Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Letter

I love the whole Christmas season. I love the colors, smells, and the music. I love the whispers and shouts of “Merry Christmas”, and the children’s wishes and dreams. I love the spirit of the holiday beginning with remembering the Savior who came into the world so humbly. The dichotomy is crazy—spending so much while honoring a babe born in the manger. But I love it all, the whole package. It’s just so ……….JOYFUL!! It is a great end to a blessed 2009.

Scott has had a life changing year for sure. He reconnected with an old high school friend (crush) through Facebook. We all could see the writing on the wall immediately, and in a hot air balloon over Temecula he asked Cynthia Allen to marry him in August. They bought a “forever” house that is big enough to raise their future family, and Scotty got his BA degree. To top off that very special year they are going to have a little girl around May 22nd. Neither of them wandered far from where they were raised. Scott is a policeman and Cynthia is a teacher in Chino. They both knew they were waiting for someone special, and they found each other…….again!

Jim, Samantha, Hailey and Madyson are thriving in Lake Elsinore. Hailey started middle school this year…I know can you believe it? She will be 12 in January. Mady is 9 and besides school she enjoyed competition dancing with Just Dance It. We are so proud of both of our beautiful girls. I especially enjoy our “girlie days” together. Jim is working as Guest Services Manager at Riverside Community Hospital where he loves giving hospital patients and their families the kind of attention they need and deserve. Samantha is looking forward to some great opportunities ahead as she works at Winco in receiving. They have had some great family moments this year! One of the best was Madyson's baptism. Uncle Marque did the praying and the dunking but there was lots of family and friends there supporting.

Marque, Sarah, and Leah have done quite a bit of traveling in 2009, disproving those naysayers who said life would change with a baby. Have to tell you they seem to pack and carry a ton of stuff with relative ease. They have really been here for the family this year. I think they have made the trip to California five times. Marque is Vice President over legal stuff (I think) at PMI. Sarah is so creative with her time and talents while she is a full time Mommy to Leah. Leah has had an eventful year learning new words, how to crawl, then walk and lots of other new things. The biggest event for the family, the whole family, was the day the adoption became final. Another special day was when she was sealed in the Mount Timpanogos Temple to her Mommy and Daddy. What a spiritual feast that was. Leah is very proficient in engaging everyone with her big blue eyes and sparkling smile, and is growing way to fast.

As for Bud and I, our divorce became final in February of this year. We have remained friends which makes gathering with family so much easier. Today he is coming over to help wrap the presents we bought together, and then we are heading to Scott and Cynthia’s for a pre-Christmas celebration. He had a heart attack in September which scared all of us, but him particularly. He will be doing some life changing so he can stick around for awhile. I have had some recent changes too. I will be working 3 days a week from now on. Not my idea, but it’s growing on me. Who knows what 2010 will bring?

It is so funny that as our divorce ended our marriage we had such an incredible year of family. We were all together for such magnificent events this year including a baptism, wedding, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and a cruise together to the Mexican Riviera. Bud and I definitely did something right as we raised our children because they are truly amazing. They have turned the tables and given us such love and support as we have lived through this challenge. My boys have chosen the most amazing daughters for me, and have given me a wonderful identity as “Gramma” to the cutest granddaughters ever. I feel incredibly blessed!

Let me wish all of my friends and family a very Merry Christmas and a spectacular 2010!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Analyzing Farmville Addiction...

I have never been a person who was too crazy about Atari, Nintendo, XBox or Wii. Well, I suppose that isn't totally true because I did love me a little pong, pac-man, and tetris all in different periods of time. I also have to admit to this crazy little addiction to Farmville on Facebook.
It's crazy. Sometimes I wake up early, before dawn early, and think "I have to go milk my cows", or "I have to harvest that corn before it goes bad". Why? This is a question that I ask myself almost immediately after. If I have an opportunity to sleep in, why am I concerned about a virtual farm?
Since I am an analytical person and speak often to the self in my head I was determined to figure this out. I do not have an addictive personality usually. Okay, all that know me know that I am addicted to my big blue jug, or maybe the diet coke inside, but other than that I am a pretty sane person. After having an internal conversation about the nature of this escape into Farmville I realized it is an escape from reality. But, not only that, it is having a sense of control over something.
Control. This is one small word that I think has a big impact in our life. Control can be defined not by Webster but by Leslie in two ways: 1) Having power over someone or something 2) having power over someone or something. I know that sounds the same, but it really is very different. #1 implies overpowering, using a forceful nature to make someone or something go your way. #2 means being empowered to change a perspective or situation for yourself.
Confused? Let me explain how I happened to be aware of the importance of control. I had a very good friend who got the HIV virus from a transfusion she was given when she had her sixth child. It became AIDS and she was terminal. She certainly didn't have control over this situation. There was nothing she could do to change this medical diagnosis at that particular time. But, we don't like to give up control of our life that easily so Carolyn called on our church congregation and the priesthood to help give her back control, or in this case her life. We all prayed, blessings were given, but we also asked that we all could have the strength to survive God's will, whatever it might be. Carolyn was so brave as she faced the rest of her life. But, if she couldn't control this major aspect of her life, she could control other aspects.
This is where I learned that a survivor doesn't just give up when life doesn't go their way they look for another place that they can have control. We went to help her with her children, help her clean her house. I know she appreciated it, but it probably made her feel even more out of control. When I went to her house one day to lend a hand I was surprised when she didn't want me to do those kind of "mundane" chores, she wanted to go into her garden and pull weeds. We must have been a funny sight her leaning on me to get to the garden because she was six feet tall and a little over, I am five feet tall and a little under. But when we made it into the garden she loved shoving her fingers into the soil....it gave her so much to have a little control over something. Before she was bedridden she had also gotten a space for our congregation to use as a community garden and she was very busy organizing it, and then making it ready for all of us to use. After she was bedridden she found some control by making sure the congregation had water for our food supply by locating water bottles.
So thanks to Carolyn I am aware that if life gives us things we have no control over...like death of someone we love, illness, loss of job, divorce or a plethora of life's challenges, we may have to give up our control in that part of our life, but we can empower ourselves in another way. We can give into depression, anger, and frustration or we can look forward by manning ourselves with tools that keep us going.
Am I saying then that I play Farmville because I can control that when I can't control how my body works, or my marital situation? Yes, I guess that's what I'm saying. Maybe I am not as altruistic as my friend Carolyn but I am finding ways to keep me from just feeling sorry for myself. Really there are other ways that I have used this theory to my own good other than just playing Farmville and I do encourage others to do the same. Right now, for instance, I have a bum knee. I haven't been able to do alot of things I would like to do. Generally I like to get my house clean before I do anything else, but since my leg is in pain after just a minute or two of being up it doesn't get cleaned, and the next day I just start over again. So I was finding myself sitting in front of the "boob tube" being lazy and feeling sorry for myself. At one point I had to do laundry, no choice, so as I was sitting on the couch folding my clothes I sensed a bit of control or empowerment. No kidding, I realized I could do that and it felt good to be able to do something. So I wrote down a bunch of things I could do sitting. Write thank-you's, sort filing, reorganize my filing system, clean drawers, write blogs, write in my journal, were just a few of the things I wrote down. This took me from the doldrums and being out of control, to empowerment. Oh, and I also can do Farmville! Gotta go harvest those olive trees now. Bye.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Glass Half Full

My mother is the optimist of all optimists. Whenever she faces a tough time, or when one of us faces an obstacle she reminds us "Well, I always choose to see the glass half full....and....", then she will continue making an observation about the situation that finds that positive point of view. For instance: when I was crying about my marriage ending and how I didn't have any choice or control in the situation she said "Well I always choose to see the glass half full, and you and Bud are lucky that you are such good friends."

