Thursday, December 30, 2010

Class and Style

A few years ago I gave my daughter an award for her class and style. She knows how to make all things look easy.

She is a whizz with coupons and can stretch her budget amazingly. She has been wonderful to do research and help me find things to improve my home and make my life easier.

She is a great homemaker and mother to her three little ones. She and her husband have made a wonderful life together.

Today we celebrate her birthday. I don't think she knows how old she is--when she was a teenager she was always telling her age to be older--now she celebrates her 29th birthday over and over again. Whatever her age it only matters that she can do it with class and style.

Happy Birthday my daughter. I love you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today is a special day for weddings in our family.

Our oldest son and his wife celebrate their 12th anniversary today. On their 9th anniversary our middle son married his sweetheart and today they celebrate 3 years of marriage.

Four years ago my brother married his sweet wife and today my nephew is getting married.

Who would have guessed that December 29th would be such a popular day for weddings in my family.

I often tell my children that marriage is a fun game to play and you win as long as you keep playing--it is when you quit that you lose--so keep playing everyone--it is worth the effort.

Happy Anniversary, may you celebrate many more in the years to come.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home Improvement

I know there are many in our society who rush to the store on these days between Christmas and New Year to get the best deal.

I guess my husband and I are like that as well--we rush to the home improvement store to get the items needed for the project we hope to accomplish in these few days off work.

This week we are prodded along by a great deal on appliances-- you see, as I have gotten older I find myself kneeling on the kitchen floor alot. I am always on my knees as I look through my refrigerator to find the item I need that is invariably on the bottom shelf, in the back. It is getting more difficult to reach down into the fridge and I want to get up off the floor.

Our daughter called last month to tell us that the refrigerator I have been wanting for years was on sale--with the stove, dish washer and microwave as well--all for the price of the fridge. YEA!! My sweetheart took me over to look and we decided the deal was just right for us and scheduled the delivery date for the week between Christmas and New Year to give ourselves time to get ready.

Now you may ask yourself, "what do you need to do??--the item comes and you plug it in--no biggie". Ah, that may be how it is at your house, but I like to do things the hard way. The space for our fridge was too narrow for the modern wide beauty we chose, necessitating widening the wall, or narrowing the opening from kitchen to family room, and changing out a cabinet. While we are at it, maybe we should put a new coat of paint on the cabinets and change the wall color. Our beautiful wood floor looks a bit thirsty, maybe we should give it a quick recoat at well.

So now you know what my sweet husband puts up with and how my crazy brain works. He is happy that this year he still gets to sleep in his own bed in his own bedroom--last years project did not afford him that privilege. The big inconvenience this year is that the stove left out the front door a few days before the new one comes in--microwave meals are quick and easy when you are covered from head to toe with paint.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas

For the first time since 1947 we have snow in the south on Christmas. Beautiful fluffy white snow that is great for packing and making a tall statuesque snowman sentry to guard the yard. Eden thinks he is just perfect with his hat that her daddy donated and pieces of coal (black checkers) for eyes and buttons.

We are cozy in the house with hot chocolate on the stove, a puzzle on the table and a movie on the screen. Yes, this is a perfect winter day.

Baby Ada is dressed in her angel outfit, snuggled in her blanket and Connor is warm with his jammies under his pants and layers to keep the flakes from giving him a chill as he sleds down the hill.

Church at the building was canceled today. Later we will gather as a family and have a lesson, sing a hymn and talk about our blessings. We don't get the privilege of doing this very often--Christmas, Sunday, snow and family, a good combination for a day to remember.

Friday, December 24, 2010

-Sleigh Riding

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.

It is usually the day we deliver plates of Christmas cheer we have created in our kitchen to our friends and neighbors. When the children were still living at home I would send them out with their father to deliver these delights late in the afternoon. While they were gone I got busy and tidied up the house, gathered all of the treats that friends had delivered to our house, turned off all of the house lights and turned on all of the Christmas lights. I lit the candles in the luminaries and house then prepared the dining room for our Christmas eve feast. True, it was a simple feast of canned soup, home made bread and all of the plated goodies that had come from our friends, but sometimes greatness is in the presentation.

When my family returned our house looked like a fairy tale. The children's eyes would light up as we headed to the dining room to fill their hungry tummies and start the night of magic.

After dinner we would gather in the family room under the tree to hear a few Christmas stories and sing a few songs. We would end with my husband reading the scripture verses from Luke followed by family prayer. It was one of those magical moments when the house felt overflowing with love and gratitude. We were glad to be a family and glad to be together.

Then together we would recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas". The children would giggle and laugh, we were silly with our Santa hats on. Most years we would then gravitate to the car or back of the truck for a bit of sleigh riding--driving through our neighborhood to see the lights. It was a magical scene that still sets my soul with wonder at the magic of the evening and anticipation of midnight visitors.

When my children were newly weds and all living in the same town we would have progressive Christmas Eve from house to house enjoying a treat, story and decorations at each home. Tonight we will be going to my daughters home with strict instructions to bring the truck and a stack of warm quilts.

I like driving home from my children's homes on Christmas eve. The streets are empty. Everyone is at home enjoying the evening with their own families. It is peaceful and my thoughts turn to the quiet moment that Mary and Joseph shared in Bethlehem that night of the most amazing gift that was ever given to the human family--the birth of our Savior.

May your Christmas eve be filled with joy in your heart as you contemplate your blessings on this the most amazing night of the year. Maybe you will go 'sleigh riding' to see the sights and lights, sing a carol and read a few verses from the Book of Luke.

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the whole year. Enjoy

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I love sitting and reading or listening to a heart warming Christmas story.

When the children were still living at home we had family devotional every morning before they left for school. Usually we read a chapter of scripture and had family prayer at 5:30 in the morning before the oldest had to be out the door at 5:45.

During the Christmas season we would try to add an uplifting story to go along with the prayer and scripture verses. Part of my thinking was that with 6 children the bounty under the tree would be better appreciated with a bit of humble priming. The other thought was that a good story, well told, is quite entertaining and it would treat the kids to something more than the TV had to offer.

I have quite a few notebooks filled with stories of Christmas Cheer that I still enjoy getting out and reading during the season. A story a day till Chiristmas fills your heart with joy that the mall cannot match.

I hope you have time to settle down and read a quick story or two to get yourself in the mood for the real meaning of Christmas during these last few days of hurry and scurry. Treat yourself and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This week we celebrate Sean's birthday.

Sean married my oldest and has given me 5 beautiful grandchildren. He is a wonderful provider for my daughter and he loves her very much.

You've heard all the jokes and horror stories about getting along with your mother in law--well I must admit that Sean needed some time to figure me out, but this year we spent 4 months together and did quite well--thank you Sean.

Sean is an intelligent man. The way his brain works is always amazing to me. He will admit that sometimes there is so much going on in his head that he is like the absent minded professor, but that is some of what is endearing about him. Shawna lovingly pulls him back to life in the fast lane with 5 children at home and he jumps in and gets going.

I love listening to him read. He can keep up with the story line and have a different voice for each character so well. It is an entertaining evening when Sean has a book to share.

Sean and Shawna offer opportunities for us to travel and it is so much fun to do this with them. We have tickets to go visit later this winter, I am looking forward to the trip.

Sean is proud of his wife and family. I am proud to call Sean my son in law.

Happy Birthday, Sean

Monday, December 20, 2010


Brody--grandchild number 11 celebrates his birthday today.

Brody loves his grandpa. He knows grandpa is a willing participant in movie marathons. Grandpa is also a pushover for sweet treats and endless ball passes.

The last time his family made the long trek to our home the first thing Brody said to us was, "It sure took a long time to get here!" --and I must agree with him, but every mile is worth the effort.

Brody is kind in the way he treats others. He is quick to compliment when he sees the opportunity. Last summer when I was visiting I was getting ready to go out with his mother. I had my hair up in hot rollers trying to control the frizz. Brody walked by and saw my different hair arrangement and came back for a second look. Then he smiled and told me I looked pretty. Thank you, Brody!

Brody loves to build with legos and line up his cars. He jumps on the trampoline and has endless energy to run, slide and swing. He says funny things that makes us laugh. He is a child who is cherished and it shows in his personality.

Brody is gentle with his baby brother and rough with his older brother--just like a boy should be. His giggle is infectious. I enjoy listening to him 'read' as the family gathers every evening for scripture study.

I am thankful we were able to spend a few days with him last week. When you are turning 4 you need reminders that you have a grandpa and grandma who love you very much even though we live many miles away.

Happy Birthday Brody. Grandma and Grandpa love you

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Today at church the choir sang many carols for a wonderful Christmas celebration. My son Kevan and daughter Teri sang in school choirs over the years and I loved going to their concerts. I miss those opportunities.

As we sang the carols and hymns of the season today my heart was full. I thought about my Savior and the great gift he has offered me. I am thankful the world stops for a moment at this time of year to recognize His birth.

