Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Cat's Out of the Bag

Several days ago Jim turned in his letter of resignation and he will be retiring from the County Office of Education on June 30th. Jim....retired....what an oxymoron!! Retirement and rest are mutually exclusive in his book. He will just be redirecting his efforts. He will 'rewire' his work but never retire from work. It has been a big decision but we both feel it is right for us at this time.

Never in my life have a known anyone who works harder or more efficiently than Jim. It is his gift....well, one of them anyway. He is tireless in this department. He has seriously loved going to work almost everyday of his career. He will miss it very much! But he is a great philanthropist and wants to help everyone do everything so he'll never be idle. But we are going to take a little break, plan some things and adjust the first little while. We are very excited to see what the Lord has in store for us. There is definitely a missionary experience in our future. We have lots of possibilities...just waiting for His direction on what takes priority and when to do some of the things we have in mind. We are open to serving as many times as health and $ permit.

As for me, I feel as naive as a new bride about it all. I am so excited that this is happening and I feel so hopeful that it will be all and more than we imagine at this point. It is a lot like facing life after kids...what.... there is such a thing as life after work? We have done it on someone else's schedule all of our lives. This is going to be exciting to have the flexibility to create our own time table for the things we enjoy doing. I can barely take it in really. Who knows, we may even sit down on some of our patio furniture for the first time ever. We will accomplish more and be busier than ever. But we will have a lot more fun in the process and hopefully get more sleep than usual. more 4:00 am blaring alarm clock! No more bike riding in the dark!

A couple of women have rolled their eyes about what it is like to have hubby in the house all the time. Well, I know it won't be like that as he'll be on the go doing something all the time. He is just wired like that. He has never been underfoot and I don't anticipate that now. I just envision us being able to spend so much more quality time together~something I do look forward to very much. I dream of just locking the doors and turning on the automatic sprinklers and heading out for as long as we want to go... with no time constraints.

Am I being naive?? Why can't it be ...and they lived happily ever after? With this new beginning we have so many more tools to know how to make that happen. I am hopeful....and excited. So it's June 30th for him and May 1st for me. I'll still be designing and consulting but not staging. The inventory has to go...Craig's List here I come with a boat load of fun stuff.

And those are my thoughts this early Spring morning. I was up at 4:00 AM today as Jim has gone out to his work...for a few minutes even though he is on "vacation." See what I worries about a couch potato! Happy trails to us! Yay!

Remembering The Reason

Easter Peeps

Easter really sneaked up on us this year, didn't it? It is almost here! I hope you have some fun things planned with your families, kids and grandkids. Are you decorating eggs? Having an Easter Egg Hunt? Making Hot Cross Buns? Having a Fun Brunch? Wearing an Easter Bonnet? Remember when Spring Break used to be called Easter Vacation? Hmmm...

All of these things are so much fun as long as we remember they are not the real reason for celebrating Easter. They do, however, symbolize the newness of life and the new beginnings of the atonement! The resurrection of the Savior is the reason for this season! This is something of such magnitude, it is to be and is celebrated daily. This is the Good News of the Gospel in our lives.

Enjoy the season, remember the reason!

This painting was done by Simon Dewey!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crafty Me.......

Just kidding! Actually I don't have too many Easter decorations to begin with and I have very little out this year. But something really weird happened ...a tiny wave of craftiness hit me. I am not into crafts and I rarely like anything I make in that department but... I did decide to create...or I should say, embellish a couple of things I picked up for a song last year.

I found this little critter cage for $5.99 at TJ was empty. I thought it was cute so decided to add some lime green moss, a little peep I had and a few eggs. That is about the extent of my craftiness...impressive, huh?

A while back I went to this very cool shop with some business associates. You are all gonna want my job when I tell you that we met to go shopping (for the businesses of course) and then we toured a home one of the ladies had just beautifully staged and then found ourselves having lunch. It was a rough day at work...but I managed! While shopping I found this cute bird cage for $19.99. It was empty so since I had some moss left and a cute little nest and some eggs I did this. Wouldn't "The Nester" just be green with envy?

I told you I am not much of a crafter, but I can put things together and this was fun, fast, and finished in a flash! My kind of craftiness. The eggs below are some that I have made and or purchased over the years. I love the little chicken wire basket that holds them.

Wouldn't it be fun if you could save eggs your kids decorate when they are little that aren't hand blown and so fragile? Wouldn't it be neater if your little kids could even hold and decorate a blown out egg without cracking it?

