Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Family - A Proclamation to the World - Personal Application...

For the past 9 years Miles has been self employed with a new business during a tough time economically.

It seems that every year since we haven’t had year round income I have asked myself, “Should I go get a job? Or should I finish my schooling at the U of I in Moscow (with 3 hours of driving each day)? Or should I stay home with my kids? Every year the answer is the same. And every year, despite the peaceful assurance that what I am doing is best for my family at this time - I would start thinking, and then experience the burden of guilt - for not helping out financially (I have had a terrible tendency to take on the emotional burden of responsibilities that are not mine - but am choosing not to now).

I had a friend visit me last week from out of town. Her name is Kathy and for the past few months she has been visiting me monthly while she has responsibilities in the area – which I LOVE!

This past time that she came I told my friend about how I have repeatedly wondered whether or not I should go get a job or stay home with my kids.

Then I broke down crying as I talked about the mental torment I put myself through. I couldn't stand being sad and overwhelmed, or feeling like there were two opposite choices I had to make... I can now see clearly that I set myself up for feeling like a failure with the crazy belief that I had to do both - even though I knew I couldn't.

I apologized for being “bad company” and not being cheerful. And then she started crying with me. And she told me, “Corine. This is what I LOVE about our relationship. I love that it is not superficial. I love that we can be real with each other and BE there for each other!”(What an awesome friend! :D)

Kathy then reminded me of the lord’s plan for families and of the stewardship He gives to each of us as outlined in The Family - A Proclamation to the World. She reminded me, “In some families a mother does have to work, but your family is not one of them. Providing for the family’s finances is NOT your responsibility; you don’t need to worry about it.” (Here is where I realized I didn't actually HAVE to worry about it).

Then she told me something wonderful which reminded me of a another conversation I had recently with another encouraging and comforting friend (I am so blessed with such AWESOME FRIENDS! :D)…

“Corine, one day, years from now, you will look back on the years in which you obeyed the lord, and followed the counsel given in the Proclamation to the Familyand you will see the blessings which came from it and be thankful that you listened to the lord, and not the voices of the world.

The Holy Spirit was there as she spoke; witnessing to me that what she was saying was true. Of course I cried again. But this time it was from feeling joy, as I finally made the decision to take care of the responsibilities the lord trusts me with, and have faith that my husband would take care of the responsibilities the lord trusts him with. Finally, I resolved to stop carrying on my shoulders, the weight of responsibilities that were not mine. Heavenly Father does not want me to, and neither does my husband.

I did not expect instant miracles. I made that decision fully knowing that with the economy the way it is, it is possible that we may still struggle financially. But I decided to put finances out of my mind and not allow myself to worry about something that I am not in a position to do something about. And I decided to look for the greater blessings that come from the sacrifices that I am asked to make… 

The amazing thing is that later that very evening, Miles came home and told me that he got the job he applied for. I almost couldn't believe it. It didn't seem real. I felt like I was almost holding my breath, or trying not to hold my breath – like when the nurse told me I was pregnant with twins and I wanted to believe it, but I was afraid I would get beyond excited about it and then have to find out it wasn't even true. Have you ever had that happen? Been afraid to believe something for fear that it might not be true?

But it was true... Right now, Miles has a job (a job working for someone who is a sailor and wants him to keep his sailing business going... a job which he will mostly work during the winter months while his sailing business is slow or inactive. This. Is. Amazing. and WONDERFUL!). :D Miles started training for his new job this week… and I’m still trying to FEEL the realness of it.

I don’t understand how I can have so much faith sometimes, and yet have such a hard time believing blessings even when I see them at other times. But this much I do know... Heavenly Father is REAL. He has a plan for us and our families. And though this life is not meant to be easy and is filled with struggles and uncertainties, one thing we can be certain ofHe loves us and He knows what is best for us.  Many blessings which will come as a result of the choices we make in obedience to His counsels may not be clearly seen at the time that we are making the choice to follow. But as we faithfully follow His lead (by willingly doing what He asks of us no matter what we fear the consequences may be…) rest assured, the eternal consequences (and often temporal consequences as well) will be far better than what they would have been if we had not listened and obeyed.

Have a blessed day!
Corine :D

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blond… and Loving It! # 2... ;)

I found a writing which I believe I blogged on Feb. 2010 (or was it August 2010?), but then took it down due to the fact that I thought I might blush with embarrassment. Maybe the title should be, “Blond… and LOVING it – EXCEPT for when I’m just plain EMBARRASSED! :O” I am braver now and less inclined to care if you scoff at me, so have decided to put it back up.I like the ending. J I like positive conclusions to awkward life experiences and the ability we all have to enjoy life - Come what may AND LOVE IT!

Being Blond… and Loving It! # 2

I wrote a blog recently about a few of my “blond” moments. Honestly - I had so much fun writing about it that I decided to write a sequel.  (For those who haven't read the first one... there is some humor; you really should check it out. ;)

But first, perhaps I should satisfy your curiosity. You might be curious as to why I find my blond moments so amusing. OK – I’ll tell you. :D

When I was a kid - I had lots of kid brothers. And everyone knows what fun kid brothers have making fun of their kid sisters. I must have been extraordinarily fun to make fun of because my older kid sister also joined in on the “fun” of making fun of me. And since I have a tendency to be gullible and used to tend to assume when in disagreement with others that I must be the one who is wrong – I believed their awful teases.

For example, when I was a child I got a new doll and a hairbrush that came with the doll. I immediately began brushing my own hair with the baby doll’s brush. I had long hair and I loved how soft it felt as I stroked it. I remember running my fingers through my hair and feeling like my hands were in heaven. I loved my silky smooth hair!

But my happy moment came to a very traumatic end when my sister came along and in a very convincing state of acting began to panic as she said to me,
“Oh no! Is that a doll’s brush you are using on your hair?”
Startled, I jumped and pulled the brush from my hair,
“Yes. What’s wrong?”
I know what you're thinking… I know. I can only shake my head in disbelief, now.

