Monday, November 30, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook~November 30, 2009

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So, For Today...Monday, November 30, 2009

Outside my is pitch black again but not because it is early in the morning. This is the first time I have ever done a daybook entry at night. We have had a busy day, flew home from Utah after spending a delightful 5 days with Jen and Chris and their families. I am looking forward to snuggling into our nice warm bed and getting some sleep very soon.

I am thinking...about how nice this past week has been. Cold, crisp, clear weather, love was in the air in Utah and no snow to traverse. But it looked a little strange with the dormant grass and no snow~it is time and the locals are ready.

I am thankful husband and the wonderful father and grandfather he is. I can promise you that they all rejoice to see him coming. You wouldn't believe all the work he did this week for and with the kids.

From the learning room..that grandchildren are the Lord's compensation for our growing older.

I am reading... the stack of unfinished books on the window seat in our family room.

From the kitchen...Jim's lunch for tomorrow is already made which means getting up at 4:00 am will be less painful.

I am wondering...what it will be like to not have to get up at 4:00 AM someday.

I am wearing...jeans, a red shirt and a red fleece jacket and socks and crocs. Not much of a fashion plate, especially by day's end.

I am hearing...Ray Charles singing some Christmas Songs.

I am creating...nothing right now but this Daybook entry but I did make a fun wreath for Jen and her family this morning at her request. Check it out below.

I am go a new washing machine tomorrow morning. Joy!

I am quoting...God the Father.."This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased. " May we all be more like him.

My spiritual thoughts include...thoughts of Christmas and the lesson I am working on for Sunday.

Around the house...All the travel stuff is put away and tomorrow the heater is going in. Yippee!

I am hoping...we can be completely ready to go to Italy in 12 days.

I have been procrastinating..getting my Christmas card blog finished.

One of my guilty pleasures...
black licorice.

One of my favorite things..when a grandbaby is old enough to remember us between visits. That little face lighting up and giving you a big smile and holding their arms up for you to pick them up is amazing.

A few plans for the rest of the week...prepare lesson for Sunday, buy a few groceries, set up visiting teaching appointments, RS Christmas dinner on Wednesday, sending Jim off the Scout camp for an overnighter, getting the heater and washing machine up and running...finding something fun to do on Saturday with a friend. Checking travel things off my list one by one.

Here is a picture and thought I am sharing with you...


In the spirit of using what you have on hand, Jen asked me to dress up this naked wreath she had. So everything just came out of her ornament box and some other accessorizing boxes. We had no time to go to a craft store as our plane was leaving at 3:00 and we had a lot of other stuff to get done before that. So this is what I came up with for her in a few minutes. It was fun. I hadn't done anything too creative in a while. Not bad for free, huh? Jen let me know she has since added lights to the wreath and that always makes things better. It is fun to recycle things or re-purpose them. Good night friends, thanks for stopping by, it is good to be back. I have missed you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

Turkey Time

Nigel, a friend from Scotland
attending his first Thanksgiving!

Christopher and Melissa

Hazie and Piper

Lowell, Nigel, Jen and Hazie

Jen and Hazie

Uncle Chris and Hazie

Aynlsee and Julia

All five Granddaughters in one place!

Pure heaven!

The dinner was phenomenal, thanks Jen and Lowell.
Lowell made the dressing, roasted the turkey, made the pies and
a cheese cake! Jen did all the rest! What a team!

Aunt Missy, Hazie, and Zach

Zack Attack!


Zach and Chloe Jane

Piper and Connor

Chloe, Owen and Zach

Our niece, Erin, getting her PhD
in Math at the U of U.
So glad she could join us!

We tried the traditional passing of the food but
it really didn't work with 8 kids and 8 adults!

Check out the jello dessert disguised as a "salad"

Erin and Jen

Miss Julia

Hazie in Daddy Indiana Jones Hat.

Jen and Chris wishing their Daddy a Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Honey!

It was a fantastically wonderful family day.
We missed you Laura, Robert, Spencer and Rossie!

Buried in Blessings

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heading to Our Other Home


Isn't this just a beautiful collage of autumn scenery? I love it and it reminds me of fall in Utah, our home away from home. We are leaving today and returning on will be a very short stay compared to our usual trips there, but of course we want to be with the kids for Thanksgiving if only for a few fun-filled days. We will miss Laura, Robert, Spence and Ross but will see them very soon now. That is so exciting and we are so thankful.