As I thought of that young couple looking for a place to stay and finding none, I realized that they probably did find the most quiet, peaceful place in the bustling city of Bethlehem. The inns were so full and noisy--yes, out back was definitely better.

I thought of Joseph and what a good, strong, honorable man he was. He was trusted to love Mary and raise Jesus. He was in tune to spiritual things and protected and taught Jesus. He was a good man.

I thought of Mary and her great calling and responsibility. She is truly honored among women.

I hope that I was in the heavenly choir that sang to the shepherds. Today I sang from my seat in the chapel, Joy to the World.

My heart is full as I listen and sing the songs of the season. I contemplate my many blessings. It is a great time of the year. I am richly blessed.

My grandaughter told me she hopes to be in the school choir next year--I will enjoy going to her concerts.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Christmas 5 years ago we received a urgent telephone call from Ryan Brew, a young man in our church congregation. He had been fighting cancer for quite a few years and was finally in remission--or so we thought. On this particular day, just before Christmas, he had a terrible back ache and needed my husbands help. As the doctor visits continued over the next few days and onto months I spent quite a few hours with his mother, Pam.

Pam was a wonderful mother to her 5 children and a devoted wife to her husband, Reggie. She took care of them all during this trying time for their family with class and style. As Ryan's final days drew to a close Pam and I cried together as only mothers can. We shared many tender moments as the family tried to heal and continue living while missing Ryan so much.

Two months ago we got word that Pam was now the family member with urgent medical needs. The doctor diagnosed stomach cancer and just hours later Pam's life was forever altered. It has been a rough autumn for the family and this last weekend with her family around her, Pam said goodbye.

Pam Brew was an elect lady. She was kind and loving. She was a supportive wife and loving grandmother. She has 3 daughters that my heart aches for. For weeks we prayed for health and life, at the end we prayed for peace and a quick passing. This life is such a short span of time.

I cried with Pam at Ryan's passing. I cry for the family and myself at Pam's passing. Life is too short. I need to kiss my husband and spend a moment longer hugging my children and grandchildren as I see them over the course of the holiday.

This is the second friend I've lost this year. I guess the flip side of that is the two grandbabies I welcomed into the world in the same span of time. This is the season to stop and recognize our blessings. I was blessed to know a wonderful woman named Pam Brew. Someday I hope to see her again.

May peace of heart encircle her family as they cry this holiday and give them strength to continue on. The world was a better place because Pam Brew made it better for all she knew and loved.

Monday, December 13, 2010

-All Dressed in White

We had a wonderful weekend.

Ella was beautiful in her pretty white dress, trusting her daddy as he led her to the baptismal font.

Coleman was a quiet, peaceful baby dressed in the same white outfit his father wore over 30 years ago on his blessing day.

The earth was dressed in a fresh blanket of snow as we started our journey home today. The nip in the air and the evergreen trees encouraged a happy feeling in my soul even though my sweetheart and I had to kiss our loved ones goodbye.

The sun occasionally peeked out from the clouds as the miles rolled by. When we needed to stop the brisk breeze was chilling, making our cozy car very inviting. The conversation was enjoyable as we listed our blessings and hopes for the future.

It is a pleasure to live in the south where the weather is usually mild. It gets cold for a day or two, occasionally it snows a little (a bonus day when they close everything and we stay at home). We have a few winter clothes and our car can make it through, but we don't usually have to worry about inclement weather very often.

We noticed a small matter to be concerned about when we had gone just a few yards on the freeway and a big truck spit road melt all over our windshield. No problem, use the wipers and spray......nothing.... Stop and clear away a little more snow off the hood and windshield.....still nothing..... The spray reservoir is filled with liquid for the warm south and not freeze resistant. We purchased a gallon of freeze resistant windshield washer fluid and added it to the reservoir and hoped the warmth from the engine would defrost the line. Nope.....too cold outside. We did sufficiently well most of the day, only needing to stop and clean off the glass a few times-- and then the sun started to go down and the snow began to fall again. We were driving down the mountain road in West Virginia, taking advantage of the toll stops to clean the windshield but it was becoming too dangerous.

We realized that an unplanned evening to ourselves in a quiet room would be a gift to be cherished. It is warm in here. The snow continues to fall. We had a delicious and delightful dinner.

Tomorrow the sun will shine again and we will continue our trek homeward. The windshield still may be a bit murky with road melt, but in the light of day it is easier to see the beautiful white blanket of snow the earth is dressed in as we roll along the miles, counting our blessings.

It has been a beautiful white weekend.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The last birthday entry for Birthday Week in December is for my brother, Mark.

Mark was born just 17 months after me and our little sister just 18 months after him--my mother had her hands full with 3 little ones under 3.

Mark is a hard worker. He built a road on my parents property that has a pretty bend to it. He also moved boulders around the back of the house area creating a rock staircase and a pretty visual separation from yard area and natural acreage. He helped lay the wood floor and do the tile work in the kitchen. Mom is quite pleased with the pretty things he did for her new house.

Mark has always had a tender heart. He has always been kind to his friends and a friend to the friendless. Sometimes he is a bit gruff--I think that is to protect his tender heart.

Mark got married this last summer. Shelley is a kind woman who brings out good things in my brother. I have not seen him this happy or content in years. I pray for their continued joy as they walk the path of marriage together.

Happy Birthday, Mark. May it be a good year!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Katerina Elizabeth

Welcome to Birthday Week in December.

Today we recognize Katerina Elizabeth also known as Katya.

Katya is one of my royal grand children with a name almost as big as she is.

Katya makes me smile. She is the little mother making sure everyone in her family is doing what she thinks they are supposed to be doing...

This summer, when we were in a hotel room together, she was worried that her brother was playing with the safe in the closet and would get hurt. She came and told her mother in her 2 year old way that Max was in danger and mom told her not to worry, but Katya was still worried. She told Max what she thought about his dangerous activities again in her two year old way, but he continued with his 4 year old intrigue with the safe. Finally, Katya could take no more so she took the safe door and slammed it on his hand to show him how he could get hurt!! There, now everyone would listen!!!

This week Katya decided that she needed to be taller so she turned a glass upside down and stood on it. As you can imagine, the glass tipped over and her foot landed on the resulting broken shards causing the need for stitches and unwanted stress in my daughters life. How do you keep a 3 year old quiet and off her feet for 10 days to 2 weeks??

Happy Birthday, Katya. Grandma loves you

Friday, December 10, 2010


We arrived just a few minutes after 9pm.

Little ones who should have been in bed were waiting for us by the door. They were so excited to show us their rooms, Christmas stockings, and other important things in their lives.

The baby has grown so much in the 2 months since we last saw him--he is nice and round with quite a vocabulary of coos and goos.

Brody can't wait for grandpa to finish his computer work this morning so they can watch their favorite 'Cars" movie together.

There is a dusting of snow on the ground and the house is cozy and inviting.

This is going to be a wonderful, enjoyable, family weekend.

More of life's blessings to be enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


As I go about my hurried days this week all I can think of is...

Run, run as fast as you can
you can't catch me
I'm the .....

Grandma with a deadline!!

Packages to mail

Gifts to finish

Presents to wrap

Grandchildren to go visit

See if you can catch up....

I'm running, running, running

Gotta remember to breathe....

Monday, December 6, 2010


Welcome to Birthday Week in December.

Today we recognize Ella Ruby.

She is 8 and ready to be baptized. She has 3 brothers and misses her baby sister that passed away 6 years ago.

Ella is full of energy. She loves to create. She has a ready smile. She is all girl. She loves to shop and was excited to get her ears pierced recently. Her first words whenever she sees me are...."What did you bring me?"

I am thrilled that we will be going to visit her later this week to see her dressed in white as she enters the baptismal font with her father. The whole family is excited for her big day.

Ella Ruby is a jewel that makes me smile. I love her very much and can't wait to see her.

Happy Birthday, Ella

Thursday, December 2, 2010

-Slow Down and Smell the Pine

There is a nip in the air and colorful lights in the dark. The smell of fresh cut pine is intoxicating. It is a joyous time of year when we slow down and savor the moments that are upon us.

My daughter called from Germany and said they have about 2 feet of snow on the ground--I will enjoy that one vicariously--I am happy to drive on clear streets as I go about my shopping.

Truthfully, I have so many packages to mail that I am learning to shop with my fingers on the computer keys. It is much more delightful than fighting the crowds and standing in line at the post office. I did quite a bit of my shopping this week and only ventured out of my house to take a walk in the neighborhood. It has been a wonderful, quiet week at home putting up my Christmas decorations and enjoying the sounds of the season from the comfort of my family room.

I enjoy carols on the stereo, the smell of delicious foods to serve my family and the pretty lights. Give me a warm quilt and a heartfelt Christmas story to read and my day is complete.

