Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No School Again Tomorrow

That will be 3 snow (well, actually ice) days in a row. And guess what? I have done absolutely nothing! I have played on the computer. I have talked on the phone. I stayed up late and taken naps. I watched Our Mutual Friend (4 hrs. - Dickens sure knows how to weave a complicated tale!), The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Northanger Abbey. Yesterday, I didn't even take a shower which is very risky when you are going through an ice storm and you might loose power which means no hot water.

I am estatic to have another day. I have been lazy long enough and I am ready to get busy. I have lessons to plan, dishes to wash, clothes to fold, papers and papers and papers to grade.

I have a new favorite quote that comes from "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" - "Second marriage - The triumph of hope over experience." I love that!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tree of Life

When everything was falling apart in my marriage last year, I had some hard decisions to make. I did not want my marriage to end. I did not want to be divorced. I did not want to be a failure. For a few days I considered the choices before me and as I was rationalizing their merit, I had a dream of the Tree of Life. The experience was very personal and I tearfully shared bits of it with my dad. A week or so later, this print showed up at my door from my parents with their offer to pay to have it framed. It has taken 6 months, but I finally got it framed and it now hangs in my living room.

The Tree of Life has become an important symbol for me. Soon after the dream, I went to a friend's high school graduation dinner. The centerpieces were these amazing candle trees that I loved, kind of like this one. I know I took a picture but I can't find it this morning. One of these days, I am going to find that tree and buy one for my bedroom.

For Christmas, I finally spent a gift certificate that Tim gave me to Sam Moon's. I used it to fill my stocking with beautiful things. One of the things I found was this beautiful necklace.

I am wearing it in my profile picture.

Oh, there is so much I could say. So much I would probably regret saying. A young lady gave a talk in our ward a few years ago about the difference between "clinging to" the rod of iron and "holding fast to" the rod of iron. I have definitely had my "clinging to" moments this past year. They are getting slightly less frequent, at times I feel like I can catch my breath. A few weeks ago I was pondering the "fairness" of everything. They say wickedness never was happiness but the world sure does make it look happy. At times, righteousness has felt like loneliness. As I was struggling with my internal debate, these scriptures were pointed out in Sunday School -

"Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?
And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and the book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
Malachi 3:14-17

A friend pointed out that we all sin. There are not any good sins. All drive us away from our Heavenly Father and keep us from his presence. Pres. Henry B. Eyring said, "I hope I am always able to be tolerant of those who sin differently than I do." I am not sure why things look so inviting in the Large and Spacious Building. I don't understand the workings of the Lord, but I do know that He does work in our lives. Maybe things won't appear to be just or fair in this life but I have come to feel strongly that the loneliness of holding fast to the iron rod will be worth it - "And they shall be mine." saith the Lord of Hosts.

Have you noticed a pattern?

I post when I have a day off!

An ice storm came in today and brought back a lot of memories of the ice storm last year, a time which I hope never to repeat. My first student left at 10:30 and after 1:00 it was pointless to try to get anything done. The office had so many parents picking up their kids that they came on the loud speaker every couple of minutes calling for more kids. My kids started laughing when I was interrupted 4 times in one page of read aloud. I left the school at 4:00 and we spent 30 mins. chipping away at the 1/4" of ice covering the car. School was canceled for tomorrow before I even left, hence the post tonight. I can sleep in tomorrow!

I hope that you are all safe, warm & have power.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ryan makes me laugh. Seriously. I still chuckle over this conversation from yesterday.

Background- Ryan started public school in Oct. of last year. Either the school he attended didn't have orchestra for 4th grade or he was too late to join. I am not sure exactly, but the important tidbit is that he didn't attend. So, when I went to the parent orientation night for his new school the orchestra teacher said that anyone could join and they would catch them up. We had a free violin so I signed him up. Over the last few months he has been less and less enthused with playing. He was near tears before his first concert but admitted that it wasn't that bad and he "kind of" had fun. He never would really tell me what was going on. First, I heard that he didn't have a book. The next payday I got him the book. Next, it was he needed his bow re-strung. We are working on that. A few times he mentioned that he felt behind. Well, he was so we talked about it and he said he would keep at it for a while.

