Wednesday, March 31, 2010


It started on our first date. He opened the door and held out his hand to help me out of his red Dodge Colt. It survived the 12 passenger Chevy van days and continues with the CRV.

When I was in Young Women classes as a teenage girl we were taught that if a boy did not open doors for us after a gentle reminder--sit patiently and wait--then that young man was not worth a second date. We were taught that having a man open a door for a woman was an outward sign of respect. If he offered that courtesy toward you in public you had a good chance that he would be respectful in private as well.

It takes patience to wait as he walks around the car or hurries to the building and reaches in front to play his part, but I have learned to enjoy being treated special. It is a private moment of respect and love that I have learned to appreciate.

Girls--SLOW DOWN--let him do nice things for you. Then you will feel inclined to do nice things for him and all of the world will be happier, kinder and more gentle. We all know that you can do it for yourself, but when you wait you let him feel like a king. The only reason chivalry may be dead is because the women killed it.

So, the next time a man tries to open a door for you simply wait a moment for him to do so, then smile and say 'thank you'. Two people will have a nice day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Mothers Love

Years ago I was very sick so the doctor put me in the hospital. My parents were supposed to come visit me and my family but mom thought it would be too difficult since I was in the hospital. I had 6 small children from 3 to 13 years of age. I remember lying in the hospital, half out of it, worrying about my family and hoping the doctors would figure out what was wrong with me so I could go home. All of a sudden the door to my room opened and in walked my mom and dad. I had this overwhelming feeling of--"it's okay, I can be sick now, Mom is here, she will take care of everything".

I have learned over the years that even though you may at times think your mom is crazy or out of it and does not have a clue, there is no one who can replace your very own mother. The Lord sends the right children to the best mother for each child. Together you will have opportunities to grow and learn. No one will love you more or understand you better than your mother. Nobody prays for your success more than your mother.

As I have aged I realize that the conflicts I had with my mom were times when I pushed harder than I should or when I did not realize what was at stake. I am thankful for my mothers unconditional love and encouragement. I am thankful that even though I was often ugly towards her she never gave up on me.

Part of a mother's privilege is to love and care for her children whether they are babies, teenagers or parents themselves.

I am thankful for a loving mother.

I am thankful for the privilege of being a mother.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Denim--Like a Jean

Today we are celebrating Denim Jeffrey Tate's first birthday. He is Teri and Jeff's son, born last spring after a rough pregnancy. Teri was in and out of the hospital. She was so sick and the doctors never were able to figure out what the problem was--maybe heavy metal poisoning?? How and why we do not know, but baby and mother are both fine now.

In fact, Denim is so fine he is in the 90th percentile for height, but less than the 50th percentile for weight. That may be due to the fact that the little guy has been walking for over 4 months. Sometimes it is hard to remember that he is just a baby only just having his first birthday. He babbles and talks, retrieves items he is asked to bring and overall acts like he is having his second birthday.

When the older children were asked about their new baby before he was born, Cooper kept insisting that his name be called DJ (when I asked why, Cooper told me it was after a character in the Cars Movie). Cooper was so insistent that you will notice Denim's initials are DJ.

Denim is such a happy little guy. One of his favorite things to do is dance on the table after Sunday dinner. He smiles and laughs and never seems to get upset.

My mom says that I walked at about 7 months as well--maybe he takes after me!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

bloomin' trees

For our anniversary when we were married for 27 years my sweetheart and I planted a redbud in our yard where we can see it from our family room window. Every year one of the first things to bloom in our yard is our redbud tree. It has purple flowers and it looks beautiful.

When my son left for two years to go to Italy I knew my only way to communicate with him would be weekly letters and a telephone call at Christmas and on Mothers day. As a little boy he loved forsythia's with their yellow blooms. When he left us at the beginning of spring I planted a forsythia in the yard and knew that when it bloomed for the 3rd time he would be home again.

