Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's nice...

This morning as I got close to work I was stopped by a crossing guard. There were several happy children hopping, skipping, and chattering to each other, and to their Moms. "How nice" I thought "that these mothers are walking their kids to school." There wasn't just one Mom present, there were many. As a matter of fact at that crosswalk and continuing down the street a couple of blocks I saw probably fifteen mothers with their children. It didn't seem as if it was a chore either. There were smiles on their faces and a bounce in their steps as they responded to the needs and conversation of the kids. They waved and nodded to other mothers, and to those cars passing by.

It made me happy, and it made me think; "Did I ever walk my kids to school?" and "If I did, would I have been joyful about it?" Another interesting thing about these mothers is that they were all Latino.

I have read many negative e-mails, posts, and heard many surly comments about the Latino people who "MAY" have crossed our borders illegally. Degrading remarks have been made about their cost to us as tax payers, especially filling our jails. I do believe that we need to fix the immigration flow across our borders, and yes there are some staggering costs to us as tax payers and this blog is not to bring up that conversation.

I just merely wanted to note that many of my clients (Insurance) are from the Hispanic culture, probably many have family members who are not "legal". Some grandmothers may have been in this country forever, and they are kind, good people. They are responsible: they have insurance, and they pay on time with cash every month. They are hard working, some of them have multiple jobs to support their families. Many of them are also frustrated with those from their culture and in their community who don't show the best examples. They are a loving people who want to be embraced and want to embrace us. Yes, we do need to correct the influx of those who illegally cross our borders. But, don't malign them on other counts, or at the very least don't paint them all with the same broad brush.

Those little kids walking, talking, and laughing with their mothers on the way to, and I venture to say, from school are bound to be good people. They are certainly getting the kind of start we all should emulate!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Thanksgiving Letter

One of the nicest gifts the Lord blessed me with is the ability to “count my blessings”. Even in the midst of a challenge I never get too discouraged because there are always so many gifts to be aware of. This is why I chose to write a letter of Thanksgiving for 2008.

The first stanza of an old Bing Crosby song keeps running through my mind….actually woke me up tonight which is the opposite of what the lyrics imply. In spite of that, it really is timely now in the nature of the nations problems.

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep,
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
When my bankroll is getting small,
I think of when I had none at all,
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”


This has been a year with so many things to be thankful for. They were packed in around some trials and challenges. For those of you who didn’t know, Bud and I have filed for divorce. There was no anger or angst, as a matter of fact we are still pretty good friends and get together regularly with our family and even for an occasional night out together. I can call on him to change a light bulb, and I return the favor any way I can. We have spent 42 years “cleaving together” so we aren’t totally “uncleaving”. I am not making light of our vows, they were so important to both of us and we worked very hard before reaching this decision. As painful as it is, it is the right decision for us. Our kids understand and are supportive and loving to both of us.

One of our most blessed events in 2008 was the addition of Leah Caitlin Bliss Trosper to our family. She was born on October 15th at 6 pounds 3 ozs, 19 ½ inches long. Her parents, Marque and Sarah, could not be happier. They are learning what it means to be diapering and feeding at 4 am. She truly belongs to the Trosper family even though she came through the arms of a loving “birth” mother. I spent a week in American Fork, UT content to cuddle, smell, feed, change and LOVE this little bundle of joy.

Leah’s cousins Madyson and Hailey are so excited to meet her at Thanksgiving. They have really enjoyed shopping for her. Madyson (8) is looking for dress up clothes, dance gear, and dollies to help Leah follow in her interests. She is in six dance classes and is in a competition level in four styles of dance; hip hop, jazz, lyrical, and character dance. Managing to get her school work done even though she is at dance three nights a week is important to her as well as it is to her parents. Although Hailey (almost 11) is a beauty, she has brains as well. If she were to share her interests with Leah it might include politics. She ran for school President this year and she used the national political campaigns to help her plan her own campaign strategy. Luckily her dad finds her a willing listener when he discusses the political landscape and she really understands the balance of power better than most Americans. Besides dance and scholastics another thing Hailey excels at is the art of sarcasm….but then she has some world class teachers in her Uncle Scott and her Dad.

Jim and Sam are enjoying being “Aunt and Uncle” for the first time. They are so looking forward to visiting Utah at Thanksgiving and getting their hands on their little niece. Jim is grateful he will have the opportunity to be with family (his own AND extended) more now since he is working Monday through Friday after his career change to Avescend. He loves training his staff to give hospital patients and their visitors excellent guest services. He finds them more deserving than the “gamblers” he used to serve. Samantha is LOVING being a busy Mom as well as working at WINCO. Mostly she loves having Jimmy off when she and the girls are so they can enjoy family moments and build memories.

“Scooter got a Scooter” is what the Chino officers say about Scott being a new motorcycle cop. With the new position he also got a Monday – Thursday schedule and he loves the opportunity to live a more normal life with nights and weekends off. I get to see him more often when we are both at work in Chino too. He was honored with two Life Saving awards this year. How do you say in a paragraph what a proud moment that was for a Mom? Aside from his career Scott counts his new niece as one of his greatest blessings. He is pretty darn good at spoiling little girls so he will just continue more of the same.

Marque and Sarah don’t seem to be having much difficulty at all adjusting to parenthood. Abundant love helps new parents overcome any inadequacies. Sarah quickly left PMI to become a full time Mommy….and she revels in the change of occupation. Marque has to leave his girls to work, but fortunately is usually able to get away from PMI himself for Dr visits and other important events in little Leah’s life. What a lucky little girl she is!!! Leah was expected to be a little boy so there were a few changes to be made, but there was nothing but elation about our little angel. Marque and Sarah are firm believers that they can raise a child and still enjoy traveling. As a matter of fact it sharing it with Leah gives them even more reason to build those memories.

I am so fortunate to have such amazing children. Wow! There just aren’t words that convey the feelings of a pounding heart. Seeing the excitement and joy they share with each other in these happy moments, and the strength, courage, and support they give during the difficult times is inspiring. When I have asked them how they can be so strong and positive they tell me it is because they had good childhoods, parents who loved them, and they have their own lives now that are happy and fulfilling. Can any parent ask for more?

The Lord indeed blessed me with a grateful heart, but he also blessed me with three amazing sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, THREE perfect granddaughters, a tremendously supportive Mom, brothers and sisters who love me, an extended family who keep me in their prayers daily, friends who lend listening ears and soft shoulders, a world created to feed me physically and spiritually…..counting my blessings instead of sheep….and I fall asleep counting my blessings! Good night.

Gratefully,
Leslie Trosper

P.S.Hey, promise me you’ll have a blessed holiday season yourself, okay?!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Attitude--The value of a change in perspective!

