Sunday, December 4, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 14th

It was fall. Not the warm, fuzzy colorful autumn, but the frozen dark, dreary part of fall that you would expect to precede winter. The wind was blustering in the night, whistling through the trees as they gave up their leaves.




Inside she threw a sweater over her shoulders trying not to use the heat in the small apartment. She wiped the frosty webs off the pane of the window as she peered out into the harrowing night. “Hurry, please hurry”, she whispered, watching her breath disappear into the air. It wasn’t pain she felt, just a discomfort that was unexplainable. She just wanted him home, her rock, her strength. He would make her forget the uneasiness she felt.




Despite her faith in him, even he, couldn’t erase her anxiety. What was it she was feeling? This wasn’t at all how people described it, actually it wasn’t possible. This wasn’t even supposed to be happening for another month. Why now? Several times through the night she woke up with a jolt, not really understanding what it was that jostled her from her sleep. One o’clock, two fifteen, three o’clock, she fell into a deep sleep. She awoke in a fright. Something was wrong. Her hands caught the moistness in the bed and retracted quickly. She screamed his name.




He bolted out of the bed , eyes wide with disbelief. “No! It can’t be! There’s no way!” He struggled to put his pants on and threw her a coat simultaneously. “ It can’t be. What shall we do? “ Somehow at this moment in his panic, she became calm “We just have to go now, it will be okay. I know it will be okay.”




The car was cold, it wasn’t used to the cold weather that hit so suddenly. He put his hand over the seat, looking back to see his young wife waiting. He took a deep breath, summoning courage to support her through this unimaginable experience. She looked hazy through the icy windshield, but she was still beautiful .




No phone! No way to contact the world outside, yet it was vital to make that connection. There was a diner ahead, a phone. She sat outside in the car, in the blizzard, on that October morning while her husband sat warmly at the counter having a cup of coffee. “Hurry”, she pleaded silently, “Please hurry.”




They were back on the road trying to find the way. He had lived there most of his life, yet it seemed so foreign in the blackness of the night with the swirling snow filling up every dark space. Where were they? Each road seemed the same, were they going in circles? She held onto her burden tightly praying they would make it in time. “No, don’t you see, that was the way.” He hit the steering wheel with frustration and fear, fear that they wouldn’t make it in time. At that moment she said “It’s too late, it’s too late” With that declaration she gave up. He saw her body become tense with her feet planted firmly on the floor and staring straight ahead. He was still driving as this was occurring. He grabbed at the air and she grabbed the steering wheel guiding them toward the corner of Pierce and Colfax. He put on the brakes, turned off the ignition. They both sighed a sigh of momentary relief.




Joy filled the air in that little 1946 Ford Coupe. Little did they realize they would become parents in this car, in this blizzard, on this October morning. They were so na├»ve they didn’t know what to do after they swatted the little bottom of their dear little bundle. She took off her coat and wrapped the baby up. She was perfect, even though she was early, she was perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, lots of black hair, a pert little turned up nose, chubby cheeks, PERFECT! The joy was full, complete, audible and short!




All of the sudden the coldness pulled them out of their reverie. They still needed to find the hospital, fast! She saw one ahead, “Over there dear. Daddy!” He drove into the driveway as quickly as the mounds of snow would allow. He ran into the hospital sputtering “My wife just had a baby, she’s in the car”. The nurse, who looked like a nurse even though she was wearing a housecoat said “You can’t bring her in here this is a Tuberculosis Hospital. “A tb hospital? I can’t bring her in here. Where is the Beth Israel hospital ”, he shouted doing an about face. They were only a few blocks off course so he was shortly repeating to the Emergency nurses the same rant, “My wife just had a baby, they’re in the car”. The nurse followed him with some chagrin, but quickly changed her attitude upon seeing the new mother and her wrapped bundle. “She did have a baby! There is a baby! “ They ran back into the hospital the father and the nurse. She kept giving him gauze that he kept stuffing into his pockets, more guaze and more guaze. “What are you going to do with those scissors? She’s cold, please hurry. The baby has no clothes on. Hurry!” Panicked he led the little parade to the car.




The new mommy felt fine in spite of her husbands panic. She was to learn in future births and life’s occasions that he would carry the emotion and she would be the one to remain calm. She handed her little baby to the nurse as she climbed onto the gurney. After giving birth to her first child, she knew that she began her life’s work, being a Mom.
She looked around as the snow danced in bright little flakes around her, taking a deep breath she thought about how a dark blustery October morning, gave way to a beautiful, joyous surprise.



Monday, September 5, 2011

Being A Friend!

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.”

Today I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss what it takes to be a friend. I'm sure if each one of you can think of someone who has touched your life for the moment, day, or period of time you needed them, and perhaps someone who has become a lifelong friend.

When I was a young girl in Brownies we learned the little song that was short, but very profound. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold." I knew then that this meant friends were important, and I understood that gold and silver were valuable, but as a youngster I don't know that I really understood the concept that friends were such a valuable commodity. I'm grateful I understand.

My Dad was the kind of person who was a friend to everyone. I have 3 sons who have the same kind of charisma he did. They can walk into a room of strangers and leave with a room of friends. Remarkable gift. People just wanted to be around Dad's pleasant smile and easy way. He made every person feel important. There was no measuring stick for him, there was a value in everyone. He was kind of like Will Rogers who of course "never met a man he didn't like". We can all do this by looking for the nugget inside each person that creates beauty. We've all met people who can always find fault in everyone, It's easy to just reverse it and look for the good. If you find it, then there is no doubt you will want them to be your friend.

My Mom was the one who carried details about people. This was a great assist to my dad....sometimes as they were walking up to someone my Mom would begin to feed my Dad the details "His wife is Faith, two children Grace and Jane, saw them at the company picnic." By this time Dad was shaking George's hand and patting him on the back asking how Grace and Jane were doing. Mom keeps friends forever and continuously adds to her friendship bouquet. A couple weeks ago we went to Denver for a wedding and stopped in to see her best friend who she met in the early 40's. They were "Rosie Riveters" together during the Second World War. To see them together was like they had never been apart, bosom buddies........they are among the first bff's.

I too am grateful for the relationships I made all through my life. They are golden to me.
? Have you ever had a friend that even if you haven't seen them in years - - you pick up right where you left off?

That's not ALWAYS how it is. It takes a lot of responsibility to be a friend, and stay a friend. Friendships need to be nurtured not taken for granted.
? What can you do to maintain that relationship?
Keep in touch. If you don't you might lose track of them.....
Know what their life events are?
Jan/Karen after she died.

? What can you do to have a golden relationship?
Give and Take
If you don't have a balanced relationship then it will lead eventually to regret or resentment.
My contract with my friends

Recognize the value in each person?
? Once you recognize it, what do you do with it?

If you keep these little hints you will have Friendships of Gold

NOW WHAT ABOUT THE SILVER--New Friendships?

How do you go about meeting new friends? I recently moved here from California. I was lucky enough to have an abundance of friends already here, as a matter of fact some of them threw a "Welcome to Utah" party for me. But I wanted to meet some new friends as well, so I could feel comfortable in my new home.

Karen Cook story--A long time ago I realized that you can make a new friend anywhere and in just a minute or two.....just look like you are open....don't close yourself off. I meet some of the neatest people in line at the grocery store. I know we are impatient people but it makes the time in line go much more quickly if you just look at the people around you who are impatient too and lift the time and their spirits a little too. I used to practice this on the busy freeways in California. You're stuck on the 60...going nowhere fast. Smile a little, wave a little, it will fill the time much more quickly. How about at McDonalds? I think people really think there is just an arm waiting on them. Have you ever recognized the arm is attached to someone? Someone who has a life, a smile, a heartbeat? Ask them how they are doing the next time you grab that McMeal! You might make a McFriend.

Scott's story---Police Dept Training Class.

? What? Where? and How? are some other ways we can meet new friends?
Going to places where you share commonalities. Toastmasters, church, Curves, School, Art classes.
? How do you nurture a new friendship?
Trust. "They don't know how much you know, until they know how much you care."

Build experiences and memories together.
Know what is important to them.
Be there when they need you--Lean on them when you are needing a hand.
Begin cementing the relationship by building traditions/memories.
Mark Twain said something once I wholeheartedly believe is true "I can live for two weeks on a single compliment." Share those little rays of sunshine, you will be the one who is blessed. YOU will find a new friend,

Thank you Miss Toastmaster.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#1 Son

You can call him Marque, or you can call him Q. You can call him Jr., or you can call him Ray. You can call him whatever you want, but as for me, I call him my #1 son. He is my favorite and that says a lot. His two brothers are truly amazing individuals. In any other family, either Jim or Scott would easily be a parents #1 most favorite son. That should explain how awesome Marque is to surpass them in this Mom's heart.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Am I Doing This?

