Friday, October 31, 2014

It Said . . . Become as a Child

I was a good mother to our kids when they were little . . . most of the time. However, when 7:00 pm rolled around it might as well have been midnight for Cinderella. Calvin often worked late in the evenings and wasn’t home so, like magic, when 7:00 would roll around I would turn into one cross, tired woman and would undo all the good mothering of the day. 

One night I was especially frustrated with the kids. After they were in bed, I went to our bedroom –as far away from the kids as possible – and lay on the bed. I began to read my scriptures – expecting sympathy and ammunition to use against the kids the next morning. Instead it said, “Unless ye repent and become as a little child . . . ye can nowise receive (the kingdom of God).”

Zing. I was the problem, not them. That experience blessed our home.

Last week as we spent time with Ty and Michelle, it was easy to see why we should become as a little child. A little child  . . .

Eliza, one, trying to carry her pumpkin to the wagon.

 . . is determined.

Ty helping Afton jump in a wagon of freshly picked cotton.
No mattress could provide a higher bounce.

. . . finds happiness in simple things.

Michelle and Eliza

. . . is willing to submit and be loved.

Afton feeding Grandpa corn they found off the ground.

. . . is quick to help.

Ty pushing Afton on the horse tire swing.  She loves to go high, but
she does not like for it to twist while she goes high.  Horses twist.

. . . boldly warns the world when there is danger.  

Afton, Michelle, Ty, Eliza

. . . helps weld marriages together.

Ty and Afton at the County Fair

. . . is filled with wonder and curiosity.

Michelle and Eliza

. . . is unhurried.

Afton and Ty

. . . brings others joy.

Calvin, Ty, and Afton at the County Fair.

. . . is trusting.


. . . gives vitality and purpose to others.

Become as a child is the best "how to live a happy life" advice I've ever received.

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith To see other posts in the I Said . . . series, click here)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It Said . . . Wind Beneath My Wings


We spent the night in the Memphis airport (and we had it all to ourselves).

In Mississippi with Ty and Michelle.

Pilot Graduation Day has begun.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Afton watching the proceedings.

Pilot Graduation Day.  It's official.  One of 13,000 Air Force pilots
defending 318,000,000 people.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Few pilots train as a family man.  This was a
family accomplishment.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Afton receiving her wings.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Ready for the next assignment.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Land of the Free.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Ty and Afton in the cockpit of the T-1

Pilot Graduation Day.  T-6 take-offs and landings.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Ty and Calvin in front of the T-6.  Ty's next assignment is to train pilots
on this aircraft. 

Pilot Graduation Day.  Flying in the simulator.  Afton kept saying, "Don't cwash Gwamma."

Pilot Graduation Day.  Ty giving his dad half of the wings.
(Military tradition holds that the first pair of wings should never be worn by the pilot.
To bring good luck, the pilot breaks the wings into two parts.
One half is kept by the pilot, the other half given to an important person in the pilot's life.
To preserve good luck, the two halves should never be brought together while the pilot is still alive.)

Pilot Graduation Day.  The Banquet.  (Everybody needs a little black dress.)

Pilot Graduation Day.  Incredible evening celebrating and meeting new people.  The family from
Scranton, PA is my favorite.

Pilot Graduation Day.  Ty delivering Michelle a rose for her support.
She really is the wind beneath his wings.

Pilot Graduation Day.  The Air Force always sets a single serving table to
honor the POW's and MIA's and gives a somber and
fitting toast t
o those who have given their lives for freedom. 

Pilot Graduation Day.  The final toast.
(Ty is the one in the middle . . . with the glass of water.)

We had a wonderful time.  We're grateful that Ty and Michelle and their family have such great opportunities and are willing to serve.

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith To see other posts in the I Said . . . series, click here)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It Said . . . Mutual Respect

I’ve been taking an on-line teaching class Monday afternoons. One of our recent assignments was to video ourselves teaching and send it to our instructor. I am not comfortable at all with seeing or hearing myself from outside of my insides. The first attempt the video was too large and the audio was poor. In another attempt the battery ran low. Several attempts later the taping was complete, but each day I stressed to prep a class that would video well (movement, but not too much movement; questions, but not too many questions; relaxed, but not too relaxed, etc.). Fear is exhausting. But it’s done now and, among other things, I lick my lips way too much when I teach.

While I don’t care to see myself in videos, I do find it very funny when students mimic me . . . and they do. In a tone easily recognizable they repeat things that I evidently say quite often. Things like, “Three things I appreciate about you are . . .,” and “Now that doesn’t sound like mutual respect, does it? Take care of it . . .” and “Remember our agreements . . .”

