Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chris~Making Us Proud (In a Good Way)

This is a portion of an article printed in the Dessert News about our son, Chris. We are so proud of him for this accomplishment, but even more pleased that this innovative idea will help fight the war on poverty in developing countries.

"Faster cars, sleeker computers, shinier toys.

Most of the products designed by mechanical engineers are made for the wealthy.

But not anymore.

BYU assistant professor of mechanical engineering Dr. CM just received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to rethink engineering and how it can help the poor.

"We're really after figuring out, discovering, validating, then presenting to the world the design principles you would use to create products that help people increase their income," Dr. CM said.

Dr. CM and his team of undergraduate and graduate students will study different cultures and research how to design products that will be not only income generating, but also inexpensive and expandable.

One example might be creating an inexpensive mixer to make bread. As an individual makes money by selling the bread, he or she could buy additional parts that would then allow him or her to make more money and buy even more parts — like a self-funded microloan, Dr. CM said.

The NSF's prestigious Faculty Early Career Development awards are given to junior faculty members who "exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations," according to the NSF Web site.

Dr. CM is BYU's seventh professor to be awarded the grant since the program's start in 1995."

Dr. CM with some of his students!

There is another more in depth

article about this on the sidebar of my blog.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hazel's in the Hospital

Hazie taking Chloe for a ride
when she was feeling better!

I just received word from Jen that Little Hazie is having some difficulty breathing and has been admitted to the hospital. She has had a cold and one of her breathing issues is an inability to really cough as due to her scoliosis, her spine is pressing on one of her lungs. She then needs to have her lungs evacuated, etc. So her oxygen saturation is pretty low so that is why they are at the hospital, plus she has a fever!

It's a Bummer but here's a few
teddy bears for you Hazie!

She is just little and doesn't understand and doesn't want that oxygen thing on her face which adds to the potential problem. So they will be at the hospital until she gets better. So any of your prayers on her behalf would be so appreciated. Thanks you so much from the bottom of our hearts.

And here's some roses for Mommy~she need them too!

Hazie has done really well for quite awhile!
Thank goodness she can go to the hospital
when she needs to get a tune up!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Little Miracle

Through our lives I think the Lord is constantly granting us little miracles and I try to always watch for them and recognize them and thank Him for them. But every once in a while you get one that is so monumental that you cannot deny His Love for you, one that changes your life for good in so many ways.

Although I am calling Laura Elizabeth, our little miracle, in reality she was the biggest miracle we have ever received. 32 year ago on Saturday, January 30, 1978 we saw His Hand in our lives like no other time before or since. Actually it happened several months before, but on the 30th of January, we knew we would never doubt or question God's love or existence again. We knew, and we knew-He knew-we knew and our testimony of the Savior was cast in cement that day. At the time we were investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but had not yet become members. Both of us had been raised in other churches and we were searching spiritually for the truth and some answers.

I know I haven't yet shared this on my blog so I thought since Saturday is Laura's birthday and the commemoration of that beautiful, miraculous day, this would be a good time to tell you about it.

I was thirty years old and expecting our third child when just six weeks into the pregnancy I contracted chicken pox. In fact, my pregnancy was confirmed when I was covered from head to toe with pox. I did not have a square inch on my body that did not have them. I have never been so sick, before or since.

Jenny got them first and then Christopher had them the same time I did. If he didn't have a little scar from one of his pox I would not have even known he had them for sure. I was completely out of it for 2 weeks. It was not until I was heading towards recovery myself that I began to fear for the baby. I was able to have a very sweet blessing from two Elders of the church and at the time I felt a very warm feeling in my abdominal area that spread to every part of my body. I realize now that at that very moment, divine intervention healed our baby girl.

The next several weeks were very difficult because as soon as I was able to go to the doctor they started in with all the very scary details of what can happen to a little fetus infected with chicken pox when it is in this very formative first trimester. They advised an abortion because not only could the baby have all the birth defects of rubella but she could have epidural scarring as well. They said one pock could potentially become a huge scar on her body, she could be blind, born without limbs, in a vegetative state, etc. Not only did my doctor recommend it, but a team of doctors came in and tried to convince us to abort and then try again later.