Having decided I needed a new chapter in my life I moved to Utah. I loved my life, my family, and my friends in California and it was difficult leaving them. I recognized that there was a magnet pulling me back to my old life causing me to hang onto a relationship and a marriage that no longer existed. Making a move and turning the page would help me take a fresh look at life.

I allowed myself six months unemployment. Six months to move in, unpack, and to get healthy. I imagined that "getting healthy" implied physical health, but recognized after time that I was also becoming more healthy emotionally, spiritually, socially, and that I was preparing to heal myself financially as well. So, down thirty pounds, up a few more toned muscles, lots of added energy, a higher spiritual level, and more confident me, I began my job search.

The first question I asked myself was "What do I want to do now that I'm grown up?" When I was a child I made the decision very clearly that what I wanted to be a wife and a mother. That never changed. When I went to college my plan was supplement my career choice. As soon as I became a mother that was it for working outside the home. I babysat up to 14 kids at one time in my home so I could stay with my children. There was no better babysitter because I could only imagine how difficult it was for parents to leave their children.


When Scotty, my youngest, was ready to start school I was asked by a friend, if I wanted to work for him in his Insurance Agency. I gave him every excuse in the book, but he made it easy for me to be a mom and work too. For twenty-seven years I worked in various Insurance positions giving my kids opportunities they wouldn't have had otherwise. It was always a job though, never a career. Perhaps financially it would have been much better to have chosen a career path (had my own agency). After a divorce Ican't imagine how much more difficult it would be to layer the guilt if I had made that choice. At least I know that I did everything I could to honor the commitments and vows that I made at the altar. And my children....when I look at them I am so grateful that they were my highest priority. I'm not saying they wouldn't have been wonderful if I had had a career. I know so many exceptional mothers who do both amazingly well. I also know my kids might have turned out fantastic no matter what because they just are. But gratefully I was there to see them grow up. I was there to enjoy every blessed moment.

The page turned, and now it is time to face that question again; "What do I want to do now that I'm grown up?" At my age I am supposed to be readying myself for retirement, not for my next career. Well, "it is what it is". Even though chronologically I'm 63, my spirit has always been 19 and I'm not ready to retire (at least that's what I've convinced myself). If I was retired I would want to do some service; maybe work at a hospital, convalescent home, or helping children who are having a difficult time. So, my goal is to have a job where I am able to build relationships and help people. So beginning the process I asked myself, "what is out there for me to blend my vocation and avocation?"

I updated my resume, posted it on Monster, and started looking at potential positions. The common denominator in the jobs I researched and applied for was motivating, goal setting, team leading, helping, nurturing. So many insurance opportunities have been offered to me. I felt more and more positive through the interviews about the possibilities of changing other lives and changing my own as well. I felt empowered!

Entrepreneurs have always impressed me and I wished that I had the entrepreneurial spirit which is indomitable. An entrepreneur is a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture, or idea and is accountable for the inherant risks and the outcome. Eeek....I never had enough guts to look for one of those and certainly didn't want to face any risks, so I sat in my 9-5 job bringing home a regular paycheck. I understood clearly that the "movers and shakers" in this world didn't punch a time clock, but I was much more comfortable in my little box. Well in the job hunting process, especially through the interviews my box got a little bigger....and I could see myself stretching an arm or leg a little outside the confining parameters. I had a "paradigm shift", someone "moved my cheese", I saw "what color my parachute" could be. First of all that 9-5 job doesn't pay much in Utah, so even if I don't succeed to the level promised by all the positions paid by commissions I still have a chance of making more, and certainly would have much more freedom; freedom to be a Grandma, Mother, and friend. So, I just needed to find the right enterprise, venture or idea! As Zig Zigler says: "If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."

For me to sell an idea or product I would have to believe in it. I could never, ever talk someone into something I didn't think was a good choice for them. That was true as I sold Farmers Insurance products for 27 years. Farmers was a good and honorable company that did exactly what they said they would do. I loved the relationships built with my clients and so I wanted something that would allow me to build relationships again, this time to my own favor, instead of my employers. I considered alot of insurance options again, but hoped for a different perspective.

A friend that attends Toastmasters with me offered another option; to be a partner with her in Melaleuca. I heard good things about Melaleuca before but was concerned about it being a Multi-level Marketing plan. Some people do well with them, but I personally don't feel comfortable supporting. Callie reassured me Melaluca was not multi-level. The things I am most excited about are the products themselves. They are organic, safe, and the company was green way before it became popular to be green. I will not feel like I am selling when I talk to people about these products because they are the same things they are already buying, they simply change WHERE they buy it, and buy it safer. Melaleuca has over 300 products including household cleaning concentrates, vitamins and supplements, bath and body, skin and makeup, and even pharmaceutical products. I'm excited just thinking about offering something positive to my friends, family and my future friends.

So, I CAN be an entrepreneur. Boy, is that ever turning a page in my new chapter, that's really a change for me. Hopefully an old dog CAN learn new tricks, and you can't beat that.

My personal mission statement is: "To empower lives with products that provide financial wellness, physical stability and are environmentally appealing." The wonderful thing about it is I believe it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What is This?

A few weeks ago I felt extremely overwhelmed. Money was tight because my income which was already tight was decreased by over $700 a month, so I needed to think about getting a job, but what kind of job? Should I find one that is part time, full time, salary based, commission. What did I want to do with the rest of my life. I didn't like the idea of having to start a new career at the age I should be retiring, but I gave myself 6 months and then had planned on getting busy anyway....now I was pushed into it. That was just a bit of the problem, to go along with that I was told by my Dr. that I needed to have a gastric bypass and yet, as stated in an earlier post, I had just lost 30 lbs. So it would seem to be an easy answer, but there are other things involved. If I start working then it would be awhile before I would be comfortable taking the time off. I will be 64 in October (OMG that is a yucky thought) and I can only have the surgery until I am 65, then there will be no more options. The Dr. seems to think that I need this to jump over all my health issues.


Oh well, what this blog is about is how I pulled myself out of the tornado of decisions, thoughts, doldrums and into a really awesome place. How? I don't know really what made that little difference but I do know I was actively involved in creating my own happiness. The greatest advise I could ever give anyone who is frustrated, depressed, despondent in any way is to do absolutely the opposite of what you feel like doing. I truly WANTED to stay in bed, if out of bed I wanted to escape into the computer doing mindless things. I didn't do those things. I set my alarm, which I never usually do, I got out of bed early in the morning and dragged myself through each simple task and ticked it off as an accomplishment. It was hard! There was nothing I wanted more than to stay in that bed, cover my head and go back to sleep until all my decisions were made and magically all was right with the world. Never had success with that plan at all. Forward motion is required to move out of despondency and indecision. I wanted to watch soap operas but would have settled for infomercials. Instead I turned on happy, bright music. Rather than playing "spider solitaire" I looked up quotes on attitude shifts, decision making, and joy. I was too overwhelmed to make a decision of Job or Surgery so I moved forward in both continuing to pray. Sidenote: Prayer is harder for me when I am depressed or overwhelmed because my prayers are based on gratitude...if I am in bed then I can't be grateful for what I am not seeing. So I force myself out into the world to see the skies, trees, smiles on people's faces, my grandaughters twinkling humor then it is easier to pray. In my prayers I learn to ASK, which I am not good at doing. "Lord, bless me with a good day. Help me to see the answers I seek. Give me angels here on earth who will guide me in my decisions."


I updated my resume. You HAVE to be positive in a resume. Every positive characteristic, valuable skill, and passion is listed. That helped me see myself in that light as well and lifted my spirits. After posting the resume on Monster I received lots of offers...that was a real lifter as well. On the surgery side I posted an e-mail to my Dr. for more information on why he felt so strongly that I should have the surgery, and I researched the pros and cons of gastric bypass surgery. I not only continued to exercise, I increased my exercise time. My impulse was not to do it at all because if I was going to have the surgery why bother, but that would have been defeating to me. Remember, do the opposite of what you FEEL like doing.


