Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Afternoon of Mixed Emotions

Sunday. I woke up with a headache that decided to settle in for the day so I skipped church today. By the afternoon I was somewhat conscious and decided to see if there were any good movies on Netflix that interested me. I started several before landing on the first one that kept my attention.


It was basically an autobiography of Rich Mullins' life. I had heard the name in the Christian music area. Because of that, I think I expected it to be a little more uplifting than it was but I sobbed through a lot of it. He had to come to some realizations and acceptances in his troubled life. He had to learn to see other peoples' behaviors from a different, more compassionate perspective. It was an interesting journey. The starting of it was a quote about the one question they -- the most important thing was to know that Jesus loved us and we accepted that love.

After the movie, there was a clip of the real Rich Mullins doing a show. Or at least a segment of a show. He told the story of how the Irish have their wool sweaters they wear when they go out to sea. He explained that the men, as well as their families, generally hated going out to sea. The sweaters they wore were decorated with designs and charms and images that were representative of the prayers and love and important things their family/loved ones wanted them to remember while they were away. He joked at the end that fish didn't like to eat wool and so, if there was an accident at sea, the families could identify the bodies by the unique sweaters. The audience laughed.

Rich Mullins continued to talk about Jesus and His love for us and the relationship we should have with Him. Then he caught me off guard when he started talking about getting to Heaven and being asked if we knew Jesus. If we said "Yes", then Jesus would be asked if He knew us. And He would say, "Yes, just look at his/her sweater."

Silly, I know, but it made me wonder if the outward appearances of my life are such that I would be recognized as a Christian.

The next movie was suggested because of my interest in the first one. It was much better as far as happier and more uplifting.

It was a true story about a Jewish doctor from Nazi Germany who was sent to London. He was sent to the spinal injury ward of a hospital and basically was a Florence Nightingale. He had a vision of what these men could do and become and he set about to make it happen. He had to fight for everything he got and defend himself and his ideas to absolutely everyone. There was a lot of talk throughout it of how we deal with the 'stuff'' we're dealt.
Attitude is everything.
The work of this same doctor laid the foundation for wheelchair and paralympic competitions.

Monday, September 1, 2014

U-Turns and ZigZag Trails

I had Tyler and Carter Granny Buck Shopping awhile ago. They wanted to go to Ogden, which is okay. I'm familiar enough with the "regular" stops. It didn't help that it rained almost the whole time but I even handled that quite well...considering. As has been mentioned many times in my life, however, I am not....I repeat NOT....cut from the same cloth as cab drivers or bus drivers or tour guides. I have no internal compass. Well, maybe I do but it doesn't sync with getting around in the world.

And the GPS on my Smart Phone....well, that's another thing altogether! Almost as directionally dysfunctional as I am. But we did okay. There were a few mistakes and retracings.

Then I heard them.

Two boys whispering in the back seat.

"Have you ever been with anyone who has made this many U-turns?"

"No, I don't think so!"

"I think she's made five now!"

But I found Chuck-a-Rama and Sportsman's Warehouse and the mall. Eventually.

Last year at our family campout at Leatham Hollow, we went on a couple of hikes. The second hike wasn't that big but the kids saw a cave and wanted to go to it. We'd already taken them on a hike - a long hike - where we were misinformed about what was at the end of it. We finally ran into a rock mountain and had to turn around. Never did really find the meadow. We had a hard time finding the fence posts! So, honestly we owed the kids a shorter, more encouraging fun hike.

The kids raced right up the mountain. Straight up the trail. My theory is that kids can do that because that's all they see - the road in front of them. They haven't got a brain full of garbage and baggage demanding their attention and causing distraction from the main goal.

Most of the other adults shot right up the side of the mountain, too. Nellie and Krisy chose to stay behind - they had no desire to make it to the top. Me, on the other hand! Well, you know I have to be a pain! I wasn't going to be left behind.

Sometimes I think people feel obligated to help me too soon; sort of without giving me a chance to figure it out myself. I'm not that handicapped and incapacitated yet, I don't think. But that's okay. I appreciate the love and respect and caring it shows when their arms reach out to take my arm and steady my step, steering me on a safer path.