Once while decorating eggs with my friend, Lee, I discovered that you can. Did you know that you can hard boil and decorate eggs that will last forever a long long time? If they don't have any cracks they will be just fine for years to come. I always thought they would start smelling rotten, but nope. All that happens is that the egg inside dehydrates and shrinks and they are like a little rattle over time. Think plastic egg with a small chocolate egg in it. The first few years I would leave them out but hidden for a few months to make sure they were not rotten before storing them away. I have never had a problem and neither has Lee and she still has some that her mother painted for her when she was a little girl. Try it, it is eggciting.

The eggs that you see with the patterns on them are done with hard boiled eggs and spring tissue papers. You just tear some pieces dip them in liquid starch (or maybe Modge Podge) and press them on the egg and dry. Our daughter, Jen, taught me this little trick ten years ago when we were in Scotland she made them for Piper's first Easter. I fell in love with them but they were the blown eggs so would not transport easily. Finally I just made some of my own. Again, my kinda thing. They really are pretty cute for the effort that goes into them.

Well, I hate to put all my eggs in one basket but this is probably the only crafting post you will ever see from this chick!

Happy Easter!
I gotta go feed my carrot!

Easter Message

A beautiful message from Jeffrey R. Holland....

I love Elder Holland with all my heart, everything he says is poetic and true. He always leaves a heart print for me when he speaks. This is an excerpt from last year's April General Conference.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook~March 29, 2010

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, March 29, 2010

Outside my window...It is night time by most people's standards...4:15 am. Jim is on Easter break right now and is sleeping soundly. Me, I'm awake. I went to bed a little early and this is what happens when I do that. Even when I have the opportunity to sleep later...I can't. I'm just glad I'm a morning person!

I am thinking...about Laura and wishing she was home right now so we could chat. It is mid afternoon in Italy. I want to know how her weekend was. She had a big presentation to do. I hope it went well. I am also wondering how Ross is adjusting to his arm cast. I am guessing some of the novelty has worn off by now.

I am thankful for...every single blessing in my life and I recognize where they come from. Seeing God's hand in my life is something I like to practice. He is everywhere I look, I love that.

From the learning the top of every mountain we climb~the vista reveals another one. Earth life...

I am WW II books and learning so much. My Dad served in it for over five years. I just want to understand what it was like for him. Not good is my guess.

From the kitchen...I have done a lot of cooking so everything is good for this week.

I am things will go at the series of doctor appointments I have finally made. Just routine stuff, not my favorite thing to do, but necessary.

I am wearing...not enough...I am freezing.

I am hearing..Nothing at all. It is very quiet.

I am see my friends this morning~I always look forward to that.

Today if I could change one thing...that Jim and I could have some leisure time over the next two weeks but he has big plans for his time off work.

I am quoting..."There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." -CS Lewis

My spiritual thoughts include...learning and relearning how to lay things that are burdensome at the feet of the Savior.

Around the house...the future looks optimistic...retirement is in the air.

I am missing...just people I love.

I am get all my inventory liquidated from my warehouse this coming month.

I have been procrastinating...see the answer directly above.

One of my guilty pleasures...lunch out with friends.

One of my favorite things...staying home in the evenings. Actually, just staying home. I am a home body.

A few plans for the rest of the week.
..paint the hallway with Jim, finish up remodeling details, maybe a walk in Muir Woods mid-week, helping put on a dinner at church on Wednesday night, being at the hardware store and being Jim's gopher this week. Possibly going to Steve and Emily's for Easter. General Conference on TV.

Here is a picture and thought I am sharing with you

A sunflower for my friend Nellie who is having a birthday today. She brings a lot of fun and light into my life. Love you, Nel! Have a wonderful day! I know you will! XOXO, B

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Weaver and His Tapistry

Yesterday was the most beautiful spring day. As we listened to the little birds chirping and enjoyed flowers outside, our thoughts were turned to a lady in our church who died last Sunday. Jim and I were going to be helping in the kitchen to serve lunch to the family members who had traveled from as far away as France to come to her service.

Kathy was 61 and had been bedridden with MS for a little over 30 years. She worked in a nursing home years ago and fell in love with a man named John who was a quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury. She took him home and cared for him after they were married. They eventually had three children.

When Kathy's youngest was around 18 months old, Kathy was diagnosed with MS. Within a few years she could no longer take care of her children. Her brother who lived in Alaska adopted their three kids. They grew up hundreds of miles away from their parents and saw them rarely. She and her husband shared a room at the convalescent home until his death. For the last 20 years she has lived alone in a bed since her husband died, basically just waiting to be taken home.
I met Kathy about 7 years ago when she moved into our town. She was angry for having had to move due to finances, as she had left a wonderful ward full of people that knew her and John and their kids. They had loved her and cared for her. It was my job to try to help that happen in her new church family. Kathy lived a miserable existence, one most of us cannot even imagine. She could not move anything but her head from side to side. She could not wipe away her own tears, feed herself, hold a book, dial a phone number...all she could do was breathe and talk.