You can see how I tend to be an optimist myself, I was trained well. I am so grateful for my Mom's point of view. It has always been helpful to look for the silver lining in any cloud. It helps me be resilient. I think of myself like a basketball...usually in the air, in the middle of a fun game. Once in a while I hit the ground but bounce up rather quickly to be passed on to another situation and maybe even score a few. But, there have been times in my life that I have been dribbled pretty close to the ground and had a harder time finding the resilience to bounce back up and into the game. However, I always do because I have been trained to look for the bright spots, the open spaces, and have learned that it's a lot more fun to be in the game high, than close to the ground.

That being said, I have objected to my mom's theory that it's best to look at the glass half full...be an optimist. At one point when she was reminding me of her optimistic view I pointed out that I would never be a pessimist. I can't even imagine not trying to find the "sunny side" of any cloudy day. My question is how do we appreciate the glass 1/2 full and still want it to be completely full? That requires a step beyond optimism in my view, it requires a blend of realism with the optimism. Thomas Edison would never have invented the light bulb if he had been content to see the glass 1/2 full. I believe Tom was an optimist. I believe he saw the world through pretty rosy glasses, but he wasn't content to say "I see the glass half full, or "Aren't I lucky that I have a fire to study by?", or "Gee this candle is sure a bright one tonight." No, he took a look at how lucky he was to see the world as a pretty optimistic place, but how can I make it better? He had to push beyond the "Pollyanna" vision and the rose colored glasses to make life EVEN better.

I have a friend who raised way more than her share of kids. What an amazing person she was. Always optimistic and funny as heck. She wrote me a poem once thanking me for seeing her as she was...through the clown surface. "I've always been the village clown. Always up and never down..." She would help us mothers get through our grey days by cracking us up with her kids antics. She was an artist too so she had tempra paint around the house. Tempra paint is powdered and then mixed with water for the desired consistency and color. Her kids got her paint and made it "snow" in their bedroom. Can you just imagine that picture of them jumping up and down while making it snow. Well they were good kids and recognized they better clean up the mess so they put a hose through the window to wash down the "snow". Can you imagine Mom's surprise to enter to the room and see rivers of "green" tempra paint all over the room? If only I could tell the story with the antimation she did appreciating her kids ingenuity. I admired her because she could see the humor in this devastating circumstance. What I saw later in life is that she chose to see the "bright" side of situations with her children when they were older that weren't so bright, really. She helped me see that we can't always see the glass as half full because it isn't. I recognized that rose colored glasses can sometimes turn into blinders. We have to be able to see things for what they are or we won't be able to resolve them.

So in summary, I believe it is absolutely awesome to be raised in a household where we looked on the "sunny side of the street". It is good to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. But sometimes you have to recognize that the better plan is to be grateful for whatever is filling your glass, but wonder how you can fill it up to overflowing. Take off the blinders, take off the rose color glasses so you can see the world in all it's beautiful colors and for what it really is. Life. Life, full of clouds so we recognize the rainbows, full of sticky thorns on beautiful roses, dribbling the ball down on the floor to get the resilience to bounce up for a pass and a basket.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm alright!

I love music. As a matter of fact I claim that to be one of my talents, loving music....lyrics and melodies, from the simple to the sublime, from hip hop to classical. I wish, I really wish that I was capable of putting my thoughts to music, but I then again I find that it isn't necessary for me to do so because other people do. Isn't it amazing that people all over have exactly the same or similar experiences and feelings to life that I do, and they can write it to fit my emotions to a T?

Throughout my life I found that most of those lyrics that met my emotional fit, were the ones involving love, family, and happy times. In recent years they have involved heartbreak, unrequited love, and memories of happier times. Still more recently the songs that I relate to involve reconciling with all those emotions, acceptance, survival, hope, and yes, even joy.

There have been so many times I have considered writing a blog on different songs that simply describe what my feeling is at that particular moment. So here is the first of many.

And I guess I'm feeling alright!

On my playlist to the right you will be listening to Jodee Messina singing
"I'm Alright" written and also recorded by Phil Vassar.

I'm all I'm all I'm alright
It's a beautiful day not a cloud in sight so I guess I'm doin' alright
O-oh o-oh, I'm alright
I got a good old friend here with me tonight and I guess I'm doin' alright
Said I guess I'm doin' alright
Oh I'm all I'm all I'm alright
It's a beautiful day not a cloud in sight so I guess I'm doin' alright
O-oh o-oh, I'm ma ma ma alright
I got a good old friend here with me tonight and I guess I'm doin' alright
Well I'm doin' alright
Well I'm doin' alright

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Can you imagine...

I got a card from my Mom yesterday. She was talking about her "beautiful, bouncing, baby girl" having a birthday.

Being a rather ordinary person, it is amazing to note that I did bounce into the world in a rather extraordinary way. I loved the story when I was young, and when I got older I thought that it had been "added upon" for the "telling" value, but found that it was pretty much as presented. One of the newspaper articles said "this little lady will have quite a story to tell when she is older, with plenty of newspaper articles to show because Denver newspapers gave quite a play to this happy event". My baby books are replete with lots of newspaper articles.

My dad worked for Ford Motor Company and it was in the company newspaper something like this "Ford employee, William Bliss, helped deliver his little baby girl, Leslie Dianne, in his 1946 Ford Coupe." Wasn't that irony? To me the most ironic thing is that my Dad who was raised in Denver his whole life got lost getting my Mom to the hospital. How is that possible? Okay, maybe there was a terrible snow blizzard and he couldn't see a thing. Perhaps it was pure panic at the thought of becoming a father, or the fact that I wasn't expected for five to six weeks. Maybe he had too much coffee in him because he had to sit at the counter drinking coffee waiting for the Dr. to call because they had no phone at their apartment. My Mom must have been freezing in the car, in labor, no less watching him through the window just drinking more coffee. Of course to hear my mom tell the story she wasn't even sure she was in labor until her water broke. I don't know why my dad got lost but he did.

This was the era that was just transitioning from binding women so they couldn't give birth until the proper time. My Dad had just read a LIFE magazine article discussing the detrimental effects this practice would have on babies and their mothers. He suggested my mom remove her panties so it wouldn't bind and when she did I was born. Now this is the part I thought was magnified. "You were born and before you hit the floor Daddy grabbed you, and I grabbed the steering wheel." "WHAT???" Did they really mean I was born as they were moving in this blizzard condition while they were lost? Come on! How incredible is that? Well it was true apparently. Sometimes it is this quick birth that is used to explain, or try to explain, my short height; "You hit the floorboard and it stunted your growth." My craziness; "The reason you are so NUTS is because you hit the floorboard when you were born."

