Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Ty, Ande, Abe, Grace, me, Calvin, Cali, Ray
Each Christmas Eve we have a family program where each member brings a part to share. This year Calvin told each of us why he loved and admired us (sniff), then for my part everyone took a turn telling each person in the family one thing they appreciated about them (sniff. sniff). Ande quoted Shakespeare, Ty did a memory game, Cali quoted the Gettysburg Address, Grace did a card trick, and Abe taught us a Filipino song. Ray had had each of us take a personality assessment earlier in the day and bring our computer print out with us to the family program. He prefaced his part by saying, “Our family is growing and changing and I thought it would be beneficial to all of us if we better understood what makes each other tick.” We all identified our print-out results (I’m an ESFJ) and he read the characteristics that are frequently associated with each of our types. As he read, there was much nodding of the heads, laughing, and outbursts. It was fascinating, more accurate and helpful than other personality quizzes we’d taken, informative, and fun. It helped us to see
1. Where we prefer to focus our attention and energy (extraversion or introversion)
2. The way we prefer to take in information (sensing or intuition)
3. The way we prefer to make decisions (thinking or feeling)
4. How we orient ourselves to the external world—with a judging process or a perceiving process
It felt good to be validated by hearing the assessment. It was even better understanding why members in our family do what they do. But the very best part was realizing/trusting that keeping a family functioning is not just Calvin and my responsibility anymore, that the kids claim ownership in improving and helping our family to succeed. Now that is a gift.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday Memories— “If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.” ~Henry Wadsworth
Ty had a late birthday so we held him back a year in school. He was more than ready for some added responsibility and interaction that fall, so I promised if he would tend Ande while I milked the cow when I returned we would play the game he liked best: Tigers. It was supposed to be nothing more than both of us on all fours growling and clawing every now and then, but it was much more to Ty. He attacked and pounced on my back and couldn’t be shaken no matter how hard I shook or tried to pull him off. I called uncle within a month and declared him the king of the zoo.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Kickball is a good game for all of us: there is enough movement to make us feel like we have exercised but the bases are close enough we can run around more than once, and all ages can play.
In my head I am still coordinated. Not so. Not so. My first kick the ball didn’t go very far, but my shoe did--flew up by the pitcher’s head. I put my shoe back on and kicked again and made it to first base, but running to second the other shoe flipped off and flew towards the pitcher. Besides losing coordination, I have also lost some good sense and what kind of shoes are kickball appropriate.
It was entertaining watching the old and young play together. The young can jump, duck, slide, and catch the balls. The old have the bravado and voice but can’t back it up without getting hurt. Calvin hit the floor once, Ken got hit in the face by the ball as he attempted a beautiful slide into second base, while Brenda stayed off the floor but feared for her back as she bent to avoid a throw. Janet was already sidelined with a previous injury. Brett was hale and hearty and covered home base nicely. Abe knocked me flat on one play and all I could think was “Pleeeeasse don’t let something break” as I went to the floor. I’m not a graceful faller, I imagine I would thump if I fainted, so everyone kept asking if I was going to be okay. I said I was because I kept thinking, “I don’t hurt nearly as badly now as I will tomorrow.”
Friday, December 25, 2009
It was all Calvin and I hoped. There were sacred moments. There were warm and caring moments. There were growing moments. There were fun moments. It was good. Very, very good.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Today is Joseph Smith’s 204th birthday. I love Joseph Smith. He is a prophet of God who translated the Book of Mormon and was an instrument in restoring Christ’s church. I appreciate his example, personality and courage.
We celebrated Joseph Smith’s birthday by going to the temple. We had to leave early in the morning to get there on time, and several projects are running behind the Christmas deadline out in the shop; however, no one complained or even suggested we stay home. I thought of the wonder of that (we are a family never short on opinions) on the drive down to the temple and thought, “It’s because it is tradition. When something is a tradition you don’t have to re-decide, you just do it.” Behold the power of a good tradition. They make life so much easier.
Another tradition we have is to go shopping and out to dinner together before Christmas.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Today is Ande’s golden birthday and we celebrated it in a big way: a crab pot and taking family pictures.
