Good Fresh Air

“The story is told that reporters were interviewing a man on his birthday. He had reached an advanced age. They asked him how he had done it.

“He replied, ‘When my wife and I were married we determined that if we ever got in a quarrel one of us would leave the house. I attribute my longevity to the fact that I have breathed good fresh air throughout my married life.’” [Gordon B. Hinckley, “Slow to Anger,” Ensign, November 2007]

I'm cranky today -- not sure why except that I didn't sleep well last night, woke up with a headache and it's thriving. But this story made me smile -- maybe I need some good fresh air!!


CNN's Glenn Beck's Tribute to Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

This is very touching and worth listening to. Check it out.


This is what I need to remember when I am too busy and/or too tired to climb back onto that dang elliptical machine.


Who needs one of these?

It's no secret that I like the Life is Good line. These look like winners for your Valentine. They all make me smile. Find them here and browse both men's and women's shirts.


We Will Miss Him

We as a church and I personally will miss President Gordon B. Hinckley so much. He was so full of warmth, charm and humor. Yet he wore the mantle of the prophet so well, in a spiritual, wise and dignified manner. What a great example he was for all of us. I will always be grateful to have been alive during the time of his presidency.

I will miss him but it's hard to be too sad, knowing he's back with his sweetheart and remembering how he has missed her the past few years.

Thank you, President Hinckley. We love you, honor you, and now we will miss you.
[picture via ldsliving magazine]


Blast from the Past

Today as I was heading home after an appt. with the eye doc, I turned on a CD in my car and was immediately sucked back in time - -probably 20 years or so. It's amazing to me that music can do that to you. The song? John Denver's "Shanghai Breezes". It was one of my favorites for years. Clearly I haven't listened to that CD in a while. Check it out here.

That made me miss good old JD. I loved him, his folk-y sound, his earth-awareness and his soaring tenor. His voice was clear as a bell, and he would just sail up to those high notes every time -- even when I knew he couldn't do it. He did.

I miss him. I miss Karen Carpenter too. She was a musical hero to me. And with that, suddenly "It's Yesterday Once More." [Richard Carpenter & John Bettis].

"All my best memories come back clearly to me,
Some can even make me cry.
Just like before,
It's yesterday once more". [See and hear a YouTube karaoke version here.]

And now I have utterly dated myself. Which is OK. Music does that to you.

I Am a Brownie

The young daughter of William Howard Taft III was assigned to write a short autobiography at the start of a new grade in school. Here's what she wrote: "My great-grandfather was President of the United States [27th President, 1909-13]. My Grandfather, [Robert Alfonso Taft, 1889-1953] was Senator from Ohio. My father is Ambassador to Ireland. I am a Brownie."

I can't even say how much I love this. This was a little girl with a solid self-image. She knew where she came from and she knew who she was. That's the hope I have for all the children in my life -- that they know where they came from and who they are, and that who they are is really what counts.


Helping Others is Good for You

"When you help someone up a hill, you get that much closer to the top yourself." [Anonymous]

Helping others really does help you too. It's healthy to forget yourself and spend your energy and efforts on others. The added bonus is that you too are rewarded and blessed. I think people who help others experience pure joy - -maybe you could call it a 'helper's high'. I think that high is followed by increased feelings of self-worth and peace as well.

Look for opportunities to help without expecting anything in return -- it will come back to you in ways you will never anticipate.

[picture via flickr]



"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown,' and he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than the known way. " (quoted by the King of England in an Empire Broadcast shortly after World War II began)

This originally came from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957), who was an American lecturer at the London School of Economics, who wrote only as a hobby. The poem was a favorite of the royal family at that time and is actually engraved on bronze plaques on the entrance to the King George VI Memorial Chapel, Windsor, and was read at the funeral service of the Queen Mother, held at Westminster Abbey on April 9, 2002.

I have always loved the quote and was excited to find the entire poem, "The Gate of the Year".

The Gate of the Year
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'
So I went forth and finding the hand of God
Trod gladly into the night.
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know if God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

If our hands are in the hand of God, we need not know exactly what He is planning, only that we will be led and cared for. Something I need to remember for sure.


Don't Swallow That Bubble Gum!

No comment necessary! [this one is still cracking me up -- good thing I'm easily amused, I guess!]


Sunday Thought

"Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan." [Albert Schweitzer]

My hope for everyone is an uplift, some comfort, and a needed answer. Find a few minutes today to meditate, pray and ponder. Let Him in to help. Fill your soul.

Happy Sunday!


Love in the Front Yard

Still makes me snicker.


Hopping to the Finish Line

"In communities, at work, but particularly in families, people are put together in something like a three-legged race. God means us to cross the finish line together, and all the other people tied together with us play some part in our progress. They are oftentimes used to rouse our stubborn sins to the surface, where we can deal with them and overcome them. Bundled together in families, a giant seven or nine or fifteen legged pack, we seem to make very poor progress indeed and fall to the ground in bickering heaps with some regularity. But God has put us together - has appointed each person in your bundle specifically for you, and you for them. And so, 'little children, let us love one another' with might and main, and keep hopping together toward the finish line." [Fredrika Matthewes-Green, from "The Illuminated Heart"]

We do need each other. Thanks for being in my bundle. Let's keep hopping!
[picture via flickr]



"Laughter is the most healthful exertion." [Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland]

This kind of tickled me, especially right now when so many of us are trying our hardest to lose weight and get into shape for this new year. Laugh! It can't hurt, right?

