Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 456, Ocean of Estrogen...

Yes... Here we are at Women's Conference one again--and this picture only shows you one quarter of the stadium! Thousands of women gather each year for the annual event that has become a tradition for my daughter and me. It is a tradition I treasure. Looking forward to tomorrow's events.

Judi.... We miss you~~!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 455, Why I am glad to be a girl....

...Because boys have mouse duty....spider duty.... and bug duty.

This is what I saw when I came down the stairs this evening. Honey, the cat that is plotting Ron's murder, had a mouse trapped in the corner. She was taunting it mercilessly.

Moments after screaming at the top of my lungs...
In ran my hero, armed with a broom and plenty of determination. After chasing the mouse through the house (cat in tow), he was finally able to get it outside to safety.

This may seem like a small thing.... but if it weren't for Ron....I would still be stranded mid-stride on my way down the stairs,,,,, frozen in place.

I am very happy that my husband takes his man role seriously~~!!
It is good to be a girl.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 454, And so it continues...

Moving right along.....If everything continues to go on schedule, we will be moving in just less than 2 months. I can't wait.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 453, Nevermind

I have to agree with Raechel.... The rest of the prompts are ridiculous. I will have to figure out some other prompts for the blog.

This morning I sent my manuscript back to the final edit complete. I am very anxious to move into the next phase of publication.....and soon, I will hold the finished product in my hands. That is cool.

Now they want the first chapter of the sequel.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 452, Something You Wish You Hadn't Done in Your Life.

I wish I hadn't eaten that extra slice of pizza.
I wish I hadn't eaten that pound of candy.
I wish I hadn't watched "The Exorcist" when I was 12 years old.
I wish I hadn't snuck into my uncle's moonshine when I was 15 years old.
I wish I hadn't missed so many of my kids' sports games.

Why is my list so seemingly simple? Because most of the "bad" choices I made in my life, eventually led me to where I am today. I am the sum of all my experiences. I love my life today.....By changing something in my past, wouldn't I risk also changing the present? Instead, I say let's learn from our mistakes, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 451, (Scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Isn't this a no-brainer? This prompt makes me think that its author is not very old... or at least not very mature. News flash. People fight. True friendships understand this. There was a time when I thought that fighting meant the end of a relationship----but that's when I was fourteen.

When the chips are down, nothing else matters. You stand by people when they need you. End of story.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 450, "Your Views on Drugs and Alcohol


Too tired to say more on the subject..... but given the topic, do I really need to say more?

Okay.... Nyquil good. Tylenol PM good. Tequilla bad. Very bad.

Got it?

Day 449, Your Views on Religion

I believe I have already posted this..... seems like I had a rant shortly after Christmas..... So I think rather than re-invent the wheel this late in the evening,,,, I shall thumb back through my posts and find what I wrote back then.....Here you go:

"Nothing like a friendly debate over the existence of God to get the blood pumping and the emotions rising. Well,,, I cannot say debate, because in my case, it is usually more like a trial. I'm the defendant, answering to the prosecuting attorneys. That's okay. I have God as my judge; I can live with that.

The debate is not God vs. science. That's absurd. The two are not mutually exclusive. A true believer is never threatened by advancements in science...rather, they welcome them. They know that many advancements in science are the direct result of God-given inspiration. No. The debate is simply on whether or not there is a God. Scientific proof is out of the debate. Science will never prove there is no God. Neither will it prove there is. That is not, nor ever was, the role of science in our Universe. Science is about questions. Faith is about answers. The two make marvelous companions.

My belief in God is not based on faith alone. It is also based on evidence. It is the evidence of things not seen which are true. And it has surrounded me throughout my entire life. In fact, the evidence of God's role in my life is so blatantly transparent, that to deny it would require a total disregard and lack of respect for the truth.

I realize that what I am about to say may offend some people. I sincerely apologize for that in advance. But this is my blog, so I don't need permission to speak from my heart.

