Sunday, November 21, 2010


Last night was the ceremonious tree lighting at Levi's Commons. We decided to go over and see the 50 foot tree come to life. Santa was there. and there were carriage rides. But the lines for each were so long, we didn't get to do either. So we went and stood by the tree with our friends the Turners. They passed around candles and there were some singers and performances. Then they counted down to the lighting. It was very pretty.Here are some pics from the evening.

Maryn and her magic hat (It makes here do chores without complaint!) by the tree. Love this picture.

The kids in front of the base of the tree.

The tree as it was first lit. I wonder how many lights there are on this thing?!?!

Ashlyn holding a candle. I lvoe the glow on her sweet little face.
Robert, Nathan, Ashlyn, Caleb, Hannah, Krystyna and Maryn share their light!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This morning the kids and I went to Toledo Public Library and helped hand out socks to homeless and needy folks. There were other groups there besides Hannah's Socks passing out toiletries, food and clothing. There were droves of people. Mostly black men. Somehow smiling. Some even laughing. And it was cold. And it was going to get colder. We gave out all the socks and went back to out warm car which would take us to our warm house with food waiting. And I was grateful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A trip to the store

So this evening we had the Turner children (all 8 of them!) over to watch a movie, have pizza and generally eat crappy food. It was fun. But first we had to go and get pizza for that many people and grab some Twizzlers. Ashlyn wanted to go with me. But first, she had to prepare. Here is a picture of what she wore and what she took to go grab Twizzlers and pizza.

Pink Dora Crocs?

Fairy wings?

Blue Velor pants?

Jasmine Nightgown?
Checkity Check.

2 books, a pencil, and 3 blankets.
Checkity Check Check Check.

Homemade Fairy Crown?
Left it at home because she ran out of room.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Captain's Log

So, I have always liked Star Trek. Next Generation was my favorite. And I super like the new movie with Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. Best. Kirk. Ever. Yowza.

But beside drooling over hot guys in uniform, there was something else I learned from Star Trek. Captain’s Log. This is a check point for my Captain’s Log.

We have recently finished the first part of new journey. And although we aren’t really going where no man has gone before, we are going somewhere we have never been before as a family. And boldly going into the unknown takes a bit of courage.

I presented the plan to my children and gave them the opportunity to post legitimate objections. They did post objections, but none were truly legitimate or insurmountable. I was very prayerful about this choice. And encouraged my oldest children to discover whether or not it was the right thing for us on their own terms and in their own hearts. I reminded them gently that most often the right thing is not the easy thing. I felt very strongly that if we stayed in Maria Stein, we would have been fine, but moving here would be better. It meant the difference between treading water enough to keep my head above water and swimming toward something.

So now that 3 months have passed, here are the benefits I see from the move.

1) High school. Okay, now at first, the HS freaked Paul out. Its huge. Practically the entire Marion Local High School can fit in the Commons area. Okay maybe the commons and the gym, but you get the idea. But with size there are benefits. More kids mean more diversity. Here, there are many ways to fit in and lots of people to find that you can have things in common with without creating that commonality through alcohol (a huge ML issue). There are more programs, more clubs, more classes. And now, he loves it. He is coming to terms with loving it here and not feeling unfaithful to his friends from ML. He got a B average on his last report cards…first time ever…and has moved out of an academic assist study hall into a regular study hall. This is a shout out to all the ML teachers, his IEP coordinator has commented frequently on how well trained he is. He comes in with his work, sits down, and actually does stuff.

2) Seminary. This is another Paul benefit. He loves seminary. Loves it. He is the first one there every morning. He participates and volunteers. He got an A+ first quarter. He originally suggested a B to his teacher and she laughed at him. Silly lad. He loves the camaraderie with the other LDS students as well. Which leads to…

3) Church. Here, because his dad only lives 20 minutes away (benefit or drawback depending on who you are and what week it is), Paul can attend church every week. With his mission literally 3 ½ years away, I can only see benefits of this. He is the 1st counselor in the teachers quorum, and loves the fact that there are 20 young men. I know the others are adjusting well to their schools and their teachers only have good things to say about them. Except for Conner. But he’s Conner, and his teacher adores him despite his imperfections. He is often described as charming.

4) This has been a lot about Paul, but I have seen benefits too. I had no idea how stressed I was, until I was no longer in that situation. I yell way less than I did in MS, mostly because I am functioning on a much lower level of frustration. I love taking my kids to school and picking them up. Love it. And volunteering. I want my work to work around my kids, not the other way around. I love helping them with has their homework, and being available to them both physically and mentally. I didn’t realize how hard it was until I wasn’t doing it any more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Women's Suffering

Paul was telling me today after school about some guest speakers they had in their CIA class (Contemporary Issues in America).I think their main purpose was to get the kids to think about serious questions. And I guess they did.

