Call Backs

Hee Hee...

No, I am not talking about when you audition for a play...

I'm talking about when you leave a message and request that someone


I just wish people would do that...as a matter of courtesy.



exactly two years ago today, we landed in the 3rd largest city in China...

Final Day of Class - July 2011 - 8:00 a.m. class
It was an adventure that I will forever be grateful for.

Oh, how I loved those dear, dear students.

Allen and I both get emails from our students occasionally.  It just always reminds me how wonderful the students are.

Some specific memories:

showing them a DORITOS commercial from the Super Bowl and then handing out Doritos...oh, they squealed with delight...they loved it.  (It was expensive to buy those chips in China, but the squeals of laughter and delight were so worth it!)

Their final exam talks on a TURNING POINT in their lives; they were so inspiring and beautiful and tender and poignant and honest.  I wish I had those recorded - every one of them.  They were memorable.

The night that Jeremy and Kristi came to a special class meeting (which the students called a party!)  Jeremy and Kristi each sang and talked.  Then, I will NEVER forget the end of the evening when Allen sang with his guitar, HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY THAT I LOVE YOU....then he walked over and kissed me.  The students - 200 of them - were cheering wildly, snapping photos, laughing, it was an amazing moment.  The students don't see older people exhibiting any kind of physicality, so it was electrifying for them.  And, for me also.

Visiting the girls in their dorms and seeing how stark their situations were, yet they were always so pleasant and happy.

Hearing their personal stories of: growing up as an only child, being beaten for poor grades, sneaking out of boarding school, having their hair cut by the teacher when it was below chin length, their parents working so hard to give them a college education,  trying to hide her mother from the government when she was expecting a 2nd child, wanting so badly to do well in school, hoping to pass the test to come to America, not making it into a good high school, learning her father really loved her and only knew how to show it be being harsh and demanding, wanting to please their parents and make them proud no matter what, feeling such a great love for their beloved China....oh, the stories.....

And, many many more fond memories; going to church each week in a white-knuckle, 40 minute taxi ride, watching the adults and children use the sidewalk as their personal toilet, shopping, eating the interesting food, the long beautiful walk each day to school, the yogurt drink for breakfast each morning, the mosquito bites covering my entire body, the heat, the cold, the incredible trips to The Great Wall, Avatar Mountain, the Forbidden City, and other amazing sites, the marvelous people we met - both Chinese and other nationalities....

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity....




The Sunday Visits

DC lives down the street.  She talks all the time - about herself.  She's fun and has lots of friends.  You are aware of her immediately in any situation.

But, the conversation is always about HER.

And, that's okay - she has so many interesting stories to tell about her life, her growing-up years, etc.

But, the reason I mention DC is because she misses out on so much when she always monopolizes the conversation.

And, that's what I was thinking about when I went to visit Nichole today.  I was realizing - that when DC talks all the time she doesn't get to know the stories of so many marvelous people in our neighborhood!

Like, Nichole....

Nichole is a primary teacher in our ward.  She is quiet and comes faithfully each week.  I did not know her at all.  I only knew her as the reliable, dependable, quiet lady on the front row.  Oh, her Primary kids love her!

But visiting her in her home I realized that she is one phenomenal lady.  She is the mother of four beautiful children; three girls and a boy.  She told me about her growing up years, her unique job, meeting her husband, her musical family, her parents mission to Africa.  It was a delight to be in her lovely home and to get better acquainted.  I loved seeing her in her surroundings.  I loved the cozy, accepting feeling in her home.

She was so gentle and pleasant and kind.  I came away feeling refreshed, inspired, and grateful for people like Nichole teaching in the Primary.

And, I felt sorry for DC, who misses out on so much when she only talks and never listens!


Being a Gandparent

She's divorced.

And, she has two of the most beautiful children ever; a handsome 14 year old boy and a beautiful 12 year old girl.

They are in church every Sunday and they are good, good people.

While remarking to her about her son being such a really good kid, I asked her if her ex-husband's parents acknowledge her children.

"Sometimes," she said cautiously.

I know about divorce; it stinks - in every way.

My husband comes from a divorced situation.  I could write a book about the implications of divorce and what it does to lives.

I have children who are divorced.

I'll say it again - divorce stinks.

But, I don't think children should ever be in the crosshairs.

They are still our grandchildren.  They are the innocent victims.

Oh, I hope my grandchildren never divorce me!


