Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventurous Alicia

I was inspired today to spotlight my daughter-in-law Alicia. I have been blessed with 2 wonderful daughers-in-law. I guess I did something right if my boys grew up and picked such great women to marry! Alicia was so young when I first met her. She was a little shy and I wondered if she could hold her own with my strong personality son Kendall. I needn't have worried. She matches Kendall point for point when it comes to his adventurous spirit and unstoppable energy. Kendall always loved his social life and Alicia has jumped right in creating friendships and occasions to be with those they enjoy. This past summer she began preparing and planning a big Halloween party that they have been wanting to have since last year. She comes over one day with little treats she made to test and see if they would work for her party. This was in July! I loved her enthusiasm and her determination not to let this Halloween go by without their big bash. So for weeks now, she has collected ideas and tried them out and carefully shopped the discount stores for decorations, food and other ideas. It has been fun as she shares her finds with me. I love that she includes me in her excitement. So, imagine my horror (and I don't mean the kind you laugh about later when you realize the icky goo you stuck your hand in at the haunted house was really just wet spaghetti...), when Kendall calls me on Friday as he rushed home to his sweet wife. She of course, was busy hanging up decorations for the big Halloween bash, when she fell. The verdict, a broken arm. To make it worse, it has a chip and she will need surgery! I am sure in the moment she was upset, and distraught at being hurt while by herself with Carson and another child she babysits. I know it was very painful too. What amazes me though is that it did not diminish her enthusiasm one bit for her big ghostly bash! On Saturday, she calls me to see if we are up to having them over to decorate pumpkins etc for Halloween! What? Are you kidding me? How can you even stand up straight with all the pain killers in your body right now? She hasn't even gotten her surgery or her cast yet! Is it the energy of youth that envelops her to drive forward? Or, is it a determination to keep going and have fun along the way that moves her to push through the challenges life offers? "Enjoy the journey" could be her motto. She's a doer...a goer...and that makes her a great mother! One of my favorite things about Alicia is her amazing zest for motherhood. She truly never tires of playing ring around the rosy or chasing Carson around the house saying "where's Carson?" when it is obvious to all he is RIGHT THERE! haha When Carson laughs, it only seems to light the fire in her to see how much more she can get him to laugh. He is truly a lucky boy to have a mom who would rather be with him than anywhere else in the world....unless his daddy is around of course....ahem...that was for Kendall's sake. =)
So Alicia, with all the love a mother can have for a daughter, I send you my appreciation and admiration for all of who you are. I hope this brings a smile to your face as you try to figure out how not to pick up that precious baby of yours for the next few weeks! You are amazing and beautiful and the most excellent person to be Kendall's wife and Carson's mommy. I love you!

Here is a slide show of some of my favorite pictures of Alicia.

A quick list of Alicia's favorite things:

Favorite color: pink

Favorite time of year: spring

Favorite music: slow rock

Favorite scripture: 1 John 4:14-19

Favorite part of being a mom:

Watching him laugh and playing with him.

Favorite quality in Kendall:

He helps me do things I couldn't do before.

Favorite vacation: camping in the mountains

Biggest time waster: Sitting on my butt watching TV.

Most happy when: My family's happy.

What do you enjoy doing with friends:

Entertain them and play games at my house.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Try a Free Trial!

The other day, I was having a conversation with my youngest son. It was one of those “teaching” moments that every parent is keeping an eye out for and yet, I ended up feeling like I was the one being taught. Isn’t it like that sometimes? All wise and knowing, we settle in to share the wisdom of our years, and then a child with such perfect childlike faith, teaches us with more clarity than we could ever see with our years of wisdom.

So, we were talking, and I was explaining the different ways that Heavenly Father could choose to answer our prayers. I wanted to be sure he understood as we had fasted as a family last Sunday for a specific need and then the very next day, things didn’t quite turn out how we had hoped. I worried that this test of faith would be challenging for a young mind to comprehend. So, we talked about how sometimes we get the answer just the way we hoped for and sometimes the answers to our prayers come in a different way than we had thought of, yet still with the same or better result. And then, we talked about the times when Heavenly Father answers our prayers, yet it feels like the worst thing ever happened instead. I was explaining how sometimes Heavenly Father allows us to go through trials because we need to learn something from them and that sometimes it is the only way He can answer our prayers for our best interests. I was preparing to defend this position to my son, when out he pops with, “Hey! It’s like a FREE TRIAL! You know, like when you want to try a new game online and they let you try it for free first before you spend your money and buy the real thing?” It was so spontaneous a response that I burst out laughing! Of course, I told him he was exactly right!

I spent some time pondering on the concept of a free trial. What an amazing way to look at life! So many times we experience trials and afflictions, and rather than look at the blessings, we are more prone to first complain and notice all the ways that life is unfair. What better way to see it than to realize that life is full of “free trials”, opportunities for us to grow, learn, prepare, and experience, so that we can gain whatever skills, knowledge, character, and integrity we need to gain the “real blessings” of life. It’s like we get a lifetime of free trials and the only cost to get the real blessings is to learn and grow from the trials.