After eating supper and opening presents we each shared a favorite memory of Ande. Grace and Calvin’s memories both involved the chickens. The memory Abe shared was of the two of them doing homework together while visiting and listening to music. Ty’s favorite memory was them reading aloud to each other (they’re reading Great Expectations together now). Ray’s memory was the first time he saw Ande’s hair early in the morning, he fondly calls her Medusa (it really is a fright some days). Cali’s memory was a sweet one from the night before she got married and realized she would no longer be sharing a bed with Ande. We all have lots of favorite memories of Ande, because she makes so many of them. She is quick to laugh and willing to be a part of things. She is a good friend to everyone in the family.
Though I shared the memory of hearing her little feet pitter-patter across the floor when the furnace kicked on every morning, so as to be first to sit on top of the heat vent, this picture is another favorite memory:
Sunday, December 20, 2009
This morning I had Calvin, Ty and Ande open and close their fists again and again. After fifty or sixty pumps, Ande started to squeal, “I don’t know how long I can do this!” so I asked them how many minutes they thought they could do it.
Ty said he could probably go five to ten minutes (he regularly uses a little squeeze ball to build his grip for rock climbing).
Ande said, “Just a few minutes.”
Calvin didn’t answer but instead kept asking, “What are you doing this for?”
After asking them to pay attention a few times, I read them this quote:
“The heart is an incredible pump. It has four delicate valves that control the direction of blood flow. These valves open and close more than 100,000 times a day—36 million times a year. Yet, unless altered by disease, they are able to withstand this stress almost indefinitely. No man-made material developed to date can be flexed so frequently and so long without breaking . . . Each day an adult heart pumps enough fluid to fill a 2,000-gallon tank.” ~ Russell M. Nelson
Yes, the heart is simply amazing. Not just in the ability to keep blood flowing through my arteries and veins, but because of what it feels, records, and knows. Here are four sweet little experiences from this week that touched my heart:
- Last week I saw Brian walking across the church parking lot. It was teen temperatures and I asked him if I could give him a ride home. I knew he often walked, but until I drove him home I had no idea it was an hour and ten minute walk. Month after month, Brian has walked to church without anyone knowing of his effort.
- Our neighbor wears a fitted, green velvet dress with white fur trim to church the Sunday before every Christmas. The dress was her grandmother’s. It’s a simple little tradition she started for herself and her kids to keep her grandmother’s memory alive, but it has also become my tradition because I look for her in that velvet dress each year. She laughed today as she sucked her stomach in and whispered, “I almost didn’t get it zipped up this year, but at least I finally fill in the top.”
- I got a card in the mail from an anonymous friend. She said that her friend was celebrating her 70th birthday and that there was only one gift that her friend really wanted. That gift was for each invitee to write a note to someone in their life who would be happy to hear how much they cared about them. My friend then shared a sweet quote that reminded her of me along with a special thanks for being her friend. It was signed, “Love Always, Your Friend.”
- This post that Ande wrote.
The heart is an amazing blessing and I am grateful for it physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What simple little thing has touched your heart this week?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Oatmeal and a fruit crepe
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Peel and quarter six apples into a medium saucepan. Cover apples with water, add five or six drops of red food coloring, a scant 1/4 cup of sugar and a bit of oil of cinnamon.* Bring to boil and cook until apples are tender. Serve hot or cold.
*How much depends on how hot you want your apples. I use about 1/4 tsp. You can find cinnamon oil wherever candy making supplies are sold. Red Hots (candies) may be substituted for sugar and cinnamon oil. Just add them with your apples and they will dissolve as they boil.
Do you have a quick and inexpensive way to serve fruit in the winter?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- Which relative were you most excited to go and see or have come and visit your home during the holidays?
Grandma Chadwick came a few weeks early and visited and played games of Scrabble with us. I liked her conversational manner. However, Grandma Hoops’ arrival meant Christmas Eve afternoon had come. I appreciated the personal interest she took in us kids. But when my cousin Casey and his family came it meant the party could begin, so I was probably most excited for his family to come. Sometimes they brought cases of bottled pop which was a big deal to me. Casey, my brother, Tim, and I used to get rug burns on our stomachs from sliding down the stairs while we waited for our Christmas Eve supper.
- What is your earliest Christmas memory?
