Monday, May 31, 2010

Spiritual Sunday ~ Thornless Roses

I read from a blog in which the author (Ambitious April) writes something of a spiritual or inspirational nature some Sundays; she calls them her "Spiritual Sunday" blogs. I hope it is not rude for me to copy her idea, because I want to. So here is my first Spiritual Sunday blog. I hope these turn out to be uplifting and inspiring and that someone enjoys reading them as much as I'm sure I will enjoy writing them. Here is my first "Spiritual Sunday" blog... :)

We all huddled around the computer recently as Mindy showed us videos that she made (she has incredible video creating talent) along with a couple of others. One of them really got me thinking... and really shook me. I knew the tragic story that the video was based on... but the music somehow made it all so much more real and tangible; it made the story come alive in the world I live in and caused me to reflect upon my life and the lives of others around me (as well as in the cyberspace world). I could see certain things more deeply than I ever had before. My views changed. Caution increased within me. Likes and desires changed. I changed.

I used to LOVE the song Fame (I think part of me still does... but not for the same reasons). Somehow when I would hear and sing it I felt on top of the world. There was an element of glory and pride that I felt from that song that prior to today... I loved.

But today, I find myself shying away from it (no... running from it!), bothered to realize that I actually craved or desired to have a certain amount of glory in my life. What a scary realization. Now I DON'T want it! Looking at history... at this video my daughter showed us... and looking at the whole packaged deal that comes with glory ~ of how glory corrupts people and destroys lives. I don't want it! My views and desires have changed. I have changed. It feels great! Life is really great! :D

One of the things I try to do in life, as I talk to people, as I write blogs, with everything... is to keep things real. I think a lot of people live an imaginary life to the rest of the world. Everything they show about their lives is perfect; life is depicted as nothing but roses. You know the type - you mention the rough times starting out in your marriage, and they tell you they never went through that. Finances were never tough for them. Their marriage was always perfect. And their kids are straight A students who have never done a thing wrong in their lives. But is it really true? HECK NO!

I remember reading from a blog that made it seem like life for that family was incredibly perfect. They were all perfect and life was a breeze... or so it seemed. Then something happened and I learned about something that was truly happening in the family; there was a lot of stress and hardship. They were actually normal people; they just didn't want anyone to know it. I can't help wondering why. What is so bad about being normal anyway? Is it because people honestly believe that some people have perfect lives... or that they somehow have to have perfect lives to be of interest or value to others?

I have a really good life. But it isn't a bowl of cherries, and there are thorns among the roses in the garden of my life. I don't emphasize the thorns because they aren't worth focusing on or fusing over... it won't help me, and it won't help you. But I'm not about to pretend they aren't there, and I think it is sometimes good to talk about how we overcome and of the good that comes from the thorns of life. But to pretend that hardships, struggles and weaknesses don't exist is a lie that only bad can come from.

After being reminded that the "perfect family" wasn't really perfect... I thought of of a few reasons that some people do this, and of a few reasons why I should remember to keep - keeping it real! (Though there must be balance; I wouldn't want to gossip about my family just to keep it real!)

I was listening to the song from the video that my daughter edited (she took out the profanity for her own use). The words in that song got me thinking about all the people who live a lie in effort to look good to others... for pride, for fame, for glory... never realizing that the price is ultimately giving up their happiness.

I was going to share the video on my blog... but I don't want to share profanity, and the edited version can not legally be shared. But I will tell you a few of the messages contained in the song. You may want to ask yourself as you read this if you have ever come across anyone who seems to live their life in this way. Hopefully you won't be too familiar with it. ;)

Here are a few paraphrased messages:
  • Lies are entertainment...(the author lived a lie; one purpose was to entertain himself and others)
  • The song author stated that he gave up "everything" for fame/to be praised... 
  • The song author states something about entertaining with lies; and of how people love his lies and practically go to their knees begging him for more. (Sad. I wonder if the ones begging for more know that they are lies).
OK - I think I can stop there. In the course of the video (which summarizes the life of the song author and how his life changes as he pursues fame and glory at all cost) you see a person who starts out as a really decent person who is genuinely good. But little by little he makes choices that cause him to become more concerned with being praised and having fame and glory than he is about anything else. Eventually, he also becomes obsessed. The obsession and glory lead to his ruin, and he looses everything good in his life to have them... including happiness, and eventually his life.