When my granddaughter passed away 5 years ago I needed new memories of beginnings and beauty. I planted a sweet almond next to the playground in my back yard. It blooms with pale pink flowers that look very delicate and fresh. I love how it flowers where the children play.

This week as I drove down the highway there was a little town that I passed through that had the streets lined in white booming trees. It was almost heavenly driving down that stretch of road.

I am so glad for the change of season and the blooming trees that remind us that grey days will pass and flowers and butterflies will come to brighten our path.

When ever I am down, discouraged, frustrated and feeling forlorne I think of my mothers reminder to me--"This too shall pass".

I am glad for pretty flowering trees that remind us that the grey days will pass, but sometimes I wish the flowering pretty days could stay a little longer. Is that why artificial flowers are popular???

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jelly Beans

I love this time of year when you can get jelly beans really easy and they are cheap!!

Jelly beans taste good and they are fun to eat. I like to suck on them to get the candy coating off then chew the gummy centers. My favorite ones are the spicy flavors.

Each color has a different flavor, yet they are all the same--Kind of like my family!!

Each person in my family adds their own bit of spice to the family stewpot. Sometimes I feel like''I Love Lucy" with the pots on the stove all boiling over and all I can do is stir and rotate them around on the cooktop hoping they will calm down and not make too big of a mess.

Yes, my family is wonderful and colorful like a bowl of jelly beans, each a mouthwatering treat with just the right amount of unique spice to keep you wanting to come back for more.

I am thankful for the privilege of belonging to a large and crazy family--you should try it--you might like it!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


This is a thought from last Sunday's lesson that has been rolling around in my brain all week: are, that they might have joy

We have the opportunity to make so many choices every day--is joy one of them??

In any given situation what will I choose??

I guess part of the choice process is figuring out what joy is. Is it an easy path?? Is it sun shiny days every day?? Is it having surplus money or an excess of food?? Does it come from a bigger house?? Having more time?? A newer car??

While some of these items may make the road less bumpy at times, there are those who have lived without running water or air conditioning, eating only the food they grew in the dirt and walked every where they went, who were quite joyful.

How can I follow the counsel given to us in 2Nephi 2:25?? How do I recognize joy??

Does it come in a child's smile? A spoken thank you? A gentle touch?? A beautiful flower??

I think it comes from deep down inside of each of us. Just like making good choices helps us to continue to make good choices, choosing joy--and recognizing the feeling--helps us choose joy over despair as we continue to recognize joy in our lives. are, that they might have joy

I want to choose joy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Five years ago, ladies from the area where we live labored to make 199 baby quilts to donate to Cincinnati Children's Hospital in the name of Caroline Elizabeth Anderson.

Caroline was born August 30, 2004, Michael and Kendra's 3rd child. They moved to Cincinnati, Ohio just before Caroline was born where the best doctors and hospital in the nation for Caroline's unique heart defect just happened to be. Caroline was born missing the left half of her heart--HLHS.

Caroline lived most of her 199 days at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. She was home for about 6 weeks where Michael and Kendra spent every hour of the day and night caring for her needs. When Caroline went back to the hospital they moved her into a full sized hospital bed. The staff there used baby sized quilts as sheets and bedding for the infants on the big beds. The larger beds gave them room to work around the child and the quilts defined the space and brightened the rooms.

So many people knew and loved Michael and Kendra and wanted to do something for them during that trying time. After my mother and I visited Caroline in the hospital we had 10 hours to visit in the car on the drive home. We decided that a good way to put our prayers into action was to start a quilt drive. Anyone who asked what they could do, more than prayers, we would tell them about the quilt drive.

Soon a friend showed up with 15 little blankets, one for every minute her daughter had lived. As the blankets came in we knew we could make the goal of one quilt for every day that Caroline lived.