In other [sadder] news -- I just got an email from Deseret Book regretfully informing me that my great bargain purchase of the children's Christmas costumes was in fact a mistake. On their part. So sorry, they said. That doesn't help! Dang it -- I wanted those.

But. Laugh. OK. Great exercise, yes?


She Made My Day!

I'm a little cranky right now -- I have not one but two aching feet, we are the ward with the middle schedule, which is complicated in more ways than you might realize for us Primary types, and we are dealing with issues that seem so lame that I can't believe that we really have to take care of them. Sigh. Anyhow, I'm just a little testy.

Yesterday, however, when I got back from a fast trip to IKEA with Natalie and the kiddoes, I found a message on my answering machine that cracked me up and put a big smile on my face. One of the moms in our ward, Stacie, who has 3 Primary age children, called and had her brand-new Sunbeam, Mia sing for me. She said that she thought I had taught the song and she was right, I had - but not to Mia! I had taught it to her big brother and sister and Mia had picked it up from them. Also bear in mind that Mia is barely 3 , was the little girl last week who was not so sure she wanted to be there and had more than a few tears to prove it.

I listened to the message and there was Mia's sweet little 3 year old voice, singing loud and clear: "A mother, a father, a friend to play, a sunny day. The gospel light, shining bright. Thank Thee, Lord, I say." (from "My Blessings" by Janice Kapp Perry).

I laughed out loud. Then I smiled. Then I laughed again. And I"m still smiling, the next day. Literally made my day. These little ones really do hear and learn.

Thanks, Stacie!! Boy, did I need that! Still smiling.

**Update -- here's Miss Mia! Isn't she a cutie?


Let Go

There's a great article in the new LDS Living magazine that arrived yesterday entitled "Let Go." The author, Carolyn Rasmus discusses letting go of not only physical things (i.e., de-cluttering) but linked it to emotional and spiritual things as well. It's a great article and I recommend it.

She included a list of ways to get started:

1. Think of one thing you could let go of. I like to start in the smallest room first - the bathroom. Do you have a hair product that's just sitting on the shelf? If you don't like it and never use it, let go!

2. Are you like me with the catalogs? If so, take a deep breath and let go. You can eliminate more clutter by donating old paperbacks and textbooks to the local library.

3. Clean out your car. Most of us spend a considerable amount of time in our vehidcles, so why not make it a clutter-free environment?

4. As you sort through clutter, ask yourself the following questions: Do I love it? Do I need it? Does it enhance my life? If the answer is no to any of these questions, give the item to someone else or throw it away!

5. Are you carrying resentment, envy, pride, remorse or other ill feelings? Pray for help to know how to eliminate these feelings and move forward.

I think this is my favorite quote of all:

"I know from my own experience that sometimes the things we most need to let go of, we hold onto the tightest. Often, we need Christ’s wisdom and strength to help us identify those things we need to let go of and to teach us the things that are of such worth that we need to hang onto them with all of our strength.

Each of us so desperately needs that healing that comes from letting go of sins, offenses, resentments, and anger; sometimes we need to forgive ourselves. Of those things that would canker and fester your soul—let go. Of the true doctrine that can change our attitudes and behaviors—hold on with all your might!"

Great thoughts to ponder -- happy Sunday!


Dance Fever

I think it's the hockety-bom-bomb they're doing. Right?

It's nice to be so easily amused, I think.


(photo via flickr)

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." [Mark Twain]

Too much of the time I think I have let my todays come and go without really doing something. Mark Twain is right -- everyone needs to explore, dream and discover. And Erma Bombeck explains why:

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me." [Erma Bombeck]

Auntie Mame said, "Live!" And don't forget to find a way to give too.

So today, set sail, do something and use those talents you've been given.



Check these out. It would be hard for me to believe they are really made of toilet paper, except for the experience we had at Natalie's wedding shower. As part of a game, several girls, Natalie included, were dressed in TP wedding gowns. One especially was amazing -- and these are too. Take a look here. Somebody definitely has skills.

Timing is Everything

This morning I got an email from Deseret Book announcing a 75% off sale on their Christmas things. I browsed a little bit and ended up ordering three sets of really cute Nativity costumes for children. My theory was that I can use it for Primary and/or we can do a family Nativity pageant at Christmas since next year the kiddoes should all be able to participate.

Interestingly enough, as I went back this afternoon to get the link to pass on, the costumes are listed as 'out of stock'. You can still see them here but at the regular prices, and they can't be added to your cart. I must have been amazingly lucky this morning - they do say timing is everything!

I ended up paying around $35 + shipping total -- which is still far less than even one of the sets is priced at originally. I may have missed out on the big Target toy clearance yesterday (double drat, as Maya would say!) , but I lucked out at Deseret Book today.


