Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spotlight On...

This is a picture of me and our Primary presidency. One thing that has really amazed me and surprised me is how much I am concerned with these sisters. I want to fix things for them and make sure they are OK. I am so grateful for their wonderful service to our children, our teachers and leaders, and to me and my family. They have become women I cherish.

On the left is Marianne, my secretary. She and Phillip have three little girls. Marianne is the epitome of a mother: she is fiercely protective of her children, she finds joy in her family, and she just wants to be better because of them. She also adores her husband. Phil and Marianne's 2nd child has spina bifida. This is something that would devastate many people or leave them frozen with fear. While their daughter's health is an ongoing concern for them, Phil and Marianne bask in the beauty of their children, celebrate every accomplishment, and just live a happy life together. I want to be like Marianne.

Between Marianne and me is Lara, my second counselor. She is the mother to four adorable daughters and the wife of one really large boy. Her hubby is the YM president in our ward, and Lara has just kind of adopted all of the young men as her own. She is extremely funny--she pulls the best faces in the world! But she is awesome at rolling up her sleeves, digging in, and getting it done. She is wonderful with our Primary children, and she is very level-headed and helps me stay on track. I love Lara!

On my other side is Mary Ann Winn, my 1st counselor. Mary Ann is the mother of 10 children of her own, and countless other neighborhood children. She is generous to a fault. She is guaranteed to be on someone's doorstep in a heartbeat if there is anything she can give tothem. She is a MEAN cook! She loves to stay ahead of the game, so she probably already has Sharing Time ready for December! I rely on her for a lot. I would love to have the compassion Mary Ann possesses.

We love our Primary children, and we love each other!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Be There

As I mentioned in my pity-party-post, this was one heck of a busy weekend. Catholicism was looking pretty inviting this weekend. (So many fewer time demands!) And yet, every single thing I did turned out to be a time of happiness, learning, or both.

There were fewer than 50 people total in our chapel for the YW general meeting, and the adults outnumbered the YW. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt--maybe some other chapels were packed full of visiting nieces or granddaughters; maybe lots of girls got tickets and went downtown; I'm sure some were sick; and many have to choose between good and good--and good wins! But for those who just opted out because of laziness or boredom or whatever: LOSERS!

I'm not calling you names. You just really missed out on something wonderful. You lost.


One of life's most fundamental truths is this: If you don't show up for dinner, you won't get fed. I'm always amazed at how many just don't show up. Hence, my new slogan:

Be There!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Wish I Were...

...less talkative. I need to talk things out. I wish I didn't.

...thinner. This is one I could do something about, so I shouldn't whine.

...not a whiner. See above.

...better able to see people's needs. This is one I'm working on.

...SuperMom. With invisibility power.

...in a beautiful travel destination. With my family. For free.

...independently wealthy. I think someone ought to give me a chance to prove how great I would be at that!

...not a clutz. I'll leave it at that for now.

...asleep, and not rambling. :)

Good night!

Thanks to Bishop Bateman

Last night and this morning I was pitching a quiet, personal fit. I was informed that I was expected to be at an employment class at the church from 9:00 to 1:00. I was scheduled to go to Mosida (again) with the youth conference committee at 12:00. There was a funeral in the ward that I was missing. And YW conference was at 6:00. That's just today. Tomorrow includes Sharing Time, Family Home Evening (I'm actually really looking forward to this one), and the youth conference kick-off fireside.

I'm thinking I will be glad to go back to work on Monday, just for the rest. And that is really saying something in the week before General Conference (not a restful week in my employment).

Bishop Bateman heard me whine for a minute and said, "Did the Bishop ask you to speak?"

Oh, boy! That put things back into their proper place! Thank heaven for small favors, like NOT having to speak in church!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Caught in the Act

Yup. THAT act.

Poor Taylor. This is the same boy who walked into our room just as I was walking out of the bathroom after my shower.

You'd think he'd learn!

He informed us that we really need a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. Briana was laughing like crazy and said, "They call it a door!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My favorite sport is reading. There is very little I would rather do. My doctor says this isn't necessarily a good thing, so I took up scuba diving, but that is a story for another day. :)

I am a huge fan of Jane Austen, and my favorite is--of course--Pride and Prejudice. Let me recommend to any of you ladies (because let's be honest--the men won't care) who may have missed it thus far the 6-hour miniseries of Pride and Prejudice produced by A & E. It stars Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, which might be reason enough to watch this film. He is an excellent, smouldering Mr. Darcy. Jennifer Ehle is also beautiful as Elizabeth Bennet.

I love the character of Elizabeth. I love that she is strong and fearless, despite knowing what limitations that may place on her in her male-dominated Victorian society.

