What Really Matters

"It is difficult to know what counts in the world. Most of us count credits, honors, dollars. But at the bulging center of mid-life, I am beginning to see that the things that really matter take place not in the boardrooms, but in the kitchens of the world." ~ Gary Allen Sledge

Oh, how I love this quote. For as long as I can remember, my only desire and goal was to be a mom. I love all my other roles in life, to be sure, but the bottom line is and has always been the gift of mom-hood and home life. Without question, my most important [and most rewarding] role is the one that plays out in the home. It always has been, and it always will be.


Fathers and Daughters

"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~John Gregory Brown

There is something very special about the relationship between a little girl [and a not-so-little girl] and her daddy. I have been blessed with a lovely relationship with my own dad: he's the one I would run to as a child, and even as an adult, for any reason at all. One of my most comforting memories is of climbing up into his lap, burying my face in his shoulder [which generally was clothed in a fresh, clean, white shirt] and crying out my frustrations. He was always willing to be covered with tears, and in my later years, mascara as well. That's something I still like to do -- climb up into his lap and snuggle with him. I have always felt peaceful, safe and loved there.

It's been wonderful to watch my own daughter with her dad. She still [at age 30] calls him 'Daddy' and there is a deep and precious line of love that runs between them. It's been fun to watch their relationship settle into a cherished friendship.

And now, what a gift to watch Miss Maya with her own daddy. They adore each other, and I see much of my own relationship with my dad as I observe the love she and Chris share.

It's wonderful to see boys and dads too, but there is just something tender and sweet in the love of a girl and her daddy.



I love Mason's current age and phase of life. He's pretty darn cheerful most of the time and is learning by leaps and bounds. One thing he's way into right now is names. He takes great pride in his ability to tell you the names of his loved ones.

"Mason, what's Grandma's name?" "Jan!" "What about Grandpa?" "Mark!" [only it sounds like 'Mahk' -- even cuter!]. "What's Daddy's name?" "Chris!" "And Mama?" "Nat-a-wee!" "What about big sister?" "Maya!"

Every response is accompanied by the world's biggest and proudest smile. On both of us.

But my favorite name is the one he knows me by best: Grandma!!


Fall is in the Air

It doesn't really feel like fall here --- we are cooling down a little bit though and the feeling of change is in the air. I think for me, it becomes obvious when my favorite t-shirt makers come out with new colors and styles. Can I just say how much I love these shirts? [it's a lot!]

Check them out -- my pick of the new ones? I can't choose. Some are long-sleeved and some are short, but do browse and decide for yourself.

On second thought, I think the new grape color is a favorite!



With Mark on the High Council at this point, I'm always on the alert for jokes about the 'Dry Council' and boring talks and this one made me laugh.

Notwithstanding the jokes about stake visitors and boring talks, though, church was wonderful yesterday. It was Ward Conference, so the building was teeming with Stake visitors and Mark even got to be in our ward for a change. The talks in Sacrament Meeting were great. Our Stake presidency will be released in a few weeks at Stake Conference, so their words were especially meaningful because we knew this was the last 'official' visit they would pay to our ward. There were some sweet, humble comments made and I loved hearing from them.

Primary too was wonderful. We had the Stake Primary presidency there and a member of the Stake Presidency came to talk with the children, who were so reverent and attentive. Miss Maya gave a [fabulous] talk and the spirit was so strong. I love our Primary children so much and couldn't have been prouder of them. I love it when others see what wonderful kids we have in our ward.

Really, I have nothing special to say except that yesterday was awesome.

Ask me what my favorite day is and it will always be Sunday.



“One of life's best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you've got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.”~Robert Fulghum

Today I'm wearing my 'blessed' necklace. I wear it regularly, to remind myself that I have been richly blessed. I have so much, but from time to time, I do my share of wondering 'why me?'. When that happens, I pull out my beautiful necklace and instantly can start counting my blessings.

To learn the difference between an inconvenience and a problem is something we all need to do. Myself included.

Picture via flickr



"Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends." ~Richard Bach

Yesterday, in the late afternoon I sat down on the couch for my usual 'Jeopardy' fix [here, they show an old episode at 4 and then the newest at 4:30]. Of course, I dozed off and awoke just about 2 minutes before Mark walked in the door [my early warning system is built in, I think!]. No dinner fixed and/or planned. Sigh.

He was tired and neither of us could figure out what we wanted to do for dinner, so we drove down to fill his car with gas and then examined our options. [our list pretty much always consists of two things: close and cheap]. We ended up at Wendy's -- Mark likes his Frosty!

As we walked in the door, the first person we saw was a friend from our ward having a quick dinner with her little boy so we chatted with her for a minute. As we did, someone threw their arms around me from behind, and I realized it was Lauren, the daughter of a good friend from our ward and one of our sweetest Primary kids. Mariann was my Primary secretary till very recently and has now sold her house and is leaving for Arizona tomorrow. She had been on my mind and I had made a mental note to call her today.

We ended up having dinner side-by-side and I came away so grateful that I had had the chance to sit and talk with them. They have Primary and nursery aged kids that I love, and both parents have been wonderful Primary workers. I love them all and they will be so missed. As Mark and I drove home, we talked about how perfect the timing was, and now grateful we were that we had the chance to sit and visit in person, give everyone hugs and send them on their way with our love. Another tender mercy, I think. A phone conversation wouldn't have felt that good -- and knowing my phone skills [non-existent], I do wonder if I'd ever have made the call.

I've been sad ever since we parted last night -- but the above quote puts it all into perspective, as does the scripture in D & C 130:2 , which reminded me that we will be with our friends again, and it will be better than ever before.