The thought immediately crossed my mind that this baby was our baby...we can't just go get another one in a few months. The doctors only saw it one way and if they did have any deeper feelings than medical report findings, they did not ever surface in our presence. They started to pressure us very hard as in those days even therapeutic abortions had time constraints that needed to be followed. In order for them to do it, it had to be soon. At the time Jim was working with severely disabled students with autism and other very serious problems. We were pretty scared, to say the least.

My blood runs cold to this day, when I think that we were young and impressionable and may have taken the advise of all those doctors, had the church leaders, the Holy Ghost, and our family and friends not been there to support us. Still people were very emphatic in letting us know it had to be our decision. The Holy Ghost was more direct~quietly confirming to us that we should have our baby, this baby. I am beyond grateful we could recognize and hear His voice. Even when we were spiritually floundering and searching...God was right there for us. Forever more, we will lay down our lives for our God who heard and answered our many, many prayers!

In those days there were no fancy tests to let us know if she was OK or not and for that matter we didn't even know she was a girl. It was a very long pregnancy, but through all the waiting we had a quiet assurance that no matter what the outcome, the Lord would provide a way for us to deal with it.

Finally the day to find out if our prayers had been answered arrived. We always prayed that our will was in accordance with His will. I have to admit that when my feet hit the floor that morning and my water broke, a surge of panic did course through me. But after a moment I can consciously remember saying to myself our faith is enough, whatever God has in store for us will be OK. From that moment on, I felt total peace. Qualifying that... as much as any woman can feel peace going into labor! Yikes!

Here is an excerpt from my journal right after she was born.

"I went in to be checked later than morning and they told me to come back a little later. That terrified me after how fast Christopher was born once things got rolling. The membranes had resealed and the labor was erratic most of the day. I knew it was time to go back when the labor got more intense and very regular. We headed back around 6:00 PM. The traffic was terrible and I had contractions that were lasting through an entire cycle of lights at busy 4 way intersections. Ouch! I was admitted at 6:45 and what followed was total chaos.

The nurses were filling out papers, prepping me and having me sign things while in transition was bad. But somehow you muddle through, what choice is there really? This was my first baby where they had fetal monitors and I had the contraption strapped around me for exactly two contractions when I was ready to push.

Poor Jim just stood there in disbelief..he didn't even get a chance to coach me through one contraction, the nurses never left my side. Before we knew it we were whisked into the delivery room. The absolute crowning blow of any labor is crawling onto the delivery table. Is there not a better way?

A few contractions more and at 7:32 PM, Laura Elizabeth was born. One look at her and we knew all of our prayers had been answered! In my arms lay a perfect, beautiful baby girl...not a mark on her anywhere! We shed our usual tears of joy...and a little bit more this time. It was a spiritual moment we will never forget."

Looking back now, I realize that the greatest blessing of the day was not her perfect health, because we know we would have loved her as much as any parent could, no matter what. The bigger miracle was God's voice leading us to know what to do in that very crucial decision making time.

I truly do still shudder when I allow myself to go to that place where we might have terminated the pregnancy due to professional advise and our own fear. It took a lot of courage and faith to fight that fear. And I hear myself saying and knowing that perfect love really does cast out fear. It is God's perfect love for us that makes the fear go away.

Our sweet Laura!

Our life with Laura has been perfect. Honestly, I don't think kids come any better than she has been and still is. I cannot even imagine life without her. And I cannot imagine a life without faith in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I would never turn away from Him as he has never turned away from us. Don't the scriptures tell us that "we love Him because He first loved us." I believe that with all my heart and am grateful once again to be celebrating the sacred miracles we witnessed on the day of our youngest daughter's birth.

We love you, Laura Lou,
Have a Very Happy Birthday!

She is alone with her boys on her
birthday again this year.
If you'd like to wish her a happy
one here, feel free!

