"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chile

Please include the sweet wonderful people of Chile in your thoughts and prayers. I served just north of the epicenter and every area of my mission felt the quake last night and are experiencing the effects. They are a very self sufficient lot but it will be hard for a long while.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seriously Good Food

Tuesday Ry & I had dinner out. We do not eat out (other than the occasional pizza from Sam's Club) so this was a treat. We went to the trendy Iguana Grill and had chips & salsa & $1.00 tacos and then walked next door and had cupcakes from Sara Sara Cupcakes for the Two Dollar Tuesdays. The tacos were a bit too trendy for Ry's tastes but I appreciated them. The cupcakes were divine. I licked the frosting off the cupcake wrappers. It is dangerous to take me out in public I know.

Every Wednesday my friend Alisa has a "What to Eat Wednesday." Last Fri. I ran by her house and they invited me to dinner. She had made the most wonderful burritos. I loved them so much I came home and from memory made it myself and have eaten it almost daily this week. Southwest Egg Roll with Avacado dressing. If I had all the ingredients, I would be eaten them now. Trust me - you need to make these for dinner.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Drops of Joy

Ryan participated in the Circle the Stat with Song program this past weekend. It is invitation only at his school so it was a big deal. He has been attending extra rehearsals and working on his music in the car. Saturday, all the students from 11 schools gathered and spent the day working with some very skilled music directors from 9:00 - 3:00. At 3:00 they performed a concert. It was amazing. These weren't silly songs - they were very difficult pieces and some in other languages. I was blown away at how good they sounded. You could understand every word and I was stunned at the range, the parts and the unity of the choir. For a long while I just closed my eyes and let the sounds of joy wash over me. 

I mentioned the phone fiasco yesterday in the previous post. Here is what I didn't mention. I walked into church carrying the posters and fliers for the next ward social. I had spent 3+ hours of my morning trying to accomplish a 30 mins. task due to wonderful printer issues. And font issues. And glue issues. You get the picture. Finally finished the project, loaded Ryan, and drove to the church. On the way there, Ry mentioned that his goal for this Sunday was to not get his phone, wallet or keys taken away by his Sunday School teacher. What???? Mother of the year discussion unfolded. We arrived at the church and I managed to get my posters into the building unscathed even though we were having hurricane force winds (well, it felt like it) only to be told as I enter that the posters weren't needed as the activity had been cancelled. Grrrr. I sat down and 3 mins. later cell phone fiasco ensued. Why do I even bother sometimes????? I was so ready to leave and I had only been there for 5 minutes. I sat there for the next 20 mins. holding many conversations in my head. And then the drop of joy. The children had been asked to sing two songs and as they went up a dear, sweet little three year old was a bit upset and spoke. his. mind. It was wonderful. I felt all the frustrations I was feeling lift off my heart and find expression in his emotions. I envied him his freedom of expression at the same time feeling so grateful for the blessing of his words. 

My WW goal for myself this past week was to go to bed by 10:00p.m. I have not slept well for the last two years. Part of it was not enough time, a bigger part was not being able to sleep or having horrible, surreal dreams that left me feeling very disorientated. I prayed that I would be able to get things done or let them go so that I could go to bed, that I would fall asleep and that I would not dream. I made it almost every night. And I slept! I slept. Huge, thick, healing drops of joy. 

Lastly, we had Family Home Evening tonight. Ryan planned most of it. We listened to a John Bytheway talk - "How to be Totally Miserable", played a few rounds of "Seek" (scripture trivia game) and had oreos and milk for dessert. It wasn't what we did, it was the joy of enjoying each other and doing something together. 




Sunday, February 14, 2010

Parenting Shining Moments

On the way to church, Ry & I had a "discussion" about him NOT taking his cell phone into church. I love going into the chapel feeling like the big, bad mom. It is such a peaceful feeling. I sit down and church begins. Ry is sitting on the front row to help with the sacrament and I am sitting on our traditional second row. The opening song begins and my cell phone goes off! I am not kidding. I never take my phone into church. In the heat of the moment, I completely forgot that I even had mine in my pocket. Of course, I can't get it out of my pocket until it had gone off 4 times. Ryan looks at me with raised eyebrows, shakes his head and slumps into his seat, obviously hoping that the pew will open up and hid him from his embarrassing mother. After church he did say he could understand why I didn't want him to bring his cell phone into church. He might forget to turn it off. So glad that I could provide that object lesson for him.