It is a magical time of year. I choose to be happy and go slow enough to smell the pine, but fast enough to get it all done. A balancing act that can be done, slow and steady with a ready smile.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

-Life in the Busy Lane

I had such good intentions--write a blog entry every day last week. I have many blessings to be thankful for and I had ideas jumping out of my head.

But, alas, real living needed more attention than I had hours in my days.

Beds to make so my visiting grandchildren had a place to sleep.

Rooms to clean so the cobwebs wouldn't scare anyone.

Food to purchase and cook so the troops would not starve.

Babies to hold and kiss.

Little ones to play with and listen to.

Pies to bake.

Turkey and the trimmings to prepare and serve--a feast for the best of guests--
My family that I love.

I was missing two of my children, but they were close in my heart. (and on the phone)

This is the best time of year to reflect on all that is good. I am sure there is plenty that needs attention and improvement--but, let's choose to focus on the many rich, wonderful and good blessings that we all have.

Yes, I live in the busy lane right now, but it is busy with family that I love. I am richly blessed. I am a lucky girl.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This week is Thanksgiving and it deserves some think time.

Having an attitude of gratitude can help us be the type of people others like to be around.

Thankful people are usually happy people.

Sometimes taking time to see a blessing in the situations of life will change an unfortunate situation into a positive experience.

Gordon B. Hinckley had this to say:
Be Grateful
Stop seeking out the storms

Ponder that one for a while...

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This week we are celebrating Eden's Birthday. She is four years old. How fast the years go by.

I have been privileged to be with her all week and I have enjoyed her 4 year old antics. As she asks for something she says "Grandma is your favorite word please?" When I answer yes she says "do you like thank you, too?" Then I tell her it is my second favorite word in the whole world. And then she smiles from ear to ear.

Eden puts her tapping finger to her pursed lips thinking, then starts writing a list. She spouts bits of little girl wisdom often. She likes to change her clothes 3 to 4 times a day. She is self entertaining.

Eden makes me laugh. She decided I needed some help today so she got out her tool set and using her hammer, saw and scrub brush repaired what she could-- on my body.

She is bold, happy and creative, yet when she was at the Doctor she was suddenly shy. She has gained 5 pounds and grown 3 inches this year. Her hair is getting longer and she lets her mom put it up into pretty styles.

We walk together to the pond so she can throw rocks into the water, this will entertain her for an hour or more. She is a kind and loving big sister to her new baby, and she adores her big brother. She wants everyone to be happy and well cared for. While her mother was sick for so many months she was ready to take the tray up at every meal.

Now that her mother is among the family again she is happy to just sit by her side and take notes. Her Daddy is her first love and he adores her. She loves her dolls and dress up clothes. She worries about next years Halloween costume. She enjoys school and is friendly.

Eden is looking forward to her Pinkalicious Birthday Party this weekend. I have been sewing aprons for her guests and her mother has been baking cupcakes for them to decorate. I am sure it will be a fun time for all. There are pink flowers, balloons and streamers decorating the house in preparation of the celebration.

Happy Birthday, Eden. Grandma loves you.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Today I am enjoying my newest granddaughter. She is asleep in her swing with quiet music playing. She looks so peaceful.

I know how she feels.

A relaxing day at home, surrounded by the people and things you love, is a good investment in time.

So many people just have to get out and go-- every day--WHY??

To me, a day at home without the need to leave is a blessing.

I am not able to stay at home often enough.

Don't get me wrong--I have been enjoying the travel opportunities I have been given. And I feel like a day visiting one of my children or going to my parents home is like a day at a family getaway house.

Some homes are large and fancy. Some homes small and humble.

Sometimes our home is neat and tidy, sometimes it is a riot of projects and people droppings, yet it is home.

Love and memories make it home. Joy and happiness make it comfortable. Good food and enjoyable conversation keep it welcoming.

Yes, be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I packed my bags again.

Got on the plane and enjoyed the trip across the country.

As I looked out of the window of the plane, the land below reminded me of a patch work quilt.

Some squares green, some brown, some with a round design in the middle.

I could see the cloud line very distinctly. like the fluffy batting that keeps a quilt soft and snuggly.

At the end of the trip my mom and dad wrapped their arms around me and gave me a warm hug and kiss.

I have lived in my own home for 38 years, but no matter how old you are it feels good to go home.

As I settled in for the night I looked around the room and saw pictures of my children and grandchildren. Pictures of me and my siblings as small children were there as well.

No matter how many years or miles separate me from my childhood, it is good to come home for a visit every now and then.

I snuggle under the quilt on the bed in my parents home and talk to my sweetheart on the phone.

I am a little girl in my parents home.

I am a wife, mother and grandmother, managing my family over the phone.

Many responsibilities, joys and memories on both sides of the contenient.

Thank goodness for telephones and computers to keep us in touch with those that we love when we can't be together.

Airplanes and cars take the thousands of miles that separate me from those that I love and narrow the distance.

Yes, I packed my bags again.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

-A Girls First Love

I remember as a little girl falling in love, with my daddy. He was the tallest, strongest, most handsome man I had ever met.

He protected me from evil and showered me with gifts and kisses. Whenever the going got tough he could always fix it for me.

What more could a girl ask for??

Of course I was only 21 inches long at the time, but I admit the love affair continued until I reached my adult height of 5'8".

My father loves my mother. He loves me and my siblings. He loves the Lord with a deep abiding love that shows as he wipes a tear from his eye.

I am so excited to go see him this week. I admit it has been too long since I have been home, too many needs with my own children here on the opposite coast of the country.

A girl always holds a tender place in her heart for her first love. It is hard for any man to measure up. I am thankful that when I brought home the man I would marry, my dad treated him with respect and kindness. Any thing my young husband did not know how to do and daddy thought he should know, he lovingly and patiently taught him.

Thank you Daddy, for always being there for me. Thank you for slipping the extra cash in my pocket when we were young and poor. Thank you for the compliments on my pretty dresses. Thank you for teaching me what a good man should be. Thank you for being a good grandpa to my children. Thank you for loving mama, for loving me, and for loving the Lord.

I am so excited to come see you and give you a birthday kiss in person. I am so excited to feel your arms around me.

Yes, a girl always remembers her first love.

Happy Birthday Daddy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

-Pack It Up

I spent yesterday helping a friend pack up and get ready to move

far, far away from here.

I am sad for me.

She will be close to her family, it is good for her.

Sad for me.

We have been friends for almost 20 years, through thick and thin (literally), rebellious teenagers, eleven weddings, hospital stays and brand new grand babies.

Talking to my friend and hearing her stories always reminds me that my family is normal.

I will miss that comfortable reminder.

Even though the miles will now separate us, our memories (and blogging) will still keep us close.

Life is here to enjoy the journey,

even though the road sometimes takes a few twists and turns you were not planning on.

The trick is to keep your eyes open and smile as you go.

Travel safe, my friend. I love you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

-Barbie and Ken


Today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the union between Cara and Greg.

She was the tall, pretty Barbie-like bank teller--he the tall, handsome Ken.

He literally made her fall out of her chair.

She was head over heels, so was he.

They have made a wonderful marriage, depending on each other, each giving 100% to the relationship. He is patient. She is encouraging. He is strong. She is artistic. They work together to make it happen.

Together they are so different than they were as individuals 10 years ago. They were good then, today they are wonderful.

They have been blessed with 3 healthy, active and happy children.

My daughter is happy.

I am happy.

Happy Anniversary Cara and Greg--may you celebrate forever

Wednesday, October 27, 2010



Today we celebrate Brooke's birthday.

Brooke joined our family almost 3 years ago. Kevan brought her to the family as his beautiful bride. He looked and looked for just the right girl. I often reminded him that maybe she just had to grow up a little, and I was right. They met and started dating during her first year of college.

Brooke is a tall, beautiful and determined young woman--traits I thought Kevan would need and enjoy in a wife. Brooke is a self starter. When she puts her mind to something she will move heaven and earth to see it through. Kevan and Brooke have been remodeling their home and enjoying the experience--most days. Last week she had an adventure with a chipmunk that would send most women into a fit of the vapors. Not Brooke, she got busy and helped her husband capture that critter as he ran all over her house.

Brooke is an artist, she loves to draw, create, paint and design. She is a whiz with money and can stretch their budget while making it look like a fun game. Brooke is not afraid of trying something new or striking out on her own if her sweetheart has to work. Brooke has self assurance.

I am so glad that Kevan found someone special to love. Her name is Brooke, and we love her too.

Happy Birthday, Brookie

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



Happy Birthday, Kevan.

28 years ago the sweetest baby boy was born. We made it through the summer and past the bed rest. We made the family move and had the Halloween costumes ready for his siblings. To say I was past ready when he finally made his debut is to put it mildly. My last 3 babies had been early, so of course, in my mind this would be the same, right??? Not so much--two weeks late--it seemed a month in my little brain. But, I have learned it is worth waiting for a good thing.