Love Is In The Air

I always it when Laura's birthday is approaching. Not only because I her with all my but because it is the one exciting thing that happens in January for me. It seems like it can be such a dull month after the frenzy of the holidays. January always seems to be somewhat boring and dreary, but Saturday is Laura's 32nd birthday and for me it marks the end of this sunless month and the beginning of the Valentine's Day celebration. And then right behind that I can almost see spring. Can you? I February here in California because it is when the trees start to blossom, the hills are velvety green, and there seems to be much to look forward to in the coming months.

I think it is fun to think of non-materialistic ways to show people that we them. Here is one idea that I got from Laura that I think is so sweet and that can lift the spirits of those in your family during the next few weeks.

Get yourself a heart of some kind. Laura's is a stone, painted about the size of the palm of your hand. Mine is a little smaller and painted red. Each night you just tuck it under someone's pillow or place it in their bed so they will see it when they are opening their bed and getting in for the night. Of course it works best if you have a few people living in your house but it is still nice even if there are only two.

While we were visiting Laura and Robert each of us got it many times. When you receive it you pass it on to someone else the next night. This can quickly become a tradition that goes on indefinitely. Isn't that a sweet way to say I love you to your favorite people? I plan to keep the one we have handy for when we have overnight guests and I think it would be a really fun thing to do when your grandkids come to visit.

If you can find a shaped stone you can just paint it red. If you want to make a little puff heart that works too. You can even use a paper creative. What ways have you found to share your ? I am giving one to a friend celebrating a birthday today. She will find it tucked in along with her birthday present. Happy Birthday, Faye! We you!

Here's one for the rest of you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Acting My Age

Sometimes I have a problem with acting my age. In part that has to do with not feeling my age but seriously, sometimes I am sure people are looking at me and thinking..."Whatever is she thinking?"

Case in point. Last week I went to one of my favorite Haunts,"Room With A Past" I have been looking for little special accents for the bathroom and that is a great place to find so many things. I rarely get out of there without a little bag of something. So I wasn't really seeing anything for the bathroom but I did see this....

My very first thought was ...

That is sooo unique & cute

and would look very fun
hanging on my hall tree in the entry.

My next thought was..

Oh, that would be such a fun purse to
have when you just wanted to carry
your cell phone and a little cash.

My next thought was...Really?

Would a grandmother of 10
look ridiculous carrying that?

And then my next thought was.......

A little button to share from my friend Becky's blog.

My next thought was......


My next thought was....

It's OK because

I probably won't wear purple when I am old.
I am pretty sure I am not joining
The Red Hat Society....

So I guess I am just doing my own brand of
When I Am An Old Lady I'll......
Do My Own Personal Version of Fun Stuff!

'Cuz When you're an Old Lady
you can do your own thing

and not worry so much anymore!

My next thought was...

How Liberating!

My New Blog

Cinque Terra, Italy

I mentioned the other day that I love using my blogs as a special place to keep certain information, important events and photos. I have done just that with our entire Italy trip and will soon be having it published. I have rearranged the posts so they now flow in chronological order from the oldest to the newest for the trip we have just returned from a few weeks ago. I also included some posts of our first trip to Italy in March 2008 at the end.

I did this in an attempt to make the printing of the book easier and also the readability increases if shown sequentially. It has helped us to get a better sense of the trip as a big picture and that was a fun experience and almost feels like reliving it.

I have chosen to have it published by first having an editable file made by Brent Riggs. Then the book will be published by I have chosen Brent because I think he is an excellent teacher about blogging and he offers this service here. I keep his blog on my blogroll on the sidebar of my blog to see all his updates.

I chose Brent also because of his formatting. I had originally thought about going with but I have seen some of their books and they have a lot of white empty spaces in their pages and they also reduce the photo sizes substantially which somewhat defeats the purpose of publishing your work. So I am going with Brent. Just thought you'd want to know since so many of you asked me about it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook~January 25, 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, January 25, 2010

Outside my is dark, wet and raining quite hard and steadily. After 6 straight weeks I am thinking is it time to start gathering the animals two by two? There have been a few days when the sun has been out for a few hours...that has helped. I try to remind myself we need it and it makes everything looks so pretty. I try to remember when we lived in Las Vegas and got about 6 days with some rain per year and that was cause for celebration. It is helping ...sorta.