It is a tragic story but one worth gaining a lesson from. I wonder how often we do small things that might put us on a path that isn't right... for the sake of looking good to others (pride) or for praise, glory or honors of men. At the time these decisions may not seem like a big deal... but they are soul corrupting experiences that lead to eventual ruin.

Call me a fanatic if you want to... but I will never forget that lesson I received in Sunday school as a child in which a long straight stick was used to depict a path, and of how when the beginning of the path was altered by only a small fraction of an inch, the end of the path led to a whole other realm.

That lesson has stuck with me, and I strive to never deviate from any course that isn't going to lead me straight back to heaven and happiness... even in the smallest fraction of a degree...

Enough rambling for today. I hope that as you live your life you enjoy it to the fullest and don't allow yourself to be fooled into thinking that anyone's life is perfect... or better than yours. And I hope you won't give in to temptations to make your life seem like a rose without thorns.

A loving Father in Heaven gave each and every one of us the tools and talents we need for a life that will give us the greatest happiness possible for us... not for anyone else. But even with the perfect tools... life is designed to have it's challenges and struggles (that's why we have tools)! No one need envy you... and you need not envy any anyone else.

And an honest person who acknowledges the thorns among the roses and accepts them completely is indeed - a far more content and happy person than one who seeks thornless roses, or pretends to have them.

Happy life gardening!

Corine ;D

PS. I hope your Sabbath has been spiritual, and that you love your life!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I Am a Computer Pro; Who'd Have Thought? ;D

My daughter and I were just having a good laugh as I told her about the opportunities I've had lately at the Family History Center... helping out with the computers. As I told her about all the little experiences I have had there, she busted at the seams and laughed uncontrollably... "THAT - would make a great comedy!" she told me, "Have you written about it in your journal?" I told her I hadn't, but that maybe I would blog about it... and with her enthusiastic encouragement - here I am! :D

In all fairness though... I have to first tell you why it was so funny to my daughter. I will sit and struggle at the computer (me and all of my blond hair and everything that goes with it) racking my brain for 30-60 minutes to figure out how to do something... then my daughter will come along and in 20-30 SECONDS she will figure it out and have the job done. Her brothers are also quite good at the computer... I give the credit to the young blood. ;D

At home, I am old (Did I just say that!? :O), (OK, just old compared to my kids... :D)... and the one in need of computer help now and then. But at the Family History Center, I am the youngest :) among who knows how many librarians (I'm guessing there are somewhere around 40 librarians there throughout the month) at the Hayden Stake Family History Center. All are at least 10 years older than I am, most of them are 20-30 years older. These people have been doing their own (and others) genealogy for almost as long as I have been alive (or at least since I was a child or teenager). They have multiple binders full of the work that they have compiled after years of researching and collecting their family genealogy and history. These are well seasoned, wise and experienced people who know what they are doing!

And here am I... a new, much less experienced genealogist (OK, I have a few months of solid experience) - still working on researching and documenting the first 5 generations of my family (almost there :).

But, like my supervisor always says... we all know different things and we all contribute in our own way. I just never dreamed my contributions would come in the form of helping out with the basics of computer operations. It just amazes me how often my assistance is needed among these brilliant librarians!

Yesterday I sat at the computer beside one of the other librarians. There were no patrons there at the time and we talked to each other off and on as we did our own work. In the course of a couple of hours, my friend sat and copied down a few pages of notes from her research and occasionally complained about the length of time it was taking. I assumed that she was copying down a sentence here and a sentence there from various sources, and that it must be in such a way that she could not print it... until she said this; "I just wish I could print part of this huge document so I wouldn't have to write it all down." I was momentarily stunned. Did my ears deceive me, or did she not know she could print selections without printing it all? Perhaps it was a whole paragraph she needed, and not just a sentence from that particular document. I decided to be of assistance.

"You can print part of it. Just highlight the section you want to print and then tell the computer to print the 'selection.' "

"Highlight it?" she asked.

"That's right." I roll my chair over to her computer to be of assistance as she highlights a sentence. I am surprised as she continues to highlight not a sentence, or even a paragraph, but a whole page, and then another. "Holly Hannah!" I think to myself... "She was going to hand write all of that! Now wonder this is so frustrating and time consuming for her!"

