Sunday, July 27, 2014

How Do You Feel About Your Photographs?

Something I saw on Facebook (attribution at end of article) that was quite refreshing. And brave.  And something we should ponder.  It touched my heart.  I am guilty of this. Always wishing for being physically different is not healthy.  I'm betting God gets pretty tired of our ungrateful thoughts for all the ways our bodies bless us even in our imperfections.   I'm not saying don't try to be as healthy as possible.  I'm just saying we need to stop beating ourselves up and be more grateful and we should allow ourselves to be happy just as we are. We need to focus outward and make a positive contribution to our society.  Success does not get measured in body size or type. We need to quit swallowing this nonsense and get on with living life authentically and purposefully and with joy. 
"Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it."
My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me?
Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.
Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.
“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.
I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.
“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it mom.”
“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.
“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”
I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.
My daughter walks over and takes a look.
“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “Your so beautiful. I love it.
I take a deep breath.
This is exactly what I needed.
My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.
I still see my dimply, fat thighs.
I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.
I still see chubby arms.
I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.
I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.
I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.
Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.
Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…
I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.
Yes. You heard me.
“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”
Well…not exactly. But something like that.
Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.
Really, it doesn’t matter.
I don’t hate my body anymore.
That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.
I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.
Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.
Thank you kids.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~July 21, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Monday, July 21, 2014 
Outside my window...It is cool, breezy and overcast today.  Just perfect after a few hot days.  Refreshing and comfortable.  It is one of those days that would just motivate me to get a lot done if I wasn't taking a little break from the busyness of last week.  So I'm just taking it easy and doing my favorite thing.  Writing this Daybook on my blog, it having been sorely neglected lately!

I am thankful and friends and especially for those that are both.  I like to think about how with all the many people that have been and will be born in this earth life we are blessed with just such wonderful people in our lives.  It is almost like they have been hand selected to bless us, cheer us and help us become better people.  I am feeling very wealthy in the friendship department.

From the learning room...I am combining this with the next section.

I am reading...The Apocrypha right now.  Very interesting.  I just looked at it this morning after our cousin and friend, Stephen, referred to it in our conversation yesterday.  The Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books is a collection of ancient writings done primarily during the period of time between the Old and New Testament writings.  The word Apocrypha means hidden and they are not included in many versions and translations of the Bible. So in that sense they are hidden. They do appear in the Holy Catholic Bible.  The word Deuterocanonical means these writings are considered to be Second Canon in nature not canonized scripture in the traditional sense.  Canonized scripture is scripture that is deemed authoritative and has passed certain criterion established by the early church in order to have been canonized and considered as doctrine and authentic scripture.  The purpose was to unify various factions of Christianity.  You can see a simple article on this here: 

The Apocrypha is not only found in the Catholic Bible but also in some Protestant versions of the Bible.  Although the Lutheran Church is reported to have it I was never aware of it growing up in that faith.  They are not a part of the scriptures of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which includes The King James version of the Bible.  So these writings are new to me. 

I have been reading the Book of Tobias today as that is what Steve referenced in connection with marriage. We were all talking specifically about with how our in-laws become our parents upon our marriage.  I like that idea.  Steve said that was pointed out in the book of Tobias.  

I think the in-law designation should just be done away with (in the non-legal sense) once a family is united in marriage. Then we are all just family.  Plain and simple.  To me "in-law" implied a forced, duty-driven relationship by law. (I know some of you may be thinking "Yep" about now.)  Regardless of the quality of your in-law realationsips... to me it feels like a divisive term rather than inclusive.  I think it is one of the very things that often makes these relationships all  the more difficult.  

One of my many quirks i guess. I've just never liked it and Jim hasn't either.  I view it in the same way that married people say, "My son, my daughter, my house, etc. when the much more unifying term is "our."  These subtle things make a difference in how we feel and act.

From the kitchen...The kitchen has been doing overtime this whole past week so on R and R this week.  Going out to dinner someplace tonight.  Leaving for vacation and so cleaning out the frig.  