We have some very wonderful new things to celebrate with them. Lowell not only survived the sale of his company but has just become the new manager of the USA division. This is so amazing considering for the last few months everyone in the company was wondering if they'd even have a job at this point and sadly a lot of them don't have one anymore. He and the kids escaped injury this past week when they were in a collision with a school bus. The car was nearly totaled but they are all fine! How's that for a few things to be thankful for?

Our son, Chris, just received notification yesterday of being the recipient of a very large grant from the National Science Foundation being awarded to the University over a five year period because of a proposal he had written and submitted recently. This is a career changing opportunity for him and he is thrilled. (Mom's brag moment here...this is his second grant from them in less than four years.) Also this week they discovered their plumbing system under their house is corroded, completely shot and needs to be replaced. They now have no water in their kitchen or laundry room. Not so perfect timing with Thanksgiving and the rest of the week off for the repairmen, but he recently completed a consulting job that will cover the entire cost of the repair so, what's not to be thankful for there?

Hazel has been sick for a few weeks with her first bad cold and Jen was quite worried about her breathing, but after going to the doctor this week, her worries are relieved as Hazie has no signs of any secondary problems. Again we are thankful.

Our construction has been moving at a snail's pace due to bureaucratic problems with the permits, etc. and then our contractor and friend had a little accident with a nasty wood sliver that was more like a beam of wood. He had his heart set on getting to a certain point by today and had to actually have surgery to get the wood removed from his hand and a 24 hospital stay for IV ABs instead. He was quite worried about the delay and we were quite worried about him. We have lived with a small, inefficient bathroom for a very long time so we are thankful Steve is getting better and we have other options.... like going to Utah, while the work is at a standstill. We are just grateful for Steve's good medical care and that he is recovering from his surgery and serious infection.

I guess my point in writing this post is the fact that not every aspect of our lives needs to be perfect in order to see the blessings we do enjoy from a loving Heavenly Father. Even when some things are perfect there is always opposition in our lives to some degree. It is just part of the plan and we get to choose how we will look at the unfortunate things and discover if we will be able to find the silver lining.

And last and definitely least of the problems, is that the Sears Repairman just left and we need a new washer. I am just happy that the suitcases are packed and full of clean clothes!

This is such a predictable part of life that you can almost make a game of it when the opposition comes~what will you choose? A good attitude or wallowing? Don't you just love that that choice is completely up to us, even when the situation may be out of our hands? I sure do and I am thankful for it! Make it a happy day, no matter what else is going on. Focus on the good stuff, you'll be happier. "As a man thinketh in his is he."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkin Pie~Beautiful, Easy and 0 Points

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Click on Pumpkin Pie

Photo Blogging Tips

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know I love to use photos in my posts. I have finally found a satisfactory way to give attribution to the photographers who post photos on flickr that I often use when I don't have photos of my own to illustration or enhance an idea.

I have read many articles on using other people's photos and the basic thing to remember is that they usually don't mind as long as they are recognized for their work, or given proper attribution as long as you are not using their photo for any commercial gain.

The articles point out that technically you should seek permission to use the photo but I have tried this numerous times and people do not even respond back. They don't seem to care as long as you give attribution. I have tried various ways of doing this, most of them quite tedious, but this method is easy and seems best to me.

This is what I do now:

When I find a photo on that I like and that can be uploaded, I go up to the url bar and select the address associated with that photo and then go to edit to copy the url address for that photo while I am still in flickr. (Note often you will find great photos that have a little i in the lower right hand corner. Those are photos that cannot be uploaded. Most on flickr can be though, so keep looking for one that you will be able to use.) On the Mac you can just click and drag them on to your desk top or on a PC just go to file and click on Save as. (The photos with the little i cannot be saved as or dragged onto your desk top, but all the rest can. Often they will allow you to download them in any size you prefer and that is noted directly above the photo)

I then save the image on to my desktop.

Next upload the photo into your text box while composing a post just like you would do for any photo upload.

Under the photo type the word flickr and then select and highlight the word flickr.

Next go to your tool bar above your text posting box for your new post and click on the chain link icon (just above the box next to the text color icon) to link the photo to the url that you copied and is sitting in your edit box waiting to be pasted someplace.

Note that the linking box will come up with the http:// already in it. I delete that from the linking box and then place the cursor at the beginning of the box and paste in the photo link for the photo to be used. I do this because when you paste in the link and the http:// is already on the url you copied, it will then be in your link 2 times and will not work.