Attitude is one of my favorite words. I love quotes about Attitude, my favorite being "Attitude is a little thing that can make a BIG difference." The one I have on my phone right now is "We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." A couple more "Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but, rather, a manner of traveling." "The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."
I learned the art of changing my perspective, thus adjusting attitude, when I was in Jr. High. There was a new student who swooped into the school and in a short time became the most popular student. She was an "army brat" who was moved many times in her childhood. She had a choice: hate it, gripe about it, mope around or "go with the flow". She not only learned to make the best of it, she reveled in the challenge of moving into a new space and making new friends. I still remember that girls name even though I was only 11 or 12 years old, Diane Cook. She taught me a valuable lesson. I didn't become the most popular girl in the school, but I did learn how taking a different perspective could change the view.
As a newlywed I remember Bud and I being in a church group of other young marrieds. It was like being back in High School with the popular group at the center in their own little "click". All of the rest of us seemed to be in the outer circle jealous of that group. Me included. All of the sudden I did a perspective click.....when I did I had quite a different view. #1 That little group had no intention of excluding anyone. They were unaware that the rest of us were standing around them panting to be a part of their party. They were just having fun, innocent of any malice. #2 I looked to the right of me and to the left of me and found a large group of people who were visualizing being part of a group, failing to notice all the others in the same situation. So I turned to greet those people and gradually found some great friends, and eventually we became a very cohesive group.
Another story I remember about attitudes was one that Corrie ten Boom told in her book THE HIDING PLACE. Corrie and her sister were Christians who were put into a concentration camp by the Germans after it was discovered they hid many of their Jewish brothers and sisters. While imprisoned they had the opportunity to share the love of God with many inmates. Corrie was surprised when her sister Betsy thanked the Lord for the lice infestation. Betsy's view was that the lice kept the guards from coming into their room, thereby giving them freedom they wouldn't otherwise have. Now that takes a real attitude change to be grateful for lice!
I have worked for 25 years in the insurance industry. Steve Bjelland was Marque"s and Jim's scoutmaster and he called me after his wife suggested me as a possible employee. Scotty had just started first grade so he wondered if I was interested in doing a little part time work. I had always done childcare in my home so I could be a "stay at home" mom. It wasn't that I didn't work because at times I cared for as many as 14 children at a time, with 8 in diapers. I was worried about working taking away from my devotion to my first career as a wife and mother. After some bartering and negotiating....mostly Steve just gave me my way, I started work. I could get away for any "room mother" duties, field trips, or any other needs for my kids, and work was a side light. This is the way in continued for many years. I just worked enough to provide the "extras" for my kids like soccer, the nicer shoes, name brand jeans, McDonalds once in awhile.....you know the "extras". Bud and I had an agreement that I was a "wifey". We kind of both deceived ourselves into thinking that "my" money didn't count. When we moved to Virginia I worked full-time for the first time. I was Relief Society President so I really worked TWO full-time jobs. I didn't have to though, it was a choice.
When Bud was laid off and we moved back to California he got a job that would require a lot of travel, so when I got my job with a District Manager in Temecula my main concern was freedom to take alot of time off rather than the money it paid. Later as our financial needs became greater it became terribly obvious that the money I earned was no longer expendable, but necessary. Then Bud had to have surgery and was off work for about six months, and I was pretty much the "breadwinner". Now, I didn't lay blame at anyone's feet, and I recognized we had a partnership and it was "my turn", but I didn't have to like it, and I didn't!
Anyone who knows me knows me to be an optimistic person. I usually wake up ready to face the world with a song and a smile, but I was finding my first thoughts waking up were "I hate my job. I hate the stupid drive to work (55 miles one way). I hate my life." Not much had really changed. I had the same job, the same drive, and the same life I had been living for several years...the only difference is that now it wasn't a choice.....I HAD to work. It was bad. I grumbled all the way to work. When I got to work automatic gear kicked in, and I doubt that anyone noticed the problem. As a matter of fact it would get better, but on my way home I grumbled again. The next morning I repeated the same meloncholy mantra. It was really getting bad. I was aware nothing was going to change. The only way to make a change in the situation was to change myself....time for a major attitude adjustment!
My boss was reading A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE and the title made me contemplate my purpose. He gave me a copy for Christmas that year. I have to admit that sometimes I don't read a whole book....sometimes I just carry it around and gain insight through close connection to it. Silly huh? Sometimes it works. I did read the beginning chapters just not the whole book. But I pondered my purpose. I decided that I was given a gift of empathy. It doesn't take much for me to understand the trials people go through. People want to be understood and cared about. Sometimes we don't feel like we are much more than numbers--social security numbers, credit card numbers, account numbers, loan numbers, policy numbers---we don't have identity. I decided my purpose was to give my clients (all those I come in contact with) an identity. The person handing me a salad from the McDonalds window is something more than "an arm attached to my food". They are a real live person with a story to tell. Each person who comes into my office has blessings and trials they have a need to share. Sometimes they don't need anything more than a business person to smile at them, or remember their name.
So my attitude adjustment came as my realization that I too have A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. My purpose was not to go to my job every day to bring home money. (That is a very good side purpose but not one that set well with me) I want each person who walks in the office door, or who is on the other end of the phone to feel better when they leave, or hang up. That is my focus.
What a change it made to my life to look at my job experience with this new perspective. Truly I wake up each morning anxious to get to work. I even enjoy the drive because I love to see the shocked looks on people's faces when I grin at them, leave space for them to change lanes, or give them a big wave when they give me space. (Have you noticed people don't do that anymore?)
No, I'm not a Pollyanna I still get down on occasion, but all it takes is a little tweak in my attitude, or a little change in my perspective to get back in the happy zone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today is Voting Day!

I had an appointment at 8:00 am before I went to work so I had to get to my polling place at 7:00 A.M. There was already a line forming....isn't it awesome to see so many people anxious to vote????
Of course there was the decision to be made for our Presidential leaders, but as Jimmy and I have been discussing lately that position doesn't hold as much power as people tend to give it. Our country was designed specifically to avoid having one person with all the power. Four year terms allow us to remove someone from an office before he has the opportunity to usurp too much power. We have three branches of government: The Executive, or the President and Vice President; The Judicial which is the Supreme Court; and the Legislative or Congress. We have the tendency to credit or blame the President for what is happening at a particular time. So now do we think that whoever we put in that Executive office is going to FIX Wall Street? The gas prices? End the war? It isn't going to happen that way because of those other branches that "Balance the power".
I'm so grateful for the way our forefathers set up our government. It works! Slowly sometimes....and we've certainly done our best to mess it up....but still it functions. I'm grateful for the opportunity to vote and for the patriotism my parents firmly placed in my heart. I still cry when I sing the national anthem, and I pause to think about each sentence in the Pledge of Allegiance. So, in spite of the fact that whoever becomes President will not be able to immediately "fix" us, we do have a right, responsibility, and honor to walk into our polling place to cast our vote.

Another issue that has given me an opportunity to really think is Proposition 8. I believe the Lord meant for marriage to be between a man and woman. He created Adam and then as his companion, helpmeet, partner he created Eve. He even created her from Adam's side. I wonder if He is surprised that we would ever question this coupling. As easy as THAT choice is to me I find that sometimes the very people who make that choice (Christians) forget that He also taught us not to judge. The propaganda against Prop 8 make us sound like we are discriminating in the very disgusting nature that our African American, Japanese, Armenian, and Hispanic brothers have been judged. Sadly, some people do judge and discriminate. But that isn't the Lord's plan. Sometimes I worry that some find it difficult to stand on the middle ground.....you know where we understand that God wants us to live in families that include a mother and a father, but where we truly LOVE and do not judge our brothers and sisters who face the trials and challenges that homosexuality brings to their lives.

We have no concept, unless we've walked that road ourselves, what it feels like to be them. There is no way to know what it is God is asking of these good people. Do we ask them not to love who they choose to love? How do we do that, really, how do we do that? We look for love, live for love, cry when we don't have love, and then we ask them NOT to love? We can't do that, but unfortunately God does. But, God knows there is a way, some way they can overcome this trial, this challenge....even if it IS abstinence. We can't judge them for wanting to love who they want to love, but we do have to honor God's desire to leave the sanctity of MARRIAGE between a man and a woman. While we teach our kids about the Proclamation to the Family, we must also teach them about Christ's example to not cast the first stone, to not judge lest we be judged.

I had a childhood friend, a wonderful friend, who was raised in his Christian church that taught him to love, and also taught him, as mine does, that man should love only a woman. He struggled with his own feelings but tried to live "righteously". Good Christian people mocked him. They called him "fag" and other horrible names. They joked about him behind his back, and to his face. Is it any wonder that he turned to those who understood the pain? He continually TRIED to live the way he had been taught God wanted him to live. He married, had children, made the best of his feelings. But, there was the constant nagging from his head, and the constant taunting from those around him, even in his own congregation. The struggle was too much to bear and he left his marriage. Eventually he died from AIDS. He was the best kind of person kind, loving, patient, giving, receptive, always thinking of everyone else. Tell me........who do you think the Lord will judge more harshly....my friend? or those whose comments might have led him away from the life God wanted for him? Yes, I want marriage to remain as God intended, between a man and woman, but I beg us as Christians to not judge these people who already have a struggle.

Now, go VOTE!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm here, finally!

I made it to American Fork, UT on Saturday evening....late evening after running out of gas and waiting for over an hour for rescue. So silly! I filled up in Hesperia and figured that would take me to St. George. In St. George I got out and walked around Cracker Barrel for just a short time. I had a customer who just lost a son because of a blood clot from not walking around on a long airplane flight. So, I was determined to move around a bit. Then I got a fish taco at a Del Taco since I hadn't eaten anything....then I was on my way again. I never gave a thought to gas while I was singing along to my blasting music....apparently so loud I didn't hear the"ding, ding, ding" of my "low fuel" warning. There I was just a few miles outside Beaver just after dark when I stopped dead. I had a few laughs at my own expense, played a few hands of free cell solitaire on my computer, and just enjoyed the stars while I waited. Don't mean to imply I wasn't a wee bit impatient, but that was just because I was worried little Leah would be down for the night before I got to hold her.