This wasn't the end of this amazing story. After I was born my Mom wrapped me in her coat. You know I never asked, but I do assume that at some point they did stop the car and re-adjust. But, eventually they headed on their little hunt for the hospital. Just ahead there is a light in the distance, yes, yes, it IS a hospital.

Can you imagine the nurses trying to put together the rantings of my 26 year old father exclaiming "My wife just had a baby in the car. My baby is in the car." Finally they placated him by scurrying to the car...I'm sure they didn't want to, remember there was a blizzard! When they got there the nurse said "There IS a baby, there IS a baby!" She sent my Dad back into the hospital for the gauze and scissors. My mom said she had gauze for many years to come because they just kept stuffing it into his pockets. The nurse cut the cord and declared "You can't bring them in here. This is a tuberculosis hospital." She sent them on their way to Beth Israel hospital.

After they finally arrived at the correct hospital they went to get a gurney, or was it a wheelchair, for my mom and me. My mom being the farm girl she was, was ready to get up and walk into the hospital. It was all just too easy for her, but she was so naive, she hadn't had the afterbirth removed yet. Can you imagine her walking in with the cord swinging back and forth between her legs?? Yuck and LOL...hard to get over that vision.

So finally we made it. I was declared born at 5:20 am (I don't know if that was the birth time, or the arrival at the hospital time) on October 14, 1947. My Dad was William James Bliss 26 years old, and my Mom was Veora Rose Johnson Bliss 22 years old. I was a baby boomer. There was no room for my mom at the inn, and her hospital bed was in the hallway. I wasn't the only baby born that day, but I know I had the biggest adventure getting there.

I am 62 years old today so that day was long ago. I've had a very good and fulfilling life, but I don't think there has ever been a day I have been so unexpected and so extraordinary. Maybe it's time I start living up to my grand entrance! LOL

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Okay....when is enough, enough?

I'm a Pollyanna, I admit it. There are people who say they have never seen me without a smile on my face. I'm a true lemonade maker from the lemons I'm given. My favorite quotes have to do with having a positive attitude and finding the good in everything, everyone, and every situation. I can't help it. It probably comes from recognizing that there are always people who have it worse than me, no matter what. That's true isn't it?

Well I have been thrown so many lemons lately that I think I am going to drown in the lemonade. Things haven't gone well lately.

Every time I let myself feel grief I almost immediately remind myself how many good things are in my life, and for those I am ever grateful.

Someone told me recently that maybe the reason things keep happening to upset my life is because I never let my life get upset. Well that's just darn unfair if that's true! Honestly, I do feel blessed, but if anyone told me they were going through some of the things I'm going through, I would really feel bad for them, yet I don't give myself that same sympathy.

Here it is with as much emotion as I can muster for myself:

We bought our first house when I was 21 years old in Fullerton and here I am almost 62 about to have no home. Maybe there are some things I could have done along the way to change the situation partially but for the most part this loss is not because of any mistakes I have made.

I have had a multitude of health issues, but I am grateful to keep chugging along. This past year those problems plus stress have caused me to become too tired....well beyond tired, I am suffering from extreme exhaustion. I work all week, drive 110 miles a day back and forth, and on the weekends I sleep to prepare myself for the next week.

I've also lost my husband, well actually I didn't lose him, he chose to leave, and with him he took what I considered to be an excellent marriage. I have pondered, reviewed and tortured myself, but though I don't profess to be perfect, I KNOW I was in the marriage 100%. There was nothing more important to me, and I honored every vow, covenant, and promise I made. I was there for him in every way possible, sometimes probably more than I should have been. It was the biggest loss I have ever felt, and even though I can recognize the virtues in my life, I am still mourning.

Yesterday my boss told me that he is forced to cut my wages, my hours, or let me go. He just hired someone in January. She is an amazing worker, no doubt, and she makes less than I do. She is Hispanic and has that community that we have never been able to fully enter until now. The other person in the office has just been with Farmers for 5 years. So together they have less than half of my 26 years of experience in the business, and they make more than half of my pay. They aren't losing money, hours, or their job. Why? Yes my health has had an effect on my performance, but even at a lower performance rate I still function better than most people in my position. Is this a medical discrimination? Age discrimination? No, I think it is experience discrimination. I make more money than most of the people in my position. They are paying me pretty much what my previous employer was paying me when they bought him out. I haven't asked for increases (except when gas went through the roof the first time) because I was aware that they paid me more than most. But they were reaping the benefits of my experience as well. A couple years ago I found someone who was going to pay me an equitable salary and they offered me some incentives, which they recently pulled....a hint of what was coming, and so I felt valued and chose to stay. Besides, I love my clients. Now, there is no offer and I can't survive without the income. So they have taken away my pride and my independence which were almost all I had left.

No, that's not true, is it? I have my granddaughters and future grandchildren, my kids and their spouses, my extended family, and my faith. The Lord is with me. I will survive in spite of crap. Crap!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day "Neighbor Day"

