Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Amazing Fourth!

The Fourth started out with the traditional pancake breakfast at the church. I love that everyone pitches in and it is just a fun, social morning. This year they had two kids play taps, one behind a curtain on the stage and the other behind a curtain across the room. That was cool!

After the breakfast, I went home and clean up the house a bit and packed for the next few days. At noon, I ran to Alisa's and spent the next hour + visiting and eating a patriotic lunch. I love her family and just hanging out.

At 2pm, after getting gas, I headed out for the farm. My Uncle owns a 55 acre farm in Arkansas and we LOVE going there. It is laid back, peaceful, tons of animals and absolutely gorgeous. I picked up Ryan along the way and since we were taking the southern route, we decided to take the Talhamina Drive. Talhamina Drive is a pretty famous 58 miles scenic route between Oklahoma and Arkansas. It is an old road along the top of a mountain ridge and every few miles or so has these unbelievable vista points where you can see for hundreds of miles. I have done it a couple of times and I thought Ryan had too but when he started to see the vistas, he was blown away so I guess he hadn't gone that way before. So, so beautiful. I recommend it anytime except winter (way too dangerous if you can't see the road) but I especially recommend it in the fall. The drive is aflame of color and it is magnificient.

We stopped at 4 or 5 vistas before we decided to drive a bit faster and skip a few to get to Arkansas before dark. Just after we made that decision we turned a corner and were flagged down by a teenage girl with some kids on the side of the road. The mom showed up as soon as I stopped and the dad a few minutes later. There were 5 kids and they all looked exhausted and a bit worn out. They were camping 8 or 9 miles away and had been hiking all day in 100 degree heat. One of the kids was experiencing heat exhaustion and another had a twisted ankle. After making a wrong turn, they were almost out of water and over 8 miles from home with only 3 hours of light left. They had just had a family meeting and decided that the dad was going to walk back for the truck while they waited along side the road. And then we showed up - the only car either of us had seen on the drive. We were able to drive the father back to their campsite and discovered one of the most beautiful camp grounds in OK that I never knew existed! Thinking about it later, I never had any hesitation in helping these strangers. Not only was a calm about a strange man being in my car in the middle of nowhere, but I actually felt the spirit telling me to help them. I felt that warm, joyful, happy, excited feeling.

After dropping off the father and making sure the family would be ok, we continued on to our relatives farm in Arkansas and had a fabulous long weekend with family. I will miss this. I wish all of my favorite places and people could all be in one location.

Happy 4th of July

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Sunburned Chronicles

Scout Camp, the  boat, and staining a fence have all left Ryan redder than the day before. The freckles are out in full force this year.

Ryan and I held our moving sale this past weekend. It was hhhhhhhot! Nothing like drinking gallons and sweating your weight and a lovely sunburn. A HUGE thank you to all who helped us - we sold most of it and made some much needed gas money for the move. We both like a clutter free home and really are appreciating the open space. 

The moving sales was a huge blessing and was very interesting. Here are some highlights - 
1. Ryan listed my bike for $50.00 (women's road bike). A guy looked at it and talked Ryan into $40 but he asked if we would take a check. I said no. Then he asked if we would take a check if he paid the full $50. Again, I said no. After he left, a few other people looked at it and when they left, I told Ryan that it was priced too low and he should list it for $75.00. About an hour later, first guy shows up again and has $40.00 cash. Ok. No worries - bike is gone and I have $40.00. Then a couple of hours later first guy shows up again this time with a men's road bike. It is a bit used but looks good. He brings it to me and says that the bike he bought from us is a huge blessing for them and now they have this bike extra. He noticed the new price marked on the bike and felt bad, so he wanted to give us this bike to sell to raise some more money. Who does that??? I was so surprised! We thanked him and listed it for $40.00 and it sold an hour later. 