Caroline passed away on March 16, 2005. She was 199 days old, it was our 32nd wedding anniversary. We had 8 grand children at the time. Caroline's brother Dallin was 3 and the oldest. Two were her same age, Alexandra was 9 months and Cooper was born the same week as Caroline. Caroline was teething, her mouth hurt, it was difficult for her to breathe, but she waited patiently for all of her grandparents to be there with her. As we talked of heaven and family she would light up and giggle.

I remember Kendra making preparations for the funeral and she seemed so peaceful and happy when I knew her heart was broken. As I visited with her she told me that today her daughter was joyful so she chose to be joyful with her. Kendra knew that in the days and years to come there would be days for crying and sadness, but that day she chose joy.

Today, along with my tears I too choose joy. Caroline blessed our lives with an eternal perspective I now understand better than I did before. Every time I look at a pretty quilt I think of my sweet angel and the stitches I sewed in tears as I prayed for my granddaughter and her parents.

Every day is an opportunity for choices no matter what the day offers. Thank you Kendra for an eternal perspective and reminding us that even in trying times we can...


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In our family there are special family days when many things happen together. Today is one of those days. It is the story of eternal choices. New beginnings and earthly endings. Tomorrow I will tell you about a little angel named Caroline that continues to bless my life and inspire me and my family.

Today I will tell you about Marta and David. It is our anniversary--37 years.

We have been blessed with 6 children, 4 in the first 5 years we were married!! They have each chosen a delightful spouse that blesses their homes with love and joy. We have increased by 14 grand children with 2 more on the way to arrive in September.

My husband is a good man. He comes from a good family that I am proud to be a part of. We were married in the Los Angeles Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on March 16, 1973.

These are some of our wedding day memories:

I lived with my parents in Yucaipa, California and my sweetheart lived with his aunt and uncle in San Bernardino. We were to be at the temple--a two hour drive--at 7 am. Our first visit to the temple for both of us was our wedding day. There was a lot to take in and remember. I arrived with my parents at the appointed hour but Dave and his best man were late. A traffic jam held them up on the freeway. David had all of the information we needed, marriage license etc. with him, including my temple recommend.

My mother was tired of waiting for David to show up and wanted to go inside. She was surprised to find out I did not have my recommend with me (you cannot enter the temple without one). I told her that if my sweetheart was not able to make it I didn't really have a reason to go inside at that time.

He finally arrived so we went inside and enjoyed the session with lots of our family. During the session I cried and cried. It all felt so right and I felt it deep in my soul. My grandmother was officiating at the session. She gave me a mint and tissue and told me to pull myself together.

We went straight to the sealing room after the session. David did not realize that he needed to bring the wedding rings with him so he sent his best man back to the dressing room to get them (I guess it did not make enough of an impression on him because he forgot to remind our youngest to bring his rings when he got married).

The reception was lovely and went smoothly except that I had to shake hands with my left hand. I had surgery on my hand just a few days before our wedding so my parents insurance would cover it. It didn't seem to cause too many problems except when Dave and I were at Sea World. He got excited and lightly squeezed my hand to show his delight and I SCREAMED in pain.

After a quick honeymoon weekend to San Diego we were back to school and work.

This is the first time in 37 years we will not be together. I am in Charlotte and he is in Cary. We talked about meeting half way in Rockingham...but alas, we will be together again this weekend. It is nice that after so many years--though it just seems like the blink of an eye--we still like to be together. He is my best friend.

I love him and he loves me, a good recipe for happily ever after.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Little Brother

His name is Bradley Lewis Kidman born March 15 when I was in 2nd grade. Lewis is after my grandfather, Lewis Rudolph Kidman.

Brad and I had a lot of fun together walking up the Blvd in Yucaipa--going to the Chocolate store to get the boo boos--YUM

He liked to 'read' to me until we realized he was dyslexic and just had all of the books memorized.

Brad is a hard worker. He works with his hands. He has built a car and house from scratch.

Brad served his mission in North Carolina--Charlotte.