She finishes highlighting and asks what to do next. I answer. "Now tell the computer to print. OK, see that option there to print 'selection?' Click that option."

I don't want to embarrass my friend by quoting her surprised excitement... so I won't. But let's just say the next couple of hours were much more productive for her and I was greatly praised. :)

Later last night there was a training meeting for the librarians. One of the computers was taken out of the library and into the room we meet in for training. After the training presentation was over the computer was taken back into the Family History Library and hooked back up. But the mouse and keyboard weren't working. These sweet and brilliant people could not figure out why. One by one people began to huddle around the computer to figure out why it wouldn't respond.

I went in to help. I checked all the cords to be sure they were connected properly, and tightly, and as I did one of the brothers stated that my check was the 25th check, and that they were all hooked up tightly.

BTY - I have to interrupt my own story here to tell you this: When I told my daughter about the group of people huddled around the computer trying to figure out why it wasn't working, her imagination kicked it up a notch as she rambled incoherently between laughter and began quoting phrases from a movie... "Did you plug the computer in?... Did you turn it on?..." We both knew it wasn't at all like that; but it was so much more fun to exaggerate and imagine!

OK - Back to the story... At that moment a light bulb went on in my brain. The man who works on the computers had just walked into the room when it happened (perhaps his very presence is what illuminated my mind... just kidding. :) and the director announced; "we now have one more person to look at the computer - and he is the computer pro (the man who fixes them when things go wrong)!" But my light bulb was on. I knew what was wrong and that we didn't need a pro to fix it... so I just took over.

"Don't worry about looking at it. I know what is wrong" I told the pro.

The little group that huddled around the computer looked at me in silence. I proceeded to speak.

"Brother M, did you turn the computer on before you hooked up the mouse and keyboard?"

Brother M reflected... "Why, yes I did."

I continued... "OK. All we need to do is turn off the computer and then turn it back on, and the mouse and keyboard will work."

Everyone looked at me like... "That's it? Are you sure?" and "How did you know that?" They were amazed with me already! :D

I held down the power button on the computer for a few seconds until it turned off, waited just a second and turned it back on. I mentioned that I should have left it off for just a moment longer, but I knew it would be fine. Another person suggested we turn it off and let it sit a minute before turning it back on. The computer pro (the man who works on computers for a living) said it would be fine (what a shock! ;O) so they let it boot.

Once booted, the mouse and keyboard were tested, and everyone turned to me in amazement and wonder. I then explained that the mouse and keyboard need to be plugged into the computer before the computer is turned on for the computer to communicate with them. The small crowd turned to the computer pro... who looked at the type of connections on the mouse and keyboard and verified that I was right. There was a small uproar of cheer for me and my basic computer knowledge... and I gracefully bowed... "Aren't you glad you have young blood in here?"

It was mentioned that my daughter helps me when I am stuck; and we all laughed over the relativity of age and on how the younger one is, the better they seem to be with computers.

But I am still the one who knows computers... in that setting! And, I'm kind of liking it. :)

Now ~ to be the pro who can help anyone with any of the family history work... that is the real goal!  That is my true aim!

But for now I'll just enjoy being the young blood considered to be the new computer pro. ;)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Follow-up on the " 'Money Saving' Spending" Blog ;)

For anyone who is curious... we made $63.75 in bubblegum sales at the Boy Scout Jamboree Saturday, and we still have a machine full of gum. Yeah! So, that $100.00 splurge I wrote about in this blog really was a wise investment after all. :D Man I'm good! ;0 ~ Only $36.25 to go... and I will have gotten all my money back, and will still have a bubble gum machine and 611 pieces of bubblegum remaining from the origional 1011 pieces. :)

PS. There is so much going on here at home right now... I'm in survival mode so haven't been making time to blog. I'll tell you all about it as soon as I can. Life is AWESOMELY BUSY right now.

TTFN! Corine ;)

TEDxEdmonton - Cameron Herold - 3/13/10

THIS VIDEO IS AWESOME! It makes me proud to be married to an entrepreneur, and to be one myself! :D I hope my kids become entrepreneurial, too!