My sister, Lila, drew my name and gave me a Barbie doll (a short haired one that wore tennis shoes). Someone told me that night that I had better hang on tight to it as Santa Claus might take it and give it to another little girl. I was mortified he would steal from one to give to another and slept with her and the plastic case she came in. I was always a bit suspicious of Santa after that.
- Do you still swap gifts with childhood friends?
Nope. Sadly I’ve lost communication with all of them.
- What is a traditional act of service you do or remember doing at Christmas?
- What is the most romantic Christmas gift you have received?
- What is the worst gift you’ve ever given?
- Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
- What is your favorite homemade Christmas candy?
- What is your favorite holiday dish?
- When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
- Can you ice skate?
- What is your own true sentimental Christmas story?
One great thing about Christmas was a gift that Cache (12) got me. We drew names a couple of weeks ago and Cache finagled it until he got mine. We took turns opening them and it finally got to me. I opened the bag and there was a scout shirt on top. Cache hadn't had time to wrap. In fact, we had to wait on him while he found something to put my present in. I thought the scout shirt was just to cover what was inside. I pulled it out and found another scout shirt underneath, and another one under that, and two sashes below that. It dawned on me about the third shirt—Cache had taken everybody’s scout shirts and all of the badges he could find, and hand sewn each and every one of them in the place that they should go. I didn't even have the troop number sewn on them. (At one time I stapled one on, but it fell off.) I started to tear up. It was just the sweetest, most thoughtful thing. I kept telling the kids I would sew the badges on. I knew it was important to them, I just couldn't seem to find any extra time, but I told them I would do it the whole week after Christmas. Justin (14) said that every night Bert and I went on a date; Cache would sneak the scout shirts and badges out while we were gone and work and work on them. This has gone on for over three months. Cache would get so frustrated he would throw them up and say, "I give up". Justin said, "everybody would always tell him how good he was doing, and not to give up. Sometimes Jesse (10) would help him rip them out to start again." Cache finally got all but one sash done and he wrapped them up for me for Christmas. I tell you, I should write my OWN TEAR JERKER CHRISTMAS BOOK. What a kid. What a great kid. What great kids to cheer him on. And not one whisper of it to me. Even when he couldn't find the one and only needle in the house for two weeks! Amazing. And very, very humbling.
- A picture from a past Christmas.
Well, this isn't Christmas, but it is Christmastime and the night of the school play. Our mothers always painted our lips with red lipstick before the play. I always felt a bit ridiculous in it as my lips were big enough with out painting them barn red. I already mentioned in a previous post that the Christmas play was a big night in our community, but in this picture please note the candy house and tree that Aunt Jean built for our family. It was my favorite Christmas decoration and it lived for years, thanks to hard-as-a-rock frosting that wouldn't let a piece of candy loose for anything.
- What do you look most forward to in future Christmases?
More of the same, and yet new memories as our family expands. Last year Ray brought little gadgets, gizmos, magic tricks, etc. for everyone’s stockings. He put an Abraham Lincoln sucker in mine. Santa has always had a far-too-practical bent in our house (remember the cake mixes) so it was fun having Ray's enthusiasm, ideas, personality, and traditions added. I look forward to many more Christmases.
Feel free to grab this meme for your own blog.
Which relative were you most excited to go and see or have come and visit your home during the holidays?
What is your earliest Christmas memory?
Do you still swap gifts with childhood friends?
What is an act of service you do or remember doing at Christmas?
What is the most romantic Christmas gift you have received?
What is the worst gift you’ve ever given?
Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
What is your favorite homemade Christmas candy?
What is your favorite holiday dish?
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Can you ice skate?
What is your own true sentimental Christmas story?
A picture from a past Christmas.
What do you look most forward to in future Christmases?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The crèches, nativities, carols, sermons, programs and the carols help everyone focus on the Savior more frequently, which in turn makes us a little more gentle, a lot more kind. Kind is a great Christmas gift.
The music—from the silly to the sublime—is a happy Christmastime gift.
People taking the time to say hello and share a bit of themselves through their cards and letters is another gift of Christmastime.
The food (cream, cheese, cream cheese, sugar, oil, nuts, potatoes, oranges and the combinations thereof) and the food memories.
The traditions, the customs. Security is a welcome gift.
An opportunity to focus on Something and Someone bigger than ourselves is one of the best gifts of Christmastime.