My sister then continued to “act out” a state of panic and genuine worry for me. :)
“Oh! No! You can’t brush your hair with that! Now all of your hair will fall out!”
You may not have imagined my response, but you must remember how gullible I was. So naturally, I joined my sister with my own state of panic… only I wasn’t acting!
“No! No!” I began crying. “What do I do?”
Mind you, she was a year older (seemingly much older... of course), and I had it in my head that she was always right, and always honest; It never occurred to me that anyone would lie, especially about something like that! I believed every word she said. ~ The “fun” continued…
“You have to drink 4 or 5 cups of water, fast… or all of your hair will fall out!”
With tears streaming down my face and my heart racing, I ran to the kitchen, hastily measured out the water, and forced it all into my tiny little body (I was always the littlest one in my class, and a times could only eat one apple for lunch... years later... at the age of twelve).

I remember well, lying down on the floor of my bedroom in so much pain that I laid there wondering if I was going to die. I was in too much pain to get up or even to holler to tell anyone what I was going through, so I simply prayed to fall asleep. As I dozed off to sleep, I also prayed that I would wake up!

...All because I assumed that I must have been wrong to think it harmless, and my sister must be right; she was, after all... "older and wiser."  :o

I know. It’s a terrible story! I was so gullible! Needless to say, realizing that I was so gullible - not to mention "blond," contributed to my having a negative view of myself in one of the corners of my mind; I didn't feel very bright. For a number of years, part of me continued to cry out inside for that poor little girl so long ago, but I just laugh about it now.

Thankfully, as time went by I discovered that I’m not always the one who is wrong; I learned that I should trust my own common sense and not just believe whatever others tell me (and yet - I am still occasionally gullible! Ugh! ~ and definitely... still blond :). And I learned to replace gullibility for the words of men, with faith in the words of the Lord.

Another cool thing happened; I got married and my husband and I made a life and family of our own together. And the experiences I have had as a result of being in this wonderful new family (coupled with being a very child-like adult  :O) have completely changed how I see myself :D.

When I go places alone, I am perfectly aware of my surroundings. But when with others, I tend to socialize and fail to pay close attention to what is going on around me. If we go to the store or cross the street, Miles or Mindy are always there to make sure I don’t walk into a cart, or worse… a car (I really am exaggerating this just a little for the fun of it! ;). And when they “rescue” me, they always give me a gentle smile that says subtly,
“There she goes again!” without so much as a hint of criticism.
I can be such a dork, and they just love me. They still astound me. In fact, even Mindy (my daughter) says, as she shakes her head in disbelief…
“Mom, you are SO cute!”
The boys also give me similar looks of love and adoration; I love it! :D

I know. I know. I am such a kid! And Mindy is such a “mini mom.”

But regardless of the apparent switch of roles here and there between my daughter and I,... some might say SHE sounds like me, or that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” After all, when I was a toddler, I lovingly yet seriously shook my index finger at my dad as he left the house for work each morning and said to him,
“Now, lou be careful!”
My parents often referred to me as the little mother hen (I have an unfailing drive to want to take care of those who I love).

And though Mindy is also the “mother hen” who takes care of me and the rest of our family - when she is with her friend Nina, it is Nina who keeps Mindy from walking into oncoming traffic! ;) (The apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.)

Another one of my "blond" habits is to think I am done talking before I am (I do this regularly). I say goodbye on the phone – only to call again afterwards. Or, if communicating by email etc., it is not uncommon for me to send at least 1-2 “extra” emails – to finish the thoughts that suddenly enter my mind after pushing the send button. If I am talking to someone in person – well, you can imagine that! :D And when I pray, even God gets His share of P.S.’s.

I have so many little quirks. My daughter tells me that quirks are what make people interesting. She has influenced me to look at my “quirks” including my “blond” ways with new eyes. She is influencing me to see myself as “interesting.” Therefore, I love my quirks; I love being blond! :)  (Thank you very much, Mindy! ;)

Do you see why I love being blond?

You may think it must be a nightmare to do so many embarrassing things. Well, I really don’t like being embarrassed, either! It isn't the embarrassing moments that I love – all these moments provide so many opportunities for my family to truly love me, in the face of it all!

Thanks to my family loving me during my "blond" moments, I am reminded that despite my weaknesses and failings, I am still loved.

None of us have to wait until we are “this” or “that” to love ourselves…

We don’t have to wait until we are “this” or “that” to be happy...

And these principles don't just apply to ourselves; they apply to other people, and to life, too.

Who says the world has to change before we can love living in it?

...or that someone else must change before we can love them?

I believe a key to being happy is finding reasons to be thankful for life – just as it is. And for being thankful for friends and family – just as they are – loving everyone just as they are… everyoneright down to ourselves.

And so I choose to love being a blond, because though I will always strive for improvement... I am finally learning to love all of myself, right nowjust as I am.

To those of you who treat others like they are AWESOME: I want you to know ~ You are awesome...because you treat others like they are awesome. THANKS FOR BEING YOU!

Corine :D

Parenting Prayers Answered...

WOW. This blog of mine is amazing! :D Heavenly Father is amazing to help me write what I will need and then find it when I ask for the answers again!!! ;D

I was just thinking and praying about a parenting concern weighing heavily on my mind, when the spirit gave me some advice – then I accidentally stumbled upon a post I wrote in which a General Authority gave that same advice in the April 2012 General Conference... This was no coincidence... The Lord gave me the same answer – twice! :D And this time the answers came just 30 seconds apart. Heavenly Father is SO AMAZING AND WONDERFUL!

