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Making it Count

"Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day." ~Dalai Lama

This beautiful thought has inspired me today: to really make sure my friends know how much I love and appreciate them. I have wonderful, loving friends and family and I'm so grateful for them.

I need to make sure my days are meaningful as well: full of fun, service, love, and staying open for inspiration. There is so much to appreciate and so much still to do.

Happy Thanksgiving week to you!


Finding the Light

"I believe in Jesus Christ like I believe in the sun at noon day, not because I can see it, but because by it, I can see everything else.~C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis really speaks to me. I love the way he puts things. In his words, it's all so simple and easy to understand. For me, this is clear. To find the light, just look up. Stay on the path and follow the Son.



"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." ~William Arthur Ward

I had a really sweet experience last week and this quote expresses it beautifully. I have been teaching an adult Institute-type class [scripture based, just like Institute only with no official Institute credit given] in our ward building on Tuesday mornings for about the past 10 weeks. We have been studying the life of Christ, using the four Gospels in the New Testament.

I was a little nervous to agree to take this on -- for several reasons really. First and foremost, I don't feel like a scriptorian. I really don't. I have learned to love the scriptures through baptism by fire: I admit to having taught [and loved] seminary for 15+ years, a total of 19 classes. I have also taught several Institute classes at the Institute in Vegas. But do I know enough to teach adults and feel confident about it? No. Not at all.

But I love to study and I love learning and I love teaching more than anything. And the person who asked me is someone I love dearly and would do pretty much anything for. So I agreed. And I have thoroughly enjoyed it but still, when Mark asks me how class went, my answer is always the same: "I don't know!! I guess it was fine. Ask someone who was there!"

Last week, a sweet lady in the class called me about mid-week to express her gratitude for the class. She said she had gotten up that day feeling like she was never going to be good enough, that she didn't want to make the effort to go to the class, and why should she bother anyhow. But she did get up and she did go. And she told me that the class that day had made all the difference in the world to her and thanked me for my efforts.

It meant the world to me to hear that someone really liked the class. [shades of Sally Field, right? "You like me! You really like me!"] I shared with her the conversation that Mark and I have every week -- and she told me that my response needed to be that Phyllis had loved it and it had made a world of difference to her.

Mark smiled when I told him that. And I was so grateful to Phyllis, for taking the time to call and let me know that what I did really mattered to her.

And now, I need to do better about expressing the gratitude that really is in my heart for many things. I just need to make sure that I let people know.

Because it matters.


We did it!

Today was the Primary program -- really the culmination of the time we've spent this entire past year, studying the theme "I am a Child of God."

Our children were wonderful. Most of them sat on the stand the entire time and were reverent and quiet. The singing was great, probably 95% of the parts were memorized, and despite a few Sunbeam tears [utter fear, I think], it went smoothly and ended right on time.

I was so proud of our children. We had a fun, low-key Sharing Time and had our traditional after-program Rice Krispie Treats. It was a wonderful day -- maybe even autograph-worthy!


This Is Us

People often comment that Mark and I are pretty much opposites, and we really are in most ways. If he likes a certain piece of furniture, you can be nearly 100% sure that I will not only dislike it, I will hate it. If I love a picture or some decorative item for our home, you can almost guess that he won't. When we go shopping for large items, it's high-stress. Our house is pretty much furnished in what I like to call 'early compromise' furniture. Neither of us ever gets what we love -- we end up with what we can tolerate.

The only things we both really like are each other and our family. Apparently it's enough.

He's pretty spectacular -- and the cartoon really is us.

There's my smile for today.



"A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men." Martin Fraquhar Tupper

Having the chance to sit and hold baby Simon is like experiencing a little bit of heaven. There is a special feeling in a home that has a brand new baby -- a little glimpse of eternity, I think.

As baby Simon looks up at me, I feel that he is really looking beyond me, at people and places I can't see and I wish he could tell me about where he's been and how well he was loved there. I imagine how nervous our Heavenly Father must be as He sends these precious little people down to us, and am so thankful that sees fit to entrust them to our care.

Ah, babies. Such a gift and such a trust is placed in each of us that has any part of the life of one of His precious little ones.

As a grandma who loves her 'job', how grateful I am for that trust. There is so much joy in our family right now.


Happy Birthday, Natalie!

