“I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.” ~Abraham Lincoln

There are days when I really feel like I am wading through mud, dragging my feet [and the rest of my reluctant, slow-to-learn self] behind. I hate feeling like I am not progressing the way I'd like to. But I am not walking backwards. I need to remind myself of that, when I feel like my progression forward is too slow.

There's so much I want to do and to be and I'm not good at 'slow'. I want to do better and I want to be better. But steady is good, and my progression is undeniably forward -- just not at the pace I would like. I think I want perfection now.

At least I'm not walking backward.


Yes or No?

Well? Yes or no?



" Everyone is the age of their heart." ~Guatemalan Proverb

Miss Maya is very interested in my age [more so recently since I just had a birthday] and thinks it's cool that we both have 5's in our ages [she will be 5 soon]. Me? I'm not quite so taken with it but the above cartoon spoke to me today.

I did start at one. But if I am the age of my heart, I'm still just a kid. Thank goodness.


How God Does Things

“It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.” ~Donald Miller

After a full Saturday of errands, shopping, preparation for Sunday and general busy-ness, I'm looking forward to Sunday: time at church, time with family, and time with children I love.

Most especially, I look forward to quiet time, where I can sit and think, listen and feel the spirit. It's during quiet moments that those simple, life-changing things happen.

Happy Sunday!



Like I said before, it's not all bad to have your birthday presents late to arrive: it extends the celebration!

Look what was handed to me yesterday! Not only is it exactly my style and something that I will wear and enjoy, [I told Natalie to expect to see it a lot - -and she will!] but the sentiment engraved on the top of the bracelet says it all.

'Loved'. On a day when I feel dumb [like yesterday], or frustrated or alone or lonely or unlovable, I can glance down and remember that I am blessed. I am happy, and I am loved.

Thank you, Chris, Natalie and kiddoes! I love it.



I have been reflecting recently on choices -- there are choices to be made everywhere. Some choices are hard and some are easy. But the bottom line is that is given to us to be able to choose. [2 Nephi 2:27]

When I was younger, I remember reading a talk by Pres. Kimball about choices -- the words he used were 'decide to decide.' His point was that if you make the decision well in advance of an actual event, when it does happen, the decision is made and there is no wavering or consideration or struggle. You already know what you will do in almost any situation.

I loved that thought and have tried to use it in my life. There are some decisions I made long ago. Knowing in advance what I will and will not do makes things much easier as time goes on. I already know what my choice is going to be.

And I think this quote says it all:

"Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world." ~Anso Coetzer

When I know who it is that I am really trying to please, it all falls into place. The decision is made.



Beautiful roses, and yummy cake.

Miss Vida, waiting to move into her new home.

Birthday balloons -- with a fishy theme!

I had a lovely birthday yesterday -- thanks to so many of you for your love and wishes.

My sister had already surprised me with a necklace [the 'pebble ring' necklace] that I love [it arrived before the big day] and yesterday, my sweeties Mason and Maya showed up with balloons, cards and a special surprise that they picked out themselves: a little Vida-fish all my own! They provided everything I needed to get her all set up too -- the bowl, the bright colored gravel, the water conditioner, the food, and Miss Vida herself. She is a sweet little fishy and waves her fins at me every time I go to tell her hello. What I love most is that they picked everything themselves and I knew it.

Mark arrived home at lunch with a beautiful bouquet of roses [they smell delicious!] and the promise of whatever gift I want once I make up my mind [which could take some time - the older I get, the harder it is to put together a wish list.] Natalie had ordered something [still a surprise!] and was annoyed that it hadn't arrived in time. [it's all good -- that extends the birthday and there's nothing wrong having random gifts arriving!] Chris and Tara called to check in and they were not sure what to send so once again the BD gets extended. Math put together a fun mix CD that he did just for me which is always something I love. Both parents sent the money [the ultimate gift!] and I'm going to hoard it till I figure out how I want to spend it.

My counselor and friend Natalie showed up in the afternoon with a beautiful [and delicious] home-made white chocolate raspberry [my hands-down favorite flavor] birthday cake which we enjoyed with ice cream after a fabulous dinner with family at Chuy's. And there was even a fresh loaf of home-made bread from another sweet friend -- it doesn't get better than this!

And of course there were all the sweet greetings and phone calls that I received from friends and family members. All together, it made for a lovely birthday.

I felt loved -- thank you!


Spreading Love

"Spread love everywhere you go . . . let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier." ~Mother Teresa

That woman really knew what she was talking about, didn't she? As soon as I read this, I knew it was something that I wanted to make a conscious effort towards.

I want people to leave my presence uplifted, smiling and feeling great about themselves. A good goal, no?

** I know the picture doesn't go with the quote -- I had the quote all ready to go with another picture and then started getting lots and lots of birthday wishes [which was a lovely surprise!]. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful birthday greetings. I wondered how so many people knew.

Hardly anyone is as lucky as I am to have such a lovely daughter!