I wish I were a better mom. I wish I was the super amazing mom I thought I would be and always hoped to be... There are things I just have not been successful at yet. Sometimes it scares me. I don’t want to fail and sometimes I feel like such a failure already. I know I am being too hard on myself. I know I need to ease up. I just get so frustrated with myself! I need to be patient with myself as a mom. The lord teaches me. Then I forget and don't follow through. But I won’t give up. And when I ask for guidance the Lord always gives it to me (again and again when necessary), through the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and modern day prophets and apostles. He always gives me answers to the questions I sincerely ask for.  

NOW I just need to PRAY with all my heart that I will successfully remember, follow through, and DO what my kids need me to do and BE the mom they need me to be... I need to be positive and full of faith. I need to work hard and patiently endure to the end. AND I WILL! And I need to relax and not feel like a failure when things don't go as planned. I need to remember that I am responsible for teaching them, and they are responsible for believing, learning, doing, becoming....

Photo taken from
PS. Since I started reading the scriptures again, prayerfully and with real intent - I am hearing the answers to my prayers constantly now. I KNOW the lord answers our prayers. Sometimes we just need to go some place quiet and tune in so we can hear. Really studying the scriptures and praying to hear accomplish this. :) I'm so happy to hear Him so clearly again! :D I find so much comfort and peace in answered prayers. :) 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Thing about Blogs…

This past weekend I had the opportunity to talk to a friend while we served together (I love church callings!). As we worked, I found myself talking about a couple struggles I have dealt with for many years and sometimes feel tired of dealing with…

After returning home I reflected on our conversation and was annoyed by the fact that I had not said much of the good stuff in my life. I just vented and probably gave a very lopsided view of how I was feeling about my life. It was just so incomplete…

Sometimes words are as... "clear as mud"
The ironic thing is that in the course of the conversation my friend and I went on to have a conversation about blogs and how they can give such a lopsided, incomplete image of a person’s life (funny how you can talk about something other people do – without realizing you may be doing it too). We talked about how these lopsided views can stimulate false beliefs which encourage a lot of readers to feel really insecure about their own lives. I told her I am REAL. I don’t put on a facade. I’m not one of those perfect people with a perfect life to drool over, nor would I pretend to be. She was excited about that. And I was glad to be genuinely real.

And yet, as we talked, I quickly realized there are some things (especially in confidence of others) I just don’t share! And though I don’t put on airs or lie about my life, it suddenly occurred to me that my blog may seem lopsided too. Why? Because though it is not my purpose to give a false impression of a life better than it is, it is also NOT my purpose to drag people down by dumping anything and everything. I do talk about struggles on my blog, but not usually in detail, and NOT while I am in the thick of experiencing them (I save that for one-on-one friends who help me through hard times). When it comes to blogs, I believe it is more helpful to others if I tell of my struggles AFTER I have come to a point of progression that I can speak of and offer hope for overcoming.

I want to be a source of LIGHT and truth, not of depression or confusion. This means I need to NOT say everything on my mind - even if it gives an incomplete view of my thoughts and life.

Here is one example of how even our own words can serve to give an incomplete view of our own lives…

I went outside one day and found joy in my garden and in it’s beauty – I took photos and blogged about it.

This was just shortly before a “series of unfortunate events” which caused me to temporarily lose a great deal of zest for life. TEMPORARILY - I stopped watering my garden. I stopped watering my lawn. (I stopped a few other things temoporarily too :o)... and the once beautiful space that I took photos of and posted on my blog came to look absolutely HORRIBLE (I could also give examples of other things I have shared which have gone from bad to good rather than from good to bad; it works both ways).

I told my friend of this and that I wondered if I should have posted photos of my dead garden and grass on my blog (just so my readers know that my life is as REAL as theirs is with all it's up's and down's)… Yes? No? Maybe? Would it have been discouraging to hear about my neglect while I was neglecting? Is it not more encouraging to hear that someone struggled but pulled through? (OK - you can see the stinkin' photo... But don't worry - I AM SO - ON THE UP - NOW! :D)

I thought of the struggles I have been through in the past two weeks, (which are NOT on my blog.) Some of it being too personal to share even with close friends or strangers (which makes praying to Heavenly Father REALLY APPEALING). I thought of the projects started which are not yet finished and of how awful unfinished projects make things look. :o

Almost instantaneously though…, I also thought of the incredible moments of happiness I have had with my Father in Heaven as He has wrapped me in His arms and comforted me. I thought of the sacred experiences I have had as he has taught and comforted me. And best of all - I thought of how He lets me FEEL his incredible, inexpressible love for me. I thought of the amazing miracles that have occurred in my life and of the answered prayers and incredible joy I have experienced just in the past week. And I thought of the awesome and amazing friends and family who have been so incredibly “there for me” (my husband especially; he rocks! :D).

None of the details of these struggles and blessings made it onto my blog. I am a very honest person who used to think that if I didn’t tell everything I was somehow lying, so I had a hard time sharing if I didn’t feel like I could share the whole picture; I worried about being misunderstood, and sometimes I shared too much because I wanted to be completely honest or mistakenly thought I had to share more so others wouldn’t be confused about what they already knew…

Thank God I DON’T feel that way anymore! (I JUST LEARNED THIS! :o) Sadly, I had to learn the hard way that giving more truth will often just give the enemy more to distort. Honestly does not mean one tells everything! I’m feeling really quite happy to finally realize this! :)

And not just with blogs, but with friends and family too. I thought of how much I shared with my friend while we worked together – and yet how little I shared, all at the same time. What I shared with her had similar components to what I share on my blog – TRUE, but so INCOMPLETE… Where and how would I ever find time or means to capture it all? And should I even if I could? I think “true, but so incomplete” – is often exactly as it should be!