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...I have been thinking a lot about The Pure Love of Christ.  The kind of love that is a verb, is not self-serving or selfish, the kind that is pure and wholesome and good. The kind that just loves another person wholeheartedly and wants whatever they need, not what we need.  The kind of love that just gives and blesses another.  Christ's type of love. The kind of love the world needs a whole lot more of to be healthy.  The kind that brings no pain except when that person is absent through space and time or the temporary separation of death. The kind of love that brings joy for joy's sake. The kind that changes the giver and the recipient for the better.

I am hearing...Over The Rainbow by Eva Cassidy.  Beautiful song and beautiful vocalist.

One of my pleasures...reliving our memories and anticipating many more. Memory is such a lovely gift from Our Father.  May we never lose it!  And should we, He is kind enough to allow us to keep them in our what I'm betting. So that when the barnacles of our minds are swept away, only the beauty to which the heart clings will remain and bring us great comfort and peace. 

Pet Peeves...side effects of drugs to cure an ailment that bring on something new to take its place.  Sometimes the cure is worse than the presenting complaint.

I am quoting...Pinterest, love these they are my all time favorite quotes about family, friends and loving one another.

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined
 to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. 
The thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break.”
 - Chinese Proverb

If I could change one thing it would be...that we could understand others and they would not ever misunderstand us.  Wouldn't that be sweet?  And if someone's intent was to do harm or deceive their eyes would be red blinking signs of warning and their voices like shrill, piercing sirens to get our attention.   

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...Doc Martin, hands down.  Jim and I have never laughed so much as in this British TV series.  We never want it to end.  It's so dang funny, quirky, amusing!  Once you get in a couple of episodes you cannot leave it alone.

I am curious about...just about everything.  I wish I had been more curious in my youth when everything learned came easier and more quickly. 

Plans for the rest of the, work tomorrow, pack and head east for awhile after getting house sitter all squared away, etc. etc.  Enjoy time with our six grand kids still residing in the USA.  We have not seen the boys for a year so we are plenty excited about that.  And the girls are always exciting.  There is to be a mini-reunion with seven family members not able to attend.  There is also to be a lot of fun things and then camping.  The jury is out on that one for me but I am trying to keep a positive outlook for the enthusiasts in the bunch.  Bugs, dirt, bears...OK I'll not dwell on it.  Also on the agenda a quick overnight trip for Laura and I to Idaho to drop off Ross for a couple of days with his cousins on the other side of the family while Spencer attends classes at the Y.  It will fly by.  Everything that is but that crazy long, boring drive.  It doesn't fly, it crawls.

One of my favorite things...Italian serenades for little 87 years old ladies that bring them joy and a glimpse of their youth.

One thing that made me so happy this past week...entertaining quite a few guests in our home and yard.

The most surprising thing this past week...Having our cousin Stephen be able to come and spend part of Saturday and Sunday with us.  It was the best of the best weekends.

A photo I am sharing this week...a photo of Jim with Steve.  They share an Italian heritage that goes way back to a quaint little village in the Province of Genova, Italia.  Sweet reunion of the posterity some outstanding Ferreras of the past.  What a joy to behold.


❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Roast Beef Marinade

When we were first married and living in San Francisco, our friend, Maureen, had this most delicious recipe for roast beef.  For years I made it and then one day I couldn't find the recipe.  We had lost touch over the years but reconnected awhile back on Facebook.  I asked her if she still had that recipe after 40 something years.  She had to dig a little but she did find it.  So here it is.  I haven't tried it again yet but I want to at some point.

Buy the beef roast of your choice.  I always used just a tender boneless roast.


2 cups Burgundy Wine (I'm going to try it with 
the non-alcoholic variety of wine.)
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 or more cloves of minced garlic
3 bay leaves crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme

Marinate roast beef overnight.
Cook roast as usual
Add the marinade last 30 minutes
Use along with drippings to make the gravy.