I've often read that one of the sweetest things that happens in a family relationship is when your children grow up and become your friends. I'm here to tell you that this really is true.

I have three wonderful children and two equally wonderful in-laws now and I am so thankful for the friendships that we share. It's a great gift to have your children grow up to be the kind of people you have hoped they would be, and in the end, not only your family, but your friends.

My daughter Natalie is a wonderful daughter to Mark and I, a loving and supportive wife to Chris, a tender and wise mama to Maya, Mason and Simon, and now a dear friend to me as well. I love her dearly and will always be grateful for that friendship and love that we share.

Happy birthday to one of my nicest blessings!! Love you, sweetie!

Four Seasons

For my birthday in August, both my parents and Mark's parents gave me money. This year, I was determined to hold onto it all until I decided exactly what I wanted to do with it. You know how the money so easily gets assimilated into the family budget -- well, for once I wanted something significant to show as their birthday gift to me.

I love James Avery jewelery and wish they would bring back their "tree of life" charm. It's beautiful and it's something I'd love to have -- but it's been retired. So I browse through their stuff off and on and found this beautiful "Four Seasons" charm that I fell in love with.

I love it not only because it is so pretty and depicts the four seasons in such a lovely way [and since we don't really have four official seasons here, it's fun for that reason alone], but I love that it reminds me that life is lived in seasons as well.

I need to remember to not wish away the season I am in, but to live in it fully and love it. This necklace is a beautiful reminder for me and I find myself wearing it nearly every day.



I'm so non-political that people probably hate me for it -- and I have to admit that I'm relieved that this election process is over. I'm just done with all the political ads, phone calls and TV coverage.

This one tickled my Canadian funny bone [as Mason would say, "tickles my bone!"].

Maybe we could convince Celine to run next time.


My hairdresser Jake is the best. He really is. He's been doing my hair for a couple of years now, and it's amusing to me now to look back and realize how worried I was when Monica, my former hairdresser, had moved permanently to a salon fairly far away from our area.

Jake really gets it. He has a gift for hair, a fun sense of humor and is an all-around nice guy. And he really gets that hair matters to women. What more can you ask?



"Where there is great love, there are always miracles." ~Willa Cather

I feel like there are miracles all around us right now. Nature of course is an amazing miracle. And, [well, duh!], a new baby in the family is probably the biggest miracle of all. Baby Simon is the greatest gift we've been given since Mason, Ben, Maya and Daniel arrived. He is sweet, calm and loves to snuggle -- what's not to love, right? He really is a miraculous blessing. I know his mama and dad would agree. We are so grateful.

And then yesterday, in Primary, we really had another miracle. We were in the 2nd week of rehearsal for our Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation. You know the drill -- when the kids sit in the chapel for 2 full hours right after they just finished sitting through Sacrament meeting. [I know you are nodding and grimacing right now. It's what I think of in my mind as the 'Great and Dreadful Day'].

Normally, we would only have had one hour [or less] for practice, as we are the 'middle' ward and the other ward needs the chapel for their Sacrament Meeting. But yesterday, the ward that meets last wasn't in the building as they had Stake Conference held elsewhere. [long story there: just know that this ward used to be in our stake till very recently, when a brand new stake was created. So now they are working on building a stake center, but till that happens, we still share our building with them.]

At any rate, we were given the huge gift of having the use of the chapel for the full 2 hours yesterday and we took advantage of it. I was concerned about it, since last week all we got done was seating. But our Primary kids and their teachers really are miraculous. By the time the chapel was emptied out, they were all in their places on the stand. I had anticipated spending a lot of time reminding and it just wasn't necessary.

Then, Kristi, who is my counselor supervising the program, was out of town for a family baptism. So I sort of stepped in and ran the show -- and was amazed and thrilled when I realized that a good 80% or more of our Primary children had already memorized their parts. Some of the parts are pretty long, many are straight from the scriptures, and I couldn't believe how many kids were totally prepared. "Goodly parents" indeed.

The singing? Like angels. Antsy kids? Sure, a few. But not as many as I expected. Most were so quiet and attentive that we were able to get a lot done. Next week, we'll get them seated, run through the entire program [without stopping!] and hopefully feel ready for the final performance for the ward on November 16.

Miraculous? I think so. Grateful? Oh, yes!


Look Who's Home!

And is everyone ever happy!