A blog is a medium for many different things to many different people. For me, it is a place where I can write to sort out my thoughts and feelings, and write about things I want to remember or simply to inspire or uplift others in any way that I can. But what ever it does, I desire to speak and write words which will be a blessing to someone somewhere…

A blog (or a conversation) will never be able to paint a clear or complete picture of a life  Some words are saved for the Lord alone, or to be shared only with very specific persons. Blogs are there to fulfill many different purposes for many different needs in this complex world of ours. But the thing about blogs, is that providing even a remotely complete impression of what a person’s life is actually and truly like is just not possible – nor is it the purpose of a sensible blog or conversation.

So, when we roam about on the internet reading blogs, my friends... I hope we remember to take each post for what it is… a small snippet of a tiny fraction of a person’s life – depicting value and beauty in the author's life the same way each tree has value and beauty as part of an entire forest. And if/when you find yourself evaluating or comparing the small snippets of other people's lives to YOUR Life’s FOREST, you just need to remember - you can’t.

Enjoy the branch. Enjoy the tree. But see it for what it is and nothing more. Then hopefully you can prevent either the pride or insecurities that come with judging or comparing yourself against others; and instead find yourself inspired by a more truthful perspective of your fellow bloggers as well as of yourself.

Corine :D

Sunday, September 16, 2012

23rd Anniversary Collage - Memories Through the Years

There was a lot going on last month... keeping me from finishing the project of sifting through photos for the perfect collection to make an anniversary collage with. I finally got around to finishing the collage, then realized I still managed to leave some favorites out - darn! Oh well, I'll find them and make another collage another day. But for now, I just want to celebrate Miles and Me, again and again, and and tell Miles THANK YOU for loving me and being my wonderful husband! :) 

I love you Miles! :D

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Camping at Whiskey Rock on Lake Pend Oreille- 2012

Hi. :) I have been meaning to write a post about our family camp out this August. Since I am determined to get it done tonight, it will be brief. But it will still help to preserve memories! :D

This year we camped at a campsite called Whiskey Rock on Lake Pend Oreille in North Idaho. It is an absolutely GORGEOUS place! And it's close to home too. However, it took eons to get there as we had road construction that kept the traffic so slow that Mindy and I finally decided to get out and run! :) LOL Yep. It was quite an exciting adventure!

When the boys saw that we were having so much fun they decided to have a little fun of their own. The photo tells it all... Honestly, we had SO MUCH FUN doing something out of the ordinary! If you haven't done anything out of the ordinary - you might want to give it a try! ;)

As you can see we took two boats and a kayak with us. The boys rigged the boats themselves then went out and played a so called "Pirate" game. On the count of three each team races to capsize their own boat, then swim over to the other boat and rite it (capsize recovery). First one to rite the other boat wins. There was also kayaking, swimming, hiking, photo taking, and sitting around relaxing and eating camping food.

It was great watching the boys come up with fun things to do. They played that insane game some people play with bows and arrows, where you shoot an arrow in the air and everyone stays in one place hoping an arrow doesn't come down on them. But don't worry; they aren't insane, so they used ordinary sticks. LOL (they used sticks... :) They whittled. And we all had fun playing stick pull. I was really pleased with how much activity went on, while still having a really relaxing weekend. I LOVED that the time went by slowly and it felt like we really got away from the hectic daily living.

I have so many more photos, but it is late and I need to get to bed so this will have to suffice.

PS. We took three extra boys with us, but sometimes they claim to be ours. :) I may come back and post some photos that Dausen took as he went hiking regularly just to find beautiful and interesting things to take photos of.

I hope you have an awesome day! :D

Corine :D

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Promise of the Atonement of Christ...

My niece, Breckyn, shared this on FB today...

I love it!  Don't you just love it, too! :D  It just makes me happy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Putting Back to School Fears to Rest...

I know I'm posting this a bit late - but, hey why not! It is still the first of the school year, and there are bound to be a few people who still have the "new school year" jitters; so here you go! ;)

I came across the following from Annie at Savor this Moment...

"Whenever my kids start school I feel relieved and anxious, or as this article at Dave Ramsey says, Hopeful and Scared.  I want my kids to succeed, but I want them to work hard.  I want them to have fun, but I want them to be responsible.  I want them to challenge their teachers, but I want them to be respectful.  

The author of the post, Dr. Meg Meeker, says:  

 We mustn’t be afraid for our kids, that they’ll get the wrong teacher or not make the team. Some of these are important life-defining moments. More importantly, we must teach them that they are tough enough to handle what life gives them.

That's so hard for me to do, to stand back and maybe "let" them fail.  Is it character building? Most probably. Is it easy on them? Nope. But I'll try not to be a helicopter mom, hovering over and fixing everything. Then maybe they will be independent, capable, and confident kids."

I just want to say THANK YOU to Annie for putting things into perspective for me!

I think both the worries and advice apply equally to home scholars... Homeschooling is a big job for anyone, especially when there are additional factors that make learning challenging - and that can make it easy for fears to creep in jump in with both feet. When I pulled my kids out of school, they were a couple years behind already and I was told they would never catch up. Needless to say, homeschooling has been a HUGE task. Some years have gone magnificently (year before last), others have not (last year). Last year we started a month late and the school year went poorly all year. It was rough. I wanted the kids to finish the studies they didn't finish last year this summer, but I was so busy I never made it happen. Among the occasional chaos, I am thankful for each and every day of faith and optimism coupled with consistency; where would we be without it? :o

This school year one of my sons is starting public High School as a Freshman, and I must resist the temptation to worry or be fearful about the gaps in his education (I didn't follow the public school's order: some things we study sooner, some later; overall I know he is way better off for having home-schooled!... All my worries and fears are really wrapped up on ONE subject - his worst...).

My other boys are finishing their schooling at home. They are determined to finish home school high school at the same time as everyone else despite developmental delays. The fear or worry that they may not learn everything they need to learn to prepare them for the rest of life before they leave home can bring about a very horrible bunch of fears! (I know, who really does learn everything? I need to relax!)

