Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sometimes the Little Things Aren't Really Little

Last night I spent a couple of hours delivering treats to my Primary class members, the ladies I visit teach, and my nieces and nephews.  It was enjoyable.  It was no big deal, and it was kind of a big deal, because it was a four-hour project (2 hours putting together the treats, and 2 hours delivering them).  I'm not complaining, because I loved every minute of it.

At one house, the mother gave me a huge hug and said, "Aundrea, I just love you so much!  I don't really know why, but I do.  Well, I do know why.  It's a million little reasons."  That hug and the sweet words of a woman I also love and admire were a beautiful highlight for the evening.

Our nephews got all dressed up in their Halloween costumes during my visit to their house.  They seemed as delighted to show me as I was to see them.  They also brought out their stuffed animals in the costumes their mother made for them.  There were a dozen or more costumed stuffed animals!  What a wonderful memory those kids will have of their mother's love for them!  My cheeks HURT by the time I left their home.

Last night two of our "sons" came over to visit.  When the first one walked into the house (they've been told they don't have to knock), I got misty eyes immediately--I was so happy to see him!  I've missed these kids!  It meant going out of their way to come to our house, so it was a sacrifice on their part.  But oh! that little visit means so much to me!

One of the boys has been working hard to become temple worthy.  When he walked into the House of the Lord, he had to show the worker a small rectangular piece of paper indicating his worthiness to be there.  It seems like such a small thing, but the road has been long and difficult.  It is a very big deal to him and to those of us who love him.

The small, seemingly insignificant things add up to big things in our lives.  Sometimes, though, those small things aren't really small at all.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thinking about Life Again


A friend recently wrote something like, "Life is hard with occasional happy times.  It was meant to be that way, because it is a test."

I disagree with her.  I think life is meant to be happy with occasional down days.  That doesn't mean that hard things don't happen, and some hard things last a while. 

For example, right now my grandpa is on hospice care.  The main caregiver is my grandma, who is often not even recognized by her nearly-lifelong sweetheart.  There is very little Grandpa can do, so Grandma does it all.  It is a heavy load to bear for her.  She does better when she can at least get a good night's rest, but that is often interrupted by his trying to leave the house to "go to work" or his taking a fall.  It's really hard on her.  But my grandma has been an absolute CHAMPION through all of this.  Each time we speak she talks of the blessings she is receiving.  She laughs a lot.  She is incredibly patient and oh, so kind!

My grandma is doing something really hard.  She is more than 85 years old, and she deserves a rest.  But she is so grateful and glad to be capable of helping her sweetheart during this season.  And she knows that another season is coming.  In fact, the only way this difficult season will end is for Grandma to enter a season WITHOUT Grandpa.  Certainly that is a daunting thought.  But she smiles, "cowboys up," and does what needs to be done with happiness and gratitude.

Another friend taught me this week that life might be described as a 1-10 scale, with 1 being terribly miserable and 10 being as happy as can possible be.  Most people ride a roller coaster between 2 and 10, thinking that their happiness is at the mercy of life's circumstances.  My friend said she would much rather ride most days at a 6 or 7.  According to Elder Packer it's OK to have a "good bad day" every once in a while.  And certainly we should enjoy every moment of joy that is given to us.  But we also have a responsibility for our own happiness.  Like my grandma, we can smile, even when life doesn't seem easy or fair.  And by "smile" I don't just mean turning up the corners of our mouths (although that's a wonderful start).  I mean that we find true happiness in all that we do.

The other thing I really believe is that people who are happy attract happiness to themselves.  Choosing happiness is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  People who are happy will want to be with you (the "birds of a feather" philosophy).  And even though hard things will happen, if you are already happy, surrounded by happy people, making other people and circumstances as happy as possible, those hard things will just be another bridge to cross in a happy life.

It is true that most days we turn off the alarm clock, get ready for a day of work, take care of the mundane, and start again the next day.  Sometimes I think it would be fine with me if I were independently wealthy, travelled the world, ate all the finest foods, was never in another traffic jam, never had someone say harsh words to me or my loved ones, changed a stinky diaper, washed a dirty dish, tackled the never-ending laundry (again), got sick, or any of the other unpleasant things that might come to us in our lives. 

But what if we had never played a game of Lifesavers-in-Flour because it only cost us $.50?  We if we had never planned a fun stay-cation or party day so that we could be with our family?  What if we hadn't shared the love, acceptance, hugs, kleenexes, and hysterical laughter that come with heartbreak?   What if we had missed parenthood?  What if we were physically unable to do things (and even then...)?  What if we lived somewhere where "dirty" was the norm?