2. Ryan had a scooter that he bought from a friend. It was a non-motorized scooter that his friend and him converted into a motorized scooter using a lawn mower or weed wacker engine and duct tape (literally). Not super pretty but very resourceful. It had a top speed of 35 mph (supposedly). Ryan listed it for $25.00 and wrote on the sign that it needed an new throttle, etc. Lots of guys were interested and checked it out, especially cowboy hat guy. He came back a couple of times looking at it. Then he decided to buy it and paid the full $25.00. As he and Ryan were walking it to his car, he told Ryan that Ry should have asked $40.00 for it - that he could have gotten it. Ryan thanked him and said something like "well, now I know" and then left to get us lunch. While he was gone, Cowboy Hat guy comes back and gave me another $10.because he felt bad. I was stunned and thanked him and Ry was super excited when he came back with lunch. THEN, about an hour later, Cowboy Hat comes back again. He told me Ryan could have gotten $40 but this was all he had and then he gave me 3 ones and another dollar in change for a total of $39.00 WOW! So cool. 

3. Lots of things in life will magnify your character, even a yard sale. We saw it all - one guy intentionally hide a $1.00 brand new (still in the packaging) bed sheet amongst three .25 sheets and then asked me to take $1.00 for all of them. I said yes before I realized and then when I did, I thought, "Really? Your integrity is worth .75 cents?????" and I let him leave so proud of himself. 

On the other hand, one lady came up to pay and asked me if the raincoat in her pile was mine. I said yes. She paused for a minute and then said, "I found this in the pocket" - $7.00! I was so thankful! (BTW - another $10.00 was found in another coat pocket. Check your pockets in a yard sale!!!!) 

4. Ryan has really, really grown up. He handled so many of the negotiations. He made people laugh and buy things they didn't think they wanted. They would ask him how much he wanted for something and he would reply, "how much do you think it is worth?" They would laugh and comment about him putting them in the hot seat. I think he has watched a bit too much Pawn Star! 

It was a blast. Exhausting. Sweat inducing. Liberating. Rewarding. I was thrilled for all of the ladies who were so happy to find good condition plus size/tall clothes at a yard sale (a miracle believe me). After we dropped off the remaining stuff at Goodwill, I went and got a pedicure. A pedicure is not so much about the painted toenails. It is all about the foot and leg massage while getting a back massage. And sitting for an hour. Heaven. 

I am getting a bit creative today - I forgot that I signed up to feed the missionaries today. I have 1 pot, 1 cookie sheet, 4 bowls and 1 pyrex bowl. And some paper plates, cups and plastic forks. They might be getting frozen pizza ;). 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Today I did something I haven't done since 1989...

I sang tenor in a choir performance.

It was wonderful. I took choir all 4 yrs of high school and sang tenor the entire time. I loved it. One year we even toured, spending a week or 10 days in Northern Washington and Canada. (We went to the World Expo in Vancouver, British Columbia & I saw Lady Diana & Prince Charles!)

Interestingly enough, I do not read music  and I need FOREVER to learn my part. Once I learn it, I am good but it takes me 10 times as long to learn parts as other people. (I really wish I was exaggerating but I'm not.) I've missed singing and over the last few months I've had a few opportunities to hear amazing choirs. I decided I really wanted to sing again and prayed for an opportunity. And I prayed that it would be the right opportunity for me.

I went to the first rehearsal 5 weeks ago. I was more than a bit worried when I was the only tenor. Actually, a lot worried. I prayed and slowly more tenors showed up. We were always few in number (2-4) but one tenor had a voice that could anchor us and he showed up every week. I am very grateful for his encouragement, showing me a piano app on my phone and then writing in notes on my music for me to practice. I'm grateful for another strong tenor who showed up today and sang beautifully. I am grateful to the other sister who sang tenor so I wasn't the only girl. I am grateful that the tenors had the melody for one song. I am grateful for dear friends who love music and who inspire me.

I appreciated the experience. I am not good enough to say I loved it - it is a lot of work for me to sing but I loved the opportunity and am extremely grateful for the experience. I love what music can do and I love that with the Lord's blessings, weak things can become stronger on their way to strong. And I loved, loved, loved singing my testimony - Abide with Me, How Gentle God's Commands and America the Beautiful.

I love answered prayers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Most Important

As I have made decisions on what to take with me on this move, I've learned a lot about myself. Often I've been faced with two great choices and what goes through my mind in making my decision has revealed what it really important to me. I've also come to have a deep appreciation for the pioneers - please know if you have a keepsake that an ancestor choose to bring along when they only had such a tiny bit of space, that piece is priceless. It means a great deal. They thought long and hard and had good reasons for bringing it. 