It took me awhile to get up but I did make it. Obviously I couldn't make it up the well-traveled path. Way too straight up and dusty and slick. But that's my life. Always taking the little harder way. Everything is a recipe; a project; a major undertaking.

Maybe that's why I understand Nathan more than he knows. I admire and respect and covet the ones who find making the right choices easy. I empathize and relate with the ones who take the rocky path.

My theory also is there is no ONE AND ONLY straight and narrow way. I think it's a personal journey for each of us based on our abilities and spiritual gifts and just exactly what we're being prepared for. Christ with all his tender mercies and his Atonement is there for us unconditionally.

So, anyway, Nathan isn't going to be left behind and let his old decrepit mother beat him up the mountain. He starts his ascent. He stumbles a bit. He drops to the ground, losing his grip on his walking stick - and on the ground in general. Then he started to roll down a little. My breath stopped. I had a vision of broken artificial limb parts and bloody real body parts. But he stopped himself and started over. On another area of the mountain.

He zigzagged up the mountain. It was a slower climb but he was more sure of himself and he was in control of his movements. He made it to the cave with the rest of us...after tackling Layne and grabbing his second walking stick from him. Layne had evidently taken off with it without Nathan really realizing what he was doing!

So those of us who chose to make the hike, made it to our destination - the cave. Multiple roads and trails were taken to get there - each choosing the road that suited them best. I'm not saying that we don't have to conform at times and make ourselves take a road the Lord has laid out for us; letting go of the path that is comfortable for us. My body kind of lets go of a little twitch when someone says, "We're all on the road together, helping each other get home." I see it differently.

In my head, we're all on the mountain together. Each getting to the cave on a path laid out for us.

And, yes, still helping each other. Reaching out for the steady arm or listening for the words of encouragement or direction. Sharing an extra walking stick. Joining in a needed rest.

Watching as I possibly make a sixth U-turn.

But I'll meet you all at the cave. In due time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

First and Foremost...

I don't know if anyone is even reading this blog anymore. I've let it slack even though I have every intention of "catching it up". Maybe if I just start now, I can fill in the gaps a little bit at a time. So much has happened since my Mother's Day post. I am so blessed and my life is so amazingly full.

So, I'm sitting here having a boob-fest while watching the Princess Diaries. Man, I love that show - 1 and 2. I love Julie Andrews and there couldn't be a better queen than her in my eyes.

Well, so anyway, Mia (the queen's granddaughter and princess-to-be) continues to fail at being everything a princess should be. She has failed big time and is tearfully apologizing to her grandmother and reassuring her she will relinquish her title of 'princess' so she will not continue to embarrass her.

Her grandmother turns to her and very graciously and emotionally says, "Oh, Mia, you are first and foremost my granddaughter!"

That line gets me every time.

I hope I treat my children and grandchildren in such a way that they know they are 'first and foremost' my loves. That any success or failure they may have in their lives will not sway my love for them.

And secondly, I hope someday (with a lot of changes and recommitments in my life) I can hear my Heavenly Father say to me, "Oh, Janis, you are first and foremost my daughter!"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Window Shopping

"I want to do the Rainbow Loom (elastic band bracelets), make some paracord bracelets, sew and go window shopping. What exactly is 'window shopping'?"

Once she found out what 'window shopping' was, she took to it like bees to honey! It was so fun watching her fly from rack to rack picking clothing items randomly and throwing them in the basket.

She was almost disappointed when we got to the fitting room and the sign said only ten items at a time all day. Watching her trying to choose which ten she wanted to try on the most was comical. Then I realized what she was doing and why. She thought the sign meant only ten items each day. Once I got her convinced she could try on as many as she wanted, ten at a time, her bubbliness came back.

Of course, the definition of 'window shopping' is that you just "LOOK" but you don't "BUY". Jodi totally understood that and had fun trying on a variety of different styles and outfits. Then we left the fitting room and looked at the shoe aisles. That's when 'window shopping' went out the window.

I saw these boots! I was smitten! I used to wear moccasins all the time. But there was no way I could buy me a pair when Jodi wasn't buying anything. I showed them to Jodi and she loved them, too. We tried them on and I sent a picture to Mandy asking if we could please, please, please buy us a pair of matching boots. Jodi had been instructed NOT to ask me to buy her anything - especially school clothes - because they would be doing that when I took her back the end of the week.