I started having interviews which was really empowering to me. I get an amazing "high" from seeing people size me up visually when they first meet me, then I proceed to "wow" them. I love how they are stiff, impersonal, going through the motions at the beginning of an interview, and at the end they are relaxed, leaning forward into our conversation, even asking MY advise at times on certain aspects of their own situations. That is the Lord blessing me for my efforts I believe. When I do my share, He is right there to fill in the GAP. I couldn't do it without Him. That is also building steam and esteem because with that knowledge and success I can now go forward and conquer not only the decisions that need to be made, but the WORLD (haha).

Yesterday as I got up way earlier than planned I discovered that now I wasn't forcing myself to take each step I was bouncing and bounding. I stopped and took a look into the mirror and said "Leslie Trosper, you are cute." I found that I didn't really MAKE a decision about the surgery it just kind of made itself. I have not lost any more weight in the past couple weeks, but I feel healthier so I am going to proceed slowly rather than with the quick loss that surgery would provide. I respect people that make that decision as well. It isn't the easy way out, as some people think. It takes alot of change...I just think I want to enjoy each tiny little change as it comes. I have actually faced the reality that I may not see alot of weight change, but I have proven to myself and others that I can be healthy, happy, and me at any weight. I will continue doing my best by eating properly and exercising and the Lord will fill in that GAP for me in the way that HE sees best.


As far as the job goes, I am having a blast in the interview process, but I will be making some other decisions shortly. The process has helped me to see myself at my finest. I KNOW someone will be lucky to get me, and I am looking forward to a new chapter. For the first time, ever, I know I can be successful financially while inspiring others to be successful as well.


Some of the other things that have specifically helped me were: 1) getting on the ATV when Marque encouraged me...made me feel so young, so alive! 2) Vickie and I working through and encouraging each other to keep on moving when our instinct was to just commiserate with each other. 3) Being around Sarah and Leah who brighten my world by just being in it! 4) Talking to my other kids and having them support and encourage me whatever my decisions 5) Living in, being mindful of, and thanking God for each moment and each tiny little success, viz., "Wow, I got out of bed! Good job Leslie, thank you God for pushing me to do what I asked you to push me to do." "This shower is awesome, shampooing my hair makes me feel so alive. Thank you God for water, soap, shower curtains, my little house, for Marque who gives it to me cheaply, my blue and white shower curtain."


Now, I am walking on clouds...I don't know how it happened or what it is, but I know EXACTLY how it happened and EXACTLY what it is.



Saturday, July 2, 2011

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

I am a patriot! I love this country and all the freedoms I get to take for granted. Don't we all sit in our comfortable homes with our full tummies watching our flat screened tv's forgetting sometimes what kind of patriots it took to give us this lifestyle. One of the things I avoid lately is watching the news. The news might tell me about politicians who have cheated on their wives, or the people who put them in office. It might tell me about how the economy is failing, or it might tell me about a war still being fought in the middle east for someone's liberty from tyranny. It's so easy to turn it off and I have to admit, I do.


But I don't forget what it took to get us the valuable freedoms that we can be so casual about. I have written several blogs on how my parents raised me to be proud of my country. My kids are proud too. Marque loves the history. All you have to do is walk in his office at home to see a multitude of books on the raising up of America. Jimmy is the one who knows his politics. He was so excited to meet Alan Cranston in the Capitol when he was 14 years old. He knows that the country was not conceived to be a hierarchy, it was conceived with a balance of power. He knows that it is important to know who you are voting for other than just the President because of that balance of power. Scott is a protector of our rights as a police officer. So I would say we were able to pass on the patriotism my parents gave to me.


I remember school days when we began each day with our hands over our hearts pledging allegiance to the flag. It had power when I said those words. When I was in 6th grade the whole city of 6th graders came together in Denver to do a concert...we filled a huge auditorium. It was breathtaking when we all sang God Bless America in unison. I cried then, and it is a moment I will never forget. What I didn't realize at that time is that it was a pretty new song to America at the time. Irving Berlin who was not born in this country served in World War I and in 1918 wrote "God Bless America" for a play. It wasn't accepted well so it was tucked away in a trunk. He pulled it out, dusted it off and changed a few of the lyrics around 1940. Kate Smith sang it. It became her signature song. I loved Kate Smith when I was a little girl. Hers was one of the first tv shows I watched in the 50's and she always closed the show with God Bless America. Another thing I always loved about it was that all the royalties Irving Berlin received were donated to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. That is still true. That is all side information...God Bless America is my favorite patriotic song because what it says, is what I feel.


God Bless America, Land that I love.

Stand beside her and guide her,

Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans white with foam.

God Bless America, My home sweet home.

God Bless America, My home sweet home.


It's a prayer, isn't it? A prayer asking God to protect this beautiful country that houses us and our liberties. Simple lyrics, simple melody, but who can sing it without emotion?


Our Independence Day, The 4th of July, is one of my favorite holidays, because it is one we actually remember what the holiday is about. One of the things I resent is that holidays are sometimes celebrated more because it's a day off work, or school, than to remember what it's all about. I wonder if kids today even know what day Columbus discovered America, or is it just a day off? When is Lincoln's birthday, or Washington's birthday? It is just President's Day in February, another day from school. But on the 4th we seem to acknowledge and celebrate for the way our patriots fought the British so that we could pursue happiness in any way we see fit. They sweated in the hot days of summer with no air conditioning to map out the Declaration of Independence. Could they have even imagined the American Patriot of today? Even in the depths of the financial burdens we bear, most of us have so much. As we watch the fireworks we need to remember and acknowledge those who are still fighting, who sweat in the hot days in the desert for those who don't enjoy the freedoms and wealth we all enjoy.


Luckily I have had wonderful celebrations of the 4th of July in my lifetime. When I was young we lined up and marched to the front of the house as a family, posted the flag, and pledge our allegiance to it every Independence Day. Or we would find ourselves at my grandparents house in South Dakota and my grandma would run out to the car twirling a towel over her head saying "Hoowah, hoowah for the 4th of July"! As my kids grew we had block parties, barbecues and parades ending up sharing all the fireworks together. In 1987 we were on the Hudson River crammed with thousands. We started the crowd singing patriotic songs while we waited for fireworks over Hudson Bay. In Chesapeake, VA we listened to the Virginia Philharmonic Orchestra playing the 1812 overature with real cannon blasts before the fireworks started. One time we were at the Chesapeake Bay with boats parading while the most fantastic fireworks were timed perfectly with an orchestra playing. Then there was the time we took the metro in early morning down to the National Mall between the Capitol and Lincolns Memorial to enjoy the National Fireworks over the Washington Monument. Incredible! Enjoy the celebration and ask God to bless those who did the work in our history, those who are currently serving, and that we will always remember, and


God Bless America, Land that I love!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Childhood Memories

Today my oldest son, Q, was writing about his memories regarding a beach cruiser, cruising it at the beach, and people watching at the beach. He said he doesn't remember too much about his childhood without the help of photographs. Thank goodness we took alot over the years, and some video too. My sister Lynette texted this morning asking about addresses of the very first house we lived in, in Aurora, CO., and my grandparents address there in Denver. These two conversations led me down through a nostalgic walk down my own memory lane, and also through my children's childhood.


My kids tease me to death about my very distinctive childhood memories. I took them on a little drive through Denver sites in 1984 on our way to South Dakota to see my Grandmother. When we were in Denver again in 1997 for a Bliss Family Reunion they did not want to retrace my childhood again, and were lucky this time because they were too old for me to force them. They remember me showing them where my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, lived and that we made chocolate chip cookies there. And they still tease me about it!


Today when Lyn asked me what our address was in Aurora I started looking up addresses. I wrote back to Lyn that my elementary school was Montview and it was at 5505 Molina. She couldn't believe I knew THAT address. I didn't of course I just knew the name and googled the address. But then I was able to find our neighborhood, our house, and some of our friends houses. I was quite surprised to see how small that house was square footage wise, especially as houses are getting bigger and bigger these days. We moved into the house when I was around one...although I don't REMEMBER that. I was the oldest, and we lived there until late summer when I was going into 3rd grade. So there were 6 of us living in less than 1000 square feet. I don't think my parents were poor, or rich, that's just what people had at that time. I remember so many memories in that house, like going across the alley to our friends, the Meads. Rusty Mead was my very first boyfriend when I was 4 or 5, and my very last boyfriend when we left Colorado when I was 15 1/2. There was the time I was sent to the Meads to borrow some ice and got my tongue stuck on it on my way home. Also I learned to "pump" on a swing from my next door neighbor Jill Pinkerton. All the neighborhood kids went to the Meads house to watch their new television because no one else had one. We would watch the big sign that told what the network was with a long tone until actual TV programs started. My favorite was Howdy Doody I think. I wanted so much to be in the Peanut Gallery. I had a kindergarten teacher named Mrs. Gold, I remember her daughter was an airline stewardess so I wanted to be one too. She was killed by a bomb that was put on a plane...way back then there were some kind of terrorists I guess. Mrs. Scofield was my 1st grade teacher, but I loved Mrs Brown my 2nd grade teacher because she shared her home...and her chocolate chip cookies. I remember walking to Goodies Store to buy penny candy. Can you imagine parents letting their kids walk by themselves to a store that was maybe 4 blocks away? There were so many fun friends and experiences on Jamaica street in Aurora.