My dad told me once that there was this plane of living where you actually can look forward to the challenge of the trials. He said that it is actually possible to get to that place, yet challenging to always stay there. He said that there is an excitement in wondering just what great thing Heavenly Father is going to do with your life now! I have to admit, at the time I was perplexed yet quite curious. There was a part of me that longed to get to that place. I have experienced glimpses of it in my life. It is an amazing thing to experience giving everything completely over to Heavenly Father’s capable hands. I am such a control freak that letting go and surrendering the “controls” of my life to my Father in Heaven is a very scary thing. Yet, in my `wisdom’ of years, I am coming to understand that true joy and happiness only comes when I give it over to Him and trust in His divine direction and guidance.
That brings me back to my son. I think about how he trusts me and his dad and surrenders much control of his life to our direction and guidance. He is one of the happiest people I know! He loves everyone and extends an open hand of friendship to anyone who wants to play and be happy with him. He rarely complains when I tell him no, and he rarely questions my decisions. And, his carefree attitude when faced with a challenge as evidenced with this latest family trial, exhibits an optimism that will serve him well in life. So, as I sit and chat with him intending to impart my wisdom, I find myself gaining a new clarity on the Savior’s admonition to `become as a little child’. So, with childlike faith, I will trust in Heavenly Father to guide our little family and help us find the next adventure in this great life of “free trials!”

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Roosevelt Lake family trip

I decided it was time to catch up a few things on my blog. First, we went to Roosevelt Lake again the second weekend in August with my sister Shari's family. We had so much fun for the afternoon boating, tubing, and swimming in the lake. The most eventful thing that happened was that Cara was stung by a bee. She set everyone to laughing as she tossed all the Pringles onto the floor of the boat and then proceeded to stomp all over them when she got freaked out from the bee. Tom and I were in the tube and they had just hit the gas when the boat stopped suddenly. I thought, hey! I don't weigh "that" much! lol Turns out it was a bee not me. We ate some yummy food that Shari brought and even did some swimming over near the dam. Kari and Jake found a rope swing hanging from the bridge and spent a good amount of time trying to get the rope up to Jake so he could swing out into the water on it. There were a couple of other boats hanging out over there watching and they all applauded when he finally made it. Here are some pictures ofthe day, and a video clip of Jakes jump.
First pic is Elijah and Amanda on the tube. It was fast and they loved it!
The second is Tom's first jump into the cold water for a swim. The next is Brianna and Cara with their Pringle duck bills. The last one is the gang on the boat as it was coming in to the dock. The family pic at the top was taken in front of Roosevelt Dam, you can see it behind us.
Here is a video of Jake's jump.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wakeboarding....??? seriously?

So, a couple of weeks ago on the 1st weekend of August, I took a trip with Brianna and the youth from church to Roosevelt Lake for a youth conference. We had a great experience together. It is so much fun to be around young people. They have such energy and fearlessness. We had 1 pontoon boat pulling kids on a tube and a water rocket, and a faster boat that gave them the chance to try wakeboarding or kneeboarding etc. It was a perfect set up as everyone got to have fun all the time, no one had to wait around for long. By the end of Saturday, it was my turn to ride on the fast boat. The next thing I know, I am sitting in the water with my feet locked onto a wakeboard and a rope the only thing connecting me to certain disaster! I may be the "gramma" of the group as the kids like to call me, but I managed 5 attempts to get up. This video represents probably the closest to success that I managed....not exactly that close, but hey, it was my first time ever doing anything like this! It was a lot of fun. We had some wonderful spiritual experiences as part of the conference as well and my favorite part was sitting under the stars and just talking with them about the questions of their hearts. They are truly amazing people! If we have a world full of youth as awesome as these are, then we are in very good hands!

Here are a few more pictures of the day:

Makenna made fire! Yea Makenna!

The kids all swimming from the shore...the wind blew our tents all over by the end of the day...stakes and all! We moved them up to higher ground and all was well after a bit of rain and a bit of lightning which also served to cool us down a bit. It was a 112 degree day before that! yikes!

These are just some snapshots of the kids all having fun. They were jumping back and forth between the water rocket and the tube and jumping off the boat just as it was stopping and other wreckless...I mean, fearless, stuff. lol Yes, that is a close up of me on the wakeboard after swallowing a good portion of lake water. And, the final picture is of a pushup contest between the bishop and Devon. Um, out of respect for bishop, I won't tell how it ended. heheh

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Need a Do-Over?

