Friday, July 29, 2011

Photo Challenge--Day 17

First of all, let me apologize if any of you who had this post come up on your reader last night. I was working on it and accidentally hit publish instead of save.

Today's photo challenge--A picture of your most treasured item. I have many treasures--28 of them that mean more to me than anything. They are my husband, children and grandchildren and spouses and my little great grandson. They are definitely TREASURES but they are not "ITEMS".

After giving this a lot of thought, I decided one of my most treasured items would have to be this--my wedding ring.

I usually write a post about Allan and my first date, which took place July 24, 1982. This year we celebrated in Minot and then driving home. It was a most poignant way to celebrate.

And then on August 17, 1982, I wrote this in my journal: "I can't believe it has happened--after all these years of waiting I am getting married--October 23rd. I am so happy. I always knew it would be exciting and I would be happy but this is a different kind of happiness...there has been such a peace."

And, of course, I have to include a picture from one of my bridal showers.

Allan asked me what kind of diamond I liked and if I liked gold or white gold. He gave it to me at one of our favorite restaurants called "The Chart House".

And on the 23rd of October we were married. And in all those years I don't think I have taken my ring off except when I have gone into the hospital for surgery, and they have asked me to remove it. I have had one scary incident with it--In October 1999 when I was on the airplane flying to Calgary to meet up with Allan so we could fly to California because Les had passed away, I was sick when I looked down at my hand and realized my diamond had come out of the setting. I was already upset and this just added to it all. When I landed in Calgary I called my friend Joanne who was at the house watching the kids and asked her, "PLEASE DO NOT VACUUM WHILE I AM GONE." If you can believe it she loaded up the kids in the car and drove to the airport and searched everywhere. When I met up with Allan at the airport and told him what happened he put his arms around me and said, "It's just a ring." No, he wasn't making light of its significance, he just wanted me to remember it could be replaced. We prayed that if it were possible we could find it. Amazingly enough a few days later I was getting into the coin part of my wallet and was shocked because THERE IT WAS. The only thing I could think that had happened was when I went to get a luggage cart at the airport, I pulled a loonie out of my wallet and the diamond must have gotten caught in the clasp and popped out, but fortunately for me, it popped INTO the coin part. I felt so incredibly grateful and blessed.

In his recent talk at General Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott said this: It is so rewarding to be married. Marriage is wonderful. In time you begin to think alike and have the same ideas and impressions. You have times when you are extremely happy, times of testing, and times of trial, but the Lord guides you through all of those growth experiences together. No, our life is not trouble free, but there is no one I'd rather share it with.

Now, as Allan said, "it is just a ring", but it holds great significance to me. I love so much the man who gave it to me along with his heart and to whom I have given my heart.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Service Opportunity In Minot

Every so often we have an opportunity to be a part of something that REALLY makes you feel good. Last weekend Allan and I had a chance to go to Minot to prepare food for the men from our Stake who were there to help with the clean up from the recent flooding. It was such a privilege for us to offer a small service. I am so grateful to these men who gave their time and their energy to be there.

I'd like to explain how this all came to happen. A few weeks ago Allan got a call regarding help needed in Minot. He put a note out to all the Bishops/Branch Presidents telling them there was a great need for help. Some 4,000 homes had been affected by the recent flooding. The first weekend was our big Service Project where we had spent the week distributing door hangers requesting food for our local food bank, so the members in the city were not able to go. (About 25 men from our outlying ward and branches did go down and serve.

We decided that the next week we would head down to Minot. Many of the men who were there to help camped on the Church property. Finding a hotel was a little harder than I thought it would be, but I was very grateful when I finally found one in town.

We spent a lot of time that week talking on the phone and getting organized for the trip--Allan had been in Calgary on business that whole week. On Friday morning we headed out of town. A man in one of our outlying units was not able to go because he owns a bakery. He wanted to do something to help so he donated several loaves of bread. We stopped by his bakery on our way to the border. Unfortunately, when we got off the highway, we found out the highway we thought would take us to his bakery was closed so we had to backtrack. It put us a little behind schedule, but all was fine.

We had visions of getting to the border and having to empty the van, but we were there about 30 seconds. (Frankly I think the guy had to use the facilities because he basically looked at our passports and then shoved them back at Allan and closed his booth and ran into the building ; )

Our 5 1/2 hour trip took us about 7 hours. We checked into our hotel and then headed to the Church. We were amazed at how organized everything was. We had an opportunity to visit with Bro. L who is in charge of

Allan in the command center.