One learning activity that I hope the kids will mimic for the rest of their lives is to mark their scriptures as they read them. I love reading a book behind someone who leaves notes in the margin. I saw this marking idea on Pinterest and have used it several times.

It’s fun to see what kids find interesting and their favorite parts and helps to identify doctrines or principles not u+

See that typo? It’s because I’m sitting in the Spokane Airport and as I was typing that sentence a former student walked by on his way home from his mission! It was so great getting to hug him hello. And he was so kind . . . and full of mutual respect.  He had someone take this picture for us.

Welcome home Adam!  I'm so proud of you.

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith To see other posts in the I Said . . . series, click here)

Monday, October 20, 2014

It Said . . . "Honey, ve gonna kill 'em vith kindness."

bigstock photo

Our neighbor, Emilie, had a full head of rich black hair and she laughed with a cackle. She was a funny combination of Snow White and the wicked witch. Long before I’d met her she used to be a woman of means (occasionally she’d model her fur coat for us or show us pictures of her Rolls Royce), but when we knew her she was just a regular hard-working U.S. citizen trying to pay her bills. Emilie lived on a few acres and had all kinds of animals on her place—most of them loose—rabbits, dogs, chickens, cats, ducks, geese, calves. Because of experiences growing up, she strongly believed in being self-reliant.

Emilie grew up in Germany in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s and lost “imperfect” family members during Hitler’s regime. Her mother foraged in the woods for her and her sister during the lean times; likewise, Emilie learned to be resourceful and make do. When we knew her she raised rabbits to eat, used leather boot straps as gate hinges and held everything else together with baling twine.

Emilie was headstrong and not everyone appreciated her. Sometimes when people were rude or unaccepting of her or others that she loved, she’d say to me, “It’s ok honey. I’m gonna kill ‘em vith kindness.” And she did. She took food, rabbits, candy, groceries, or offered her work-worn hands to help them. One time I was helping her with some people who were especially offensive. She again reminded me, “Honey, ve’ gonna kill ‘em vith kindness. They von’t even know vat hit them.”

I haven’t lived near Emilie for more than twenty years. But whenever I run into someone especially ratty or rude I think, “Honey, ve gonna kill em vith kindness.  They von't even know vat hit them."  I’m not as lethal with kindness as Emilie yet, but just remembering her slows down the venom I'd like to spit.  

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith To see other posts in the I Said . . . series, click here)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

It Says . . . And we call it our get-the-work-done day.

Saturday is the day we get ready for Sunday.  Mormon children sing all about it from the time we begin Primary.  Though I haven't sung this song aloud in years, maybe even decades, the line " . . . and we call it our get-the-work-done day . . ."  still beats in my head, because that's what Saturday is and that's what our Saturday was.  Here's mine and Calvin's combined check-list today:

  • read the scriptures and say prayers
  • make a pot of stew
  • make an apple cake with a caramel sauce
  • clean and spray out the garage
  • spray off the sidewalks
  • gather the outside toys, clean them, and put them in the garage
  • put the garden tools away
  • install a new water tank for the steers (which includes laying pipe, etc.)
  • smoke the bacons, loins, and ham-hocks
  • vacuum
  • do the laundry and ironing
  • regular chores (feed chickens/gather eggs/haul trash/take Dan on a walk, etc.
  • live to blog about it

Oh man, we're more than ready for Sunday to get here.

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith  To see other posts in the I Said . . .  series, click here)

Friday, October 17, 2014

It Says . . . A man can't love a woman more than that.

Calvin tucked $5 in the car sun visor for me the other day in case of
an ice cream cone emergency.  It's gone now.

Calvin says, "A man can't love a woman more than that," after he gives me the first sip of a cold drink, or when he sets the best spoon in the house by my bowl of stew, or when he gets out of bed to turn off the light.  

He’s right.  It’s all those little things that make love into such a great big thing.

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith  To see other posts in the I Said . . .  series, click here)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It Said . . . Double double toil and trouble.

(L-R)  me, Chris, Kathy

The only line I know of a Shakespeare play is “double, double, toil and trouble.” Miss Popplewell assigned us a project on Macbeth my senior year of high school, and I chose to do something from the witches’ chant. I made a ketchup based brew in a Dutch oven and added a lump of dry ice to make it boil. That thick, bubbling potion splattered all over the light gray carpet in my grandma’s luxury car as she drove us both to school. (Wait! I just remembered another Shakespearean line from Lady Macbeth, “Out, damned spot. Out, I say!”) It was a hassle making and transporting the stuff, but I got a memorable “A” on the project and a memorized phrase.