I lost a lot of sleep over Kathy. My own mother was ill at the time and in a different convalescent home, and I just didn't have a clue how to help Kathy. She missed her friends so desperately and she didn't know me at all. We were both struggling. Anything that I had ever known to comfort someone did not work with Kathy. I spent hours just wiping away her tears. I organized visits from others, and slowly the service and love grew for her and she began to allow others in. I have never felt so inadequate in my entire life to help another person.

Her faith in the Lord was strong but she had questions no one could answer...a lot a 'whys' I sure didn't have adequate answers for. You could not just chime in with something trite when she asked you why this happened to her, her kids, etc. We shared a lot of very silent moments together. I thought about her constantly wondering how I could help. Finally the Lord answered my prayers in this way. "Bonnie, you cannot fix it, just love her."
So I did...and I stopped worrying about what to say and do and just loved her. I bought her a book from one of her favorite, Christian authors, Neal A. Maxwell. I asked various ward members to read to her and she loved that. Jim thought maybe she would like to be a visiting teacher so she could serve too. We got that going. People started having her over every Sunday on a rotation basis and she started to feel a part of our ward... finally. Every week that she was able, she got a ride to church. Kathy didn't own much but she did have her own van with a lift for her wheelchair. Many people learned to operate it and get her out of the home as much as possible. They were amazing! I had my own mom to care for so I had to leave a lot of it to everyone else.

When someone would die, Kathy would always cry. Tears for them and tears for herself. She longed to be released from the body that held her captive. She would say, "When I for me!" A lot of people have been dancing for Kathy lately.

Yesterday was a beautiful celebration of her courage and fortitude as she dealt as best she could with her terrible circumstances. Kathy taught everyone well. She taught us to endure to the end no matter what, she taught us not to complain and to be thankful. She taught everyone that knew her how to minimize the whining about their own small troubles. Kathy was amazing. Kathy was real, she didn't try to hide her pain and frustration, her life was unbearably hard. She shared that. Others were blessed. Kathy will be missed and never ever forgotten.

Through a mutual friend, Elder Maxwell was made aware of Kathy's situation and and he wrote her a letter that included this. I thought it was beautiful and was happy we got a copy of it in church today. I am sure we can all find application in our own lives someplace.

"My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily.
Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He see the upper, and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver's hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned."

Kathy on the left with our good friend, Lanette.
May She Rest In Peace... while moving around!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Christopher!

It is hard to wrap my head around our son being 35 tomorrow (the 27th)...but he is. Happy Birthday, Chris!

Last Saturday was the closest I think we have gotten to one of us being with him near his birthday since he was 18. How sad is that? So we threw a little last minute birthday celebration for him on Saturday afternoon and I bought a cake for both Chris and Piper to share. We got some pizza and I actually made a salad and it got topped off with chocolate cake. Not very full of nutrition but the little kids all loved it and it was fun and easy.

Had I known my flight would be delayed for over 3 hours I could have cooked something fabulous! But this did leave more time for a leisurely afternoon before heading to the airport.

One of my all time favorite things in life is seeing the kids and grandkids together, playing and enjoying each other's company. It is super nice having more than 2/3 of them in the same city.

35 candles and one to grow on!
They shared the first 11 and the one to grow on!
The cake is only so big and there are only 36 in the box!

They got them all!
Smoke alarm!

Connor, Aynslee, Piper and Owen
lining up to get a piece.

Missy with Connor and Aynslee

Zach, Chloe, Hazel and Julia waiting patiently...

Can you say...Chocolate everywhere?
Is something in your ear, Chloe?
She even had frosting on the back of her shirt...
Zach copped to that one!

Hazie got it in her nasal cannula and O2 tubing.

Aunt Missy was a good sport to let
us bring the party over there!

The kids played board games, Wii, rode bikes, and the adults even played Catch Phrase! Julia and Ayns did some needle work with their moms' help. The best part was just being together. We missed Grampa and Aunt Laura and Uncle Robert and Spencer and Ross.

Julia is quite pleased with this and well she should be!

Chris may this next year be as good as this one was for you!
We love you, Son! Enjoy your day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poetry In Motion

Part II of the previous post about
The Royal Carriage and Her Little Highness.

Hazie's first evening in the Royal Carriage.
She is a fast learner!

