Riddles……..

What does THIS:                                                                      

+
THIS:
 
+
This:
 = ????
Riddle #2:
What does this: 
+
+
= ?????
And finally, what does this:
+
+
= ?????
Answers on Tuesday…….here’s a hint.  None of the above riddles end in: 

Kids N Puppies, Puppies N Kids!!

Almost two weeks ago, we went to the beach with our friends and their dog and puppies!!  There were six puppies and seven kids, three adults at the beginning, two at the end.  It was such a fun day!!  It was a big day for Shorty.  He doesn’t like dogs and is usually very afraid of them.  BUT…..he actually picked up a puppy a couple of times and became very comfortable, even holding one in the car on the drive home.

Our friends have moved away!!  We will and do miss them dearly but we know they will bring sunshine wherever they go!!  We love you Friends!!  Thanks for the GREAT day!

He has an incredible ability to help the children with their doctrinal understanding.  It is never a question of time or energy.  If they have a question, he is there.  And almost always the answer is, ‘Let’s look in the scriptures,’ or ‘Let’s see what the prophets have said about that.’  I just happened to be sitting next to Speedy with the camera when I got this photo.  (Trying more to capture relationships in my photography.  What a fun challenge 🙂

….Waiting…..

Don’t you just feel like this some times?  Here Shorty and Smiley are waiting for Spanky’s and Scuff’s party guests to arrive……

They are taking SOOOOO long!

Sometimes I feel like this when I am waiting for an answer from the Lord, or when I am expecting a life change, any minute, or waiting for a new baby to arrive, even just growing up.  Some things just take time and we have to wait for the process to unfold.

Here are Scuff and Spanky sporting some of their gifts……love the hips Spanky….really?

Spanky has been waiting for that magical number…..18.  He was waiting to finish high school.  Now he is just waiting until he leaves for college….right around the corner.

Scuff has been waiting for a different magical number…..16.  Congratulations guys!

I’m sure the time will fly and pretty soon, the two in the first picture will be the ones posing like the second picture.  In the mean time, I get to watch the process.  No waiting here.  Just trying to enjoy the scenery before it all passes me by…….  Then I’ll get to watch the grand kids…..

I Can’t WAIT!!

A Pirate says, "AAAARRRRRRR!!"

So, the other day, the kids decided they wanted to play pirates!  Speedy dressed them all in ‘pirate’ attire.  They put the PVC marshmellow shooters together for weapons, and taped several toilet paper rolls together for eye glasses.  They made Sun swab the deck!!  And then Scuff decided to have a little fun, dressed himself, and went out hunting pirates.  I heard everything explode when Scuff found them in the garage and I was sure someone had died!!  Turns out, he just scared them all half to death!  Another sweet story for a big brother!

Thoughts from Camp…….

What to say??  Girls’ camp holds a special place in my heart, now and forever.  For me, camp was a safe place where I felt whole.  The things that were wrong in my life weren’t at camp.  The Spirit was there, though at that age, I didn’t recognize what I was feeling.  Camp allowed me to learn and make friends, but more importantly, it developed my testimony.  I LOVED the way I felt at camp!!  It was something I didn’t believe could be duplicated.
Now, as an adult, I recognize that familiar Spirit.  It CAN be duplicated every time I read my scriptures, pray, attend the temple, or just enjoy any meeting where the Spirit is.  But, even as an adult, camp has a special place in my heart.  Mostly because I recognize there are probably several girls, who, like me at that age, are feeling that familiar Spirit but not quite recognizing what it is.  Camp is sacred space where testimonies are growing….some are just being planted, some are being nursed over in tender years, some are being solidified, all are being shared.
I love camp because for me, it is where those first few blossoms of testimony began!  As an adult, I desperately hope we create a fertile atmosphere for testimony development.  Luckily, the stake which I live in, also knows the importance and significance of girls’ camp.  The leaders plan months and months in advance.  Those who serve at camp are prayed about and called and released after camp is over.  Serving in camp is not a gift to be taken lightly and it doesn’t just happen because you want to go.  I feel so very, very blessed to have been able to attend for the last five years.  And, of course, I certified for all four years again as an adult.  That was fun.
Here are two of the adults I served with.  Teri (center) is the stake YW President.  Kris (right) is the YW Camp Director.  At one time, a couple of years ago, Teri was still the stake YW Pres, Kris was her first counselor, and I was her second counselor.  Good times then and now!!  Thanks for letting us serve, still together, just in different capacities… more gifts from camp!

THIS:

“Defeats the purpose of having the cat outside!”
I have had a nasty case of poison oak.  I went outside to put a baking soda paste on my legs and took a sheet and a pillow from the couch to lay on while it was drying.  I think I went in the house to put my scriptures away. And our furry feline took the opportunity.
Here is another pose we just thought was too precious!!  Sun and Shorty went outside with all of their stuffed animals to play zoo or pet shop or whatever.  They all came in for dinner.  During the meal, one of the kids said, ‘Hey!!  Look at the cat!!’  As long as you are the king of the yard….who needs to be the king of the jungle?
Also, for those of you who are wondering….we have heard from Slim.  He is doing well and arrived safely and is loving every minute!  You can keep up with him by checking out his blog:
We’ll post his emails here and keep you up to date with his where-abouts and activities!!

The last few crazy weeks!!

In March Slim received his endowments at the Medford temple.

I got to take Slim to Oregon and visit my family.  Here is a picture of two of my very favorite people, my Uncle Ed and Auntie Nell.  I have stayed at their house many times.  The first time wasn’t long after I was born.  I got to be their little one because my father was away in Greece.  Their youngest child is nine years older than I am……so I got to be the baby!!  Drew and I got engaged at their house…several years later.  And I go back every once and a while to let them know I still love them and think about them often!

