Friday, April 30, 2010

Friends who know me better than I know myself!

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart,
and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."
Recently I have had a rotating door as several friends have come into my home expressing concern about my well-being. How kind is that?! The only problem is I feel fine. I am happy, content, more organized than I have been for a long time. Things are pretty level. At least I think so.
I tend to be someone who doesn't feel my own feelings too well. There was a time maybe 20 some years ago that I was told by a friend "Leslie, you don't need to learn how to let your feelings out, you need to learn how to let your feelings in."
Pain is not something I feel normally either. This has been a problem on many occasions. Eye pressure is supposed to be somewhere around 18-19. Mine went up to 58 and the Dr. said there is no way I could deal with that pain. There was pain, I could hardly touch my hair without it hurting, but I was touring the Washington monuments with visiting friends. Not normal. Another time in Virginia I had a headache and sense of confusion so I was leaving work, but didn't know which hospital I was insured with. I drove to a hospital about 25 miles and on the way home, but Bud couldn't figure out if I could use this facility, so I drove about 20 miles further to pick him up. By the time we made it to the emergency room my blood pressure was 285/175! You have never seen people move so quickly, so calmly. It has become recognizable that I am in trouble if someone all the sudden gets extremely calm, speaking to me in a very slow, soothing voice. "Okaaaaaaaaaaay Mrs. Traaaawwwwspppeer, we aaare justtttt going..."
There have been many other occasions where not feeling "normal" pain has put me in jeopardy, so pain is really a good thing...a red flag we don't usually ignore.
So about my feelings. I have found that just like pain I tend to ignore, cover up, or just plain not feel my emotions. Never have held a grudge, or been truly angry. I don't have any axes to bury, anywhere. I don't think anyone is mad at me, and I am not mad at anyone. If I get depressed I usually find ways to get beyond it pretty quickly. All that sounds good, but my Dr.'s have always told me that many of my health issues are from unresolved emotions. Not good.
So the other day when this wonderful male friend from church called saying that he and his wife would like to come visit that evening because they felt that something was wrong, "I was just out of step and they were concerned. Three other people had said essentially the same thing within a week, so I was anxious to hear what their concerns were. Maybe they could tell me something I didn't know.
We had a great visit, and shared a bit. We came to the conclusion that I do have things in my life that could be causing me to be somber, or at least contemplative, but that I am okay. They left feeling better and I felt absolutely blessed to have such wonderful friends that are keeping such a good eye on me.
I am fortunate to have a bounty of friends. Some of my friends are those I went to school with many decades ago. Friends from old neighborhoods, Facebook friends, Church friends from many different wards, those I work with, clients I work for, and my family. What a blessed life I lead with so many who care about me, and that I can give love and care too as well.
Isn't it wonderful when we can remind someone of the words to their own song of life. We get to lift their spirit and remind them of their joy, and they can do the same for us.
"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart,
and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We had Ham!

A few blogs ago I talked about traditions and that one of our Easter traditions was to eat ham. I had opted to have prime rib this year and Jim just thought that was great....but it wasn't Easter. Scott, who was going to buy the prime rib, evidently agreed with him because he got both...prime rib and ham.

We had an awesome Easter. We missed Marque, Sarah, and Leah as we always do when they aren't with us, but they sent me pictures of my little Leah hugging her bunny rabbit that Gramma sent her. She is so sweet!!!! Head cocked and loving it with all her might. (I wish I knew how to download from my phone.)

Anyway, those of us in California went to Palm Springs to the time share. It has an amazing slide going into the pool and Hailey had a blast going down. Jim and Scott tried it a few times too. Mady enjoyed the smaller slide because we just couldn't convince she was really missing out with the big one. The water was warm, sun bright, and we relaxed, talked, played with a ball that skipped across the water, sat in the hot tub under the waterfall. Nice!!!

Bud and I made the spaghetti dinner on Saturday night. Jim and Sam treated us to eggs benedict Easter morning after the girls found their baskets. They are really beginning to trust the fact that Easter bunny will find them wherever they are. What a smart dude! I tell you our family Easter Bunnies (Samantha and Cynthia) really took care of us too. In between watching conference we were back by the pool until we decided it was time to make our appetizers. That was fun.

I had everyone bring ingredients to an appetizer they enjoyed. Then I collected the recipe cards and switched ingredients. Jim and Sam ended up with the ingredients that I brought, Scott and Cynthia got Jim and Sam's appetizer ingredients, Hailey and Mady got Grampa's ingredients and Bud and I got Cynthia and Scott's. The rules were that you had to use those ingredients, but you could use other things that you found too. It was kind of like "Chopped" on Food Network. What fun, and really tasty. Everyone did well.

I also brought pedigree charts for everyone to fill out, and a mad-lib regarding the Trosper Easter. We ran out of time to do the camera Scavenger Hunt I planned so we will have to save that for another holiday.