I remember this was the best ever meat and gravy.
I'll report back after we try it!

I'm so glad we are back in touch after all these years.
Thanks, Maureen!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Independence Day 2014

One thing about the Fourth of July that you can count on is that it will be hot.  Especially in Utah.  It was a sizzler over there.  The morning was bearable until about 10:30 am.  The first thing we saw when we looked out the window was this flag in front of the house.  The Young Men and Women of the Church line the streets with American flags nearly every holiday that has anything to do with patriotism.  This is the way they raise funds for their special activities.  They do it for free but ask for donations from the home owners on a voluntary basis.  It is a winner. It use to be just the Scouts but now the Young Women participate as well which makes it easier on everyone.  Connor was on morning detail, getting up at 5:30 am to line the streets.  That in itself is great for all the teens to get up that early.  He put the one up you see above right in front of their house.  It is quite a sight when you step out and look up and down the street.

Provo is known for their Fourth of July Celebrations.  They have hot air balloons on years when it is not too hot early in the morning.  Over 70 degrees and the balloons will inflate but not ascend.  Bummer this year, too hot that early already.  But the City has plenty to keep families happy.  There is a big parade, a Freedom Festival, Stadium of Fire at BYU Stadium at night and probably a lot more activities I am not aware of as a visitor.  And of course the fireworks are fabulous.  We decided to pick just two activities so we went to the Freedom Festival and the fireworks.

The Freedom Festival was packed pretty early.  We arrived about 10:30 and left  after about an hour and a half.  It was just too hot and crowded so when the kids were done, none of us protested.  

A little group photo of Gramma and Grampa with the kids.
This was just as we were leaving~broiled to perfection.

Grampa likes the cooking booths so
 we stopped in there for a minute. 
 Here the grandkids are looking on.  
Connor, Owen, Aynslee, Zachary.
Missy is standing right next to Connor.

Loved being able to see the steeple on the 
new Provo Temple still under construction after the fire
that gutted the Tabernacle a few years ago.  
The Festival was just across the street
so when the crowd got to be just too much
you could look up to this and feel relief.

This was my favorite part of what the festival offered. 

They played some amazing Blue Grass music under a tent that had chairs to sit down and relax.  Awesomeness like only a "Hot Gramma" can fully appreciate. Hehehe!

I though the best part of the Freedom Festival in general was the sense of community and old-fashioned fun it engendered.  They had lots of vendors selling food and and merchandise and the mingling was good.  I am not a fan of big crowds but this was a gentle crowd.  No offensive language, no people there to cause a problem, no loud personal music, no smoking or drinking.  Just normal, everyday people out with their families enjoying themselves.  That is a freedom we don't have in a lot of places anymore and it was refreshing.

As we were leaving the Freedom Festival we saw this guy. 
 I'm telling ya, this town does it up right! 
Who among us has a handcart?

We went home and chilled and had lunch and watched National Treasure with the kids in the nice cool basement family room.  That was great.  We had a wonderful dinner and Chris grilled salmon and we ate out in their backyard under the umbrella and enjoyed the shady trees and the mountains so close and so big!

As the sun was starting to go down we packed up and went over to  the Temple lawn to watch the fireworks.

These last four shots and the one
 of us with the kids were taken by Chris. 
 This one is so pretty I think.
 I am loving the lavender hues of it.

It was the quintessential summer evening. No mosquitoes that I noticed. Warm but comfortable, pleasant people all around you and a spectacular bunch of glitter in the sky!  It ended all too soon.

pinterest photo

God Bless America
The Land of the Free Because of the Brave!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Visit With a Purpose

pinterest photo

We had some very specific reasons for making this trip to Utah.  Last month Jim wanted to go up to help Chris with some work but he was unable to make that trip due to lingering problems in his recovery from hip replacement surgery.  He was quite crestfallen about that as he loves helping our kids so much with their home projects.  So he devised a plan for accomplishing what Chris needed from home and we went up to deliver 18 cabinet doors that Jim made in his new work shop.  It was a bit of a challenge to say the least, but he did an excellent job and I am so proud of him.  The wall unit had 18 openings and each just slightly different in size by fractions of an inch.  Jim had our grandson measure the openings and recheck it.  Each opening was numbered and measured precisely.  Connor did an amazing job and he helped so much.