(PS. This does NOT mean I was the kind of student that he was; on the contrary... I was and still am a great student who loves to learn! Just thought I'd add that. :O)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Devry and Dausen are Looking Good! (Or so I hear :)

Not too long ago, I had a little fun telling everyone about a couple of interesting things that happened. We were all kneeling together for family prayer when I decided to share the hearsay.

“Devry, had an interesting thing happen to him today.” I told the family. “He and Shawn were at the checkout getting bolts at Ace Hardware for the scooter the're making when Devry realized he was 25 cents short.

He asked Shawn for a quarter, but a woman behind them handed Devry a dollar bill and a smile. Devry thanked her, paid for the bolts and offered the change back to the woman. The delightful woman told Devry to "keep the change."

Shawn was really jealous and chose not to contain himself. “No way! Not again! Everyone is always doing stuff like that for Devry!”

The woman smiled again and told Shawn, "That’s because he’s cute. :)"

Everyone laughed. "Ooh! Devry’s cute!" :D

“That’s right,” I told them, “And evidently, Dausen is, too. Today, while we were out, I ran into a friend who hadn't yet met you kids. She was looking at the boys, then turned and saw me walking towards her.

"Hi!" She called out to me. Then began jerking her head gently in the direction of the boys… and quickly and quietly asked, "Are those your twins?"

“Yep, those are them!” I told her.

Her mouth fell open in disbelief as she continued to whisper, "They look exactly alike!"

“You think so?” I asked, thinking of how different they look to me.
She then got a bit quieter as one of her eyebrows raised and the look of an infatuated teenager swept across her face, "Yes. And," she paused with emphasis here... "they’re REALLY handsome!"

I thought about the zits and the long hair, then, with my puzzled expression which I simply could not help making, asked questioningly, “Really?”

"Oh yeah!" Came her reply as her head shook up and down in earnest. "They are REALLY GOOD LOOKING boys."

“Oh. Thank you.” I told her, as I waved good bye, stunned.

I walked away thinking about the expression on that 50 some year old woman’s face when she told me how good looking those 15 year old boys were. What. A. Hoot! :D

Anyhow... Dausen seemed to handle the flattering story just fine; but Devry, being four shades of red by now, quickly folded his arms and begin praying without a moment’s hesitation or warning.

I added a PS to the end of Devry's prayer... “And thank you for my good looks. Amen.”

I don’t imagine I’ll ever let those boys forget that story; at least, not as long as the reminder elicits blushing. ;)

PS. (I had a recent photo of them... but not a very good one, so I removed it. :O I really need to get back to taking photos! Stay tuned... I'll post photos as soon as I get some taken. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Money Saving" Spending

My husband and I have a great thing going... He earns the money, and I spend it! :D OK, in all honesty, I do help to earn some of it, too; I assist him with his own business/our business. Sometimes my assistance is quite extraordinary; But usually... he earns the money, and I spend it.

Lately, I have been doing a really good job with my part of the deal. I have been shopping at used stores galore (one of which was going out of business - used prices minus 50-90% ~ Can I just say "WOW!" about the savings?)

Any how... I ended up spending around $200. Talk about the splurge of the century! Granted, $100 of it was the new/used computer desk (shown in another blog)... I'm really not sure how much I saved on that expenditure; but I know the desk was well worth the hundred, and we really NEEDED it! The rest of the money that was spent went on things that were worth multiple times what I spent on them; the savings were astounding! Twenty five dollars were spent on an outdoor BBQ grill and gas tank (since the tanks cost $25, and there was gas in the tank... I was OK with the used, slightly bent grill which needed a couple cheap replacement parts). Thirty five dollars were used for a business rack and hooks (Miles saw the rack on sale recently for $150 and was prompted to wait on buying - even though it was worth so much more than was being asked for; and the hooks were worth at least $200 - and yes, we paid only $35 for all of it!), and most of the rest of the money spent went on other important and practical expenditures... which were also worth well beyond their prices, but still! You'd think I'd have gotten all "spent out!"

But oh no. I had to buy, just one more thing to get the spending all out of my system (not to mention... I'm broke now! Oops!). Oh well...Out of the first $200 I spent, I did save several more hundred by spending it! :) I really know how to save money! ;)
(For those of you who do not know - I really am the queen of living frugal; I really am a "$-saver," not a "$-spender." Honest.)