When I was a young girl we lived at 1569 S. Forest Street in Denver, Colorado. We moved in our brand new home in 1956. It was a cool ranch style home with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and an unfinished basement. At that time there were my Mom and Dad, and 3 sisters. Mom was very pregnant and my brother Bill was born shortly afterward. Eventually that house would hold 7 children and my folks and sometimes lots of cousins. It never seemed that crowded and it amazes me how big houses have become, and how it seems that every child has to have their own room ....but that's another story. It's always fun moving into a new housing tract because everyone is new and so the neighbors grow their lives together, and that's the way it was there in Denver. There were no privacy fences in Colorado, we had chain link between our houses, and that was even too confining, so stiles (stairsteps) were built over the fences to enable us to move between neighbors more easily. A tradition was started in that neighborhood that carries forth today, Neighbor Day. Everyone got their chores done quickly and then games were set up in each of the back yards....badmitton, ping pong, volleyball, croquet, swimming pools etc. We could move between the houses having fun with all the neighbors and the day would culminate with a pot luck dinner and one of the homes. What fun we had and what memories we built.
The memories were so strong and so fun that when we moved in our house on Larkspur Lane in 1977 I wanted to make sure to create the same feelings for my family. So on our first Labor Day there on Larkspur Lane we had our "Neighbor Day". We had it out under the street light in our cul de sac. The Pratt's didn't move in until the next month, and so the end of the street was a pile of dirt. There was no park where so many future celebrations would be held. It was a timid little start, but oh how it grew over the years. As each new neighbor moved in they were immediately apprised of the closeness of the neighborhoods and of the Larkspur Lane block parties. We had lots of people move in and out...the Castelaws, Romo's, Ron Smiths, Siaosi's, Fellbaums, Durham's, too many to mention them all....hopefully I will get reminders from my kids and other neighbors, but the core group that eventually moved in and stayed through the raising of our children became known as the "Larkspur Mafia". This group consisted of the Pratt's, Trosper's, Greg Smith's, Rouleau's, Pederson's, Hanson's, Torgerson's, Fellbaum's, and Durham's. As neighbors came and went, joining into and leaving the fun, this group would always be there. We would kind of trade turns being hosts which meant "who would make, print, and deliver" the flier to the entire block, then at around 2:00 in the afternoon we would start peeking out our windows to see if Betty and Marce had started heading down to the end of the cul de sac and that would be our cue to head out for "Neighbor Day".
Usually we would set the barbecues in the street, and the tables up on the grass for the rest of the food...and there was always tons of food. Everyone got creative at Labor Day picnics and brought out their best side dishes and desserts. There were always activities, sometimes a little baseball, croquet, horseshoes, swimming at the pool, balloon tosses, water fights. The best was the year that Marcel Hanson brought out a piece of plastic and we somehow hooked the water up to it and made this awesome "slip and slide" that we all took our turns on. Mostly though, I remember the women sitting in a circle just chatting with each other. It was a last hurrah before the kids were back in school. Sometimes it was burning hot, and sometimes it was cold. Remember the year we all had to put sweaters, blankets, little ski hats on to stay warm? I think that was when Emily Pratt was just a baby. It was freezing that year. So much nostalgia.
My kids did build those special memories with their neighborhood, the Larkspur kids, and all of the shared holidays. We also celebrated Memorial Day block parties, 4th of July shared fireworks, Christmas parties with caroling, summer plays, break dancing shows. It was a bunch of brothers and sisters living together on that block. Sometimes they fought, but they grew up together as one big family. The parents shared memories of raising our kids together. I remember the year and a half that we had 19 brand new drivers on the block......scary! We all watched out for each other and each others kids too. I have heard some great stories from my kids lately that some of the other parents were right there to protect and scold my kids when I wasn't around.
I will never forget the memories of my childhood and as a young parent when we drew together as a community and celebrated patriotism, family, and friends. Marque and Sarah have that kind of relationship with their neighbors in American Fork, Utah. They say their neighborhood parties are like the Larkspur Mafia get-togethers "on steroids". They have taken it to the next level with snow cone machines, bouncers, and elaborate water slides, but they are building memories with their neighbors. Because of that relationship they never want to leave. They want to raise Leah and future children within that safe cocoon. Jim and Sam have built a strong relationship with their neighbors as well. The whole neighborhood can be found quite frequently at Don and Candice's (across the street) swimming, barbecuing, dancing, and playing games together. Cynthia and Scott just bought a HUGE new house to start their life together. They plan to have and raise their family there. Scott said he loved the security of living in the same place for his whole life and wanted to give his children the same experience. I am sure the Larkspur Block parties added to the fun and the security. I hope they will take the time to get to know their neighbors and start the tradition in their new neighborhood. They have a park right across from their house that would be perfect for gathering people together.
Unfortunately things have changed. People have moved, divorced, and passed away. Only the Smiths and the Pratts are there now. Occasionally we will get together and remember the old days when we were young, and our kids were young. The talk between the women went from baby showers, to back to school breakfasts at Denny's, to weddings, grandchildren, body aches and pains, to mourning our loved ones...but who can understand better than those who have lived your life with you. Thanks for the memories Larkspur Mafia! I love you all!!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tagged by Marque!

Quilt being made for someone's wedding by Aunt Susan
Shhhh! Don't tell them.
Folder 7 Picture 7
Folder 6 Picture 6
Sea World

Barry, Becky & Braydon Hill after blessing
Folder 5 Picture 5
Leah visiting Gramma
Folder 4 Picture 4
Cynthia Allen (soon to be Trosper)
First time meeting (again) February 2009
Folder 3 Picture 3
Folder 2 Picture 2
Testing the camera--The grinch off TV
Folder 1 Picture 1
Scott Christmas 2008

Marque was tagged by my niece Anna, and then he tagged me along with 6 other people. The original challenge was to post the 7th picture in the 7th folder, but Marque did all the folders and matching picture up to the 7th folder, 7th picture. I did the same but backwards. My pictures aren't great, but it was fun to see what random photos were posted.
So I will tag Casey, Jennifer, Beth, Samantha, Sarah, Jason, and Jayne.
Strangely, there aren't many my age who blog, so I am choosing those in the younger crowd.

Friday, July 24, 2009

...more to say

My baby is getting married two weeks from tomorrow! What a handsome young man he is. An exemplary one too. He has found a bride to match. Cynthia is a bright penny. She is full of energy, has excellent goals, a high value system and she loves her family. I believe she already loves ours too. Besides all of that, she is absolutely darling.

I don't know that Scott has found one negative thing about his future wife. She has found one, the same and only thing that I ever found to nag my son about, procrastination. I'm looking, with anticipation, to see if she can help him overcome this small inconsistency in his otherwise shiny armor. It's a hard call, if I was a betting woman, I wouldn't know where to throw my money. After all I've tried a long time to help him overcome, but she is one strong cookie, and she has some loving techniques that just might do it................I'll keep you posted.

Good friends, Ken & Tina Pratt, have lovingly offered their home and backyard for the celebration. They are working like crazy to make a beautiful venue even more perfect. It is high on the hills over Temecula so it will be a lovely August evening wedding. The only negative is it won't hold all of the people we would all like to come. There are so many friends who, like me, were waiting for this day, and so after the honeymoon I am going to have a party to introduce the newlyweds to those who are unable to attend the actual wedding.

Scott proposed high above the ground in a hot air balloon. How romantic! See he did get all those sensitivity lessons I pounded in his brain. When they touched ground both families met them and we celebrated with fruit, crackers and cheese, lots of tears and hugs. Cynthia has a delightful family. It's so hard to believe we lived just a few blocks from them for both of their lives.

Scott had a crush on Cynthia in high school, and they worked together at PetSmart for quite awhile, so they had a good friendship. He didn't make any moves for two reasons; 1) he was a shy guy, and 2) she had a boyfriend. Apparently she had thought about him since then as well, but somehow thought he was married and living in Utah. Imagine her surprise when she learned he was a police officer in Chino. Imagine his surprise to learn that she was a teacher working for the Chino Unified School District.

Now, I always like to push "Mom-power" so I will tell you that frequently over the past 15 years since he graduated that I asked him if he had seen Cynthia, knew what she was doing or if she was married. As a matter of fact when I was trying to persuade him to get on Facebook I said something like "You never know you might find some long lost friend, like Cynthia Allen." Sure enough she contacted him over Facebook after she found out he was in Chino when he stopped a friend. He just gave a warning, not a ticket.....what a nice cop!

Well that was the start of the romance in February. There was no easing into it, they were just meant to be. They allowed for re-evaluation up until the 24th of February, but then it was full throttle into "head over heels". Some people are surprised to hear they are marrying after such a short courtship, but those of us in the family have been expecting, and even planning since that first month because it was that obvious.

In addition to this bit of happiness, they also signed papers on their new house yesterday. So they are beginning to move furniture from his Lake Elsinore home, and her Chino condo today. It is a house they plan on living in forever, and they plan on filling the rooms with lots of children, which makes this Gramma very happy. As you can tell I am already so happy about this new daughter-in-luv who is going fill Scott's life with boundless joy!

