Thursday, December 23, 2010

Once there was a snowman...

 once there was
a snowman
tall, tall, tall
we made him a wifey

and doggie 

a little boy
and that is all

 until it rained the next day and all of Jennifer and Erika  (and a few friends) hard work melted away.
I couldn't bear to take melting pics....

Friday, December 17, 2010

A sad morning

Mark and I got a text at 6:15 this morning from Christian that the roof of the Provo Tabernacle had just collapsed. He and his roommates heard a news report that it was on fire and they when downtown to see it for themselves. The fire was reported at 2:40 AM or so but the building was already engulfed enough that they couldn't fight it from the inside. Christian said the stain glass windows were just melting. Such a great loss. This building was built in the late 1800's and had been used for many many years by the community for all kinds of meetings and concerts (usually free). A week ago last Sunday Jennifer (as part of the German club from Timpview High School) took part in a German Christmas celebration here. Jennifer played her flute. During the month of December it's booked solid with free events every evening and many other churches holding church services here also. Since we have lived in Provo, we have attended Stake Conference in the tabernacle twice a year, including one year when President Hinckley attended as a surprise guest. It was an amazing building with carved wood, stained glass windows, circular staircases and a balcony. Utah has had a rash of vandalism of church buildings lately, including our own stake center just two weeks ago. I really hope we didn't loose this historic building because of the selfishness of a few people. You can get updated information here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This is Erika.
Erika is from Brazil.
When Robbie was in the Sao Paulo MTC Erika taught him Portugese.
The missionaries she had for the two years she taught at the MTC taught her English
Erika will be staying with us while attending BYU this winter semester to study English.
If you know English in Brazil you can get a job teaching English,
but if you have studied English in America you can get a really good job teaching English...
enough to help pay for the really good university in Brazil.

Erika arrived Sunday and we have really enjoyed having her with us.
Her English is very good and we can usually guess the word she is looking for when she doesn't remember the right word.
We took her to see Inception - which was not her favorite.
I tried to starve her with my meager lunch yesterday
(In Brazil the biggest meal of the day is lunch)
but made up for it by taking her to In and Out Burger today
which she LOVED.

She is getting settled in and we are looking forward to a fun few months showing her around Utah.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What I've been up to...

busy with life
having a blast with kindermusik
getting ready for Erika* to come
and while Mark was out of town for a week I took on a few projects
OK a few too many projects
but here are some I finished:
 Made two of these for the living room, 
same fabric, different birdy placement
 Dresser for Jenn's room
used to be a plain, cheap pine dresser
 painted and stenciled - some new knobs
Gutted and set up Jenn's closet.

*more about Erika soon.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Although I failed to post...

I'm not completely ungrateful:

Not shown in this picture is
"A beautiful wife who loves me"
and I would also add
incredible children
incredible spouses of my children 
totally amazing granddaughters
a fabulous husband who loves and supports me in everything I do.

I am truly blessed!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010


 I woke up grumpy this morning.

Despite my best efforts to get to bed at a decent hour (I was in bed at 11:00) I didn't actually stay asleep for the night until past 12:30am.
My alarm at 6:15 this morning was not a welcome sound.
I walked around this morning making breakfast and packing lunches in a funk, not just tired but frustrated by my tiredness. I decided that after Jenn left for school I would go back to sleep for 30 minutes to try to catch up. I set the kitchen timer and noticed Jenn had left her phone on the counter, Oh well, she could get by without it. My favorite napping place is the living room couch. As I went in the living room to lay down I looked out the window and saw a neighbor walking by. Earlier this morning Jenn had mentioned that she got a text from this neighbor last night about babysitting. After checking with me this morning she wanted to respond but was worried that it was too early. She got the text ready and would send it on her way to school. I opened the door, got her attention and told her that Jenn could babysit. (Nice little tender mercy)

Then I noticed this:  
 The sun lit up a small face of the mountain and colored the snow and clouds a pinkish orange. 
Even though the valley was still in a shadow here was the promise of a bright sunny day.