But she was already for Gramma to hold her when I arrived. And what a sweetie she is. I am so grateful for all the pictures, but it just doesn't show how tiny and delicate she is. It would be impossible not to fall in love with her. Sunday, I didn't make it to church and Marque and Sarah let me hold this sweet one to my hearts content. They also let me change her diapers and feed her as well. This bonding time with my new little princess is just what I was waiting for. She started getting a little stuffy nose (not from me I promise!) and so she was a little fussy. What is the matter with me cuz I even love to see this little one cry...she is precious! I got to sleep by her and take care of her needs Sunday night. This made me happy, and Marque and Sarah thought it was like Christmas coming early to be able to sleep through the night. She was way good though, she only woke once before morning light and was very patient with her Gramma while I changed her, warmed her bottle, fed, and burped her.

Monday I mostly sat around holding her all day. She is so entertaining, Her arms just go everywhere and she loves her hands being on, or around her face. Her fingers are so long, and so are her little toesies. These just aren't typical to the Trosper children....oh, and she has a bridge on her nose. Baby Trosper noses just kind of start in the middle of the face without a bridge, so she is going to have a nice nose just like Sarah's.......oh, not that my kids noses aren't absolutely perfect, because they are!

They have a picture of Caitlin, the birth mom, as a baby and Leah really does look like her, but it really is amazing how much she looks like Sarah's baby pictures. You really do get the feeling that Leah just took the long way around to just the right home. Of course there are so many other reasons to feel that is true. It is absolutely wonderful being in this home and feeling the love here.....Marque and Sarah for each other......and each of them for this baby. And for me too. I feel very important in the whole scheme of things.

Christine, Sarah's Mom, and Dave came over for dinner last night. They are such great people to share a grandbaby with, I just love them and I am so glad they are closeby to lavish love on our kids and our granddaughter

I wish I knew how to post pictures but if you go to Marque and Sarah's blog there is no shortage of pics. www.marqueandsarah.blogspot.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Best Friend!

I am blessed with so many friends. When I was a 7 year old Brownie in the Girl Scout organization I learned a song that went "Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold." This was sung in a round and though simple was kind of pretty.

My friends always have been very valuable to me.....such as silver and gold. I have friends from my childhood that I still keep in touch with. I have a very strong friendship with three of my friends from High School. Karen Tabor and I share the same birthday and this year on our birthday I got two cards from her. My friend Karen Russell and I don't always talk as often as we should but when we do it is for a LONG time...then we promise to talk more frequently. Her boys call me "Auntie" and I truly believe they love me! Pam Zoller and I have gone through life together. We are so different and yet I think we balance each other. After a 45 year old friendship we still talk on almost a daily basis.

So if those are my "old" gold friends, then what do we call the friends I made early in my marriage like Milly Fellbaum, Lonna Pectol, or Susie Westphal? Or the ones I made in Chino when I was a young mother like Linda Pratt, Marcia Torgerson, Barbara Gilbert, or Betty Hanson? Are the ones made when my kids were pre-teens and teenagers like Jacquie Smith, Deanna Valderrama, Gloria Kezos, Sherri Johnston, Kathy Harvey, Bonnie Gorski, and Carol Jackson any less valuable? Since I have lived such a long life do we call those "old" gold, or "new" silver. Or do they fall in the ranges of so many other valuable metals? So important to me were my "young" friends who kept me younger and saw me as an older sister, or a VERY young mother, Carrie Huston and Stacy Smith. When my nest was emptying I started collecting another special kind of friend....ones who inspired me....to try on hats, or take a walk in a park in Pasadena... like Karen Kimes.

When I first moved to Virginia I had only one friend, Marie Harrington. She paved the way at church, in the neighborhood, even got me a job with her husband. Other than Marie and Sandy Champaco I didn't forge too many friendships in Virginia that have lasted beyond the time I was there because I focused on my hubby....he was my friend.

When I moved to the Temecula area I renewed friendships with old Chino friends like Claudia Dunn, Rita Ford, Elaina Burgon.

All these friends were made in fair-weather, but they were never fair-weather friends. It is always dangerous to start naming names....too much danger of leaving someone out. Those that I have mentioned and probably a few that I haven't are STILL on my list of bestest friends. I can still give them a call and we can get together for a few laughs, a cry or two, or every woman's favorite thing "food"! I know that even though I didn't have terrible trials you were there for me....and when I did have something to share your ears were open and your shoulder was soft.

When I came back from Virginia and landed in Temecula I found I wasn't in fair-weather any more. Well it actually took a little while to figure it out....during that time I made an excellent lifetime friend with Katie Hackbarth who jumped the generation gap.....she was 16 and I was ....well.....OLD! Today she is 26 and I am...............OLDER STILL!

Fair weather turned a little less fair and I met my friend Vickie Tanner who was RS President in Temecula. She recognized I was sailing into dark waters before I did....she was ready when I finally saw the storm ahead. We strengthened and reflected the best we saw in each other.

I have really needed friends here in my Sun City Ward, and at work as I have gone through the toughest years of my life. They have rallied to my aid at every point...Shirley, Kathy, Joan, Anna, Leah, Lodene, Bill, Tom, Tim, and my customers are not just customers they are great friends. See how blessed I am.

There is so much more than silver and gold here. I haven't mentioned my wonderful Mom, sisters, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, sons, and other family members who are gems to me. I was talking to my sister, Lynette, the other day about my lack of talent.....I keep seeing the talents they all possess, and she told me that my talent was the friends I gather. That if each of them were represented as a flower I would have a very large bouquet. So are my friends precious metals, valuable gems, or unique flowers? I don't know....and I don't know that I can count each of you as MY talent...but I am blessed, so blessed by each of you, and so very grateful that you are each still in my life on a regular basis.

I'm grateful as well for those of you who aren't still in my life, but who have passed through my life and touched me, inspired me, taught me. So many young people.....who are now old!!! LOL and have children of their own. You mean so much to me.

The "tag line" on this lengthy blog was inspired by my best friend though. My best friend is and will always be Bud Trosper. I know this is a strange thing to say since we are getting a divorce. But the fact that our marriage is ending doesn't change the fact that he has always been, still is, and will always be my very best friend. In my large bouquet he is the brightest and most beautiful bloom, the anchor in the very center. In my precious metals he is platinum. Believe me in all the valuable gems he is no cubic zirconium...........he is the "hope" diamond. Even though there is no "hope" for our marriage now, we both hold great "hope" for the eternities. He is the one I feel the most comfortable with, the one I lean on, the one I call when I am the most needy. Yes, still.......

I have been sick this past week and he called many times each day to check on my well-being, he went and got medicine for me, and today he brought dinner in. Hard to explain how a marriage can end and a friendship continue. But it can happen.......and my ex-husband is still my best friend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This is the pitts!

I have a cold. That's not ever a good situation, but when I am stuck in Southern California with an itchy throat, drippy nose, and nasal cough and where I want to be is in American Fork, Utah with my new granddaughter....it's even worse.

When Hailey was born, January 4, 1998, we were living in Ashburn, Virginia. That weekend we had gone back down to Southern Virginia to see a friend we had become very close to. When we got to her home in Norfolk we found that her caregiver had been taken off to the hospital with a heart attack. Hazel was pretty much blind, ill, and could not be left alone. We took on the challenge of getting her care and the people who cared for her viz neighbors, church people, and out of state family connected before we headed back north. In the midst of all of this organization we learned that Jim and Samantha were at the hospital and our first grandchild was on the way. Eventually we had to head back toward our home and though we had cell phones back then but they weren't as dependable as they are today, and so we hit phone booths along the way to get updates on the doings in the labor room. Samantha seemed to be doing fine, but Jimmy was having a tough time with the delivery and had to be seated before he passed out. When we knew the time was getting close we stopped at a hotel and announced to the desk help that we were needing a pay phone FAST. All the front desk employees were a part of the news when Hailey Leilani Trosper finally came into the world. Oh my goodness it was so exciting. It wasn't too long before I went out to see this new little girl and had an opportunity to get to know her. She was so beautiful, soft, smelled so sweet!

I was able to be on hand when Madyson was born. Just before I left on my vacation around the due date my employer, Tori Pitruzzello, told me he was going to have to let me go. Nice thing to do don't you think? I still headed off with my head in the clouds because I was going to have another grandbaby. How exciting it was to be in the delivery room on October 12, 2000 when Madyson Nicole Trosper came in to the world. She was an early birthday present and it was really fun cuddling her and helping mommy and daddy. Being able to give Hailey attention while she was getting used to her new little sister was special too. Even though I had to worry about finding a new job there is nothing like a new baby to make everything copacetic.

