still remember the feelings. Even the nonmembers were so inspired by what he had to say that day.”

I will be forever grateful for the circumstances that brought us to that ward in Ridgeland, South Carolina and for the blessing of meeting people who knew and loved my dear dear parents.

Their exemplary lives continue to bless and inspire me. Thank you, dear Heavenly Father, for the great blessing to be in their family.


Lovely, Unique, and FREE!

It's a new way to use that Spanish Moss that is ever present in the South Carolina region....

come on, you know you want a lovely new scarf....

there is, however, one downside; it's very scratchy...

but, hey, it's FREE!

Something for Nothing

It's absolutely true...you can't get something for nothing.

So, RAH and I worked very hard for this money:

We listened to a very cocky, arrogant guy try to sell us a vacation exchange.

Ownership cost: $54,000.

Now, why would we want to do that, when we can stay in people's homes for free?

It's a no-brainer.

But, thanks for the $125.00, which we will put to good use.

It was painful, but in the end, it was a good value for our time.


The Chinese Way

The alarm would ring at 6:30.  If we had remembered to turn on the hot water heater, we would take a quick shower; if we had not turned on the water heater, showering would be done later.

Breakfast; yoghurt with cereal in it and a piece of toast.

Time was slipping by rapidly, so I'd double check to make sure I had everything I would need for class: the flash drive, student rolls, and whatever else I would need for that day.

Out the door by quarter to eight and then the walk to school.

Past the canteen...
past the elementary school, where the children would be arriving with their parents and grandparents:       some came riding bikes, cars, walking....
past the Xinghan market....
past the other canteen....
now walking the little path beside the dirty, muddy river, but still very beautiful in its own way....
by the side of the library....
on the long wide path under the beautiful trees that shaded the walkway...
through the statue park with its statues of Lenin, Marx, Shakespeare, and others.....
past the morning breakfast-seller's cart...
and then into the building, climbing up the three flights of stairs.

I always loved that walk (except maybe two times when the heat nearly did me in!).

It was a great start to the morning....I would think about class, and what we would be doing that day.  I would think about the students and wonder how I could REALLY help them.

Then, after two classes in the morning, it was a reverse walk home; then after lunch, the walk back again and home again.

What a great way to begin a day...oh, I do miss those lovely walks through Guangdong University!


Just My Style

It certainly wouldn't appeal to everyone.

But, it fits us perfectly....

Sometimes there are very specific items to see, but oftentimes there is no agenda; just day by day play it by ear. 

Usually, there is no hurry...we can take our time.

We wing it, and that works for both of us.

So, yesterday when we were headed one place, and accidentally found another, it was sheer delight and oh, so fun.

(Lowcountry Lawyer)

I absolutely LOVE this picture of a Southern lawyer....it has so much character.

And, so while we were headed to a display celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, we came upon a faculty art show, and I'm so glad we did!

Where's the Beach?

Totally made me laugh...this sign is surrounded by trees; in fact, the whole area would be a great setting for a jungle movie. Loved it.

(But you are right, just down the road, there was an amazing beach!)


Church All Over the World

We have been to church in:
and lots of places in America.

I love visiting church all over the country or world. 

It's different, yet the same.

I'm grateful for the faithful Saints we meet no matter where we are.

So, this week, we were at church on Hilton Head Island.  The 2nd person we met as we walked through the front door was a young man who moved from St. George, Utah just one year ago.  That totally made me smile.  Oh, I love the adventures.


Tunnel Vision

I love living in St. George, Utah.  I like the size, the feel, the neighborhood, the weather, the PLACE.  I don't particularly like a desert, but there are other aspects that compensate for that.

But, living in Utah and Idaho for most of my life - gave me tunnel vision

There is such a big, wide world out there to explore.

There are so many customs, cultures, peoples, ideas, traditions, mores, foods, music, ideologies.

It is good to leave home for a brief moment to expand the vision of this amazing world created by God.

The charm of cape Cod is hard to describe and compare with anything.

I'm grateful for opportunities to see outside my little narrow vision.

We have recently been in Austin, SanAntonio, Cape Cod, and will now be in South Carolina for three weeks.  It will be grand and so different from anything we have experienced before.  (Allen has already set out the crab traps and he's eager to catch and eat these local crabs.)

But, I am always grateful when I return to the little corner of the world I call H.O.M.E.  I may have Tunnel Vision, but I do know that I'm grateful for a wonderful place to call my home.


If You Walk the Freedom Trail, Be Sure To....

Stop in at Mike's Pastries for a delicious treat....said President Barlow and his wife while we all ate lunch after the Sunday morning session of LDS conference.

So, we stopped in at Mike's on Monday as we walked along the Freedom Trail...now, none of our pants will fit!


Whale Watching - NOT!

I should have suspected it was not going to be the trip of lifetime - (as they advertised) - when the crew handed out FREE Dramamine.

NOTHING on a tour boat is free, but the Dramamine pills were on this sunny, slightly windy afternoon, as was the water to swallow it with.

Twenty five miles out to the ocean over rough, storm-tossed waters; one man down sick for the count, another lady down from falling as the ship tossed and turned.

Then, finally, after a very long ride on the stormy ocean, the voice over the intercom: "2 o:clock on the right....did you see it?" Everyone on the boat ran to the right.

I was straining to see anything but rolling waves.

Then quickly she added, "11: o'clock on the left." Everyone on the the boat ran to the left. I still couldn't see a thing.

Then, " 6:o'clock - behind us."

The boat quickly spun around making us all hold our mouths, stomachs, breath, and our seats so we wouldn't slip off.

Then, "Sorry, folks, looks like she is staying under longer than usual, so we'll be heading back to shore now; it's getting late, and the storm is not subsiding."

"We certainly hope you enjoyed our whale watching and that you will come again with us on the TRIP OF A LIFETIME!"

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...