Thursday, November 17, 2011

Of Books and Stickers

Tutoring session number two finished an hour ago and I'm still smiling. Dave and I are on good terms. How do I know that? He gave me a sticker. Put it right on my forehead. I made a silly face at him, letting him know I was playing along. And then he took Tina's stickers, then gave them back after I threatened to go to the teacher.

Thank goodness for the teacher. She called me yesterday and we chatted about Dave. I learned some things about him that explained his behavior. I stepped in his shoes and walked around them a bit. That was my exercise, my mental preparation. It worked. The only thing I worried about was coming across sincere. But I just made my mind forget anything I knew about him and concentrated on him right then. Mind you, I did have to mention something his teacher told me. His mom promised to take him and a friend to a major sporting event if he cooperated in class and in the reading sessions. Once I said that, he reluctantly began reading. I think he even got into the story a bit.

When the program leader gave him the Thanksgiving stickers, he plastered them all over his folder. Except for one chipmunk, which he reserved for my forehead. Still makes me smile.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First day

Today, it began. Tutoring, that is. It felt like my first day of school. Will the kids like me? Will I know what to do? It was very nerve wracking. I met the lady in charge of the program and she took me to meet the teacher and to grab the first kid.

I really wasn't mentally prepared at all for any of it. I didn't think I needed to be. So many other times in my life I psyched myself up for something and then watched as all my expectations fell short. However, I think I should have done some mental pushups or jogging in place or SOMETHING to have helped me. I met the teacher and then saw the boy. We'll call him Dave. Trying hard not to have any judgment or preconceived ideas as to how the next 8 months were going to play out for us, I tried striking up a conversation. How do you talk to a 12 year old? I think I forgot what that was even like. I even got his name wrong. I felt so bad. I tried playing it up like some joke, but that fell flat.

We made it to the desk where we were stationed. I was given a questionnaire as a sort of "get-to-know-you" exercise. That was a challenge. Either he didn't feel comfortable sharing his favorite movie or food, or he just didn't have very many preferences. This was going to be way harder than I thought. Shy doesn't begin to come close to how he was.

The next activity was even more difficult. I had two books from which he could choose. He didn't like "The Westing Game" or "A Wind in the Door." Now what? I kept asking in different ways, trying to maintain a positive vibe. He just didn't want to choose. I offered him a few other suggestions, but he just wouldn't! Finally, I chose the book - a ghost story. What 12-year-old boy wouldn't want to read that? Soon after, our time was up and he went back to his classroom without a word. Sigh.

The next one was a girl and we'll call her Tina. She was the complete opposite of Dave, with the exception that she was a little shy too. We chatted through the get-to-know-you questions and then looked at the books. After we read the descriptions on the back, she decided on one of the books in about 2 seconds. We finished up quickly and she then headed back to the classroom. What a difference the two were!

I'm trying to maintain a positive outlook where Dave is concerned. We'll see how Thursday goes. Maybe I need to read some books about 12-year-old boys. Something to know what goes on inside their heads.

Any of you have suggestions for me?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Keeping busy

As October wraps up (yes, I know there is one week left), I feel pretty content about life. We're settling in our new location well and I've begun planting myself here in many ways. I've become involved and I'm pretty excited about it all. Besides, it keeps me from being lazy.

Jed and I helped with the church activity the beginning of this month and then I've volunteered to help out with the women's church group (Relief Society) activity as well, and both were a blast. We've made some friends through it, which is why I wanted to be involved so much. My latest adventure hasn't even started and I'm nervous and apprehensive, yet thrilled to be apart of it.

Our church has teamed up with Americorp and KSL to help tutor children in elementary schools in reading. A month or so ago, I heard about it briefly at church and casually asked the Bishop about it, who emailed me some information. Well, I didn't go to the super long training and forgot completely about it until a week or so ago when I was told I was on a list of volunteers and that I need to attend a training. Well, I went to one (with Adam in tow) and had to leave after an hour because Adam was being, well, a toddler. So I went to the other training, but just showed up late. Luckily, Adam was more calm and content in a closed off area.

During the training, I couldn't help but think how much this would benefit me. Sure, I'll be helping a couple of children a week, but let's be honest - I'm getting the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finders Keepers

So I like to frequent thrift stores, especially the local Deseret Industries, which is Utah's version of a Goodwill. I have on occasion found some really neat things such as a cute dress-made-into-skirt or cute childrens' books. The other day I went with a mission: to look for fun fall decor, or things that could be turned into cute fall decor. I wasn't disappointed.

Here are my findings:

* 5 vases
* 1 candle
* 1 pumpkin candle holder
* 4 cornucopias
* 1 ball of string
* 3 books
* 1 bag of wooden Halloween items (cat, ghost, and pumpkins)
* 1 bag of plastic fruit (for cornucopias)
* 1 misc. holder (I have no idea what you call it. It's in the back on the right side.)

