Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I Know Wednesday--Stretching is Necessary

Stretching is necessary, but when you're being stretched IT'S THE PITS. Maybe that's the controlling part of me--I don't like to think I'm not in control.

So while I may know it is necessary, it doesn't mean I have to like it. DOES IT????

Whenever I'm being stretched, I think of one of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis which has been quoted numerous times by many General Authorities:

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace."

That always helps me. If you're being stretched at the moment, I hope it helps you.

Sidenote: Today is the birthday of another granddaughter, Miss Kiah. So I will post a couple of pictures. The first is one of my favorites. It brings back such memories. When Kiah was born I was in the hospital with severe dehydration due to my pregnancy with Kyle. When I mentioned to the nurses that I just became a grandma again they just looked at me dumbfounded and said something like--AND YOU ARE PREGNANT???? I was able to travel to California a few months later to meet her.

The second picture is of her and Kyle when she got ready to leave after Amanda's weddingl. (Sorry, Kyle, I know you just got out of bed ; ) She is currently in college. She is a beautiful girl and I am so proud of her.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Let's Have Some Fun

I really feel like having fun today, and I think I will try and do it here.

About a year ago when Allan and I were traveling home he was giving me some ideas for some posts, and I only did a couple. So, I thought it was time to try and do another one.

So I'm going to go for best adventures. The dictionary describes adventure as: "an exciting or very unusual experience"; or "participation in exciting undertakings" or "a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome". Sometimes everyday life can pretty much be an adventure. I guess I need to be a little more specific ; ) We've had some pretty fun "adventures" in our life--lots of trips where we've had great adventures, especially with the kids, but here are a couple of my favorites--not necessarily in any particular order:

1) Ziplining: We have done it twice. The first time was when Allan and I were on a cruise to Mexico and the second was when we were in Ketchikan.

2) Parasailing: Oh, my goodness that was so fun. I didn't think I'd ever be able to do it. Thank goodness my SIL, Bev, is braver than me. We had a blast--of course, you'd never know by looking at my face.

3) Climbing the Great Wall: An adventure I will never forget.

4) Some Pretty Fun Things: Besides the above mentioned things, while we've cruised, we've done some pretty adventurous things like riding ATV's to the Alaskan Pipeline, bikeriding in Alaska, swimming with the Stingrays in Stingray City, or viewing Haley's Comet from the Southern Hemisphere. I have to admit I'll never forget being locked in the stairwell of the hotel in Sydney, Australia--an adventure I'd LOVE TO FORGET.

5) Hurricane Hugo: That was something I wasn't ready for. The day before Hurricane Hugo hit I was out visiting teaching. The news had been reporting that Hugo would hit the North Carolina shore that night. My companion told me not to worry, it would never come in to land far enough to hit Charlotte. WRONG.

6) Moving to Canada: I guess actually, every one of our moves was an adventure, but when we moved to Canada in 1990, it was our first move to a foreign country; ) Little did we know that we would be leaving there a few years later and then move back in 1996. As scary as it was, I have enjoyed it so much.

7) Being a mother: Actually I could have said my pregnancies--each of them was quite an adventure. But go up and read those definitions--PERFECT. Is there any adventure that is more rewarding--there were days when I wasn't sure, but I LOVE BEING A MOM. I know I get a little hyper sometimes--just ask Kyle. When I first became a mom, I was scared to death. As I look back on it all, it has been a GREAT ADVENTURE. I really need a picture with ALL MY KIDS--sorry, Heidi.

8) Marrying this guy: Can I tell you it has been AN AWESOME ADVENTURE. I have loved it. We have had our struggles (like everyone) but TOGETHER WE CAN GET THROUGH ANYTHING. I'm so grateful for his positive attitude. He is THE BEST.

The best part of all THE ADVENTURES ARE NOT OVER YET!!!!

How about you--What's your greatest or best adventure? Share it.