So, have you ever had one of those days that you wish you could take back and get a do over? You know, like we used to give our friends playing kickball when they were too small or not very good, we would give them an extra chance to get it right? I wish I could get a do over every once in a while. Sometimes, in the moment of emotion, I say and do things that I mean, but because I am all worked up, they come out all wrong, or they don't get heard in the way I intended. What do I do then? I meant everything I said, yet I never meant them to be taken so hurtfully. If I had been thinking, taking a moment to be careful about how I presented it, I would have done it all differently. So, who's job is it to make it right? I believe that both parties have accountability. Yet, it is not okay for me to wait for the other to take responsibility before I do my part to make it right again. When I recognize my error or weakness, it is my job to do what I can to correct it and make amends. Boy! Can that be challenging to find humility or what? Especially when you want to be right in every way! The truth is that even though I still believe I am right in what I said, I was not right to say it how I did. And, in doing so, I undermined the possibility that the other person would use that information to learn and grow from rather than cower in a corner feeling hurt and betrayed. This human thing is so icky sometimes! I wish I could always do everything right, and in the right way all the time! Learning from mistakes is a painful process. Yet, I know, that if I don't choose to learn from them, then the mistake is worthless in all aspects! It only has value if I am willing to learn and make the necessary adjustments to do better next time. So, I will practice forgiving myself today because through that forgiveness, it allows me to pick myself up and get my deeply wished for do-over. I will also practice forgiving the other persons involved for not trusting my best effort and my "real" meaning of what I was saying to them. Maybe this way, I give them the gift of a do-over too. I can't undo what was done, I can only promise that I will do better next time. Does this make me a terrible person? I don't think so...it only makes me a real life human being that has real life imperfections. I believe that of my counter parts as well....they are real life human beings with real life imperfections. My heart was in the right place, and so was theirs. We just got our wires crossed for a moment or two. I'm sure tomorrow, we will all do a little better from what we learned today. At least, I know that I am going to give it a better try for sure. Because the real truth is that I love them very much and today, I'm not sure that message came through very well. So now, I will have to work a little harder to be sure it comes through loud and clear with no doubts!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It took a freeway....

So, last night I took my children to see the place where I grew up. My childhood home is a place that we began building when I was 10 years old. I remember my parents drawing plans on graph paper on the coffee table of our tiny little tract home. This was to be their "dream home". A place where they could raise their family of 6 children and teach them all the values and skills they knew they would need to be happy in this life and in the next. I remember spending FHE's digging trenches for the footings, and then mom spreading a blanket out on the ground where our dining room would be and we would eat dinner before the last of the sunlight faded away. Over 30 years were spent in that house. Many memories are associated with it. I remember Christmases where dad was the biggest scrooge and then I remember the Christmas when he turned into Santa Claus and so he is, to this day. I remember family talent shows and singing our hearts out or playing our instruments on the stage that was the landing to the stairs to great applause...and laughter. I remember sleeping on the floor in the summer in front of the swamp cooler before the air conditioner was installed. I remember water fights, both inside and outside. I remember football games, volleyball, planting the garden, raising the chickens and turkeys, the giant fig trees that only dad would eat from, our dogs and cats, the treehouse, jumping off the roof into the sand pile, sitting on the roof to watch the fireworks, and many other pleasant memories. I remember kissing my husband there for the first time and hoping mom and dad weren't spying from the upper window on the stairs. Many family gatherings were held there, we celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, grandchildren's births, and the heartache of goodbyes too.
That house survived storms including a micro-burst, 6 children, several extra children over the years, many many of my brother's friends, a couple of desert fires said brothers and friends set, a giant canal that narrowly missed our property, and monsoon storms that would set my brothers tubing down the washes. It took a freeway to destroy what we built over 35 years ago. But even a freeway can't destroy everything we built in that house. It was a house. A place where life was allowed to happen. Where relationships were created, strengthened and love flowed freely. It's walls kept all that in for us. But, it wasn't the cause of it all. I am grateful for that house for giving me my childhood memories and for holding safe the love of our family and tolerating our imperfections so well. But it is my parents and my siblings that I am most grateful for. For the time we spent together, for the lessons we taught each other. For the support we still are to each other. My parents have a new house to call home and it seems we have just transferred all the things we built so carefully in our old home, to the new with so much ease, that I realize just how much difference there is between house and home. A house is a place, a home is a condition. So, we played last night on the spot where my house and once home stood. The house is gone, yet the home remains and will forever if we keep doing what we have always done. Love each other and pass that heritage on to our children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SO Here I go!

I have just dived into the world of blogging. My nieces would be so proud of me! They do think I am pretty cool already, but now, well, the cool factor may have just topped the charts! I will attempt to make my posts worthwhile and maybe informative with a touch of real life humor attached. Well, it may be more truth is shared than I am ready for, but, I am a fearless woman right? Or, at least my life coach credentials say I am. So, here I go, stepping out of my comfort zone and stretching into the world of technology! Ready or not, here I come!