Friday, December 11, 2009
This week was the Day of Infamy. To most that means the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but to me it means the day that Calvin discovered he loved me. One day several years ago I asked him, “Calvin, when did you first know you loved me?”
Ande had an emergency root canal yesterday. She called Calvin from the dentist's chair, "Do I save it or pull it?" She was moaning afterwards and asked, “Do you know how much it hurts?”
I replied there is a reason people say they’d rather go through labor than a root canal. I feel sorry for her. She has finals next week and two of her classes this semester are Shakespeare and Head Drawing. Another class she is taking is an education class from my sister who teaches at BYU-Idaho. This semester has stretched her as she also works two part-time jobs and, like many students, sells plasma for grocery money. She’s ready for a break. I can’t wait to have her home.
Grace spent a couple of days this week making cookies while Abe was out in the field training. We swapped recipes back and forth as she prepared plates to take to their friends.
Monday, December 7, 2009
One thing I loved about college was going to the choir concerts. I clearly remember a Christmas concert presented by some of the specialty choirs at BYU-Provo. One of the bonus features of the night was from an elderly gentleman who came out on stage booming in a rich, deep voice, “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy.” I’ve never forgotten what I felt when he sang. Years later I discovered that voice was the voice of God on The Ten Commandments, and the white haired gentleman was my friend’s grandfather. I’d have asked him to sing that song to me every day if I’d have been his granddaughter. And with a voice as deep and powerful as his it would have drowned mine out so we’d have sung in perfect harmony.
Today I received the link “Joy to Everyone This Christmas”. It’s a BYU Fine Arts production. It is a happy, feel-good tune just like the one I heard so many Christmases ago. But this one has pictures instead of a memory. If you haven’t yet planned a family home evening lesson for tonight, this short video clip could bail you out.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Michelle Rogge brought these tins filled with candy for everyone at our scrapbook retreat a couple of weeks ago. She ordered the tins from papermart.com (83 cents each) and then tucked nine Hershey Nugget candies wrapped in patterned paper (she said that mailing labels are another option) inside. She wrapped the tin with a band of patterned paper for a finished look. As you can see, the candy tins are absolutely darling. Michelle has used them for birthday party favors as well.
Cali emptied her candy and put marble fridge magnets she’d made inside. The magnets attached to the metal and held them firmly in place. They, too, looked cute and present-y.
Michelle also put some hot cider with a cinnamon stick and a few pieces of caramel in a tin and called it Reindeer Soup.
Michelle had some deeper tins (99 cents each) that she put 25 handmade cards (corners round-trimmed) inside. She also put a mini-photo album in another deep tin. Again, they were really cute.
Store-bought or homemade candy, cards, magnets, mini-albums, hot cider or hot chocolate packets—all of the ideas were really fun, doable and inexpensive.
What are some other things that you would put in a gift tin like this?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Is your hair stylist loveable?
Monday, November 30, 2009
What's your movie memory?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
My nephew, Pal, sent me this puzzle this week. Besides making me smile when I saw it and read, “I love you to pieces,” it made me think of how it really is all of the little pieces that make things so good. Our Thanksgiving was definitely full of good pieces.
Piece one, caring family. This puzzle is a recycle project from Pal’s scout troop. It was sitting in the mailbox when we returned from Idaho. To be thought kindly of is always a fun surprise. Another big piece of caring family was spending the Thanksgiving holiday and visiting with lots of family.
Piece two, generosity. My brother-in-law and sister, Bruce and Chris, and their two kids, Charlie and Jake, invited us to Thanksgiving. Not only did they invite us, they invited Trevor and his family and Trent and his family, too. That meant four people invited fourteen people. They wouldn’t let us bring anything. Chris is a really good cook, so it’s not like she needed our help, but she helps run the livestock sale yard on Wednesday and it certainly would have been easier for her to either not invite us or allowed us to help. Their generosity was certainly a kind piece of our weekend.