In a few moments the pink and orange were gone but I was mesmerized as the sunlight traveled down the side of the mountain filling it with light.
Soon this whole valley will be filled with light. 
I felt a great reassurance that it's going to be a beautiful  day after all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A little slice of Heaven

Aaron called me about two weeks ago with a proposition.
He was coming out to attend a conference sponsored by BYU and was thinking about bringing Olivia.
Because she's only 18 months she could fly for free. There was one catch... Aaron would be in meetings Thursday afternoon, much of Friday and half day Saturday... which meant I would need to watch Livi... ummm where is the catch?

Celisa was kind enough to let Olivia come with Aaron
(I did feel bad that Celisa was home alone but hopefully she got a good break) 
One benefit of having grandchildren living a good distance away (I'm trying to be optimistic) is that when they do come and visit I don't feel the least bit guilty dropping everything to play with them 24/7. I think I only cooked one meal and we just snacked on that the whole time. 

I must admit that while we had fun playing and reading and dancing, Livi's very favorite activity was playing the piano - and play it we did, literally a few hours each day. Aaron got her up one morning and she asked to go downstairs. Aaron asked her if she knew who was downstairs (referring to Grandma) and she thought about it and said "Piano!"

Mark and I lay in bed at night filled with gratitude for our wonderful children, their spouses and our grand children. Each one has unique talents and gifts and we are in awe of them as we watch them live their lives... and these granddaughters are such a gift. Thinking about them and the wonderful way they are being raised fills me with so much joy. I'm so excited to meet our new little grandson in January (more positive thinking and energy here)


Monday, November 8, 2010


Amy posted a few pictures on her blog that were taken on Photo Booth and it reminded me of a Thanksgiving years ago... before the advent of Photo Booth (you know, back in the olden days). We had more but I can't seem to find them.

Christian, Robbie, Amy and Jennifer (I think)

Instead of the computer we used the water pitcher.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homework today

is not like the homework I had in high school.
Case in point.

For her APUSH (AP US History) class, Jennifer was assigned to put together a commercial or skit that President Andrew Jackson could have used in his presidential election campaign back in the day.
She wrote it, called two friends and recorded it on her ipod touch...
downloaded it on to the computer, put it on a thumb drive
and took it to school to be played for the class.

I'd give her an A... what do you think?

I am still awaiting her official permission to post this if it disappears later on you'll know why.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Tuesday looked like this...
Wednesday morning looked like this...

 By Wednesday afternoon it looked like this:

Tomorrow it's supposed to get up to 70...
They say there's nothing as constant as change.

We see it in the weather and seasons... babies being born and others leaving this life.

Tomorrow we celebrate the life of Kent Messenger.

We sorrow at his passing but joy in the life he lead and find comfort in our faith that we will see him again and that he and Jane Ann will be reunited again. Until then we will do our best to love and support Jane Ann as she faces the challenge of adjusting to the changes that have taken place in her life these past months and especially this past week.

This Sunday I am speaking again at the MTC about charity - the second time in about 6 weeks on the same topic. One of the things I have been pondering about is learning to see others as Heavenly Father sees them, which I think is a major part of charity.
I don't think He keeps a running list of all our faults and weaknesses so that when we mess up he can throw them in our faces.

I know that he sees our faults, but I think he focuses more on our hearts.
He sees who we truly desire to become and knows that are trying to do better
- even though we mess up and loose focus at times.
In my mind, true charity is to try to see the good in others AND
just as importantly to treat them as they have the potential to become.

I think sometimes we don't allow ourselves to see the changes in others because we see them as they were - through a lens of their faults and weaknesses. I think we also make it hard for people to change because we treat them as if they were a sum of their faults and weaknesses instead of treating them as they can become. For some reason we can't forgive and allow them to change, and even when they do change (or try to change) we miss it because we are looking through an out of focus lens.