Today, I am also thinking about another daughter-in-luv, Sarah. Today is her birthday! Happy Birthday Sarah. When I called her today to sing "It's your birthday shout hooray, I want to sing to you today, One year older and wiser too, Happy Birthday to you!", she was just getting ready to take a trip to St. George. Marque is taking her for a special weekend. He has some great plans to help her celebrate her special day. No one knows how to celebrate like Sarah. She loves having fun, and planning to have fun. What a special lady she is. Words fail me when I try to describe how I giggle when I think of Sarah. She sings in the shower, she knows every word to every musical, every Disney movie and can join in that strange language that Marque, Jim, and Scott speak when they have conversations in movie quotes. She is quiet. and so her sense of humor is quiet, but unbelievable. She cracks me up with her one-liners, quietly said, but packed with so much wit. She is the best mom, and just relishes every moment with Leah. I hope she has more kids, because they will be lavished with love. She is perfect for Marque and balances him amazingly well. Together they are an awesome team. You can tell how much I love this daughter-in-luv. They only thing that keeps her from perfection is being so far away. Happy Birthday Sarah!

Since I'm singing the praises of my girls, I certainly can't leave out my first daughter, Samantha. I didn't blog on her birthday I guess, and that was a sad oversight because she was my first daughter-in-luv. She is the one who first fulfilled my desire for a shopping companion, a confidant, a buddy, an emotional, sensitive, FEMALE! I never have to worry about my boys knowing how loved they are....that's the point.....they probably get tired of all that mush and are glad they have all given me wonderful daughters to focus the gooey stuff on. Samantha said in one of the cards she gave me that I was her best friend. That touched my heart because we all hear the "mothers-in-law" stories....and there is nothing more awesome than to have your "daughter-in-law" find something to love. I'm so glad Samantha lives closeby because though we rarely have time to take them as often as we would like, we love our "girly" time. Samantha was the first to call and see if I was okay yesterday on our anniversary date. She knew it might be a tough time. Thanks Sam!

So first we had Samantha and her birthday is June 24th. Sarah was the 2nd and her birthday is July 24th. We told Scott he needed to find someone with an "S" name whose birthday was on the 24th as well. Believe it or not (S)ynthia's birthday is February 24th.......now that is fate!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So much to say!

Some days there just doesn't seem like anything to write about. Other days there seems to be so much to say, and not enough time or room to say it. I'm just going to get these things down, just like a journal entry.
Today, July 23rd, would have been my 43rd anniversary, and 21st anniversary of being sealed in the temple. Just a statement of the circumstances is that it saddens me so much and I called Bud to say "Happy Un-Anniversary", and it hadn't even occurred to him.
Tuesday my step-father, Herb Baldwin, had hip surgery. Because of lung and heart problems there was indication that this might not be a cinch. As a matter of fact when they were going to do the surgery in Yuma the anesthesiologist indicated there might be a 90 - 95% chance his heart and he wouldn't make it through the surgery. So I was very, very concerned and spent an anxious day until I heard he was okay. I was so thankful my sister, Susan, and her husband, Bill, was there to support my Mom.
She gave the following report paraphrased slightly; "There was an x-ray originally showing there was a fracture that went down from the ball into the length of the femur, but the doctor said that when he opened Herb up the ball of the joint had broken completely off, he could just pick it up. There were jagged parts on both of the broken parts that were rubbing against one another and that was part of what was causing so much pain. So a titanium post was inserted into the femur bone and a ball attached to that, A titanium socket was attached to his hip with a plastic cup in that in which the ball fits. Both the post and the socket are a little porous so that the bone will grow into the metal and make the hip much stronger than it was before. It will take some time for that to happen so Herb will be using a walker and later crutches probably for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Herb was real shaky after the surgery and quivered for over 2 hours, he felt like he had chills and couldn't get warm even though he had about 8 blankets on and his temp was normal. Finally he was given a muscle relaxant to help him stop shaking as well as a pain killer, and then he fell asleep. The doctor said there are still many things to watch, but right now it looks good. "

Herb married my mom 17 years ago. He is really a good guy. I hated to see him be wheel-chair and bed bound, and to see my Mom's life change so dramatically caring for him (although she was glad she could do it, of course). I am happy for both of them that they now have some hope for living without the pain and that he will be able to be more active. Love you Mom and Herbie Baby!
Hailey, Mady and I took a whirlwind trip to Peoria, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix) for my Aunt Betty's funeral. Her death was very sudden. She was fine earlier in the day and then started having severe pain and asked to be taken to emergency. They were concerned from the location of the pain that it might involve the heart, or a kidney stone. It was pancreatitis. She didn't even live for the two days they gave her. My mom was so sad that she wasn't able to attend. She and Aunt Betty were the same age and they always loved each others company. It was wonderful to be in Phoenix with my cousins and their families as they celebrated Aunt Betty's life. What an amazing woman she was. Patty had been recording her mom answering questions about her life, and so she had alot of Betty's own words to share with us. Kathy spoke directly to her Mom believing, as do I, that she was present and observing us all with keen vision (she has had problems for years and her sight was almost non-existent). Each grandchild stood and shared personal insights and tender memories of Grandma B!
We were concerned about Hailey and Mady attending a funeral. Especially Madyson. She had a tough time watching Michael Jackson's funeral. There was no reason for concern. We had discussed dying, going to heaven, meeting God, Jesus and other loved ones. Aunt Betty's big brother (my Dad) was in heaven and would run to his sister and twirl her around. They might even dance because they both loved dancing! We talked about Aunt Betty being able to see now, and not having any pain. I told them even though people would cry at the funeral because we would be missing her, but there would be happy times of laughing as well because of the good things in her life. Mady would put her little arm around me when she saw me struggling, and the kleenex dabbing my eyes and cheeks. She could reach to the small of my back and she rubbed, and reached up to my neck and massaged it, and stroked my hair. She leaned over and told Hailey on the other side of me that she should do the same when I was sad. What a bright spot for me to have this empathetic little angel there. And we were worried about her! It was special to see my Uncle Art (Northern CA), Aunt Leona ( Kansas), Aunt Margaret (Mississippi), and my cousins Kathy, Vaughn, Patty, Mike, their kids and grandkids, Dale, Valerie, Debra, and Denise. I am so grateful for a big, loving, supportive family. Full of bliss! (Bliss was my maiden name for those who didn't know.)
I have such fun traveling with Hailey and Madyson. They are such good companions. We sang, played good music, stopped and ate a couple of times, stayed at a neat hotel. We cruised to Target and In-n-Out with the top down in 106 degree weather at 9:00 at night. Da girls and I had a blast. I love you guys!
I think I will post more tomorrow...........so much to say!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I had a dream last night!

I very rarely dream, but I did last night. I never remember my dreams when I do have them, but I did last night. It is still clear to me 10 hours later. I don't ever try to interpret dreams, but I did last night.

Many of my friends were gathered around helping me do a garage sale. I seemed to be surprised at the amount of money I was taking in, and was finding more and more to put out for sale. I was giving up things that had great meaning to my life, and even began finding some joy in doing it. Then...


Scott came to me and asked advice about the upcoming wedding. He listened very intently to the great wise words I was sharing. Then we were up on the 2nd floor of an addition in the frame stage of build. Marque, Jim, and Scott were there offering advise on just how to complete the addition and make the "new" part of my house just right. Then....