SIDENOTE: I have to share the fun thing that happened when I was out running this morning. I was on my way back home and passed an older man who said, "Excuse me, did you know there is a speed limit on this street?" I'm not sure if it was the red face or the heavy breathing, but I can tell you I had a GREAT LAUGH.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Here are a few status updates:

Some news on the running front:

1) At my running class last night, I was not at the end of the pack. Do you have any idea how exciting that was for me????

2) I decided to register for a 5K race the beginning of October. I'm excited and a bit nervous.

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I just finished a book for Book Club this weekend "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova. I would highly recommend it. It is an easy read and so worth the time. Just have a box of kleenex handy. I'm really looking forward to Book Club and the opportunity to discuss the book.

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I'm excited about the Women's Conference Broadcast tomorrow night.

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And FINALLY, the recipe I promised for Death by Chocolate--now please know this is not something I created, but I did change it a little:

1 Chocolate cake mix

2 pkg. (4 serving size) chocolate pudding
4 cups milk

l liter container of Cool Whip
6 Skor bars--crushed (I crush them by putting them in a baggie and taking a hammer to them)

Prepare cake according to the directions on the box--make it in either a 9 x 13 or 2 8 inch round layer cake pans

When the cake is cool, cut into little pieces. Put the pieces in a large bowl.

Mix pudding powders with the milk until smooth. Pour 1/3 of the pudding over cake in the bowl. Spread with 1/3 of the whipped topping. Sprinkle 1/3 of the crushed toffee bars over topping. Repeat two more times. Refrigerate.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WHAT I KNOW WEDNESDAY--Happiness is a Choice

For awhile I was in a bit of a funk. I tried very hard to pull myself out of it. Maybe it's the empty nest syndrome, maybe it's not teaching seminary, or perhaps Allan still being out of work, but whatever I HAVEN'T LIKED IT. I tried to focus on all the good that was happening around me and let go of those things that weren't working the way I wanted.

When I was in Utah I bought a book from an author who is very light and whose books always make me smile--Emily Watts. The title of the book, "I Hate it When Exercise is the Answer". It says it is "a fitness program for the soul." I'm going to use a few of her quotes, and I hope that if I let you all know that these are her words I will not be infringing on any copyright laws.

What I read last Monday night was regarding happiness. She said she participated in an online survey to help out some BYU students and one of the questions was, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being 'not happy at all and 10 being extremely happy', how happy are you?"

She said she picked 9 and the next question was--"If you picked any number less than 10, why?"

Well, that got me thinking--You have to know the day I read it, it was not one of my happiest days. But why? What do I not have to be happy about? Other than Allan not having a job (I know it's a big problem--we are not ready for him to retire for lots of reasons), we are doing o.k. I have never wanted to be a person who thought--I'll be happy when...(whatever the "when" is)

We all have problems--we all have struggles. We just need to smile and go forward, I know it. But the thing she said that REALLY hit me was "maybe happiness doesn't imply a total lack of sorrow but a perfect understanding of how to deal with it."

So What do I Know Today: It's up to me to find happiness in spite of things that are happening around me. So I will strive to do that EACH AND EVERY DAY. Follow Elder Wirthlin's philosophy: "Come what may and LOVE IT" ; )

I like what my son-in-law, Tony, says: "MAKE IT A GREAT DAY". I hope you do ; )

Sidenote: I'm trying to spend less time on the computer, so I know I will not be posting tomorrow. So I will wish my son, Neal, a Happy Birthday a day early. I love this picture Macy took of him and their little guy.

Also, the 24th is also the 15th anniversary of Wendy and Tony. This picture gives you an idea of how fun these two are ; ) Happy Anniversary guys.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where's the Rewind Button???

We went to the temple this weekend. It was wonderful until Saturday morning--I was getting ready and wasn't sure if the curling iron was hot. Now, what do MOST PEOPLE do when they wonder??? Well let's just say most sane people don't GRAB A HOLD OF IT to see if it's hot!!!! I guess that confirms it--I'M NOT SANE. My hand hurt so bad and I thought, why in the world did you do that????