Paul; "So they asked whether or not we thought they should vote to get rid of women's know..the right to vote."

Suffrage...suffering...same thing...

Although very often the right to speak my own mind does lead to suffering.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


So for the last 3 weeks I have been doing this diet challenge. The first week I lost 6 pounds. And I was excited. But these last 2 weeks, even though I changed nothing about my eating habits, the weight loss has slowed. Significantly. And when I can't see progress I get discouraged. When my efforts continue but I get no pay off, it gets hard. Weight loss is not the only area I seem to struggle with this is. How can I be patient and stay motivated when it feels like anything I do will only sink me deeper in the mire?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hannah's Socks

We live down the road from some wonderful people. They have 8 children ages 5 to 11 they have fostered and then adopted. Five years ago, they were serving Thanksgiving Dinner at a homeless shelter, and their then 4 year old daughter, Hannah noticed with concern a man without socks. Although her mother tried to reassure her, Hannah was persistent in her concern, and finally told her mother that the man could have her socks. The next day the turners purchased several pairs of socks and took them back to the mission. There was a need, and soon others got wind of the project. Four years later, they have a building and are an incorporated non profit agency. Last night was their open house. We went in support of the Turners, but also because since moving here my kids have become involved on the junior board doing service and I may be serving on the actual board.

Here are excerpts from a book that was written for children about philanthropy. Hannah and her story are included on these pages:

And this is Ashlyn and Maryn with some of the Turner kids at the Hannah's Socks office; Hannah and Bethany (back row left and right) and Faith (in front).

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I want to share a story with you that happened almost ten years ago that seems somewhat relevant here. We were living in the country and I was driving home from the school when I happened to look over the side of the bridge that crossed the ditch that split the fields and crossed the road. And I saw something strange. There was an empty truck nose down in the ditch. Now we lived in crazy country, and I at first figured that some lunatic farmer had let his 10 year old drive the truck across the field and it ended up there. But something whispered to me to stop. So I did. I craned my neck to see if anyone was in the cab. No one was,so I put the car back in gear to continue. But something whispered in my mind, "Get out and look over the side." I did. And there, in the bottom of the ditch lying in an inch of water on a frigid October morning was a man. I cried out and heard in response gasps and chokes. He was alive. I was only a half mile from home (and had no cell phone back then)so I rushed there, sent my husband down to the ditch to stay with him and check his vitals (but not to move him) and called 911. David went to the hospital and found out the rest of the story.

He had been coming home from a night shift at work, and less then a mile from home, had fallen asleep for a moment. When he gathered himself after hitting the bottom of the ditch, he wasn't bleeding and decided to move over and get out. He had no idea his pelvis had crushed against the steering wheel, and when he put the weight on his feet, he collapsed to the ground. Unable to move, he cried out to every car and truck he heard pass; dozens in two and half hours. But no one saw him. No one heard him. He cried and prayed, pleading with God to help him somehow. And he did. Someone was listening with something besides their ears. When he knew he had been found, the gasps and chokes I heard were him sobbing with relief.

I thought about how grateful I was that day that I had been listening. And I realized something. So often we find ourselves in the ditches of life. Our cries are too small to be heard and no one sees us. I have tried to live my life in such a way that I could hear with my heart when others are in the ditch, and hope that others would be listening when I found myself in a ditch.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adrenaline Rush

So it happened. Today my son got his permit. In celebration I immediately took him to the church parking lot and we had our first driving lesson. He did not as bad as I thought he would and it was not nearly as terrifying as I thought it would be.

Funny though...I had him let up on the brake and drive with just the power to practice maneuvering in slow motion. The slower the better from my point of view. At one point, he was doing well and I encouraged him to pick up the speed. And he about 10 miles per hour.

So here we are, speeding along the edge of this parking lot about as fast as I can run sideways, and my son excitedly states, "This is such an adrenaline rush!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quote of the day

Ashlyn: "Mom, is Paul-y getting his drivers thingy today?"
Mom: "Yes."
Ashlyn:" Well what if he drives and gets in a car accident?"
Mom: "He won't. I'll drive with him."
Ashlyn: "But what if he does? Will he have to get the money to pay for your car?"
Mom: "I guess so."
Ashlyn: "Then how would you get to work because you wouldn't have a car because Paul crashed it."
Ashlyn: "Maybe you shouldn't let him get it mom."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Warm Water

I woke up yesterday feeling sore and achy and still exhausted. I was able to drag myself out of bed long enough to get in the shower. I love the way nice hot showers feel in the morning, how they rejuvenate and alleviate the pain. This particular morning as I let the water trickle over my head and shoulders, I remembered some words from a non-nonsense nurse who attended to me after Conner’s surgery birth eight years ago. Her words of wisdom I have never forgotten, and often repeat them to myself on mornings such as this. “There isn’t much warm water won’t fix.”