The shop is not done yet but projects are going on anyway!

Focus and precision is key!

He did all the painting at home and 
setting the hinges and added pulls.

When I went up to take the photos
Jim had both the big double doors wide open.
We had a visitor, one of two fawns born
recently.  They are about the size of a big dog now.
So tame and cute and their spots are nearly gone.

They spent the afternoon of the 3rd installing the doors.  Love how they turned out.  The cabinets add a lot of light and personality to the room.  Wonderful job, done from a distance.  And a successful three generation project for the guys.  Connor earned his wings on this one!  Great measuring, Con!  It is so great how these skills and talents get passed from father to son for generation after generation..  Jim's dad started it and it just keeps on giving and getting better.  

Chris had also needed Jim's help on a complete remodel of their downstairs bathroom.  He had it all gutted before he learned Jim could not come in June.  So he did this on his own.  He is an amazing guy.  He consulted with Dad and watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to do the tile.  Youtube is better than a compass for directions on anything you want to learn.

Love the tile and the colors and the glass half wall.
The floor and sink are cool too. 
 This will be the bathroom for the boys
 that all have bedrooms downstairs.

We girls went shopping while the guys finished this project up.  I bought some birthday presents from Jim to me.  The value of the birthday bucks went way up with a 40% off coupon and a semi-annual big sale!  Missy and Aynslee got some clothes too. We had a very nice dinner that Missy prepared.  It was light summer faire and it was great.  Lots of fruit, and veggies and French Dip sandwiches.  Everyone was getting excited for the 4th now that the projects were completed and the sun was setting in the west.

Everything had a deadline because we had plans to chill out on the 4th and because they are moving!  Their renters will arrive by week's end.  You'll never guess where they are going!  So I'll tell you.


Chris got a Fulbright Scholarship and they are going on Sabbatical for OneYear!  Sabbatical~so no classroom teaching but the luxury of researching and writing a book, and some projects papers. BYU and The University in England each pay half of his salary.  Sweet deal for sure and we are so happy for them.

 Of course their kids are not too happy because they don't want to leave their home and friends, but they will be fine once they get used to it.  Such a great opportunity to do this sabbatical with a young family.  We will miss them but know how fast times flies.

 It is nice to travel with the purpose of serving our kids and especially since it gave us a chance to say good-bye for now and to wish them well.  And sending the grandkids off with hugs and kisses knowing they will have grown a lot while away was not a bad idea either. Thank heavens for the Internet and for the prospects of going over for a visit in 2015.  That's called traveling for a reason. Pleasure and a reunion.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Liberty and Freedom~July 4th Weekend!

Taken at Church today!
Happy Liberty and Independence Weekend!

Reflecting back on our whirlwind trip to Utah it was really pretty awesome in every possible way.  The only thing that would have made it better was if Laura's family had been there too.  They were traveling in NY at the exact same time so we got lots of texts and pictures from them so it was almost like being with them too.

The drive, well you know how that is if you have ever been to Nevada.  Nevada has produced some of our most favorite people like Lee and Dave!  But that highway 80 leaves a lot to be desired where scenery is concerned.  But we need those kinds of contrasts to help us appreciate beauty when we see it.

The most interesting thing we saw was the new 80 miles per hours signs in Utah.  The jury is out on whether this is a good idea. Personally it seems it will just give license to driving even faster than 80 so I am not a fan.  We saw this right before getting to SLC.  So the 12 hours drive was only interesting and fun from the inside of the car where we talked and napped and listened to a book on tape and some music and made some plans. The best part...just being together and alone.  It is not what I would necessarily choose for my birthday activity (Nevada desert) but the carrot dangling at the end of it was our it was good.