Well, the stories have been told about the waiting, waiting, and more waiting for the newest little family member, and finally she is here. Another birthday present for me, a little granddaughter born on October 15, 2008...and instead of being with her....snuggling, smooching, and smelling.....I'm here, with this doggone cold! I am sooooo grateful for the words that have been posted on Marque's blog helping me to feel closer. At least I'm able to see pictures right away telling a fabulous story of her first days on earth....but it isn't quite the same as being there. I'm trying Leah! I don't want anyone to have a chance of getting this bug so I will be there when I get rid of it. I have the Nyquil, cough lozenges, kleenex, Zycam and vaporizer all trying to help me get to you as soon as possible. I am listening to my copy of your lullaby CD that your Mommy sent too. It's fun isn't it? It's making me feel even closer to you.
I'll be there soon.....all you have to do it take care of your Mommy and Daddy, and keep that new baby smell until I get there. Gamma loves you to the skies!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Leah Caitlin Bliss Trosper

We have our baby!

Marque has described their experience in bringing a baby into their home a little like a roller coaster ride. There certainly have been some ups and downs, twists and turns that's for sure. It seems that is life.
The lines for the "white knuckler" rides at the amusement parks are always the longest. We opt for all those "thrills" as opposed to the low level, composed, should I say "boring" rides. No matter how treacherous a ride this adoption course has been....it was worth it... and...it has just begun.

We were expecting, given good reason to suspect, a boy. But as Marque said, the last twist in this roller coaster ride was that instead of getting a little boy, we got a little girl. It was so fun to get the call from Marque....laughing with such joy, pure amusement and irony that he is a she. I didn't believe him at first... he had to do a bit of convincing...c'mon you know what a tease Marque is. So she is here....she has just started her journey.

I'm giving a lesson in Relief Society on Sunday about the Plan of Salvation. Wow, I don't know how I'm going to get through it without blubbering. There is just so much to say right now. The whole roller coaster analogy, a new baby just starting out her ride, mixed in with the ups and downs my life has had lately.
I don't know about you....I'm sure I was in that long line in the pre-existence; wringing my hands, eyes darting around while wondering if I really wanted to keep my place in line, but not willing to miss a moment of the "Collosal Earthlife Roller Coaster" ride. I was determined to take the downward dips and spirals (screaming and with my hands high in the air), all the twists and turns (jolting though they may be) for the fabulous ups (like this one!). Yep I'm glad I stayed in line for this E ticket ride we call life! (But Lord, I'm getting older so let the rest of the ride be just little bumps and tiny twists).

Back to the current "high".
Leah's first day on earth, and her mommy's and daddy's first day with Leah reminded me of this poem by Carol Lynn Pearson

Day Old Child

My day old child lay in my arms,
With my lips agains his ear.
I whispered strongly "How I wish,
I wish that you could hear.
I've a hundred wonderful things to say,
(A tiny cough and a nod.)
Hurry, hurry, hurry and grow,
I want to tell you about God.

My day old baby's mouth was still,
And my words only tickled his ear,
But a kind of light passed through his eyes,
And I saw this thought appear,
"How I wish I had a voice, and words,
I've a hundred things to say.
Before I forget I'd tell you of God.
I left Him yesterday.

I'm so grateful that Caitlin's roller coaster ride brought Leah to the Trosper family. And how thankful I am that Leah, chose to get on this E ticket ride called life!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

13 days to go!!

Okay we all know that babies don't come on anyone's time schedule but their own...but Baby Boo is due to arrive in 13 days.

His birth mom, Caitlin, is having some contractions and the Dr. said it might be any day.... Marque and Sarah are down here on a Disney vacation with Sarah's family that has been planned for quite a while. Of course their first thoughts are with Caitlin and Baby Boo, but there was no reason for them to cancel their plans....as previously noted the baby will come when the baby will come.

I remember when I was expecting Marque I was given the date of January 20th as his prospective birth date. Around Thanksgiving the Dr. felt sure that the baby would come before Christmas so we started weekly visits. Little Markie Poo Poo had other thoughts and didn't come until February 5th. It seemed like forever, because people kept asking, and asking "when is that baby going to be born?" He came when he came. Even after being sooooooo much later than the Dr. predicted he only weighed 6 lbs 13 ozs.

Hopefully Baby Boo will be more considerate of all of us who are waiting and will make his entrance very soon.........at least in 13 days!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great Nephews!

I said that I was going to tell you about my awesome nephews, but there has been so much happening in our lives that I haven't done so. But, they are exceptional so here's the scoop!

Jason was my first nephew. He is younger than Jim and older than Scott. When he stayed with us as a baby he heard the kids calling Bud "Daddy" so he called him "Unca Daddy" (so cute) Jason has 3 beautiful daughters and a brand new son. Just wish he was closer! (Lyn's son)

David was 2 lbs 4 ozs when he was born. He is over 6 feet now with pretty large feet. He came from his prematurity with a sight issue, but it doesn't stop David. He has the greatest smile and an awesome attitude. David knows how to give great "Aunt Leslie hugs", nice and strong. (Susan's son)

Kenneth is on his mission in Mississippi. What an awesome missionary he must be. Kenneth is a really valiant guy. I have a beautiful copy of a painting he did kind of like Thomas Kinkade styling. I'm looking forward to hearing about his mission experiences, and what he plans to do next. (Susan's son)

Nathan lived in a household of women. He will always be the "go to" guy for them. He is a musician and artist. Since graduation from BYU Hawaii he is looking forward to going abroad to teach English...maybe one of the Asian countries or one of the areas in the USSR. He has a big smile too! (Bill's son)

Philip loves his Aunt Leslie. I know that for sure because he's not shy about telling me. I love his texts and notes to me on my "MySpace" page. When there is a family gathering he will seek me out to give me a hug. I think all my nephews are special but Philip thinks I am and that's pretty neat. (Brock's son)

Harrison is charismatic. I told him once that he had that special "something extra" that draws people to him. He could lead people anywhere with his great smile and grinning eyes. He creates artistic tattoos. (just writing this shows how much creativity my family has! If it's genetic it missed me.) (Brock's son)

Joey was kind of part of our family when he was little. He and Scott were pals, Marque and Jim teased him like he was their little brother too. Joey casts for MTV and just opened a boutique in Corona Del Mar. He graduated as a graphic designer. He's goofy and sings made up songs on my voice mail. (Becky's son)

See how fortunate I am to have such neat nephews. By the way they are all young adults but they make me feel younger just being around them. Love you guys!

Aunt Les


Monday, September 22, 2008

It's the new me!

Here is my new Blog look for fall. I hope you enjoy all my new features. Have a happy Monday everyone!

Sarah, my sweet daughter in law, despite her busy and exciting life, built this great blogsite for me. She really knows me quite well I think. With the flowers, romantic look, colors, and music she is right on.

Did you see my little grandson? We call him "Baby Boo" because he will be born around Halloween. Since I'm good with nicknames it might stick.......or......be enlarged upon. He's looking like he's going to be ready very soon to join the Trosper family. Boy, are we ready!!! It will be our first little boy to carry the family name forward. Marque and Sarah have gone through so much to bring this little guy into the family and we are so grateful to his birthmom Caitlin for knowing they were just the right parents. How lucky is Baby Boo going to be to live in a home so full of love! If you don't know what is happening check out their blog. It is said so much better than I could ever say it. http://www.marqueandsarah.blogspot.com/

It has been fun reading Marque and Sarah's blog and jumping to some of the others from theirs. How wonderful it is to peek into others lives and see how well you are all doing. Especially some of those kids I had in Primary, Sunday School, and Seminary. All grown up with your own little kidlets! I know how proud your parents must be, because I certainly feel pride myself!

So thank you Sarah for giving me some class, and thank you visitors for "finding" me and stopping by to catch up a little and take a little stroll down memory lane.

I love you Sarah!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Favorite Nieces!!

This month my niece Camden (Cami) is getting married. I always tell her she's my favorite. She is my favorite, but so is Katie, Monica, Kirstin, Marioly, Anna, Emily, Melanie, Sarah, Karen, VeeAnn, Gillette, Shea, and Brandi.

How can they all be my favorites, you ask? Every Mom, Grandmother, or Aunt knows the answer to that query....it's just possible. They are each and every one so special in their own right, and I love them so much!

Let me try to tell you about them in a word or two starting with the bride-to-be!

