Friday, February 25, 2011


I am lucky to have a wonderful mother.

She was just 18 when I was born so we sort of grew up together.

I remember as a little girl sitting on the bed watching my mother brush and style her long dark hair. I was mesmerized by her beautiful hair. Unfortunately she had 3 children in quick sucession and the hair was one too many things to take care of, so she cut it off and wore it short for the next 50+ years. Now as a great grandmother she is letting it grow again.

She taught me many things over the years that I recall on a daily basis:

Lesson number one was to trust in the Lord. She taught her four children to pray and took us to church. She served in her callings with her best ability and attended the temple. She supported my father in what ever calling he had and helped us take care of our church responsibilities. She made treats for Family Home Evening and encouraged us to be prayerful in our choices.

Lesson number two was to be a good wife. My father was always my mother's first concern. She supported him as the head of our home. She worked by his side in all of the remodeling and building tasks that came up. When he suggested a ride together, she grabbed a diaper for the baby, loaded us up and away we went, laughing and smiling, with thoughts of an ice cream treat for a reward.

Lesson number three was that family and traditions are important. I remember mama loading us up in the car and driving us to downtown Los Angeles to visit my great grandmother. I remember being sent on a walk to the mail box to send a post card mama had written to her grandmother. Mom worked tirelessly to make gifts and prepare a meal for the entire extended family each Christmas. She spent family vacation camping with her in-laws every year, hauling everything needed to keep 4 little ones clean and dry.

Lesson number 4 was that hard work is good. She would work by our sides as we learned to cook and clean. She encouraged us as we pulled weeds in the yard. Her chore box was memorable, and the reward of a trip to the mall on a Saturday afternoon helped us work a little faster. From her I learned that a house needs to be clean enough to be healthy and messy enough for the family be creative.

My mom is very creative. This year she knitted a scarf and stylish hat for all of her daughters, grand daughters and nieces. She is magic in her sewing room. Her home is a beautiful reflection of the creative thoughts that whirl through her head. She is meticulous in her work and has won blue ribbons for her perfection.

Sometimes it takes a few life experiences to appreciate your own wonderful mother. I have been richly blessed and my mother is at the top of my blessing list. She loved me through the trying years, encouraged me through the rough years, she continues to teach through the growing years.

It was mom's birthday last week--she turned 75. She was noticing some signs of aging. I reminded her that our family lives long and healthy and that we have at least 20 more years to go. May they be happy and productive years.

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have a daughter who is a whiz with money. I always knew she could stretch a dollar, but now she seems to be doubling and tripling them.

She is a full time mom with three little children. Her husband works hard to provide for his family. Teri works hard to make the most of what he earns.

She has started clipping coupons and is amazing with her notebook and knowledge of a good deal.

I took a class the other day to help me understand how it works and it is another one of those new tricks this old dog has trouble keeping up with. One phrase in the class that I understood was that you do not buy fruit out of season--you pay too much and it does not taste as good. Well, couponing is buying in season. If there is a sale and you have one or two coupons to 'stack', then that item is in season and ripe for the picking.

All of a sudden, Teri's pantry is full. Her excitement is contagious, and she is willing to help me and her sisters learn.

Yesterday, she helped me find a stack of coupons and wrote the grocery list for me. I went to the store and found the items in the appropriate numbers. I had to purchase a certain number to qualify for the $5 gift card. I do not retain in my brain (grand children burn brain cells at birth--or maybe the cells trashed by their parents during the teenage years just get dumped??) like I used to so I need to go over it a few times. Finally I reached check out and had the oh-oh moment I was expecting, it wasn't too difficult or embarrassing--I picked a wonderful store to shop at--and I was on my way home with my $150 worth of groceries for just $41.

Teri was excited for me. She asked if I felt energized by the experience and I told her NO! I felt overwhelmed and confused, but happy to have a freezer full of veggies for a fraction of what I usually pay. She encourages me with the same words I used to tell her when a task was difficult:

It will get easier with practice

She is right. I think her dad will get this job after he retires. He is worried about the finances in retirement and this is the full time job at home he can have.

One of the clerks at a store Teri shops at mentioned her expertise at couponing and asked why she took the time and effort? She replied that it was her full time job to stretch the dollars her husband provided.

Job well done.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Last week I had the opportunity to entertain my grandson for a few hours at my house. He is almost 2 and has never been to my house unchaperoned--either by his parents or siblings. His mama was running late so she placed him in my arms, gave him a kiss and ran.

Then he ran too--for the door--tears streaming down his sweet cheeks.

Cheap trick--There is no crying at grandma's. Had to come up with a distraction quick.

So I ran after him and out the door. Scooped him up into my arms and we walked where he was pointing--down the lane where the car had disappeared.

We did the loop twice and as he laid his head on my shoulder I slowed down and thought he was calm. We went back to the porch to sit on the rocker but, NO DEAL.

Now I have a trick that most grandma's don't--I have 6 acres with woods and a stream. I also know what little boys like, since I am a grandma with experience--so we walked some more.

We walked down the hill and through the woods right up to the stream.

We crossed the stream at a shallow place and put our hands in the water.