When we moved out of the Aurora house we moved into my grandmothers house at 1230 Magnolia in Denver. My grandfather had just passed away at 55 years old, and my grandmother was having a hard time living alone. We were waiting for our 2nd house to be built in Southeast Denver. I started 3rd grade at Montclair Elementary and my sister, Lynette, started Kindergarten. It was so amazing because her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Lyon was my Dad's kindergarten teacher too, and she remembered him! Lynette walked home once by herself and got lost, I can't remember if that was my fault in some way....see I don't remember EVERYTHING. But I do remember she crossed Colfax which was one of the busiest streets ever. A lady found her and rescued her. Grandma's house had a double hump hill that we would roll down and the neighbor next door had just one really high hump in her yard. We would just have to be careful not to run into the beautiful weeping willow trees. Isn't it funny what kinds of things stay in your memory? Sometimes the tiniest things clasp on, like: the milkbox and the milkman coming every day to put milk in it...especially when it was chocolate; buying new clothes for school and hanging them on the pipes down in the basement room where we slept, and exactly what they looked like; grandma making sugar bread for an after school snack; playing piano on the same piano Daddy did when he was little; grandma's goldeyn mirror over the fireplace. Oh my 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Haner. Guess my kids are right, I do remember alot!


In the middle of my 3rd grade we moved into our new house at 1569 S. Forest Street in Denver. By the way, I can even remember our telephone number was SKyline 6-7286. To me the house looked like a gingerbread house, it was so cute. The windows on the right side were diamond paned which was so popular in the 50's. We lived in a housing tract called Virginia Village and we felt rich. I was surprised again today to find that this house was only 1200 something square feet. It seemed huge to me. While we were there my brothers Bill and Brock were born, as well as my sister Becky. So eventually there were 9 of us living there. As time went on my parents did do a semi-finish on the basement and we had 1 more bedroom and 1 more bathroom. Before that time all of us were in 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. At that house I remember: the stile to climb over the fence into the Wallaces back yard, the NON-privacy fences that allowed neighbors to be neighbors; the mexican cart with the donkey in the Keeners back yard; playing kick the can with a whole gaggle of neighbor kids; my friend Nancy directly across the street who was less than a month older than me; the Bells, Bradfords, Sameks; "Neighbor Day" on Labor Day and all other patriotic holidays where we gathered to celebrate; the light in the middle of the family room that pulled down if you needed to have a closer look. My dad would walk through the room and grab it as a joke. Many people thought he was pulling the light right out of the ceiling. I remember finishing 3rd grade with Mrs. Moore at Stephen Knight Elementary while waiting for Ellis to be finished. In 4th grade I had Mrs. Woodward, In 5th grade I had Mrs. Hughes, and in 6th grade I had Mrs. Hann. They all seemed so old, but were probably in their twenties looking back. I had a great group of friends and fell in love so many times while I was in elementary school with Tommy Davis, Val Knopf, Bucky down the street. But when I got in Jr. High I was so shy. I don't know why I was shy, perhaps THAT's why. No, our Jr. High Merrill was so crowded they had to do triple sessions 7:30 - 12:30, 9:30 - 2:30 and 12:30 - 4:30. I was divided from some of my friends. One thing I remember there was helping to give out vaccinations for polio. It was a big deal that they had found a vaccination for that horrible disease. People don't even remember the problem that it was. I will never forget Salk and his discovery.


Writing this down brings so many more memories to my mind that I will definitely write for myself someday. I assume this will be more for me than anyone else anyway. Memories are a very personal thing. I did find an old friend on facebook the other day from my childhood on Forest Street. Linda was my church friend. I guess I probably knew her since Primary until I left when I was 15 and we were both in Mutual. I remember lots of fun times in those classes with her at church. Eventually we went to the same High School, George Washington, and that was fun. Mostly I remember going to her house after church on Sundays between Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting to have dinner at their house and jump on the trampoline in her back yard. I am excited because she lives just a few towns over so we will get together after 48 years to reminisce. Actually who knows how much we'll have to share after all that time. Maybe a few "do you remember?" moments, a friendly lunch, and a hug, but it will still be nice.


Little did I know how my life was really only starting with our move to California. We lived for a short time on Ridglea in Buena Park after my Dad was moved by Ford Motor Company. Well actually we started living at the Magic Star right by Disneyland for a month or two. Can you imagine a child's delight living right next to Disneyland? Can you imagine 7 children's delight? Can you imagine 2 parents delight living with 7 children in a motel for 2 months? They were happy to find anything to rent while they searched for one to buy. My dad for several months or maybe years would all the sudden say "Well here we are in California!" It was quite amazing to all of us. The house they chose to buy was 1716 Sunset Lane in Fullerton. We were kind of sad to leave the Country Club life of Los Coyotes, but Mom and Dad kept a membership there for us, for a time. I went to Buena Park High School until the end of the school year. I managed to get on the honor roll with a 4.0 gpa. Unknown before or after that time. I didn't know anyone might as well study. I did meet my friend Pam (who is my friend to this very day) and Dyan who had just moved there from Colorado too. When we moved to Sunset Lane I went to Sunny Hills High School. We had what was considered a large home at the time. It was so large that it was an embarrassment to me when my friends came to visit, but it was smaller than any of my kids homes today at 2400 square feet. You can imagine how big it was to us after the Denver home I was raised in though. Sunny Hills was considered rich man's neighborhood, but what great friends we made there and in our ward at church, Fullerton II Ward. I met my first real boyfriend there. He was our paperboy who delivered his papers from his Jaguar. He also rode a horse, Sunny, atop the hill across the street and would yell to me at my window...very romantic. I keep in touch with some of my high school friends especially Karen and Karen, great friends still. I had lots more boyfriends until I met the one I would marry when I was 18 years old. And that was the end of my childhood! But not the end of my fun. Four years later my first son was born and that began the memories that I tried to build, make golden, and store for my children.


I have always thought the reason I remembered everything about my childhood was because it was such a good childhood. I never recognized the gift of a good memory. I know that because some of my kids don't remember alot of their childhood and I know there's was equally as memorable as mine. So I thank my Heavenly Father for parents who made my childhood memorable and for the gift of memory so that I remember so well!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New and Improved?

Yesterday I got on the scales and was surprised to hit another goal. I've lost 30 pounds now. Yippee! When I moved to Utah one of my goals was to focus on me. Particularly on exercise and eating healthy. One of my intentions was to look at Curves. I didn't know too much about it, but it seemed like a low impact exercise plan from everything I heard. The part-owner/manager of the franchise here in American Fork is delightful. She is single, a decade or so younger than me, and just the cutest personality. I saw her instantly as a friend. It didn't take too long to decide to join. Afterall, it is just a few blocks, energetic ambiance, nice people, and totally judgement free. Curves quickly became my "new community". I didn't immediately become friends with everyone, but I did love seeing friendly faces across the circle as we all worked out to the music. Eventually, I added Zumba and is that fun! Truly, it is still hard to motivate myself to get up and go exercise each day, but they do everything they can to help you overcome your laziness.

I never thought exercise would be fun! It takes 30 minutes to do the regular program and so even a busy (cough-cough) person like me can find time to get it done at least 3 times a week.
Zumba also takes 30 minutes but leaves me more exhausted, more sweaty, and strangely more energized. Laura, the Zumba instructor is just so fun, and can really show us how to move our body. As far as my eating healthy lifestyle it is pretty simple...eat at least 3 x's a day, drink lots more water and lots less coke, eat more fruits and vegetables than anything else, but don't deprive myself.