A Memory From the Past

"Good morning. Zundel's Appliance Store," I would say as I answered the phone.  It was my first job.

And, every Friday, I would stop at the little corner grocery store to cash my modest check.

I would take the earnings in cash, except I would buy one Hostess Lemon Fruit Pie.  Oh, how I loved those little things.

Today, I saw a lemon fruit pie in Wal*Mart.  It evoked such memories of:

my first job,
my first paychecks,
life in the early 60's,
a feeling of pride and independence.

I'm sure when I take a bite of this pie, it won't be nearly as good as it was all those years ago.  Back then, I didn't worry about calories, fat grams, sugar or carbs.  I just enjoyed the taste and feeling of having earned it myself.

So, here's to fond memories!


The Addict

"I just wish I had never started!" she told me last week.

"I was in my 50's.  Lots of my friends did it.  They made it look so very cool!  I had not been the least bit interested before.......

"And, now, I'm having a very hard time stopping.

"Some nights, after I indulge, I get so sick I think I am going to die!  My stomach aches, my esophagus BURNS!  And, I tell myself - never again!

"But then, I see someone enjoying it, and I want it so badly.

"I hate my lack of self-discipline.

"I can't believe I just can't STOP IT!"

"And, even now, in spite of all the actual physical pain it causes me, I would like nothing better than to have some COKE!

"or even a Pepsi!"

The Picture Problem

They were a delightful couple. We sat across from them several nights on a cruise.

It was all so new to me and so very exciting.

I encouraged Allen to take a picture of this, of that, of those, of everything.

The older couple across the table had no camera.

Finally as one dinner drew to a close, Allen asked if they would like to have their picture taken.

"No, thank you," the lady smiled politely.

To myself I was thinking, "What?!??!?!?  You don't want to remember this fabulous evening on this incredible cruise ship with this marvelous food and the waiters and all?"

Then she explained, "We already have so many pictures of us....no one wants them and we don't even know what to do with them."

And, now, these many years later....

I understand.



We met a lady in China who had been in an arranged marriage.

It was a disaster; she was miserable; she hated her husband.

He, in fact, took their two young children and moved to Taiwan.  She didn't see her children for 20 years.

She was a bitter, angry, unhappy woman.

N, a friend from many years ago, chose her husband.  They were unhappy from the I Do's.

She never liked her husband, even though they had 6 children together.

She has only venomous words to say about her husband of 49 years.  Every conversation turns into a rant against her husband.

She is a bitter, angry, unhappy woman.

Arranged marriage?
Chosen Mate?

Let's face it - relationships are often a challenge.

So, how do you find the perfect soul mate that you can trust and will be totally loyal and faithful for all years?

Ah, there's the question for the ages.

And, it's one I wish I could help my dear friend answer for herself right now; she's confused and I don't know the answer for her.

But, I do know this: some people find that "just right person" and even though there may be challenges, they are happy and fulfilled in their marriages.

That is my wish for HD.


Sorrow That the Eye Can't See...

...that line comes to me often in the course of a week.

You see people; they are smiling, they are talking, but their hearts may be broken.

And, so it is with two people in my life right now.

One is S, who is broken-hearted and lonely as she sits in a nursing home wondering why this had to be.

The other is R, who just received some very heart-breaking news.

I wish that life would always be:  happy; that things would always work out for people; that no one had to worry about money, health, jobs, religion, disobedient children; that we would all treat each other fairly and as we wish to be treated.

But, alas, that is not the way of life.

So, there will always be
Sorrow that the eye can't see.

And, oftentimes, it is sorrow that we CAN see.

So, our challenge is to be kind, pleasant, and concerned.

Our task is just to be there for the ones we know are hurting.

I want to be that way.  I'm not always, but that is my goal.

Church in Island Park

There were 1300 people in the chapel, many people in the A-Frame, and people out on the front lawn.

 It's an experience....

and a great one at that!



or in other words....

Fun Times...thanks, Aunt Gerry, and all your kids!  It was great to be together!

Back row: Erin Gee, Loni Hackworth, Kaey Gee, Gavin Gee, Jeannie Gehmlich
Front Row: Marilyn Fife, Mitch Jacobs, Gerry Jacobs, Kirk Jacobs, Kris Powell

Island Park, August 5, 2012
Marilyn and Darwin Fife's cabin

Let's Go To Church in San Diego!

Big party the night before; get up early for church; that's the Mormon way!

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...