10.31.2013

Little By Little

...and I do mean LITTLE...

This is what we got rid of today...



Okay, it's not much...I admit.

But, a book here and there, an item of clothing here and there.

Earlier this week, RAH took 2 big old honking televisions to DI....no one ever looks at them, so why not?!?!?!

It's all less for our kids to wade through - or maybe even us, if we downsize.

And, I have a clean shelf to show for today's efforts.

Sylvia

"You talk, I'll listen," she said slowly with deliberation.

Her trigeminal neuralgia was very painful.

I told her some things about the neighborhood,  a story about my family, chattered about Halloween.

She briefly commented on her son and his business enterprise; mentioned her grandchildren coming to visit in their costumes, and wondered - again - because the pain was so intense - if the Lord was trying to teach her patience.

I walked out into the crisp fall air.

I was overcome with gratitude for this dear, dear friend and her goodness, her tenderness, her smile, her love of family and Gospel, and most of all, her PATIENCE.


10.29.2013

Let There Be LIGHT

China...

I loved to go shopping at the NIGHT market...which implies NIGHT and dark.

However, walking home after dark across the unlighted campus was unnerving for me.

Oh, not because I feared for my safety like I would in America.

No, it's because the sidewalks were filled with uneven chunks and blobs of concrete and pieces of steel sticking up through the concrete.  

It was dangerous to walk in the light and even more so in the night because the streets and walkways were not lighted at all.

St George, Utah....

I think of those night-time walks in China every time I go to the temple in the early morning hours.

The parking lot here is effused with LIGHT....I'm able to see clearly and I don't have to worry about tripping over huge chunks of .....something.

Walking through the LIGHT to get to the temple is a good way to prepare for the light of being inside the temple also.

For me,

I like the LIGHT

of the Gospel

and of the parking lot.


10.28.2013

From Food Stamps to Savings - A Sunday Story to Share

Jason was fired from several jobs; coach of a women's college ball team, a computer tech, salesman, and others.

He was fired for two reasons:

He had a serious health issue which meant he didn't feel well many days, and an even more serious attitude problem.

So, he would do any job to keep food on the table for his little family of a wife and two young children.  He drove shuttle bus, gave music lessons......

And, on his drives around town, he began listening to motivational tapes that he purchased at the DI; they inspired him.  They helped him see that he COULD change.

Also, he got a fantastic job, which allowed him some time/freedom to pursue his passion - BMX racing.

Armed with an attitude adjustment, Jason's life began to change.  He had some income - a pretty good income.

He and his wife made a decision; they would live on the small income they had before getting his good job.  Their standard of living would not increase because their paycheck did.

His savings began to grow.  He was totally out of debt.  He was successful in his career path and in his hobby.

Jason still has serious health issues, but he is managing those through exercise and good nutrition.

Life is good for Jason and his wife.

He went from needing food stamps each month to having a very hefty savings account.

I love to hear the Sunday stories.

Because they are of real people with real challenges, real heart aches, real solutions.

Jason, thanks for sharing your inspiring story with me.

It will be a treasured memory in my Sunday stories to share.






10.27.2013

An Epiphany

"Recently," my neighbor told me.....

" I was feeling really sorry for myself.  No one seemed to appreciate what I did for them or even appreciate me," she added.

"I had given some children a Halloween treat; no response.  I had taken a neighbor some home-made items; no response.  My long-time friend became unfriendly and didn't want to interact with me any more.  Another friend told me she didn't have time to even go to lunch over the next few weeks.

"I was at a very very low point, sort of feeling sorry for myself and certainly not appreciated.

"And, then on a beautiful autumn morning as I was having those thoughts, I thought about the Saviour and the millions of people who do not appreciate Him or what HE has done for them.

"I was ashamed, embarrassed, and humbled.  And I resolved that I would try harder to be appreciative of others was well as of the Saviour.

"It was a very significant moment," she told me in reverence.

 I went away reflective and grateful.

Expectations

Just lower them...

then you'll be happier,

the old woman said.

Good advise or bad?

10.26.2013

T.W.I.N.S.

A and B were identical twins and more importantly - the best of friends growing up:

singing together,
playing together,
sharing secrets together.

They got married, lived in the same small town, had kids, continued to be each other's very best friends;

supported one another through some challenging trials in life....including a divorce for A.

And, one day on a walk, A told B she was moving away; she had to get on with her life and move from the small town where everyone knew her story.

B exploded; "It's always about YOU," she screamed at her twin.  "You never think of others!  I've supported you, listened to you," etc., etc., etc.

B turned and walked away from A.