The Royal Carriage

Her highness, Princess Hazie Jo, has been fitted and equipped with her first royal carriage. It is sparkly purple and may well be the smallest wheelchair on the planet. You can get a perspective on the scale of the chair by looking at the tech's knee in the photo.

The Wheelchair

When you see a tiny girl

That cannot walk at all,

Do you wonder what life will hold?

Or how her blessings will unfold?

She won’t be going dancing,

Or climbing up the stairs…

Do you think about what life would be,

Spending most of it in chairs?

Do you wonder when the time is right,

What she will be told?

Do you wonder how she will cope

While she’s growing old?

Do you think about her parents

And what they have to do?

Do you pass them by

With a prayer of thanks,

Because it isn’t you?

Do you think about the other kids

And how they learn to cope

With the thought their beloved sister

Will never jump a rope?

Perhaps you have forgotten

All that she’s been given

In her arms she carried gifts

All the way from heaven.

This little one with tender kisses

That melt a heart of stone~

Those little arms around your neck...

Hugs like you’ve never known.

She’s smart and pretty and oh, so fun

So what ~ if she can never run!

Each little thing that comes along

She'll quickly learn just how it's done.

There are million things for us to do

And she will do her share...

She’ll figure out a way to dance

While sitting in her chair.

Though her legs don’t work so well

Her arms are very strong

And with this little tiny chair

She'll learn to get along.

When something big is taken

Something great is given~

This little chair’s a Godsend

Not foe ~ but welcomed, tiny friend.

When the rest of us get old and frail

And our legs have given way

She’ll get herself another chair

And travel on her way!

For many have not been so blessed

To have a little chair

Through the ages they’ve been held

And carried everywhere.

A wheelchair's not so very confining

It’s time to do some redefining.

A wheelchair is like taking wing

Now she can do everything!

If we could wish upon a star

We wouldn’t change the way you are.

You were sent from heaven above

And fill each life with light and love.

So there you have it, Hazie Jo

With this chair you’re free to go!

Stay a happy little girl……

Now go on out and change the world!


With Love, Gramma

On Your Special Day


The Math Makes No Sense!

"When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

Dr. Adrian Rogers, Pastor Emeritus, Bellevue Baptist Church

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Anger~The Silent Killer

I like this little cartoon because it points out that anger is often so damaging to the person feeling it and the other person is totally clueless.

We often hear the old adage that your anger is only hurting you. This is such a true statement. Yesterday while on my way into the market I heard these two men arguing. The younger of the two men was saying something about how angry the other man was making him. The older man shouted back..."I don't give a blankety-blank-blank about how mad you are!" By then I was in the store and that was all I heard but the words rang in my ears for quite a while. "I don't care how mad you are!" In many cases where anger exists, even when it is warranted, this statement could not be more true. Even if the person isn't clueless about why you are angry, they simply don't care! This is the ultimate in adding insult to injury.

The problem with being angry is it doesn't solve anything but it does hurt you in terms of it being a potential killer. Anger is the killer of love, affection, understanding and communication and relationships. Anger induced stress releases a hormone produced by the adrenal glands called cortisol. This hormone over time, under chronic stress, can be very damaging to us physically. Anger will elevate blood pressure, agitate your heart and lungs, cause dermatitis outbreaks (it literally gets under your skin), migraines, clinical depression and even infertility and it feeds addictions. Anger is counter productive in every way and yet some fall prey to it, all too often. I have no solutions for this problem but, here are some things I find helpful.

Thoughts and actions that can defuse anger:

1. You cannot change another person. Period.
2. Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the offender.
3. Changing your response to something that isn't going away
is the only power you have over it.
4. Communication never occurs under the stress of anger.
5. Patience is a virtue. God isn't finished with him or her yet.
6. Praying for understanding and help in the situation.

Here are a few things that I think always produce anger:

1. Always needing to be right.
2. Self- justification.
3. Trying to operate outside of your stewardship. (Telling someone else how to do their job)
4. Pride
5. Meanness and above all, selfishness.
6. Being closed-minded about making changes in your own life or your own perceptions.

How do you handle your anger? I try to remember these things when I feel anger coming on. It helps a lot. And I try to remember that my anger is really disguising my hurt and/or unmet expectations of someone else. If I don't find a healthy way to resolve the issues it can lead to depression and ill health, and hopelessness.

For me personally, it helps for me to look to the Savior and follow His course of action. It is not always easy, but it never fails me. Anger has a way of feeling like it is something that happens to you that is beyond your control. Actually there is always a choice you make that is involved. Being proactive rather than reactive... matters.