The prime rib, ham, baked asparagas, fruit salad, and garlic potatoes Scott prepared were yummy and ended the weekend on a very FULL note. We expressed love for each other, and for the Savior, so it was a special time of gratitude as well.

I didn't have a camera so I hope someone will send me pictures so I can add them to the
blog. Puleeeeeeze!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Proud Mom/Gramma!

Our little Leah Caitlyn Bliss Trosper is truly a blessing and a delight to our whole family. When this angel was adopted by Marque and Sarah there was no doubt God was involved. We all knew we could love a child that was not genetically connected to us, but I am absolutely amazed just how much she has touched our hearts.

I get all gooshy and my heart melts when I see pictures of Leah over the internet. One step better is a video so I can hear her chattering along with the pictures. Then to hold her, hug her, feel her heart beat next to mine is just addicting. I want more, more, more.

Marque and Sarah appreciate the birth mom, Caitlyn, so much. Above the rocking chair in Leah's room is a framed piece that has the following words on it. "When I'm worried, and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep"
1. Caitlyn
2. Caitlyn
3. Caitlyn
4. Caitlyn

Caitlyn and her family were also adopted by Marque and Sarah. They invite them to be a part of Leah's life. Not too much that it would ever be confusing, but enough that Caitlyn continues to know how grateful they are. And that Leah will some day know that too. They call her their angel. Caitlyn made some mistakes but she didn't compound them by keeping a child she felt she was not ready to raise. She loved her baby enough to give her a better chance. Leah is so blessed that Caitlyn chose Marque and Sarah as her parents with Heavenly Fathers guidance.


Marque and Sarah don't just thank Caitlyn and leave it at that. They are forming a foundation to put their hearts and money where there mouth is. It will offer a scholarship to young mothers who choose adoption rather than abortion or raising the baby as a single teenage parent. This will help them get back to their lives and even take a step forward. The first recipient will be Caitlyn appropriately. The foundation also will help parents seeking adoption as a way to build their family.

It's a beautiful thing and this mom and gramma is so very proud. So very in love and so very proud.

Here is a connection to Marque's blog to read more
http://www.marqueandsarah.blogspot.com/.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Woman Live in Transition

Part of my job, in the insurance industry, is to talk to young people when they get their licenses. One of the things I remind them is that while they are really ready to take this step, their Moms probably are not ready with them. But isn't that always true? Are we really ready for what is ahead when our baby takes that first unsteady step? There is a reason you find mommy's standing outside the kindergarten in tears hugging one another for support. I was never ready for taking that next step in growing up even though my kids were.

So many times, we as women, transition into a new life when circumstances require it. My mother was a working woman until she had a couple little munchkins at home so it was better for her to stay home. I don't know if she even thought about "a choice" or not. When my dad traveled for several weeks out of the month on his job, she became a single parent a large amount of time. Then when he wanted to buy a restaurant the stay at home mom became an instant owner/manager. Transitions, not necessarily of her choosing.

I think we don't even realize how flexible we are to bend and twist our lives to the will and requirements of those we love. A friend of mine went from a single woman, to a care giver for her parents without blinking an eye....transitioning without giving a thought to her own needs. After 10 years her mother recently passed away and she now needs to learn to live her own life. Not as easy as it sounds after giving every thought, every moment to her mother's care.

So is it any surprise that when life changes leave us alone to figure out what we want to do ourselves that we are at a loss. This is where I found myself after my kids were grown and on their own. I had many goals in my life, but they were mostly wrapped around my husband and kids, so I rarely gave a thought to myself. There I was with time to spare and no idea what to do with it. Thus, the "empty nest syndrome". We chart our future to include: graduate from school and seminary, go to college to get a bachelors degree and an M R S degree, find a nice return missionary (or convert some unsuspecting soul), get married in the temple, have children, raise them in a beautiful gospel oriented, nicely decorated, happy home filled with love, get them all off to college, and eternal families of their own. Then we pat ourselves on the back and wonder "What now?" Most women don't plan beyond that. We should. Our relationships with our husband, family, and friends need to be nurtured. We need to also stay active in hobbies and interests that are ours alone.

After my kids were all grown I went with a friend to a class at Chaffey College called "Women in Transition". There we found that we were not alone. There were many women questioning "What now?" in the class with us. It has been many years, but one of the things I remember is the teacher asking what we do for ourselves. Most of us replied "Who me? Nothing!"