Try as I might, I have a low tolerance for people who think they are doing me a favor by giving me permission to believe what I want to believe. Oh. Thank you. I was worried about that. As if!!

Here's the deal....You don't want to believe in God, that's your choice. We all have God-given agency to choose for ourselves what we will and won't believe. I don't need anyone to "allow" me to believe what I want. So do not patronize me by setting yourself up as someone who is superior and therefore has the right to tell me it's okay for me to believe how I wish. Kiss my San Antonio rose buds!

Here's something I find quite interesting, and I see it all the time---usually followed by a raised eyebrow and a bitten tongue. Someone on Facebook, or in a mass text or e-mail, asks that everyone pray for their sick friend or relative in one breath, and then in another, say they do not believe in God. Really. Are you serious? If you are truly an atheist, then it's hypocritical to ask others to pray on your behalf. These same people won't give God the credit if their loved one gets better. But oh man.... if they take a turn for the worst, then they will claim it is evidence that God does not exist. Am I the only one who finds this hypocritical?

Truth is, deep down, everyone knows there is a God. Something bigger than this world. They may not define him. They may not understand him. They may not know him. They may not give him a name, face, or image. They may want nothing to do with him. But in their soul, they know that God is. Period. They choose NOT to believe. It is not the other way around. Believers do not choose to believe. They just believe. Simple. It's not a choice. The choice comes in choosing NOT to believe. Non-believers always want to lay the burden of proof on believers. That's a cop out. And guess what? You don't get to make the rules. This is the way it works. If you attack somebody's beliefs, the burden of proof lies with you, regardless of which side you represent.

So that's my rant for the night."

Taken from my earlier blog entitled, "The Great Debate."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 448, Your Views on Gay Marriage

It's simple. I believe marriage is ordained and sanctified by God, and that it was intended from the beginning to be the union between a man and a woman.

That is all I wish to say on the subject in this forum.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 447, A Book You've Read That Changed Your View on Something

This year I have been reading a book called, The Speed of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey.
This book has led me through a process of self-reflection and soul-searching that has been, at times, enlightening, challenging, embarrassing, and down-right aggravating. I have had to admit to some personal character traits that are not very pretty. At the same time, this book has awakened me to a much richer understanding of how to build trust both in my personal and professional relationships. I discovered, after taking a self-assessment in the beginning of the book on the four cores of integrity, that I am very strong in the cores that focus on ability. People tend to trust that I am capable and that I can produce results. But, when it comes to character, I am lacking. This is true of my own personal integrity with myself and then with others. The question that hit me the hardest, was this, "If asked, would the people you work with say you have THEIR best interests at heart, or your own?" Sigh~~!! When I was in the classroom, it was easy.... I always had my students' best interest at heart.... but this year, working with adults, it became blatantly obvious to me that I was not putting the needs and wants of others above my own. So throughout the year, I have been working on this very critical character flaw. Some days I do well, other days I need to remind myself to get out of Mindyland and take a look at the people around me. Somedays I revert back to what is comfortable. It's frustrating when I recognize that.

Without a doubt, this book as been the catalyst for significant growth in my ability to develop trust-based relationships with the people I work with..... I can see that I still have a long way to go... but at least I am on the right path.

Thank you, Mr. Covey :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 446, Something or Someone You Definitely Could Live Without

Aye  carumba... Here we go again. We need to get a little more creative on these prompts people!!

Okay,,, let's see...

collard greens (um,,, that one's for you honey~~!)
cigar or cigarette smoke
rude drivers
violent movies
grossly pornographic movies
THROW UP scenes in every fricken movie~~!!! What is up with that?
Hearing the Lord's name in vain. That makes me cringe every single time~!
cock roaches
ants!! I hate ants!!!

There... how's that?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 445, Something You Know You Can't Live Without, Because You've Tried Living Without It

The Coke BottleI doubt there is anything I couldn't really live without---except maybe air, water, and food..... but let's face it, there are some things that I just don't WANT to live without. Family goes without saying---that's just a no-brainer. Same with my health. But beyond these biological and emotional necessities, there are some specific things I prefer NOT to live without.

