Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry-Merry, Happy-Happy and I LOVE Spring!

We had a lovely Christmas and we are planning on a Happy New Year! The children were here on Christmas Eve and we had a wonderful time. We had fondue, (thanks to Terri Davis and all the necessary pots and forks,) and it was a big hit with the children. They asked if we'd be willing to do something early in the day as they wanted to go to a movie in the early evening. Of course we did. I wasn't really excited about it but it turned out very nice. Jill sent a text that read, "Best Christmas ever with you two." Maybe they are finally getting used to their dad's wife. Christmas Day was say the least. All our guests, except one, cancelled on us. Mark's mother is the only one who came to dinner... Turns out it was a blessing as we learned some interesting details about what's been happening for her... sad details but details a son needs to know in order to take care of his mother. As this year draws to a close we are looking forward to a new one and fresh starts... I suppose if the truth be known, which is testimony to some of us, because of the atonement which is symbolized by the sacred emblems of the Sacrament at the Supper of the Lord each Sunday, every week is a fresh start! Whew! I love to feel clean! I suppose that's also why I love Spring so much too... a fresh, beautiful, new beginning! Not that it's even close. In fact, the first official day of winter was only a week ago. I guess that just means it's always Spring in my heart! Our love to all! We are so grateful for the light and love you shine into our lives!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Almost Christmas Break....Ahhhhhh!

The students have actually been quite well behaved as the days before Christmas count down. I often wonder what I was really like at their age... I'm sure my memory remembers me more perfect than I actually was... oh my! The two photos are little crafts one of the other 5th grade teachers helped them do... I do the music, she does the art....which really works for me. Because I'm in a portable, I have to find creative ways of displaying their creations... Here's to the construction paper Pointsettias and the colored lamps made with Karo Syrup and food coloring! Luckily the teacher had learned over the years how to minimize the sticky mess and the kids loved licking their fingers. It was not recommended but after one person did the rest followed! Oh those days adventurous days of childhood!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mark's Big Proud Italian Family

If the title of this post seems a little like the movie title, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it's supposed to. The middle of November, Mark and I flew to Sacramento to celebrate his aunt's 90th birthday. Our weekend can be summed up by saying that it was a lot like the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding but they are Italian and it was a birthday celebration instead of a wedding. It was obvious they are proud of their heritage and they love each other! Mark got to see relatives he hasn't seen in 20, and some, 30 years.
Most people are surprised to learn that Mark's paternal grandfather is from Italy... must be that strawberry blonde hair and fair skin disguise he wears... That would be from the Irish part of the family. So... there you have it... my Irish Italian husband. Mark's father and brother both have the darker Italian coloring with olive skin tones and dark hair. Mark's mom is also a brunette so you can imagine that Mark thought for the longest time that he was adopted. When he was 8 years old he finally met an uncle, his father's brother, and finally felt like he actually belonged. I wish I had a then-and-now photo of Mark and his Uncle Harvey but the nearly 50 years later version will have to do. Mark also looks like his father's sister, Aunt Jean. She has the most beautiful red hair. She is also the one who helped make it possbile for us to join the festivities. I have this little connection with her... not sure if it goes both ways but I really love being around her and love when she comes to visit. I just used the camera on my phone and set the flash on auto... sadly, there is still a blue cast to lots of the pictures...and blury... I've got to learn to hold my breath...sigh!

The other, queenly lady in the picture with Mark is his Aunt Nadine. On the way there I was wondering what 90 would look like. She is amazing. Very active. Walks upright with no assistance of any kind. She swears by shuffleboard twice a week. Says you've just got to keep moving. She's lovely. The two smiling ladies are Harvey's daughters, Stormy and Julie. Nadine has 3 daughters, Pam, Debbie (the original Debbie Raymond) and Michelle. I didn't get pictures of them for some reason. We're hoping others many people there to celebrate!