I've had many moments when I've done stupid things and wished I could push the rewind button and HAVE A DO-OVER. For example: 1) The time I was parked and was getting ready to back up so I looked behind me and no car, turned to talk to the passenger in my car and then backed up and SMASHED into the car behind me; 2) While in Texas pulled out my cell phone to see if I had missed a call, put my cell phone down on the table of the restaurant, walked out and left the phone behind--went back, no phone; and, 3) Years ago when I was walking through a hangar at the Naval Air Station where I was an employee and turned to talk to someone while continuing to walk--then BAM walked right smack dab into the wing of an airplane (passed out and had two black eyes ; )

Any of those I would love to "do over"...

I'm grateful we didn't need a rewind button for the following experience: While we were on the way to the temple we got a phone call from our son, Stephen, who started the conversation with his dad by saying, "You almost lost one of your grandchildren last night"

They live in a little community near Sacramento. Stephen and his 4 1/2 year old, Drew, were out on the driveway with the dog when Stephen began to hear a strange noise. Then it stopped. He thought, what was that. He heard it again. Suddenly he looked down at Drew who was barefoot and in shorts and right there on the ground between him and Drew was a rattlesnake. Stephen said, "Drew go in the house RIGHT NOW." Drew did immediately-- (Allan and I were both very surprised that Drew didn't argue but just did what his dad said--shall we just say, he doesn't always listen ; )

Stephen called his 15 year old to bring out a shovel and the snake went under the car. He told his wife to back the car out of the driveway. I'm laughing as I type this because Daphne reacted just like I would have--"NO WAY--I'M NOT GETTING IN THAT CAR" ; ) Finally, he convinced her because he told her he could see the snake and it was near the front, so she climbed in the back.

To make a long story short, he took the shovel to the snake and cut off it's head. It had 3 or 4 rattles. I shiver just thinking about the whole experience. But, I do have to tell you I was disappointed when I asked him if he got a picture and he said, NO.


SIDENOTE: Today was my first run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute x 2--I DID IT.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It's been a couple of weeks since we dropped Kyle off in Utah, and I just wanted to write a few things about life at our house:

IT'S QUIET--TOO QUIET. There have been so many changes.

1) We have a three car garage, but it's a little different than some three-car garages. When you look at it, it looks like a two-car garage, but one of the garages is longer than the other and you park one in front of the other. When Kyle got his car this presented a problem. We were always having to move cars around when he'd get home later and one of us would leave earlier than him. NOT A PROBLEM ANYMORE.

2) Do you know how long it takes to fill the dishwasher when there are only two people eating at home? Imagine what it would be like if Allan was working and not home for breakfast and lunch????? I'm still adjusting to cooking for just the two of us.

3) I'm sure glad we didn't buy that HUGE washer and dryer ; )

4) I'm sure the garbage men are wondering why it only takes a few seconds to throw the bags in the truck now ; )

5) I don't fight back the tears when I go into his room, I just smile knowing he's doing great.

6) I miss his friends and wonder hope they are all doing well at University here.

Now, in spite of all of this, let me just assure you that I'M SO HAPPY HE IS WHERE HE IS.

1) He is doing well and THAT MAKES ME SMILE.

2) Allan is going down for Conference so he'll get a chance to see him and THAT MAKES ME SMILE.

3) I get to watch Devotionals on line and know he is watching/listening, too, and THAT MAKES ME SMILE.

4) He gets to see The Killers in concert next weekend and I know how excited he is about it and THAT MAKES ME SMILE.

5) He'll be home in approximately 92 days and THAT MAKES ME SMILE.

6) BYU is ranked #7 in the AP Poll so going to football games for Kyle will be more fun and THAT MAKES ME SMILE. I told him to enjoy it while it lasts. BTW, here's a pic of him at his first BYU game. It was 2003 and the night Steve Young was honored.

7) He's there with Brent and Heidi and THAT MAKES ME SMILE.

Sidenote #1: Today is the birthday of Amanda, one of my beautiful granddaughters. She was married in July and is living in the Northwest. Happy Birthday, Amanda. If I was there, I'd make you this "death by chocolate" that she requested at the barbeque we had the night before her wedding ; )

Sidenote #2: No news on the job front, but hopefully things will come together soon.