If you want to see how this works go up to the flickr photo on this post and click on the word flickr under the photo to find the name of the photographer and the other photos he has downloaded to flickr.

Once you have published your post check it to make sure that the link is working properly. Always do that when you post a link of any kind to your blog.

So I hope that has helped for those who have asked me about it. It seems cumbersome at first but once you have done it a few times it is easy peasy! Most people will appreciate this courtesy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Are you a Brain Dumper?

I had never heard of brain dumping until a few weeks ago. I have done it for a long time but just never heard it referred to as that. Anyway, I am an advocate. I have noticed that the more I have swimming around in my head the less efficient and productive I become.

The Wiki definition of Brain Dumping is transferring a large amount of information to another person or on to paper. I think this is a great idea. I notice that when I share a lot of concerns with other people it really relieves my stress. Don't you? Hey....that has always been known as dumping, come to think of it! I guess it is part of our agreement to share our burdens with one another as humans.

But the dumping I am talking about now is the dumping from gray matter to paper. This so helpful. Here are some of the things I dumped on to paper this morning and it feels better than a Calgon bath. In a lot of ways, it is what journaling is about and is very therapeutic.

Things I want and need to do before Thanksgiving related to:

Family stuff, packing, stopping mail and paper, calling neighbors, checking on Hazel who is currently at the doctor for a chest x-ray, checking on Lowell and his car that got hit by a school bus while sitting at an intersection when the driver cut the corner to close (everyone is fine), calling Laura regarding Italy trip, finishing up some church work, making some appointments, etc. etc.

I'd be walking around when this, that and the other thing kept popping into my mind following the self-talk..."don't forget to.."...that gets exhausting and stressful. Once on paper it is like not a concern anymore...I don't have to remember. If I systematically move from one thing to the next I will have plenty of time to do it all and may even maintain my sanity. The important thing is I don't have to keep stopping and asking..."What's next?" Just look and then do the next thing.

Anyway, if you are feeling the stress, do some brain dumping, it really helps. It is a little different than just making a 'To Do' list or time management. It is writing down all your concerns and taking time to deal with each one. As an example when I heard about the bus accident I kept thinking about it until I sat down, thought about it by giving it my full attention, felt the blessing of no injuries and thanked God for that. After that little processing moment I didn't have to keeping returning to the stressful thoughts about it. It was still a bad thing but after I processed it I could view it as a blessing in so many ways. It's more like just hitting the delete button on your stash of worries and concerns.

If it is a task I actually need to accomplish, I like it because once it is dumped on to the paper I don't need to prioritize it...I just have to do it. It is all important and has to be done but once it is down I get to choose my plan of attack on it.

You can find out more about it by Googling GTD which stand for Getting Things Done! And if you all have been hearing about brain dumping for ages...just remember my disclaimer... I do not watch TV, so I am slow to catch on to new things in the pop culture arena! So brain dump away it is a good thing even if you already know about GTD and brain dumping a reminder is good this time of year!

A Simple Woman's Daybook~November 23, 2009

To join in focusing on the simple things and pleasures of your daily life or to read other people's entries, you can click here.

So, For Today...Monday, November 23, 2009

Outside my is dark, cold and damp. It is supposed to be very nice and sunny this week and I am hoping the forecast is correct. I have a way of always running into some kind of bad weather going or coming home from Utah but am hoping to start a new trend this week. Thinking good thoughts about flying in lovely blue skies. It seems I am usually maybe Jim will be my good luck charm!

I am will be so much fun to spend a few days with the kids in Utah. Thanksgiving is a fun time and it is on Jim's birthday this year! The kids and I are getting him an iPhone for his birthday and Christmas combined. I finally had to tell him as I couldn't figure out how to confiscate his old phone for the day without him being suspicious. He is pretty excited about his new phone and we have a personal shopping appointment at Apple tonight. They will spend an hour with us going over all the usage details. Woohoo! Christmas and birthday budgeting comes in so handy right now as we both really need new phones. I am hoping mine can limp along until my birthday!

I am thankful for....all of my friends and especially today for the new friends I have made on the blogs. You have enriched my life immeasurably and I have learned so much from all of you. I feel like I attend University each day with you as my professors!

From the learning room..that there is always something new to learn. Just when I was getting ready to fold the business a Realtor told me she has 2 houses for me in January. Life can be perplexing sometimes?? I am still getting rid of a lot of the inventory regardless.