Kevan has always been a bundle of kindness and sweet joy. His personality is his strong suit. He has a way of endearing himself to those around him with his wit and ready smile. When he was young he was a round little ball of softness, now he is a tall, lanky man with a gun at his side. He is the guy I love to look up to. He likes to make others happy, except when he comes across a drunk while on duty, then it is a quick ride to jail.

Kevan is married to Brooke and they live in a cute little house that they have been remodeling. Kevan has a way with tools, and Brooke with color, that makes their home so inviting. Kevan is comfortable at home, church and work. He fills each role with all he has to give.

Yes, a good thing is worth waiting for. Happy Birthday, Kevan. I love you

Monday, October 25, 2010



Happy Anniversary to Brian and Cheri. They were married two years ago today.

Like today, it was a beautiful autumn day. We were in Tennessee and enjoyed the drive across the state.

It had been a tough week for Brian and Cheri. They were all joy and excitement as they moved their bits of furniture and gifts into the cute apartment they rented, just across the street from Brian's work place. It was fun to watch them plan until.....well you know how it goes--the last one hired is the first to go during tough times. October of 2008 is when all financial woes exploded and it hit our family through Brian's new job.

After a heartfelt discussion with his future father in law and a deeper discussion with his bride to be, it was decided to go ahead and get married, let the apartment go and have faith that things would work out. Sometimes it is easier to face the hard things together.

While Brian and Cheri were on their honeymoon my mother and I worked hard to turn the guest house/shed/bachelor pad into a honeymoon cottage. That is where they have lived for two years now. Work prospects are still not glowing, but they have sufficient for their needs and I never hear complaints.

Brian and Cheri have turned into a very happy couple. They enjoy each others company and have fun together. We enjoy their company here at home as well.

We had a little reception for Brian and Cheri here in NC that was well attended after their wedding and reception in TN. They have many people in their lives that love them and wish them well. Brian is a much happier man now that he has Cheri in his life.

This last week they purchased bicycles and have been having fun exploring the byways of our area. They enjoy exercising on their wii fit and cooking together. They do their laundry together and keep the bathroom clean enough.

Now I ask, what more could a mother want for her youngest child?? Nothing--except maybe the opportunity for them to live in a cottage that also has plumbing!! Everything in due time.

Happy Anniversary, Brian and Cheri. May you continue to smile and enjoy your relationship as much as or more than you do now. We love you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

-little bugger


A mosquito just bit me

IN my house

He tried and I swatted the little bugger and MISSED

He tried again and I missed AGAIN

He tried a third time and....

...I got him

Now I itch, and itch and itch

The joys of living in the woods with a stream on the property.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Tonight while my sweetheart and I were enjoying a peaceful dinner at home I realized that it was quiet. No music, no TV, no kid noises or conversation, just simply quiet. A peaceful, quiet dinner at home.

It is not very quiet around here usually. For years it was the 6 kids running, jumping, laughing and shouting. Quite often now it is the grandchildren running, jumping, laughing and shouting.

I just spent almost two weeks in a hotel room. While my sweetheart went to work every day I was there by myself. Can I tell you, that hotel room was a noisy place to be. No, the TV was not on. Didn't hear a peep from the neighbors. It was all from my own head, a symphony of thoughts. Not a quiet moment in this head of mine.

For a few years now the children have been living in their own homes, yet there is still plenty of noise in my home--all self made.

Tonight my sweetheart and I enjoyed a peaceful dinner at home. The only noise was the clinking of our spoons against the bowls as we enjoyed our tortilla soup. We shared a comfortable, quiet, slow conversation.

No matter where it is,
it is always good to be home.

Tortilla Soup
3 frozen chicken breasts, semi thawed, cut into 1 inch pieces
6 cups water
2 chicken bullion cubes
2 beef bullion cubes
1 can tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels
1 can pinto or black beans (optional)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Bring water with bullion and tomatoes to a boil. Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Add corn and beans then cook for another 10 minutes. Add taco seasoning and cilantro.

Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream--enjoy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Over the weekend my sweetheart took me to see the Winchester House. We visited before, many years ago. The place is so bizarre that it has stuck in my memory these past 30 years.

Sarah Winchester married into the Winchester rifle family. After the loss of her husband at an early age she relied heavily on soothsayers to plan her future. She left her home in the east and bought a track of land with a modest home in San Jose, California.

She believed that the spirits of those killed with the Winchester rifles were haunting her. She was also afraid of dying. A fortune teller convinced her that if she started an ongoing building project she would live forever, and so her remodeling project on the simple 8 room farmhouse became the 160 room oddity that we find today. Doors that open to nowhere, stair cases that lead to the ceiling. The Victorian that she built is both bizarre and beautiful.

She had the workmen busy 24 hours a day. I am sure that sometimes my sweetheart feels my projects are as never ending in our humble little log house on the hill. For almost a year and a half we have been working on our master bath. A year ago it was finally functional again after 6 months of work. For the last year it has been an ongoing adventure in trim work and caulk. I think we could be finished if we would stay at home occasionally without extra guests visiting, but right now, travel seems to be my middle name.

Tomorrow we head home from our visit in California. It has been a wonderful trip, pleasant weather, fun memories, quiet thinking time. Everyone needs some quiet thinking time occasionally. I can hardly wait to get home and see how the homestead is holding up in my absence. I have been thinking about some of the projects we have waiting for us there--the main bath and laundry room are both at the top of the list. We will have to flip a coin to see which project gets first priority--maybe the trim work on the master bath should get the final touch before we start tearing out again. Of course it would be nice to finish the wood floor in the dining room as well, not to mention the winter maintenance the yard stands in need of, and then there is always........

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Southern California

We were driving along and I realized we were at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Weather neither hot or cold--just perfect.

We saw the filming of the new show, "Defenders" with Jim Belushi.

Crowded freeways. Fancy cars. Saw two Bentleys at the hotel!!

Odd looking models on a photo shoot, strange clothes, tall shoes and taller hair.

We went to the pier and saw a seal fishing and enjoying his catch.

Dinner at the fish market.

Plenty of museums to visit--this time we choose the La Brea Tar Pits.

Driving along Pacific Coast Highway.

Ice Cream from Thrifty's--waffle cones with 3 scoops for $2, yummmm

Pretty flowers and green grass.

Interesting Architecture.

Dinner at Leo's--an old family favorite.

Family and memories.

A good visit.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New and Old

I love to acquire a new old thing. Something with a bit of character. Something with some umph to it. An item that has a story to tell.

Yesterday my aunt and cousin took me to a favorite haunt in Southern California, an antique store that has booths FILLED with interesting items to look at, remember and purchase. I bought a well worn quilt last time I was here. This time I looked for something small that would fit in my overfilled suitcase (something about charging for luggage these days so I packed for a 12 day trip in a carry on!!).

My aunt collects colored glass, we had a few pieces to choose from that she liked. I found a few vintage tablecloths--that seems to be my current interest. My cousin enjoyed looking at the antique photographs.

Last week I took a chest of drawers to Indiana for my grandson that date from the 1930's--still sturdy and very usable--once I get them painted and the moth balls do their thing neutralizing the strong stale smell coming from the drawers.

One of my daughters has lately become interested in items from an era older than herself. Up until recently she was drawn to very new items with sleek lines and shiny surfaces, though I think she still likes the sleeker lines rather than the curly ques that I admire in furniture. Together she and I went to an antique store near her home a few weeks ago. It was fun to look at the sturdy furniture with her. Items made to last from real wood. Items with a scratch that has been repaired and a story to tell. Items that will stand the test of growing children.

As my aunt reminded me, it is all about the hunt. Finding that one perfect piece at the perfect price. Taking the item home and cleaning it, running your fingers over the lines to understand the story it tells of an era gone by. Remembering life in a simpler time. Putting the thing to a useful purpose again--breathing new life into the old.

Some things just have to be old enough to be new again. Maybe that is me--am I old enough to be new again?? My aunt is now 80, showing a little age, but yet still able to get around and enjoy a day picking at the flea market or antique store looking for the perfect bargain to add to her collection. What a great day we had enjoying the hunt together.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Memory Lane

This last weekend I got to take a walk down memory lane.

I spent two days with my aunt. She lives in the home she and her husband bought as newly weds in 1950. It is a beautiful little cottage in the middle of California mini mansions.

I went to church at the same building I attended 50 years ago. My dad, uncles and grandfather helped build that building. I saw and visited with people who have known me since I was a little girl.

I drove by our house. My mom and dad built an addition on that house. They bought it when I was little and brought my siblings there as babies.

My elementary school is gone and so is grandma and grandpa's house, but, as I drove by I could see it all so clearly in my mind's eye.

I was a lucky girl that grew up with my cousins as siblings and my aunts and uncles treated me the same as their own children. My grandparents lived 4 blocks from us, a block from school. I walked to school every day with my best friend, Vicki Witt.

For dessert after dinner yesterday, my aunt served her famous cherry pie. Flaky, sweet, delicious. Grandma baked delicious pies. I have not been able to replicate them, though I have figured out the rolls and bread.