There's just too much to be grateful for, to laugh at, to love, to do, to see, to think, to feel, to hear, to EXPERIENCE and to LIVE to be unhappy, even when things are hard.  And the world would be a better place if we all took the responsibility to be happy ourselves and then pay it forward.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lucky Mom

I sent Sister Hill our Benny card so she can go get contact lenses.  She did not understand how it worked, so she contacted the mission mom.  Sister C gave her permission to text me and find out all about it.

So this morning I got to have a text conversation with our daughter.  It wasn't much and it wasn't about anything important, really.  (Well, ya know, except her being able to SEE).  But it seemed awfully nice to get to "talk" to her.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My friend Courtney at "You Are What You Love" has awarded me this fabulous Liebster award.  I know it's fabulous, because she said so, and she has fabulous taste.  The Liebster is an "award given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers who deserve some recognition and support to keep on blogging." Apparently the name is German for dearest. This award comes with rules ... sounds like a chain letter right?  Each person awarded must:

1. post 11 facts about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions the nominator has set for them.
3. Choose five bloggers to nominate.
4. Create 11 more questions for the bloggers they will nominate.
5. Let the lucky bloggers know.
Here goes:
Eleven Things About Me
1.  My name sounds like Andrea, except with an "ah" sound at the beginning.  It doesn't bother me much any more when people say it incorrectly, but it drives my friends and my family crazy.
2.  I am a travel sleeper.  It doesn't matter what kind of transportation we're talking about, just get us moving and I can fall asleep.
3.  Reading is my favorite sport.  I love to read novels, but there have been a few biographies I've thoroughly enjoyed, especially Audrey Hepburn.
4.  I think political debates are just arguments with "Mom" (the moderator) in the room, and I never can watch more than a few minutes of them.
5.  I think of myself as a confident person, but I often pretend I'm talking to children when I'm talking to adults.  Children aren't as scary.
6.  I have ownership or part ownership in 5 different blogs.
7.  I am a chocoholic.  People always say that, but I really am.  My preferred "poison" is milk chocolate M&M's, which I eat in 3's.  Also, there is a way to eat M&M's.  Just sayin'.
8.  I love meat.
9.  My dream is to travel, travel, travel.  My top travel dream is the UK.
10.  My hands and feet are almost always cold.  I keep hot pink mitten/gloves at work so I can stay warmer.
11.  I snore.  Sorry, Babe!
Courtney's Questions
1. if you could tell your 16 year-old self something, what would it be?  Someday Guess Jeans won't seem like such a big deal.
2. what are 3 things that make you most happy right now?  Letters from my missionaries, staying busy at work, this amazing fall weather.
3. what is something you're passionate about?  Life.  I often wish I felt things less keenly.  I guess passion is a gift and a curse.
4. what has been your greatest accomplishment?  Somehow snagging the best man in the world.
5. what do you think people misunderstand most about you?  I think people don't think I have fears, but I often just fake it till I make it.
6. what do you hope to be remembered for?  Loving all kids.
7. what was the last song you listened to?  "We Are Young" by Fun
8. what was the last movie you watched?  Disney's "Up"
9. if you had a life motto what would it be?  Hardship happens.  Misery is optional. -or- If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
10. what are your 3 most visited websites (excluding facebook, email, and work websites)  Blogs, blogs, and blogs!
11. what is your essential start-the-day-off item?  Toothbrush and toothpaste.
My Nominees
Amy at "Two Scoops"
(Much like a chain letter I don't really expect you to do this.  But it could be fun.)
My Questions for You
1.  If you could only have one thing for dinner for an entire month, what would it be?
2.  What is your dream job?
3.  What is your favorite holiday and why?
4.  What is your earliest memory?
5.  What is your favorite book?
6.  How do you change your piece of the world?
7.  If you could travel for one week with three people who are NOT family, who would it be?
8.  Your top three favorite movies.
9.  Share one of your life's dreams.
10.  Tell about the way one person has changed your life.
11.  Oreos:  Regular or double-stuff?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's Not That Important

One of the wonderful senior missionaries at work is making me nuts.  I seriously love the guy--he's a grandpa; a teddy bear!  He's pleasant.  He's cute.  He's helpful.

A couple of days ago my boss mentioned to him that he needed to show him how to put a print job on hold.  Since I was at the printer at the same time Elder M was there, he showed me how to do it, and gave me the mandate to teach my boss.  OK, kids, it's not hard.

It's also not at the top of the priority list when I'm with my boss this week.  Annual budgets are being reviewed by the muckities, so my boss (remember how he's the finance director?) is up to his eyes in prep work for two different departments.

But Elder M has asked me over and over if I've shown my boss how to put a print job on hold.  The only difference between him and a two-year-old is that he isn't saying "Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommy?" or patting my leg.

For. the. love!