Love Without Tiring

"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired." ~Mother Teresa

We had the funnest [wait, is that a word?!] time in Primary yesterday. Nothing spectacular happened, really, but it was just a lovely Sunday. As I looked out over the faces of all the children that are so dear to me, this quote surfaced in my mind. Mother Teresa really knew what she was talking about.

Love may not be the answer to everything, but it makes a difference to everyone. It's something that the scriptures say we should do without ceasing. It's something that is harder with some people than with others. But the bottom line is that we don't have to be exceptional and extraordinary. We just have to keep on loving. That's what makes it real.

Today my counselor Natalie and I spent a few minutes visiting with a little guy who has had a terrible time recovering from a tonsillectomy. Once again, I was flooded with the thought that what I need to do is to love the little ones that are part of my life. I was so relieved to see how well he is doing, to see his little face smiling at us and to receive his hug. What a gift!

So that's what I am going to do. Just keep on loving.



Today, I got a phone call from Maya, telling me that she had lost her first tooth. She was so excited to call and share her news with me. What I can't take in is the fact that the tooth is out! How did this happen? Where did the time go? [I know she's a little early and that teeth generally do not come out at age 4, but really!] Amazing.

It's had me thinking about milestones and filled me with gratitude for the opportunities I have to be aware and participate in these milestones with a new generation of our family. I knew I always wanted grandchildren, but I never anticipated the joy I feel in each of these little people that are part of my life. I remember reading this somewhere: "A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance" and I loved it.

That says it all for me. As I look back, I'm not so sure I was a great mom. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I was a bad mom, but I can see lots of things I would change if I could. For example, I wouldn't threaten my kids with something that I really didn't want to carry through on. My kids knows exactly what I"m talking about here. I would hold my temper, and I would cherish every second with my three precious little ones. I think I spent too much time trying to be a great YW leader and not enough time trying to be a great mama.

So that's why I loved the quote about grandma-hood being a second chance. Now I know that I can love, love, love these precious grandkids without reservation. I know now that I won't spoil them. I can just play. I can listen, and I can put aside my 'important' duties as a Primary leader and just enjoy time with my sweeties. I can take the time to really hear the things they have to say, I can share what's important to them in their lives and not worry about what's important to me [because they are what's important to me]. There's never a danger of losing my temper now - -and I wonder why. Maybe because I know that there is nothing they can do that is worth that.

So, Daniel, Maya, Ben, Mason and soon Baby Simon -- thank you for giving me the greatest gift I've ever been given. You. I love all of you and I love being a part of your lives. I love it that you love me back.

Thanks for letting me be your grandma. You are among my sweetest blessings.


Course Corrections

"Remember: the heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways to get back in the light of gospel truth." ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "A Matter of a Few Degrees", Ensign, May 2008, 57–60

Thank goodness for this knowledge! It means there's hope for all of us.



I've already spent way too much time having fun with this site -- where you can personalize your stationery with your family, pets, hobbies and anything else you can think of. Check it out!!
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Friends Matter

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive -- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." ~Marcus Aurelius

After a busy, stressful weekend, it's nice to be able to stop and realize what a gift my life really is. Despite the worries [Mark's continuing mysterious, nasty illness is what's on my mind in the 'worries' category], the busy-ness [yup, the play. You know what I'm talking about -- and I'm here to tell you that it's going to get worse before it gets better], the day-to-day issues of keeping the Primary staffed and running, and just life in general [I include still-aching feet in that one], it's a blessing to remember that life is wonderful.

It is a gift to be alive and it is a privilege. Friends help make it all worthwhile. And that's you.

I'm hoping we can all realize how important we are to those around us. Here's to a happy week!


Another Gas Price Rant

Every time Mark fills up his car [and bear in mind he is not filling up a big car - -he drives a very small PT Cruiser] I get mad when I have to subtract the amount from the checking account. It just shouldn't cost $50 to fill up a tiny little car like his. It really shouldn't.

I'm sure that if I wanted to buy Premium, my oldest son Chris would be in the hands of the gas companies right now.


Great Stuff!

Look what just arrived! They are even cuter in person than I thought they'd be [and I thought they'd be adorable!]. And what a bargain-- order 2 and get one for free. They are so reasonably priced, so quirky-cute and available in every color or style you could ever want. What I really love is that you can see the Scrabble tile each was made from when you turn the pendant over. Love it!! Go here and pick out some for yourself. I didn't 'need' 3 of them but I got one for myself and 2 for gifts. Doesn't get better than that!

Love, love, love them! Thanks, Home Studio!


Prayers Needed!

Some of you have inferred from my last post that I am worried about something and you would be right. Here's the story.

On Saturday, Mark noticed that the lymph nodes on the left side of his neck felt swollen. During the day, the swelling continued, and he started to notice hives appearing on his body. By Sunday night, there were an amazing amount of nasty looking hives [actually they really look like bad bee stings] that were itching and hurting, and the swelling of the lymph nodes had reached epic proportions. He was on the phone to his family doctor first thing Monday morning.