We are happy that Jen and Lowell have moved to SLC because it cut an hour off the trip. Woohoo. We arrived by design...right before dinner!  Jen had such a nice dinner prepared, balloons and our little tiny Hazie sitting on the stoop waiting for us.  Her beautiful eyes lit up when we pulled in and it was a Happy Birthday gift like no other.  I love how little kids get so excited about birthday parties.  Jen is such a great host.  She just had it all dialed in.  It was a delicious dinner and cherry pie for dessert which she knows is my favorite.

They have this amazingly wide porch so we ate out there and watched the world go by at the park near them.  It was sweet I'm telling ya, you'd love that porch.

Yep, that's me all right! (Looking like I've been in the desert for 12 hours with the "Ugly Bug" that accompanies us on car trips.  Laura and I have discussed the phenomenon for years now.  You get ready for your day like you always do.  Jump in a car and just sit there all day.  By the first stop you look like the other word for heck.)  But it is amazing what you will do for your grandkids.  I am not a hat fan which includes headbands and anything but hair on my head actually.  But the little sisters where quite excited about me wearing this so OK then.  Hazie informed me that I looked like The Statue of Liberty.  Hmm...better than a penguin, right?  But then I wasn't walking either.

Chloe lighting the candle on the pie! 
Noise makers and party toys all around.
Chloe gave me a beautiful angel wings necklace.
It has little rhinestones on the wings.
Gramma likes a little bling.
They know I love angel's wings because 
they are Hazie's transportation. 

Hazie getting ready to watch me open my present from her.  
She was pretty excited about this gift.
Her enthusiasm is always contagious.

The present from Hazie was full of lip gloss, 
peppermint and peppermint chocolate and another flavor.
She wanted to try them out!  
Have you ever played with an angel?  It is heavenly!

Publicity shots!
For "Call Your Girlfriend"
The cups are the boxes.
See the Lennon and Maisy's 
Youtube video of this song.

After dinner we had a whole lot of partying going on.  The middle girls...our very own Lennon and Maisy look alikes and sound alikes, sang me some songs from the Nashville series.  It was so tender because I love Lennon and Maisy's voices and our precious impersonators. We recorded it and it was great.  However we are waiting for our family reunion to do it up right before sharing.  The big sisters sang some songs while I toured their bedroom with all its Beyond 5 and One Direction posters, their incredible art work and other fun teen girls' treasures. 

 Piper and Julia both play the guitar but Piper accompanied Julia some while she sang.  Piper is really good on the guitar and seems so at ease with it.  She has been writing some songs.  She is shy about singing in front of people (I relate) and doesn't like a lot of pictures (ditto on relating...I've only gotten over it since I started doing family history again four years ago.)  So I am adding one picture of her in from last year that I love.  

They are so much fun and I thought to myself how generous Heavenly Father has been to give me two daughters, one daughter-in-law and five granddaughters to fill in for the sisters I never had.  

To top it all off, Julia gave me a lengthy foot massage which has been her specialty since she was 5 and had her own company called "Julia's Happy Feet Day Spa."  She has made my feet happy for years.  She just keeps getting better at it too.  When all the adults went to bed the girls and I stayed up a while longer and just spent time together.  Cherished birthday memories for me that's for sure. I felt wrapped in a hug all day long.  (Facebook friends thank you for overwhelming me all day long with your kindness.)  

Precious girls!
Julia, Chloe Piper and Little Piper~Miss Hazie Jo
The sweetest girls, I love them all to the moon and back.

Thank you Jen and Lowell for always welcoming us with open arms and making it special to be with you.  We love you all.  Glad we are coming back for more soon.  You are so generous. Loved my Williams and Sonoma bag and my party.  Grazie and Ciao for a few weeks.