I went to the edge of the floor where there were no walls. I yelled for help and my three daughters-in-law, Samantha, Sarah, and Cynthia all ran to bring me a ladder so I could get down. Then...

As I was getting ready to go down the ladder which the girls were holding I looked at the pile of dirt and thought it might be fun to jump into, although I was a little fearful that it wouldn't be a soft landing. I took the risk and threw myself off the building into the dirt pile and slid to the bottom. It was so much fun that everyone else started jumping and slliding to the bottom. Then...
I woke up!
Well, I don't think this dream even takes too much interpretation, to me it is pretty straight forward tell me what you think. I think the garage sale with my friends around is me looking through my life and moving on with the support of friends.

Scott's asking my advice tells me that my place in the family is strong. That my kids still turn to me for advice, comfort and support. But they are there for me in a big way as well.
The new addition implies that my old life is important, but it is time to add on to that. A new chapter, if you will. My boys will be there for advise and support as I build this new life. My sweet daughters-in-love are there too. Their love and "girlpower" are so important to me. I think the pile of dirt is representive of just jumping into this new life and enjoying it.
What do you think?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sweet Little Leah!

I just came across this letter I wrote to Leah when she was to be sealed to her family and given a name and a blessing. I thought I should put it on my blog.

Sweet Little Leah,
I absolutely believe you were always supposed to be a part of the family. When I first looked into those big blue eyes I saw a little bit of heaven. You are an angel. Smiling is just symptomatic of your bright, happy personality. It is easy to see that not only are you going to brighten everyone’s lives, but you will find joy everywhere you look, just like your Mommy and Daddy.

We all waited a long time for you to come into the family, but we knew you would come. Your Mom and Dad are just too special to not use their talents, gifts, and love to bless a precious baby and help her grow to be a loved, valuable daughter of God.

The joy you have given me, your Grampa, Uncles Jimmy and Scott, your Aunt Samantha, and your cousins Hailey and Madyson is hard to explain especially since we are so far away. But, we love to read your Daddy’s blog and see the pictures he posts. It makes us feel almost like we are right there with you. I just wish I could kiss your cheek and give you a “snuggle” every single day. Mommy dresses you so cute and she giggles when she takes videos of you laughing, so we laugh too. Leah, even though we don’t live close to you we all love you so much. Maybe someday we will all live close enough to watch you grow up. I hope so!

When your Mommy called to tell me that you were finally and officially a Trosper I cried. I knew it was going to happen, but it still touched my heart to know it was true. I laughed when I heard you blew bubbles the whole time the judge spoke. What a silly girl! Will you ever understand the miracle this all was? How God must have played such a role in bringing together your parents and Caitlin. There were many tears proceeding this wonderful day, but they were all worth it! You are beautiful and bright just like your Mommy and you are happy and clever just like your Daddy. You look like you belong, and you do!

Now you will be sealed to your parents for “time and all eternity”. You will be sealed to both of your families forever. We all need to live the life we should to be worthy to live that life with you and with Heavenly Father. You are a little angel sent directly from God, through Caitlin, into our hearts and our family. I love you sweet girl.

Love, Gramma Trosper

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Live the Life You Choose"

"Live the Life you Choose!" A friend recently had those words tatooed on his shoulder. I have reflected since then on the meaning and truth, or lack of truth in this statement. (As an aside: I don't personally like tattoos, but it's his life, and he gets to choose! Ha ha!)
The title of my blog is "Leslie lives life, loves life, and laughs at life." This is true, but I didn't say "Leslie gets to live the life she chooses" because many times in my life it has been proven that I didn't get to make the choice. My husband, my children, or even friends made choices that changed the life I chose. My health has even played a part in the life I live. I do have a choice in how I respond to the life I didn't choose, and therein lies the choice.
I love the story of Corrie Ten Boom. She was the Christian living in Holland whose family hid and helped Jews escape from Hitler's Nazis. Eventually they were taken to concentration camps themselves. Corrie and her sister Betsie were interred together at Ravensbruck one of the most insidious and cruel camps. As I remember her telling the story in her book THE HIDING PLACE she was incredulous that her sister would thank God in her prayers for the lice and other vermin in their prisons, but her sister explained that the rats and lice kept the guards away. I so admire and try to follow Betsie's example in how to live the life she was given. Corrie and Betsie made righteous choices and lived exemplary lives, but they didn't choose the life they were living.
I believe we can dream, make goals, and live a better life. What would our life be without striving for things that would improve us, or lift us up? It is important, also, to "Live your life that you have no regrets." How important is that? Love One Another is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of living a life with no regrets. Reach out to those in need, don't hurt those you love, and if you do....rectify your life, get right with them and with God so there is no regret.
As I see it, the purpose of this earth life is to receive a body, to be challenged with trials, and to have the agency to choose how we respond to those trials. Maybe there was a time in the pre-existence that we were made aware of some of the difficulties we would face, but none of us were given a life free of sorrow and pain. With the Lord's guidance and love we can learn from our trials, endure, and return to our Father in Heaven able to be proud of the life we lived.
We do need to love ourselves. I think we forget sometimes that the Lord says "Love your neighbor, as you love yourself". Very clearly we can't do one without the other. I have heard, though, that we live in the "me generation", in a "horizontal society" rather than a "vertical society". That means rather than looking to God for the best answers.... we look to ourselves and our peers. "If it feels good, do it." or "What makes ME feel good?", "What's in it for ME?" Kind of a selfish view, more or less. Is that the way God intended us to live?
So, I like the way it sounds "Live the Life You Choose" and I'm sure my friend meant it in the very best way, but I hope while he is living the life he chooses, he remembers there are other people living it with him. He always did live an exceptionally unselfish life. I hope his new declaration doesn't change that, and that he will continue living a life with no regrets.
I know the life I am living right now is definitely not the life I chose. I chose to marry the man I loved and have an eternal family. Things didn't work out, so I am not living the life I choose. I am choosing to live the best I can with the life I have.
What are your thoughts?

Friday, June 5, 2009

How could it be June already?

I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, but time is passing so quickly! I have commented to many people that it just seems like we celebrated Christmas and it is summertime. Surprisingly, I found a Dr. Seuss quote that sums it up pretty well.
"How did it get so late so soon?
Its night before it's afternoon.
December is here before its June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?"
There are so many things to do, so few hours in a day, and so few days in a week to complete them. At this rate I will have to live a great many more years to accomplish all my hopes, dreams, and goals.......oh, and to get my closet cleaned!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Single and Mingling!

It has been three months since the divorce....should read THE DIVORCE......was final. We all know how hard it has been on me since I have blogged about it. While my heart struggles, my head knows I need to move on. With friends, faith, family, and the church I am putting everything into trying to make the best of this next stage of my life.

Last weekend I attended my first Singles Conference. It was awesome!!!! I am going to put the letter I received from the Regional Singles Representative and my reply. Then I will post some pictures and it will give a glimpse into our great time.

Scott BennionRegional Single Adult AdvisorSan Diego Latter-day Saint Single Adults

Dear Leslie,

Thank you for coming to our conference. Now that the chairs have been put away and the kitchen cleaned and everyone has gone back to their lives, the thing that remains are the lives that we touched.