A year or so ago I was in Deseret Book and I found a wonderful trilogy that I have been re-reading, just for the fun of it. The first book is "An Assembly Such As This;" the second is "Duty and Desire;" and the third is "These Three Remain." The author is Pamela Aidan. This is basically "Pride and Prejudice," only it's written from Darcy's viewpoint. Existing characters are there, of course, though many are more detailed than in Austen's original work. New characters are introduced. Darcy's activities are outlined, as well as how his feelings for Elizabeth developed. It is a lot of fun to read. Ms. Aiden has often used Austen's original dialog, and she has drawn extensively on the A&E series for her settings (in fairness, A&E is VERY true to Austen's work). Additionally, Ms. Aiden's use of vocabulary is wonderful, and she's very Austenian in her writing.

I've read several other Austen spin-offs, and none of them has captured my interest the way this trilogy has. Check it out and have some fun. (But read Pride and Prejudice first!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Satan Is Abroad in the Land

Remember those magnolias that were starting to bud? The hyacinths and crocuses (croci?) that were blooming? The daffodils and the tulips that were promising to join us? Satan has defeated them for today. This is what our house/yard looks like today:
I hold out faith and hope, however, that while Satan has won today's weather battle, Mother Nature will eventually win the war. Spring is coming. Slowly.

Every time we think we're going to get ahead a little bit, something breaks down. This time it was the dishwasher. Luckily, Satan cannot defeat us this easily. We got an escrow refund check in the mail, and we found this 3-year-old dishwasher on ksl.com:

Satan, you can rear your ugly head, but you will not triumph!

People Who Make A Difference

When we attended our ward for the first time, Mindy Pitcher asked if I would like to sit by her in Relief Society. I will love her forever for that. Now that I know her better, there are other reasons, too; but that is enough.

Sister Brakke taught a Sharing Time when I was serving in the Primary. She spoke of losing her son (she'd buried him three days previous); having prayers answered; and of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness for us. I have drawn on that experience a number of times as we have raised our family, and as I have served in the Primary. I couldn't pick Sister Brakke out of a lineup, and she probably doesn't even remember me, but she made a difference in my life.

Mary Lou Spencer sat by me at a Women's Conference. She put her arm around me and offered me a tissue. Later we became friends, and she shared her wisdom with me. But I will love her forever for that small moment in time that she doesn't even remember.

Rex Taylor is a manager where I work. He was particularly kind to me when I began my job, and he treated me like I was someone important and valuable right from the first day. He is also a kind and caring man. But he has my love for his kindness at the beginning of our friendship.

Last week, Rex's daughter died. I took the opportunity to attend her viewing last Friday. I was there for 10 or 15 minutes, and I hugged Rex and his wife. This morning he came to my desk to tell me that he thought I was very special and that it really meant a lot to him that I had come. I guess you just never know when you might be that person who makes a difference.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Happy Selective Memory

A couple of days ago I read a blog about someone who had read a blog... The writer had invited the readers to share their darkest secrets, and it turned into something very dark. I'm something of an ostrich, burying my face in the sand. Frankly, I just don't want to hear your darkest confessions. One comment that grabbed me, though, was how many women compare their lives to snapshots of other's lives.

Here's what Kristy said:

A note to that commenter: facebook is like an online scrapbook. We only put up the stuff we want other people to see. The day I spanked my son after he busted out a hole in his door because he was mad that I sent him to his room? That was not a good day. I didn’t take pictures and wrap them in raffia and stick them next to a plaque that says “Live Laugh Love” or talk about it on facebook.

Kristy is SO right on the money. My family--who sits quietly church--isn't perfect. That haircut that Landon is currently sporting? He's seriously ticked off about it. We're talking fighting mad here. But I'm not going to post the details of that on this blog!

All of that said, I was thinking this morning about how selective memory is. For example, I know that Taylor cried for four stinkin' months straight. I remember the rides in the car, just for some quiet. I remember turning on the dryer, setting the timer for my own time outs, and my tears and frustration. But when I look at the pictures of my baby boy, what I remember is what a love he was (after 4 months old), how much Briana loved him, what he looked like in his striped outfit that I loved, and how he would wear little hats for a minute. I remember him sleeping at my feet in the kitchen and finding him sacked out straddling the rocking chair and the ottoman. I remember him "helping" his dad mow the lawn, running through the sprinklers, and playing video games.

My friend and neighbor, Mona, once told me about a song called "My Heart Took a Picture." Yesterday I watched Bri and Ash and Lando jumping on the tramp, laughing together, and my heart took a picture. And my pictures are good ones, even though I also remember that just 45 minutes earlier they'd been arguing in the back seat of the van.

I guess my belief is that our selective memory gets to be our selection, after all. So what kinds of selections are you going to make?

Friday, March 20, 2009


I know these pictures aren't much now, but if the weather continues springlike, we are going to have magnolias at Temple Square. I will keep you posted (no pun intended).
By the way, the magnolia shrubs are outside the South Visitors' Center. Don't you love the reflection of the temple and the Tabernacle in the windows?