Cami is beautiful. She has always been so full of energy. She is friendly, upbeat, and finds good in everyone. She accepts the world as she finds it with no judgement added. She will be an enchanting bride too! Her groom is one lucky man! (Becky's daughter)

Katie is a classic beauty. Her tenacity helped her overcome some pretty major obstacles and she is making us all so proud. She is studying to be a graphic designer. You go girl! She and Cami are a really supportive sister team. (Becky's daughter)

Monica is model material! (All my nieces are beautiful let's face it.) She has long, dark hair, and dark eyes that make her beautiful smile shine. Monica would love to sit on Aunt Leslie's lap and discuss (her) world issues when she was little. (Brock's daughter)

Kirstin is known as Kiki and I think this name fits her perky personality way better. You better have your energy in your backpack when you hang out with Kiki. People love her, as is apparent on her MySpace page.
She will energize the world! (Brock's daughter)

Marioly and I have a special connection because we got to know each other when she was 12 fresh from Bolivia. Scared and unable to speak English we learned to communicate heart to heart. She is an amazing friend, wife, and mother. We still communicate heart to heart. (Brock's daughter)

Anna got her degree in Sociology which is very apropos because I think she could "fix" us all. She and her husband are always on the cusp of a new adventure, in business, music, clothing, or all of the above. Always creative though. She'll be NEAT new Mom in December. (Bill's daughter)

Emily is creative too. She is majoring in Clothing Design in Pasadena. I love keeping tabs on Emily on her MySpace which is always inventive and artistic. She and her siblings have a musical group called the "Space Cowboys" that is especially fun. (Bill's daughter)

Melanie gives the best hugs of all my nieces and that rates HIGH with Aunt Leslie. While overcoming some medical issues she remains positive. She loves to cook and is a good chef. Melanie really expresses how much she loves being part of a large family. (Bill's daughter)

Sarah is the youngest of her generation. She is smart, talented and creative. (Do you see a common thread in all these gals?) My granddaughters love and idolize Sarah. She is very patient and loving to them and that impresses me alot. (Bill's daughter)

Karen died on her 16th birthday but she packed alot of living in those years. In spite of living with the pain and inconvenience of spinal meningitis she was a happy girl. It amazed me when she was a tiny girl that she could express herself so well. She was a valiant soul. (Susan's daughter)

VeeAnn and I became close when we were roomies after my niece Karen passed away. We read and talked into the night. I became "Auntie Wierdo" at that time and it was definitely a term of endearment. VeeAnn was the last radiant bride and is now a Mommy herself. (Susan's daughter)

Gillette was my first little niece and I got to watch her when her Mom worked. She was a cute toddler. Gille has had some tough moments growing up but she is a SURVIVOR. I'm proud of her. I would have been right there for her wedding too but they eloped. (Lyn's daughter)

Shea has embraced her mexican culture and speaks Spanish like it was her first language. She is a good Mommy to Chanz and Chaiz. Shea loves adventure and has lived in many interesting places. She wants to be more settled now and has such a hopeful nature. (Lyn's daughter)

Brandi has really reached out to family and wishes she could be a part of things more. It's hard since she lives pretty far away from everyone. But she keeps in touch through MySpace. I love all her pictures with her family showing her living a traditional family life. (Lyn's daughter)

What a bunch of great nieces! You can see why each of them are my favorite! On my next blog I will share why my nephews are such awesome guys!

Love, Auntie Wierdo


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Indulge me, I'm a Mom!

Scott recently got two life saving awards at the Police Recognition Ceremonies. When he was up on stage after they talked about his saving the life of a man who was stabbed by his brother and the medal was placed around his neck I shouted from the back of the room "That's my boy!" There was a mixture of laughter and disbelief...that a mom would embarrass her "macho" police son like that. I looked at his friend next to me and said "I'm in trouble, huh?" In reply he just nodded his head. Scott took it very well, I don't even think he was too surprised. When he was kidded about it, and he was, he just replied "That's my Mom!"

How does a Mom with all her feelings of pride and love share that about her grown children? There is absolutely no way THIS mom can control the emotion. Scott is an awesome cop. The world would be served well if there were more police officers that had the integrity that he does. I work in Chino and run into many of his fellow officers and the word they use about Scott is "genuine". He is a good man too. He loves his family so much, especially adoring his two little nieces. "That's my boy!" is just one way I can publically express pride.

Jim and Samantha just celebrated their 10th anniversary. It is fun watching him in his role and husband and father. He takes all of it pretty darn seriously and they are apparently successful in their parenting because the girls "shine" in all their activities. Madyson is the "dancing queen" enrolled in 5 or is it 6 dance classes and dancing at the competition level. Samantha is "Mom Supreme" organizing the schedule to get all bases covered. (I'm so lucky my boys did such a good job choosing daughters for me...) Hailey excels in school and is running for school president. Daddy helped her write her slogan "For fun and education daily, vote for Hailey!"

Jim, who considers himself "my rebellious one" has managed to become the most conservative person you can imagine. Patriotism, politics, how he manages and cares about his staff at work, devotion to his little family, the extended family, and how he turns to God to help him through difficult times prove it. I was always proud of who he was, even through his "rebellious" period, and how pleased I am at the man he has become. "That's my boy!"

Today though, my emotions are so high with love, joy and pride for Marque and Sarah. I could just sit and watch these two forever. When I do though, my eyes are always full of tears. They are so cute!!!

Marque is successful in business. We always knew he would be. Last week when I got to see where he and Sarah worked everyone wanted to share with me such positive things about Marque, and Sarah too. He is such an asset to this thriving company.

See, Marque is cringing now...probably even more than Scott was on that stage...humble and embarrassed to be the focus of Mom's gushing,

Marque, being the oldest takes on the role of responsibility in our family. When he called the house we would sometimes joke saying "Dad's on the phone". He's quite serious with us. Wants to make sure we are all okay. "Everything okay? Need any money? What can I do?" But when he's with Sarah that's gone...he is just a kid. They giggle and share inside jokes, he blushes, she dances or sings, he beams. He can't believe how lucky he is that she loves him, and she can't believe how lucky she is that he loves her. Cute, just cute. I have tried to express to them how happy they make me, and I just cry. But I think they know.

Now, the tears are filling my eyes and running down my cheeks with love, joy, and pride. They are getting their baby! I want to say his name, but the name isn't written in stone yet, though that's how I think of him. He will be a beautiful little boy, but more than that he will be a lucky little boy. Such wonderful parents he will have. They are great Aunt and Uncle to two little nieces, and three nephews. They have so much love to share. Yea!!!!!!

He has always been good at keeping a journal, and I love reading his blog marqueandsarah.blogspot.com because he is a good writer and you can feel what he feels. What he feels is so positive. You can tell he is a happy person. That's what I wanted for him it's written in his baby book "I just want you to be happy!" He has a good career, a great community, great attitude, wonderful wife, and now he will have this sweet little baby. I think he's happy! "That's my boy!"

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Perfect Day!

Saturday I spent the day at Corona del Mar beach with my two granddaughters. While I was watching the girls digging for sand crabs I took a moment to realize that in spite of my recent challenges I was happy.

Blue sky, fluffy clouds, still air, and ideal temperature helped to create the perfect day that was wrapped around me. It was crowded, boy was it crowded, but the buzz of the families celebrating various occasions, barbecues sending out fumes of burgers and asada, even the distant strumming of a guitar added to the atmosphere.

Once I was asked what made me the happiest and my answer was “Cheering from the sidelines of a soccer game.” Somehow when I was being the Mom I was meant to be, the grass was greener, sky bluer, and air cleaner . That was the kind of day Saturday was. Just being there watching the girls dipping toes into the water (Mady) and jumping into the surf with a brand new friend (Hailey) made me so aware of God in my life and I was sure he was particularly aware of me. My joy was superb and the tears mixed with the sand on my cheeks.

We are told, and it is practical as well as spiritual advise, to be prepared with physical supplies as we might encounter tragedy. I was thinking that it is important also to gather nuts to be prepared for emotional or mental “hits” to our lives. These are some of the nuts I think I was lucky to have hoarded and I plan to continue gathering.