I do have a few ideas which help me to deal with fears... Are you ready for some "Corine philosophy?" ;) OK...

As parents it is our challenge to want much for our kids, without worrying that they won't get it. We have to move forward knowing that sometimes they won't experience what we want them to experience, and sometimes they will struggle and even experience failures. We need to set an example of not fearing failure, so our kids will not allow fear of failure to keep them from trying. And we can't do that if our thoughts are wrapped up in fear! We need to not fear failure!

Yes, I must put all fears to rest, and it needs to happen NOW so I can be a source of strength and encouragement to my sons. So when they do enter a class room or life experience in which they may feel unprepared in some way, they can still hold their heads high with hope and faith that they are tough, and believe or know that they can keep moving forward with confidence. They need to know that the lord (and their parents) don't always expect them to succeed - we just expect them to try... They are smart. They will have to work hard anyhow. That's OK. Perhaps it is a greater blessing for them to have to experience struggling NOW, so when they mature to adulthood they will have already learned that they can do hard things, and do them well! Also, if we fear that a child isn't "ready" for a class or experience in some way, here is a comforting note: They say the best way to make leaders is to throw them into a situation in which they are way over their heads! :) 

How do I diminish fear? I have to replace it with faith and hard work. Faith and fear can not exist in the same space. Faith requires works, and the greatest and FIRST work/step to extinguishing fear is to simply BELIEVE that everything will be OK. I think the formula for success is the same for any goal in life. Once you believe it can be done, all that is left is to simply go forth and work hard as if everything WILL to work out if you do...

PS. I think this year is going to be a good great school year, for the public scholar, as well as the home scholars. :)

Corine :D

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Remembering Jason - Around the World...

Today is Jason's birthday.

This is the last photo I know of in which Jason took of himself in his 
“home away from home.” (found on his blog :o) Jason loved the desert 
and would sometimes go there alone for long periods of time…

Jason is my brother (friend since childhood/adopted bro). Though I have not lived near him since I was 16, and though we have only seen each other in person a few times since we have been adults, Jason has remained one of my absolute favorite people – one of those rare friends that you know you will be friends with forever… I’ll admit, there is probably much I don’t know about him because of the many years living far away from each other. Perhaps I don’t know him like I think I do (I doubt it).  Regardless of this – he has left a greater, more lasting impact on my life than I ever supposed possible. And even with the span of years between visits, I have always LOVED to be around him. That is why I have to reflect upon him now, and say something about him today, on his birthday – the day that each of his friends and family celebrate his remarkable life and the unique way that he changed their lives for good!

For many, Jason’s influence was felt as the teacher who really cared about them, made learning fun (and for some – possible), and helped them to treat others with kindness and be good people. For others, Jason’s impact was made as a fellow actor or teacher in the workforce… or perhaps he changed their life when he brought them the gospel as a young missionary. Others he influenced as a photographer and friend who knew how to capture the beauty in each person and in each moment - helping them create a lasting memory...

I have seen so many tributes to Jason from people in various settings and we all have different stories to tell… But I dare say, there are a couple things I’m sure all his friends can say about Jason -  that he had both a purity and kindness about him and a light that just radiated from him; and for those of us who love to bask in the light, it feels so good to be in his presence…

It's always been that way. He has always been that way.

When we were kids, Jason built me up like no one else could. He made me laugh. When we were kids, we were “the best of friends” as he would put it, quoting the song from “The Fox and the Hound.” I will always cherish that... that, even if for only a short segment of this life - he called ME his best friend! :D That made me very happy, because those who know Jason know - there is no better friend to be had. And I really wanted to be a good friend to him. I continue to count him as one of my best friends... 

When we were kids I thought he was the most perfect person I knew. I looked up to him. And, I have a strange confession… to this day; I still don’t want to disappoint him. Even with little things... I’ll be doing some silly thing, like taking a long time to choose which socks to purchase and I’ll imagine his spirit lingering near and saying to me, “Corine, you’re wasting time, just choose some socks!”

Miles laughs over that one; his response is, "Yeah," (speaking to Corine’s imagination Jason), "Tell me about it!" 

I think of how he treated me like I was the most amazing person he ever met. How he treated me like I was incredible. And I wonder what he thinks now, if/when he ever sees me from above. Yeah, I sincerely hope to not disappoint the sweet guy who once had me on a pedestal…

He knew I wasn’t perfect though. Jason was always honest and unafraid to let me know when I needed to work on something. LOL! :D And yet, I knew it was because he cared. Consequently, I could talk to him about almost anything (I was too proud, and too hard on myself back then to admit certain things) – things other people wouldn’t understand and might make fun of - and I knew he would respect and appreciate... I felt safe, talking to him. So it became one of my favorite past times... just walking and talking with Jason about our hopes, dreams, thoughts, and current projects, like the stories we were both writing etc. (Yeah, we were kids. :).

We also read each others journals – in our teens… Yeah, I really am serious! One day he showed up with his journal to show me a few of the things he wrote. The next thing I knew he asked if I could bring my journal for him to read. :o I'll admit, I first took out a couple of pages that I though might be embarrassing, but then I took it to him! The next thing I knew, he asked if we could exchange journals for the weekend and read to our heart's content. Yeah, we did it! LOL And you know what, I LOVED that he was so real, and so open and honest, both with his journal, and in upfront conversations. I loved that he really shared his life with me! And I loved that he was that interested - in me and in my life... I have since then, never met anyone who has shown so much interest in the lives of others...

Many years later (after years of seeing him only now and then at family gatherings) I discovered that he had continued the trend of sharing his life with others - this time with the entire world via blogging. Jason was just that way. He showed great interest in all his friend’s lives. I also share this interest in my friends, and hope and pray to be able to show it the way he did. This is a goal I have, inspired by the influence Jason had on me. I want to share my life with others, the way he shared his life with me. I want to show interest in my friends' lives, the way he showed interest in mine…

One of my favorite photos of Jason… love that smile! And the Calvin hair really cracks me up!