It was a wonderful walk. Thank you sweetheart for taking me with you on this trip. I am having a great time.

Friday, October 8, 2010


It is past time to get organized.

I have been trying but....there is always something taking my time.

It is of importance that I take matters into my own hands and figure out my destiny with organization and I need to do it NOW!!

TOP PRIORITY--have a plan:

Step one--carve out some time

Step two--prioritize

Step three--get to it

Step four--keep going

It has been said that
personal achievement is bought
at the price of work and sacrifice

This will come together. I have a plan. I have the will and desire.

I'll get going on it---as soon as I return from California.

Maybe the first step should be to stay at home for awhile--but, where is the fun in that??

I am off again, the filing will wait.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Last year at this time my daughter and her family were here awaiting the birth of her fifth child and fourth daughter.

Isabella Rose was born on October 7th, at the hospital. Not at the U2 concert, or in the car. Her daddy was here, thank goodness. Shawna had been here for a month with the children by herself. She managed like a trooper and I was so proud of her. We were all happy when Sean arrived.

As Bella and I spent time together this summer I truly enjoyed her company. The two of us spent many hours walking--or rather I walked and she came along in her rolling throne, better known as a stroller.

I could get her attention by calling out "Beautiful Baby!!" and she would light up and smile from ear to ear. Then I would smile from ear to ear.

Bella is a lucky girl to have 3 sisters and a handsome brother. She is now living in Berlin, Germany--many hours away from here and I miss her greatly. I miss her smile. I miss the opportunity to walk with her every day.

In her short year of life Bella has lived in Azerbaijan, and Germany. She has had lengthy stays in NC and UT. She has been to Disney twice, once in California, once in Europe and to Busch Gardens in Virginia. She is definately a world traveler.

Bella looks just like her mommy did, a beautiful round faced Gerber baby. I look at her and the years melt away. I love you Beautiful Baby. I miss you Beautiful Baby. I am glad you are mine.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Cheerfulness is one of those things that adds so much to our interactions.
It costs nothing to give or receive.
Everyone can benefit from the wash of kindness
that cheerfulness leaves in it's wake.

So, today take notice of the little things in life that can add a bit of cheer
and pass it on with a smile and a kind word.
The day will be brighter and the mood lighter.
A bit of cheerfulness costs nothing, yet adds so much.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


A new baby is a gift from heaven.

There is a deep abiding joy that fills you up when you take a newborn baby in your arms.

There is an immediate overwhelming feeling of love that fills you up when you hold a newborn for the first time.

A new baby's skin is so soft.

A new baby smells so sweet.

A new baby is so amazing--you can just sit and watch them sleep.

A new baby is a joy to behold.

Soft, sweet, bundle of joy.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today, I am finally reconciled to Fall.

We are driving along the highway, on our way to visit our sweet new baby, and I realize that there is a chill in the air and the leaves are beginning to have a tinge of color to them.

I can feel my body start to crave a warm bowl of soup.

Gotta get out the sweaters and wool socks.

Time for a change.

Excited to hold that new baby. Coleman Grant is his name. We will be there in just a few hours. Gonna enjoy the scenery as we drive along on this beautiful fall day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Coleman Grant

Yesterday was day 5 of Celebration Week in September.

A new baby boy was born to our family last evening. The third son of Michael and Kendra made his debut at 5:23pm. He weighed 7 pounds 15 ounces, and he is 20 inches long. He is a healthy baby boy who was welcomed with great joy.

After quite a bit of discussion a name was finally agreed upon. Names such as Quinn, and Fielding were late runners as well as Coleman and Grant. The Coleman Grant combination was the final decision and I think it rolls off the tongue nicely. Grant is after one of the great leaders of our church that Michael admires. Coleman is one of Kendra's family names.

Mama and baby are doing well. Welcome to the world young Cole.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Adalyn May

Today is day four of Celebration Week in September.

Today our family gathered at church to witness the blessing of baby Ada. There were grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins all joined together to share in the joy a new baby in the family brings.

She was dressed all in white, from the tip of her head down to her cute baby toes. Her daddy held her in his arms and pronounced a blessing to carry her throughout her life. The name he blessed her with is Adalyn May. She is a wonderful gift from God, sent to share her life with us.

After the service we all gathered at her mom and dad's house for food and family fun, talking, laughing, and enjoying each others company. It was a wonderful, joyful day.

We are so glad you have joined our family, Ada May.

We love you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Man

Today is day three of Celebration Week in September.

There is a man who joined our family 10 years ago who makes my daughter very happy, and that makes me very happy, too. He dotes on my daughter and is a fantastic father to his children. Greg and I spent quite a bit of time together this year taking care of my daughter and his wife. We prepared many meals together, we did laundry together, we cared for the children together. After that much togetherness most men would be glad to never see their mother-in-law again, yet he has invited us to come for a visit, maybe because I bring his father-in-law along and that means they can watch football together.

Today is his birthday. Another year older and certainly, after this last year, he is much wiser. I appreciate how he has cared for his sick wife. He managed the children like a champ while mom was bed bound. Whatever Cara needed he was quick to make it happen as best he could. He is patient, kind and gentle. The day his new baby was born, tears of joy were spontaneously shed. He is a giant of a man--the kind of man every mother prays her daughter will find.

I am so glad that Greg chose to be a part of our family. I am so glad that Cara chose Greg, he is a keeper.

Happy Birthday, Greg. I love you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Blog entry # 100

Day 2 of Celebration Week in September.

Today we celebrate Cara's Birthday.

Cara is my third daughter and fourth child. She is married to Greg and together they have a handsome son and two beautiful daughters. Cara has found her place in the world and is a very happy wife and mother. She enjoys her role as nurturer. She nurtures her husband. She nurtures her children. She nurtures her home. She nurtures her garden. She nurtures her friends. She nurtures her relationship with God. She even remembers to nurture herself occasionally.

When Cara does something, she does it to perfection. Sometimes I could get a complex. I teach her how to bake and her cookies are perfect--every time. I teach her how to crochet--and all of her stitches are even and neat. I teach her how to sew--and every seam is stick straight. Every generation is supposed to be better than the last--Cara is definitely better than her mother.

When Cara was a little girl she would walk up and down the street making friends with the lonely retirees who lived on our block. She brightened their days and they loved her dearly. Now teenagers and young adults come to her for love and guidance. She gently shows them the way by her counsel and actions.

I spent a lot of time in Cara's home this year. When I went back a few weeks ago it was a joy to walk in and find my daughter downstairs. Her home sparkled with her special touch. Her children smiled and laughed with her care. Her husband glowed as she showered him with welcoming attention. Cara is a nurturer. She is a woman filled with love and kindness. She is an inspired mother, tender, gentle and unselfish. Every generation is supposed to be better. Cara has taken what I have taught and made it so much better. I am proud to be her mother.

Happy Birthday, Boo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Class of 2010

Yesterday was the beginning of Celebration Week in September.

Last night we had a party to recognize the accomplishments of my daughter in law, Brooke.

Brooke graduated from Brigham Young University, and she did it the hard way.

While at home visiting, just as her first semester of college was ending, Kevan and Brooke were introduced. They had a whirlwind few days and then Brooke was off again to pursue her dream of college life at BYU. Kevan was quite smitten and over the course of the next few months made a trip out west to visit-- his brother?? His cell bill and texting limits had to be adjusted. April could not arrive too soon that year. With the warmth of summer breezes they spent plenty of time together and decided that they would like to spend all of their time together. Brooke returned to school that fall with a diamond on her finger and visions of a Christmas wedding in her head.

Now I must explain that BYU is in the west and Kevan was living and working in the east. Brooke was determined to graduate from BYU and Kevan could not relocate--DILEMMA. What to do??

Brooke researched and found out that she could continue her studies online and take a few classes from local schools on the east coast, and so she did. Sounds easy?? Not so. Brooke jumped through hoops, drove miles and miles, talked a blue streak via the telephone and the answer always seemed to be--"Just come to campus and talk to your adviser". Campus was 3000 miles away, not a quick visit. But, Brooke persevered. Whatever hurdle was put in her way, she figured a way over. Whatever hoop was placed in front of her, she learned how to jump through. She was amazing. Occasionally it was overwhelming, occasionally it was frustrating. Being a self starter with online classes is a trick that Brooke figured out. It was a tough goal but she accomplished it.

I am so proud of Brooke and the hard work she did to graduate from college. She finished in the time she had allotted herself--4 years. She graduated from the school of her choice--Brigham Young University.

Benjamin Franklin had this to say:
If a man empties his purse into his head,
no man can take it away from him.
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

Last night we celebrated.

Today Brooke is job hunting.

Go Cougars--Class of 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Today's thought:

Happiness is a habit--Cultivate it

Everyone cultivates habits-- some good--some not so much. I have learned that if you stay busy and look for the positive you can be a happy person.