1) Friends and family. I’m not one who tends to call and “cry” it out, but how grateful I am someone is always available when that need is there. Thanks for the listening ears and the soft shoulders to lean on. Your advise, wisdom, and wit pulled me through many tough moments, days, weeks, and months. You helped me make sense when there was no sense. I’m just asking you to continue to do so because I’m sure that while I have topped the peak there will still be many times I need to reach out. Friends are special “nuts” I’ve gathered. LOL

2) Quotations, scriptures, pearls of wisdom. You will frequently find a scripture taped to my bedroom wall, or a quotation adhered to my mirror. I have always been a collector of people’s words to describe things I felt, and had no idea I would feel. I even gather words…..like attitude, perspective, forgiveness, acceptance, joy. My favorite quotation is “Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference.” Sometimes a little attitude adjustment, or a new perspective on a problem makes a huge difference. If you gather these thoughts in good times, they will sometimes just appear when you most need them. If I find myself a little down, unable to bounce back up, I will head off to Hallmark right to the Cope and Encouragement aisle. Yes, it’s true, I will buy myself a card, take it home and paste it to the mirror. So if you ever get a card from me that has little tape marks on it you will know that the thought was a well used, well loved one that was passed on to encourage you through your tough time.

3) Music. Michael Ballam said that we all need a first aid kit of music to heal our emotional hurts. Boy, do I agree with him. How magic is it that everything you feel you will hear on the radio just when you need it? There are favorites that I have stored that kiss my hurt away just when I think I can’t stand the pain any longer. Or, some that will lift my spirit even higher when I’m just beginning to soar again. When I was coming home from a family reunion in Utah I stopped at a Walmart in Cedar City because I had a hunger for an old friend. I looked until I found a John Denver CD that had the nut that I needed “Wild Montana Sky”. I got out to the car and ripped the saran wrap with my teeth…I was like an addict that needed my fix! I finally popped it into the player and punched up #20. After fastening my seat belt John Denver and I headed home harmonizing my way to bliss.

Last Saturday when we were driving home with the girls sleepily scrunching into their sand filled seats, I tentatively removed the Hair Spray soundtrack that had played at least 3 times through and replaced it with my John Denver CD. The girls fell in love with him too. “ Play it again Gramma! Play the Montana one again. Perfect! A shared moment, a shared nut. Thank you so much Heavenly Father for all my blessings! It was the perfect end of a perfect day!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Store up Nuts

Saturday I took my two beautiful granddaughters to the beach and had an amazing day.

As I was sitting on my towel watching them digging for sand crabs I took the moment to register the joy surging through my soul. I recognized that in spite of recent adversity I was happy! How could I not be? There I was wrapped in the beauty of a perfect day. Ideal temperature, blue sky, fluffy clouds, and the air was motionless. Oh, it was crowded......way crowded, but that added energy and happiness with the buzz of conversation, families celebrating various occasions, barbecues sending out fumes of hamburgers or asada, and the strum of a guitar in the distance. Heavenly! The only thing that made it better was watching those two little girls making friends with every other little one within shouting distance.

Once I was asked what made me the happiest and my reply was quick, "Cheering from the sidelines of a soccer game while my son(s) played." Somehow when I was being a Mom I was meant to be, the grass was greener, sky bluer, and air cleaner. That was the kind of day Saturday was. Just being there watching the girls dipping toes into the water (Mady) and jumping into the surf with a brand new friend (Hailey). Is God in my life? Most certainly! Is He aware of me, little ole me? Darn right! Am I aware of Him? How could I not be?! Joy, pure joy!

Sure I feel adversity. I feel sadness and loneliness. I may even have a day of occasional depression, but I'm grateful that I bounce. When I hit the ground I know, for certain, that what goes down must come up. Luckily I bounce back up pretty quickly. I guess it's just my nature to some degree, but also I think there are a few things that I do to help find the joy in life.

Store up nuts for the future: We never know when tragedy of any sort will strike. It's part of life. God let's us work through these problems and it strengthens us. Just as we should put money, food and other essentials aside for physical tragedies or those caused by nature, we should store "nuts" that will take us through personal or emotional challenges.

Some of my "nuts" include:
1) Keeping in touch with friends. I am blessed with an abundance of friends, many I have known for years. Though I am usually not the person to call and "cry" it out, it is nice to have someone to listen when that need arises. And the shoulder to lean on is comfy too. Your advise, wisdom, and wit pulled me through many tough moments, days, weeks, and months. You helped me make sense when there was no sense. More than that it is great to have someone to have fun with when life just isn't fun.

2) Gathering quotes, cliches, and scriptures. I have always been a oollector of people's words to describe things I felt, and those I had no idea I would feel. Cliches are true, that's how they became cliches. Some of my favorite quotations deal with attitude, perspective, service, kindness, forgiveness, acceptance, joy. My favorite quotation is "Attitude is a little thing that makes a BIG difference." Sometimes a little attitude adjustment, or a new perspective on a problem makes a huge difference. If I gather these thoughts in good times, they will sometimes just appear when I most need them, I can always find something get me through a blue day. You will almost always find some quote or scripture attached to my mirror. To help me survive my current challenge I have actually adhered permanently to my wall the following "Cherish yesterday, Live today, Dream tomorrow!" If I don't have anything in my brain file to solve the days crisis, you will find me at Hallmark looking through the Cope and Encouragement section. Yes, I do buy cards for myself with just the perfect message. I take it home and tape it to the mirror. So if you ever get a card from me that has little tape marks on it you will know that the thought was a well used, well loved one that was passed on to encourage you through your tough time.

3) Being aware daily of my blessings. When difficulties arise if you are in the habit of counting your blessings they will pop up in your head just when you are ready to submerge yourself in the "Poor me's". If I start my prayers thanking the Lord for the blessings already received, I seem to get the answers far more quickly when I move into the "Lord, please help me" stage of my prayers.

4) Music. Michael Ballam said we all need a first aid kit of music to heal our emotional hurts. So true! There are favorites that I have stored that seem to "kiss" my hurt away just when I think I can't stand the pain any longer. Or, some that will lift my spirit even higher when I'm just beginning to soar again. The other day when I was traveling home from Utah I had the craving for an old friend. I stopped at a Walmart in Cedar City and searched for a John Denver CD. It had to include a few of my favorites but most particularly one called "Wild Montana Sky". I got to the car and ripped the saran wrap with my teeth.....like an addict that needed my fix! I finally popped it in and punched up #20. I played it over and over and sang so loud the coyotes probably heard me as I drove through the Nevada desert. Music heals, music gives joy, music touches my soul, music passes on through the generations with memories attached. I remember and sing songs my parents taught me, I taught my children, and now my grandchildren love singing them with me.

Last Saturday when we drove home from the beach and Madyson and Hailey were scrunched into sand filled seats, I tentatively removed "Hair Spray" and popped in the John Denver CD. The girls fell in love with him too. They quickly learned "Wild Montana Sky". "Play it again Gramma!" I did! Again and again. A shared moment, a shared "nut". We all three sang it loud enough to disturb the bunny rabbits in the Sun City desert. Thank you so much Heavenly Father for all my blessings! It was the perfect end of a perfect day!

Monday, July 14, 2008

July! #2

One of the ways I make my job my own is to post a quote every month. Then I make business card size copies for my clients to take from my desk. Some of them come in to get "this month's" quote. On July 1 I was driving to work thinking that I needed to find a new quote. "Should I look for a patriotic quote, or a summertime quote?" I started thinking about what I loved about July and when I got to work I typed up my little poem!

JULY

July
Freedom!
America's anthems on patriot lips,
Explosions of light in the sky.
Firecracker pops fill the air,
Pursuing the right of happiness!

July
Beach Days!
Riding waves to the shore,
Digging sand crabs with shells,
Castles created by little hands,
Relaxing in the summer sun!

July
Barbecue!
Licking mustard off lips,
Big bites of chilled watermelon,
Dipping toes in the kiddy pool,
Warm summer nights!

July!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July!

I love July, mostly because of 4th of July. Patriotic feelings come so strongly from my childhood. Every American holiday my Dad would wake all of us up .....never mind I will post a story my sister, Lynette, and I co-wrote about it.