Photo: Last day of school: Z group.

Jason is incredibly unique. He has a way about him unlike any other. He loves music. More than that though - He speaks through music. He always has. He always talked to me through song. From the time we were only 12, up until the last time he spoke to me, it was through song... I was only 12 and he was 13 when he dedicated a song to me for the first time. I know, only 13! Jason was way beyond his years - and has a heart bigger than the whole outdoors. I love that boy more than words can tell!

 Jason was a school teacher. He started out with fourth graders (taught sixth as well) but ended up teaching fifth. The kids he taught became his; they loved him! Even kids in other class rooms would sneak into Jason’s class room to see him. He was the rock star of teachers, and the kids loved to brag about having him for a teacher, or having him draw a “Z” on their foreheads (he was "Mr. Z" to the kids). One cool thing he did was make it very clear to his students at the beginning of the school year that he expected them to become friends with every single one of the kids in their class. Tall order, but the kids loved him and wanted to please him. He made sure no one was left out and that the kids in his class all knew that in his class they were loved! That is how he rolled in the small circle of friends I enjoyed with him when we were friends as well. He was kind to everyone.

There is SO MUCH to tell about Jason. He has so many talents, and did so many really cool things in his life. Seriously... he was an actor; guitar player; amazing teacher who won distinguished teaching awards; juggler of butcher knives (no kidding!); artist (he drew a darling poster of Lady and the Tramp for me when I turned 16 – claiming that I was Lady and he was the Tramp. I LOVED it! :D); amazing photographer; (there is no end to his talent; can I end the list here???).  

But what really makes Jason special isn’t the talents he developed, but who he is… There is NO ONE else like him, anywhere… And I can promise you, that I am among MANY who know him and feel the same way. Jason LOVED people; and is LOVED by many. He lived his life making others smile. That’s what I love most about him. I love the light that shines from him, and the way you can’t do wrong in his presence because he is just SO GOOD. And no, he wasn’t perfect. I could tell you of a few times when I got angry at him and of a few things areas where he could improve. But it didn’t matter, because after all was said and done he still made you a better person. And when he is with you, he makes you feel like you are the most important person on the planet!
Now and then, especially just after I would see him at a family gathering, I would go to Jason's blogs and read a pile of his amazing writings. I remember reading one in which he wrote about what he wanted to leave as his legacy. Here is a quote from that post:

"It’s not what I leave behind when the days of tomorrow have passed, but it’s what I am living today…my living legacy. That ‘gift’ which I give back to the world, the heirloom I pass down to as many as I can—

"I am a teacher."

I know Jason wanted to leave a legacy as a teacher, and he definitely did! But I wonder if he realizes that he left an even greater legacy as a bright light and a son of God with an amazing heart just by being himself As I have gone onto the Internet since his passing I have read countless writings which showed just how normal it was for others to love to seek him out and be around him because of the light that radiated from him.

I have written in my journal of him so many times since his passing four weeks ago, and even before reading the writings of others I could have predicted them, for that was the way I was writing about him in my journal. I still cry. I know it may never completely end and I will go running to find him when I leave this life – to hug him, and give him a piece of my mind for leaving this world so soon! But he hasn’t really left us. Because the lasting effects he had on so many will continue to be felt – forever! I can’t go on living without still thinking about him; neither can his other friends and family members. Jason lives on in our hearts and in our minds – constantly telling us that we can do it, that he believes in us, and that we are "wonderful" and "awesome"… :)

I’d like to share with you something I wrote in my journal a couple of weeks ago…

"I know I must sound like a broken record, the same topics on my mind over and over again. Yes, my thoughts are still on Jason. Life has not been the same since his passing. I am not in routine yet. I, (who exercise faithfully EVERY day of the week EXCEPT for Sunday), have only exercised once since Jason's passing, and that was to help me cope (which I am doing incredibly well at the moment! :).

"Yesterday though, I did finally get some exercise. Not in my exercise clothes, and not with exercise as the motive. I was inspired by Jason to touch a couple of lives. I biked to see one friend, then later roller bladed to see another. I just wanted to reach out to them and be a friend. I wanted them to feel loved and important. :) I wanted to lift, love, and touch lives for good - the way Jason always did...

"I desire to get back to writing letters, especially to a couple people who most need my love. I desire to continue reaching out to others who need my love - as much as I possibly can... In short - I desire to do nice things for others, like Jason did... 

"I will continue to be a better person for the rest of my life, again and again, because of my associations with Jason. :)” 

I was not surprised to go on the web again a few days ago and see that people are still posting tributes to Jason daily on a blog that he shared with some friends of his (the blog one of his friends asked me to write a tribute on). I was also not surprised to find that all over the web people are writing tributes to Jason, and even starting service projects in honor of him! Surprised? – No. Because Jason. Touched. Lives. Here are just a couple links that I found the past few days (I wish I had copied the others that I have seen since his passing!)

Project Z - A blog dedicated to doing random acts of kindness in honor of him, for his birthday. There is a map which will show the services people performed and where; and if they want to they can also post a note about how Jason influenced their act. Anyone who wants to participate is to send their story to The stories will be posted anonymously, since with Jason, most of his acts were done in secret and you only found out about them through the grapevine.

The following is taken from Jason's personal blog ( Here he shows a video of the kids in his class singing a song of thanks to him for being their teacher. He noted that if there were ever a movie made about him he would want this to be the final scene. And so I leave it with you as the final scene in this post about Jason (which was also the final video shown at his memorial)...

Thanks for giving us so much to be thankful for, Jason/teachinfourth/Mr.Z/Bro/Friend... :) We love and honor you and your life! 