There exists within each of us a divine spark, a spark that sometimes seems dulled by the day to day clutter of our lives. But this weekend together we shined. Possibly without being aware, just by attending you lifted those around you. As you go back to your day to day life, remember Dr. Eyre's message about balance in your life. Remember the skills you learned in the workshops. Remember how quiet it was during the Sacrament, and how you felt when President Donaldson spoke of Jerusalem. Remember through adversity Jack Rollins drew closer to Lord, and how you felt when we sang "Did You Think To Pray". Remember we are a covenant people. Our Temple President and his wife represent the best in all of us.

Most of all remember that, in just a few months, our Labor Day Conference is going to knock your sox off!

Scott Bennion

My reply:

Scott.........or should I call you Brother Bennion, (after last weekend I feel like I know you better than that!)

Thank you, Thank you! I am not surprised to receive this follow-up letter, but I am impressed.

I am a newly single person....my divorce was final in February after a 42 year marriage. (I am definitely not where I thought I would be at this time of my life) I have heard single sisters over the years comment about how difficult their role was in the church, how they felt "less than" in a religion that is so focused on marriage and family.

I have not found this to be true, at all. This weekend profoundly proved how valued we all are within the church's embrace. The time, effort, thought, concern, money, and more time that was expended on our behalf was amazing!!!!

The speakers were of such a high caliber and spoke expressly to us with our concerns, with our individual adversities, and to help us reach our own potential. The activities brought us together and made everyone "shine" as you said. Incredible!

As a 61 year old woman I felt included with single brothers and sisters of all ages. There was no visible dividing line saying "I'm young/Your old!" Quite the opposite, I had several younger people saying they were glad we had the opportunity to co-mingle.

Everyone was awesome. You, Scott Bennion, touched me personally, and therefore I know you touched others personally as well. You were at that registration table with a big smile when we checked in. Your soft yet strong voice and demeanor made every situation spiritual and calm. Yet your sense of humor came through for sure. Loved the poster you made for my friend Lila! By the way thanks for the pictures! Again, one more way you showed how you personally valued each of us. I know you had to have stayed up all night to get those to us...................thanks!!!

I will so remember all the things you mentioned and SO much more! Thanks to you and everyone involved. Looking forward to the next one!!!

PS Sorry so long....can you tell I'm enthusiastic?!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PROJECT LESLIE

Set priorities to facilitate decisions on how to spend time and energy.
1. Me
· Spiritual
· Physical
· Mental
2. Family
3. Work
4. Church Family
5. Home
6. Friends

I am a fortunate woman. There are so many people who love me, and whom I love. They all bless my life in an unbelievable way.

So if I’m so blessed why do I need to re-evaluate and prioritize? Well, I have a few health issues that I find more convenient to push to the back of my mind rather than looking at head on. It is kind of scary to actually list them, but if I do then I might realize how important “Project Leslie” is. So here is the nasty, scary story:

Lupus Fortunately affecting my joints and muscles, not my organs, at this time.
Fibromyalgia Feels like the muscle ache you have with a nasty flu.
CFS Chronic Fatigue Syndrome If I ignore the pain eventually I end up so tired I cannot lift my arm.
Prolapsed Mitral Valve Creates symptoms similar to heart attack, palpitations, vertigo, anxiety
Glaucomito-cyclitic syndrome Scarred eye from something that can reoccur in either eye.
High Blood Pressure Genetic, stress, weight induced.
Arthritis Joints, back, neck
Back Pretty good actually….considering 20 years of pain and surgery.

These are the major issues but there are minor issues that make me feel even older than my 61 years. For instance; hard time breathing when walking fast or very far, sore ankles and knees, skin discoloration, hair loss, and sleep apnea. Currently I have a sore left shoulder, arm, chest and back area and sore left ankle from a fall I took at my Mom’s house.

I consider myself to be a pretty “emotionally” healthy individual, but there are some issues that could stand some improvement, such as; feeling like I stand out in a crowd (not in a good way), anxiety about sitting in an amusement park ride, seat on an airplane or movie, getting through the grief process, balancing my life, time, and money, functioning as a single woman, keeping my home clean and organized, empowering myself.

I recognize one of my strongest attributes is the capability of seeing a problem, analyzing it, setting a new course of action, making mini goals, and moving forward.

The problem: I am becoming unhealthy because my life is out of balance. I am a reactive person rather than a proactive one. I love life and tend to make the best of it. “Bloom where I’m planted”. So…..I love being wherever I am, doing whatever I’m doing, with whoever I’m doing it with. As I said in the beginning I am blessed with so many people to love, and be loved by. Where is the problem? If you call me and ask me to go somewhere, do something, I am there…too many times I leave myself no time to rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate. I need to get myself in balance so I have time to eat healthy (rather than out all the time), exercise, spiritually grow, and get the proper rest.

Jim called me one day to give me a website to look at
http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/. That is the coolest name for a website! Anyway, on the site there is an explanation of Lupus called “The Spoon Theory”. I’m not going to reiterate it here, but it made me cry when I read it. I cried because I identified with it big time, because Jimmy cared enough to find it and understand it, and because I realized how far down I had pushed my pain, and my exhaustion from the pain. Just keep going, just keep going, just keep going….had become my mantra. I loved everything I did, and who I did it with. I just was barely functioning within the parameters I had set for my life. Crazy lady!

To start balancing my life I am going to limit my social engagements to one evening a week (proactively Wednesday, but flexible) and two Saturdays a month. I will be aware of my priorities.

Spiritually I am going to plan on attending the temple at least once a month. I am going to blog or journal several times a week focusing on positive steps that I am taking, and goals I am achieving. I am going to enjoy reading scriptures and uplifting books, and listening to good music. I will read my lessons and get my visiting teaching done early in the month.

Physically I am going to exercise with a friend on Tuesday evenings, exercise with Richard Simmons Thursday and Saturday, and I will walk the dog daily, I am going to shop for food I love which happens to be all the healthy things, I will plan 6 small meals a day, proactively preparing them for work. I am going to start drinking lots of water and I will enjoy drinking it more than nasty, disgusting, aspartame loaded diet coke.

Mentally I am going to spend more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine, I am going to listen to Tony Robbins, Steven Covey, and other motivational movers and shakers. I will plan field trips to cultural venues that lift my spirits. I will allow myself time to keep my house clean and organized which will give me a sense of peace and freedom. I will speak affirmations and enjoy being proactive in my life. I will use all this balance to rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate.

This will be fun! I’m 61 and I can still reflect, adjust, and grow!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Lord is my constant!

A friend recently told me that she had never seen anyone get through the divorce process as easily as me. A family member asked me how I managed the emotions during my recent trials. There have been other questions and comments indicating people are surprised at my survival. Believe me there have been tough times, alot of tears, questioning myself, my life, my choices. After watching.....and totally crying through conference this morning, I became certain that the reason I have survived is because the Lord is by my side, and I am aware of his presence every moment in my life.