I like happy people. They are nice people to be around. I want to be that kind of a person.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have a place on my counter in my kitchen where a stack of cotton napkins reside. I pull them out for meals and snacks. After use I throw them in with the laundry. They are always there, ready to use.

I have a basket of paper, throw away napkins as well. I use these for sack lunches and as a quick wrap up for a popsicle or sandwich to go outside with the little ones. I use these when I don't care what happens.

When the children were younger and we were on a tight budget (when haven't we been on a tight budget??) I decided to use cloth napkins to cut costs. Everyone had a few napkins made from fabric of their favorite color. At meal time these would come out and be used. It took time to make and care for them, but after the initial cost they were free to use.

When my daughter got married and we served 200 people a sit down dinner we made 200 white cloth napkins with a lace edge. We wrapped the 200 knives, forks and spoons in them and tied it all neatly with a red ribbon. It was a little detail that made her wedding special.

For a few years I served a Christmas luncheon to the ladies in my neighborhood and friends from church. For that event I made 75 red gingham napkins. I have plenty of cloth napkins around to use for different occasions.

I have grown to enjoy the classiness of using a cloth napkin. Life can get common place sometimes. Using a cloth napkin helps me recognize that meal time is a special time for families to get together and enjoy each others company. I have noticed that even if the menu is a can of soup, if I set the table pretty, we feel well fed and may linger at the table awhile, enjoying the conversation.

A while back I asked my daughter to set the table for Sunday dinner and handed her a stack of cloth napkins to use. She looked at the napkins, frowned, and asked if we could use real napkins. I thought about what a real napkin might be, rather than the cloth ones she held in her hand. She answered "You know, the paper ones we can throw away."

As I iron the napkins for special days and launder and fold our everyday ones, I smile at my daughters notion that paper napkins are real napkins. As I think about it, I realize she was raised in a throw away society where the real thing has been substituted for something you can throw away. That speaks a lot to me about where the young leaders of today are coming from.

Thoughts to ponder for today. What is real and what is disposable?? From table service to marriage.

It makes you think.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Today I have 2 boxes of peaches waiting to be prepared for winter delight.

As a young girl I remember walking home from Grandma's house with a jar of frozen peaches for a treat. Winter was warmed by the taste of delicious summer peaches in a sweet syrup. Grandma's freezer was always filled with jars of amber goodness.

Today as I put on my apron and start the stovetop cooking I am thinking of my grandma. I am hoping that as I bring out the summer bounty in the cold of winter, I too, can make happy memories for my family. Continuing a family tradition for another generation is important work.

The sun is shining-- warm--not hot. The flowers are in full bloom. The birds are chirping.
I feel happy inside.

It is a perfect day.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


This post is by Grandpa:

On a business trip to the west coast this week, I had a very special experience I would like to share.

When I got to the airport, I noticed a military honor guard. These days, that generally means a fallen serviceman. Unfortunately, this was no exception.

The casket flew with us to
Dallas along with two members of the guard; one from the Army and the other from the Marine Corp. When we landed in Dallas, the pilot got on the intercom and told us that we had the privilege of carrying a fallen serviceman. He asked that we wait to get off the plane until the two guardsmen could get off the plane to attend to the casket. He then asked those who did not have tight connections to wait until casket had been removed before deplaning.

The flight was full but not one person left the plane.

We all stood and watched reverently through the windows as a guard team removed the casket from the plane. It was loaded onto a special baggage cart
that had a flag and service emblems painted on the outside and was painted white on the inside.

We all watched in silence. Businessmen muted their phones. The only sound was a mother quietly explaining to her young son what was going on.

Once the casket was loaded the curtains were drawn and the cart pulled away,

We all deplaned pretty much in silence. There were several red eyes including the pilot's and mine. It was a solemn reminder that all politics aside, there are young men and women willing to sacrifice their lives to keep us safe.

Thank you to all
of them

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Labor Day

Labor Day in our household has been just that over the years--a day to labor.

For the last 8 years it was crunch time-get ready for pre school to start. Moving furniture, playground clean up, toy sanitizing, getting our selves ready for the invasion of twelve to twenty 3&4 year olds.

This year we went through the same work but for a different purpose. The pre school did not start at my house this year. All is quiet today in my home, no tears, squeals or jumping little feet.

The clean up was after a summer of visiting little grandchildren. We moved the bed out of my sewing room that served as a make shift bedroom. We washed sticky handprints off of the toys from a summer of entertainment. I put the lid back on the sand box and put the little pool away for the season.

All is quiet in my home today. I am at home for a change, no road trip needed this week, baby and mama are doing well. My house is still and tidy. My calendar is all of a sudden open after a very full year.

It was Labor Day a year ago that Shawna and her family arrived for the birth of her new baby. It has been quite the year. A year of babies. Sweet joy for this busy grandma.

Yes, my house is quiet and clean today. I will take a few days to put myself together and make a plan for all of the things I have not done this last year. I will keep the toys ready for when the little ones show up again. I will mix up some cookies to have ready. I will plan for the holidays.

Today my house is quiet. I will enjoy the stillness.

Soon little ones and their parents will come to visit. I will be prepared. I will enjoy.

Pre school started without me this year. I have a new job.

I am a full time grandma.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gotta Do List

Yesterday while driving home along Highway One my sweetheart and I enjoyed looking at the interesting countryside together. The radio in the ancient truck we were driving does not work so the entire 3 hour drive was filled with our words and thoughts--and maybe a little self made music.

We have always been drawn toward historic houses. We like to imagine the families that lived in those magnificent houses of yesteryear. Yesterday we also noticed some of the not so magnificent houses and the conversation flowed to why some houses sit with the front screen hanging crooked and others, maybe still in need of a coat of paint, sit proud and pretty.

Eventually the conversation steered itself to the topic of work ethic and laziness. All of us fit somewhere between the two. Some people have so much energy that they are always going, while some people can't seem to get up and do the simplest task such as put their dirty dish in the dishwasher.

Eventually the conversation turned to education. Some people lack skills to take care of their homes. Some people are highly educated but lack common sense. Most of us fit somewhere in the middle of the education ladder. Common sense says that if the door is broken we must figure out how to fix it, otherwise it will get worse.

These are lessons we teach our children every day. The ability to see a broken door and figure out how to fix it are skills learned in childhood. The desire not to break the door in the first place is also a skill learned in childhood. Knowing where to turn when a problem presents itself--the bank account to hire it done or a friend, class or book to learn the skills necessary to do it ourselves, these are problem solving skills learned in childhood as well.

A person that has common sense and is not lazy can figure out how to fix a problem when it presents itself. We all know that putting each dish in the dishwasher as it is dirtied keeps the kitchen tidy. We also know that if you do not take care of the dishes you soon have a giant mess to clean.

I am thankful for my parents who taught me to be a problem solver. Sometimes I am tired and do not put the dish in the dishwasher and soon that dish has multiplied, but I know how to get busy and take care of the problem before it gets out of control. I know where to go to educate myself when something arises that I don't know how to fix.

Another thing my parents taught me is that if you are going to do a job you should do it well.

So today's thought is; get up and get going. Something that has been bugging you for awhile deserves to be fixed or organized. Today is the day, make it happen. You will feel better when you can stand back and say--Job Well Done!!

Need to get going--There are a lot of things on my gotta do list.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010



I love spring and summer.

Lazy slow days--at least in my mind--no need to put on a coat or shoes. I am not freezing.

No alarms, schedules slow down.

Today is the first day of September. Change is in the air.

School has started.

Soon the weather will change--some will rejoice--I will freeze.

Schedules have changed--homework, catch the bus, hurry to bed, set the alarm.

Hurry seems to be a word for winter.

Poor Connor has had a lot of change in his life this week. School started and his new baby sister came all at the same time. Today I reminded him that by Halloween everything would be better. He asked how?? Time is my answer. By Halloween we will be used to the new changes in our lives that fall has brought. Time helps us adapt to the changes in our lives and understand them better.

The only constant thing in our lives is change.

My mom often reminds me that:

This Too Shall Pass

Everything must eventually change. Even the good things change. Our ability to manage the challenging improves with time and practice.

Eventually everything changes.

It is our attitude that makes the changes easy or challenging. Some changes are welcome, some are not.

Change is in the air.

Attitude is the key in change. Only I can control my attitude.

If a situation is not the best the only person to change it is me.

Change is in the air. I control my attitude.

September is here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Today is the last day in our celebration of Birthday Week in August.

Happy Birthday Jeff.

Jeff is married to Teri and the father of Logan, Cooper and Denim. He is a great husband and father.

When we were purchasing our house and needed major work done before we could move in, Jeff was right there helping in any way we needed. Jeff loves sports and keeps a close eye on what is happening. He works out of his home and is so good at getting his work done while the house is hopping with 3 kids and household activities happening.