After all that"money saving" spending... you probably think I'm going to tell you about that final expenditure, and of how practical it was, and of how I saved a bundle of money for our family.. again. I hate to disappoint you, but it wasn't at all practical. It was something I have been wanting (not needing :O) ~ just for the fun of it, for a very long time. Here is a photo...

That's right. I bought a bubble gum machine (around 3 feet tall). It was getting dark, and the light bulb in the sun room is burnt out and 15 feet up, so an outside photo shot worked better.

I hope this expenditure doesn't disturb my brothers (who are all very proud of me and my thrifty ways). And hopefully, your image of the smart practical person that I am (you do have that image of me... right? :) isn't completely shattered (though, I have to admit... I do love this new lighter, less practical me! :D). But like George Washington - I can not tell a lie. And like Sponge Bob Square Pants - I must rejoice and share the glad news! Not to mention... I'm going to be that much cooler to the kids! (just kidding) ~ Unless of course, they want the gum for free. :O
Enough rambling... Now to redeem your vision of my practical side... just a little (he, he), I will let you know this...

I counted the bubble gum.

There were over a thousand pieces.

And if I let the neighbor kids (and my kids... he, he {I hope I don't resemble Mr. Crabs here!}) buy them for a quarter each... selling 1000 pieces will bring in $250 dollars! So, in all actuality, I really got the gumball machine for free... plus an additional $150 dollars (once the bubblegum sells. ;)

One more positive note about this radical splurge of mine; it looks to me like I have a new fun savings bank for a $250.00 family vacation! :D That may just cover gas. :O ~ Question is, how many years will it take to sell the one thousand pieces of bubblegum? :O

I can see I'm going to have to put this machine to use at big business events, like boat shows, the Boy Scout booth where Miles teaches RC Sailing etc. with thousands of families coming through. Perhaps then, it won't take years to get my money back after all, and then I can pretend it was a wise investment rather than a random splurge! Man I'm good!  If you need any more tips.. just let me know!  ;D

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Come What May and Love It

I was just thinking about my friends, and the really tough transition they are beginning to go through, and then I saw this video, and I cried.

Come What May and Love It

Life is really good. Even with all the bumps... life is really good.

... praying for you, friends. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Beauty of Blessings

May 13, 2010

I am sitting in the peaceful quiet of the evening, soaking in all the beauty around me. The front rooms are clean - only one chore remains to be done. It is the chore I silently added to the list; they must have gone on memory and not read it.

My 15 year old boys are in their bedroom. I go to their room to tell one of them about the chore I added to his list. I open the door and prepare to speak ~ suddenly I stop myself.

The twins are kneeling on the floor together speaking in a quiet whisper. There is a feeling of reverence. In their hands are their Patriarchal Blessings; I know I have interrupted a reverent moment.

I apologize for the interruption, tell them I love them, and close the door.

I walk to the front room and sit down to the family computer which sits upon the beautiful new desk. I count my blessings as I remember how messy our front room looked before with just a table and all the homescholing supplies in site; I look with awe at the beautiful clean look that now fills the room. Papers and books are behind closed doors and cupboards, save the few that I proudly display within marble bookends; there is now room for plants and other beautiful decorations to go with all the practical necessities. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

As awe struck as I am about the physical beauty which has just increased in our front room - I am more amazed by the beauty of my youth.

I think again about my twin boys sitting reverently and reading their blessings. I think of my daughter who also cherishes her blessing, and of the 12 year old who is anxious to receive his Patriarchal Blessing; he doesn't want to wait until the recommended age of 14. I remember telling him to prepare well with daily prayer and scripture study, and by always striving to listen to the spirit and do Heavenly Father's will and not his own; and then, I tell him, he will be ready for more counsel. I remember him coming to me a few days later and telling me he is keeping track of his daily scripture study; he has read three days in a row so far.

I am in awe. There is so much beauty; there are so many blessings. Life Is Beautiful. I am at peace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hair and Age... Are they Related?

Written the 30th of April, 2010 - Been planning to have my photo taken... but haven't yet... :O, so I'll just post this WITHOUT the photo(s).

I got my hair cut! And for those of you who are far away and have never seen me with really short hair... believe it or not, I went even shorter on this cut than I did on the last (...shorter than ever, again... but for the last time - I think :O) - It is in short layers - about 5-6 inches from the scalp... all the way up to the top!).