A few pictures of the Cultural Hall which had all the supplies.





























On Saturday morning we got over to the Church about 5 a.m. to get things set up for breakfast. Allan got the three camp stoves set up and there was a moment of panic there when he didn't think they were going to light. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when they did ; )

Saturday's breakfast was: French toast, apples, juice and water.It was great to know these men would not be heading out hungry.

We watched the groups load up their stuff and get ready to head out for the day's work.



Of course, when I saw these young men, I had to take a picture.



We have such great men.



























After we got everything cleaned up we headed back to the grocery store to get more things and then went to the hotel to prepare lunches. We had our list of addresses where the lunches were to be delivered. We made turkey sandwiches--figured we'd give each man 2 sandwiches. Now let me add that we have a family divided--some like Miracle Whip and some mayonnaise. Because of this problem, I figured I would make 1/2 of the sandwiches with Miracle Whip and half with mayonnaise. Each bag would have one of each. That way they would all be 50% happy ; ) One of the sweet sisters in our Ward wanted to do something to help so she sent muffins and cookies with her husband. So each lunch also included muffins and cookies as well as a Rice Krispie square, potato chips, an apple, water, and juice.



We then went out and delivered. As Allan and i delivered them we were in tears when we saw the devastation. You would see piles and piles of "stuff" in front of each house. How could you not be touched when you realized this was everything from their house including their treasures.






























This is a picture that shows what the inside of the homes would look like. They basically gutted them. These men worked so hard. But I couldn't help but think about the homeowners. Imagine this is what you had to do night after night, day after day, week after week. You would go to work and then come home and have to do this.

When the men got back Saturday night we had prepared ham, fried tator tots, and green beans. I think they enjoyed all of it, but their faces really lit up when we gave them ice cream sandwiches. We had kept them nice and cold. At one point they started to thaw and I was able to run them into the kitchen and use the freezer there.

Sunday morning was such a treat. After we served pancakes and bananas for breakfast there was a Sacrament Meeting at 7:00. I have never had the opportunity to be in the MTC with just missionaries but that's where I felt I was once the opening hymn began. The booming male voices sent chills up and down my spine. It was incredible. It was a wonderful meeting.

After the meeting the men headed out again. We delivered a lunch to each of them and then we headed home. Had a beautiful drive.

I am so grateful to belong to a Church that cares about the people--all people. This service was given to anyone--not just members of the Church. I am so impressed with all of the volunteers, but sure love and appreciate the men from our Stake.

The work here will continue for quite awhile. I hope Allan and I have an opportunity to go back again in the next couple of weeks.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Family History and Other Things

I have been having a great time doing family history. I have been using ancestry.com and am so excited because I connected with a 2nd cousin. As a child growing up, our family did get together with my dad's brother that lived in SF. He and my aunt had three children--all of them a few years older than me and I really didn't know them very well. When my dad died, we never heard from them again. It has been so wonderful to read the stories and see the photos this 2nd cousin has sent me. She is the granddaughter of my grandfather's brother. We are about the same age and I hope one day to have a chance to meet her.

SIDENOTE #1: 28 years ago when I was pregnant with Heidi we took a trip to fantastic trip to Europe. We just booked our airplane tickets to go back to one of our favorite places during that trip--SWITZERLAND. A few weeks ago I was looking for tickets to go to California for a birthday celebration for Daph's 40th birthday. They were too expensive. If you can believe it, these tickets for Switzerland were cheaper, which is why we couldn't pass them up. We are so excited to go and see Amanda and Darren. Amanda has had numerous opportunities recently to play tour guide and can't wait for her to show us around.

SIDENOTE #2: Allan and I were in Minot over the weekend. I am trying to put together a post about the whole experience. So much devastation. This picture shows where the water level was on some of the homes. Some of the people had a day's notice to get as much out of their homes as they could. Not sure what I would grab if I had a day's notice. We are so glad we went.

SIDENOTE #3: I am not a prairie girl, but the scenery on our drive home was so beautiful. I love seeing the canola fields. Usually there is a whole lot of flax, but we saw a little on our way down and I thought I'd get a picture on our way back, but didn't see one ; (

SIDENOTE #4: A couple of the cutest babies.Look at this little angel sleeping.