Thank goodness. We love Brad, Mariann and their family and while we are happy for them that they are moving 2 doors down from Brad's parents [lucky Grandma!], their absence will leave a big hole in our hearts.


Best Daddy Ever

Oh, yeah!



One great thing about the blogging world is finding fun ideas from others. This one is a keeper for me, and I suspect for many others.

Chocolate Mug Cake
1 Mug
4 tablespoons flour (plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa

1 egg white

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on high. The cake will rise over the top of the mug but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

A great little anytime treat, no?



"There is no outsider anywhere who wouldn't appreciate and even envy the tremendous advantage that sisters have, if properly utilized, against all odds." ~Susan Ripps

Oh, this is true! I have only one sister, and she is something special. We shared a room as well as our lives for our entire growing-up years. I tried to comfort her when the thunderstorms were too much for her [she'd retreat to the bottom of the bed, under the covers], and we had our own special code words to use so we could still whisper when mom thought we were being too noisy. We snuck around in the house in the dark after bedtime together, we laughed hysterically together, we hung out at the A & W together [the only hangout there was in our town at that point in time], and we talked about everything. Much of the time, I think we felt like it was the two of us against the world -- and we could do anything because we had each other. *This is not to say that I was the ideal big sister, because I wasn't. But I always loved my sister and despite the fact that we haven't even lived in the same country for many years, the bond we share has only gotten better and stronger over time.

My friend Natalie has many sisters, and right now, they are the anchor that one of them is clinging to during a rough patch in her life. I know how much that means. My daughter Natalie has always wanted a sister, and I have wished so much that it could have happened for her. I love all the males in my life dearly -- but there is just something special about a sister.

I'm so lucky to have the one I do. Not only is she my one and only, she's the best.


Fun Stuff for Mamas [kids too!]

As I was browsing this morning, I came across these totally cute t-shirts. I'm a big t-shirt wearer myself, but am [finally] to the point where I want some that are not necessarily big, oversized and baggy. [*this is not to say that I don't love me some good old comfy baggy t-shirts sometimes]. Finding these today made me smile.

Maybe not all for me, although I am a mom and I am a happy mom, a grateful mom and a lucky mom. And what about camp mom? I'd even vote for mom! But there are lots of very cute younger [than me] moms who would look adorable in these.

And check out the cute shirts for kids: nothing like a little positive reinforcement, worn on the front of the shirt [as in "you will be a happy kid!]. And every mom needs a child who would vote for them, right? I love these too.

I'm trying to remember the difference between 'want' and 'need' right now. Sigh.

Check them out here.

Summer TV

I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a big TV watcher [OK, maybe I'm a little bit embarrassed!]. And we all know that summer is a big, long dry spell for good TV. I even quite like 'reality' TV but it's getting ridiculous.

That's why this little cartoon struck me funny. As a matter of fact, every time I look at it I just crack up. I think Mark Burnett totally needs to get this one on the air!

Thank goodness fall is nearly here. New TV to get hooked on!


New Stuff

Last week we gave in and bought [another] new bedding set. We had purchased one we really liked a few months back but once we got it home and on the bed, we discovered that it wasn't really big enough even though it was a king set. But we liked it so we kept it and just worked with the size.

After a while, it got so that it didn't look all that great since we are those people who haul food into their room and eat on the bed -- and it looked it! I tried to work on the stains and spots, and only made matters worse. I could have taken it to be cleaned but we decided that since it never really fit anyhow, we'd start over. So we did.

And this is what we found. I love it. Good old Liz Claiborne - she knows how to make your bed look peaceful and restful.

New rules: no eating on the bed [unless you fold down the comforter. Which is what I do because I am the biggest food offender in the house.] so that we can keep it looking nice.

Very peaceful. I think I need a nap.


Life's Mission

"Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't." ~Richard Bach

That puts things into perspective, doesn't it? It doesn't matter whether I'm tired, happy, sad, discouraged or uplifted. If I'm still here, I still have things I need to do.

For me, today that includes a couple of early meetings, testimony meeting, Primary [but with no specific responsibilities today beyond just being there and soaking it all in], then fixing dinner and having a little family time. Sounds like a lovely day to me.

I'm grateful that I still have a mission here and that it matters. Happy Sunday!


Catching Up

One thing I love about the blogging world and the amazing network that is Facebook is how you can find and re-connect with people. We have lived in so many places and met so many great people -- and lost touch with a lot of them.

It's been so great to find some of them and be back in touch. It really makes my heart full and happy when that happens.

Check out this picture: this is me with 4 of my former Beehives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have known where some of them are but hadn't really had any communication with any of them for a while. There's one that I still don't know where she is or what she's doing. But I have been back in touch with the others because of Facebook and blogging.

I love it!

And I love our '80's hair and my big glasses too.



Several of you have commented about the beautiful picture in the previous post -- I totally did not take that picture.

But you can find it here.

Can I just say that I wish I had taken it? It's a favorite!



"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love." ~Mother Teresa

Amazing how that works, isn't it? And it really does. I have found that the only 'method' that really works as we deal with our big group of Primary children is to love, love, love them. Once they know that we really mean it, that we really do love them, they are ours to mold and to work with.

It's a huge responsibility and a huge gift. The love just multiplies.


Happy Birthday to Me! [again]

Look what I found in my mailbox on Saturday! How cute is this? [my feeling is that it could not be any cuter!] I've said it before and I'll probably say it again -- having your birthday extended is not such a bad thing.

Thanks, Chris, Tara, Daniel and Ben! I love it.