Piece three, charmed shopping. Last year Chris suggested we try a Black Friday. We had a great time, so we were game to do it again this year. We perused the ads while Thanksgiving dinner cooked and plotted our stores. The next morning Chris commandeered the eight of us girls (you really need to know Chris, she does nothing in slow-mo) into the car at 3:30 am. We were at JC Penny’s before 4:00 am. She gave us 45 minutes until we had to be done and back at our meeting place for the next store’s door buster at 5:00. Since we’d studied the ads, we knew what we were hoping for, but Chris does not hope, she gets. She maneuvered (did I mention how quickly her 100 pounds moves?) her way through the crowds seizing the things we were looking for. Yay, sometimes even snagging the last item. She’s that good. And then, she has this trick for getting waited on so that she doesn’t have to wait in the hour long lines. She made me promise I wouldn’t share it. It’s honest. It’s not rude. It’s not even selfish. It is just an unknown trick that works. Sufficeth me to say, Chris herded us through over a dozen stores in ten hours. We may have been packed to the roof, indeed we were, but we were successful. I’m hard pressed to tell the best deal. If I went by money saved it would be Grace’s or Calvin’s present, however, if I went for the wow factor, it would be the nice $60 suitcases we got at Sears for $2. A ten hour work day would have worn us out, but the success of saving money fueled our cause and made for a fun, productive day.
Piece four, tradition. Chris and Bruce have a loft that sleeps 20. Trevor and his family, Calvin, me and Ande all slept in it. It is the funnest thing to all be together talking in bed with a fire flickering in the corner of the room and the lights twinkling on the little trees. It’s like camping without the cold or grime. Another tradition that Chris started last year was to draw names and then give everyone $10 to buy a gift for their person while we’re out bargain hunting. It’s fun to gather in the loft and exchange the gifts after a long day of shopping. Even though the men don’t participate in the exchange (they dare to scoff) they always join us when it’s time to open and see who bought what for whom.
Piece five, celebration. Whether we were celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, or Calvin’s birthday on Friday, it just felt good to have such good things to celebrate.
- listening to Ande and Cousin Rachel read aloud to each other in the back seat as we drove home
- visiting with the kids and also nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers-in-law
- more food
- games and games of dominoes
- holding babies
- making disposable slippers
- laughing real hard
- heartfelt conversations
- a drive to old landmarks
Monday, November 23, 2009
I first met Deb when I was looking for paper to cover booklets for a class I was teaching at an education week. We stood in the back room of her scrapbooking store and innocently enough began talking about paper, copies, and patterns. When I left the store that afternoon, we'd shared more than paper stories and she kindly offered to sell my booklets when they were finished.
A few years later I ran into Deb again. Our conversation picked up where we’d left off and we talked about our current happenings and goals. We were both looking for an opportunity to make money by providing a service that would help women. Our goals were similar—help women to: share their creative ideas and learn new ones, make new friends, preserve memories and leave (whatever it was we were going to do) reenergized and feeling better about themselves. Deb, being an avid scrapbooker, suggested we do scrapbook retreats to accomplish our goals. Though I didn't scrapbook or have nice pictures to scrapbook, I saw a niche I could fill and so we started planning.
Six months later Deb and I hosted our first scrapbook retreat. Deb had attended a scrapbook retreat before and helped us get a skeleton schedule. Then we divvied up the responsibilities. Though Deb had closed her scrapbooking store she still had all the ins, so Deb’s job was to order supplies and take care of the correspondence and hundreds of minute to minute details (including scrapbooked name tags for the women and their motel room doors). My job was to organize the motel, meals and money. Two weeks before our first retreat the caterer backed out, so we cooked seven meals for 30 women in crock pots, a mini-microwave, and the back of a horse trailer. (Calvin brought a grill up one evening to cook steaks for us, and then spent the night and cooked pancakes and bacon out in the rain and snow the next morning.) We did our dishes in a bathtub. Simply put, our facilities and methods would not have passed health code and the mouse in Darla’s bed didn’t help. However, even with the less than perfect conditions when we finished that first retreat and the women asked us when we’d be doing another, Deb and I knew we’d accomplished our goal. A dozen retreats later, we just finished our most recent at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington.
While preserving memories is the bulk of what we do at those retreats, we do make new ones.
And then we do it all over again for three days, because some way, somehow there is a special energy and friendship that builds among women who love to cut and glue paper, pictures and memories. And so next November, you’ll find us at the same place doing the same thing. You’re welcome to join us to make and preserve memories, too.