Now, I know it seems superficial to talk about a hair cut; but I had really long hair for most of my life, and having it cut short off and on the past few years has really been a new experience for me. It takes some getting used to! I told the beautician that I needed a style that I could go out in public with - straight from the beach (I fully intend to do a lot of swimming and sailing this summer). She told me the shorter I go, the easier it will be. I am way overly practical (working on not being too much that way) so I squinted my eyes and told her I would be brave and to just go for it. And even though it really does take some getting use to for me; I think I may actually look better in short hair (I hope :O).

OK, enough ramblings... I will have someone take photos of me so I can show you all what I look like now. But for now, I think I'll tell you about a few memories that sparked as a result of this new cut. :D (Just for fun. :)

First, I have to say that I find it interesting how different people view a person or a hair cut so differently. For example, a few people told me that I look younger with this cut, and a few people told me that the cut makes me look older. I have to admit - I'm not used to people telling me I look "older;" I didn't, AND STILL DON'T like it. Although, when Elisha said it she also added;
"Now you don't look like a 12 year old! -  LOL"
OK - I did enjoy that one statement about looking older; I also enjoyed being told this, after being told I looked older...
"No... not older, just more distinguished or sophisticated." 
:D OK... bring the comments on! :D

A few more people told me that I look younger. :D :D :D I wonder what I looked like to them, before the hair cut.

All this talk about my hair - attached to how old or young it made me look - got me to thinking about the visit I received from the local sheriff three years ago. Would you like to hear about it? Thought you would; OK... I'll tell.

I got that familiar knock on the door, in the middle of a cold winder day and wondered who would stop by unannounced during our homeschooling. As I entered the sun room and approach the glass front door, by heart began to beat a little faster; there stood a police officer. I wondered what had happened and hoped everything was OK.
"Are you the mother of the house? " he asked.
With my heart pounding and my mind in a whirl from wondering why he was at my door, told him yes and let him in.
"May I look around your house?" he asked.
I was a bit bothered by feeling interrogated right off the bat - in a nonverbal sort of way (not to mention, he had no warrant and it was clearly against my constitutional rights to have to oblige, according to the fourth amendment). But had nothing to hide and was feeling rather agreeable, so I answered, "OK, (sigh) what is going on?" The officer walked in with pen and paper in hand, as he glanced around to take everything in and made his way through the sun room and into the front room of the house as he explained;
"One of your neighbors anonymously reported that there are a bunch of teenagers living here with no adults."
"That's ridiculous!" I blared, "I'm a stay home mom; I homeschool my kids and I'm here with them all the time. Are you sure you have the right house?"
After discussing the address and verifying that this was the house, (as he looked around the front room for any safety issues as if I ran a daycare with 8 month olds crawling around) the officer began the interrogation...
"You have a couple of boys around the age of 11 or 12, and another around 8?"
"Somewhere around there, yes." I responded.
The interrogation continued...
"Is there a girl around the age of 15 living here?"
"Yes, that would be my daughter." I answered.
"And another girl around the age of 16?"
"No. There is only one teenage girl here. Are you sure you have the right house?" With that, he paused, looked at me in a strange sort of reflective way, then quickly spun around and headed for the door;
"Never mind" he said with haste.
"That was strange" I reflected, as he let himself out in a hurry. He was only here for 30 seconds and never even finished looking over the front room, let alone the rest of the house. And that strange abrupt way of leaving so suddenly; I wondered what that was all about.

And then it occurred to me; ...he realized that I was the one reported to be the "16 year old." I suppose with my hair pulled back in a pony tail, my baby face, and my in line Rollerblades on - I probably did look 16!