The 4th of July

Hurrah, Hurrah for the 4th of July! Mommy stood at the door of the girls bedroom with blonde haired Karen on her hip. Another rousing “Hurrah!” alerted the girls that it was time to rally.
Leslie groaned. “Do we have to do this at our new house? These people don’t know us. Can’t we just leave it that way?” Leslie loved the 4th of July as much as anyone but it was one time she just wished her family was not quite so open in their patriotism. She didn’t have much time to think about it though because Daddy was at the bedroom door with his shiny, bright smile urging them to hurry.
“C’mon girls let’s not waste this beautiful morning!”
Wishing she at least had time to take the curlers out of her hair and put on her new red, white, and blue summer dress Leslie stumbled out of bed and slid her feet into her slippers. “Daddy, can’t we just dressed first?” she mumbled.
Lynette jumped out of bed with unusual energy. She was the one who typically fought getting up. Not today! It was 4th of July and great things were in store. Daddy and Mommy made sure this holiday was almost as exciting as Christmas. Knowing what came first Lynette was ready to go. It didn’t matter that her hair had flattened pony tails from sleeping on them, and that her pj tops didn’t match the bottoms with holes in the knees. Jumping up and down she encouraged Leslie to hurry, “Leslie, we’re not going to a party. Remember we’re the oldest we have to be in front!”
Leslie groaned again. Since she was the oldest she would be the very first out of the door. Lynette would get to carry the flag right behind her. Daddy made the decision last night. “Yep Lynette I think you’re tall enough to keep it off the ground this year. Lynette stood even taller just to prove her Dad‘s point
Leslie seemed to shrink as she thought, “Did he have to rub it in?” She continued to contemplate the unfairness of it all. “How could God possibly have made such a mistake? I’m the oldest so I’m supposed to be the tallest.” Unfortunately as much as she tried to stretch herself, Lynette passed her up. She had grown two more inches just since they got out of school for summer vacation. Leslie wondered, “Could there possibly be a more awkward situation than to have your little sister taller than you?”
Lynette jolted her from her uncomfortable trance with a rousing “Hurrah, hurrah for the 4th of July! Leslie! Hurry up!”
Dragging her slippered feet Leslie headed for the front door. Daddy and Mommy were there already. Mommy gave Susan a whistle showing her how to put her little fingers over the holes while she blew. Karen at two years old seemed confused at all the activity until Daddy handed her a pot and showed her what a great sound it would make when hit with a spoon.
“Okay, is the Bliss Band ready to go?” Daddy bellowed joyfully.
“Leslie you go first with your triangle. Lynette, be careful of the flag. Keep the pole on your hip and hold it strong with both hands. Hold it high so the flag doesn’t even touch the ground.” Lynette stood taller and took a firm grip on the flag’s pole. This was the first time she ever got to carry the flag, and she knew it was an honor. “
Susie blow that whistle good now. Turn the pan over Karen. Bang it hard. Mommy, you’re next, what instrument are you going to play?“ They all laughed as she took one of Daddy’s black combs out of her apron pocket and wrapped it with wax paper. Mommy smiled as she put the comb to her lips and hummed against it making the musical vibration sound a bit like a kazoo. “Fantastic!“ Daddy declared “Okay, everyone ready? . Hup, two, three, four. PAA-RRUMP, PAA-RRRUMP, “ Daddy rolled his ‘r’s trying to make the sound of a drum roll. They all marched in place for a while just inside the front door, then Daddy opened the door with a flourish, never losing a beat, and still marching in place.
Leslie moved slowly out the door. She stopped and looked up the block, then down the block to see if anyone was outside. Her only hope was that 8:00 on a holiday morning was too early for most of the neighbors.
The flag’s pole tapped Leslie on the shoulder reminding her she couldn’t stop this parade even if she wanted to. Lynette added to the urgency whispering, “Go Leslie, go. Susan’s running into me.” Leslie hesitantly marched ahead, with the family following in a high stepping cadence.
Daddy was still PA-Rrrumping, and in his right hand, appearing as if by magic, he held Leslie’s baton from her dance class. Trying to twirl it like a drum major he marched to the front of the line. When he stood before them he bellowed, “Forward, HARCH!” With a broad wave of his hand started singing loudly “Yankee Doodle went to town, A riding on a pony, “ The whole family joined in singing at the top of their lungs, while making as much noise as they could with their rag tag band instruments.
Leslie tried to daintily hit the triangle with a spoon as it swung crazily back and forth as she marched behind her father. She was still concerned about the neighbors seeing the family’s crazy antics, but her enjoyment of the tradition was winning out.
Following close behind, Lynette smiled broadly hoping her friends would come out and see the parade. In her mind, she and her family were dressed in magnificent band uniforms and played just as grandly as any band on earth. With that thought she bellowed even louder “Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle Dandy…“ Behind her she could hear Susan occasionally try to blow the tin whistle Daddy brought from one of his business trips. Mostly Susan was only able to make whooshing sounds before giving up to sing along with her family. The sounds Susan did manage to whistle were drowned out by Karen’s repeated thumps on the pan. Thump, clack, thunk. Karen liked the noise and she was making a lot of it. Mommy hummed “Yankee Doodle” into her waxed paper comb kazoo beaming with pride as she marched along with her little ones and giggling at her husband’s antics.
They marched down the front walk and at the corner of the grass where it met the sidewalk Daddy called out, “Right, Harch!” and made a sharp turn onto the sidewalk. As each daughter reached the same spot on the concrete the also made a quick right turn. Karen almost fell over her own little feet but caught herself just in time. Mommy humming along at the back of the parade quickly stepped over the corner of the grass onto the concrete. When he reached the driveway Daddy again called out “Right, Harch!” and the Bliss parade followed their father up the driveway to the corner of the house where Daddy had nailed up the small flag holder.
Marching in place he waited for each family member to line up in front of the garage. Being very good followers they each took their lead from their father as he marched in place facing them. “Company Halt.” he called and the all stopped marching, except for little Karen whose feet needed a couple seconds to catch up.
All paused for a moment and then lifting his knees high Daddy took one step forward and with a precise military step-turn to the left, he marched forward until he was directly in front of Lynette and the flag she bore proudly. He saluted, then took the flag from her hands. Lynette grinned with pride as she carefully gave up the treasured emblem reversing his steps he stopped at the corner of the garage. Reaching high, Dad placed the flag into it’s honored position.
He turned to his family and said purposefully. “Okay, ready. Repeat after me.” His voice grew soft, yet strong. Leslie could see in her father’s eyes as he said the words that this was more important than a family tradition. Out of the corner of her eye she saw several of her friends gathering with their parents on their lawns, but it didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was this flag, and this pledge she was saying with her family.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.”
Leslie noticed Mommy wipe a tear from her eye, and Daddy got a little choked up when they said the part about ‘one Nation under God’. There was no doubt about the importance of this moment and Leslie was no longer embarrassed, she was proud. She noticed Lynette was standing straight and tall as a soldier with her hand over her heart. The girls all copied, and respected, the honor their parents gave the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance.
It didn’t matter if the whole neighborhood watched because they were having a moment. One moment that would be rolled with many moments where the Bliss parents would pass on the importance of patriotism to their little family. Leslie almost felt like she needed to include “Amen” at the end of the pledge, but instead she just slowly moved her hand and placed it quietly next to her side.
High and off key, Lynette started singing the Star Spangled Banner, “O say can you see,” Daddy stopped her and then signaled them to all start again, this time in a lower key, “O say can you see, by the dawns early light.“
As they sang Leslie was so proud to see that more and more neighbors gathered. The chorus rose from all directions in the neighborhood as everyone joined in singing the National Anthem with the patriotic Bliss Family.


Just one of the reasons I love July!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Being a Mom!