I am reading...Leadership and Self-Deception. It is an excellent book and I am trying to finish it this week so I can return it to our son.

From the kitchen...The cupboards are bare and I need to do a very small shopping trip today for a few things we need between now and Wednesday when we leave.

I am wondering...about the mayhem at the airport on Wednesday. Yikes! No empty seats on the busiest day of the year for traveling.

I am wearing...white jammies and apparently that is not enough. I am freezing. Socks would right back.

I am hearing...The album entitled The Forgotten Carols by Michael Mc Lean. Beautiful.

I am creating...a Christmas lesson for Church on Dec 6th. I want it all done by the time we leave so I have a lot to do today.

I am actually thread a needle and tack down some pockets on a new sweater I bought.

I am mother-in-law...when things get stressful just think..."This too shall pass!"

My spiritual thoughts include...Hasten the day when the Savior returns to the earth to rule and reign.

Around the house...I have a few presents to wrap for Christmas yet but the shopping is finished. The floor heater is removed and the floor beautifully repaired and the new unit is sitting in our dining room. Going in Dec 1st. Yay!

I am hoping...each and every one of you and us stay healthy for the next little season (at the very least) and everyone can enjoy the holidays!

I have been procrastinating..the same old thing~accounting, the never ending record keeping~hate it but it is a necessary evil.

One of my guilty pleasures...
Christmas decorations. I love looking at them and cannot wait to go to Utah and browse around all the fun home stores. Since the shopping is done I can just enjoy it without feeling pressure to find gifts. Also I just need to soak it all in as we are not decorating this year before our trip. Our house guests will have to be content to enjoy the left over fall things! They said they'll manage and are just happy to have a place to stay! Good thing.

One of my favorite things..The Holidays~Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am not that into New Year's Eve and then I am too exhausted to care much. Just want to veg out and relax and enjoy the peace and quiet! We are not much of a bunch of party animals actually.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Get things wrapped up here and get out of dodge.

Here is a picture and thought I am sharing with you...

These are our beloved pilgrims and we have had them for at least 20 years. I love them because back in those days you couldn't find much at all for Thanksgiving in the way of decor and we just love these. Well, I should say I do. Jim, I am not sure?? But what's not to love? Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Giving Thanks


I just wanted to wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving week. I know that most of you do not limit your thanks giving to God to one special day. For those of us that are Christians, this is a part of everyday living.

There is, however, something extra special about meeting together each 3rd Thursday of November and giving thanks together with family and people that are important to us. Whether we share the exact same beliefs or not, it is a wonderful time to be with people we love and to feel gratitude for our blessings. It is a great time to participate in family traditions. As our families grow and spread out it is not always possible to be with everyone, but we think of you all and miss you and wish we could be together. I am sure most of you feel the same way about those who will not be gathered around your table this year due to distance and various other circumstances.

So where ever you are and whom ever you will be with, make it a wonderful day of focusing on the good things in your life. May we all pitch in~in the kitchen so everyone gets some relaxation and enjoyment on Thanksgiving Day. It is a tremendous amount of work to gather and prepare a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner and should never fall on just one person. We have all been enriched by God's bounteous blessings and he wants us to enjoy them and to acknowledge that they all come from Him.

If you are traveling, be safe. If you are staying home or having company, I hope you have a cozy fire and lots of love in your day! And where ever you are I hope you can feel a sense of contentment for all that you have been given by Our Father in Heaven and his son, Jesus Christ. I know we sure do, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of the year.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Eye of the Beholder

Why the real estate market is faltering these days...

Your house as seen by.....YOU.

Your House as seen by .......The BUYER

Your house as seen by ......The LENDER

Your House as seen by.....The APPRAISER

Your House as seen by ........... the COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR


Friday, November 20, 2009

Something To Think About

Often times when someone is expecting a baby they really have a preference on the gender of the baby. Often they are disappointed when they find out they are having yet another boy or girl when they were really hoping for the other. Nine times out of ten when we sense there is a little disappointment what do we say to the person in an attempt to be kind and helpful? "Oh, I am so happy for you..... as long as its healthy!'

I use to say this all the time to people because I didn't know better. Our personal experiences have taught us that that any child of God sent to this earth by our Heavenly Father is a blessing beyond measure. Health has nothing to do with it. I never really even thought about how that little quip could be hurtful to someone else.