So, last night I told the women at RS this story after they told me that I looked older with my new hair cut, and added that as long as I still don't look my age - I supposed looking older was an OK thing. They all laughed and assured me that I will never look anywhere near my age. But at least I have something to laugh about! :D

I have to admit though... I really am getting older, and hope that this cut doesn't make me look... too old. :o Seriously, there is this awful... oh never mind - I refuse to make anyone who isn't already aware of it... aware! Moving on...~ LOL

When I was a teenager... looking older (ha ha), that is... younger was NEVER funny. I would have given real money to have looked my age, then. I recall being 14 and not going to any dances. I knew it would be a total waste of time. But at the age of 15 I was head over heels for a boy; I HAD TO GO!  I was so excited! :D! But when I got to the front doors where the chaperone's were there monitoring who came in, I was told to leave on account of not being old enough to be there (age requirement -14). I was mortified! I told the man that I was 15. He said, "look little girl, 12 is pushing it, but 15?!!!" I swear I must have looked pathetic, because I had to fight the tears from coming. I was humiliated. The boy I was crazy about came to my rescue with... "she really is 15." I was allowed to stay - but first I needed to go to the bathroom and recover from the trauma of it all in private (though I was followed and comforted by another fabulous friend! - Oh the drama of youth!).

Looking young followed me into adulthood. As a young mother of 4 children, every where I went I got stares that could have killed! I wanted to wear a sign that said, "yes, they are all mine; yes, they are all from the same father; and yes, we got married first."

It took a while for me to learn to appreciate looking young. Now, I absolutely LOVE IT! But now that I am finally aging... I want to continue looking young. Just... not too young! Which, (unfortunately) I don't believe I will have too much trouble with again. Sigh. Go figure!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Homeschooling moments... Government Class

Hi. I have been thinking about sharing some of the things we are doing in homeschooling on my blog site. And since my boys made really cool diagrams of our Government - I decided now was a good time to start! ;) We didn't finish them yet (we still need to add checks and balances) but I figured... what the heck! I'll show you now. We may do a completely different thing for checks and balances, anyhow.

Just so you know... we have been studying the Constitution and were reviewing the first three Articles. I told the boys to write or draw something to summarize the three branches of government in a way that will help them to remember the structure of our government.

Devry got creative and started drawing a tree. I was so excited about it that I told the other boys to do the same. The older boys got ideas from each other, so theirs are quite similar, but there are differences. I am so impressed with what they came up with! I think you might be, too.

Enjoy! :D

I just have to say I love the way Levi placed the people - the voting people - on the base or foundation of the tree on which the government hangs. I think he understands "We the people" much better than the government does, and that the government is there "for the people" not the other way around.

Yeah Levi! And Yeah to his brothers for their great ideas as well!

They all came up with different ideas and shared them with each other; that is why they are so much alike. But none of it came from me. I just told them to draw or write about the structure of our government in a way that would help them to remember it. I'm impressed with what they came up with. :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Infinite Hope - Time Out for Women

This past weekend was an incredibly AWESOME!. My daughter, my dear friend, Lise, and I, all went to the Spokane Convention Center for the Time Out for Women Conference. We had such a great time! It was fun; it was spiritual; it was exciting; it was educational! WE LOVED IT! Yes... "we;" I know the others loved it, too.

Mindy stood here and looked out over Riverfront Park, as well as looking straight down at the people walking bellow. I was so thankful for her eye for beauty; she always wanted to stop and look at things, and that caused me to slow down and notice so much beauty that I would never have noticed otherwise. One of my new goals is to notice and see the beauty like Mindy does (my son Dausen has that gift, too. :)

This next photo was taken as we walked up the stairs to get to our seats to view the Conference. I was so happy to be way up high and to have the view of not only the performers and speakers, but also of the audience. :) The view was spectacular!

Looking down the stairs...

I really love this next photo because you can see the buildings out through the huge windows; don't they look cool from behind the window frames?

These next photos were really fun to take. I hope the lady in the first one didn't mind. :O It was a blast to look back at the photos in sequence, remembering how I thought about what would be a great photo; I improved with each of the three attempts. - I love taking photos! :)

We also had a fabulous time after conference as well as during... walking around down town Spokane and on Riverfront Park. I went a little crazy with the camera between conference talks - but before conference was over, the battery died; so was not able to get photos of all the cool sites down town or at Riverfront Park. But like I said - I did get some photos. :D I am also anxious to go back to Spokane and take a bunch of random photos; that place is amazing!!! I'll show you the few photos that I did take during conference breaks, before the camera's battery died.

Did you see the living statues in that photo? Here, I'll give you a close-up of each, as well as a couple close-up's of another who was leaning against the wall of the Convention Center.

I wish the other girls could have seen these "statues." :) I saw them on a trip to the car between sessions while the girls were inside eating lunch. That was one very enjoyable trip to the car.