I've been on a weight loss course all my life. I've tried everything. Weight watchers is the best I think because their plan is one you can live with, and is well balanced. I gained weight though in the 4 or 5 times I tried it previously. Probably because other plans or "fad" diets dropped my caloric intake to very little so I didn't have anywhere to go. I was even on a 500 calorie diet with daily shots at one time in my life and stopped losing after 20 pounds even though I stayed the course for over 6 months. When you actually start eating more than 500 calories a day you actually gain weight.....what? Who would've thought? Duh! I also had a dental devise put on my teeth so I couldn't eat anything solid....it caused me to eventually need crowns on all my teeth but didn't help my weight loss at all. Tried it all.....and got to the point that I could go a day or more without eating at all. Then someone told me I was heavy because I didn't eat. I think it was the people at Six Week Body Makeover who told me that when I went on their "fast start" and gained weight. Crazy!

So, I have spent a year or so trying to get a metabolism back. Even though I hear it is best to eat 5 small meals a day I have found it hard to get 3 in. I used to not eat until 2-4 each day because that is when I finally got hungry. Some wise person told me that my metabolism wasn't even thinking of starting until I ate. Oh, so you mean the reason I get hungrier if I actually eat breakfast is because my metabolism has started? Duh! I convinced myself I didn't like breakfast so I had to re-train my brain that it didn't matter what I ate as long as I ate....gotta get that metabolism busy. I still rarely get very hungry so I almost have to schedule eating like you would schedule medication. I buy good things to eat, various fruits and vegetables, but since I don't get hungry and therefore I don't think of snacking I sometimes waste the food. So the good news for me is the more I eat....of the right things....the more I lose.

My Dr. told me last month that he wanted me to have a gastric-bypass to improve my health. I had already lost about 25 pounds and was looking for a job so this wasn't what I expected to hear. But, he said that almost all my issues would disappear if I went through with it. So I am praying for what the Lord feels is the right path for me. I was leaning toward the surgery when I got on the scale and had the newest weight loss. I don't know yet what the right answer is, but I definitely know I will continue doing more of the same thing I have been doing until I have my answer.

One of the things I think was also important is that I learned to love myself before I started losing weight. I think that is the most valuable advise I could ever give. So maybe some day my pants will fall right off my body, but I will still be the same person that I look at in the mirror. Fat or skinny doesn't matter what the packaging because it still holds all the bad, or good that was always there!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Magic Wand

I was given a magic wand yesterday. Better than that I was given the opportunity to use it. Use it to fill my life with all the mystery, happiness, joy, love, or intrigue that I want. What potential can be held with this new wand? I can hardly imagine. It has been a long time since I considered all the power that a magic wand could possess.


Several years ago when my granddaughter had achieved a certain amount of success in her potty training she was allowed to explore Toys R Us for a reward. She chose a magic wand. Dancing around the store, she tapped amused strangers with her new wand granting their wishes. With great flourish and fantasy she mimicked her favorite Fairy Godmother saying, “Pooping and peeing makes all your dreams come true. Pooping and peeing makes all your dreams come true!” At two years old Hailey already knew that happiness could be possessed by dreams granted. How long has it been since I even allowed myself to wish or dream? Or even knew what I wanted to wish or dream?

I never really needed a wand because I had a fairytale childhood….is it even popular to say that anymore? My parents created their very own magic. They danced around the house in each other’s arms with twinkles in their eyes…at least it seemed that way to me. I could almost see the bird of happiness sitting on my mother’s shoulder as they shared a kiss, two short pecks and one long. I dreamed of creating my own magical kingdom so I married my Prince Charming 45 years ago. As time went on we had 3 handsome Princes who charmed our lives. We shared so many of our own “Once upon a Times”. The Kingdom of Trosper grew as each son took a beautiful bride. Now we have 4 cute little Princesses and one more on the way. Every fairy tale has it’s villain and two years ago the unimaginable ogre, “Divorce,” crushed my fairy tale kingdom.



Now what? That’s how I came upon this magic wand. It was given to me by my Fairy God Psychologist to help me see the possibility of creating a new chapter for myself. Perhaps it’s only the child within that can believe in the possibilities. Did I lose that little child in me? It would be worthile to explore getting to know her again, if only to re-discover the magic held in this magnificent wand.


If I were to design my own wand it would be crowned by a big red heart. This is appropriate because even if I’ve temporarily lost my belief in the “magic” of dreams, I have never lost faith in the power of love. So maybe with image of a little girl, a wee belief in the “abracadabra” or “bippity boppity boo” magic of dreams, a sprinkle or two of love, and the counsel of my new Fairy Godmother I can find some old fantasies, or create some new possibilities.


I close my eyes tight and with great flourish and fantasy wave my little wand and mimicking my little granddaughter I say “just wish and hoping can make all my dreams come true! Just wishing and hoping can make all my dreams come true! Just wishing and hoping can make all my dreams come true!”

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mary and Martha

My friend Vickie and I get together one day a week to lift each other up. We never have a lack of things to talk about and it really doesn't matter where we meet. Back in Temecula when we started our "Tuesdays Together", we met at the Barnes and Noble bookstore after I got off work. We are grateful to continue the special days and meet at various places, but always end up talking on a personal nature and a spiritual one as well.



This week we started out realizing we both have a little OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). To us this means that we get very anxious if our homes are not clean, and our daily lists are not completed, although because of their length it becomes very difficult to ever complete them.


Our discussion went to the scripture story of Mary and Martha, who were two sisters, who were apparently very good friends of Jesus Christ during the time of his ministry here on earth.




I love this picture of the event. You can see the familiarity of the key figures, they seem real, like us. So it is easy to put ourselves into the story as it unfolds in just four short verses in Luke.




Luke 10:38-42, “Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His Word.But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Vickie and I in discussing this scripture story had to realize we had alot of Martha in us. Having had several events that I had to prepare for in my family and in church callings, I can imagine just exactly how Martha felt. Frustrated. We only really hear about Jesus being in the home, but we know Lazarus was Martha and Mary's brother so we can safely assume he was there as well as the Disciples, who were always in the Lord's company during this period. We know Jesus taught, so we can imagine there might have even been more people following.

Can you imagine Martha fulfilling the woman's role in that day of staying in the background and serving. She probably had a great deal to prepare to feed all those visiting, setting the table up, and cleaning to make things perfect. I'm sure much of it was done particularly for Jesus to serve him. I can just picture Martha sending chilling daggers to Mary who just sat at the Saviors feet with no regard to Martha's looks and probable hand signals to assist. It is apparent her level of frustration became overwhelming when she actually approached Jesus asking Him to tell Mary to help. Being the oldest of many brothers and sisters I can see this as not only tattling, but a way to draw attention to herself and her efforts.

Poor Martha, her ploy certainly backfired. Christ did indicate that He was aware of Martha's actions, but He did not praise her. Instead he chastised and rebuked her for being distracted. He indicates that Mary had chosen the correct behavior. She was hearing, learning, and worshiping at His feet.

Hmmmm. As Vickie and I discussed this we became aware that our character includes parts of Martha (the OCDness) and gratefully our spirits are tender and we want to hear and learn from our Savior so we might some day be at His feet ourselves.

I think the world finds itself kind of in a Martha syndrome, we are too worried about appearances. There is no doubt there are things that need to be done. The Lord's house is a house of order, but there is a balance to it. If we get to the point of doing it for the wrong reasons then we have gone overboard. I'm talking in terms of homemaking for two reasons: one, that was Martha's issue, and secondly, that is my issue. But, we can insert any other "works" here. All important, but not to the point that God and Godliness don't exceed them in importance. Martha is a person of action. We can see her action is good works, helping others and that isn't bad. She was serving the Lord and others.

If Christ was in my home I can imagine that my first thoughts might be the dust on the floor, or the fact that I didn't have enough "good" food to serve Him. No, no I'm wrong. I really can't believe those would be my first actions. I will want to fall at His feet and worship Him, thank Him, cry into His lap, or crawl into His lap to be embraced. There is no need to worry about feeding all the neighbors that would gather around, afterall, He can feed thousands with so little. Martha didn't have time to realize that because she was too busy with the niceties.

Do I have to wait until Christ walks into my living room to learn from Martha and Mary? No I can change now. One of my OCD things is my list. I have to write a list every day to get the things from rattling round in my brain continually. The top of my list says Martha and Mary. Under my Martha list are a few things that I need to get done to keep an orderly home. Under my Mary list are things that will draw me closer to God, after all we are told "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." That tells me, if I be a Mary first, then all the Martha things will come too.