Yesterday, we were driving in the car and Ry says in a very relieved voice, "Well I finally admitted to my orchestra teacher that I don't have clue what she has been saying all these months."

"What?" I said. "What did she say?"

"She just looked at me and said, 'you're kidding me right?' "

He was so matter of fact that I started laughing. It turns out that he has no idea what a G Major cord is or any of the other notes. He had me laughing until I was crying with all his episodes from class with him trying to figure out what he was suppose to do. He said the teacher is always telling him he is on the wrong note. I asked how he has been making it and he said that he sits by the smartest kid he can and copies his fingers.

What kind of a mom am I that I think this is so funny? Sad, I know, but so fun. I will get his violin restrung and dig out his book and find someone to tutor him. I keep giggling every time I remember the conversation. I love being a mom.

Return & Report

Only a few days late. I did loose my one pound last week! Minding my portions definitely needs more work. I am so busy during the day that I don't eat much but then by evening I am starving. This week I have been doing a few things to even out my eating so that my portions can be consistent.

I was re-reading what I wrote for my Small Steps last week and noticed a mis-spelling. I meant to write that I would work on my prayers - quantity and quality. Instead I wrote - quality and quality. Guess what I had already decided to focus on this next week? I love it when that happens. It feels like a confirmation that I am on the right track. Anyway, I want to improve my efforts in my prayers. I have been praying my whole life and I think that at times I am too casual with the Lord. The other day I was thinking about it and thought - "This is Heavenly Father I am talking too. Heavenly Father!" I definitely want to have a real relationship with Him, but I also want to be more respectful of Him, honor Him, and grateful for Him. Henry B. Eyring said of the last days "...Casual prayer won't be enough." So, for the next few weeks my focus is to be less casual in my prayers.

I am not adding to my Small Steps this week, just tweeking the ones I have already.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Small Steps Sunday - Minding My P's

Prayer, Portions & Pounds.

Prayer- This is my anchor goal for the month of January. I love the image of an anchor - if feels solid, grounded. No matter what the waves of life toss at me, if my anchor is my hope in Christ, then my soul is secure. I love this verse:

"Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God" Ether 12:4

This month I will improve my prayers, both quality & quality. I also know that I need the Lord's help with my other goals. I want to study scriptures & examples of prayer this month.

Portions - I like good food. I don't really like diet food very much. They can tell you it is just as good as the real thing but it is not. Sometimes, not even close. And until the entire world forsakes sugar, chocolate, butter & cream, I will not be able to forsake them completely either. On the other hand, I could feel a family of 6 in Ethiopia (maybe more) on the amount of good food I consume each day. There is a teacher at work who has lost 25 or 30# and the only thing that she has done is eat half of her plate & saves the other half for the next meal. This week one of my Small Step goals is to work on my portions. Use my measuring cups as serving spoons, use smaller plates, use the small tea cups for hot chocolate, use the cute ice cream parfaits instead of monster soup bowls. You get the idea.

Pounds - My friend Meghan shared an idea with me that I am using. My goal is to loose one pound per week. ONE POUND. That is it. And I am not playing catch up if I fall behind. But one pound - that is doable for me. That is saying no to a second helping. That is walking one more lap. That is 10 more sit-ups. That is one less brownie. I can do one pound.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step." ~ Lao Tzu (570-490 BC)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Extreme Make-Over: Bedroom Edition part 1 (Multiple Posts Today)

While Ryan was gone this week, I stayed busy with a project. An Extreme Bedroom Make-Over. At the risk of jeopardizing my homemaker image, I show you the before photos:

The view from the doorway.

To the right of the doorway.

And to the left of the doorway.
Just keeping it real folks!

