Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaching the Littles

One of my callings right now at church is working in the nursery.
I'm actually in junior nursery so I have the little littles that are 18 months to not quite 3.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this calling.
It's been a long time since I've served in nursery.
The last time was when Carson was in nursery.
He's now 18.
It's been awhile.
The primary president was so grateful that I agreed to serve in the nursery.
The moms of the littles have said,
"Thank you for being here. I can't believe you said yes."
"Oh, but it's wonderful" I say
"Mostly because it is not my every day life."
"You have to live this every day but for the couple hours you get off on Sunday."
"I can understand how you might go a little crazy."
Here is what I love:
I love the jabbers and trying to interpret what they all mean.
I love how they want to sit on my lap so I can read them a story.
I love that they love to sing and dance with me.
I love that they will let me hold them if they are sad.
I love their smiles.
I love their independent natures.
I love that they know Jesus.
I'm grateful to be serving in nursery right now.
The littles are certainly a bright spot in my week.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Funny Words

The other night Dave had left his wrist watch on the floor. I asked him why he had left his "wrist clock" on the floor. He laughed, not about leaving the watch on the floor, but at the fact that I had called it a "wrist clock"(a phrase then-3-year old Katelyn used for watch). He wondered if we were weird for incorporating that phrase, and others from our children's' childhoods, into our every day language.

I don't know if it is weird or not, but I did stop and think about what other words have stuck around. Well there is Carson's word spider...siper; and his word for spoon...soup; and his word for skunk...sunk (yes, for awhile he had quite a difficult time with s blend words). All of those alternate words are still words we use on occasion.

And we rarely call chapstick, chapstick, instead we use Katelyn's word...lip chap. And when asked what a rooster says, we will often respond with Katelyn's cockadoo instead of cock-a-doodle-do.

And Dave will probably always be referred to as Uncle Tiny Whiskas, a name given to him by his niece Maddie. Her cuteness and inability to say her r's, caused Dave to immediately adopt that moniker.

Having children has been such a blessing and I am grateful for their unique words that have manage to find a way to stay in our family vocabulary...even if it makes us weirdos (said minus the "r" as if Maddie were saying it).

Other funny words that haven't stuck (much to some family members relief), but are still in my memory...

Katelyn called Dave's sister, Kim, Aunt Duwah for the longest time. And Katelyn referred to my brother Michael as Uncle Ditty.

Remember Carson's trouble with s blend words? Well, my sister named her boy, Skyler and I don't know how long it took Carson to be able to Skyler instead of Psyche.

I love the memories.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Taking Care

On Tuesday night we had a Relief Society activity night where the project for the night was to prepare care packages for the missionaries serving from our ward. A group of about 30 women showed up to cut out felt Christmas trees, ornaments, put bows around Joy to the World  CD's, and creating gift cards. As I looked at all of the women in the room, I was touched. Out of the 30 or so that were attending, only about 5 of those women currently have missionaries serving. As a mom of a missionary, it was heart-warming to see those ladies come out on a Tuesday night to put together those packages. I was grateful for their kindness, compassion and generous giving of their time. They were doing their best to take care.

Then last night I hosted our "Missionary Moms" group. As the name suggests, our group consists of moms who have missionaries currently out (or just recently returned). We share how our missionaries are doing, share concerns, share joys, offer suggestions; the conversation is free-form and we roll with whatever. One of the awesome things about this group is that somehow, without formally establishing the norm of "one speaker at a time", we seem honor each other's speaking time and give each sister who own time with undivided attention. I think that is one of the best things and is what builds the connections; when people feel heard and can tell their whole story uninterrupted. It took me awhile to  make it to the group, but when they made an effort to move the night to a night I could attend, I made the effort to attend. I'm glad I did. I truly have felt these sisters doing their best to take care of the fellow Missionary Moms and offer support in various different ways. I am grateful that a former Missionary Mom had the foresight to start such a group (another example of someone doing her best to take care.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


While I was visiting my grandparents this past summer I had the opportunity to read the history of my Great Uncle Nile. He served in the Marines during World War II. The Marines was not his first choice; he wanted to serve in the Navy. Well actually, he wanted to serve in the Army, but when he first tried to enlist he was too young and they wouldn't take him. He and his friends were anxious to get in the action so the kept pestering the secretary at the Navy office until their numbers were called (at least that is how I remember the story going). My uncle notes that as they were being processed, there was a "really angry looking officer" who was keeping watch over the whole process. When the new Navy recruits were processed the angry-looking officer stepped forward and asked who would like to join the Marines. Not a single one of the guys raised their hand. The Marine officer then asked who had someone currently serving in the Marines. A friend of my uncle's raised his hand. The officer said to him "Welcome to the Marines, boy". The officer then turned to the other guys and asked who would join their friend. Again, no hands went up. But the next thing my uncle knew, he was walking out the door as a new Marine. He spent a great deal of his service during World War II on Iwo Jima. It was a horrible assignment and he saw many injured and killed.

Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
My uncle was a hero. My grandpa Bud, my Grandpa Lee, my Uncle Brian, my cousin Justin, my great-grandpa Chatterley, my father-in-law Rich, my uncle Alan, my cousin-in-law
Rob, my brother Nathan...all were and are heroes. Each one placed their country above their own lives and made the commitment to protect the freedoms that are laid out in our Constitution. How different my life would be if there weren't such heroes who stepped (and step) forward when our country needed them. My hope is that we will always have this sense of altruism and patriotism; that when push comes to shove we won't be a nation of selfish, entitled persons who think someone else should do the job. I am so grateful to my family, friends, and countrymen/women who have taken up arms to protect us.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light.
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Out My Back Door

When we found our house here in the valley almost 15 years ago, we almost instantly knew this was the house. We had spent many countless hours (oh so many hours!) looking for just the right place. Nothing ever felt just right. And yet, when we got to this house and stared out the hole that would become our family room window, we knew we had found the right place. And even though it was still in the framing stage, and then-4-year old Carson was quite concerned about living in a "stick" house, we knew this was home.

During the first couple of years looking out our back window we saw the pond and alfalfa fields. We twice saw a momma moose and her baby. There was a coyote who came trotting down the trail with a fresh kill of some sort in its mouth. And I certainly won't forget the time I looked out the back door and saw a stampede of cows...they had escaped from a field down the road aways. We've had deer and rabbits. And once, during a hail storm, we had a family take refuge under a rock in our backyard. For the longest time I wouldn't let David move that rock, because, what if those quail came back and needed a refuge again?

The quail aren't those only creatures that have refuge out our back door. Our children used to play out there quite a bit, especially when there was nothing but big piles of dirt to crawl all over. I've taken refuge out my back door on more than one occasion. The back of the house has a southern exposure, which means lots of sun. During late spring, summer, and early fall I will escape, even for just a few minutes, to sit on the deck and stare at the hills and mountains across the way. And during the winter, when it is too cold to venture outside, I will open the blinds in the family room, snuggle on the couch with a cozy blanket, and just stare out the window absorbing has much vitamin D as the short Inland Northwest days grant me.

I am so grateful for the view out my back door. Over the years it has brought me much joy, peace, and happiness. At times the view has soothed my aching soul as I see all of the beauty that God has placed before me to enjoy. And even though the alfalfa fields have largely been replaced by houses, and it has been years since I have seen a moose in our backyard, the initial feeling of "this is the place" is still with me, planted deep within my heart.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gratitude Month

I try to live a grateful life every day. But November seems to nicely lend itself to being even more intentional in noticing my blessings and expressing my gratitude. I also have noticed that the more grateful I am, the more generous I am with others. I'm not necessarily talking about monetary generosity or even sharing my time; I am more generous in giving people the benefit of the doubt, in extending grace and understanding. And since over the last two days I have had a few experiences at work that my initial reaction was to take offense and rebut strong and hard, I need this month to regroup and find that charity again. (PS Fortunately I did engage brain before I engaged my mouth so the words remained in my mind and confrontations were avoided).

So to start this month of gratitude I am going to talk about yesterday.
Yesterday was election day. I remember the first time I voted. I remember going to polling place (it was a church not far from our house), waiting in line, and then proudly wearing my "I Voted" sticker all day long. And even though all elections in Washington are now conducted through mail-in ballots, I still feel the same sense of pride for the privilege I have to vote.
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be involved in the governing process in our city, county, state and country. And while my votes are sometimes on the losing side of a measure, I take comfort in knowing that I did my part and that I have every right to speak up.
The right to vote came at a great cost of life. When I take the time to be an informed voter and participate in the process, I am expressing my thanks to all those who sacrificed to give me this right.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mars vs Venus

There have been many Mars vs Venus moments that have occurred in our household over the years. During these moments, the desired outcome is achieved but the route to get there is definitely not the same for each person. Most of the time the routes seem to fall along stereotypical lines.

I was going to use parenting as an example, but on further reflection I think the differences had more to do with personality styles more than chromosome differences. Dave was always more about the fun, jokes, and playtime, while I was more focused on rules, discipline and work. Fortunately we were able to balance each other out and achieved (I hope) the desired outcome of raising children  into well-adjusted, successful and independent adults.

So moving on. Let's consider folding clothes. The goal is to get the clothes folded, but Dave's way is not my preferred way. Or consider the way the guys seem to look for things. If something isn't found right away, or if finding something requires more than a cursory glance in the general area, the guys usually aren't going to find it. I go to look for the same object in the same place that I just told the guys to look and viola! the object is found right away. I don't do anything special, but I do look a little harder and don't give up until the lost is found.

And our most recent example of Mars vs Venus adventures in our house...

The desired outcome:
Our bed is made every morning

What it looks like when I make the bed:

What it looks like when Dave is in charge of making the bed:

It's really not a big deal that the pillows are just thrown haphazardly on the bed when Dave makes the bed because the bed is made. It just cracked me up to see yet another example of how the two of us often approach the same task differently and still arrive at the desired outcome.