They have not spoken since that day.

A is confused, hurt, wondering.  She sent B an apologetic letter asking for forgiveness, pleading to know what she had done; what was wrong....

no response.

I listened to the story, sad, shaken, and a bit bewildered myself.

Life, with all its challenges....does not need to include war in families.

So sad.

So painful.

And, so unnecessary.






10.25.2013

When Beauty Takes Your Breath Away....

Sometimes....

....your breath is taken away....

by grandeur...grandiose...spectacular...

or...

 maybe by something as simple as a rose from the back yard:


10.22.2013

SHOCKING - or Aging Takes Its Toll

S.H.O.C.K.I.N.G.

- that's the only word I can find to describe it!

I'm doing family history; more specifically, I am scanning pictures into family search.

So, the shock factor is seeing

YOUTH....

so beautiful  .....

Hannah


and then seeing the same person as an older lady:


Still wonderful, still good, still kind, still the same person at heart, 

But, it's just such a reminder that aging - affects us all.

And, I don't like it!





10.21.2013

A Visit to a Monastery

Many years ago, my good friend and I visited a monastery up in the mountains.  We were both young with small children when we went on the tour of this unique hide-away.



The monks had taken vows of silence and could speak together only for a brief portion each evening. One monk was appointed as spokesperson when visitors came to see the monastery.  The monks supported themselves by gardening and selling the produce at local markets, but they did not talk.

As we got in our car after the visit, my friend remarked, "They have chosen a very challenging and tough life."

  "In my opinion," I countered,  "they have chosen a bleak, solitary existence.  But, it is not a challenge.  To me, the challenge is to fight the fight of daily life...

"to be a parent and wrestle with children over clothes, homework, friends, etc.

"to have a job where the boss and co-workers are hard to get along with and yet, still try to communicate and work things out.  To have a job where lives are at stake, where chances for dishonesty abound, yet to remain true to one's self....to work day in and day out at a job that is less than ideal....

"to try to provide for, nurture, care for a family. 

"to make contributions to a community even though our efforts are negated in the press or by others.

"to struggle each day to be cheerful, kind, considerate, honest, and yet, be a part of LIFE.

"To me, that is much  more of a challenge than to garden in silence and pray on one's knees all day long.  

"Truthfully, I see as the greater challenge and commitment, the FIGHT in the world; to teach, to train, to nurture, to love, to care for, to be in the thick of this battle of life.

"That is the challenge."

And, I still feel that way now these many many years later.

Escape into a world of solitude with no interaction seems an easy way out.

To remain in the heat of the battle; ah, now there's the challenge.


10.19.2013

One Fine Day

The inspiring funeral of the 64 year old neighbor who died of kidney failure was over.

Six of us in our early 70's were gathered in a small cluster at the back of the chapel.

Al recounted his recent experience with sepsis in his knee and a near operation; then his two-night stay in the hospital with heart problems.

His wife, Sandy, said that her battle with cancer seemed to be going fine and that all her teeth /mouth problems were hopefully resolved for the time being.

Linda mentioned that as long as she continued to ride the recumbent bicycle, she should be fine without having to get more shots for her back/sciatica problems.

Jerry's visit to the doctor within the last month was helpful for dealing with his on-going health issue.

RAH had just wrenched his back while moving plants in his yard; he was still in pain from that.

Honestly, it was like a conversation from a comedy show; only it was real.

One of the six spoke up and said something like, "Listening to this conversation after the funeral of our friend who died too young, reminds me that we MUST live each day to its fullest!"

So, I drove straight to the See's Candy Shoppe.

10.18.2013

To Do List

They work for me....

really they do.

If I have a to-do-list...

I will try harder to accomplish the things I want to get done that day.

So, for me, making a to-do list on most days, is a great way to get things done.


10.16.2013

Weighty Matters

I met Mae in about 2008.

While I knew her, she lost A LOT of weight.

Then we were not where we saw each other on a weekly basis.

I had seen her over the years very infrequently.

I happened to see her again last night at a function and she had put back on a considerable amount of weight.

While she is definitely not obese or staggeringly large, she was pleasantly plump,

and seeing her reminded me how

VERY DANG HARD IT IS....

to lose weight and then,

TO KEEP IT OFF!


10.14.2013

Called to Serve....

in the Primary Nursery.

20 adorable:

crying,
squealing,
object throwing,
running around,
climbing up on,
thumbsucking,
stinky pants,
smiling,

2-3 year olds...

But, as Edela so quickly pointed out...

they have treats.

Ah, something positive in EVERY calling.