Sidenote #3: Running class tonight--need to do a post regarding: Persevering paying off. When I started I thought running 2 minutes and walking 1 minute was a killer. I'm now running 8 minutes and walking 1 minute. Added: I obviously had a "Senior Moment" tonight--I thought we were running at the Park. Nope, that is our class in two weeks. (Don't know how I made THAT mistake ; (

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I saw this on justrandi's blog some time ago and told her I was going to steal it. (I used Wordle.) These are the things that make me happy. I'm so grateful for all that I have in my life. Yes, there are challenges, but I choose to be happy in spite of them.

So, how about you--WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY???

Monday, September 14, 2009


I've been thinking a great deal about hope--especially how hope is lost. Then again can it ever be lost? And how can it be restored?

Over the weekend a friend tagged me on facebook for a meme and one of the questions really got me thinking--it was "what is the most demeaning thing that anyone has ever said to you during your working life?" I think that self-worth is powerful. How we see ourselves is so much a part of the experiences we've had. So often our self-worth is a result of things that happened to us throughout the years--be it horrible school experiences, abusive relationships, poor marriages, working relationships, etc.

How do you help a person get over those kinds of things? How do you help them not waste the rest of their lives feeling bad about themselves when more often than not it isn't them.

I believe that love helps a great deal. You may laugh but every time I watch "Rocky" and see the transformation of Adrienne, I marvel. He helps her to see her worth. Then there's Johnny Lingo--Mahana's transformation is amazing. I don't think those were just physical transformations, they were deeper than that.

Let me just add here that I know that the love of God can heal us. I understand. I heard a talk yesterday at Church that was the perfect example of how this works. A young man who has had a less than ideal life spoke of his journey--a mom who was institutionalized, a dad who used that as a crutch to never work, going from foster home to foster home, and finally coming to understand and feel God's love which led him to change his life.

I realize there are lots of programs out there, but if you had a sister, a brother, a daughter, a son, who had lost hope, how would you help? I realize there is no simple answer, just wondering what you think. Thanks for your input.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Day of Remembrance

I have been blogging for a couple of years and thought that I had already blogged about what happened 8 years ago ago, but I did not. Therefore, I want to record my thoughts about that day.

I was sitting in the family room watching The Today show when they reported that a plane had apparently flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I called Allan who was in Toronto at the time. He hadn't heard anything about it, and at that point it appeared to be an accident. When they showed the fire, I thought my goodness, it's a clear day, how could a plane possibly hit the building?

As I was watching, suddenly you saw the second plane hit. I was dumbfounded. It was obvious it was not an accident.

I had to stop and take Brent and Kyle to school. I came back and watched for awhile and got on the phone with Heidi who was a Freshman at BYU. She said there was all kinds of talk about what was going on--I was so incredibly grateful that she seemed o.k.

I had a piano lesson, and when I got there, Mrs. R hadn't been watching the news, and so we went into her family room and turned on the TV and sat there glued to it for an hour--both of us crying.

I came home and continued to watch TV. I talked to each of the kids on the phone, and that brought me comfort. I didn't like that many of them were far away. Several times I talked to Allan. He knew he wasn't going to get home for a few days. I felt very selfish because I wanted him here--I missed him. Yet I knew he would come home, and there were so many who had husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters who wouldn't be coming home. My heart broke over and over, as I heard each story. I couldn't believe this could be happening. I felt helpless and wanted to do something. I knew I couldn't--so I prayed. I prayed for the families, for our President, for the military, and for all of the workers.

When I talked to Allan we talked about his cousin Ron who worked in one of the towers. We were both very worried. (Fortunately, he had been traveling in Asia and had arrived home late the previous night so decided to sleep in and spend some time with his wife, Susan. After the planes hit, they went to the roof of their apartment building and saw much of the horror of that day.