I don't know how many people are aware what a "girlie girl" I am. When I was a child I was actually considered "prissy". Wearing curls in my hair replete with ribbons and bows, and always in dresses I spent my time pretending I was a mommy. I had many babies with names like "Belonk" and "Golanda" who were always dressed to the "nines" especially when they attended tea parties with me. I couldn't wait to be a Mommy for real.
Married at 18 I was anxious to start my family but Marque wasn't born until I was 22. It never really occured to me that I might have a boy because girls outnumbered 4 to 1 in my family and 10 to 1 in Bud's family. I actually asked them to double-check when they announced "You have a boy!" It wasn't that I was disappointed, I wasn't, just surprised! That was about the only surprise I had because I had done my homework on being a mother. Little Raymond Marquist, aka Marc, aka Mark, aka Marque, aka Q was so easy. Maybe it was because he was the first, he was organized and in charge from the get-go. I remember when he was about 18 months old he was so frustrated with the kids I babysat for because they didn't put the toys away in the orderly fashion he required. He would stomp his foot, rearrange them and then scowl at the other little kids for their sloppiness. To this day Marque likes to take care of me rather than the other way around.
Being there was only 20 months between Markie and my second child I was hoping it was a boy. James David was born and I knew they would be so close! They are--now that they are 36 and 38. They couldn't have been more opposite as they were growing up. They didn't fight often because they didn't share any interests, toys, clothes, or music that they would fight over. Jimmy scared us right at first because he didn't grow. Poor little guy went through so many medical tests and lost so much of his growth until they finally figured it all out. He caught up very quickly and thrived. Everyone was in love with him from the moment they saw him. Jimmy didn't waste much time trying to do something, he waited until he could do it well the first time!
Coming from a large family (7 kids) I wanted to have bunches of kids, but my body had other ideas. So I waited for 4 1/2 years before risking another pregnancy and then I had my 3rd son. Maybe God was afraid I would name a daughter "Belonk" or "Golonda"! I think I would have been disappointed if my third and last child was a girl, but maybe I just adjusted to that version of thought because I grew to love my role of mother of sons! Scott was easy! He entertained himself or he was entertained by his older brothers. I remember going to a Tupperware party at the neighbors. Scott was just a year and he sat quietly on a blanket the whole time. When he started to school the teachers always told me that "all the kids love Scotty". He was and still is a good blend of his older brothers and both of them got along so well with their little brother.
So I was the mother of boys and I learned to curtail the flowers and hearts to my doodling rather than my decorating. Soccer became my favorite pasttime over the years. Every year I was room mother for at least one of the kids classes if not all of them, and I put in my time on the PTA as well. Anything having to do with my chosen career of motherhood was right up my alley. I even took appropriate breaks from being a Mom to go out with friends, or my husband because I was told that it was better for my kids to be fresh!
One of the things I also did as a mother is teach my sons that I wanted, adored, expected "mushy" Mothers Day cards. Come on, what little boy is going to know that on their own???? It's only fair that if I put aside my "girlie girl" to be the mother of three active boys, that they put aside their "manly man" for their mommy once a year! They are so good! Scotty even notates on the front of the envelope that he gets extra points because it's pink!
Now I have my girls too! Two beautiful perfect (really they are perfect!) daughters-in-love, and two little granddaughters. I have the best of all worlds. Every year, and this year I received heartfelt messages, and so much love stuffed into cards, notes, gifts, food, and flowers all tell me that Motherhood is the magic I always knew it to be! It is the absolutely best career choice I could have made!
What? Do you think it's because of all the "booty" I haul in at Mothers Day........not bad.....but it's really because of Marque, Jim, Scott, Sarah, Samantha, Hailey and Mady!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pile of Pooh

The other day an old friend and I sat in Carrows discussing life....and stuff. This wasn't an in-ordinary circumstance because we get together somewhat frequently and chat until the restaurant closes for the evening. But there were differences this time.

We are two card-carrying "Pollyanna's", "see the glass half-full", optimistic, happy people who always have smiles on our faces. The world will never see our woe! After a few moments of telling each other all the GOOD news in our lives we tenderly edged into the "not so blessed" moments. As is our nature we would pull it back just as quickly trying to gulp our words back into our mouths. Wouldn't want a cloud over our heads, would we?

We came up with an analogy. (My kids know how much I love analogies.)

We have a pile of pooh, with an awful odor, but never mind we immediately throw a nice sod blanket over it, and then plant beautiful flowers on top. Now we don't have to acknowledge our pile of pooh, and no one else has to see it either.

We laughed and laughed when we saw our problems as a pile of pooh, and our ability to rapidly decorate and cover up. It was really liberating. Now we are trying to recognize the pooh for what it is and remove it, shovel by shovel, before we beautify the area.

It's not that I worry what other people will think of me that makes me cover things up, it's that I don't want to see them myself. Whether from my nature, or my childhood, or out of my faith I have always been good at seeing the "brighter" side. My mottos are "Bloom where you're planted." "If you're given lemons, make lemonade." "Make an attitude adjustment." "Look at things from a different perspective." "See the glass half full". "Count your blessings". I'm extremely good at counting my blessings...they are so plentiful....and I feel ungrateful if I whine, or grumble a bit. But seriously folks I do have a "pile of pooh" that is gets pretty stinky in spite of my efforts to plant beautiful flowers. When I told Jimmy about my analogy he said "Flowers planted on pooh are pretty stinky".

So, my friend and I have challenged each other to acknowledge the pile of pooh, see what it's made of, feel it, smell it, remove it and then plant beautiful flowers so everything will be as God created it!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Broken Dreams

Probably when I was about five years old I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be married and have a family. While going to school, trying to make the grades, taking career tests, preparing for college I still knew that my career would be a homemaker. There was nothing demeaning about my choice. There couldn't be a loftier position to attain, or a happier one.

My parents set me up good. If they had problems or frustrations I didn't see them. My mom loved my Dad and my Dad adored my Mom and that was all there was to it. When they danced they looked into each others eyes with dewy eyes and created romance as they glided across the floor. As Dad would leave for work they would share a kiss.... two quick pecks and one long. I can just see my little five year old self swept up with the magic of the whole thing.

Imagine those same parents being anxious and frustrated when their 18 year old daughter isn't focused on the college degree and career but instead moves headlong into marriage with her brain filled with all the romantic notions they put there. But, there is absolutely no doubt, no doubt at all that when I was at that little alter in Las Vegas, I saw stars in his eyes too. Actually I was concerned that I couldn't match the depth of love that I saw in his eyes. We were off into the wonderland of marriage.

41 years, 4 months, 5 days, 3 amazing sons, 2 wonderful daughters in law, 2 beautiful granddaughters, a plethora of friends, a million kisses, two million "I love you's", several challenges met, a couple dozen trials overcome, and we split.

How the heck is that possible? We're the Trosper's! Nothing can pull us down. But it did. There were no horrible heart wrenching arguments, no accusations and pointing fingers, just the slow demise of a dream, a career, a lifestyle.

Who am I now? If I'm not a Mrs. what do I hang my hat on? How do you go about re-inventing yourself at 60?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Greet the day with a song!

When I was in Primary....lo those many years ago.....we were called the Homebuilders. The separate classes were Larks, (9-10 years old) Bluebirds (10-11), and Seagulls(11-12). As I remember it was really a course then on helping the girls become focused on being homebuilders, thus the name. We learned skills of homemaking in the class.

One of the skills we learned was to embroider, which I would say most little 9-10 year olds are not learning these days. We made a sampler with cross stitching. Mine was on kind of a burlap sort of material in a buff color. I chose to use three shades of pink for the main part of the sampler which gave the motto's of each class "Greet the Day with a Song", "Make Others Happy", and "Serve Gladly".

I came across my sampler not too long ago and though the workmanship left something to be desired, I pondered the words on the sampler. I think I embraced those words because I find that these are some strong motivations for my life....my whole life.

Loving music so much I do greet each day with a song, or two, or fifty-five. My kids used to love it when I would greet their day with a song when they were young. I remember many groans and pillows pulled over their heads as I sang loudly; "Good morning, good morning! You've slept the whole night through. Good morning, good morning to you!"

Making others happy is my goal each and every day. I went through a period not long ago of hating having to go to work. I woke up each morning and didn't greet the day with a song, and the first words running through my brain were "I hate my job, I hate my life!" This was probably because I had a 1 to 1 1/2 hour drive to work and I didn't want to work. It was not part of my plan for my life. Oh, I have always worked, but it was my choice. Something to be able to give my kids, and later my husband and myself extra money for extra things. It was no longer a choice...I HAD to work, I HAD to bring home that paycheck. Yuck!!! There is nothing like not having a choice to kill the joy of life. But one day I realized we always have a choice...it's a matter of perspective, a matter of attitude. I just needed to take look from a different view. When I thought about what my purpose in life is, what talent and gift were given to me I realized I didn't have to go to work for that paycheck, I could go to work each day to touch, or even change lives. That little adjustment in attitude is all it took to make me wake up each morning with a yawn and a smile. Now I say "I love my job, I love my life....because I can change the life of everyone who walks through my office door, or is on the other end of a phone call. My purpose in life is to "Make Others Happy".

It doesn't take much effort, just a smile, a nod, calling them by name, being interested in them and yes serving them gladly. No one wants to walk into an insurance office....it means they have to pay, they've had an accident or other trauma....but if you walk out of the office knowing someone cares then it isn't so bad after all.

This is what I do at work, but of course I try to do it with those I come in contact with. The bonus is that when I remember to I have a happier life.....I want to get out of bed each morning because it is all going to be worthwhile!

I never purposely tried to live the values on that sampler that I made in Primary as a child, but I wonder sometimes how much they subliminally affected my life.

xxxGreet the Day with a Songxxx
xxxMake Others Happyxxx
xxxServe Gladlyxxx