Walking in Your Footsteps

I love children. I love their fresh perspectives on things, I love their candor and I love the way they can zero in on what really matters.

I remember hearing a story about a mother who had 10 children and was expecting #11. Clearly her life was hectic but one day she had more trouble than usual doing the routine chores. Her 3 year old son was on her heels no matter where she went or what she did. Everytime she turned around she'd trip over him. Several times she patiently suggested activities to occupy him and always got the same response, "Oh, that's all right, Mommy. I'd rather be in here with you." And he'd continue to bounce happily along behind her.

After stepping on his toes for the fifth time, she lost patience and insisted that he go outside to play. He resisted, and when she asked him why he was acting this way, he looked up at her and
said, "Well, Mommy, in Primary my teacher told me to walk in Jesus' footsteps. But I can't see Him so I"m walking in yours."

What a great reminder of the vital role of a mother. Moms truly are the link between their children and the Savior.

Humbling. (I wish I could go back and re-do some of my footsteps.)


Must Haves for the New Year

#1. The flying, screaming monkey. We first ran into these at the Hacking's Christmas party and had to have them so they ended up in our Christmas stockings this year. They're a real treasure.

#2. Also in the flying category, a flying alarm clock. Hasn't everyone always wanted one of these?
#3. Of course, everyone needs a Hillary Nutcracker. 'Nuff said!

#4. Your own muscle beach guy. If you owned the Dumbell Dwayne , you could watch him pump iron all winter long. Who needs beaches?These seem (to me, anyhow) to be must-haves for the new year. What self-respecting person would be without them? Check them out and much much more here.

Life is Really Good

Just finished browsing the Life is Good site and found the have some fun new stuff. Loved the new crusher tees and the fresh new colors and patterns. Check them out - -there are lots of fun things for both men and women. Kids too! I think my favorites right now are the Sunset Cruise, the Take your Sweet Time and Stay Cool tees. Which do you like?



Maya Angelou was on the Oprah show in April as she celebrated a 70+ birthday. While she was there, she shared many things she's learned over the course of her life and especially her insights on aging. I liked hearing that she was interested in the race her breasts were having to see which would reach her waist first -- I can relate! She was very warm and funny and wise. This is probably my favorite quote from the show:

"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back." (Maya Angelou)
I agree.


How I Love Primary!

Today was the fresh start for our 2008 Primary year. I admit it, I was apprehensive and here's why. My first counselor, Candice, was home with a sick daughter. My second counselor, Natalie, was traveling back here from her Christmas trip to Utah. So that left me and my secretary, Mariann to take care of everything. Thank goodness for all our Primary teachers and music leaders! Our biggest problem is that we are now the middle ward -- we are sandwiched between two others and we have no time to go into the Primary room and organize it and set it up as we have done in the past. For me, that's a huge problem. If the children come into chaos, chaos will never leave. This I know.

Our Bishopric doesn't want us leaving Sacrament meeting early to set up, so I convinced them to hold the congregation and let the Primary leaders and teachers scurry down to do what set-up we can get in before the kids arrive. We had a lot of Aaronic priesthood boys and their leaders helping us -- so it was a bit chaotic but once we all know what we want done, it should go quickly.

I did Sharing Time, and despite some off-and-on sobbing from one of the twelve (yup, twelve!) new Sunbeams, both Jr. and Sr. Primary went well. And once again, I felt the spirit so strongly as I did what I had prepared to do, which was to teach and bear testimony and love the children and their teachers.

I love Primary. With all my heart. I really do. I'm so grateful for the chance I have to be part of the lives of these precious little ones and their equally precious teachers.


One Down, Three to Go

Today we held our first Primary quarterly activity and it went so well. We had a "Meet Your New Teacher" breakfast, which is hardly a brand-new, awe-inspiring idea. But we did a pizza party last year that ended up being more of a "meet your substitute teacher" pizza party so we wanted to try again.

We served fresh Shipley Donuts, bananas and juice boxes -- figured the kids needed more sugar, right?! Actually, with the 'we don't cook in the church kitchen' (WHAT??) rule, it seemed easiest. And it was easy with pretty much no mess involved.

We had 10 dozen donuts which all disappeared, a lot of bananas (only 4 bananas made it home) and 108 juice boxes (only 5 of them survived) . The kids had a great time. We threw quilts and blankets on the floor and had a picnic style breakfast then introduced the new theme for the year (I Am a Child of God) with cute silicone bracelets like the Lance Armstrong LiveStrong ones. Ours are white and say "I am a Child of God" both in English and in Spanish. The kids loved them and I'm hoping to see them on little wrists off and on during the year. {find them here}.

Then we sent them to their new classrooms with their teachers to play a getting-to-know-you game, brought them back into the Primary room to sign our new tablecloth and sent them home. The turnout was great, the kids loved it, the teachers loved it and we loved it. It really was a rip-roaring success.

Makes for a nice Saturday. Now only 3 activities more to go!
{poster above available here}