The hurt was so deep. I do feel that I learned a great lesson about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His suffering for us. I've tried to comprehend it. The hurt and anguish I felt that day as I thought of the suffering of all of those people, gave me a tiny glimpse of what it must have been like for Him to suffer the pains of our sins, hurts, disappointments--EVERYTHING for all of us. It just helped me to understand it better.

It truly is a day I will never forget.

I had the opportunity to go to New York a year later and stood at Ground Zero. When I was in Times Square I went up to a firemen to shake his hand and express my appreciation for him, as well as the other firefighters and policemen for all they did. Obviously, I am also very grateful for the military and their families for their sacrifices in our behalf.

God Bless America.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I Know Wednesday--Wisdom Is Not Based on Age

When I was 23 and joined The Church. I was so very grateful for the older women in the Ward. I loved sitting and listening to them whenever they would comment. (It was kind of like those old E F Hutton ads--you know "When E F Hutton talks, people listen". (If you're not familiar with the ad, sorry ; )

Anyway, today I think things are different. I have noticed as I have sat in Gospel Doctrine or Relief Society classes that there are some very wise young people out there. Now, this does not mean that the "older" women are not wise, but when I hear some of the comments made by younger people I realize that wisdom comes in all ages.

I believe we can always learn--and I appreciate so much the lessons I have learned from others. As I go out and read blogs, there are so many that teach me a great deal. Recently, we've had a few struggles--I appreciate those who share how they deal with everyday challenges. So often it is with laughter--I WISH I WAS BETTER AT DOING THAT ; )

A couple of things I've learned lately:
  • In July when I was in Utah I met up with Nobody for ice cream. When we were together she made a comment that has had me thinking. And it's something I really need to spend more time thinking about. She said each of us is a product of our experiences. We do things a certain way because of things that have happened in our lives. Consequently, we need to cut people some slack when they don't act the way we think they should. Thank you, Nobody--that has helped me and I've tried to stop and think about that when I've been hurt or disappointed. (And I hope others will think about that when I hurt or disappoint them)
  • The other day as I was reading CJane's blog, she posted about eating and enjoying food and not worrying about the calories, etc. And one of her commentors said, "Why would anyone want to follow a diet when the first three letters are D I E"

    Maybe I'm feeling a little nostalgic because a lot of my regular bloggers are not posting as often as they usually do--I miss their thoughts--their words of wisdom. I'll keep checking, but please, if you stop by and I haven't read a post of yours, please leave me a comment about it and I'll stop by and read your post.

  • Monday, September 7, 2009

    Going Home

    As I mentioned in my previous post, we took a detour on our way back to Winnipeg--stopping in Jackson, Wyoming, so we could go through Yellowstone. First, we found out that because my hubby is over 62 (just barely ; ) he was able to buy a "lifetime" pass for National Parks for $10. (See, sometimes it REALLY does pay to be OLD ; )

    Before I do the recap of our trip, I need to say that my husband keeps track of everything. We went to Yellowstone back in 1994 with Allan's mom and dad and his sister Bev and her hubby and Heidi, Brent, and Kyle. I was going through the file and am

    The scenery was beautiful. There were beautiful mountain ranges:

    Incredible waterfalls:

    I kept my eyes WIDE open in hopes of seeing a bear--never saw one, but at least we saw lots of these guys.

    I'm a city girl, so I loved seeing this.

    We stopped and had delicous ice cream--so glad I only got a single scoop ; ) Can you imagine what 2 would have been like???

    When we left the park via the East entrance, we got on Highway 212. Google said from Jackson, Wyoming, to Billings, Montana using this road would take 5 1/2 hours. YEAH, SURE!!!! GUESS AGAIN.

    I was the navigator and after we were driving for about an hour on a VERY curvy road, I couldn't figure out why we hadn't seen the "Welcome to Montana" sign--and the reason???BECAUSE WE WERE STILL IN WYOMING.

    We went from 6,000 feet to 11,000 feet and back down to 3,000. The road is only open from May - October--that should have been our first clue. When we were near the top, I saw this and WAS SHOCKED. Yeah, it's a guy on a bike (or should I say, A CRAZY PERSON .

    I need to add that I'm sure glad that my hubby is such a great driver.