PS. You've got a friend...
Corine :D

UPDATE in reference to Project Z: Here is a link to a blog post Jason wrote in which he encouraged small acts of kindness to his blog readers: Two Please

In this post he tells of how he loves to purchase ice cream for strangers and of how easy it is to make someone's day. I love Jason's tradition (as well as the idea to give away ice cream in honor of Jason) for obvious reasons, as well as for a not so obvious reason... Maybe I'll tell you about it some time. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

- Life IS Like a Roller Coaster!

I have an awesome little story to tell you. Well, I think it is awesome. :D Then I'm going to get to the point and tell you how it relates to LIFE. :) But first, a little background...

Background: Do you remember hearing about how I used to have an eating disorder (BTW - most people don't know that 97% of all women have one in some form or another)? Probably not. It was years ago (but lasted for years). Long story short, my weight fluctuated constantly, I compared myself to everyone else (their best features compared to my worst - without acknowledging that this was what I was doing). I was always miserable. I couldn't stand my body. And I sincerely believed that less weight was ALWAYS BETTER. I exercised for HOURS every day and was obsessive in many ways. I never listened to my body when it told me I was hungry. I had rules that told me when I could eat and how much. I was often very hungry. Sometimes I would get so hungry I would binge, then feel disgusted with myself and loathe myself some more. I wouldn't let myself throw up (that would make me bulimic), but I purged in other creative ways. I wouldn't allow myself to believe I didn't eat enough (that would make me anorexic). And I was sure that I really was a fat person, not a skinny person with a distorted view; yeah, I couldn't be anorexic; I had to be "normal" - cause' not being normal was just too stressful to be true! (can you believe the deceptive self dialogue that went on?).

Thankfully, I got in the Dietetics program and immediately discovered my issues through the classes I took in college. I was taught how to help people with eating disorders and applied what I was learning to help myself overcome my eating disorder and poor body image. Again, long story short... It worked. :)

I haven't owned a scale for MANY years (I got rid of the scale long before my weight got stable - part of the process of learning to like my body unconditionally and irregardless of number). I actually LOST weight after getting rid of the scale (this took - perhaps a decade to accomplish), then maintained a particular weight for the next 9-10 years (which happens to be the last 9-10 years of my life). I have been VERY psychologically healthy these past years (yeah!). Maintaining the exact weight has been one indicator to myself that I learned to be comfortable in my skin and to listen to my body (eat when hungry, stop when full etc) - rather than under eating, which would sometimes cause me to then overeat, as I had in the past. It has been an awesome decade! :D

Now for my story: :) This spring I began training for triathlons for the first time in my life. About this time I was having a difficult time finding clothes to fit me. I know my size, and bought in my size, but they just didn't fit like they used to. I concluded that the manufacturers changed their pattern and were making the clothes just a little bigger than they did before. This was frustrating; I wanted my jeans to fit right!

Spring turned into summer and I tucked my new jeans away and started wearing other pants. They didn't fit right either, but thankfully a couple of them had draw strings I could tighten to make them feel better. I was too busy to give it much thought, until it happened... Mindy bought a scale at a yard sale. I saw it sitting on the floor and out of curiosity I stood on it. It was wrong.
"Mindy, this scale doesn't work. It's wrong." 
"No it isn't." Came her reply back. "I compared it to some other scales, and it's right."

I was sure she was wrong. "No, it can't be. I weigh 127 and have weighed 127 for the past 9 or so years now. This scale says I weigh 122; it has to be wrong."

All the boys started coming in to weigh themselves to see if the scale gave them the same reading they got when they had their physicals for Boy Scouts. Again and again it was confirmed, "Yep. Same weight. This is right."

I was shocked. "It can't be! I never lose weight!!" Then came the assurance from my kids again, "No mom, I think it's right."

Now I was beyond shocked, I was LIVID!
"Oh no! I lost 5 pounds! Crud! I knew I lost muscle!!!" 
 Mindy laughed.
"Mom, you're the only woman I know who gets upset about losing weight."
I immediately began to laugh with her over the thought of it.  :D

Years ago I would have done cartwheels over losing weight (no matter what it consisted of! I even stressed about exercising years ago because my legs got bigger from muscle growth!). Even now, I know I still have cellulite on the back of my thighs, but I've had that since I was 16 and resorted to the fact that I may always have it. I decided that I need to take care of myself, be healthy, and be happy with myself JUST THE WAY I AM. Years of trying to be something I wasn't didn't bring me any happiness. Accepting myself just as I was DID. 

Ironically, as I write this I now realize that I was not completely accepting myself just the way I am when I freaked out about losing muscle; afterwards though, I quickly acknowledged that I had already come to realize that I needed to eat a little more after my workouts and I knew I had lost muscle and that I could gain it back. I also acknowledged that some of it was probably fat - being positive is always a good idea. :)

But more importantly than all that... I realized that IT IS OK lose muscle, or gain fat, or TO MAKE MISTAKES! Everything fluctuates. Nothing stays the same and there are always dips of regression on the way to progression. And I realized that my focus has drastically shifted over the years, from losing weight, to being healthy and fit. What great progress!  

Life is like that.  
LIFE ISN'T ALL downhill, and it isn't all uphill either...

Photo taken from the following website -

In life, there are ups, downs, twists, turns! No life is perfect. No person is perfect. I am not perfect. As I train, and as I live life - I'm going to make some mistakes.  :) And it's ALL good experience!

And you know what? I'm not going to fret about freaking out that I lost weight. I'm not going to think twice about the moment of worry I experienced. I'm going to keep on laugh, laugh, laughing over it! I'm going to rejoice, and celebrate my progress! Because I KNOW the value of  having a positive body image, and I no longer believe the ridiculous nonsense that lighter = better, OR that I should never make mistakes or never have moments of regression! I will make mistakes. I will also learn from them. Life will have it's "down's." It will also have it's "up's."  That's what makes it real... That's what makes it LIVING...