It was true in the moment she had shared it with me. I had been laying in bed mostly numb form the waist down for 36 or more hours. I felt gross. C-section surgeries do not keep the patient clean and tidy. I was physically and mentally wiped out and in a pain. Every time I stood up I felt fairly sure my guts were going to fall on the floor. Dave had to help me with the 100 tiny steps it took to get to the bathroom 5 feet away. But once I was in the shower, everything changed. The pain didn’t go away (come on, let’s be serious about that…less than a day and half before my insides had been on my stomach and an 8 pound infant yanked out from under my ribs)and I was still a little stooped and slow, but it suddenly felt manageable. I felt clean and more relaxed…and human.

For some reason this Sunday morning shower and the warm water turned my thought in a different direction. I began to think about the scriptures, and how often water is referred to in some form or another and all the things it represents. I was still thinking as I dried off and got ready for the Sabbath. As I waited for my hair to dry, I began flipping through the scriptures and I discovered a few things. In the times that the scriptures were written water was a precious commodity. Nearness to it dictated survival. It stood for health and well being. It was also cleansing. The earth was cleansed by water while Noah was in his boat. The Savior himself entered into the waters of baptism to begin his mission here on the earth.

And then I found a term; living waters. In each verse this term appeared in, it was followed by a very specific description of what these living waters represented. There were two main themes that I felt closely coincided with the Jewish perception of the infinite value of water; The love of God and the Word of God or the gospel.

Is it then not accident that when we are baptized we are immersed in the love of God and His word and come forth again new? Is it not true that our nearness to him ensures our spiritual survival just as nearness to the water ensured the physical survival of the people long ago in the scriptures?

Whenever the world and the day to day life it brings shamelessly to my doorstep leaves me feeling in pain, slow, sore, bent over and exhausted, I can bath myself in His “living water”, warm water that is perfect for what ails my soul and will leave me feeling rejuvenated and refreshed and will leave the pain I feel…manageable. Truly, as that nurse said, there is very little a little warm water won’t fix.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Football Man

Conner decided he wanted to play football outside. This is his outfit. The helmet is one his dad had for decoration and is currently hanging on his wall. I let him pay with it on. Dave isn't here to stop me :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A day in the life...

Get up, Maryn up,Find clothes for kids, Make scrambled eggs, Take Maryn to practice, Make sure kids are ready, find socks, take mom to school, take kids to school, come home, get Tank dressed, exercise, shower, check facebook and email, go get groceries, drop Tank off at Luce's, go to dental clinic at UT, find out I need to either pull the tooth in question or have a $1000 crown put on, come home, get Tank, call Melanie and ask what I should do about tooth situation, pick up kids, pick up mom, unload groceries, put away groceries, make dinner, load dishwasher, play UNO with Maryn and Ashlyn, Homework, Tell kids to shower, watch the Mentalist, Go to bed. The End.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One day at a time

Sometimes I wish tomorrow would just get here faster. This patience and learning from your experience is for the birds. I am not by nature the type of person who reads all the way through a book beginning to end. No, I am the one who reads the first 5 chapters, skips to the last 3 and then goes back through the middle chapters sporadically to get the gist. This concept does not work well in life. I want to know how it ends. But then again, if I knew how it ended, I would likely just skip all the middle.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Conner was super excited today was election day. Way more then I was. He woke up; "Hooray! It's election day!" And I almost didn't go vote. But then I thought about stories I read about women spending time in prisons for asking for the right to express their opinion. And then another conversation I had with a visitor from China came to mind. Somehow we started talking about voting, and I stated that at the last election I didn't go. She nodded knowingly, and said, "Ah, because it was too dangerous to go." I felt sheepish replying that it was because I was getting a haircut and forgot. Often, when a gift is simply given to us, we don't appreciate it because we didn't work for it.
It is a gift to be allowed to choose.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lord Grant Me the Patience...

I found this cross stitch in the closet.
I remember this from when I was little. My mother had it hanging on the wall above the piano in Evanston . I can see its place on the wall very, very clearly in my childhood memory file.

But I don't remember seeing it after we left Wyoming.So I find it very interesting it has survived that many moves.
I remember liking it as a child, but not really understanding it. And wondering why it was in such a prominent place in our home where surely, all could see it each and every day.... especially my mother.
But now I TOTALLY get it.
Like when I say to myself "I wanted children. I had each of them on purpose. What the helenore was I thinking?"
Or when my sister and I call each other, children screaming hysterically in the background and one will say to the other..."Tell me why again?"
And the other will say, "Because its part of the plan of happiness. Children bring you joy. Blah, Blah, Blah."
Children are essential to growth. They compress you and stretch you and force you to face everything and ignore other things and make choices and be vague and be firm and be flexible and let go and hold on and look forward and analyze your past...without giving up or giving in.

Truly, Lord...grant me the patience to endure my blessings.