I kind of see the Martha things (from my point of view) are those things that might be my "image" concerns. The Mary things would be prayer, scriptures, reading in good books, listening to good music, meditation, contemplation, charity, church callings, being in touch with loved ones. My comfort zone is being busy in my house, so those are the things I always find myself doing first. That means the other things fall second. That is definitely not what the Savior said to Martha, or in so many other areas of the Scriptures.

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." — Mark 12:30

I am not a scriptorian but I don't recall a 43rd or 45th commandment saying "Thou shalt make your bed every day" or "thy mirrors MUST be free of all fingerprints". So I am going to try, try, try to put aside my OCDness and my Martha-ness in favor of all that I have learned from her.

Wondering what Martha did after Christ rebuked her? We don't really know but maybe we get a hint from the story where her brother Lazarus died. Jesus was coming and Martha ran out to meet Him, to challenge Him because she knew He could do anything. Mary instead was at home probably praying, and waited until Martha returned to tell her Christ was asking for her. I'm sure Martha tried, but still this shows she was a woman of action, who wanted to get things done in her timing. Mary was more contemplative, waiting on a call from her Lord. Mary puts a spiritual response ahead of a physical response.

It is obvious these two women were both very important to Jesus, and they were both good women. But we can learn from them, from their responses, and from the few words the Lord said to them, and to us. We need to try to keep a Mary mindset in a Martha world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reconnecting

Okay, it has already been established that I am a blessed woman. Lately one of the ways that I have truly counted blessings is in my reconnection to special people in my life. I was just laying in bed this morning amazed and I began to process the enormity of that at this particular time.

My mom has always kept in touch with old friends and family members, including cousins once, twice removed. I think it's one of the things that keeps her young. She not only enjoys the relationships, but she feels somewhat responsible for them as well. We are preparing for a Johnson family reunion next month and she has been in touch with many of her nieces and nephews to give them a personal invitation and encourage them to come. She is the only one from her generation remaining. All of her brothers and sisters and their spouses have passed away, so they all look to mom as their surrogate parent. She does a good job of making them all feel special.

She set a good example in my life, and I embraced it. My sister, Lynette, described this to me as my talent. She said I gather friends like a bouquet and it is a beautiful one. The good thing about my friend bouquet is that they never wilt. Some blooms may get lost for awhile, and others get more attention but they are always there. Many have come back into my life in the past few weeks in a remarkable burst of color. Let me tell you about some of them.

Lyn, is a foxglove. She stands tall, so tall. No, I'm really not saying that because my sister is soooo much taller than me. It's because she has a strong stem, that holds a myriad of blooms. She plays so many roles and has so many talents and does them all with strength and beauty.

Vickie is a rose. I met her in Temecula when Bud and I started having a rough road. Not in our marriage yet, but in life. Vickie was so immediately in tune with me that she knew it before I did and was there to catch my fall. She moved to Utah a few years ago, and now I'm here. We celebrate our friendship, encourage and mirror each others positive traits, every Tuesday. It's a day we try to work the rest of our life around because we build each other up. She seems to bloom more beautifully each time I see her.

Lisa is a gazania. She has faced way too many challenges, health and otherwise in the past decade. She came back into my life all the way from Arkansas. We have had the opportunity to have several long discussions over facebook and on the phone. She is a gazania because she is laying close the the ground grabbing on to the good soil wherever it is and sinking her roots in.

Samuel. I hesitate to name Sam's likeness as a flower, he just wouldn't have it. Sam was Scott's best man at his wedding so it is obvious that he has been a part of my life continually, but there has been a reconnection and a sweet new connection lately. A month or so ago I had a strong feeling that I needed to be in touch with him. There wasn't a particularly positive or negative reason, but it was strong that we needed to talk. We did, it was a nice reconnection, but neither of us could figure out the urgency of my feelings. We met in person in the next couple of weeks as we were all hanging on together with faith, as our friend Ian fought and lost his battle for life. The family, including Sam, sat in Scott's and Cynthia's family room and built strength together. What a blessing that was. I have had the opportunity to be a part of Sam's life more regularly, more intensely, and more sweetly since then.
His sweet Jeanette is a sweet pea and she and Sam intertwine with each other and with others along their path.

Elaine is a carnation. She was my friend in Sun City and moved here a few years ago. We agree we had a special connection, but maybe one that was realized even more after she moved. We have loved reconnecting. Elaine fills a bouquet like a carnation. She makes it purpose and goal to enrich lives. She doesn't give up easily either, well maybe not at all. Carnatons have that sweet, but kind of spicy fragrance and that kind of describes her as well. Sweet and spicy.

Tomoe just has to be a cherry blossom. She was a foreign exchange student maybe 25+ years ago. We had alot of them, but Tomoe was the first. She along with Mikiko really attached themselves to our family and we to them. Tomoe has kept in touch very well over the years, but we kind of lost track of each other in the past 5 years or so. The earthquake wasn't close to where we last knew her to be, but Jimmy kept having concern, so I started my investigation to find her. Gratefully she is well, but concerned for her country and the people. She said that the one good thing about the earthquake is that we are connected again. She struggles to translate my notes to Japanese, and hers to English. But she is so intrigued with catching up with everyone. Unlike the cherry blossom our friendship will make it through all seasons.

Thank goodness for internet and Facebook. Last night, very late, I found two old friends from Ashburn, VA. It wasn't easy, I kind of had to become a sleuth to find them. I went to bed hardly able to sleep because I reconnected with sisters Michelle and Eileen. It is tantalizing to imagine all we have to talk about to catch up. We'll call them petunias because they are the annuals that just pop up in a garden and a bouquet when you least expect them, but you can definitely count on them.

This blog would be so lengthy if I touched on each of the other wonderful friends I connected with here in Utah since moving in January, so I will call them "babies breath". They fill in my bouquet with their amazing heavenly beauty. They have made this move and transition in my life easy, but more than that. Thank you Christine, Molly, Michelle, Jan, Tim, Jennifer, Beth, Alicia, Andrea, Cindy, Valerie, Eileen, Danny, Joe, Brenda, Candice, Ray, Shea, Barbara, and all my future "old friends" that I get to reconnect with very soon. I look forward to the spring and summer renewal of blossoming. (I know this metaphor is getting kinda corny--but it is true! C'mon, give a girl a break)

I love it. I love my friends and my beautiful friend bouquet. I don't know if this is really my talent as Lynette said, or if it is truly one of God's blessings to help me through the spots filled with manure! Love you all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Favorite Son

I spent some time this weekend with my little Leah. Marque and Sarah went up to the cabin with some friends. When Leah fell asleep on the family room floor just before they got home I took the opportunity to catch up on Facebook. I closed the site down but later that evening a post appeared on my site declaring Marque to be my favorite son. I can't imagine how that happened, but the fact is, it's the truth. I thought I need to declare it to the world, and here are just some of the reasons. Of course I love Marque the most. He was my first born. The excitement and miracle of it all. We struggled as parents learning everything anew. But, Marque was born older and wiser than everyone in the family. Even his Dad and I, maybe even especially his Dad and I. He has always advised us. When he was 4 years old and I smacked him for hitting his brother he asked me "Howcum you hit me if you tell me not to hit?" When he was 8 we took him to buy a new bed. We were excited to get him a Captain's Bed because it had storage underneath and he was always so neat. The salesman was aghast when ready to make the sale Markie told us "I don't know why you need to buy me a new bed, my old one is just fine."


Wise beyond his years, and feeling the responsibility of the oldest child Marque has always taken care of his family. Every one of us feel his love and concern for us. We all know he is our "go to" guy when things need to be accomplished, or advise is needed.


He is so much like my father. I know my dad's spirit lives on through Marque. He is charismatic, affable, has great character traits of loyalty, integrity, and kindness. He brought himself to success without a formal education. He sets goals and masters them. Another thing that reminds me of my dad is that he wears cologne well.


Marque honors his family. What a husband and father. It is apparent to everyone that Marque feels blessed to have Sarah as his wife and Leah as his daughter. He respects his mom and dad even though we might have disappointed him along the way. He never focuses on failures, but on our successes in life and in the family. He extends that to his brothers, their wives and to his nieces. They all know they are important to Marque and they are willing to follow any advice or counsel he gives.


The extended family is massively important to him. He keeps in contact with Grandma and Herb appreciating their energy and example. Never misses a family reunion. He doesn't want to wait until he's beyond the veil to know his cousins and their families.