(1) Bottled coke---in slush form please. There is  nothing like it!
(2) Plums---Santa Rosa variety, fresh off the tree. Fresh Santa Rosa plums are the one thing I rank higher than bottled coke. Now that says something!!

(3) Wind chimes.

(4) Access to water---the beach, a jacuzzi, a built-in swimming pool (in my own backyard preferably.)

(5) My piano.

(6) Scriptures

(7) Family pictures

(8) A rocking chair---I have to be able to move while I'm sitting.

(9) My toothbrush and Extra Peppermint gum. I detest bad breath!!!!!!

(10) Dogs. I love them.

(11) Books.

And finally,,,,

(12) Pen and Paper --- I love to write.....I must have a notebook with me at all times.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 444, A Hero That Has Let You Down

There was a time when I believed in Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

I lived millions of girls' dream through Princess Di. I believed in the fairy tale.

In Mindyland, it would have been great if they would have lived happily ever after. What a tragedy that turned out to be. I do recall feeling let down when I found out all was not well in paradise. I of course sided with the tortured Princess who had been duped by a cheating Prince.....but later I would discover that there were two sides to the story....and neither side lived up to the high expectations for which I held Royalty. I mean, heck, if you are to be stationed above everyone else in the country, shouldn't your morals, character, and virtue be beyond reproach?

My heroes are different now. My heroes are heroes because they don't let me down.
My mom and dad are heroes. They married young---ages 16 and 20 respectively---and have been married for 70 years. It's not that staying married in and of itself is heroic, but that they still love each other.

President Spencer W. Kimball is a hero.
President Hinckley is a hero. Sister Hinckley is a hero.
President Monson is a hero.
Jeffrey R. Holland is my hero, because he always speaks directly to my soul.

The pioneers who traveled across the plains are heroes.

My husband is a hero.
My children are heroes.
Those who face their battles with dignity and grace are heroes.
Those who rise each time they fall---those are heroes.
Those who push forward when everyone and everything around them says to give up---those are heroes.

If you think about it, there truly is no shortage of heroes. True heroes~!!
So why focus on the one that let you down?

Let's raise our glass to all the true heroes of the world :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 443, A Band or Artist That Got You Through Some Tough Times...

Before I respond to today's prompt, I thought I'd share a brief update on our house....AND on my book~~!!

First, the house. Moving right along, wouldn't you say? This weekend we selected our flooring, and it won't be long now until they begin putting up the sheet rock. Today we decided a balcony is definitely happening~! Not right away, but as soon as possible. A balcony will kill two birds with one stone....It will give us access to an unexpectedly awesome view, and it will provide a cover to our patio (something we were already planning to do). Today I climbed the scaffolds and caught a glimpse of what the view would be from a balcony; that was the end of that!

Now, about my book. The publisher sent me the edited version to read through, approve, and add any last minute changes. I am nearly 200 pages into it, and I am blown away by the subtle, yet powerful changes that the publisher has made. In most cases, she used my own words, but changed their placement within a sentence or paragraph, and voolah! Awesome! Something else that is pretty cool, is that I am enjoying reading the book again. It has been a year since I worked on it, and I was a bit nervous about having to read it again....fearful that I might find it lame or "cheesy." To my surprise, that has not been the case. I actually stop periodically and think, Wow. I wrote that! That's pretty cool. It is great to get back into my character's heads, and to reunite with them. They are so real to me~!

It is still surreal to think I will hold this book in my hands someday soon. A real book. That is definitely one of my "happy thoughts."