When the kids were out of the home I wondered if Bud and I would continue our activity in the church, or did we go as an example to our children. Of course the gospel was a part of our life. Even when we moved to Virginia we immediately found our place in the church. Our life actually became consumed with living a righteous life.
So when Bud left our home I wondered how strong my testimony was. Would I have the faith on my own to continue going to church when no one was around to remind me? No one would know if I went or not. What I learned about myself was that my faith, my testimony is not predicated on my children, my friends, my family, or even my husband. It is mine. Whatever happens in my life or with those aorund me the gospel is true, and I am never alone.
I am so grateful for the knowledge that I AM a child of God. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. My picture is on His refrigerator and in His wallet I have no doubt. I recognize the beauty in this world that He gave us to remind us of His presence. His greatest gift was allowing His son to come to this earth. I am so thankful for my Saviors teachings, His example. My heart is full of gratitude today. I am grateful especially this week for His sacrifice. That He chose to understand MY pain, and die for MY sins. I know His walk was lonely, and because he knows loneliness He does not want me to be alone. I feel His presence, and the ever comforting presence of the Holy Ghost. I also know He wants me to feel joy. I count so many blessings that give me joy.

There are so many angels that respond to the Lord's promptings when I hit those difficult moments. I am so thankful for those who are receptive to His call to serve me. I am also blessed when I have the opportunity to go outside myself and serve others as well.

I am blessed indeed. The gospel is precious to me. Even though my children are not all active in the church, and Bud may not be. I can see the influence that being raised in the church has had on them. They are such good people with such strong standards and ethics. I am proud of them and I am eternally grateful for the plan of happiness, the prophets who guide us so wisely, the Savior, and my Father in Heaven. I am not alone, and I have so much to be happy about, and so much life to live. Even though it isn't the life I planned. We aren't able to control everything about our lives, but there are so many choices we can make, we have power to BE!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Let's all sing like the birdies sing.....

It is 12:05 am and I am up. I have been trying to sleep but the birds in my tree are keeping me awake. Actually it is quite a nice way to be sleep deprived.

It is not one little bird....I know this because there is a cacophony of sounds. Well that's not quite right because that indicates it was unpleasant and it wasn't. After investigating I think there were only two birds, but they weren't experiencing just one emotion each, they were having a multitude of emotions.

I tried to imagine what could have been causing the variety of tunes...some sweet musical melody, some warbling, some high pitched screeches. You can imagine what activity came to my mind. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe there were some little birdlets making there appearance into the world in a little nest in my tree. I can imagine two parents expressing joy for this kind of event with all those noises. Maybe there were three birds in a love triangle. One expressing in poetic voice his love, one sparring with piercing cries, and maybe the warbling was the female trying to play a mediator between her two suitors.

At any rate....whatever was being discussed in my tree in the front of my house was a very long conversation.....over an hour. It was loud enough to keep me awake in the back of my house, over the freeway noise outside my bedroom window.

From personal experience I wish I could in fantastic bird voice tell my feathered neighbors that if it is a happy moment they are enjoying that they should cherish it because it may pass too quickly. If it is a sad or tortured emotion, I would encourage them because this too will pass and be replaced by other moments and other emotions.

Goodnight little birdies.


Postscript: Did I say an hour? Those birds woke me up at 3:00 am, and again at 4:30. When I got up at 5:30 they were quiet. Perhaps they were worn out from a very long commentary, or maybe they just moved on to someone elses tree. It did keep me awake, but I loved the little observance of their life. They are normally so quiet we can easily take them for granted. It might be good if more of the Lord's creations could scream in our ear to remind us of their existence. Thank you God for all the little birdies and the other beauties of nature that are just beginning to wake up, be re-born and renewed for Spring!

Monday, February 23, 2009

We rocked the room!

Bonnie Gorski....friend and confidant for over 20 years was so much fun. I think she really surprised herself! She was a back up singer, she danced, she got to know alot of fun people. She was a real trooper. Thanks Bon! Then there's me! I may be fat in this picture, but in my head I'm a size 5, 19 years old, and as cute as a button. And that girl knows how to have fun! So does Sarabeth Dunkley. She was the youngster at the table and I was so glad to get to know her....what an awesome person. After she found out I had been single for 1 day she dedicated a Pat Benatar karaoke number to me.....and boy did she ever rock it. Benatar had nothing on Sarabeth!
These two gals were from Redlands. Terri on the right danced all night, and Susan was the first one up to karaoke and she won the whole contest. Great singer!!! Look forward to seeing them at future events!
Kathleen is from my ward. She has been so sensitive to my situation which I found amazing because her husband just passed away in April. She said she knew her relationship was sure, and she had experienced divorce previously so she knew how that felt too. Ana Maddox is our ward's single representative. She is a total kick! She has activities planned all the time, but even Ana was surprised what a great time we had. I talked her into doing karaoke to Aretha Franklin's "Respect". Sarabeth, Bonnie and I were her back up and we were awesome....if I do say so myself. Ana joined the church almost two years ago and she is one of those amazing converts who want to convert everyone. I asked her to be loud and obnoxious as an object lesson when I was teaching Relief Society and she said no one would even think that she was acting. But, she isn't loud and obnoxious she is contagiously fun!
Sarabeth was so kind hanging out with all us seniors. I don't think she even minded one bit. Bobby who has been a member of the church for just six months, and a widow for a short time was probably there for her first singles event too. I am sure she will be there again because she had so much fun. By the time she got up to karaoke with Ana the whole table became their backup singers and dancers. Kathleen loved dancing too

"I will put on my red shoes, best smile, dazzling personality, and rock the room!" That was my declaration in my last blog. I promised myself that I would end the grieving, and begin a new chapter in my life.

The week before I got a flyer at church that announced a singles event in Redlands. They called it Serendipity. "How serendipitous!" I thought, because it was the very day AFTER my divorce was final. It gave me a time and a purpose to transition from married lady to single gal.

I invited Bonnie Gorski, a friend from OLD Chino days to join me. Her husband Ron passed away a few years ago. I knew whether Bonnie was ready to hit the "single" scene or not, she would support me. Jimmy started coaching me on how to "hang out". He even offered to enroll Bonnie and I in "Jim's Cool School". Marque and he used to pretend to be Australian Surfers (accent and all) in scoping a room. I wondered how Bonnie and I would be conceived as Australian Surfers. He scoffed "You have to find your own MO mom". So we decided we would be authors....or that I would be an author, Bonnie would be my publisher and we would be on a book tour. Bonnie was thinking about it too. Her idea is that we could be belly dancers. Jim really thought we needed his "cool school" after hearing that. As it turned out we didn't need alternate personalities. We just worked the ones we have to the ultimate. Actually I think we just were ready to take this step....symbolically anyway. We made an agreement if either of us wanted to leave we would just give a signal.....and we would be out of there!

But, it was fun! We sat at a great table with awesome fun people. Some of them were from my ward, some from Redlands, a tremendously funny gal from Lake Elsinore, a couple from Redlands....all gals of all ages.....and one lone brave, or very smart, guy.

The agenda included Mexican food, karaoke, and dancing. There were about 90 people there, and there was no hesitation, no silent moments. The moment they opened the mike to karaoke there was someone there. Then when they stopped the karaoke and started the dancing the dance floor was crammed. It was just fun!
Thanks to everyone for making this first very tough step so easy....and so fun! No red shoes, but we really did rock the room!