I am thinking...that this information is incredulous...Photos of the newly elected senator from Massachusetts who did a centerfold nude photo shoot for Cosmo magazine in 1982 has just surfaced. At the time he was a 22 year old law student. Are you kidding me? I don't know much about his guy but this stopped me dead in my tracks about wanting to learn more. I don't care if you are a Democrat, a Republican, or a member of the Green Peace Party or whatever...keep your blasted clothes on and don't even think about running for public office if you have something like this in your background. You have to know someone is going to find it, it is just a matter of time! Or is this the new prerequisite for running for a public office? This is one crazy, upside down world we live in! I think moral decay has a pretty nasty grip on this country and I for one am sick of it.

I am thankful for...the fact that I can be happy in spite of rainy weather and ridiculous politicians.

From the learning room...everyday is a new beginning! What a blessing!

I am reading...Vienna Prelude~fascinating and enjoyable and poignant.

From the kitchen...time to make some of Jim's favorite soup. Prelude to that is grocery shopping.

I am it has been a month already since Christmas??

I am wearing...jammies with nothing on my feet. I am about to stop typing and go get some socks.

I am hearing...hearing the rain on the rooftop and about to turn on my iTunes top-rated playlist...You Are The Sunshine Of My Life..Stevie Wonder is first up!

I am creating...a color scheme for our new bathroom...still on the fence.

I am make some appointments for the annual check-ups I always try to get scheduled at the beginning of each year.

I am quoting...Spencer W. Kimball..."Do It!" Nike, "Just Do It!" Myself, "Do It Now!"

My spiritual thoughts include...How beautiful the earth is and how everything testifies of our divine creation. I have been thinking about how everything is synchronized to work in harmony with everything else and usually when something goes a rye man has something to do with it!

Around the house...hopefully the painting on the new walls in the bathroom and the tile will be started this week in the shower.

I am learn about God's plan for our future.

I have been out my china cabinet until the last of the wallboard dust has landed.

One of my guilty pleasures...looking for just the right things to feather our nest. I love being surrounded with things that bring a smile to my face and make the house feel like a comfy home.

One of my favorite things...the name of some young friends' baby boy...Bridger Adams. Isn't that so cute?

A few plans for the rest of the week...3 meetings today, working on getting my blog book printed, 2 luncheons with and for friends, church work, working on the class about blogging I am teaching in February...exactly one month from today. Yikes! Cleaning and some ironing is on my list and definitely date night with Jim on Friday. We feel it when we miss our weekly movie and popcorn night. And most important to me this week is thinking of a long distance way to bring some joy to our sweet daughter, Laura, on her 32nd birthday in five days. She is feeling sad as 3 of her very good friends have recently moved and Robert will be away. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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

Looking through my picture file I ran across this and thought now this is really symbolic of the state of our nation. We need to do some very needed mending and repairs to the weak spots that are taking us down one day at a time. I realize that it has to start with the individual and the family. It has to start with morality and conscience and a desire to truly be honest and above board and full of integrity in all we do. It has to be about taking a stand and placing our trust in God as the founding fathers had intended. If we don't stand for something we will fall for anything. Our needles and thread need to be gathered up before it is too late. A stitch in time saves nine!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Traditions with People We Love

Over the years we have been so fortunate to meet and love many wonderful people, just as you have, I'm sure. Isn't it fun to have things you do together on an annual, monthly, or more frequent basis? I love the traditions we make with friends and family that strengthen our bonds and give us special time together. One of my favorites is going to church together with special friends. We have been members of our church now for over 30 years. During that time we have watched a generation of our kids grow up together and most now have families that are half grown themselves. I love that sense of community we have with these old and dear friends. I love the foundation of truly knowing each other and being there for each other through thick and thin. I love that we can count on seeing them every single week. To me this builds social security. We know where to find our friends and reconnect weekly at the least and sometimes more than once. I love that we are like a big bouquet, each brings something different and unique and enriching to the lives of the others. At the same time our common foundation makes us one.