Method to my Madness

I'm the best Grandma in the world and this is why: I'm helping with fine motor skills.



"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." ~Emerson

For me, this picture says it all. The grandchildren love the stories and the time with Grandpa, who loves it probably even more. What a gift!

[picture via Greg Olsen]


The Quilt

Since it was my parents' 60th wedding anniversary on August 2, my brothers, my sister and I really wanted to give them something 'commemorative' so that they'd know how much we love them and what a great example they've given us to follow. It was hard to come up with something that was just right as they live in a small apartment in an assisted living place, so there's not much room for more 'stuff'.

We thought about something engraved, or something traditional, but nothing that I came up with seemed like the right answer till I had the thought of a personalized, commemorative quilt. Mom was a quilter for many years [sadly, this talent will probably die off in our family as neither my sister nor myself are quilters] and produced beautiful things. So I wondered about maybe something along that line.

I browsed Etsy and found the perfect item listed. I emailed Sara, the quilt maker, and she was very willing to work fast to produce the quilt and get it shipped to me in time to take it to Lethbridge. She was amazing to work with. I found out later that she has 4 young boys, which I'm sure made things complicated as she did a rush job on the quilt.

And it turned out to be lovely! When the quilt arrived, I had tears in my eyes because it was done so quickly [and I'm sure there were family sacrifices on Sara's part so that it could get done in time], and it was beautiful. I was proud to take it home with me as the gift for Mom and Dad on their anniversary.

Their wedding picture is on it, as well as a picture of each us kids and spouse, and a label on the back describing the occasion of their 60th anniversary. Sara did such a meticulous, beautiful job, and [as I just learned] endured a few exciting moment in the process. Mom and Dad loved it, and I gained a new friend in Sara, who actually lives just down the road in College Station, Texas.

Thanks to Sara for her hard work, her talent and creativity. And thanks to Dad and Mom for sharing their special day with all of us.


Coming Home

"There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again." ~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Natalie, the kiddoes and I had a wonderful trip to Lethbridge to celebrate my parents' 60th anniversary and my dad's 85th birthday. We arrived later than everyone else simply because of scheduling -- it was not possible to leave here before we finished up with the play. That made it so that we only really just ran into a couple of family members and wished there had been more time with each of them: Elizabeth, Bruce and baby, Sarah, Rachel, Adam and Tib, but it was one of those things where we just did the best we could do.

It was great to re-connect with family members that we love dearly and miss more now because we've had some time with them again. Mostly for me it was wonderful to see my parents and reflect on what great examples and friends they are to all of us. They made arrangements for all of us to stay at a hotel in Lethbridge that has its own water park -- and the kids loved it. Even I got a lot of time on the waterslide and had a blast. We had a fun day up at Waterton, a place I love to be, and enjoyed the beauty there.

We had time to visit with my sister Val, her husband Keith and their family, with my brother Brian and his wife Karen, and with my brother Ross, his wife Lisa and their family. These are all people I love dearly and it just reinforced my gratitude for the gospel and the knowledge we have that we can be together forever. I love that!

After all that visiting and catch-up time, I was so glad to be home again. It's so nice to be able to visit and catch up on the lives of loved ones, but it's wonderful to be back home. Our son Chris started his MBA this past week through UT, so he was here doing that and I got to see him for a few minutes yesterday before he headed back to Dallas. We got to visit with our Matthew last night over dinner, and we watched Chris Cottam compete in the Austin Ice Cream Festival ice cream eating contest [he won last year, and nearly did it again this year -- and now he really won't want vanilla ice cream ever again!], and had a few minutes with Chris's brother Sam and sister-in-law Jessica. All in all, this has been a great family week.

But I love being home again.

[photo via flickr]


Happy and Busy

Oh, busy times! But wonderful times as well. We have had several performances of "Savior of the World": the first was a closed dress rehearsal, the second was the open dress rehearsal, and then yesterday, we did 2 shows - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The spirit is always so strong and the orchestra has been great.

My job? To stand on a chair on one side of the pit and direct the choir and soloists, so that the singers can look down, see me and we can stay with the orchestra. They can't see the orchestra director, so the other choir director, Marc, stands on his own chair on the opposite side of the pit and we both try to stay with the orchestra director and each other and hold the music together.

Have we succeeded? Mostly. There was a small problem last night when, at a crucial point, the microphone on the angel proclaiming the birth of the Savior cut out. It's crucial because we need to hear his voice so we can cue the choir. The angel speaks, the choir and orchestra sing/play, then hold while the angel speaks some more, we sing/play some more and hold, he speaks etc. You can see that we need to hear him. We managed to keep it together -- but I'm hoping and praying for no mike issues today.

All in all, a wonderful production. Come see it. You still have 2 chances today, at 2 and at 7. Peek into the pit and tell me hello. Come and feel the spirit.

Check it out at http://www.savioroftheworldtickets.com/ As Peter says in the show, "Do it!"