So here is my public commitment to try a little harder to find the good in others and see others more clearly and then treat them as the children of God they really are.

(Disclaimer: I am on no way advocating for anyone to continue in a dangerous relationship, 
forgiveness is needed but so is good judgment and common sense)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Matters Most

I was thinking the other day about Amy and Celisa.
Both are full time stay at home moms. To some it may not sound like much but in reality it's one of the hardest and most important jobs ever. It's hard in many ways but two things come to mind
#1 It's not a 40 or even 50 hour work week. You are actively involved or on call 24/7 for 18 years and then some. #2 The pay for what you do today comes in little hugs and smiles but the real pay day will probably not come for years. You deal with accidents of all kinds, messes, fits, crying, disrupted schedules, quick showers and meltdowns. You understand a different language and translate for others and help your little ones learn to do things that would be so much easier (and done much better) if you were to do it yourself. But you see into their future and want what's best for them so you help them pick up their toys and clothes, allow them to walk around the house in things that may not match, spend endless time admiring their creations and reading the same favorite books over and over and over and over till you could read them in your sleep, and sometimes you do.

It's important because you are creating habits and expectations and feelings of love and security that will be with and influence these precious children for a life time and beyond. These children will be the leaders of tomorrow and you are making a difference today, each day, each moment. Sometimes amid the tears, the dishes and dirty laundry (dirty diapers too) the messes and melt downs it's easy to loose that perspective... and little ones don't often say thank you when you insist they obey or wear shoes or take a bath... (sometimes they say your mean or don't like you)
so I'll say it

Moms everywhere, and especially Amy and Celisa we love you and appreciate what you are doing. Someday they will grow up and leave, just like you are raising them to do. 
They are not this age forever.
But what you do each day matters a lot
and some day they will thank you too.

PS Thanks mom!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No spitting today

I feel a little bad for my rant last time
(mostly for letting it sit for so long)
I felt much better after a run... gotta love those endorphins.
  This was the view from my front porch this morning.
(taken in my pj's - burrrrrr)
 Fall has been amazing this year. We had our first real storm last Saturday. It's cold but the colors are spectacular and the leaves are finally falling because of the rain and wind. But even in the midst of the storms the wind will blow the clouds away and we get short periods of sunlight that make the leaves glow bright yellow. These pictures don't really do the leaves justice.
And inside...
 cleaning out cupboards - just the bottom shelf - I don't want to get too ambitious.
But I did wash off the turntables and wipe down the containers.
 It was relatively quick and it looks soooo nice. It was long overdue.
(Maybe someday I will have a few cabinets with glass doors just like the decorators do.)
 It felt so good I decided to do the other spice cabinet too...
Only now I need to figure out what to do with all the stuff that came out of the cabinet.
Looking through it I realized why it was in there...
I didn't know what to do with it.

And I still don't...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Who spit in HER bean curd!?

I really don't know why but I feel grumpy today.
I'm tired - been getting to bed too late...
Wish I could take a nap but when I lay down 
I just think of all the things I should do or need to do.

We've has such a beautiful fall and today is supposed to be the last really nice day.
I love Spring, Summer and Fall but when it comes to Winter...
I feel stress... is it the weather? 
The clothes I don't mind so much but driving in it is a hassle.
It also means Holidays... I need to find a way to make them more enjoyable
And I miss my kids, the ones who live far away with my granddaughters... 
and my new little grandson kicking around inside his mommy's belly.
I miss being part of this pregnancy but I guess I better get used to it.
I'm sure it won't be the only one I'm far away for...

And the house... main parts are clean but other areas...not so much
and with any luck we will have some family around for the holidays
and the areas they will be using are simply unacceptable... well, uninhabitable really
is that causing my holiday stress?

Will I EVER get it together?
Why do I let those rooms go to pot?
Why am I not better organized?
Why do I eat too much of the wrong things when I feel like this?
Why do I not LOVE the holidays and winter?