This was the look on Jodi's face when Mandy texted back that we could do whatever made our little hearts happy. "Does that mean we can buy them?" "YES!" I said.

Window shopping totally wore her out. Truth be known, it should have been me sitting in that chair!

We certainly had a fun start to our week together!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Girls and Their Dolls

I think it started out as a mucking out party. I brought any productivity we may have had to a screeching halt when I pulled out the totes with all the girls dolls. I certainly never expected the reaction that the memories created! I know I haven't laughed and reminisced that much in a long time!

The totes contained a plethora of Barbie dolls, clothes and furniture from their old doll houses. There was also their newborn baby dolls (middle of picture).

There were also some fancy hair decorations that you can see they've adorned their hair with,

The kids spent their time playing with the other retro toys (GI Joe) and the girls had to have a turn with some of the dolls and furniture. The kids would come in wondering what was going on in the storage room whenever we would get laughing too hard.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

My mom in 1945

It's been a great Mother's Day. Spent the weekend in Manti with Joe's family and had the rest of the family over for dinner today. I couldn't help but think about the good mothers in my life and how I am who I am and where I am because of them. My mom always did the best she knew how to do, considering she was in unchartered waters and away from her family.

I have tender memories of spending time with my Grandma Ward in Malad. I loved going up the farm. I know it was a burden to most everyone else. They were farmers, for heck sakes. We were city folk. We had vacations. Farmers don't have vacations. And then there we were - me, specifically - and I wanted to play with my cousins.

There are a lot of memories that I replay in my mind every time I make the drive to Amber's. I love going the "old" way where I reminisce the most. Lamb's Service Station where we got a bottle of pop. He'd let us take the bottle with us, without a deposit, as long as we remembered to drop it off on our way home. The road itself has changed multiple times, there aren't the same bends and turns that I remember but the spirit is still there.

My mom and Grandma Nellie

 And these are my girls. Four beautiful women and mothers who are each a constant example to me. This picture caught us all in various moods. Mandy had a headache and didn't feel good enough to go the Women's Conference with us. She was pretty emotional and we had her crying pretty easy which explains why we all have various smirks on our faces. We were laughing at the fact we were making her cry. Crazy I know. Two of my girls I received through the pain of birth. Two of my girls I received through the pain of giving each of them one of my sons. All four of them mine, nonetheless. At least that's how I look at it :-).

Me and my girls, who are the most amazing mothers!

Coming home from Manti yesterday, I actually had an ah-ha moment when I realized just how lucky I am. Thinking about these girls and their families, I just had the most peaceful feeling wash over me. I have been granted so much grace in my life. So many tender mercies and so much love.

I am open to receiving the blessings of a loving Heavenly Father.

Friday, May 2, 2014

I Haven't Lost All My Marbles Yet

I know I've posted about this awesome marble game before. It's been around since the kids were small. I wish I could remember exactly how old they were when Ivan Nielsen made it for them. Ivan was Phyllis' husband and Phyllis was one of Mom's best friends. And mine, for that matter. All Mom's friends were my friends since I was the baby and got to tag along everywhere with Mom because I was scared to be home alone.

Poor Mom. She never got a break. She probably really celebrated when I moved to Snow College!

Anyhow, Ivan made these marble games for my kids and Sue's kids. I've been surprised at how entertaining it is for the grandkids. No batteries. No bells and whistles or lights. Just marbles. And lots of them!

They did finally get tired of it. Marbles started getting scattered all over the floor and the game itself getting a bit mistreated. That was enough for me to put it up for awhile. Timing was perfect because Paisley was coming and we couldn't have marbles all over the floor waiting for her to choke on them.

Today Paisley was stuck in that hard spot between being too little to go outside by herself and wanting desperately to follow the big kids and do everything they were doing. That's when I realized she hadn't ever seen the red marble game and had no idea what it was.

Just like all the other kids had been, she was mesmerized when I got it down and showed her what to do. She played with it for a long time with her little handful of marbles.

Somebody better figure out how to make another one of these marble race track games. And soon! It is getting chipped and beat up. If it could talk...the stories it could tell! It sure has brought a lot of smiles and giggles to a lot of little faces!