Recently I began serving in the Stake Relief Society with this group of women. They are one extremely talented and creative group with a wide variety of experience. They are kind and sensitive to important things and I have loved serving with them. We had a stake Relief Society training meeting approaching and Chris, the Relief Society president, told us of an idea she wanted to implement. She said she realized it wasn’t typical nor characteristic, but that it would be a fun way to let the women know that someone cares about them and the loads they carry.  It would help convey that we are willing to help them with their responsibilities. Her idea was to decorate (and when Chris uses that term, it means transforms the room) with a witches theme. “Witches” was the acronym for wonderful, inspired, talented, creative, enthusiastic, and spiritual . . . women. The cultural hall looked like a wedding reception (if your theme was purple, black, whimsy, and witches). There was a popcorn cupboard in one corner where you could take down a variety of items from the shelves to add to your bag of caramel popcorn (each topping had a virtue label). The cookie table had wooden trays with a half dozen different kinds of cookies displayed at varying heights and with brown plastic worms sneaking out from under some of the cookies. The photo booth had lots of props, and the milk and apple juice dispensers sat on a wooden barrel. Each table had a centerpiece of pumpkins and witches. In the corners and spare spaces there were trees made of barren branches and crows perched in them. Even the piano back was covered in a black and orange polka dot tablecloth.

After the meeting, and as we were taking down the decorations, I was thinking of the women’s reactions before, during, and after the meeting. The phrase, “double, double, toil and trouble,” popped into my head.  It was apropos – Chris was willing to put in a lot of trouble and a double effort to make sure the Relief Society presidencies in our stake had a place to gather that could generate enthusiasm, and a fun place where women could visit and learn.  My observation was that Chris' vision had been realized.

These "callings" to serve usually last awhile  – enough time for me to memorize more Shakespeare as I expect to learn a lot from these good women. 

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith  To see other posts in the I Said . . .  series, click here)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It Says . . . I'm in a hurry to get things done ♬

The country band Alabama sings, ♬"I'm in a hurry to get things done.  I rush and rush until life's no fun.  All I gotta do is live and die.  I'm in a hurry and don't know why,"♬  I kept that line on repeat this afternoon as I was out walking in the wind -- partly saying it to justify walking instead of jogging, and then to finish justifying why I read a book and ate ice cream instead of ironing and baking bread.  There's no sense being in a hurry if you don't know why.

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith  To see other posts in the I Said . . .  series, click here)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It Says . . . the Family is God's masterpiece (Almost 14 pictures for the 14th of October 2014)

Calvin:  The red vest is back.

Jane:  A student made me a caramel apple
all by himself.  
(My first apple in 14 years of teaching.)

Abe: Showing Henry videos of himself.
He watches them just like Grandpa Calvin
watches himself: with interest and a big smile. 

Henry- His face pretty much sums up his day.
The poor little guy has been sick and teething.

Grace- Abe and I made dinner together tonight.
Apple cider pork chops
(from the pig we just butchered).
 It was delicious!

Eliza: being cute while trying to rest up and feel better.

Afton: watching Sesame Street because
I don't feel good either, and wondering
why mom is taking a picture.

Michelle: Ande and I went shopping at some fancy-pants stores today
and found some great deals to dress me up for Ty's pilot training graduation next week.

Ty:  Making Asian street food for the Nehila's.

  Zeph:  Me and Afton throwing rocks from the porch.
Joe: Zeph insisting he get pickles . . . 

. . . lounging with a self-satisfied grin as
he enjoys the spoils of saying "please."

Ande: Today my major accomplishment
was growing another human
while keeping a 1.5 year old alive and happy.
And that seemed like good enough.

Levin:  Doctor's appointment with flu shots.

Atlas:  Flu shot celebration.

I really do believe that families are the hub in God's plan for our eternal happiness, and I really do believe that families are ordained of Him. Even on days when our family is anything but harmonious or satisfying, I repeat to myself, "Families are central to God's plan.  Families are central to God's plan.  Families are central to God's plan."  And on those days when being a family is so incredibly fulfilling and beautiful and inspiring and peaceful, I repeat to myself, "Families are God's masterpiece.  The family really is God's masterpiece."

(This post is part of a 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Myquillyn Smith  To see other posts in the series, click here)

[About 14 on 14] Each month we have a family post that correlates to the date.  For example in 2011, when the tradition began, each member of the family took a picture of what they were doing on the 11th of the month.  Each month's post that year (theoretically) had 11 pictures in it.  In 2012, each member in the family took a picture on the 12th of each month and each month's post (theoretically) had 12 pictures in it.  Now, here we are to 2014 . . . and (theoretically) there are 14 pictures on the 14th of each month (but realistically, there will be more like 12 or 17 pictures).