10.13.2013

A Loaf of Bread

Fall 2002:

first day of school for lots of people, but not for MOI.  I was now retired.

Midmorning;

Doorbell rings.

And, there is Linda Ricks with a fresh loaf of bread...whole-wheat bread!

It startled me when I took it; it was so LIGHT....normally whole wheat bread is heavy.

And, the color was also lighter than most wheat breads.

"Did you make it?" I asked already knowing the answer.

Of course she had...

 I wanted to know how; the recipe; the secret to such light bread.

(NOTE: two secrets are: white wheat and using gluten flour so it doesn't crumble.)

So, on a crisp fall morning, I went to Linda's clean, orderly home and she showed me how to make the most incredible bread.

Since that time many years ago, I have made literally hundreds of loaves of whole-wheat bread.  I have given away dozens and dozens of loaves of bread to:

newlyweds,
oldlyweds,
new neighbors,
old neighbors,
new mothers,
old mothers,
relatives,
(I even tried to mail Kristi D a loaf, it was totally moldy by the time she received it!)

There is absolutely NOTHING like the smell of hot bread coming out of the oven..

I have tried a variety of recipes, but I always come back to Linda's...it's so delicious!

My wheat grinder and bread mixer have certainly paid for themselves many times over.

And, it all started with one loaf of bread ....thank you, dear Linda Ricks!

10.12.2013

The Car Wash

We were just getting out of the car when Mr. Bowen pulled up in his fancy, fancy, CLEAN dark-colored car.

"Whoa," I said, "Your car looks so clean."

Then he said something that would have quite an influence on me...

"I go through the car wash EVERY day!"

What in the heck?!?!?!?  I had never heard of such a thing.

EVERY DAY?!?!?!?!??!??!?

THE CAR WASH?!?!?!?!?

And, that is when I decided that I wanted a clean car.

Since that time, we have purchased car wash tickets.

No, we don't go every day; sometimes not even every week.

But, I love having a clean car on the outside.

And, I try to keep the inside clean also.

I like how it looks.

And, I like how it feels.

Thanks, Mr. Bowen.  You inspired me.


10.11.2013

Living in the Lap (well, really the SEAT) of Luxury

In about 1966, a girl in my neighborhood was dating a rich guy.

He had just bought a new car; a Cadillac.  Among its amazing features; it had heated seats.  Living in cold country, that sounded like the most amazing invention ever, and one I could only dream of.

Over the years, we have had many cars; a few new, mostly used and drivable, but nothing too fancy ever.

Until a year and a half ago, I wanted a new car....I NEEDED a different car.

Our Honda was 10 years old, had a lot of miles and mainly, it was hard to get in and out of.  I wanted one of the new cars that are easy for old people to slide in and out of...a mini SUV.

So, I researched, we tried out lots of cars.

But, NOTHING BRAND NEW, I insisted...that's a big waste of money.

Heated seats - YES; brand new - NO!

We bought a brand new car.....who knows why, but I guess it's because there is nothing like the smell of a brand new car...(which lasts about 2 weeks!)

Eli stands by our year-and-a-half old car.....it's got lots of features, including - oh, yes, heated seats!


But, at long last, we have heated seats - 50 years later from first hearing about that grand invention, I am riding in the seat of luxury!

I was reminded of how awesome heated seats are when I left early this morning to drive to exercise (ha, that's an irony in itself; drive to exercise!); it was cold, so I turned the seat on, and PRESTO...warm body.

Oh, yes, it's a great invention.

And, I'm glad we finally got with the  expensive program!

10.10.2013

Money Matters

When financially conservative Richard drove up in his very fancy brand new, expensive-model car, I was actually somewhat stunned.

He didn't spend money.

He saved, saved, and spent very little.

He rarely bought new clothes, didn't like to waste money eating out, he lived very modestly...

So to see him driving a very expensive NEW car, was a surprise to me.

When I laughingly questioned him why he did it, he said simply,

"My kids are a big disappointment to me.  I don't want to give them MY money.  I'm going to work hard to spend it."

Okay, well, I guess everyone has their views on an inheritance and that was Richard's.

Ah, money....it's an issue.

Always.

Brothers

They had a business together.

But, one split off to do the same thing in his own way.

They did not part amicably.

For 10 years, they would not speak to each other.

For one decade, they were enemies.

And, then, they worked their way back into each other's lives.

They speak now.

They are cordial; not totally comfortable, but speaking to each other at family gatherings.

It begs the question:

Does it ever work for family to be in business together?

In fact, does it ever work to have families together in any situation?

Does it mean we should all have only one child?

Or even still...

have a gold fish instead?

I hope not.