Teri and Jeff enjoy reading together and it is fun to watch the family play Rock Band--Jeff is great on the guitar. Whenever Teri gets a wild hair and wants home improvements done NOW he jumps up and makes it happen for her--Thank you Jeff for making my Teri so happy.

Jeff and Teri live in the next town over so we get to spend time with them often. I know he misses his family, especially his dad and brothers, but we are thankful he has made his home here.

Jeff is a great guy and I am glad that Teri brought him into our family.

Have a happy birthday Jeff.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Angel Baby

Today is celebration number 5 of Birthday Week in August.

Six years ago today Caroline Elizabeth was born.

We knew before she was born that her life would be fragile. We were blessed to have her for 199 days.

Caroline is Michael and Kendra's third child and second daughter. Her memory gives our family joy and direction.

When the family gets together I often inadvertently set a place for her. When we all sit down and a place is empty, I remember.

After Caroline passed away Kendra gave me the curtains from her bedroom--pink eyelet--that I made into little dresses for her sister and cousins who were girls. They were sweet little dresses, plain and simple. I made 4 of them. Now the cousins who weren't born at the time are growing into the dresses.

Life keeps going on. Babies are born, the family is growing. Memories are sweet. Occasionally the tears flow when tender thoughts are close.

For all of the rest of my life she will always be Baby Caroline.

Sweet Angel Baby.

I love you baby Caroline

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Welcome to Day 4 of Birthday Week in August.

Today I take time to recognize my Grandmother, Beatrice Kent Kidman. When I was a young woman my grandmother was my ideal and in many ways she still is.

She was raised in Blacksmith Fork, Utah on a dry farm. She had a younger brother, Otto. Her parents were Nellie VanLueven and Jesse Clarence Kent. She met my grandfather, Lewis Rudolph Kidman, in Logan, Utah when she was 16. When she was 18 she ran into him again, they began dating and were soon married. They raised 5 children, my father is their second son and 4th child. I learned many things from my Grandma:

Never judge a book by it's cover: Grandpa was 12 years older and a divorced man in Utah, not a desirable situation to be in. He suggested she would not want to date him and she let him know she knew enough to decide for herself. They were married 42 years. They lived a very happy life together.

Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without: Grandma was thrifty with all that she had. She regularly taught me about lessons she learned while raising her family during the depression.

Where there is heart room there is house room: Grandma raised her family in a small 3 bedroom, one bath house. She welcomed all of her large family into that cozy home for get togethers. Even as a young bride with 6 children of my own I remember being welcome into grandma's home. There was always enough room and more for all who crossed her doorstep.

Laughter makes everything easier: Grandma loved to tell stories and laugh and laugh about plain old life's experiences. My aunts often remarked about the 'Kidman cackle'. To tell the truth I hear it sometimes at my house when the family is gathered around the dining room table telling stories.

Love makes the cooking taste sweeter: I learned to cook in Grandma's small kitchen. She always had cookies and pies ready to eat. Sunday dinner was scrumptious. She would get up at 4am to put in the 30 pound bird on Thanksgiving. Her mashed potatoes were heavenly. After visiting I was always sent home with a jar of frozen peaches for my daddy. I am still trying to replicate her home made rolls, served with melted butter and home made jam.

If a job is worth doing--do it well: I remember going to Grandma's to help her clean one day. My task was to dust the dining room furniture. I thought I was finished but she called me back and had me get under the table and dust the runners between the legs. Now that dining room table graces my home and when I dust I think of grandma's standard of cleaning.

Faith is learned: Grandma was a great example of spirituality to me. She could always be found reading her scriptures, writing thoughts in her journal, going to the temple. Grandpa was the Stake Patriarch and she helped him do his calling well. She was a wonderful teacher to both the women and youth at church.

Everything grows with a little love: Grandma had a green thumb and her garden flourished. I spent many hours up the mullberry tree surveying her pretty flower beds. The grand children flourished at her home as well, we grew up as siblings with aunts and uncles to discipline and direct, grandma to love and nurture. It was a happy home filled with love. I felt safe there.

Happiness makes the workload lighter: With her large family to cook for there were always lots of dishes to be washed. Grandpa would settle into his chair and quickly fall asleep while the children played and the aunts set to tidying up the kitchen. That is where I was, in the kitchen, listening to the stories, enjoying the laughter of women working together to take care of the task at hand. With many hands helping and visiting, soon the task was done. It was a joy to work together.

Grandma was born in 1904, today she would have been 106. She passed away in 1995 after spending the last 30 years of her life as a widow. I often miss her, especially when all of my children come to visit. She made it look so easy. I keep trying, I hope she is proud of me.

I love you grandma, Happy Birthday!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Last week at this time I was in Indiana enjoying a football game that Dallin was playing. It was a quick few days with Michael and his family. Kendra and I painted furniture for 3 bedrooms in preparation for the completion of the basement and arrival of their new baby due in a month. We worked, laughed and enjoyed the children in the quick week I was there.

Sunday I was scheduled to fly back to Raleigh, but chose to skip my connection in DC to join up with Shawna's family. They flew from Baltimore to Germany on Monday morning. A few extra hands with the 5 kids and mountain of bags is desirable. After dropping off their rental car, Dave and I enjoyed the drive back to NC.

Tuesday was a quick unpack and repack of the suitcase in preparation for the trip to Charlotte. I baked a cake in celebration of Cooper's Birthday and loaded up the car with baby clothes.

Wednesday I drove to Charlotte just in time for Cara to run to the Doctor. Baby Ada was on the way.

On Thursday my family grew again when Ada was born. Beautiful, perfect baby girl.

Friday Dave and I headed out to Georgia to pack up the few remaining things from Shawna's house. After 2 years on the market it has finally sold. It is a beautiful old historic house that I loved and am sorry to say goodbye to, but a house is a house, memories and family make it a home.

Today I am back in Charlotte for a few days to help take care of children while Mama and baby get settled into their new routine.

This is a busy, hectic time of my life. I am privileged to have six active children who keep me jumping. I am privileged to have my six children married to spouses who allow me to be a part of their lives. I am privileged to have 15--almost 16--grandchildren who love me and I love them.

My life is a whirlwind. I am tired, but happy. Life is good.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ada May

Our third celebration for Birthday Week in August is recognition of the newest addition to our family:

Adalyn May was born at 2:37 this afternoon--Thursday, August 26, 2010.

She weighed 7 pounds 1ounce

She is 20.5 inches long

She has long fingers and toes, blue eyes and a good covering of dark hair.

After a long ordeal she made her entrance. Mom and baby are resting well and the whole family is elated. I was privileged to be with Cara through the laboring hours. Reached back to my youth and pulled up the Lamaze techiniques I used to deliver my own babies. I was proud of Cara. As with all other aspects of this pregnancy, her labor and delivery were more difficult than her other babies, but she made it and has a beautiful daughter for the effort. Cara is glowing with joy, Greg is beaming, while Eden and Connor are bouncing with excitement.

Cara often reminds me that very baby is a gift from God and a reason to celebrate. Sometimes the circumstances are not ideal, but every baby is a gift and it is up to us to make the best of even the worst circumstances.

Baby Ada is privileged to be born into a loving home where she is welcomed by parents who love her and love each other. Her siblings are thrilled to have a baby sister to love and be with. I am thankful my daughter has made good choices that put her into a situation where she can live in joy and happiness. It is true that sometimes life gets crazy with challenges, but when you have a foundation that is strong, your house of life can withstand the hurricanes of living and stand strong.

I am so happy for you Cara. I am proud to be your mother. I am thrilled to have another baby to love and cherish. Thank you for blessing me so richly.

Happy Birthday Baby Ada!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Victoria Lee

The second celebration in Birthday Week of August is for Victoria who celebrates her 9th birthday.

This is a big week in her life. Not only is she celebrating another year older, she starts another school year in a new school and moves into her new home in her new country. After spending the summer with us here in the states we put her family on the plane headed for Germany yesterday.

Victoria is an intelligent little girl with a creative outlook. While her parents were away for the weekend celebrating their anniversary she spent the time composing a song, writing poetry and drawing a family tree. She encouraged her siblings and cousins to join in the fun and soon grandma's kitchen table was a sea of paper scraps and markers.

Victoria loves to read with her father and do math games on the computer. She does not enjoy homework, but, who does?? Last fall we took her to Williamsburg to celebrate her baptism and 8th birthday. We had a great time together. She really enjoyed the interactive roleplaying in the streets of town. She got to wear a period costume and fit right into the 18th century we were visiting.

Victoria is a blonde hair, blue eyed beauty with a unique sense of fashion. She is 9 going on 16 and promises to make her teen years memorable. I know she will make the best of her years in Germany. She makes friends easily and adapts quickly. I love her smile and am so glad I got to have her visit for the whole summer.

Happy Birthday Victoria!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Today is the beginning of Birthday Week in August.