 I got to see my mother!!  Isn’t she cute?

And below is my brother, David and sister, Sara, with two of her five beautiful daughters, Elisia and Elora.


Slim was able to go with us and say goodbye to everyone before he left for Brazil.  It was fun for both of us!

The weekend after we returned…Spanky graduated with his Associate of Science in General Studies.  He also graduated from high school a week later.  Ya’, kinda weird..but it is where we live.  He heads off to college in the fall.  Here is Slim’s dress and attire for the graduation.  Notice the unkempt hair and unshaven face.  I thought it was particularly interesting considering that later that evening he was being set apart as a missionary.  Luckily he did shower and shave before that appointment!!!

Slim was set apart on Saturday evening.  Drew’s parents were able to come.  It was a wonderful experience.  We came home and took our very last family pictures where all of the children would be home.  The next time we will all be together won’t be until Sport returns home from his mission.  By then I’m sure we will have added spouses and maybe grandchildren to the group.  Slim gave his farewell address in the single’s branch.  We all drove up there to hear him.  His testimony has increased immensely.  He is ready to teach others and bear testimony.  What a wonderful parenting payday!!


Then…….it was time to pack.
It was an amazing process.  Slim packed, unpacked, repacked, decided he needed more luggage, repacked again, shoved, rearranged, sat on luggage to close it, removed a few items, and it was all over the family room for two days.

The Seminary class intended to fork our lawn the night before
Slim left.  It was raining, so they forked the flower bed instead!
Here are a few of our favorite signs:
Richard is Slim’s best friend!!
And Sister Craig is the seminary teacher.
What would the youth do without such fabulous seminary teachers??

Slim boarded the plane @ 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.  We haven’t heard from him, but my understanding is that that is normal.  We look forward to hearing from our missionary and figuring out when P (Preparation) day is so we can look for our letters.  He has become a permanent part of our family prayers, night and morning, and for all of our meals.   We love you!!  We are proud of you!!!  We are praying for you!!!

Trauma–an unwanted teacher.

I had an incredible experience yesterday……

Have you ever heard of the Nie Nie dialogues blog?  This is an incredible story of a woman who with her husband was in an almost fatal plane crash.  83% of her body was burned, 35% of her husband’s, and the pilot died of complications from the accident.  They have four small children and were living in Arizona at the time.  After the accident, she was in a coma for three months, while they tried to heal her body.  Last year, this blog won the award for ‘most inspirational blog’.

Yesterday, one of my dear friends emailed me the link to the blog and a new video about the blog author:
My New Life

As I watched the video, I about fell off of my chair.  Stephanie’s mother speaks for a few moments about her recovery.  Her mother was my relief society president when we lived in Provo.  I know this family.  Suddenly the story is personal.  The accident was in August of 2008 but for me, it was literally yesterday.

I cried as I read what I could find about the story, recovery and life today.  I cried because of all the pain and heartache and trial that they have experienced and the struggles still to come.  She and her husband have complications, discomfort, and disfiguring because of their accident.  But they are ALIVE!!  They are AWAKE!  They can WALK and TALK, LOVE, LEARN, and LIVE!!  Their story is incredible and motivating!

We all have times in our lives when tragedy reaches out its cold arm and embraces us.  Just a month ago, one of the families in our stake lost their 27 year-old son to a heart attack.  Three weeks later, the same family lost their wife and mother to complications of bronchitis.  Healthy 27 year-olds don’t have heart attacks and complications of bronchitis?  Since when is that fatal?  Another of my young friends told me yesterday that in the last 18 months, seven of her friends have passed away…..four from suicide.  And in August, last year, another friend’s sister lost her husband, brother in-law, and father in-law in a plane accident.

How do we respond when we or another have such difficult and unexpected experiences become an immediate part of daily life?

When it was our turn, I just wanted to put on a brave face.  I didn’t want to be a burden to others.  I didn’t want to appear needy.  As others offered their services, to clean our house or do our laundry or even just to come and sit with us, I told them we were doing fine.  Don’t worry about us.  I was told, very clearly one day, “You are denying others the blessings of service and I am not happy about that.” 

Slim was one month old.  He had perforated his bowel.  Infection, stool, and air spread through his abdomen and all over his vital organs.  He had emergency surgery.  We weren’t sure he would make it through the surgery and so he was blessed in the hospital in an infant’s hospital gown with only us as his parents and our best friends, Vallen and Wendy,  just the five of us in that sacred, sterile space.

Everyone wanted to help, but I didn’t know what they could really do.  But they knew….someone anonymously paid our rent, someone else paid the utility bill, a friend stocked our fridge with easy to prepare items, another came over and did our laundry, some sent money, some sent letters, some just came by and sat with me and let me cry and held me.  Now I know what to do when others whom I love experience tragedy.

It helped their hearts to serve us.  It relieved our burdens to be served.  Our hearts were knit in unity and love through our experience together.  When we experience a trauma together, mine or yours, and we work together for healing, we become one.  We must share these things with each other.  Trauma is an unexpected teacher, with an unwanted lesson, but with unlimited and soul changing consequences for all participants, if we will let growth and healing take place.

Blog Worthy Comment

Today Smiley went running across a wet driveway and into our friend’s garage where he slipped and fell onto his left hip.

Later in the day, Smiley says, “Mom, it feels like my rear is broken!”

Yes, I am still laughing. 🙂