He works for the town of Enoch, Utah. Among other things he drives the trash truck. My kids always thought the trash man was a returning hero who came to visit every week. When I visit my parents it is exciting when it is trash day cuz Brad stops to say hi.

Poor kid missed his birthday in 1973 because I got married on the 16th. Thank you Brad for sacrificing for me. Love you.

Happy Birthday

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The House with the Golden Windows

I remember my mother telling me this story when I was young and it has stayed with me.

There was a young woman who lived in a comfortable house. There was spotty green grass, the gate was a little wobbly on the hinges, but it was a comfortable, tidy house where sometimes she laughed.

Every morning as the young woman looked across the valley she could see a beautiful house with golden windows at the top of the hill. Every day she thought of that house with the golden windows. She wondered how lovely it would be to live in such a beautiful house. She was sure the gate would not wobble and that the grass must be like a smooth blanket. She thought of the fragrant flowers that must bloom at such a beautiful house and how happy the people must be that lived there.

One day the young woman decided to venture out to visit the house with the golden windows on the other side of the valley. All day she trudged along thinking of the glorious and happy people who must live in the wonderful house with the golden windows. Finally at the end of the day, towards evening time she finally arrived at the house on top of the hill across the valley.

When she reached for the gate it wobbled in her hand. Toys littered the patchy grass and the windows no longer looked golden. She could hear the dog barking and children crying. She looked around to be sure she had come to the right place and there across the valley she could see golden windows--What was this?? At closer inspection she realized that the house she now saw with the golden window's was her own comfortable little house on the opposite hill.

How many times do we think that life would be better if only...when we finally....once....after...

Sometimes life really is best right where we are. All we need to do is realize that with an attitude adjustment we could be enjoying a happy life in the house with the golden windows every day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

57 years and eternity to go

Liz is my mom. Her parents are Nana and Papa and her grandmother is Nannie Jensen
Kirk is my dad. His parents are grandpa and grandma

Mom and Dad were married on March 11, 1953--57 years ago. Mom turned 17 the month before so you can imagine the worry in Nana and Papa's hearts when Kirk and Liz expressed their desire to get married.

Finally Nana and Papa convinced mom to allow Nannie Jensen to have the final say--she was a very conservative pioneer and mom respected her opinions. Nana and Papa thought they had wisdom on their side. When they talked to Nannie about the situation she asked where they wanted to get married. In the Mesa Temple--at least a 6 hour drive away. Nannie said that she would take the bus and meet them there!!

Mom and dad rode with Grandma and Grandpa to Arizona from California. Dad was on leave after boot camp before being sent to his first posting. They expected to drive, visit the temple then drive back all in one day so mom did not pack any overnight things.

As you can imagine the day was a little longer than expected. They drove to Arizona then went and got the marriage license. Mom made her wedding gown but they still needed to purchase their other special wedding clothes. After the preparations they were ready to enter the temple. It was later than expected when they finished so Grandma and Grandpa rented two rooms and they spent the night. The next morning they drove back to California.

Mom and dad had just a few short days to spend together before dad had to leave and mom went back to high school. They spent those days in Nana and Papa's room while Nana and Papa shared mom's twin bed!!

Three months later mom graduated from high school, then got on a plane and flew to her sweetheart who was waiting for her.

Thank you mom and dad for a great example of a happy marriage. It doesn't mean sunshine and bliss every day, but a determination to be a team and do it together no matter how difficult the problem that arises. I am very blessed to have you for my parents.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Today Connor turns 7. Wow, how the time flies by.

Connor lives in Charlotte with his mom, dad and little sister.

Connor is a sweet and intelligent little boy who loves to read and play his DS.

Connor's bus comes at 6:45 in the morning and he is up and going with a smile when I swore, after all those seminary years, I would never be up again.

Breakfast for dinner is his favorite meal.

He can beat Grandpa with his Wii race track games and loves going to piano lessons.

Connor has a certain way of doing things, like all small children do. The other day he wanted hot chocolate and was quite upset that grandpa may not know the right way to make it.