Okay... So now to the prompt. There are more than a few songs or artists that have gotten me through some difficult times. Usually, those difficulties are self-imposed, and at my age, I can safely say I have had a few of them. Here are a few songs/artists that have helped to lift me up when I've been down:

(1) The Theme from Mahogany by Diana Ross. This was waaaay back in the mid-70's; back in my "trying to find myself" teenage angst days. "Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?" Hahahaha... I swear I think this song pushed me to a near mental breakdown.... but one that had a profound impact. I did not like the person I was, or the path I was on, this song planted the seed for a life-changing paradigm shift. Thank goodness~~!

(2) Queen! Particularly, "Bohemian Rhapsody." I mean really, who can listen to that song without turning up the radio and singing at the top of their lungs? No matter WHAT is going on in your life, it will give you a few moments of joy (although, that's a bit of an mystery, since the words are not very uplifting).

(3) Amy Grant! Love her! Loved her very much in the mid-80's when her Age to Age album came out. That album made my Spirit happy, and it made me feel closer to God. Thanks Amy.

(4) Twila Paris! Can't name Amy and leave Twila out of the running. Her album, The Warrior is a Child, is one of the best albums ever! The title song describes exactly how it feels when you are discouraged from battling Satan's armies. "I drop my sword and cry for just a while, 'cuz deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child." But you know, we never fight that battle alone. "Fear not. For those that be with us are more than those that be with them" 2Kings 6:14.

Also from Twila was the song, "Praise Him." It is a song that always lifts my Spirit.

(5) The Mormon Tabernacle Choir! Ah yes!! Instant medicine for the troubled, injured soul. One of the songs that made a significant impact on me is "O Divine Redeemer." When I played this for Ron the first time, I spoke the words for him, and they moved me so much that I just cried. I knew the song had been written about me. Here are some of the phrases contained in the song (not in order)---"Oh, turn me not away. Receive me though unworthy." "Haste Thee Lord, haste to help me." "I pray Thee grant me pardon, and remember not, remember not oh Lord, my sins." "Oh Divine Redeemer, have mercy! Help me my Savior." 

(6) "Spirit in the Sky" Ah yes! Always puts a smile on my face,,,, no matter how dark the skies. Just gotta include the first two verses here.... You know you know the words... So SING!!!!

When I die and they lay me to rest 

Gonna go to the place that's the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best

Prepare yourself you know it's a must
Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die
He's gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That's where you're gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You're gonna go to the place that's the best

(6) And finally----Me. I am not a band, and I am definitely not a singer!! But I play the piano, and in that I find rest. It is great therapy.

I am sure I could go on about artists and/or songs that lift my soul and get me through hard times, but this post is already way too long. If you are still reading, then here is my closing statement: Music is such an important part of my life; it is no surprise that I turn to music for strength.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 442, Something You Never Get Compliments On

Nobody has ever called me "Christ-like." That is my ultimate goal, and one that is far beyond my current reach. I am working on it, and sometimes when I think I am making progress, something or someone comes along to humble me on the spot. I am afraid I am a rough stone with some very jagged edges.

Being Christ-like requires patience.

Hahahaha... Patience is definitely something I rarely get complimented on.

People have told me several times that I am extremely patient with my children. Really? I suppose to outsiders, it might appear that way, but if you ask my children if they think I am patient with them, they will laugh in your face. I am patient with my students. Most of the time. I am patient with my grandkids....pretty much always. I think that pretty much is it.

While we're on the subject, here are ten things for which I definitely have NO PATIENCE:

(1) people who text and drive;
(2) the drive-thru at Del Taco----Why does it take soooooo long to get a taco and a coke?
(3) gum that loses its flavor too quickly;
(4) people who insist on talking all the way through a movie;
(5) coke that has gone flat;
(6) warm milk;
(7) lazy teachers who don't really care about their students;
(8) people who constantly put themself and/or others down;
(9) people who cannot complete a ..... you know, they start to say..... like this one person, she will start to say something, but then she..... you know what I mean?
(10) not having a goal.