His doctor didn't know what was going on and sent him to see an ENT [ear, nose and throat specialist] on Tuesday. He too was baffled, but put Mark on an antibiotic in case it is a bacterial infection. He also scheduled a CT scan of the area of the lymph nodes so that they can see more of what's going on there.

By Tuesday night, he was literally covered with hives and we asked our Home Teachers to come and give him a blessing, which they did. This morning, there were more spots and he went back in to his family doctor, who sent him immediately to a dermatologist. The dermatologist checked him out, did a biopsy of one of the sores [each little hive seems to scab over and then the area looks like a nasty blood blister and then a big bruise begins to form - very weird] and potentially has a diagnosis. It has a name that Mark can't remember but it's a viral thing.

So now my poor sweetie is on prednisone, an anti-itch medication, the antibiotic [still just in case] and had the CT scan this afternoon. Once there are some results from the biopsy and CT scan, there may be more information.

For now, it looks like it could go on for 2-3 more weeks [ARGHHH!!] and the poor guy is miserable. I hate this for him. I can't begin to tell you how I hate it for him. The pictures really only show the very tip of the iceberg with the hives. It's sad. Very sad.

So, add him [and us] to your prayer list if you would. I know that when we put our needs in the hands of the One who can really do something, things happen. And once again, I am reminded that we can't do it alone.

**Edited note: Mark tells me that actually, on Sunday night and Monday morning, there were only a very few little hives, nothing much to be concerned about really -- but they have multiplied at an amazing rate.


When Life is a Puzzle

"When we can't piece together the puzzle of our own lives, remember the best view of a puzzle is from above. Let Him help put you together." ~Amethyst Snow-Rivers

When worries weigh me down, I have to remember that there is someone who knows the way through this maze we call life and has a plan for each of us. I must rely on His view and His ability to put [and keep] me together.

Isaiah's writings are such a mystery most of the time but this couldn't be more clear:

"Hast thou not known? Has thou not heard that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait up on the Lord shall renew their sterength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary: and they shall walk and not faint." [Isaiah 40:28-30]


Footprints on my Heart

I have a little plaque on my kitchen wall that I look at every day. It was a gift from a dear friend that I met when we lived in Idaho. The reality is that I haven't seen her in a long time [probably at least 20 years] and we haven't been in touch in nearly that long. I don't even really know where she is living now. I think of her every day when I see the plaque and wonder how she is and what she is doing.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."

Today I got an email from another friend, one that I met when we lived in Las Vegas. We clicked immediately and always enjoyed being together. We share a love of music and loved it when she would sing and I would accompany her. But life has been busy since our move, I didn't have an email or street address for her and I haven't heard from her [nor she from me] since probably before October of '04. It was so good to hear from her and to do a little catch-up on what's gone on in her life since we were last together.

And as I read her message and composed my response, I realized that she had surely left footprints on my heart -- just as the first friend has done, and so many others that have passed through my life. I feel so blessed to have had so many good people to love and be loved by and so many opportunities to meet more good people.

My heart is full of footprints and I'm so grateful.


In My Inbox Today:

Friends are like butt cheeks.
Crap might separate them,
But they always come back together.

Send this to all your butt cheeks

Still smiling.


Deep Thoughts

This is a mystery to me. Always has been, always will be. Anybody have an answer to the eternal question?


Being an Example

"The only measure of what you believe is what you do. If you want to know what people believe, don't read what they write, don't ask them what they believe, just observe what they do." ~Ashley Montagu

I'm a people-watcher. I love to find myself somewhere unobtrusive to sit and just watch whatever's going on. I love watching young moms with their children, older couples together, kids playing. Really, I can entertain myself for hours watching just about anyone and everyone. Everyone has a story, and often, the love you can see on faces that don't know they are being watched is touching, sweet and inspiring.

Try it. Because you really will be able to see what they believe.

It's scary to consider that other people are probably watching me. How important it is then to make sure that my actions portray who I really am.

[*sweet picture of a precious little boy who didn't know he was being watched!]


Crocs -- my footwear of choice [for now, anyhow!]

You may [or may not] remember that I have had 2 foot surgeries in the fairly recent past -- one in October and one in late December of last year. Time has passed, and while there has been some improvement, it's becoming obvious that feet are probably always going to be an issue for me. I don't think running will be something I ever get into again, [so thank goodness for the love affair I have cultivated with my elliptical machine!] and I do believe I will have to carefully consider the footwear that I choose, at least for some time to come.

That being said, thank goodness for Crocs and their wide array of choices, both for summer and winter. At least now I have lots of options, and have exercised that option in a big way.

The above are my current summer favorites. I am almost embarrassed to admit how many pairs and colors I own. The one I like best? The top pair, the "Patra", which I own in the color shown. I actually do own at least one pair of each of the others pictured, in a variety of colors.