We picked up rocks and threw them in the stream.

We picked up sticks and dragged them through the water.

We watched leaves float down the water and get stuck on a protruding branch.

After awhile we ventured up to the playground and sandbox.

Eventually we heard a car coming down the lane and when we investigated we found mom was back.

We had shared a wonderful two hours relaxing by the side of the stream on a beautiful, unusually warm and sunny winter day. We made some memories and cemented our relationship.

Give a boy some water, rocks and sticks and they will be happy for hours.

Put a smile on a little boys face and a grandma will be happy forever.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Black Mountain

We were invited to the most wonderful B&B this last weekend. It is privately owned and open only for family and close friends. My son in law has an amazing mother who invited us to come spend the weekend with her and our shared grandchildren in her lovely home. The quick trip was amazing.

We arrived just in time to watch the fantastic sunset from her deck that overlooks the entire mountain. She treated us to a most delicious restaurant quality dinner she cooked up in her own well appointed kitchen. We were entertained by stories of her life as an army wife and the antics of her son when he was little.

The grand children were excited when they arrived and jumped for joy (or on the bed) in anticipation of all the fun we would have together. After a restful nights sleep we were treated to another amazing meal and then we were off to explore.

The little town of Black Mountain was a wonderful beginning to our visit--I loved the local antique shop--it was well priced and had a few items I had to add to my own collection. The local hardware store was also a fun place to shop and we found a few items there that wanted to come home with us as well. It was a step back in time to walk down the streets of Black Mountain.

Then we headed over to Asheville and a visit to the Biltmore. That giant house is as grand as any castle in Europe. The children were attentive and interested in the way people lived a century ago--it was fun to be with them and enjoyable to see the sights through their eyes. We must have walked miles in that house and wanted to see more when the tour had ended.

As wonderful as it was to go to the Biltmore and as much as they kept reminding us that it was a home where a family lived and loved and laughed, I found our visit to the little cabin on the side of the mountain much more cozy and inviting. It is always a good time when you are surrounded by people that you love and enjoy being with.

Thank you Rae for a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Annual Report

I decided to start a blog last year and the first entry was on February 15th--Happy Anniversary

This is post number 162--that is a lot of thoughts

Over the course of the year I welcomed two new grandchildren into the world and celebrated 28 family birthdays.

We have continued work on our home improvement projects by painting the outside of our house and plenty of other inside projects like the ongoing bathroom remodel and constant organizing

I took a long trip to Azerbaijan to visit my daughter and her family

Other trips for the year included Hawaii, California, Utah, Colorado, Indiana, Washington DC, and Virginia.

I enjoyed a summer of visiting grandchildren--and their parents

I spent many hours doing the thing that I enjoy most--taking care of my home and family by cooking and doing the laundry, vacuuming and dusting.

I spent many hours taking care of church responsibilities which has helped me understand myself better

This blog thing started because I had foot surgery and could not get off of the couch for a few weeks. I am glad to be able to walk again, but the thinking time has been beneficial.

It is good to take notice of personal growth of both mind and body. Because of the hampered movement this last year I have a greater interest in healthy eating. Stopping to think is necessary in this noisy world to figure out who you are and what you stand for.

When I look in the mirror lately I gasp even louder than I did last year at this time, but the wrinkles and grey hairs are well earned--I have 16 grandchildren and another on the way

I am richly blessed. I come from a good heritage and am married to a wonderful man. I have 6 children who are a delight and they have given me the opportunity to love their spouses who enrich my life.

I have challenges and shortcomings--don't we all?? As I write I am trying to figure it all out.

I have discovered that life is good and I am happy to be here.

I have also discovered that life is a challenge, but if I keep a positive attitude the challenges are easier to deal with.

Yes, it has been a good year and the future is bright.

James F. Clarke is credited with saying:

"Strong convictions precede great actions"

I am a woman with strong convictions and I hope that by writing about them I am taking action to make my corner of the world a happier and better place.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Today is the day that our society celebrates love.

When I was little I remember creating valentines for my family and classmates from construction paper and lacy paper doilies. My siblings and I would spend hours over a weeks time creating, with glue and do-dads, the perfect remembrance for each person on our list.

When I finally had someone of my own to love and care for I started creating the perfect valentine from my kitchen--you remember the old saying that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I would try to cook his favorite meal and would bake a heart shaped cake--usually chocolate. (take note of recipe on the right-->)

The last few years I have baked cookies and decorated them. It is delicious to take a soft butter cookie and add buttercream frosting with a few heart shaped candies with just the right message for each person on my list--usually a preschooler. The cookies just melt in your mouth.

This year I think I will stay away from the oven--and go back to the glue and paper creations of my youth to state my sentiments to the one I love. The bathroom scale at our house is beginning to groan after 38 years of delectable delights this day has to offer. Maybe a calorie friendly meal at a new restaurant and then a romantic walk around the lake.

I have heard it said that you should go into marriage with your eyes wide open and then live your married life with them half shut. I think this is good advice. I found this quote that my sister mentioned years ago and it helps me remember that I married the perfect man, and I am not a perfect woman:

To love someone means to see them as God intended

Happy Valentines Day

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Two Schools of Thought

I like how there is always two ways of looking at things--the half full/half empty way of thinking.