The rest of the photos are of Pam's home. She is Nadine's oldest daughter and hosted the dinner celebration in her beautiful home. We had a wonderful time!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Journal

The past couple of years I got really good at my journal because I loved copying and pasting my blog into it. I wrote in it as well. Lately, things have been so hectic and yet the counsel to keep a journal has not been rescinded. I've worried that no one especially cares what I have to say or that maybe they care but don't really have time....and then I realized that's not really what matters. I have no idea if anyone will find, read, or care about this blog but I know I enjoy it once in a while and that it definitely motivates me to keep a journal... So! Here's my committment to journaling just because I've been counseled to. If you happened here and care to stay a while, I hope it's uplifting.

The Holidays are always tender times for me. It will be 20 years this December since my Mom graduated to Heaven. I always have spices, (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sometimes orange rinds) simmering on the stove. It's like comfort food...only comfort smells. It reminds me of her! At this time of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for her example and her testimony. There was no question for any of her posterity that she loved the Lord. Thank you, Mother, for you amazing example.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Haven't Posted Since May! Oh My!

I just saw that my last post was late in May... Wow! Time has flown since it will be 4 months to the day tomorrow.... that's not such a great thing since I was using my blog as part of my journal... a huge part! Ooops! There's the confession... I haven't written in my journal either! Oh dear! Here's to turning over a new leaf! Or would that be a fall leaf? I'll work on it either way!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our Home

This post is purely selfish. I've shared a few times that I copy and paste my blog into my journal. This post is to document the first place Mark and I called home together. It is beautiful and we've loved it here. We would stay if we could. Mark's mom actually owns this beautiful condo in Old Farm and she and her husband (not Mark's dad - Mark's dad passed away many years ago from skin cancer that matastized sp?)...anyway, Betty and Norm want to move back in. The timing is a little challenging for us...everything happened so quickly. Life is full of surprises! I guess our job is to smile through them. The real point of this post is to document our lovely veiws...for posterity...hmmmmmm, now that could prove to be interesting...

Our Front Patio and Window

Our Front Door (didn't notice the reflection until now - funny!)

View from outside the fence

This leads along the front of where we live

Another view... from the bridge

The Bridge (west bridge)

The stream complete with ducks...

Looking down from the road across from our little place

The outdoor pool view as we drive out of our driveway every morning!

The path we take Sofee on that leads to the East Bridge

Another section of the complex along the path...complete with American flag!YES!

Sofee usually bypasses the steps but they are quaint...

Blossoms this spring! They were everywhere!

The stream as it meanders aroung the complex...

More ducks enjoying the world

The East Bridge

Beautiful flowers everywhere!

More spring splendor!

Our Living Room...the picture of the Savior is the first thing Mark and I purchased together!

Thanks for humoring me if you made this far... my regrets to any who will be disappointed that there will be a "round 2"... there is another section of the complex I didn't get to yet...
Love to all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Every Day is Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! Yesterday my niece got married. I remember when her mother, my youngest sister, was the glowing bride and now she is mother of the bride. Oh my, how time flies! And what a beautiful bride righteous living makes! The bride and groom both were darling and glowing! How exciting for them. And of course, how wonderful that another generation has entered into the sacred covenants of salvation! Way to go little sister! You are a great mom!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Goodbye FaceBook, Helloooo FamilySearch

I've had this growing feeling pressing in my heart lately...I have my quick-links (that always show on the righthand side of my online computer screen) in alphabetical order...Aesop, BYU Broadcasting, Canyons School District, Church News, Dictionary, Facebook, Family Search ... THERE! That's the one! I've noticed I click on Facebook every day to see how you are all doing. I click on FamilySearch now and then. I feel my ancestors prompting my spirit to spend more time on their behalf.

As much as I love knowing what everyone is up to and seeing pictures... I really need to honor this feeling! There are some facebook entries I will really miss... I love the Church's short messages of love and inspiration and there are others but I'm going to spend the summer working on FamilySearch and in the Temple. Maybe later I'll reevaluate.

I also realized that I enjoy the blogs the most so I'm going to continue blogging (I use my blog for some of my journal entries) and continue keeping up with the blogs I love... Please keep in touch via your own amazing blog or via email! Goodbye facebook.... HELLO FAMILYSEARCH! My love to all....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

RIP Innocence of Youth...