I was constantly amazed about all the beauty all around me - both in nature, as well as in the things of the world - created by talented artists and construction workers. My sense of vision was totally delighted. On the way home it rained (as it has off and on for the past week). We saw the most glorious rainbow imaginable! I SO WISH I HAD A BATTERY IN MY CAMERA!!! I WOULD PAY MONEY FOR A PHOTO THAT I COULD HAVE TAKEN MYSELF - HAD MY BATTERY BEEN CHARGED!!!! Actually, there were two rainbows, one on top of the other with a small space between. The colors were bold and vibrant. The purple looked almost metallic; it was so shinny and bright (they all were, really). It is SO painful to think about the fact that I didn't charge my battery the night before...  I have never in my life seen such beautiful rainbows (and I've always loved rainbows)... And they were so close - so huge! They were absolutely STUNNING!

OK - enough for now about the beauty. I also want to tell you a bit about the conference - but don't know where to start or what to include - THERE WAS SO MUCH TO TELL ABOUT! Where to start...? I think I'll start at the end!

The last talk is strongly in my mind. The speaker was Emily Freeman... also loved for and known to her niece as "the one who buys caramels." (What a totally cool aunt! :) Emily just happens to be the one speaker that I took a photo of... and the one speaker who I met afterwards.  :)

She gave a great story about herself in which she started out telling about a really cool thing she did and about how great she felt about herself for doing it (she took her kids skiing for 3 days). There were other positive things she talked about doing or being, too; she felt on top of the world! :D But, at only 5:00 in the evening, she was in so much pain from skiing that she changed into her pajamas.

Long story short - she ended up going to the grocery store - in her pajamas. While there, a woman made a comment about her pajamas along with another criticism. Emily took the criticism in and internalized it - and in only a few minutes time she went from feeling "on top of the world" to doubting herself and feeling awful. After going home and crying to her sisters (who couldn't help laughing about the ridiculous judgments made which caused the self doubt and self criticism), Emily learned a valuable lesson about perspective, and about loving life.

I could really relate to that story because one of my major weaknesses has been to have self doubt. I am always wanting others to verify for me that I am doing well, that my talk was enjoyable and enlightening, that I am making the best choices for my family, etc. etc. ETC!

As I said before... Emily learned about perspective (which, as briefly illustrated above, can cause you to feel good about yourself, or to have self doubt), and loving life. Here is a scripture Emily Freeman quoted about loving life...
"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile." 1 Peter 2:10
BTY - This is a scripture that my family memorized years ago for FHE.

Emily pointed out that the scripture doesn't say, "have good days" it says "'see' good days" - what you have is a matter of what you see; in other words, life is a matter of perspective.

To reinforce this, she reiterated the story of Lehi taking his family and traveling in the wilderness, and of how his son's experiences on that journey were so drastically different based on their perspectives.

To Laman and Lemuel, the whole thing was just terrible; they murmured and complained about having to leave behind their riches and possessions and suffer great afflictions, and felt that if they had stayed in Jerusalem they, "might have been happy." (Of course, we know they would not have been happy, but would have been destroyed with the city.)

Nephi noted that they had to wade through much afflictions as they traveled, but also recognized the "tender mercies of the lord" over "those whom he had chosen, because of their faith."

They all had the same experiences... but they chose to "see" different things.

Laman and Lemuel's perspective granted them sorrow, anger, frustration, despair... Nephi's perspective granted him gratitude, happiness, and love for family and life.

As I reflect upon this I can see that it is 100% true. Often times our lives are overflowing with beauty that we just don't take the time, or allow ourselves the perspective to see; because we are focusing our attention on other things.

I am always amazed when I go to get photos of vacations etc., and notice things in the background of the photos that I may not have noticed while in the thick of things... or when I see that the colors are brighter than I realized, or the clouds are actually stunning instead of just grey.

And one of my personal favorites, is looking back at photos of myself from years before during times when I thought I was ugly, and realizing that I was beautiful. I wonder how often we are guilty of not seeing tremendous beauty - in others, in ourselves, and even in our lives.

OK - enough rambling for now... this has gotten too long to continue writing; perhaps I will share more of my favorite messages with you later. :)  TTFN! :D