- Life IS like a roller coaster! 

I hope we all relax, ease up on ourselves, and Enjoy the ride!

Corine :D

PS. Last Saturday I participated in the second annual, unofficial, Labor Day Triathlon among friends! :D I was feeling a little low that morning - sick even, from sadness (still healing). But I went. I finally had another REAL workout again (the desire is coming back!) 

There was only one other woman in the race, and she crashed (so sorry Valerie!) so was unable to finish - leaving me the only female participant. The men who raced were AWESOME. Of course, I would be last, again... :o Oh well. :) But one of the men graciously took his sweet time. :) (Dennis rocks! He even did the Ironman this year!). Consequently, we got to visit a little off and on during the bike and run. That lifted my spirits, kept me going, and made it a lot more fun! :D I'm SO THANKFUL for kind people and good friends! :D

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Race Results for my First Olympic Triathlon - CdA 2012

I finally went on line and got my race results for the first Olympic Triathlon I participated in. I was surprised at the results. (Actually, I did this and wrote this post a day or so after the race but never got back on blogger to post it until today because I wanted to find and add photos from the race before posting, then forgot about this post. Better late than never, right? :)

The first event was the one I'm most excited about, and that is the swim. My swim time was 29 minutes and 36 seconds, but I waited at least two minutes to enter the water (maybe 4 - yeah, it was an accident brought about by socializing and blond hair! ;o) so my time was actually closer to 27 minutes or less. I am so excited about that! My goal several months ago was to swim the mile in 35 minutes. The last couple days of June I swam a 28 minute mile so I just decided to set the goal to swim a mile in about  25 minutes or less. I am excited to see what I can do and now plan to start training in the water again. I wonder how much faster I can go. I wonder if with some training and practice - I can do the mile in 20-22 minutes. I know, it is a tall order; maybe it is crazy! But I may try. After all, the swim was by far the easiest part of the race for me. I am SHOCKED at how easy it is for me, especially given the fact that I just started learning to swim and training to swim this March - 6 months ago! Maybe this is a talent I didn't know I had. :D

The second part of the race was the bike. This part I LOVED!!!

I'm the biker with the hot pink bike and pink shirt with the camel back. :)
But the surprising thing is how much faster some of those women are on bike compared to me (on the flats - only on the flats). Nevertheless, I was also surprised at the fact that I was most of the way through the bike portion of the race before a woman passed me on the hill portion of the bike course - and incredibly startled to find myself saying, "What? A woman just passed me on the bike?" I know I sound conceited here. Trust me, I'm not. I was surprised to find myself thinking that because it occurred to me that it was the FIRST time a woman had passed me on the bike. THAT is what surprised me. I was further surprised when we left the hills and finished the course on flats - only to have several women creep up on me. As good as I was on hills - I still seriously need to train on flats! :o I don't know why I am so bad at flats. Maybe I need to gain some muscle in my legs (I haven't weight lifted in years). I may have to do a little strength training to improve my performance on the flats. By the way, it took me an hour and 24 minutes to do the bike course. This was clearly my weakest area. Four of the 6 women in my age group who were faster than me were MUCH faster on the bike, one as fast as one hour and nine minutes (WOW! She had to be a serious racer!!!) I will say though, that I really enjoyed riding the bike - even if I was 18 minutes slower than the first place "wonder woman!" :) And even if deep down inside I'd like to be a "wonder woman" too. :o

By the way - For the last part of the race I rode neck-in-neck with woman who later tracked me down and exchanged phone numbers with me; I pointed out to her while we were riding that we were clearly a good cycling match and could train together if she were a local. It turns out, she does live in the area, and we are going to train together! Yippee! OK, moving on...

I did the 6.2 mile run in 54 minutes and 31 seconds, giving a pace of about 8:46. I know I can do better than that, but it was OK. One of the things I like about the run is that we are all going slow enough to socialize some. :D Yes, I love to socialize, even if just briefly! I love to encourage other runners and then find them again after the race and congratulate each other on a job well done. We both worked hard. We both know it. And we truly are happy for each other! That mutual appreciation and exchange of smiles feels great!

I know I wrote something about the run (after talking about what a "blast" I had swimming and cycling) in another post, but I'll reiterate it here for those who didn't read it, since this is the section about the run, and because I like being a geek now and then. :o LOL - click here to see the other post if interested in the rest of what I had to say...
I'm not sure if I can say the run was a "Blast" but I had fun socializing
some more and encouraging people who were struggling. One man told me I
was "way too happy for this!" After we chatted I passed him but later saw him again after turning around at the end of mile 3 and coming back to finish the last 3 miles of the run. He then hollered out to me, "And you're
still  smiling! ;)" Yeah... I think even the run was a blast! :)
Coming in at the finish line - "still smiling!" :D

As it turned out, there were a lot of people there (544), and while I only got 93rd place in my division, I was in 7th place out of 26 women based on age (40-44), and 14th out of 51 for gender (14th out of all women ages 40 and up; one woman was 60 - so WOW to the 7 older women who beat the younger ones... very cool!). I don't think these statistics say anything at all about how I did, however, as they compare me to OTHER women - RATHER THAN TO MYSELF... How did I do? I improved. :) I had fun and worked hard. I did good. :D I even earned myself a massage! (My first professional massage. :D It was great, and now I want to go back for more!). And as long as I keep working hard and being consistent - I'll keep on doing good (and keep treating myself to a massage now and then)! :D

 Bellow are my results (bib 410) as found on the following website: ...

Triathlon 40+

Race Standings









00:29:36 (Note that this time is wrong, since I did not leave the swim for approximately 2-4 minutes after the timer started. You can read about what happened here if you want to know what happened.)




: Triathlon 40 +
: F