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Extreme Make-Over: Bedroom Edition part 2

And the After photos:
I had told Ryan I was working on a surprise for him and that I couldn't wrap it. He didn't have any idea.

This is vinyl on his door that my good friend Kim at Love Lettering did for me. At first, Ryan thought that was the surprise. Cool, but there was more!

The new view from his doorway. (we took this pic after wrestling on his new bed because the other one was blurry.)

The new view to the left of the doorway.

Ryan's reaction when he saw it all.

Blogger will only let me post a couple of pics at a time so this will take a few posts. Sorry!
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Extreme Make-Over: Bedroom Edition part 3

And this is the view to the right of the doorway.

The view from the head of the bed. The dart board was a huge hit. Who knew?

And the view from the computer table.

Ryan in his "awesome" room.

A huge thank you to the following for providing the following:
Grandpa & Grandma Mills - Bedding & MP3 dock
Uncle Ray & Aunt Sonya - Clocks & dart board
Uncle Pat - paint supplies
Grandma Parris - Curtains
Kim - Lettering
Howard - paint
Leo - paint delivery
Mom - Sweat

So much fun!!!!

Long Story & I Have Some News

When I was 9 yrs. old our stake put on a huge production called "Because of Elizabeth". I fell in love with the theater & pioneers & musicals. I memorized the entire script, word for word and eventually worked my way into a speaking part - something about being cold and not having any mittens.

That love took me through 4 yrs. of high school theater productions - "Bye, Bye Birdie", "Medea", "Little Shoppe of Horrors", "Mid-Summer's Night Dream", and others that I can't remember right now. By my senior year, I was the Theater Ambassador for my high school and got out of classes anytime a production came. I showed them where everything was, got them anything they needed, etc. In May of my senior year, Showtime Company from Rick's College came. It was AMAZING! I literally sobbed when they left town - I just wanted to get on the bus and go with them to the next town.

That day I told my parents I was going to Ricks and I spent the next week filing out every scholarship form I could find. Three months latter, my dad was driving me & all my worldly possessions to Rexburg, ID. I didn't have any idea how to apply for Showtime Company but I mentioned it to my room mates and they found out for me. I applied for back stage and I MADE IT!!! After I made the team, I found out that they were touring the British Isle that year. My family literally ate burritos for months to save the $1,500.00 I had to pay for the 5 week trip. The second year I made the team again and we toured the SW United States. Anyway, I tell you all of this to let you know how much I love the theater.

While on my mission I created a "Bucket List" - a list of things I wanted to do before I die. One of the things on my list was to participate in one of the Church pageants. After the divorce, I talked to Ryan & we applied for the Nauvoo Pageant. It was more about reclaiming myself than anything else. I didn't tell anyone about it and tried to put it out of my mind. I couldn't contemplate the idea of disappointment, so I tried to not think about it too much. When I did think about it, I felt like I should be able to do the pageant - I felt like I deserved it after this last year of heartache. Well, a few weeks ago I found out that most of the pageants had released their accepted lists. I had not received an email. I did some checking and discovered that the Nauvoo lists would be released before the end of December. As the window of opportunity diminished, I came to some understanding. I told the Lord the desires of my heart concerning the pageant and then I put it was in His hands and I meant it, every word. I truly was at peace about it. I would still be disappointed, but for the first time in my life, I truly wanted whatever the Lord wanted. I had tried my own ways in other things in my life and the heartache was decimating. I wanted to try His way now. It wouldn't be my only opportunity and maybe there were other wonderful things for us. And I also came to an understanding that suffering does not entitle us to our heart's desire.

So, December 31 came and went. I didn't even notice. I had already been making other plans for the summer. I even told a few of you about our application because I didn't care if anyone knew. Thursday night, Jan. 1, I came home from watching the sunset over the lake and sat down to blog about it. Then I checked my email. There was an email from someone I didn't know but the subject said - "Nauvoo Pageant". The deadline had already past, so I assumed it was the "regrets" letter. I opened it & we were accepted!!!! I am estatic but there is an emotion even stronger than that. It is the peaceful feeling that this is where the Lord wants us this summer. I love this feeling.