We begin with Cooper. He is 6 years old and a joy to be around. The other day he and I were talking about names and relationships in our family. All of a sudden I had a senior moment and couldn't remember his full name so I asked him--"Cooper, what is your middle name??" I knew his name was right on the tip of my tongue only I could not spit it out. With his big dimpled smile he replied "Cooper!!" Then I remembered that his name is J Cooper. A unique name for a unique little boy.

Cooper went to Kindergarten orientation last spring then came back and announced that he had done the kindergarten thing and was ready for first grade!! If only it was that easy. He started Kindergarten two weeks ago and is trying to get an understanding for all of the rules and expectations. He is a tenderhearted little guy who makes me happy. He is a whiz at math and has taught himself to read. I know he will do well in school.

Cooper lives on chocolate milk. He has great rhythm when playing Rock Band with his family, he likes to go camping and entertains himself for hours with his DS.

Last year when his mother was quite sick with her pregnancy he and I were great companions, he went everywhere with me. I am glad we got to spend that time together. It is a privilege to be friends with your grandchildren.

Happy Birthday Cooper!!

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have two granddaughters that both have beautiful hair.

One has thick, sleek and silky dark hair. When I run my fingers through her hair it feels like silk ribbons in my hand. She can have beautiful braids and her hair swishes when she moves her head.

The other has beautiful curly blonde hair. Her mother spends time putting it into french braids and spraying it with water to help the curls define. It is a gorgeous halo around her head.

The one is always asking me to curl her hair. We try. It stays for 2 minutes and then the sleek silky tresses return.

The other asks me to straighten her hair. We try. It stays for 2 minutes until the humidity hits and then the curly halo returns.

Isn't that the way we all seem to be in life?

What the other has seems more desirable--just because it is different from what we have. What we have been given is perfectly beautiful and desirable but we can't recognize the beauty or enjoy what we have for disappointment in what we do not have.

Life is full of opportunities to accept or change circumstances we live with. Sometimes if we take time to assess what is our lot we may find that it truly is a desirable situation worth cultivating. Sometimes looking at a situation with different eyes helps us to see the beauty of what is already ours.

A curly halo OR sleek and silky.
Both desirable.
Both beautiful.

just different.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

9 year old wisdom

Mom: What happens if you have a bad attitude when you start a project??

Dallin: You don't get anything done ;o(

So it is in life. Attitude is 90 percent of the project at hand no matter what the project is. When you have a 'can do attitude' you can accomplish a task much faster and easier than when the opposite is working.

As I tell my kids--
You are winning as long as you keep trying....
as soon as you quit trying... you lose.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Oliver Wendell Holmes had this to say about love:

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness

Today our daughter and her husband celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of 5 beautiful children. They are happy--that makes us happy.

Congratulations Sean and Shawna

Thursday, August 12, 2010


When I was a young girl I dreamed of the day when I would be married and together my sweetheart and I would raise a loving family of beautiful children. Now, not to disillusion my children, I must admit that I do have a loving family with beautiful children-- but living the life was not what I envisioned.

Meals three times a day took up 75 percent of my time, planning, shopping for, preparing, serving, cleaning up after-- just to start again a short while later, not to mention the ever present whine of "can we have a treat?" between meals.

Then there was the mountain of dirty clothes that need to be washed. The dirty faces and bottoms that needed to be cleaned. Add to all of that the kid droppings from room to room and you have a young mothers day. The joy of my day was to rock and sing my little one to sleep. It was a quiet interlude of joy.

Last night I walked in on my daughter at 10 pm rocking her baby in the dark while humming quietly hymns of peace. My daughters life is filled with limbo and chaos at the moment--a family displaced. To see her find calm with a hymn of peace while rocking her little one shows me that even in turmoil and total chaos, a beautiful loving family is made by stringing moments of pure joy together.

Motherhood is wonderful joy--getting there not how we planned, but wonderful joy none the less.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Family Home Evening

Last night we were invited to share Family Home Evening with my son and daughter in law. They live on the other side of the city and we do not get to explore that side of town very often.

We went and had the most delicious and inexpensive sno cones at a little place called Pelicans. The line was long but went quickly, I guess everyone in that part of town knows what a great deal it is. On this side of town we have a little drive through from the same company, but it is NOT crowded. I guess the word has not yet spread about the delicious great deal that is right here under our lips.

Before our sno cone treat we had a summer favorite--a hot dog cook out. Our lesson was based on the scripture of the candle and the basket--hiding ourselves or talents under a bushel. As the evening progressed we continued that discussion about choices and consequences and I started thinking about my nephew that I am so proud of.

My nephew made some poor choices in high school and continued on that path for a few years after. So bad were his choices that one day we saw his face and name on America's Most Wanted. He had chosen some friends that were not a good influence, and opportunities to change his friends and actions were ignored. It was a sad time for our whole family. He was raised well and had loving parents, he just made some youthful poor choices with powerful consequences.

After the last giant episode was worked through he finally realized that he needed to change friends and to make good choices every day. The whole misunderstanding was because of the friends he kept and it cost him greatly. He made a giant step backward toward his youth and upbringing. He made new friends, moved and changed his employment. Eventually he met a wonderful girl and last year they were married. He now has a good job and a wonderful outlook. His whole countenance has changed. I am VERY PROUD of him. He is a happy man and I am happy for him.

I am so thankful for the opportunity of each new day and the chance to make new choices. Sometimes hiding our talents under a bushel is the poor choices we make and taking the basket off of our head and starting to think clearly is the result of major consequences for poor choices and a blessing in disguise.

Life is one round after another of choices and consequences with the opportunity to learn. Each new day is another chance to try again to make choices that make us happy.

The sun is shining today, there are chores to be done, grand babies to kiss and choices to be made--I hope I choose wisely.

It was a great Family Home Evening--Thank You

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Midnight Walks

I have been enjoying having the little ones here. This is the last week before they head back to Europe. With 5 of them it is quite often difficult to get them all asleep at the same time. My sweetheart and I just finished another midnight walk in the woods with a cutie in the stroller hoping to lull her to sleep.

I will miss the sweet kisses and the opportunity to walk off the extra calories from the chocolate cake treat at midnight while encouraging infants to go to sleep. We still have a few more nights where we can take a midnight walk with a babe in a stroller--might want to bake another cake......YUM......guilt free cake.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Leslie Barr

To finish out this last BIRTHDAY WEEK I want to recognize my maternal grandfather, Leslie Barr.

Papa (as we called him) was born on August 2, 1915 in Cornwall, New York. He was the fourth son of Matthew Barr and Jane Matthews. They had just imigrated to the states from Liverpool, England bringing the two oldest (Matthew and Robert), Daniel having died in a fire before papa's birth. Papa also had a younger sister, Margaret.

Leslie met Rozella Jensen in Southern California when they both worked at the movie theater. He was an usher (handsome in his uniform!!) and Nana sold the tickets. He lied and told her he was two years older than he was and she lied and told him she was two years younger. For many years they did not know how old they really were. They fell in love and eloped, being married on December 6, 1934.

They had four children born to their union, Elizabeth Jane (my mother), Leroy Stanley, Leslie Ann and Kent Matthew.

I was their oldest grandchild and have many fond memories of happy family get togethers.

Nana was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the third generation) but Papa was not. After they were married for 44 years Papa was finally ready and decided to get baptized as a Christmas gift for the family. Two years later he took Nana to the temple. In January of 2000 we were all in the temple together doing work for his parents. It was a wonderful day. He told me on that occasion that the only thing he regretted in life was waiting so long to be baptized. Papa died on April 30, 2000, just 3 months after our wonderful day together.

Papa would have been 95 this year. I am thankful for the great heritage I come from and hope I can pass on a wonderful legacy to my grandchildren as well.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

I am a pre school teacher. One of the first lessons we teach is about warm fuzzies and cold pricklies, meaning the nice things we say and do verses the cold way we feel when the opposite happens.

To teach the lesson I give each child a cotton ball and have them touch it, feel it and rub it across their cheek. I tell them that this is how people feel when we say and do nice things for them. Then I give them a prickly pinecone or a prickly ball from the sweet gum tree, I ask them to feel and touch it. I ask if they like how it feels. This prickly, stickly, hard thing is like the mean things we say and do to others and how we feel when it happens to us.

The rest of the year when something not quite kind happens, all I have to do is ask if the action is a warm fuzzy or cold prickly and the child I am talking to will hang their head in thought and usually acknowledge the warm or cold of their words and actions.

Sometimes we all need the reminder that cold prickly words and actions put a prickly stickly barrier up, while the opposite is true as well, warm kind words and actions knock down tall sturdy fences and build relationships. I have noticed that in tight situations there are two ways to go about it; choosing words carefully to be sure the situation ends in warm and fuzzy feelings or barreling along with everyone feeling cold and prickly in the end.

Sometimes all that is needed is a little thought and careful word choices to make the same situation turn out either warm and fuzzy or cold and prickly.

May we all be slow to speak and have a warm fuzzy day