He touches others. It is obvious that he is not only respected but loved by those who work under him in his employment and in other capacities. He loves his neighbors and they love and admire him. I'm always proud to say I'm his mum.


There is not a week that goes by that he isn't checking on me to see if there is anything I need. What a nice safety net to have. I never expected to need that safety net, but I'm oh so glad it was there. Yep Marque is my favorite. Or is it Jim? Marque and Scott have always claimed to be the favorite, Jim always claimed they were too. He teased(?) me about that for almost his whole life. But Jim is my favorite and here are the reasons: Jim was my middle child. He came 19 months later...we were so wise by the time he came along that it was a breeze. Not really. When he was a baby he was ill. He didn't grow very much. He had lots of tests, the Dr's. were concerned and then finally when they had no answer they became unconcerned and tried to make me feel that way too. Finally we changed Dr's and he was diagnosed. Poor little guy. But he was a fighter. I'm glad he was because it served him well in his life.


Jim makes me laugh. He is a comedian. He has the timing and the jokes. He is quick witted. He makes me laugh at myself. It is really fun to see things through Jimmy's eyes. He is a bit of a pessimist too. He told me that the other day as if I didn't already know. But, even though I'm an optimist and don't know how he managed to get by that Pollyanna attitude of mine, I do see that he has to be stronger to get over that natural tendency in himself. So he fights it.


He makes goals and conquers them. He is a success too, built on a GED from high school and no college education. Self made man. He manages people who love him and his management style. He governs from within the circle of his employees not above them. They know they can joke with him and he with them. He uses this humor with his kids as well. They know they can joke with Dad, but he makes it very easy to see when he means business and that joking is not appropriate. He is so serious about his role as husband and father. He is a romantic guy (I think he gets that from his grandfather) especially on their anniversary. His goal is to make Samantha feel like a queen on their special day. His girls are definitely princesses although they are frequently given healthy doses of sarcasm for a reality check.


He has his serious side for sure. Jim isn't too proud to say that he is a sensitive man. He is an armchair psychologist, especially helping those who struggle in the same ways he did, or helping their parents. He is definitely paying it forward all the time.


Jim calls me everyday. Sometimes we get personal and talk about our own needs. I've used Jim's armchair psychology as well. And I've learned so much from him. But, usually we laugh because our lengthy conversations have a tendency to wander and it always amazes us how varied our topics are. It can start with politics, go to theology, family, then back to a spiritual vein, then on to psychology and back again. Never a dull moment.


Recently when I left he hugged me tight and said "You just can't leave me can you?" He was teasing, but his hold on me and mine on him told us both that he was my favorite. No really it's Scott. He came a four and half years after Jim. I wasn't supposed to be able to have any more children so he is our miracle. Scott is the baby, always will be. He has been told he better plan on that for his whole life. One of the things I love most about Scott is that he accepts that.


When he got two lifesaving awards through his job as a policeman I was there. As he took the stage I shouted "That's my boy!" Everyone in the room was shocked. Except Scott. I think he almost expected it. I felt bad afterward that I might have caused him embarrassment but he just shrugged it off with a smile saying that he just told people "Now you know why I'm the way I am is because of my mom." That's my boy.


Scott was never one of those kids who expected me to drop him off a block or two from school. He was never ashamed to kiss his mom goodbye right in front of school. He always admitted to being a Mama's boy, even if he didn't have any of the signs or characteristics that come with that title...except with his mom.


I do believe Scott and I had a soul to soul connection. Sometimes it went beyond parent-child. He seemed to know me better than anyone else. I remember one time Bud came home from a meeting where they described people by colors. He told me that he and everyone who knew me decided I was a red. Red is a good thing, no doubt, but to me it didn't describe me at all. Powerful, in charge, leader, go-getter etc. I was really hurt that no one really knew me, particularly my husband. When I asked Scott what color he thought described me, he said I was blue with a little yellow. Blue is basically loyal, true, and yellow is fun. Exactly the way I would describe myself. It meant alot to me.


I so appreciated that Scott was not embarrassed about his mom, but even seemed to be proud of me. He has told me several incidents that he passed on his "mom's wise advise" or cliche's to someone who was in trouble. He reminds me of positive things I have done in my life that I would have forgotten otherwise.


Scott is honest to the highest degree. I hope he always will stay that way. It is really a great trait for a police officer to have. He is a straight shooter, but he always looks at people with optimism of who they could be, and he tries to guide them in that direction.


Family is vital to him, not just important. He waited to find a bride that felt exactly the same way. He was never going to throw his family under the bus for love or money. He and Cynthia will carry their love and respect for family on to their own family. They even bought a house that they could raise a large family in without moving to give them stability It is easy to see why Scott is my favorite!


To summarize: Marque is my favorite because he helps me find humility and understand the power of success is the capability to make the lives of others better. Jim is my favorite because he helps me find humor in life and he is sensitive to others lives because he overcame his own challenges. Scott is my favorite because he not only accepts but loves me as I am, and loves each person in the world because of who they are. I must be God's favorite because he gave me these three incredible sons. Thank you Heavenly Father with all my heart.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

E.Grieg Peer Gynt Suite no.1, Op 46 no.1, Morning Mood

An Evening with Grieg, Brahms, and Racmaninoff

"The hills were alive with the sound of music." The hills were located in Alpine, Utah and music was incredibly produced by the brand new Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, with John Pew as the conductor and founder of the fledgling orchestra. I saw a flyer posted at a local business and two phrases drew my attention: Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, and Free! I am not a person who likes to go out alone on a Friday or Saturday evening, maybe it's because I don't want to appear to be friendless, but nothing was going to keep me from this entertainment. Well I won't say I was that determined. As a matter of fact last night all it took was a couple conversations on Facebook to keep me in front of the computer instead of in the audience at the premier performance of the Orchestra. But not tonight, even though I noticed how my house could use some of my time. I uttered outloud, "Oh pish posh it can wait", and then into my chest in Brick-ish (The Middle Sit-com) manner "It can wait". Grabbing my GPS to navigate my way through this new community I was off for an incredible evening. The performance was held at Timberline High School Auditorium and I really didn't expect a huge turnout so I didn't allow myself much lead time. As I drove up the street I was hugely excited and worried at the same time because there was a large number of cars parked on the street. It was great to see many were there to a cultural event. Luckily I found a parking place relatively quickly and hurried inside. Indeed the venue was crowded and I was directed to a far and high corner, but one of the benefits of being a single is the opportunity to find a lonely seat closer to the stage. I did. I'm pausing in writing this wondering if I should take this blog through my whole evening or just the serene pleasure of the music. Since the "mind talk" and the music seemed to combine into one thought pattern I will include it all.