Our friends we have had at work over the years have also been so good. There is something about working with people, day in and day out that bonds you in a special way. Love it! I think of those friends often even though I don't see them now, they remain a part of my life in other ways. All of the great people we know that come and go through various circumstances have had a good influence, have taught us something, and created good memories. I love that I have been able to connect with many of them on Facebook in the past year. I have been able to reconnect with the first best friend I ever had in my childhood. How remarkable is that? She just turned 60 something this week.

Jim met a very special, life long friend named Bill, when he was in cub scouts. Jim and Bill were neighbors, their parents were friends, Jim and I and Bill and Barbara have been great friends for over 37 years, then our kids all became friends and last summer the fifth generation could be found in our pool playing together in our backyard.

Did you ever try to take a photo of 5 kids in a pool?
I needed a video of this there is no such thing
as a
still shot of 5 kids playing in a pool!

Barb's birthday is in January and our tradition for years has been we get together and have a crab feed. Bill knew that this was Barb's favorite way to celebrate her birthday and always made it happen. A few years ago we were all devastated when Bill was diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away. We had our last crab feed with our friends, Bill and Barbara, Lee and Dave, Stacey and Rob during the holidays just about 8 weeks before he died. Somehow after that, the tradition slipped away. It seemed too hard for all of us to think about that empty chair. But this year Barb was ready, so on the spur of the moment we did it Friday night. It was so wonderful to reinstate our tradition.

A sure sign the crab feed is back~
Plastic lined paper sacks for the
shells beside each person's place.
Not lovely, but so functional!

And for some reason it felt OK, it felt like Bill was right here with us again. I think we will be doing it from now on again. It was great fun and a wonderful new bonding experience. Love you guys!


Saturday afternoon Jim went to Martinez to the rifle range to help our great nephew, Thomas celebrate his 14th birthday. Thomas gets to choose what he wants to do on his birthday and they have had some spectacular adventures over the years. This year turned out to be a totally "guy thing!" I was glad, I don't do guns! They had a great time and Jim's shoulder is not happy this morning!

Happy Birthday, Thomas!

As if that were not enough we got together at my brother Steve and Emily's house last night for a fabulous dinner and for sharing our travel experiences with each other this year with our cousins Bob and Beth, and our brother Gary and his wife Marilyn. We get together a few times a year and watch concerts together on the big screen of our favorite singers and groups, for the Super Bowl, and other times when it is just the 4 couples.

Nobody does Mexican food like Emily!
Delicious, Em!

We love that and it has become a great tradition. Last night we toured Germany, The Cheque Republic, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy. Oh, and don't let me forget Paris!! We also went skin diving near Porto Rico with Gary and Marilyn. (Good thing as that is the only way I would go!) With videos, and stills we shared a lot of fun experiences. We even had a video recording of Steve and Emily's a tour of Drachau. It was very interesting and sad and about as close as I think I could actually get to a concentration camp without losing it! Love you guys, it was a great evening and weekend in general!

And now here it is Sunday morning and time to get ready for church. Some days you just wake up and feel so thankful for all your sweet family and friends. Today is one of those days for me! If you are reading this, you are also my dear friend and just know that I love you too! Thank you for being the spice in our lives! Long live our time-honored traditions! Cheers!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said:
'My son, the battle is between 'two wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy
, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good
. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.'

The grandson thought about it for a minute, and then asked his grandfather:
'Which wolf wins?'

"The one that you feed!"



"Few things possess more Power than a Thought.

Because a Thought has the Potential
to become something Significant.
To Solve something M
And to Inspire us to Achieve G
reat Things.

What makes a Thought so Powerful
is that it can be Created by
At Anytime

From Anywhere.

That's why Thinking should be Encouraged
and Nurtured in all its Forms.
No Matter how Sm
Or how Impossibly Grand.