When I asked what kind of cake he wanted he said 'death by chocolate'!! Now that is something I can do (see recipe on the right). I'm glad that he will not be here to watch me bake it though, because, I know I will not do it just like his mom. But, there is something I have learned over the years--There is no one that can do it as good as your very own mother.

Hopefully this grandma cake will be a close second.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Yesterday I drove from Cary to Charlotte.

After a few trips down I-85 fighting the traffic for over 3 hours we knew we needed to find a new way to go if we were to ever visit our daughter and her family again after they moved.

Now we take the scenic route--down the road less traveled. There are a few stop signs, and for a stretch, just one lane in each direction, but boy, the sights are wonderful. The pace is slower, yet the outcome is less than a 3 hour drive. Win/Win

As we go along there are beautiful homes that we pass in Rockingham and Monroe. Large gorgeous homes that make you think of what life was like when these now sleepy towns were wide awake.

I grew up in a house that was 100 years old. It had 6 bedrooms and 3 baths as well as 12 layers of wallpaper that needed to be stripped off. There were the 4 kids with mom and dad and lots of fun memories that lived in that house. It was located in the sleepy town of Yucaipa, California. There were 4 stop signs up the boulevard. It was a wonderful place to grow up.

I guess part of the draw to drive down the road less traveled is the opportunity to think and remember what life was like when I was young.


I truly enjoy living my life today. I love the wonderful town I live in. I love the twists and turns my life has taken, some have been difficult road blocks to get around, but still--LIFE is GOOD. I think the opportunity to be a wife, mother and grandmother as well as the daughter and sister I always was has stretched and enriched me.

I like taking the road less traveled with it's slow pace and breath taking views. Some would think it boring, I find it inspiring. The best part of the drive is the sweet smiles, excited laughter and hugs from the grand kids.

I have discovered that no matter whether the drive is 7 miles or 12 hours--

Grandchildren are a destination worth driving toward.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Home Improvement-- Chapter 1

We bought a fixer upper over 10 years ago. Not our first time to do so, or our second. You would think that maybe we would learn, maybe we think it is fun?? Couldn't tell you, it is just what we do. Today we were working on new closet doors and refitting trim. We started the job a few weeks ago, but realized our eye for angles was not our best so we enlisted the help of Alex and Audrey.

Alex started work on the trim, my sweetheart started on the closet door dismantling and Audrey and I headed to the home improvement store to purchase a few boards and the new doors--No biggie--just jump in the truck, drive the 2 miles and back in less than an hour. But then, if you factor in the problems that might arise it could realistically take over 3 hours. What problem could come from a quick stop like this?? Let me enlighten you:

1. The truck door would not latch. Had the truck for 13 years now--Consumer Reports did say that the hardware was not the sturdiest--thus the seat belt that has to be fastened to the middle buckle and then put down the armrest to keep you safe, the seatback that will not fold down for access to the back seat and--now the door--should have realized that this is what they meant when they mentioned hardware.

2. Tried to use my bum foot to push the clutch and NO WAY--ouch. Audrey volunteered to drive even though it had been awhile since she drove a standard--so we lurched our way down the drive.

3. Got to the store and every kid under 5 in town was there with their dad building a birdhouse. They only had 2 doors and we needed 5. Luckily for us a few years ago they built a competition two blocks away. Back to the truck, jimmy the door, adjust the arm rest so the seat belt fits and lurch our way over to the competition.

4. Find straight wood, 2 paint brushes and 5 doors. Bat our eyes to get help loading it up and realize we were charged wrong for the doors--$50 worth!! Head back into the store, check it out, realize one door was on the wrong pile, take it back into the store, deal with customer service, go get the right door, back to customer service, adjust the bill one or two times to get it right, load it up and finally, after jimmying the door and adjusting the arm rest we are homeward bound--lurching and laughing all the way.