Cinderella's Glass Slipper

Ashtyn and Landon have been in their school production of the musical "Cinderella's Glass Slipper." I wish these pictures showed their full body length, because they looked so wonderful--Landon is in knickers and tights and Ashtyn's dress is very full and beautiful at the bottom. But these pictures will give you an idea of how wonderful they looked.

Ashtyn's character (the Apprentice Fairy Godmother) was really a character, and she played it adorably. This was very fun!

By the way, if you get a chance to attend any production at the Rose Wagner Black Box Theatre in downtown SLC, you won't be disappointed. There's not a bad seat in the house, the sound was fabulous, and they treated us in a very professional manner.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ten MORE Things I Like

1. Winter clothes and summer clothes that are separate.

2. Watching the children's "lights" turn on during Sharing Time.

3. Seeing our boys at the sacrament table.

4. Charmin.

5. A brand new tube of lipstick.

6. Waking up to a favorite song on the radio.

7. A really good night's sleep after a not-so-good sleep the day before.

8. When the dishes are ALL finished.

9. Pink.

10. Quiet days at work that let me get lots of little jobs done.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ten Things I Like

1. Ten uninterrupted, safe seconds with Spencer and all of our children gathered together.

2. Tulips!

3. Getting the best seat in the movie theatre and having nobody sit around us. "Us" means "Me and Spencer."

4. The sky. (If you look at the sky at any time of any day, you will be completely unable to tell me that there is no God. Go ahead and try!)

5. Brand new socks.

6. A breath-taking laugh--so much laughter that my cheeks hurt.

7. People who smile, even when they would be justified in being impatient.

8. A brisk walk which works up just enough sweat so I'm not cold. Especially if the dog doesn't pull my arms out of my sockets. :)

9. The kind of book that makes my brain work a little bit but still transports me to another place.

10. Eating popcorn very slowly.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Best Friend

Have I ever mentioned that Spencer is my best friend? Just in case I've neglected that, let me fill you in...

Spencer doesn't need a whole lot of sleep. Remember that saying that opposites attract? Yeah, in regard to sleeping, this is us. I think sometimes it must drive him crazy that I need to sleep, but he is incredibly patient with me. He shuts the door and hushes the kids and lets me snooze.

BUT. When Spencer hits a wall, he hits it hard, and he needs to go. to. bed. This happened last week, while we were out on a date. All the way home he talked about how glad he was going to be to get into bed. Only when we got home, everyone was still up and the kitchen (which he had cleaned earlier that day) was a mess. He growled at everyone (even me, but only a tiny bit) and proceeded to clean up. The kids scurried to bed, and I dug in to help him get everything put away. When we got in bed I told him that I loved him. I reminded him that our kids were hurting (reference Joe), and they didn't need him to lose his cool. And you know what he said? Mr. I've-Hit-A-Serious-Wall-And-I-Just-Want-To-Go-To-Bed? He said, "That's why I married you. Because you're so great like that."

Wow. Seriously. I probably would have screamed (OK, maybe not, but I would have wanted to) or rolled over and ignored the person who delivered this piece of advice.

On Tuesday night I found that everything in our deep freeze was melting. We lost some little stuff, but we caught it in time to salvage the meat. However, the freezer was a disaster. Spencer got home at 10:30 p.m. and helped me get everything out of the freezer, get the freezer cleaned up, and fix the freezer (it had inadvertently gotten turned down). And when we went to our room, he kissed me and tucked me in--just like he liked me or something. Yeah, never mind that it was ME who turned the freezer down.

Wow. Seriously. I would have screamed at me. Or ignored me. Or gone to bed to face it another time.

Yesterday I got to spend most of the day with my best friend. We slept in together. (A little piece of heaven!) We went to the Draper Temple Open House together. (Heaven again.) We had lunch together. Then we did a temple session together at Jordan River. (Still heaven.) We prayed together. We laughed together. We worried together. We rejoiced together. And then we went to bed together. To sleep. Together.

Yup, definitely heaven. I hope FOREVER lasts a long, long time!

(Now I just have to find a way to be as great to him as he is to me. I'm welcoming suggestions!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Life Goes On

I broke a molar on Saturday. This happened while I was eating popcorn and watching "Homeward Bound." No, I wasn't gnawing on kernals, but one must have slipped in, because the next thing I knew, a large chunk of my tooth was missing. This morning I had the joy of visiting the dentist (who I actually really like on a personal level). He shot and drilled and molded and finally fitted me with a temporary crown for that tooth.

Spencer is on his 3rd to last class before he has his bachelor's degree. He's getting really trunky (his word). Bri says he just has Senioritis. He talked about continuing on for a master's, but changes in rules at Boeing (who has paid for school)--along with Senioritis--have left him saying no for now.