Because when Thinking Happens
Big Ideas follow.
Minds Become Enlightened.

Knowledge Grows.
And people discover New Ways
To Unlock their Poten

So Start Thinking."

Jim receives a lot of educational periodicals in the mail and he found this in one of them. We both thought it was great but I do not know who wrote it. It is so true that thoughts precede every action. If we think we can or think we can't we are always right.

Our lives are like a white paged journal waiting to be filled with lots of good things. If we think and plan and work that plan, so many things will come to fruition. That is not to say that we can control everything in our lives but if we think and plan when life throws us a curve we are much more likely to land on our feet.

If we plan for eventualities and prepare for emergencies we truly will discover new ways and unlock our potential. Add to that a lot of faith, prayers and trust in the Lord and we can have a real formula for accomplishing great things!

I bet you are all thinking about having a great day. With thinking, planning, work, prayer and faith it can become a reality. You can't just "Have a Good Day," you have to Make it a Good Day! I know you will. An then find the beauty in your plan. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jen and Lowell's Little Women

Hazel, Chloe, Julia and Piper

Jim and Bon ~ Do Julie and Julia

Having been influenced by the movie Julie and Julia, Jim and I decided we would try a new recipe each week. We did our first one on Sunday afternoon. This is part of working up our bucket list of things we want to do together in our "twilight years" of retirement someday.

We both do enjoy cooking together so it is going on the list. I love my friend Marie's cooking blog and decided to try this recipe first. Jim and Bon are to Julie as Marie is to Julia! Here are some of the photos I took..clever how Jim did most of the cooking while I was doing a photo shoot..don't you think? He has the knack, that is for sure. The difference between us he is a natural in the kitchen and I am practiced in the kitchen. He says, "food talks to him!" I am not sure I understand that but some of you will. It talks to him the way rooms that need help talk to me.

The chicken was delicious but we did not follow the recipe exactly as our chicken breasts were thick so we pounded them flat. So we should have decreased the cooking time just a little. But none the less, it was very tasty and Marie, thank you for your inspiration! It was great having enough for two dinners!

P.S. We even drank ginger ale in stemware glasses while we cooked in honor of Julia Child!

On a side note I just wanted to tell you that I use my blogs as file cabinets sometimes. I have quite a few going on various subjects that I keep just for myself. You can set your setting so only you can read them. I have one for recipes that I want to try that I see around the blogsphere and Marie has the most recipes in my recipe blog file. She is amazing~check out her blogs!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Keeping it on ICE

We finally figured out how to take a video, transfer it to the computer and make a YouTube of the boys on Ice in Orvieto, Italy.

Blog Search

If you haven't noticed the new gadget feature in blogger~check it out. It is fantastic. You can find it in the customize section to add it to your blog. You can put in any word or word combination and find what you want in a flash.

For those of you that wanted to see my new amber ring...put in "amber ring" in the search box at the top of my side bar and can see the recently added photos of it.

This is the greatest thing they have done in a long time to improve the navigational features of Blogger. Yay,Google!

Sharing Some Cuteness From The Home Front

Catch up photos from the holidays in Utah! Sorry we missed it guys, maybe this year the whole family can be together again for the first time since 2006! That is our hope anyway!

Owen sledding off the deck!

Aynslee enjoying her skates

Zachy and his new Webkins Draggy

Owen getting into Christmas this year!

Chris and Ayn~Christmas morning.
Nice Jammies, Chris!

ChrisMissy aren't they?

Polar Express ride

Julia Mae in her new hat Mom
brought her from Venice!

In case you missed this photo yesterday!

Snow Bunnies, Piper and Julia at Ski School.

Chloe made you a purple hot dog for lunch!

Hazie being 2 on her hot rod Grampa,
Daddy and Uncle Chris made!

Happy New Year from the hotel!
WooHoo, happy New Year!

Piper, such a sweetheart!

Chloe lost her first tooth on New Year's Eve!
Hello...she is 4 and a half.

Connor and his choir teacher

Cute photo of Connor, Anyslee, Zach and Owen