And this little one is growing up way too fast.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Photo Challenge--Day 16

There is no way in the world that there will just be one picture in today's challenge--"A PICTURE OF YOURSELF WITH A FAMILY MEMBER". There was no way I was going to pick A FAMILY MEMBER. Instead I will do one with each family member--I actually was quite happy that I had pictures of me with just about everyone. Some are old, some are current, and because I have a BIG family this post is long. I am so blessed to have such an amazing family.

And, of course, I have to start with the family member who helped MAKE OUR FAMILY. In a couple of weeks it will be the anniversary of our first date--July 24, 1982. We will be "celebrating" in a way we both love--I'll post more about that in a couple of weeks.

I'll start with the oldest child and (and their family) to the youngest:

Neal
Me and Neal:

We were thrilled for Neal when in 2005 he married Macy. She has definitely been a great addition to our family.

I have tons of pictures of Chris and Amanda, so picking out one of each of them was next to impossible.

My oldest grandson is such a delightful young man. He and Heidi are 6 months apart and they are so funny when they are together.

It has been so fun to watch this young man grow up and to be able to spend so much time with him through the years. This was his high school graduation in California.

He and his beautiful wife, Heather, were married in 2009. Heather is such a sweet person--I love to watch her with children. She definitely has a gift. They just bought a home in Texas and it is near completion.

With Amanda the weekend of her college graduation--this is a favorite because I'm wearing sunglasses so you don't know if my eyes are closed ; )

Amanda and Darren were married in 2009 a few months after Chris and Heather. They are so perfect for one another. They are currently living in one of our favorite countries and Allan and I are trying to figure out how to get there.

I have a few pictures of me with Garrett, but this will always be one of my favorites. He is such a cute little guy--and what a personality. You just gotta love him.

Our newest little granddaughter, L, born in January, is a real cutie. I'm so glad that I get to see pics of her on her mom's blog. She is a world traveler--last month she was in Switzerland visiting her sister.

Nancy:

I just couldn't find a GREAT picture of me and Nancy, so I'll use this one from a wonderful trip with Nancy, Stephen and Neal a few months before Heidi was born. Poor Nancy had her suitcase stolen from the trunk of our car ; )

Nancy has 2 great boys--Evan and Josh. I love this pic of us from a visit they made when we were living in Reno.

This is Evan who was one of the cutest little guys. Nancy always had him making the cutest faces.

Evan and Scarlett were married back in 200--the same weekend Kiah graduated from high school, so Allan and I split duties.


Nancy is the grandma to our only great grandchild, Xander. He is such a cute little guy.

With Grandson, Josh, the day of his high school graduation.

Stephen:

Stephen and I celebrating my birthday, many, many years ago.

I'm so glad he has such a wonderful wife. Daphne is such a fun person and she is a great wife and mother.

It was so fun to go to the hospital and meet Jason--he looked so much like his dad when he was born. The time has flown by and this little guy is not so little anymore.

Another one that makes me smile, granddaughter, Kiah, and Kyle. I love that they are six months apart.

And then a few years ago this one of the two of us.

With B. So hard to believe he will be a senior in high school. He's such a great young man.

On the day of Hannah's baptism:

Our little Drew is such a character. I don't think he has EVER taken a bad picture.

With little baby, Georgia.

Wendy:

I love this girl so much. She is absolutely gorgeous and a fabulous hairdresser. I always say that I would love to take her with me when we go on a cruise and she could do my hair every day--I hate doing my hair ; )

Wendy and Tony started dating in high school and got married in 1994. Tony is such a fabulous guy--a real history buff. It was so fun to talk to him the other day and share with him some info I discovered about one of my great great great...grandfathers. Who knows maybe it will come in handy when he goes on Jeopardy one day ; ) I also thought if I went on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" he would DEFINITELY be one of my phone a friends.

Heidi: It would be interesting to count how many pictures I have of Heidi--probably too many to count. This one was Joy School Graduation
And, when Heidi married last November, Daniel joined our family, and we're so glad he did.

Brent: A rather young one of Brent--hey, I was young, too ; )

And, last, but not least,Elder Rob many years ago. This picture always makes me smile. He loved his little Minnie.

i have found that through the years I have pulled many photos out to scan or to put in albums or whatever and I haven't always gotten them back in their proper boxes. Therefore, I have spent the last few day trying to get them where they belong. WHAT A JOB.