It is true that having health issues is certainly nothing anyone would want to see inflicted on any child. It is true that it can be very inconvenient and requires much personal sacrifice on the part of the parents, but what child doesn't? Earth life is like that. But it is also very true that the blessing of that little child's opportunity to experience life and family and love and happiness are just as wonderful regardless of health. And there is a special club of people who know this through their own experiences.

Anyway I just thought of this this afternoon when a sweet friend announced the 4th daughter on the way when they were hoping for a brother for their one son. Some very sweet, innocent person made the 'as long as its healthy' reply on Facebook and it just got me to thinking.....if she only knew. Sometimes you just have to have 'been there' to know that beautiful blessings come in all shapes, sizes and situations.

Carnevale di Venezia

Who could this little beauty be....
all decked out in her authentic Venetian Mask
and Monkey Jammies?
And to think some kids just get a t-shirt!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Defining Moments

When you live away from your grandkids you often find yourself studying their pictures for any evidence of the changes that comes so quickly. There is always that one photo where you realize something has changed. They have moved into a new phase of their lives and development.

Today I saw my first glimpse of a fine young man.
Check this out, our Spencer is no longer a little boy.

I don't know why this brought tears to my eyes but it did.

After I got over that part I thought...
Hmmm, doesn't he look a little like a young Michael Buble?

Or is it Michael Ball?

Spencer is a really handsome guy in my humble opinion!
Actually he looks a whole lot like his Mom too!

But mostly he just looks like the perfect version of Spencer!
Mr. GQ

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When Innocence Cannot Be Preserved...What Then?

Don't you just love the sweet innocence of children? Sometimes when I talk to them I find it sad that sooner or later they have to learn about some of the terrible things about the world and its history, as well as its current state. I use to love the time before our kids entered school when their lives were like little fairy tales ~ all full of goodness and light and safety.

I am that mother that wept every time when they were done with kindergarten and ready for the big play ground. It was a real bench mark for me that they were growing up and things would never be quite the same for them again. There would be no protective cyclone fence to keep the bigger kids away from their play area, etc. It is almost like first grade was the beginning for them of truly living in the world with all its ups and downs and people problems. It was very symbolic to me and I admit I didn't just shed a tear, I cried really hard each time it happened to one of my precious innocent babies. I have no doubt whatsoever that it is even harder in this day and age. I worry about this event for our grandchildren as well. Even though it is part of the plan, I don't like it much.

I often wonder how we can best teach them to understand man's inhumanity to man when we do not understand it ourselves? How can we give them the comfort they need when we have a hard time finding it ourselves? Just about every time I walk out into the world I come home shaking my head and locking the door behind me. I have been barraged by filthy language, mother's screaming at their kids in the stores, nasty looks from perfect strangers, inconsiderate people behind the wheel, blatant ignorance and rudeness, half-naked people everywhere...the list is endless. I like to think that I have collected enough armor to be somewhat protected from it at my age, but what does it do to the little ones?

Hold on Tight
by Liz Lemon Swindle

For us the saving grace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trying to teach the babies from the beginning about good and evil and which side to be on for their happiness and protection. The gospel is practical. It is a tool to help us manage life in the real world. It works. It is a shield and a protection to our kids.

Is it any wonder that in the scriptures we read that it will be on the heads of the parents if they fail to teach their kids about this practical protective way to live? Not really. Learning these principles doesn't just happen by osmosis. You have to make a conscious effort to teach them what is right and you cannot assume they just already know it. One of the most joyous thing about grandparenting is to reinforce those teaching to our next generation of little ones. Parents need all the tools and reinforcement they can get in this difficult stewardship they have been entrusted with by God. We want to be an instrument in His hands.

What made me think of this is a movie I watched last night entitled Ruby Bridges. It is based on a true story about a little black girl that lived in New Orleans at the time that school integration began. This movie was excellent for teaching children about the insidious aspects of racial prejudice and how wrong and ridiculous it is. I felt it was appropriate and helpful to teach children about this with this movie at about age 7 or 8.

Another movie we saw lately that was excellent for the same reasons to help kids understand the Holocaust is I Am David. It received a Parental Award of Excellence and I think it is a very good teaching tool as well. Both movies are about children and explore their journey to understanding prejudice and rising above it. Both show the insanity, the struggles and end on a positive note.

Anyway, just a few of my thought on this early November morning. Netflix has both movies and so does Amazon if you are interested..