They make my feet feel good - and I think they look pretty cute too.



“I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much.” ~Mother Teresa

One of my favorite scriptures is found in I Cor. 10:13 where it tells us that we won't be given any temptation that is too hard for us to bear or that our Father won't help us escape from. I take that not only to mean literal temptations, but also burdens or frustrations or pains of any kind.

Knowing that, we can assume [as Mother Teresa has said], that He trusts us a whole lot and sometimes I'm not so sure I merit or even want that trust. Not if it brings all the heartaches and hurts of life with it.

But in general, how grateful I am that He sees fit to place His trust in me. I'm thankful for the things in my life that are hard, for the pains, the frustrations and the heartaches. Because that means He does trust me.

And that's a good feeling . Happy Sunday!


God's Best

“We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." ~C.S. Lewis

Isn't that the truth? Sometimes, as we look back on our best learning experiences, it seems that they are often our most painful experiences. Why is that? I suspect it's because growth is painful. The phrase 'growing pains' is an accurate one. It hurts to stretch, to do things that are hard, to slog our way through heartbreaking experiences. As we struggle, we can't see beyond the immediate hurt and pain. It's only once we have conquered the experience, done the learning, and gained strength that we can really understand why we had to learn that way.

Some of us seem to have to learn everything the hard way. One of the [few] benefits of being older is the opportunity to look back and have that 'aha' moment and realize why things needed to happen as they did. For me, it's nice to be able to understand that the end result, the growth, strength and learning, was worth the cost: the pain, heartache and frustration .

God does do the best for us; He always will. And His best isn't free and/or painless. We have to remember what it is that He is building.

And when He's finished, it will all be worth it.



Today as I read Hayley's blog, I was touched [as always] by the love she has for her dad. She and her sisters, Holly and Heather, are always clear on way they feel about their parents and the closeness they have as a family. I love that. I love reading about families and the love they share.

I have the same feelings and today my thoughts have gone to my own dad. I suspect it's because Father's Day is approaching and as always, I'm looking for the perfect Father's Day gift for the best dad in the world -- and I know that Mark feels the same about his own dad.

I remember reading this quote and feeling that it clearly expressed the way I feel about my dad:

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
~Clarence Budington Kelland

My dad will be 85 years old in August, and he and my mom will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary the day before. I can hardly take that in. They love each other, they love us, and they are both dealing with their somewhat reduced capacity to get around as best they can -- with a positive, happy attitude. I love them both so much and am so thankful for their example.

Because that's just how they are -- they live their lives in a quiet, unassuming manner, deal with problems with grace and patience and in so doing, have shown the rest of us how to live. I'm grateful I have been allowed to watch and learn.

[picture taken of my mom and dad with my nephew Eric and wife Jacquie in Sept. '07]


Ideas Needed

I will be doing Sharing Time this Sunday and I need ideas. The monthly topic is the temple but my weekly topic is how our tithing funds are used to help build temples. I'd like to have the kids make something to keep their tithing money in at home. I've seen various penny banks done with bottles, and I've seen boxes with three compartments [save, spend, and tithe categories] but all I'd like to do is to have the kids make and decorate a small container for them to store their tithing in till they take it to the Bishop. Just something simple.

But I have no ideas. Little boxes would be cute -- you know, just a little square box that jewelery comes in. Or a bottle of some kind would work. I've thought about water bottles -- I have a zillion of those but I'm thinking that while you could make a slot to put the coins in, the tops would be too small for a quarter to come out of when it was time to pay the tithing. Probably wouldn't be the right answer and I'd need 80 - 100. Those mini-Pringles containers would be good but again, I need a lot of them. Obviously money is an issue here as well.

Any ideas? This would be done during Sharing Time so there wouldn't be a lot of time to do anything elaborate which is why I like the small box or can idea. Not sure where to get those though -- and like I said, I'm blanking here. I'm so not creative.



Home Again

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present." ~Babatunde Olatunji

We had a wonderful trip to Denver. We had a ball at Casa Bonita with the family [I think Maya and Daniel's favorite part was when they got to dress up like bank robbers and had their picture taken], we hung out with Chris and Tara and boys [and celebrated Ben's 3rd birthday with a candle in his breakfast pancake yesterday], and enjoyed visiting and time with Mark's parents and various family members. Mostly, that was my favorite: the times when we were just able to sit and visit and catch up on each others' lives. That's the best part for me.

I'm sure Natalie will have lots of pictures to post but as I look through what we ended up with, once again I realize that we are picture-taking challenged. We really are. Mark did get a couple of very sweet pics of the kids playing together at the mall, and several good shots of the fabulous playplace at the Cherry Creek Mall where all the climbing toys look like breakfast foods. Also, the above where you see one very tired little boy, snuggled into his Mama's shoulder. But as for real, family pictures? Not so much. Sigh.

We had such a great time, the flights were all on time and smooth, and it was wonderful to visit with loved ones -- but I'm so glad to be home.