    And finally, SOMEONE didn't check the back of their truck when they left the park.

    SIDENOTE: The house is quiet, but IT'S O.K.

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    A Bit of a Tough Day

    As we pulled out of the driveway of my SIL's house today, it was tough. I'm a big girl, I've done it before, I've left my kids here at BYU before, dropped them off at the MTC, had them move away, but still THIS IS MY BABY.

    We have had a glorious time in Utah. I love all my kids and it's always glorious when we are together. Knowing these three are here together and have each other makes it all easier.

    Just to give you a little peek into how fun they are--some pics we took the other night. I posted some of these on FB so if you may have seen them there:
    We had dinner at a fun little chinese buffet place. We ate too much, had some great laughs, and I LOVED WHEN KYLE LEFT THE TIP ; )

    Before Kyle and Brent left for their dorm and apartment, I said we needed to get some pics. Thank goodness for my gorillapod--I was even able to get in a pic.

    I hope Kyle is better at following directions at school ; )

    A silly family picture is a tradition

    When I was taking these, I'm surprised the picture is not blurry because I was laughing so hard--and obviously, so were Heidi and Brent.

    The kids just love their dad's bald head (have to admit they are grateful to know that baldness is hereditary on the mom's side--my dad a full head of hair ; ) I had commented that it looks like Kyle is rubbing his dad's head in hopes that his wishes will come true. I liked Neal's explanation more--"or hair will grow"

    Like I mentioned above, silliness is a tradition in our picture taking experience--AND OBVIOUSLY SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE ; )

    But this is the one that I will keep close

    SIDENOTE:We arrived here in Jackson Hole, and we are staying at the same place we stayed at back in 1994. Of course, on a day like today, I could only think of THIS.

    Somehow THIS just wasn't the same ; (

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    What I Know Wednesday--There is Value in Being Cautious

    I am a worrier--I often wonder if my younger children are cautious enough. (Let me clarify, I say "younger" only because I don't want any of my "older" kids to think I am questioning things they do. Not that I'm questioning any of them; ) ANYWAY-- Thinking about the whole cautious thing made me think of something that happened many, many years ago--shortly after I graduated from high school. I was sharing a house with 3 other girls. One of them had met a young man at a bar and they began dating. (Let me add that we were all pretty stupid) My friend really started to fall for the guy and was on cloud 9. He treated her very well. A few months later she stopped by her folks' house, and they told her to come in and sit down. They had been watching the news and there was report of a bank robbery. As they watched the news, they were very surprised to see the young man she had been dating was part of the group that robbed the bank. She was devastated. Of course, I can laugh today when I remember watching the news and one of the women who had been tied up by this man commented that "he was such a nice bank robber"--because he was very concerned as he tied her up.

    In some ways, this experience made me a little overly cautious. It probably would have been helpful if it had occured prior to the summer of my Junior year of high school when a friend and I were up at Yosemite and went hitchhiking. Can I just say after two guys gave us a ride, I was very grateful I HAD A HUGE FLASHLIGHT that doubled as a weapon and came in very handy.

    So WHAT DO I KNOW--being cautious isn't a bad thing.

    When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I was somewhat hesitant about comments and visiting others blogs. But I have found that as long as I know someone that knows someone who knows someone else, I'm fairly comfortable.

    Hence, I have been able to meet up with lots of blogging friends, and TODAY WAS NO EXCEPTION. I was able to meet up with Laughadaisy It was so fun. She has just started homeschooling. It's something I know I could never do, so I admire those who do it--and she has twins. We only had a few minutes to visit, but I loved having a chance to meet her. I bought this adorable blanket from her Etsy shop. (She has such cute things, go visit )

    Thanks, Laughadaisy.

    Sidenote: Ever since I read about Sweet Tooth Fairy on Nie Nie's blog, I have wanted to visit. Today Allan and I stopped by.

    And look at what I walked out with ; ) I REALLY do not want to get on the scale when I get home.

    We are heading for home tomorrow--going through Jackson Hole. It's been years since we've gone that way.