I went down to the 4th row and there was a nice young man with his date about 4 seats in. There was a purse on the ground between the 1st and 2nd seat. When I asked the young man if the seats were being saved, he said he wasn't sure, because an old lady sat on the aisle seat earlier and that was her purse. He didn't know if the other seats were being saved by her. I was very un-Leslie like because I moved in and took one of the seats saying "I'm sure if she meant to save them all, she would have asked you to", and "I'll move if she needs them all". It was perfect timing because as I sat down the orchestra ceased their tuning and the director came to the microphone. His name is John Pew. From his emotional introduction to the evening, his biography in the program and mostly from his vibrant and expressive conducting style, I was able to recognize his passion for music and for this new orchestra. He had me ready to support, applaud, and encourage, but what a treat it was that the orchestra doesn't need me to be absolutely fabulous. They were so perfect in their response to their conductor that they just lead me right into my trance-like reverence to the music and the composers. It is probably not necessary to explain that I am not an expert. I don't know a concerto from an opus. I wonder what is in that makes a symphony a symphony. No education or knowledge of music at all, but I do know that I was given a gift to enjoy the talents of others. So as I write of these things it is from a very layman's point of view. First up was the Sabre Dance by Aram Khachaturian. As soon as they started performing this piece I recognized it. Frequently it is music played for trapeze artists, fire eaters or others who are doing something terribly courageous. It has soft parts in it as well and I found that even through the staccato my stress was melting. There is just nothing like classical music from a live orchestra that can touch my soul so quickly. Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg was the next portion. Our music director told us that this was a familiar piece that was even used in some cartoons. I did immediately recognize "Morning Mood" and the rest of my tension liquified around my feet as I listened. But in the back of my mind I still wondered "Where was the "old lady" whose purse was still on the floor beside me?" Was she in a restroom ill? Should I go check on her? I don't know anything about her and I certainly wasn't going to ask the people around me in the middle of this performance. "Oh, Grieg it's impossible to stay worried when your music is being played so smoothly and sweetly." Concerned, yet simulataneously promising myself to become more immersed in the classics. It was an interesting internal conversation while enjoying the ebbs and flows of Griegs "Aase's Death", "Anitra's Dance", and the very familiar and strident "In the Hall of the Mountain King". Grieg has a sweet melody flow through his music. I really felt the conflict of worrying about the poor missing "old lady" through the Johannes Brahms selections. Brahms rocked my babies to sleep. I was very familiar with Brahms lullabye but not too much otherwise. I was quite surprised when we were told that Brahms was considered one of the best in his time along with the two other "B" named composers, Beethoven and Bach. How intimidating would that be? We did not hear the Lullabye we heard variations on a theme that Haydn wrote. I love to consider perspective in life. It is always interesting to see what different people see in the same piece of art, or even current events. Brahms really treated us to a lot of different perspectives of this same theme. It was recognizable, yet hardly so, as we heard eight variations of the same music. Sometimes the music was in the back of my head as my concern about the missing woman moved to alarm and then even dread. "Okay we are two thirds of the way through with the concert, even if she found another seat, why would she have not returned for her purse? I haven't heard any sirens or seen any other cause for emergency, so she must still be here somewhere. Boy if we were any where else I might really wonder about a purse left with no sign of its owner. Eeeek! What if it was a bomb or something. There are alot of people from the area here. Even the Mayor is attending. What if it is something? I shouldn't just be sitting here getting lost in the music I should alert someone. Who? Even if I went out and told someone what would they do, stop the orchestra and ask for the lady to claim her purse. Maybe she just found friends on the other side of the theater and will return at intermission. That's it. Now just relax into the music. Maybe I should just pick up the purse and set it on the seat. I could take it out to someone in the lobby at intermission. Yah, that's if I'm still here at intermission. Maybe it's set to go off at a particular time in the music....like at the cannon booms in the 1812 overture. I sure wish I knew when there was drama ahead of time in Brahms work. How can I be so concerned, yet so relaxed at the same time. Well I guess if there's a bomb in that purse then I'll definitely be gone. Oh well. No better way to go than listening to this great orchestra, I guess." "Oh no. If I'm gone then my kids and others will see how messy my house is. I KNEW I should have cleaned it. But if I had then I wouldn't be here listening to this fantastic music. Then there wouldn't be "the purse" to even worry about. But I am here, maybe I should be the one to do something. Oh, Leslie, you are so silly. This is American Fork, UT. Nothing is going to happen here. Just relax and enjoy." I got lost in the rest of Grieg's variations and in watching the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the violinists sitting directly in front of me. They created such beautiful tones as they drew their bows across the strings. I especially love the surprises that come in the minor notes. I notice a fluitist sitting in the middle so patiently waiting for her turn to play the flute. After looking at the program I see there are actually four fluitists (are they called floutists) but from my seat only the one is visible. I love the flute, but it does take a secondary place in an orchestra allowing the stringed instuments to be the stars. The very recognizable "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is hard to sit still to. I find myself tapping my foot. Then, it's over. The applause is almost like the end of the entire event. But there is a promise of more to come. It's intermission. Turning to the gentleman to my left I stated the obvious, "The lady never came." Duh. I headed out to see if I could find anyone to share my concern, fear, obligation to the lady. After locating an usher he told me that if after intermission it was still there to bring him the purse. Well there, anyway I told someone so if a bomb blows us all up at least I wasn't the only one who knew. Besides I was just being crazy. I returned to my seat half expecting the purse to be gone along with the owner to the other side of the theater. But no, it was still there, but also there was another gentleman who joined a group behind me. I grabbed my jacket and headed up a row or two to a perfect location for the next selection. I sat down wishing that I had someone I could share my appreciation of the orchestra as a whole and each individual talent that made up the orchestra. But then again I could comfortably sit in my seat without feeling like I was taking too much space from my neighbor, and I could even overflow onto the next seat with my jacket and purse. I knew this was a prime spot to enjoy the piano soloist. I could enjoy every stroke of the ebony and ivory. To top it off it was Rachmaninoff who has been one of my favorites from way back when. The director told us some very interesting information about Rachmaninoff, about his size, 6 foot 6 inches, and his bouts of depression and overcoming it to write this concerto. He told us also that this was the favorite piece of classical music next to Beethoven's 9th. I wouldn't even have known how to vote on that because I don't know the names of the selections. I do always say that Rachmaninoff is one of my favorites for the variety and passion in his music, and that I love Vivaldi for his sweetness. That's the thing about classical music it can take you to places that are so sweet and tender and then to powerful and foreboding places that might be recognizable to those parts of us that are tormented. The music chosen for this occasion though was powerful but more in attitude than in darkness. I was grateful for this because probably the bomb would have definitely gone off in my mind. Once I was settled into my new seat I just forgot the "Old Lady", the purse, and the bomb. I was exactly where Rachmaninoff, Conductor Pew, and pianist Shumway wanted me to be. I was putty in their hands. What excruciatingly beautiful talent they possess. Shumway was powerful in his keystrokes. I couldn't believe the trills and runs up the piano. Rachmaninoff had huge hands, but Shumways had great magic as they performed with agility the nimble moves this piece required. He didn't have much time for his hands to rest but I noticed when he did he dropped them to his sides. He occasionally would shake them to possibly get the blood to flow? Jeffrey Shumway is most likely younger than myself, but I thought about the joints, muscles and nerves in my own hands, and wondered if these things were a challenge to him. If they were the only possible evidence was that momentary drop to the side because his talent was magical. He and the conductor were in sync with their signals to one another and I'm sure there were many practices and rehearsals. They were rewarded with a wild standing ovation that gave them the opportunity to come back for well deserved multiple bows. I was swept away and it was only as I was driving away that I remembered the poor little old lady who didn't have her purse. I will definitely be at the orchestra's next appearance on June 4th at the American Fork Auditorium. In the meantime I am going to start reading up on my favorite composers and start listening a little more to Grieg and Brahms than to Oprah and Ellen. Thank you!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Love You!

I was looking into the mirror today and found myself grinning at the image I saw, and then I impulsively said "I Love You!" Surprised that I said this to me, I took a moment, then said even more surely "Yep, I love you Leslie Trosper!"


There is a chance that by modern standards there wasn't a lot to love....or maybe too much to love, but that didn't matter. I wasn't looking at the large, round face with the eyebrows too far apart, and the hair too thin. My love wasn't declared because of super white teeth, or a perfect complexion. It was said to the person others seem to see, that God sees. I finally caught a glimpse of that person.


Have to admit I have been stalking her for a while. Trying to catch the me that others said was there. Every once in a while I would get a glimpse as she rounded the corner, but it was always me staring back in the mirror.


Several years ago I asked someone why people saw me differently than I saw myself, and was told; "Others see you as you have the potential of becoming." "Oooooh" I replied not understanding at all. But I tried to accept compliments without denial or apologies. I would simply tell myself that I had something to live into. If they said I was wise, then I had to learn to be wise. If I was praised for my writing, then I would need to learn to write more and better.

The other day I was invited to be in a Toastmasters Club. I thought that might be really good for the person in me who wants to write and speak, and maybe I might even meet a few people who would help me move toward publishing. My friend gushed to the invitor, "Leslie could teach that class!" Thinking to myself "No way, Jose. Are you kidding me?" I replied out loud; "Thank you for the compliment", and gave myself a challenge to live into what she was already declaring to be true.


Another thing is that I just returned from a trip to California. My family and many friends made me feel so special. My friends shower me with compliments and fighting for time. They tell me they miss me, that they need me to bolster courage, give them hope, and have fun. My family teases the heck out of me. They tell me I have T-rex arms, smile funny, embarrass them, and spend entirely too much time with strangers, but I know, KNOW how much love they tease with. So with compliments or teasing I feel very unique, and loved. Also, the apostles speaking at conference were telling me what the Lord believes too. It's even convincing me...even if just for the moment.


So this morning when I looked in that mirror, I caught that Leslie that everyone else seems to know for just a moment....and she is pretty awesome. I love you Leslie Trosper.


Think to keep this feeling going for awhile I will avoid all mirrors and all pictures. I will choose to see the me that God and my dear ones see.