I had breakfast with a friend this morning.... She told me that when I have a goal, LOOK OUT.... because I will bulldoze anyone who gets in my way. That is a trait that may be effective in some settings, but can be horrible in others. I never view myself as this type of person. Goal driven, yes. Task oriented, yes. Determined, absolutely. But I never thought of myself as inconsiderate, uncaring, or disloyal. Suspecting that others may see me in this negative light makes me realize that I still have a long way to go in my quest to become a Christ-like person.

"And miles to go before I sleep."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 441, Something People Seem to Compliment You the Most On

Golly, this would have been much easier to answer 30 years ago ~~! Back then, I was complimented most on my flat stomach. Bah Hah Hah~~~!! Sadly, not anymore. Back then, I was complimented on having long, pretty eyelashes. Ugh! Yeah. Not so much after passing age 40. Back then, I was complimented on my ability to learn new things quickly. That was before technology. Back then, I was complimented on my piano playing---that was back when I actually played more than once a month.

Oh, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. This is just the effects of the passages of time.

Here are a couple things I get complimented on now-a-days:

(1) My beautiful children---This really has nothing to do with "me" per say, but it is my most favorite compliment.

(2) My organ playing---I play loud, and apparently it helps keep people awake during church :-)

(3) My ability to teach---both in secular and spiritual settings. I give all the credit to God.

(4) The softness of my skin---Yes! I am a Jergen's girl all the way. I used to pretend I was doing commercial for them when I was young. Who knew I would still be a Jergen's girl some 40 years later? Ron loves my skin.... And I LOVE that he does~~! I admit, it really IS soft :-)

(5) My enthusiasm. Kelli Sunderland calls them camera moments. Click, click~@! Sometimes it is very contagious.

(6) Writing a novel and getting it published. I'm pretty excited about this. Let's hope the reviewers find it worthy of a compliment.

Some things I will likely NEVER be complimented on:

(1) My driving
(2) My ADD
(3) RAKs --- (Yeah, you know, those random acts of kindness that I suck at!!)
(4) My driving (It really is worth two mentions.)
(5) My closets and drawers (Look out!! It's dangerous in there~~!@+!)

I suppose it is all about balance, right? Ya win some. Ya lose some.

I can live with that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 440, Someone You Need to Let Go, Or Wish You Didn't Know

I got nothing on this one. There is probably someone I need to let go,,,,but I could never say I wish I didn't know them. I believe we learn from everyone who crosses our path; if nothing more than to give us experience. We are the sum of all our experience; therefore, to press the delete button on someone would change the outcome.

Nope. I can't think of anyone I would wipe out of my life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 439, Somebody You Didn't Want to Let Go, but Just Drifted

When I make friends, It is always my expectation that the friendship will last forever. I never look at a true frienship as a temporary alliance. Over the years, there have been many people who were close to me, but later drifted. It is generally a result of them moving away.

Julie Clark. Tamela Mailing. Kimberly Dolan. Theresa Nielson. Tammy Hallberg. These are ladies who played a significant role in my life. They are ladies I still love, even though I haven't seen or spoken to some of them in over 20 years. They are women that I once felt as close to as any sisters could feel. I cried when they moved away; I did not want to let them go.

Then there is "Sue," (I will call her that to keep from using her real name). Sue is someone I used to work with. Thanks to a series of unfortunate events and misunderstandings, I have recently had to face the fact that she no longer considers me her friend. This week, I made a conscious decision to let her go. It is not easy for me; I don't make friends easily, and I don't like the feeling that I somehow let her down. Well, I wish her the very best, and who knows, maybe someday she will want to be friends again.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 438, Someone Who Has Made Your Life Hell or Treated You Like @@!#!@

There are two names that readily come to my mind with this prompt. Elaine, and Sundown.

I have already given Elaine some air time in a previous blog, so I will make this brief. Elaine was responsible for dragging me into court repeatedly. I allowed myself to be victimized by her, and that made my life hell for period of time. I got over it. I became stronger because of it. BUT,,, she hurt my kids and treated them in ways that no child deserves to be treated. I must admit that I am pleased that she is no longer in the picture. Good riddens I say. That sounds very un Christ-like, so I must apologize. Someday, perhaps I will be able to see things through her eyes.