How much, you ask? A whopping $20! I was excited. I plan on getting some tree branches with colorful leaves or wheat stalks to put in the vases. Maybe some pumpkins and gourds to put in the one holder thingy (what is it called???). But I'm pretty excited. Oh I should mention the books will turn into pumpkins ... at midnight! Just kidding, but their destiny is to become book pumpkins as pictured here:

Isn't that neat? I have one that's a graphic novel, which I thought would have a cool effect. It's one of my first projects ever to do from an idea that I found on Pinterest. Now I just need to finish it...

Have you had success at thrift stores and what did you find?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bloggers Girls' Night Out

This last week was full of girls' night outs with the trip to Provo to see a famous author to the General Relief Society Meeting (which I'll write about soon) but Friday night's GNO (girls' night out) was completely different. With this event, I knew one person and only barely.

I met Kaysi of Keeping it Simple (a crafty blog) one day when she asked on Facebook if anyone in the Salt Lake area would like free scrapbooking supplies. Since I'm a sucker for freebies, I was the first to answer yes. So we arranged to meet. It was pretty fun getting to know her if only for a few minutes, but she invited me to a blogger's night out at the Cheesecake Factory in Murray. I thought, Why not? But as Friday came closer, I had my misgivings. I would know no one, except for Kaysi, and would be a little out of place with all the other crafty girls there (ok yes, I'm crafty, but not like these people who sell what they make)

Well, I arrive at the designated time, get seated (not after waiting forever realizing that I don't know what or who to look for) and then, gasp! I actually enjoy myself.

I met these fabulous girls:

and ate this fabulous dessert:
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake. I died. And went to paradise. And I saved some for Jed - aren't I the best wifey?

I even won a prize (actually, we all did) and will use it for the next baby shower (rolled up burp clothes so they look like a piece of candy - way cute!).
At the end, I was so glad I went. I met some really neat ladies and one even lives pretty close to me. 

Lesson to you all: Get. Out. Of. Your. Comfort. Zone. Fun things'll happen.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Yesterday, I finished a project that I had been working on for ... oh, MONTHS and can I tell you what a sigh of relief that is?

Ok, so it didn't take me months to finish. I took many breaks in between. Long periods of thinking, "Eh, I'll get to it later." I had a deadline (October), but in my mind, it could have been 3,000 years from now. Plus, I would get  to a hard part and just give up. It took too much brain power to figure out a solution. Or I got too frustrated and before something became irreparable, I put it down and left.

Well, enough of my ramblings. Here is the finished product.

Yes, it's a nursing cover - for a friend. We are way beyond that with Adam, thank goodness.

You may think it's not that big of a deal, but trust me, it is.

All I can say now is "Hallelujah!" and "I'm never doing that again."

Evening with an author

I think I can say now that Utah may be cooler than Idaho. Just a little. And only in certain aspects. For instance, I'm a lot closer to some really good friends. And then when those friends invite me to do cool things with them, I can actually go! That's how it went this past week. Tammy, my good friend from college, invited me to listen to a New York Time's best-selling author, Cinda Williams Chima. Now I had never heard of her before, but I thought, what the hey and went. The presentation happened to be in this beautiful building:

First of all, traffic going down to Provo was horrible, but we made it and only missed the very beginning of her presentation. It was fascinating and reminded me of aspirations I had as a little girl. From a young age, I had thought about becoming an author, being inspired by an amazing teacher of mine. Well, as time went on, I saw that really wasn't my passion and moved on to other things. I still felt akin to Cinda as she described herself and her love of stories and books. Through an inspiring teacher who framed a poem she had wrote, Cinda realized she could be a successful writer.

And she was successful, but despite that, she impressed me as being very down to earth. I can't wait to read her books now. All in all, it was a great evening with friends and book lovers alike.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Not prepared

Mondays have such a bad rap - no one likes them. Well, that's for a reason! Monday is usually my laundry day, but I didn't know how bad I would need to do it. Until I went to get ready for the day and saw I needed to do a load before I could do any getting ready. So now, it's mid-afternoon and I'm still in my pj's. And we're not talking sweats and a t-shirt - it's the bottom-of-the-barrel pj's (hence the laundry). So I continue with the day while the clothes get clean when I hear the doorbell. Oh shoot. I look through the peephole thingy thinking maybe I can fool them and not answer the door, except two men dressed in uniform happened to be there. You can't ignore the police. So I do what any good citizen would do and answer the door, except I peek out, trying to hide my unkempt appearance. I'm sure I reeked of innocence.