Enjoying 20 Little Things About Spring

1. More Daylight and sunshine

2. Blue skies and warmer days

3. Tulips and Daffodils

4. Being healthier

5. Walking outside

6. Listening to the singing birds

7. Enjoying the green hills

8. Wild flowers in bloom

9. Fresh air in the house

10. Planting some flowers

11. Celebrating Easter

12. Photographing Spring

13. Getting more home projects done

14. Hopefully seeing the housing market pick up

15. Making Summer Plans

16. Clean new windows

17. A Freshly painted house now a bright glossy
white with black shutters and doors.

18. Hearing children playing outside

19. Decluttering and Spring Cleaning

20. Watching the apricot trees pop their blossoms!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Invitation to Enjoy The Creation

I know I just posted flowers this morning but on Sunday we had a this amazing lesson on The Creation at church. I was lucky enough to have the same lesson in Utah last week but each teacher approached it very differently. I love that, getting two perspectives was great. The earth is just so beautiful, the Lord has richly blessed us with these things that are priceless for all to enjoy.

My friend, Sue, mentioned in the class this past Sunday what a beautiful array of wild flowers can be seen near the new Lowe's in our town. I had to head over that direction today so I thought I'd take my camera and get some photos. Oh my goodness, it was breathtaking. Here are a few of the shots.

If you live nearby don't miss this!

Our town is nestled in a little valley and to get to the freeway you go up on the ridge of it. Up there the panoramic view of the surrounding hills was so lush and green it made my heart sing for the spring I have been longing for for weeks. Of course you can't really stop or take photos at freeway speeds but I did get this little shot while stopped at a light. It is not a great photo but I just wanted you to see the greenness! Pretty, huh? Thanks, Sue, for sending me on this adventure. It made the grocery shopping a lot more fun! :-)

Bring it On!!

Can't you just feel that sunshine on your shoulders?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook~March 22, 2010

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, March 22, 2010

Outside my is so dark, it feels like the middle of the night. I am hoping for a beautiful spring day. It seems this winter has been ongoing for six months. I am ready for some flowers and butterflies and lots of sunshine. No more gray skies would be nice.

I am thinking...Getting back into the routine is slow going this time. But I am plodding along. A day to relax and unwind would be nice but it is not to be until maybe Thursday.

I am thankful for...the passing of a friend from Church yesterday. I know that sounds weird but she was a lady that was paralyzed from the neck down and had lived like that for decades. She was always praying to be taken home. This past week she got sick and died peacefully. What a blessing. She wanted us all to do a little dance when the day came. I can just see her now, released from her broken body and free to move and dance and be mobile and to wipe away her own tears of joy!

From the learning room...hope springs eternal.

I am reading...Vienna Prelude...almost done finally!

From the kitchen...I have no idea. I haven't done any kind of an assessment of what is there and/or needed since I got home at midnight on Saturday night. I had a 3 hour delay due to bad weather in the Chicago area. I spent yesterday at church and unpacking, etc.

I am wondering..who Julia and Chloe are sleeping with without Gramma these days.

I am wearing...I feel like running in and getting dressed just so I could say something besides PJ's!

I am hearing..Blue Moon.

I am going...have two meetings this morning before noon.

Today if I could change one would be the migration of Nevada to another space on the map so Utah would be a lot closer.

I am quoting..."I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." Anne Frank

My spiritual thoughts include...happiness at knowing we don't each have to reinvent the wheel of discovering how to live a happy life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is tried and true. We just have to be humble and teachable and willing to make the effort. Without those attributes the road will always be more difficult and we are choosing it. Why?

Around the house...everything was very welcoming when I arrived home. Jim always makes an effort to make it so and I appreciate it so much.

I am missing...Elmo and His Daddy! This is Hazie's favorite video and I have now memorized it. Very cute, actually!

I am hoping...Hazie can have her thoracic extension surgery soon and can hopefully get rid of the constant oxygen that she is attached to day and night. Can you imagine a 2-year-old attached to a 100 foot piece of plastic tubing. Not fun!

I have been procrastinating...paper work, my least favorite thing.

One of my guilty chocolate before the sun comes up.

One of my favorite things...thinking about the mission we will serve when Jim retires.

A few plans for the rest of the week.
..meetings, fun with friends, grocery shopping, Visiting Teaching tomorrow night. Bringing something for Kathy's funeral next weekend. Arranging to get our front porch repaired in a place where the mortar between the bricks has separated.

Here is a picture and thought I am sharing with you

This is part of Jim's commute drive to work each day. It is a beautiful country road and looks so breathtaking this time of the year. What a blessing not to have to face gridlock and cement and asphalt on the way to work each day. He cannot help but arrive in a good mood and ready to face the day.