I spoke to Ryan before emailing our acceptance. He wants to do it but is worried that he will be laughed at or what his friends will say. He has a lot of questions and is not sure that this is a "cool" thing. At the same time, he liked the pictures on the website and it looks like fun. Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am not sure where we will stay or how we will afford it, but somehow, we are going. It is were we are suppose to be. We will be in Nauvoo on the one year anniversary of the divorce. I can't think of a better place to be on that day.

A Brand New Year
This is an amazing site! It is the fireside that was held for the youth this last week on New Year's Eve. The videos are wonderful and the music is awesome. You can download all the songs. Check it out- you won't be sorry.

Ryan comes home today!!!!!!

I can hardly wait! While he has been gone I have done an extreme room makeover on his bedroom. He has NO IDEA. He knows I have been working on a surprise for him but I really don't think he has a clue what. Check back tonight for pictures - I want him to be the first to see it. So much fun!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chapter 1

I really wanted today to be special and I have been thinking about it for a few weeks. First, I decided that I needed a new journal. For whatever reason, I do best with notebooks and I love this one I picked up at Walmart. I am so excited to start it tonight. (oops - wrong picture. Imagine this same book only periwinkle blue. This green one is my garden journal for this year.)
Secondly, I decided to watch the sunset at Lake Hefner. The wind was not blowing and the lake was pure glass. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Lighthouses remind me of family, both here and in heaven.
While at the lake, I let off a balloon. I think that I find too much symbolism in things, but that too meant a lot.

I also chose a word for the year. I have thought a lot about it, trying to pick the right word. My word is - Diligence: the constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken. Sounds like hard work huh. But let me explain. Our trials can teach us much about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses. I have a new appreciation for diligence. It is by the small and simpliest of things that great things come to pass. It is by diligently reading the scriptures that scriptorians are made. It is by diligent kindnesses that marriages are nurtured. It is by diligent effort that weight comes off. It is by diligent practice that musicians are created. I am not a diligent person. I am an emotional one, a passionate one. I soar in the heat of the moment but struggle with the slow & steady progress that my spirit needs. So, this year, my word is diligence & all of its wonderful applications. And in that spirit, I have not made any New Year's Resolutions. Instead, I am starting my own thing- Small Steps Sundays. Each Sunday I am going to choose a goal (or two) for the week & diligently report my progress either to you or some other form of accountability.

I love that today felt special, memorable. Go forth & conquer!

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Happy New Year!

Last night I said goodbye to 2008 and welcomed in 2009. I threw on some clean clothes & make-up and went to Alisa's house where a group of friends gathered. We had egg rolls (homemade!) and shrimp and sandwiches and "every good thing." We had amazing conversation, met new people, laughed and laughed and laughed. The kids played, the husbands raced cars on the playstation, we all put a puzzle together of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribean. At midnight we toasted each other with sparkling cider and ate grapes off a skewer (12 - one for each month in the coming year) for good luck. I came home and wrote in my 2008 journal for the last time. I had a wonderful time and I am so glad that I went. After all that has happened this year, all the changes, I am so glad that I could welcome the new year in with the constancy of wonderful friends.

I am so grateful that 2009 is here. A week or so ago, as I was anticipating the new year, it hit me that my problems were not going to go away with the strike of the clock. And you know what, when I woke up this morning, those problems & hurts are still here. But still my heart rejoices today. Today, feels fresh & clean, open to possibilities. My whole life is before me, waiting for me to write the next chapters. This time on earth is the most amazing gift - I love that I have another year to experience.
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Step by Step

Day 20 Stumbles - Temptations - For a while I've wondered about personal temptations. It has felt like Satan wasn't really worri...