I thought I would share some of my process for paring down our lives to a single CR-V. 

*Family Heirlooms & Keepsakes: I made a list of things that had to go - my great grandmother's hope chest, my antique child's chair, my grandpa's hooks, my journals, scrapbooks, scriptures, photo albums & family history. 

*Books - Any book that I could readily get at the library has been passed to new homes.Church manuals that I can download were donated to the church library.  I've kept a few collections (Jane Austin) and books that I LOVE and re-read frequently - books that have deeply changed me and are part of my history. I've also kept hard copies of "Preach My Gospel", the new RS book, and the FHE manual. Those books have my notes written in the margins and are part of my family history. I have also kept the newest gospel art kit (the spiral) but passed on the older, bulkier kit.

*CD/DVD - all are being downloaded into itunes and apple tv and will destroyed. 

*Decor - I've reduced all down to 1 tub. First I packed our keepsake ornaments and then nativities. Next I packed decor for each season rather than each holiday. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, decorating for 4 seasons was easier than 12+ holidays. Our tree base broke this year so we will get a new one next year. Wreaths & lights are fairly inexpensive, so I will pick some up when the time comes.

I am taking 4-6 pictures that mean a lot to me for the walls, a mirror and some vinyl. Vinyl you say - well, we will be renting. Vinyl is a WONDERFUL cheap way to customize a rental - it looks great and peels off when you move. I have a scroll "Welcome" sign for the front door, a few quotes to go on scraps of wood or tiles when I get there or even the walls and Ryan's name for his door. 

*Paperwork - I've taken the time to REALLY go through it. I was keeping way more than I needed. All duplicates or outdated stuff has been shredded. Taxes & mortgages - 7yrs. Bank statements - 1 yr. Utility bills - 1 month. I've sorted through the memorabilia and made sure I've keep things that matter most, not every. single. scrap. of. paper. Things in binders have been temporarily moved to manila folders for the move and then I will pick up some binders & replace it. 

*Craft Supplies & UFOs (Un - Finished Objects) - I've kept a small box of most essentials. I've pitched the dried out glues, the only used once crap, the projects stuff that was stressing me out that I neeeeeeeed to do. I chose a few UFOs that I am actually excited to one day do or things that matter most to me. I let the others go, physically and emotionally. I've also decided that I am going to borrow more in the future rather than buy. I do not need all of the clutter & stress that seem to accompany crafting supplies.

*Clothes - if they fit and I love them they go. If I don't love them or they do not fit they. do. NOT. go. Period. Well, one exception - I've chosen two goal outfits (1 is one size smaller, the other 2 sizes smaller) that I am taking with me. I've also searched the internet for combo tips - you know the ones, "these 10 items can create these 35 outfits" types of things. I am using those to help make my decisions. Same idea for shoes. Things that are super cheap (ie- flip flops & ked type sneakers) are not going. 

*Towels & bedding - sheets are cheap so I am not taking those. I've invested in 3 great towels each (2 bath & 1 beach) and am having our names embroidered on them. I'm also taking flour sack dishtowels - I love them! Great size, they absorb well and dry quickly. They are all white so the bleach clean and they are perfect packing material for my china. Bedding that has meaning is going. Walmart stuff is not. 

*Unfulfilled Dreams - you know those things you keep around because one day your life is going to change. I have given away all the baby stuff. I have given away all of the homeschool stuff. It was good to, in some cases, answer someone's prayer and it felt good for those dreams to be lived out, even if it wasn't with me. Keeping too much stuff from the past can keep you from having enough space for the present. 

*Electronics - I am streamlining! As I said, itunes & apple tv, but also the computers. We are taking a laptop and and ipad, the wii and and 19" flat screen. Oh and a couple of portable hard drives. Everything that my iphone can do is NOT going, such as an alarm clock, camera, flashlight, radio, or cd player. My printer may or may not be going (not sure yet.) 