Well, I guess that not all my days (or posts) are cheery, uplifting, thoughtful and insightful.
I suppose it's OK to have a grumpy post on occasion.
Just keeping it real.

I'm going running - I could use some endorphins about now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How do you do it?

A few months ago Kent Messenger was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

Kent and Jane Ann Messenger were living in our neighborhood when we moved here. 

Their youngest two sons have been in school with Aaron and Robbie.
We tried to take piano lessons from Jane Ann but her waiting list was too long.
Their youngest son, David, served his mission during the exact same time as Robbie. 

About two years ago Kent lost his job and they subsequently lost their home.
They were able to rent a house one street over, keeping them nearby.

Kent finally found a really great job and things were looking up when he was diagnosed.
He was able to work long enough to get insurance coverage.

After a round of radiation and chemo they waited for six weeks.
We got his email last week written by Jane Ann
(it went to the whole ward):

"We got the results back from Kent's CT scan yesterday.  It is not good.  The cancer has spread to his liver and spleen.  No wonder he is such a sick guy.  He never ceases to amaze me with his good attitude.  He is only worried about me.  The Hospice nurse thought it would be around 4 weeks.  I thought we would have longer than that, but we will take all the time we have.
Oh my we never know what is ahead of us.  Don't let one day go by without telling those you love that they are so special to you.  Forgive faster and judge slower.  That is my advice for you. Again, thank you for all your love and prayers.  We need them more now than ever before.

Thanks again for all your kind words and love.  
Your love and prayers have seen us through a lot these past few months.  
We love you."
We visited with Jane Ann tonight. 
We cried together and talked about the amazing life Kent has lived. 
We visited with Kent too. He was thin and pale, and not feeling very good but visited with us for a few minutes. He knew us and it was good to visit with him.
We left with hugs and tears.
Assurances that help and support is nearby,
I know our offer was among many.
But how do you do it?
How do you watch your beloved spouse leave this life?
Jane Ann will be 60 soon.
As she said, that's too young to be a widow...

I think the only thing that makes it doable/bearable 
is knowing that God has a plan for all of His children 
and that this separation is only temporary...
Tonight I am so very thankful for that.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Bike room

 This room makeover is brought to you as the perfect example of the domino effect.

I needed to get the main room of the basement redone for Kindermusik
This required moving lots of stuff out and getting new carpet.
Getting new carpet meant we needed to move as much as possible
out of the entire carpeted area of the basement.
Once the new carpet was installed
the paint in the bike room looked really bad,
and because of all the rearranging of stuff the bike room needed some serious organization
to make it work for Mark this winter and beyond.

 The first step was texturing - soon there will be no more orange peel texture anywhere in the house. That will be a monumental day indeed!

The same yellow was chosen for the walls as we used upstairs - bright and cheery but no sunglasses required! (I had Lowes match the paint color to a sheet of So Saffron Stampin' UP paper)

But I didn't want all the walls yellow...
(how boring would that be!)
We needed something to contrast the yellow 
and make the room really inviting for those 
loooooong winter rides Mark does.

A stencil! Something reminiscent of the mountains, something in a gray/taupe color...
I've seen these awesome stencils lately on this and this blog

 So I ordered it here and can I tell you these are not like the stencils I used back in the day.
They are large and laser cut and the paint is applied with a small foam roller. They line up amazingly well. This wall took me a little over an hour and used a sample sized thing of paint.
It probably would have been a little faster if I had started in the upper left hand corner rather than in the middle. Doing half a stencil next to the ceiling was a pain.

 Cleaning them was amazingly easy too. They suggested you clean it in the bathtub with warm water. I filled the tub, put it in, went to answer the phone and when I came back half the paint was floating! The other half peeled off super easily. 
(They should pay me for advertising.)

Anyway The bike room is DONE!
On to the guest bedroom...
domino theory ya know

PS if anyone is interested in buying a slightly new but excellent condition stencil call me!
you can only have so many birch forest walls in one house.