She encouraged us to write down ways that we would like to be nurtured. She also told us we needed to find a space that we could go to feel peace and relaxation. I immediately went to a florist and set up a plan to come in each week to pick up some fresh flowers for my table at home. Since fresh flowers brighten up my house, they brighten my spirit as well. But that wasn't the main reward, it was that I was important! Important enough to do something for me each week. I was on a budget so I only spent $5.00 on my flowers, but was amazed what delightful bouquets I got for that small price. Somehow taking them out of a florist wrapped in the lovely green floral paper, created just for me, made it even more inviting than picking them up from a local grocery store. I think I need to go to my florist tonight! Just writing about it reminds me of the joy that brought me. I also have always created a wall, usually by my bed, that helps me melt into meditation. Problem is, you have to give yourself that time. I have a cd player right there too, but rarely remember to turn it on. I used to put a little Enya on and drift away into sublime peace.

I was asked a number of years ago who I was and what I enjoyed. My response was that I loved going to soccer games and watching my kids play, or that I loved spending time playing games or going places with my husband, etc. The response was "Now tell me what you like without using your kids, husband, or house in the sentence." Oh my gosh I stuttered and stammered and realized my whole life was wrapped up in them, and that I couldn't think of one thing that didn't include them. It took me a long time of thinking to be able to say that I love writing, spending time with friends, art....oh I love art! Not my own, although I believe some day I would love to paint again. Painting, sculptures-art in museums and in books. They tell such stories. Music is my absolute joy and can bring me up or give me peace with the perfectly chosen artist. I also like decorating for myself and others, spending time in nature (particularly around water), dancing, cruising, traveling....I enjoy the journey as much as the destination. There are so many other things on my list for my transition into retirement.

There are many retired folks who come into my office to pay insurance and love to just sit and talk forever! Now, I know I am a nice person, but still....why would anyone want to sit around an insurance office for an hour? Because they are bored. They need conversation, something to do with their lives. I have friends who say they have trouble getting up in the mornings because they have nothing to do, no goals, no interests, no desires. That would be tough. I am glad I faced this idea of "transitions" a little earlier in my life and have a plan in mind for my semi-retirement now that I am working just three days a week, and for my eventual full retirement.

Transitions usually come into our life unplanned, and we find ourselves unprepared. From the time our babies stand up on their wobbly legs and want to see their little world, when we want to still be cradling them in our arms, to being ready for them to get their drivers licenses and date before we see them as much more than toddlers. We need to be prepared for the transition. We need to set things up for the day that they go to college, marry, and leave our nest. We might need to even think about and get ready for the day we are alone entirely. Because believe me, sometimes those transitions are unexpected as well. Plan ahead to nurture yourself during those unwanted transitions in your life. Cultivate your interests now! It will make those times more tolerable, and maybe even desireable in some ways if you recognize life is full of surprises and curves. While you are taking care of your children, grandchildren, extended family, friends, and your husband.....don't forget you!

Friday, April 9, 2010

....hmmm what shall I write about?

I decided that I needed to write in my blog more often. Not because I have readers, because I don't. But because I have a real desire to write articles, a book, or something, and I need practice.
People have always told me that I have talent in expressing my thoughts. I didn't agree. My writing to me seems very generic. I believe Marque has great talent in putting his thoughts and opinions to word. He has a strong vocabulary that makes things he writes about come alive. Jimmy is really capable of emoting in his writing. Strong sentiments and emotions make his essays and poems passionate. Scott doesn't enjoy writing as much as Jim and Marque, but I know when he was getting his degree he had to do alot of writing. He got all A's so it must have been good. So I would say they have a gift for writing.
My Dad was a good writer too. You could even see his talent when he would sign a birthday card. My mom would always buy the present, get the card, but leave the sentiment to Dad. He wrote me two letters in my life that I cherish. One was when I graduated from High School and the other was the night before I got married. I love taking them out and re-reading them. Holding them in my hands I look at the penmanship...unique, strong, and artistic. Imagining his hand, which I still can picture perfectly, holding the pen doing flourishes just above the paper before setting it down to begin. I can see the little half smile appear as he gets an idea about what to pen. In the letter at my graduation he waxed nostalgic remembering everything that was important all through my life. He recalled friends, boyfriends, events, and tragedies peppering from childhood through this adolescent rite of passage. I was amazed what a full life I had lead, and that it was important to my Dad too. In the letter the night before my wedding when I was 18 years old he wrote a letter expressing love from my Mom and he. I'm absolutely sure he thought I was making a huge mistake taking such a big step at such a young age and he reminded me to "be very sure. When you step up to that altar if you have any doubts..... All your Mom and I want is your happiness." It was replete with emotion, angst, and love. Absolutely beautiful. My mom says I have inherited his gift. I feel my sons have inherited their grandfathers gift as well.
Writing is very important. Journaling can be history, thoughts, emotions, goals, failures, encouraging and discouraging times to be passed on....so can books. The readers are just more numerous and not so prejudiced. They are not just family members but others who might benefit from what is written.
Do I have anything of value to pass on to the general public? Can I express myself well enough to make it interesting, entertaining, and/or beneficial. I have conceded that when I write down what I am feeling at a given time, I can re-read it much later and bring back to mind exactly what the experience was all about. But, I still am not convinced my talent goes any further than that. While I appreciate those friends and family that compliment and encourage me, I do know they are coming from a point of view that isn't exactly objective.
So I just need to write, develop any skills I have, try to find subjects to contemplate on paper, and see how I fair over time. If anyone happens to read this, please send me a subject to write about. I love researching things too. So if it requires research that's okay. Or something that I can philosophize about....I love that too.
I have written a child's book called "An Elf's Christmas Story" that I just need to get published, and don't know how to go about it. My sister, Lynette and I are writing a book about two sisters who are opposite in every way and see their world with a very different perspective. They love each other and being sisters overcomes all differences. It is based on our own childhood experiences. Another book in my head is kind of a self help book called "On a Positive Note..." It will have different chapters on dealing with, and overcoming adversity. Also, I am intending to write a book for the church audience about my life and divorce experience. I think it would be helpful to a specific group of people who may go through similar experiences.
So.....first step.....write. But sometimes to write I need to decide....what shall I write about?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Traditions!