Thursday morning a couple of my students told me about another student in my class who had been trying to tell a kindergartener what puberty was. Because there had been a couple of prior incidents that seemed unrelated until now with this "purveyer-of-knowledge-student", I started to document my concerns in an email to the principal. Before I could hit "send" I had to take my students to music.

I stopped in the restroom, 2 minutes, tops! As I come out of the faculty room I see 6 of my girls waiting for me. They all start gushing information and hand me a note with names and a list of words and phrases. I have to calm them down. We are in the middle of a busy hall intersection that at the moment is empty but voices carry so I direct them down the hall. There is a little bench for me to sit on. I start asking questions and taking notes.

Apparently, this particular purveyer of knowledge has accomplices. The "vocabulary" list begins with initials and I ask what they mean... all the girls blush... when they describe it for me I realize I know the term and the initials but it's street slang and so far from my use it didn't register until they start telling me... the other words and their meanings are worse...

So I get more names and details and inside I'm weeping because moms and dads now have to explain the birds and bees to ten-year olds and help them overcome the filth and disgust they feel because of how they were introduced to it. Goodbye innocence of youth. Whatever happened to the carefree days of just having fun. So sad... one mother even said to me that the light in her daughter's eyes had gone out and not returned yet...

I was on the phone for what seemed hours. The conversation with the girls' parents was hard and I had to assure them that the principal was aware and an investigation had already begun. The conversation with the boys' parents was harder. I had to tell them the words and gestures their sons had been using at school. And there are consequences...

Yesterday felt like a really, really, REALLY long day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gifts from Heaven...

My father's cousin recently sent me an email and asked me to phone him. When I called, he asked if he and his wife Mary could come by. They brought us a book and a music cd by Kim Rives. Both Mark and I were touched by the story, so much so that we invited many friends and family into our home to hear her share her message. The caption on the back of the book reads, "Kim Rives died of cancer. Heaven sent her back with a message." Her experiences have helped me feel and respond differently to our challenges. Her spirit is kind and gentle and powerful. Kim self-published her book so it is not available in stores. I am sharing information here so you can get a copy for yourself. It is truly worth the cost and the time to read it.

I've read several books of people who've had near death experiences. One of those was the one by Lance Richardson. I learned about that book from Terri and Brenda several years ago. I've also read others and honestly, each one touched my heart and helped broaden my understanding. I am especially touched by this book, more so than by the others, because of the way she helps me understand the Savior even better. I have been in awe of Him and his atonement for years. I am even more in awe even to the point of beginning to understand the phrase, sore amazed. What a blessing it is to have a testimony of Him. I am more grateful than words can express.

I am including links to her webpage where you can buy the book and also to a video clip that will help you feel the beautiful spirit and testimony she shares.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time for Tulips!!

Many of you may remember that tulips are one of my favorites... I'm certain part of the reason is that they are some of the first bursts of color after long, drab, cold winters. And, true to the nature of spring weather, the tulips always get snowed on... bending under the weight of the precipitation (science vocabulary word) and they perk back up and let their light shine! It's definitely tulip time and I'm so excited!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The REST of the Story ....

Some of you know I work in the Young Women's program for my stake. A few weeks ago we attended the 5th Ward Sacrament Mtg. because the young women and their leaders were the whole program. Each young woman and each leader spoke. They also sang a beautiful song we learned for camp last year... which is the real motivation for sharing this story... not the song... camp.

We needed a new Stake Camp Director. As I sat and listened to each speaker I felt really impressed that one of their leaders was supposed to be called as our Stake Camp Director. I was concerned about it because that ward struggles and they have the best leaders in place to really help the situation. The Spirit persisted and I relented and turned in her name... Emma Leavitt...she gave me permission to share her story.

I had the privilege of being there when Emma was set apart. The 2nd Counselor in the Stake Presidency invited her husband to stand with him as they laid hands on her head. Afterwords, I thanked her husband for sharing his wife because I knew it was going to take a lot of time and work. He smiled. And then she said, (with tears welling up in her eyes), "We are grateful to serve because we have some challenges and we need the blessings."