I ask what they want and they ask for the name of someone. I of course have no clue who it is, so I answer fast, hoping to get rid of them. They asked if she left a forwarding address and I answer no. All this time I'm being curt because I'm embarrassed. Finally they leave, and I close the door thinking that I probably sounded like I was lying.

So if I call one of you for bail or something, you know you can blame it all on the laundry.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A day of remembering

Like everyone else, I'm reminded of the terrible events that changed our great nation. I loved the Music and Spoken Word put on by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Tom Brokaw this morning. The music, the images and the words brought so many emotions to the surface. While I didn't have any sort of connection with the attacks or have any family in the military, I was still touched.

Today Jed and I spoke in church about Patriots' Day. I focused my message on freedom. We have many freedoms: freedom from oppression, from tyranny, from hate. But the Lord's idea of freedom goes beyond that. He means "freedom to" – the freedom to act in the dignity of our own choice. Elder F. Enzio Busche spoke on that here. 

Another quote that I found that really impacted me is by an unknown author. It's "freedom is not the right to do as you please, but the liberty to do as you ought." I love that. We are free to choose what we should, bringing us more liberty. I am so grateful for my freedoms - especially my freedoms to do what I should. Recently I came to an understanding regarding our service men and women. I am so grateful to them – and for their families – who sacrifice for my behalf and others'.

I follow the blog of a friend of a friend. Her husband has been deployed to Iraq for 13 months (I believe). I've followed it throughout the whole deployment and I can't comprehend how difficult that would be. She writes how her two sons miss and need their dad. One son sleeps with a cardboard cutout of his dad. It breaks my heart to read about their struggles.

So here's to the men and women who serve our country, to those who were killed, but also to those who live and continue on making this country great. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Poor neglected blog

I keep wondering if I should let this one go, or keep it. I want a place for my thoughts (when I feel like posting about them) that's separate from the family blog, so this is it. You may notice that I haven't posted in a while. It's because I get scared. I go through times when I bare my soul and I don't care, but lately, I've held back and don't want everyone to read my thoughts. I heard recently that the way to know what you think is to write your thoughts. I recently heard someone quote Brad Wilcox and what he wrote in an Ensign article:
I once asked a college professor what he thought about a particular issue. He said: “I don’t know. I’ve never written anything about it.” His response puzzled me at the time, but not anymore. “Thoughts are created in the act of writing. [It is a myth that] you must have something to say in order to write. Reality: You often need to write in order to have anything to say. Thought comes with writing, and writing may never come if it is postponed until we are satisfied that we have something to say. … The assertion of write first, see what you had to say later applies to all manifestations of written language, to letters … as well as to diaries and journals” (Frank Smith, “Myths of Writing,” Language Arts 58, no. 7 [1981]: 793, 795).
So apparently, I don't know what to think, since I haven't written anything, except for a little guest post over at Modern Molly Mormon which has been a nice little outlet for all my spiritual thoughts. So I promise to write more consistently here, not for you, but for me. I need to know what I think and what I know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not so bad

Typically, after a natural disaster, I stay away from the media coverage. I'm not quite sure why, but I think part of it may be because of lumps that form and then get caught in my throat or water leakage from the eyes. I just choose not to want to feel so I avoid it altogether. However, with the (second) most recent tragedy of the tornado-struck Joplin, Mo., I couldn't NOT look or read or feel.

It probably had something to do with me feeling sorry for myself. You see, I was up all night listening to a sad, little boy cry because of some teeth working through his sensitive gums. I felt I had it bad and I deserved a pajama day and was ready to throw a pity party.

Then, as I'm checking the news for the day, I come across a WSJ article about the damage and my heart just tore into pieces. After reading the article and looking at the pictures, I felt shame. Shame that I felt that I had it bad. What a realization that I never had it so good. My house wasn't in pieces. My family members are all accounted for. I have working electricity and I know where my next meal is coming from. My town may have suffered from a deluge of rain yesterday, but it's intact. I am sufficiently humbled.

So yet another reminder that I could always have it worse and a realization for all that I have for which to be thankful.

From We Are THAT Family, the following:

Please consider doing something:
  • World Vision: Text”‘TORNADO” to 20222 to give a $10 donation. You can also donate online or call 1-888-511-6443 to support World Vision’s effort.
  • The Salvation Army’s disaster-relief efforts in Joplin can be supported by texting “JOPLIN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. You can also donate through their website or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • Red Cross is providing shelter and distributing needed supplies. Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or visit thewebsite to donate, give blood or volunteer
  • Make and send hygiene kits to Heart to Heart
  • Convoy of Hope is delivering food and water to Joplin. Those wanting to help can text the word “CONVOY” to 50555 to make a $10 donation. You can also donateonline or by calling 1-417-823-8998.
  • Christ the King Church, a local Joplin church, has a great list of ways to help
  • You can also mail items listed below to-
James River Assembly (link to give online thru this church)
Attn: *Cherish Kids* Adoption/Foster Families in Joplin
6100 North 19th Street
Ozark, MO 65721
-Rubbermaid type totes with lids—medium and large sizes -Hand sanitizer -Gift cards–Wal-Mart and Target -Cases of water -Bags of groceries filled with food items (non-perishables) -Diapers -Wipes -Snack items -Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, contact solution, feminine hygiene products, etc.) -work gloves, plastic tarps and -Pack and Play type cribs
  • Pray for peace, healing and comfort to those injured, grieving, displaced, suffering