Thank you Audrey and Alex for a fun day and projects that went much faster than the crazy quick trip to the store. What can I say other than life is always an adventure at our house!!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I've been staying with my daughter and her family this week trying to help out so Greg can get some time in at the office. My husband and I were here 2 weeks ago while Cara was in the hospital. During that stay my husband did about 8 loads of laundry and I folded them all. I went home and did about 8 loads for us. I am back and have done 2-4 loads per day this week. Does laundry ever go away??

Today I fished out of the hamper a pile of folded clean clothes that my grandson decided were dirty because he did not want to put them away when we were cleaning his room. It seems to me that history is repeating itself. About 20 years ago I went to gather up the dirty laundry and there in the basket of my daughter's room was a pile of clean fresh folded laundry mixed with the dirty.

That was it. Forget child labor laws. No more was I going to be the family maid. I lined those 6 kids up and put it out there. I will no longer do your laundry. I introduced them to the machine, showed them how to separate the load. Gave them each a day and warned that if they didn't do it it would not get done.


To this day there is a note on the machine that my youngest wrote. It says:


Just in case we all forget!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Time Out

I love time out.

Sometimes in a family situation you almost feel the need of a referee calling time out for both teams to take a breath and look at the situation with clear eyes to see what is really happening, form a new plan to put your best effort forward and begin again.

Once I discovered the technique of time out as a parent my whole parenting plan changed. Sometimes the plan went into effect to help my out-of-control child stop an action, regroup, then try again, hopefully, with better family manners.

But, I found that the best time out was for me!! With 6 kids, the day care toddlers and who knows how many other kids in the house, by evening time mom was fried. That is when I locked the bedroom door. Locked the bathroom door (double locks otta keep them at bay for at least a few minutes) ran the bubble bath and turned on the noisy jets----AHHHHH.... Peace at last.

Yes TIME OUT is a mother's best friend

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Gratitude is an attitude--a way of perceiving life.

Have you ever thought to keep a gratitude journal?? Take a book and record each day or several times a week the blessings you have felt or experienced, such as good health, lessons learned, or positive experiences. Record your thoughts or feelings about them. Force yourself to be positive and look at the glass as half full. By doing this you will encourage yourself to relive the experience and savor those happy thoughts.

I remember at an especially low time I was so down. I decided to keep a happiness or gratitude journal to help me through. I remember walking around the lake one day crying and then I saw a squirrel jumping and squawking and running around. Then I noticed the birds singing and the sun peaking out from behind the clouds. All of a sudden I realized that all was not lost. Life was good and I would make it through. As I recorded it all in my journal I could feel the lightening of my spirits again.

Sometimes it is hard to be grateful--My daughter is finally pregnant--it has been a long hard journey to get to--but, happily, she is pregnant. Unfortunately she has a condition this pregnancy that has her bed bound at the moment. She is hooked up to an IV--when they can find a vein that works. She has a pump with medicine poked into her belly. She is so weak that it is a chore to talk, yet she smiles--a baby is on the way and for that we are most grateful.

Yes, I have learned

Gratitude is an Attitude

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I have taught small children in my home for 36 years--either my own, doing day care or my in home preschool. I loved it. The little ones are so much fun to take care of. It is true that for mom it can be exasperating when you need to get going and they have their shoes on the wrong feet, they refuse to put on their coats and insist on buckling their seat belts by themselves.

Christopher was a sweet boy--He wanted something one day but forgot to say please as he was asking. I gently tried to remind him by saying I couldn't hear what he was saying --I often told the children that saying "please" was they way to open my ears so I could hear what they were saying. Well this time Christopher couldn't figure out the prompt and asked again using the same words only louder. When I cupped my ear and looked quizzingly at him he asked even louder!! Finally he was shouting at me and I was laughing because it was so comical.

How often do we remember that simple word that opens the ears of those that we come in contact with??

Today's power word is PLEASE

I hope it opens the ears of those around you, both young and old and helps today be a joyful day