In the Trosper home "tradition" is a big deal. Most of our traditions seem to surround the holidays, but of course there are others as well.

Some things are well thought out and meant to become traditions. For instance: when our kids were young we decided that each year we would get them a Christmas ornament. Even at their birth I could imagine some day they would take all their ornaments with them and have a sentimental start to their own decorations. That was a planned tradition. The unplanned part of that tradition came when Jim seemed to get soldiers or nutcrackers as his ornament a couple years and he decided that is what he wanted each year. Scott got rocking horses. When he was around 18 I asked him if he wanted to change from rocking horses to something else and he said "No, tradition is tradition." Marque never chose or got the same thing every Christmas. His ornament seemed to be something that was simultaneous to his life. An ornament playing soccer when he was in soccer. A missionary with an Elders badge and a suitcase when he went on his mission, etc.

I think sometimes the boys want to hold to the old traditions even harder than I do. Everyone blends two families traditions when they get married...together they decide which stays and which goes. Our family has breakfast casserole after opening presents on Christmas morning and Sarah's family had cinnamon rolls and juice. So they have both at their house. Scott and Cynthia decided to opt for the beautifully decorated tree rather than the "rocking horse" tree. But they put up the manger set I got them and have a well decorated and lighted house like both of their families traditionally had. Jim and Sam have their tree decorated with nutcrackers (Jim), angels (Sam), teddy bears (Hailey), and snowmen (Madyson). Recently when I took a box of decorations out and told the kids they could each take several items from the box I was impressed that they didn't go for the new fancy items, but for the ragged and worn ones tied with traditions that they hold with so much value.

Jim is the guard of the Trosper traditions so it is lucky that he is married to Samantha who is willing to concede and even embrace most of them.

It is very important to me that we have tradition. It makes everything more memorable if it is looked forward to on each occasion. That is so in the world too. Can you imagine if at the end of the wedding no one said "You may kiss the bride". Imagine after their vows the wedded couple just headed back down the aisle without the kiss to seal the deal? We would all feel a little frustrated, unfinished. Tradition gives us something to hang onto, wait for.

But even I am not as serious about keeping the tradition as Jimmy is. Jim is the "Keeper of the Trosper traditions. It is lucky he is married to Samantha who has been willing to concede to most of them. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without letters to Santa, stockings before gifts, unwrapping each gift one at a time so we can ooo and aaah. Easter wouldn't be Easter without dying eggs the night before, Easter Egg hunts over and over, and ham for Easter dinner. Birthdays have to include smushing someone's face in the cake. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without letting the dinner get cold while we pass the turkey leg and say what we're thankful for. These are just a few of our traditions at holidays. We have lots of other one's that aren't necessarily for holidays; like, the family game being PIT or Game of 5000, singing my dad's old songs when we travel in the car, games for jobs, or picking up big big gulps especially before road trips (even 15 minute road trips LOL).

Yep Trosper and tradition almost are synonymous. I opted to have prime rib today. What a faux pax. "What?" Jim decried, "We always have ham on Easter." I didn't realize it was a hard and fast tradition....but Jim would. I am really going to enjoy the prime rib this year down in Palm Springs watching conference on tv, but you can be sure I will be checking the tradition guru next time.
I'm grateful that these things are important to my kids. It shows they have happy memories and they want to continue them for their children. I know we (their Dad and I) will never be forgotten as the traditions pass on. Just as my childhood, and my parents will never be forgotten as Bud and I chose to blend some of my traditions with his family traditions when we got married. Then we chose some of our own to add another layer. It's fun to watch the kids add their own traditions to their families too. It's a way of carrying on. Like every culture we really become what our traditions make us.

Thanks kids for embracing what is important to me. Now, more than ever, we need those stable memories to hang onto. I love you all so much!