10.09.2013

The Money Changers (NOT)

Well, well, well.

Monopoly hits the 21 century.

No money ever exchanges hands.  No need to count out those fives, tens, hundreds any more.

It's all done by debit cards.

Just slip your debit card in, and poof!  Just like in real life, it appears in your bank account.


Eli LOVES to play Monopoly with me - probably because he usually wins.
Well, it definitely makes the game go much faster, that's for sure.

The properties are also updated; St. Louis Arch, Times Square, Washington monument, etc., The little things you go around the board with have also been updated to...a segway, a jet, a computer, etc.  

Makes me laugh.

But, I still don't like playing Monopoly.  

What grandmothers won't do for their grandchildren!

10.08.2013

In Case the Electricity Goes Out...

...we can now grind our wheat.

Thanks to this handy little wheat grinder that we just got:



Ha! Ha!  The only problem is that it would take all day to get enough to bake bread.

And, if the electricity is out, who can bake bread anyway.

Oh, well, we're prepared.

Ha! Ha!

If the Shoe Fits...

Wal*Mart and Payless;

that's where most of my shoes came from in my adult life.  I bought them cheap or cheaper.

Until I bought a very expensive pair of Birkenstocks; I hesitated about spending the money, but I needed a comfortable pair of shoes for school, and RAH said I should give them a try.

The sole separated from the upper part; it was actually very dangerous to wear them!

I literally wore them out; they were thrashed and falling apart when I departed with them years after I had originally bought them...I really got my money's worth in that expensive pair of shoes!

But, then, I just went back to Wal*Mart and Payless Shoes, as I was no longer working.  It didn't really matter about good shoes.

However, before going to China, I told my daughter I needed some really good shoes as I would be walking a great deal.  She suggested KEENs and or TEVA.

So, I paid a hefty price for a pair of TEVAs, but I wore them almost EVERY day in China; rain (awesome because it doesn't matter if they get wet!) or shine; every weekday those shoes were on my feet as I walked the long way to class and back.  On trips, shopping, everywhere.

I wore these with my dresses to class every day.  It didn't look glamorous, but it was great because I had a very long walk to school and home each day.  They were so comfortable!

I also bought a very expensive pair of KEENs.

I have worn these so much that the shoelaces broke!  They don't have just any shoelaces either; they are a special kind.  That are not tied like ordinary shoelaces.  Allen replaced them, but they don't work right.
I wore them a little, but have worn them A LOT since coming home; I use them like gym shoes and wear them to walk in, to go to the gym, etc.

So, it's true, I have paid money for a few pair of shoes; but it has not been my pattern...truly.

In the summer of 2012, my visiting teacher was wearing the most adorable pair of red flats; when I commented on them, she said quoting her sister, "Everybody should have a pair of RED shoes."

Well, I had never really thought about having a pair of red shoes; I wore a pair of black Mary Janes to church every week, and my other 2 pair (Teva and Keen) were also black.

But, RED?!?!?

After she said that, I went on the hunt for a pair of red shoes - hadn't she said, EVERYONE should have a pair of red shoes?  No luck, anywhere (well, actually I did buy an adorable pair of red shoes at Dillards on a very good sale, but I gave them away; they were so painful to wear!)

The only pair I could find were a pair of PINK Tevas, which I got at a very good price at Shoe Carnival....(more than Wal*Mart or Payless shoes, to be sure, but better than my first pair of TEVAs.)

I wore them all summer, everywhere, including church.....which I would never have done in Rexburg.  But, hey, this is St George; it's hot here.  

I liked the shoes and they were fine.

But summer 2013 rolled around and I was still on the hunt for RED shoes.  Again, nothing; but the lady at Shoe Carnival suggested I look at Christensens; was she crazy?  Just to walk in the door is expensive, but I went looking.  I found an amazing pair of CLARK sandals, but my goodness, they were out of sight pricey.  But, man, were they comfortable.  

So, I came home, went online and found them at Amazon for half price!


I have literally worn them nearly every day this summer; they are just comfy, comfy, comfy.  Oh, I like my Clark sandals.

But, Alas and Alack, winter is approaching; it's way too cold for me to wear open toed shoes.  

And, since I had a pair of black Sunday shoes, and since I liked the red sandals, I wanted red again and I also wanted CLARKs....

EWW, bad bad bad.

Because now the prices were even more expensive - AND there were no bargains to be had online.

SO, let me just conclude by saying, I REALLY spent a lot of money on my new shoes.  They should arrive in about a week.  (the local store didn't have them in red!)

Here's what I'm hoping:

That they fit, feel good, and most of all, that I wear them out till they are threadbare!