Last night Spencer spent a couple of hours fighting with our computer, which, apparently, received a bug of some kind. He wasn't feeling peachy when we went to bed. And he was the one who was cold and snuggled up to me to get warm. Weird.

Landon and Ashtyn are involved with a play at their school. It's called "Cinderella's Glass Slipper." Landon is part of the chorus, and Ashtyn is the fairy godmother's apprentice. I took them to play practice and just giggled at all of the girls dressed up their gowns (there were seriously some lovely dresses in the gym!) and all of the boys in white tights, knickers, and lacy dickies. They looked awesome. We'll be sure and take pictures when they perform.

The girls and I went to Orem last night to see my grandparents. Grandma's having an angiogram today. My uncle is having some colon tests done today. I've tried to call the rheumatologist and the neurologist today for Ashtyn, who is still mysteriously ill every couple of weeks.

Life is busy. There are worries. But life goes on, and we are so grateful!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Time For Joy, A Time to Mourn

Joseph Montgomery, a 19-year-old young man in our ward, was struck by a TRAX train last Monday. He spent all week in ICU, where tests and trials and scans finally confirmed that his brain was dead. On Friday evening, his parents--who are friends of ours--kissed their son and walked away from him, while the monitors continued giving him oxygen, etc. The surgeons were able to salvage most of his organs--minus his heart and lungs, which were damaged--and when Joseph's body shut completely down, he gave the gift of life to many people.

Joe made a mistake. He crossed the TRAX line without paying attention. He was riding his skateboard, listening to his Ipod, and texting. Just a few seconds earlier or later, and the train would have missed him completely. And none of us would be wondering why this had to happen, why his parents have to ache, why his siblings have to be so sad, etc., etc.

Joe's younger sister, Lisa, is one of Briana's good friends. Lisa has spent quite a bit of time with Briana this week, just looking for some normalcy. They saw the West Jordan HS boys basketball team (of which Joe was part last year and the year before) take the state high school basketball championship. They've watched movies and gone for rides and eaten snacks and just tried to be normal. Briana has been so sad for her friend, but she's stepped up to the plate, and we're very proud of her. And speaking of maturity, Lisa went and cleaned out Joe's room--boxed up all of his stuff, washed the sheets, etc.--so that his parents did not have to do it. I'm impressed.

Joe's youngest brother, Daniel, was one of my preschoolers and is now 8 years old and in our Primary. He did not come to church yesterday, but his teacher had made a large card for all of the children to sign. It is my month to teach Sharing Time, and we talked a lot about Heavenly Father's beautiful plan for us. He gave us the Plan of Salvation and a Savior to make it all possible. He allowed us to come to earth and make choices and mistakes--even mistakes that could cost a life. He sent us to families, who love us. He restored the gospel and the priesthood power through a prophet; and because of that priesthood, we can be sealed as ETERNAL families, even though death may separate us for a while. He blessed us with friends and neighbors who care for us in many, many ways, and who become our extended family while we are on earth. He gives us the ability to continue living, even when we think our hearts will break. He gives us the ability to empathize with people and help them carry their heavy loads.

It's been a difficult weekend. When you are an adult, your hurt can happen on many levels: concern for the parents, the friends of our children, the children in our responsibility, and our own aching children. But being an adult--with a little more life experience--also allows us to have joy on many levels. Thank heavens that we have what we have--and that we know it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


You know how sometimes you get a thought, and you think, "Nah! I won't need that." So you don't do it, and then BAM! you need it. Like 2 weeks ago, when 2 days in a row I had a thought to grab my umbrella. I did it neither time, and you guessed it! I ended up in the rain. Twice.

So this morning I thought, "I should grab the camera." And I did. And I took some really awesome pictures through the windshield. I was thinking, "Cool! I will blog this wonderfully amazing, beautiful pictures of this lovely end-of-winter morning. I'm so glad I grabbed the camera!" Only guess what? I left the camera in the parked car. Which is nowhere near my current location.

Good thing I listened, huh?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Our beautiful teens!

Taylor and Lindsey

Briana and Mike West Jordan High School Sweethearts Dance, February 7, 2009.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Life Can Turn On A Dime

Case-in-Point #1: I am home alone tonight. Spencer is at school, Bri is with a friend, and the other children went to YM/YW activities. Remember when I longed for just a few minutes to myself? I sure do. And now.... Here I am. Alone.

Case-in-Point #2: A 19-year-old young man in our ward, the oldest child of friends, was hit by a Trax train last night. He is in critical condition in a drug-induced coma due to head trauma. If he lives he will spend months in rehab re-learning to walk and talk and do every other little thing.

All in all, I think I will enjoy my quiet evening, and pray hard that everyone comes home safely.