The second person that comes to mind is Sundown Colbert. Aye aye aye!! He began his bullying tactics on me when I was Kindergarten. He used to push my friend, Nancy, and me down on the rocks when we got off the bus on our way home from school. My mother always dressed me in leotards and dresses, so this was especially problematic. I came home with torn stockings more than once. What was his problem? Oh, who knows. He was a bully. He would threaten me if I did not pick him for sharing time, which I never did. I would know that he was going to push me down after school, but I was not going to pick him!!

Later, when I was in Jr. High, Sundown's bullying rose to a whole new level. One afternoon he "summoned" me to his garage---sent his cronies to escort me (just like a true mob boss.) That's when he informed me that if I did not agree to go steady with him, he would rape the _____ out of me. Was I scared? Surprisingly not as much as you might think. There was a little part of me that worried, but for whatever reason, that part of me could not silence the part of me that told him to go to hell. Ah youth! In some ways I admire the fact that I never let Sundown's bullying scare me into some weak, submissive victim, but I resented the fact that I had to deal with him repeatedly from the ages of 4-15. He finally decided to focus his efforts on more important things like drug dealing and grand theft. His father was a Hell's Angels...His mother was a sweetheart. His little brother was a nice kid. Go figure.

I always wondered what became of Sundown. Last I heard he was in prison, or dead, or something like that. If I could spend ten minutes with him now, I would ask him one question. Was it worth it?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 437, Someone Who Has Made Your Life Worth Living For

I never thought much of my own mortality as a youth or young adult. I took chances on ski slopes, drove wrecklessly, accepted a ride from a total stranger, and did silly things that could potentially be harmful to my health. The idea that my life mattered was foreign to me. Don't get me wrong, I knew that my parents would be devastated if anything every happened to me. They had already lost two daughters; I was their only living girl, and I had no desire to cause them pain. Yet, I openly resented and rebelled against all their attempts to set boundaries for me. I'm not proud about that---it is proof of my stupidity and immaturity at the time.

But everything changed when I was 25 years old. Reason? Raechel. I remember, clearly, how knowing I was carrying a child redefined my sense of purpose. Suddenly, everything I did mattered. It mattered because I there was someone relying on me. Truly. It was up to me to keep my unborn child safe, healthy, protected---and then, once she was born, she was dependent on me for everything. Raechel brought to my life an entirely new dimension---that of being a mom.

Since Raechel's birth, and subsequently, the birth of all my children, my life has mattered in ways I could never have imagined in the ignorance of my youth. My children bring me inexpressible joy, and they have taught me how to love. Motherhood has given me a glimpse into Eternity and into the very reason for mortality. It is a gift for which I am forever grateful, and definitely makes my life worth living.

That's a good thing :-)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 436, Something You Hope You Never Have to Do

I hope I never have to eat macaroni and cheese again.

I hope I never have to eat squid or liver.

I hope I never have to walk in a sewer tunnel.

I hope I never have to swim in icy water.

I hope I never have to try to outrun an erupting volcano or a psunami wave.

I hope I never have to wear my eyeglasses on a chain around my neck.

Other than that, I'm pretty much open to most things :-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 435, Something You Want to Do in Your Life

Ron says I only get one.... Ha~~~!! No way darling. This is one area where I do not believe in limits :-)++
So here goes.... and these are not in order of priority.

Write books~~! More than that.... become a well-known author.

Travel to Germany, England, Italy, and France.

Have a built-in pool in our backyard.

Go back to Hawaii,,,and bring the family.

Be sealed to Ron.

End my career in education as an instructional leader---perhaps as the director of curriculum & instruction. Yeah, that would be cool.

Own a baby grand piano.
Yup. This one will do :-)

By the way, I wrote my list, and then asked Ron and Ellen what they thought I would say. They got all but two of them.