I came across this thought and found it worthy of some ponder time:

Vision without work is daydreaming;
and work without vision is drudgery.
Thomas S. Monson

As in all things there is a balance--it is understanding that balance that helps us live a productive life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is it a Sacrifice??

I've had a few conversations lately about responsibilities and choices. I have to teach a lesson this next Sunday on Sacrifice--putting things of a spiritual nature ahead of other things. I have been doing quite a bit of thinking on the subject.

As I watch my daughters with their children, I see them put the needs of their children above their own. I see them arrange things to make it easier for their husbands. I see them put their own wants and needs in the back and as they do so they are truly becoming kind, nurturing, gentle and unselfish women--I am proud of them.

Sometimes we must put our own wants and needs behind for the greater good of the family or other situation. Sometimes the result is immediate--the baby will stop crying--or it could be years or even a lifetime before you know the outcome of the choices made today.

Neal A. Maxwell had this to say:

"Joshua didn't say to 'Choose you next year whom you will serve.'"

Now it is up to us to decide--today by our own choice or later by circumstances that are placed in our way. If we continue on down the selfish road it seems like the travel is bumpy and unpleasant.
Eventually most of us will learn to put others ahead of ourselves and when we do the world becomes a much nicer place for all involved.

Interesting thoughts: If I put others first does it really put me out that much?? If I continue to force-fit my desires we all seem to be slamming into each other.

Sometimes it is my turn to be first, and I like it. Sometimes it feels good to let another go first, have the biggest piece, do it their way, and when I help that happen I feel good inside and feeling good is not much of a sacrifice.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lovely and of Good Report

This week we celebrate Kendra's birthday. I have known Kendra for over 15 years--half of her life. My son brought her home after they became friends in high school. She was the only girl he ever dated, the only girl he ever had a social interaction with, the only girl he has ever loved, and being the wise man that he is, he knew a good thing when he saw it and married her.

Kendra was patient while Michael left for two years to preach the gospel. She studied what he taught her about spiritual things and decided they were standards she wanted for herself, and now she teaches them to her children.

Kendra has energy and spiritual strength. She amazes me with her organizational skills. Kendra is kind and loving. She welcomes me into her home with grace and I feel comfortable there. Her home is a reflection of the life she and Michael have made together, peaceful joy.

Whenever Kendra and I get on the phone together, invariably we end up laughing at everyday antics of kids and family. I love our conversations. Like most young women she had to take a while to understand her mother in law, but, I think we do quite well together.

Kendra is an amazing mother to her children, a wonderful wife to my son and a good friend. Whenever I think of the phrase, "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things", I think of Kendra.

Happy Birthday, Kendra

Friday, February 4, 2011


There seems to be a lot of interest lately for something that is as old as time and families on the earth--Dinner.

It is true that we all need to eat.

Sometimes our choice of food and the amounts add up to too much (large portions has turned into a large me)--that is my focus lately--how to get back to the portion of food that is appropriate for the portion of me I should be.

But there is a more important reason for family dinner.....We have been reminded that as a family eats together you build family bonds that will last throughout their lives. I agree with that.

When my children were living at home we ate together most every night--most families do not do that any more. I have fond memories of my children gathered around the table and the fun conversations that came up as we discussed our day.

I also have fond childhood memories of sitting together with my siblings and parents, enjoying the meal and each others company. My mom and dad still make dinner at home most every day.

There is a group of ladies in my area who have decided to get together and exchange recipes and ideas. We are planning on meeting often to encourage each other to keep up the work of family dinners that do not add to a mother's middle section.

I am excited for this opportunity.

My mother has met with a group of ladies that she calls her 'club' since I was a little girl. I always wanted to be part of a group like that--friends who come together for a common interest that meet often to share ideas. The last time I was visiting my mom she invited me to go with her to her 'club' meeting. I was thrilled for the opportunity. It is the first time in my life I was invited to go and I had a great time.

Well, I am off to my first 'club' meeting. I have a lo-cal recipe in hand and a lifetime of ideas in my head. I am committed to try to loose at least a pound of extra me a week until summer arrives and I am hoping this incentive will do the trick.

Dinner at home together will be the reward. What are you cooking tonight??

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Get It Done

I've been gone for two weeks and the two weeks before that we were doing a mini redo of our kitchen--and I am a slow worker--so as you can imagine there is a list a mile long of things that need to get done from:
  • empty the suitcase
  • pack up the extras that we cleaned out of the kitchen
  • necessary correspondence
  • is that a Christmas item hiding out?
  • why did you put it in the sewing room-- just because I wasn't here to protect my space?
  • baskets of laundry wanting attention

I wrote a list this morning--put it in priority and started. Got sidetracked by a magazine and then a blog I wanted to check out, went to visit my daughter's blog and smiled at my grandchildren, had a thought and here I am.

Gotta get back to basics and get it done. No more distractions. Tunnel vision is a good thing when you have a list. Need tunnel vision glasses for a day like today.

I have a list and I am off to get it done. Need to stick to the list.