*Other - I am taking my sewing machine, wheat grinder, dyson vacuum and hiking backpack. Possibly my bike and dutch oven. 

The hardest things to part with have been my food storage, camping stuff and gardening supplies. Those are things that I prayed for for a LONG time and have really enjoyed. I am super grateful that the food storage has gone to 6 different families. It has not been hard to say good bye to the furniture, craft stuff or STUFF in general. It has felt liberating. Seriously I feel lighter.

 I love this article - "The Cost of Riches" it is wonderful. I am leaving much behind but I am not leaving what is most important. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One is Silver, The Other Gold

It has been a wee bit of time since I posted.

Nativity came and went. I love the Nativity - absolutely love it. I love working with so many amazingly talented people, watching it grow bigger than I could ever have imagined and feeling like I help make Christmas really special for many people. To be honest, after such a high, coming home to an empty house was really rough this year. I couldn't figure out how to bring Christmas home for myself (Ry was with his dad this year). I was incredibly lonely and slipped into a bit of a depression as I saw years stretching ahead of me with the same lonely holidays. People did invite me over and for the most part I went. I really appreciate their offers and my family's phone calls. It helped. Except for the few times it didn't.Sometimes I felt my like the kiddo looking through the window. Sometimes it was hard to see my dreams in living color, there but not mine.

I fell into a time that I am still working my way through a bit. Trying to find purpose. I am good at church or at work. I have things to do, people to help. I'm good when Ryan is home. I struggle when I am home alone. If you have ever lived alone for a long period of time, you may understand what deafening silence is. Cooking for one is miserable. Whatever you cook, you better like - you will be having it for leftovers for the next few days. Cleaning the house, even getting dressed loose some of their appeal when it is just for yourself.

I've learned that acts of service is one of my love languages and I haven't even read the book. I've come to gain an appreciation for the blessing of the purpose a family and service for your loved ones gives to your life. They give our lives meaning. With that realization, I decided to move closer to family. It is time - time for me and time for Ryan. We will be leaving next month for mountains and rivers of Vancouver, WA. We will be sharing an apartment or duplex with my single sister Tracy. We will be centrally located between all of my extended family and within driving distance of all of my family (and Tim's extended family as well.)

Some answers to FAQ -
1. Do I have a job? No, not yet. I have a bit of money tucked by and am in the process of getting OR & WA teaching licenses. It takes a long while. I may end up subbing for a while which isn't necessarily a bad thing - you can then check out schools while getting to know the principal in person. I am also checking out private schools, Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCAs for possibilities.

2. How are you getting there? We are selling pretty much selling everything we own and taking what we can fit in or on top of a CR-V type vehicle. Ryan will be flying so we will also have his checked suitcases and I am mailing 3 boxes of books. I plan on driving, visiting family along the way (and listening to many books on tape)

3. How does Ryan feel about the move? He is supportive and excited although like any teen, he is sad to leave his friends and his dad. He will be starting High School and agrees that this is the best time to make a move and he is excited about being near cousins. He will be flying back to Oklahoma 3-4 times a year to see his dad. Obviously not ideal, but what divorce is?

4. How do I feel about the move? Ready. I need the change. I need to be needed. I need family nearby. I have been so relieved to find homes for my stuff. It have been awakening to learn things about myself as I made choices about what to take and what to leave. I feel my burdens lightening.

I am excited and hopeful. I am grateful for change and the new adventures that await. I can never say what the friends in Oklahoma mean to me. I will always see you sweet, wonderful, good people as angels who walked beside me, held me up, cried and laughed with me. You helped me find my smile. You believed in me. You were the open arms, the late night talks, the priesthood blessings, the advice and counsel. I can never tell you what it has meant to me. Please know that I do not leave you but instead really and truly will be taking each of you with me.

To my family who has been a constant encouragement, I am very excited to see you and to be able to stay. Thank you for your patience - I know many of you have wanted this for years. I know how hard it is to help someone from afar and believe me, you have all done such a wonderful job. I look forward to many a late night talks, nail parties, girl's nights, temple dates, workouts, hikes, river rafting trips, camping trips, beach walks and laughs. You seriously are the best family a girl could have.

Wagons Ho!

Step by Step

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