I'll keep you posted.








10.07.2013

Her Little Corner of the World

She's lived there for two years now.

It's dark in the room, but her children have made it very homey.  They've added some very nice personal touches.

Today she was still in bed.

Still with pain in her jaw.

Oh, dear Sylvia....


My heart aches for you and your pain.

My heart yearns for you to find the joy and peace you deserve.

But, know this, I always come away inspired and uplifted by being with you!

10.06.2013

Eating Out

On our one-year wedding anniversary, RAH and I went out to dinner.

I thought that was the height of luxury...to eat out.

I still remember where we ate (not what, but where), and who went with us.  I dressed up in my Sunday clothes....

It was an E.V.E.N.T.!

We were college students living on a very strict budget and I was married to Mr. Financially Conservative, so it was a BIG DEAL to eat out.

When we were raising our children, we rarely ate out.  It was a luxury we could ill afford.

Going to the pizza parlour for FHE on a Monday night was a BIG DEAL and I looked so forward to it.

When we drove the 50 miles to go to the temple, we would eat out in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and I had great anticipations of that night out.

NOW, eating out is part of the American Way...

it is done in great frequency by young couples, families, retired persons.

It is no longer a BIG DEAL.

People eat out whether they can afford it or not.  Eating out is even done by the poorest of the poor because they can get a filling meal at McDonald's for very cheap.

I still love eating out.  I love to order something, have leftovers, and eat it the next day; ah, another meal I don't have to fix!  I like that.

But, in my mind's eye, nothing can quite compare with that first restaurant meal that RAH and I ate across town on Sep 9, 1965!




10.04.2013

Free Thinker

My best friend didn't like Scott.  So, that meant I didn't like Scott.

I didn't even know Scott .  I had no interactions with him.

But, he lived in the same neighborhood as my friend and so I heard stories about him.  Scott didn't play fair, was mean to some people.   He showed favoritism when playing with lots of kids.

So, when I learned that something sort of sad happened to Scott, I felt like Scott got what he deserved....

Thinking about that scenario, I am ashamed.

Why should HOW MY FRIEND FELT impact my feelings toward someone else?

But, sadly it did, and even more sad, it still does today.  Sometimes I am influenced by the opinions of my friends and family.  What they think about someone often becomes how I think of that person.

I don't want that to be so, but it is....

I want to be a totally free thinker; to make my own judgements; mine are often much softer and kinder than those of the people who are influencing my opinions.

Knowing that I have that tendency - to allow the opinions of others to sway my own - I must just work harder to be my own free thinker.

Okay, it starts today.

I will reserve the right to make my own judgement call; my own opinions.

Ah, that feels good.

10.03.2013

The High Cost of Eating Healthy

one apple - .88

You are kidding, right?

Or how about nuts?  Very expensive.

Avocados are out of sight, as are peppers, or strawberries...blueberries are pure gold.

The plain truth is, it is very expensive to eat right; to eat healthy.

It's not really a wonder that families go buy a bag of burgers at McD's for a few dollars.  Terrible for you, but readily available and very cheap.  Quick, easy, and inexpensive - especially if you don't add soda to the mix.

I try to eat healthy.

I try to buy fruits and veggies.

I like the idea of eating fresh; not canned or frozen.

But, in all honesty, it sends my food budget soaring.

I guess it's worth the trade-off, however.

Sickness v health.

So, I'll just keep buying those avocados and peppers....

Smoothie, anyone?


10.01.2013

Money Matters

Since we moved in the neighborhood 7 years ago, I have been intrigued by the Cees.

They are very interesting, good, committed to the Gospel, fun, talented, family-oriented, happy, good neighbors, empty nesters, like us.

But, there is one thing that totally puzzles me about the Cees.

They are always crying about money - or rather the lack of it.

So, when Ms Cee goes on a 10-day trip to Florida to visit her sister, I'm wondering....

When Mr. Cee buys a camper/trailer (although small), I'm wondering...

When Ms Cee buys a $500 bedspread for the small camper trailer, I'm wondering.....

When Mr and Ms Cee fly to Puerta Vallarta for a week's stay at a resort, I'm wondering....

When I see that she has new clothes, new jewelry, new home decor, it always makes me wonder....

When they mention their eating-out habits, I'm curious.....

And, no, truly, I am NOT jealous.

I'm happy they get to buy, go, do all those things...hooray for them!  It's always fun to hear about their adventures and life style.  I enjoy being around them.

But, there's such a disconnect between the clamor and the behaviour, it just makes me wonder....

That's all....just wondering.