Love

I found this a few months ago and I get a bit teary eyed every time I watch it. For me, it speaks volumes of love.

In-Sickness-and-Health

My grandma suffered from this disease and spent the last years of her life in a nursing home. My grandpa would visit her everyday until he was unable too. He would sneak in a chocolate ice cream cone every visit. My Uncle said that Grandpa would wrap it up in a cup and then layers of newspaper. My grandparents always said that they wanted my grandma to pass away first and then my grandpa 10mins. later. He passed away 10 months after she did. I have been so grateful for the testimonies of love around me.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Forecast: Growth Spurt

I made dinner tonight - chicken spaghetti & broccoli. I wasn't even finished with my plate when Ry asked if I would make him some scrambled eggs too. Ummm, I thought I just made dinner.

And suddenly a gallon of milk only last a couple of days around here. If that.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Matchmakers

Do you remember that one person who introduce to you something that you love, love, love? I have a few people who have done that for me. My middle school english teacher one day pulled "Anne of Green Gables" off the library shelf and said that I should read it. She thought I had a lot in common with Anne and would really enjoy it. The cover was very unattractive so I didn't read it just then, but I remembered her recommendation and eventually curiosity made me pick up the book a year or two later. I love, love, love Anne and still own most of the LM Montgomery books. I am still not sure exactly what my english teacher was referring to when she said I had a lot in common with Anne. I am never outspoken, intense, passionate or in the habit of dying my hair green. (although I do have a funny hair story to share one of these days.) What could she possible have been referring too? My point is I will never forget Mrs. S and will be eternally grateful for introducing me to Anne and Emily and the dear world of Avonlea.

My friend Meghan has been another matchmaker in my life. Soon after she moved to Oklahoma she asked if I had ever seen "Pride and Prejudice". I hadn't and her eyes sparkled with excitement as we planned a day for her to come over so we could watch it. We watched the first episode but running after kids wasn't so compatible with period drama watching so I was less than appreciative of this classic. Meghan left the rest of the series with me to watch and love at my leisure. A day or two later I watched the second one. It felt a bit slow and I'll admit to wondering what was just so wonderful about this movie. A few nights later I put in the third episode while I folded laundry after everyone had gone to bed. For those of you who don't know, a cliff hanger happens at the end of the 3rd video. I was hooked! I had to find out what was going to happen and stayed up until 3:00a.m. watching the remaining 3 videos. Loved, loved, loved it. Still do. I have since read the book a few times, watched various movie versions, and read spin off books. Little did I know that Meghan had introduced me to a world of wonderful friends. Since that day I have become very fine friends with the following -

Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibilitiy
Emma
Northanger Abbey
Jane Eyre
North and South
The Importance of Being Ernest
Under the Greenwood Tree
Cranford
Lark Rise to Candleford
Horacio Hornblower
Persuasion
Wives and Daughters
Nicholas Nickleby
Lorna Doone
Far From the Maddening Crowd
Our Mutual Friend
Little Doorit
Middlemarch
Mansfield Park

As you can see, a heavenly relationship. And the books are even better. My shelves hang low holding all my treasured loves. Thank you Meghan. You literally changed my life!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mushrooms

Yep, I still hate them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Little Bits of Faith = Plenty in Times of Need


western-states-mount-hood-02-ss.jpg

I grew up at the base of Mt. Hood. Every year, and I mean every year, someone (or many someones) got lost or stranded on the Mountain. I grew up hearing the stories of lost hikers, stranded motorists and rescue / recovery efforts. I loved the mountain but also have a healthy respect for Mother Nature. 


Disasters will happen. They are a part of life. In my lifetime, my family or community have suffered the following - MAJOR floods (twice), Mt. St. Helen's eruption, massive winter storms (both snow & ice), mudslides, MAJOR home fire, MAJOR tornado. Most of these have resulted in loss of power, water, communications, or transportation for extended time periods. I'll have a few more to add to the list before I die, I am sure. I do not fear disasters - I choose to prepare for them. While on my mission, there was a massive flood in Chile. Many died, homes were lost, transportation halted and a major water purification plant was wiped out. We were out of water for days. The only one home when the flood hit was the 10 yr. old daughter of the family we lived with. She had the presence of mind to fill every container in the house with water. Impressive. However it gets better. She also filled the bath tub AND the washing machine with water. Not only were we fine, but we had enough to share with others. 