Little did I know that her challenges include the fact that her husband has been ill and doctors can't figure out what's wrong... Little did I know that three and a half months after they were married he had an unexpected seizure that would change their life forever (that seizure left him in the vulnerable and precarious state of a child and many of the things he'd been doing for years, he had to learn all over again... like walking and personal hygiene). Many people, in and out of the church, told Emma to divorce him. She clung to the hope that their marriage is eternal and that one day he would be fully restored. They have been working with this challenge for 6 years now.

Little did I know that their Bishop and both of them received the witness that he would be called home soon. Little did I know that he's already said his goodbyes to his family and friends. Little did I know that the funeral is already planned and that they are saving pennies to pay for it. Little did I know that, in a nutshell, she is facing widow-hood at 36. When I learned all of this I wept and I also looked with new perspective at my own challenges. And she sat there in the Presidency office with gratitude in her heart for a calling that will take quite a bit of time because she says it will help her take her focus off of her sorrows.
What an inspiration! And what a testimony to me that the Lord loves His children. In this instance, it's a good thing I didn't know, "the rest of the story" from the beginning or I might have completely ignored the Spirit... Thank you Emma for your valiant testimony that God blesses and lifts those who serve Him!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

At Least I Waited Until I Got Home...

Early this year the principal came in and asked me to please get my ESL (English as a Second Language) Endorsement. I refused based on the fact that I'd heard many of my collegues over the last few years complain about how time consuming it was. After my year last year, dad passing away, court case with Mark's former spouse, etc... I just wanted a simpler year. Well, he told me they changed the format, that the colleges were no longer involved and that it would take less time. I relented and have had this class nearly every Monday night since school started. I'm down to just three more sections! Woohooo!

Anyway, last week the instructor showed this amazing video of a beautiful Chinese boy experiencing his first day of school in America. With all the hope of a new life, his parents work at a resteraunt late into the night. His mother comes home at 1:00 AM and leaves a shoe box and a card on his bedroom floor. He's pretending to be asleep. After his parents go to bed he gets out of bed, reads the note, puts on the bright yellow tennis shoes and crawls back into bed. He gets up in the morning and makes his own breakfast, walks himself to school and then experiences a really sad day because he doesn't understand English. I can barely type the story here without bringing up all the emotion that little film found inside my heart... I got teary during class but managed to contain the flow to only a few that trickled down each cheek. I really wanted to run out of there and find every sad and lonely child and bring them home to my house...

When I got home, I shared the story with Mark... there is a lot more detail than I'm including here. As I told Mark the story, I sobbed. In fact, I cried so hard I gave myself the suck-ups. At least I waited until I got home. I don't know if you can find a copy of this film to view... it was made for educational purposes and is more expensive than a normal video. If possible, it is so very worth the effort and the time because the application is so much more than the original intent! If you do find a copy... maybe you'd better wait until you get home to watch it... truly touching!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Had to Share this...

Melissa had this quote on her blog and I had to share it here for those of you who read this and don't know Melissa... we love her tons... and feel grateful for this quote!

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with LOVE, GRACE, and GRATITUDE!"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It Seems Like Only Yesterday...

It seems like yesterday that the Davis family moved in next door to Ronda and their 2 little children, Braden 8 and Jessalyn 4, were coming over to have dessert cereal with Ronda. It seems like only yesterday that Jessalyn sang, "I'm a Chaquita Banana" with Brittany, Berlyn and Michelle. It seems like only yesterday that Michelle was spending the night with Ronda and I in our apartment so her parents could enjoy an anniversary celebration away for the weekend. It seems like only yesterday they were little girls and now they are both going to be brides... where does the time go? Jessalyn received her endowments this week and she looked radiant... hard to believe in only a month she will be Mrs. Kyle Humphrey. She and her mother have been so gracious to let Ronda and I share in the preparations. I got to help her find a temple dress. Ronda was her escort in the temple, and her real mother will be with her in the bride's room on her wedding day. Thank you Terri for sharing your daughter with us and even calling us her "other mothers". And a couple of months after that Michelle will be Mrs. Michael Hudson.

If I grew old over night, someone forgot to tell me because it seems like only yesterday...