As missionaries, we walked to every member's home and checked on them and found out who had water and who didn't. I was shocked that everyone was fine. They had enough for themselves and were sharing with neighbors. Every member. One sister took us into her kitchen. Kitchens in Chile are very small and hers was no exception. I could reach out my hands and touch the walls on either side. She said when she joined the church she was a bit overwhelmed at food storage and then she read an article that said just set aside a little. So she did. She moved some pots off what looked to be a counter. It wasn't a counter but a box with a lid - kind of like a laundry hamper. Inside was filled with 2 liter bottles of water that she had been filling over the years. Through out her tiny home she had stashed bottles of water and other little bits set aside for an emergency. Her little bits of faith were plenty in time of need.

Anyone who has been camping will tell you the basics of a regular 72 hour kit will not an enjoyable disaster make. So I scoured the internet and picked some knowledgeable brains and developed my own extended kits. The most important of these (in my opinion) is the car kit. Stranded motorists happen all. the. time. Perhaps I will never need them, but I know that I will pass someone who will. 

I am not posting all of this as some kind of soap box or prediction of disaster. Rather, I forgot to back up my lists when I changed computers last summer. I have been re-typing these for future reference so I decided to post them as maybe they can help someone else (and I won't have to re-type them again.) If you see anything I have overlooked, please comment or email. 

Extended 72 hr. Kit
5 gal bucket w/ a cushion lid (can be used as a stool)
Tarp
Tent
Nylon cording/Rope
Bungee cords
Bleach
Matches (water proof and strike anywhere)
Duct tape (all disasters are better with duct tape)
Small stove / fuel 
#10 can
MacGyver tool (multi-purpose tool)
Hatchet and Whetstone
Weather Radio & batteries
Dish soap / sponge
Hand towel
Can opener / punch opener
Collapsible, portable water container
Heavy gloves
Alcohol
Fish hooks and line
Hand crank flashlight


Car Kit
Basic Tool kit
First aid kit
Map and compass
Weather Radio and whistle
Light sticks/ flares
Flashlight and batteries
Rope/bungee cords
Sunscreen
bug repellant
Chap stick
food (top ramen, crackers, nuts, seeds, hard candy)
Water
Metal cup & spoon
Hand sanitizer
Sleeping Bag 
Blanket / space blanket
White sheet
Window marker
#10 can
CDs (use as signals for overhead planes) 
Scriptures (military size) 




Garage Resources (I needed a list because in the heat of the moment, I will completely forget some wonderful resources available) 
Water barrel
Bike / bike pump
camp stove / fuel
camp lantern
Dutch oven
Extra gas cans
Charcoal / lighter 
Matches
Rope / bungee cords
Hand truck




Evacuation Plans (again, because I will not be thinking clearly)
By Car:
1. Load Water in car (as much as possible)
2. Load the following:
     72 hr. kits
     bike(s) 
     extra gas
     sleeping bags 
     camp stove
     scrapbooks, genealogy, journals, etc.
3. Change into practical clothing (layers) with sturdy shoes
4. Grab comfort items for kids (blanket, toy, books, cds, snacks)
5. Double check for Maps, cell phone and car charger, and MONEY
6. Post a note on door w/ ICE number
7. Turn off gas, water and electricity to house.
8. Get GAS in car & in extra can.


By Foot:
1. Load 20 gal water jug onto handtruck
2. Strap bucket kit on top of water jug.
3. Change into practical clothing (layers) with sturdy shoes
4. Double check for maps, cell phone / charger and MONEY (fanny pack items)
5. Each person had a back pack (one is full of comfort items for kids  - blanket, toy, book, snack)
6. Take bike and possibly Umbrella stroller 
7. Turn off gas, water and electricity to house
8. Post a note on door with ICE number
(depending on number of able people in family - pull the handcart and suitcase kit and walk the bike or stroller.)