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A post-Mother's Day post (haha)

I only feet it's apropos to write my feelings in regards to my first-ever Mother's Day. Last year apparently didn't count since Adam was only half-baked. But the lessons in church and some things I've read have changed my mind and perspective about that. I now feel I've been gypped out of 25 Mother's Days.

What am I saying? I'm saying that my whole existence has been about motherhood, and I'm not talking about preparing for the day when I would enter that labor and delivery room and out comes a baby. Motherhood, I've learned, is much more than that, says Sheri Dew. And she is so right! Motherhood is not solely equated with maternity! Every woman needs to get over that way of thinking and focus on how she can be a better mother not only to her own children or family, but to those around her.

Early that morning, I sat and contemplated what it meant to be a mother and found myself very lacking. Instead of getting discouraged, I was emboldened. The talks and lessons at church supported this feeling. They broadened my view and taught me how to be a better mother. I learned that motherhood for me did not begin when I first conceived our son. Rather, it began long ago, before I even came to this earth. My husband thought that most of the talks seemed to "cater" to those who couldn't have children. I disagreed. They said to me that I was chosen and called to be a mother, along with every other righteous woman. Not only that, but I'm destined to continue to be a mother after this mortal life as long as I keep my covenants. I don't even think I can begin to understand the magnitude of that.

Sheri Dew says, "Our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood."

Don't most of us remember times when we were little girls, rocking our baby dolls to sleep or feeding them? We all feel that yearning to nurture, to tenderly care for others. It's an innate attribute we all share and must learn to cultivate carefully.

Not only will we continue to have an increase after this life, but the very word, "mother" characterizes us in the hereafter: "For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence." What a promise and incentive to live up to my very potential as a mother.

Sometimes, we find ourselves waiting on the Lord for promised blessings. For everyone, it's different. This is what Sheri Dew said about those without children: "For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature." I think the key word is "delay." Everyone needs to be reminded of that. The Lord has made promises and He will pull through for us. We have to remember it's on His timeline though, not ours. 

It only makes sense that Relief Society declaration states "Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood." How exhilarating it is to be a woman and what a glorious time it is to be a mother to those who need it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just a hug

You know how people say all it takes is something small like a smile or squeeze of the hand that helps people the most? For me, hearing it often got kind of old and it didn't hold much for me, until yesterday (Sunday).

This weekend was crazy. I was gone most of Saturday volunteering at the food co-op and then at a friend's son's birthday party and then prepping for a girls' night I was hosting. The girls' night was fun until my 9-month-old son woke up due to our peals of laughter. I had to end the party early because he wouldn't be consoled. That was around 10:45 p.m. and he finally fell asleep around 1 a.m. Heedless of his lack of sleep, he was up at 7:15 a.m. giggling and laughing, waiting for me to come in to see him. I knew church was going to be rough.

I was right - I had assignments to pass out for an upcoming activity and people to talk to besides the normal socializing that happens at church. I was beat by 11:30 but I still had an hour to go. During the last meeting, I saw my visiting teaching companion who hadn't been at church in a while so I stopped by her to say hi and to find out how she was doing (she is prego by the way! So excited!). After visiting with her, she gave me a hug! I was pretty shocked since we were fairly new at being friends and I didn't know she was the huggy type but it totally choked me up. I went to my seat completely moved and touched by her impromptu kindness.

That's when it really hit me. Those small, seemingly insignificant things, such as a hug, have such a greater impact than we give credit for. Only in our time of need do we realize the influence such kindness has. So why don't we do it more often? I know I get scared and think too much: does she like hugs? He doesn't even know me, why should I smile at him? She seems happy all the time, one visit from me won't make a difference. How we lie and deceive ourselves. Instead of think, we must do. Instead of pause we must accelerate.

I love what President Spencer W. Kimball says:

“God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to ‘… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ (D&C 81:5.) So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!” 18

Monday, January 24, 2011

Looking for Friends

I saw this today while perusing the BYU-Idaho bulletin board:

I had to laugh, then stopped, rebuking myself for being a little unkind. But I wasn't mean, I just found it funny that someone would run a "wanted ad" for friends.

Maybe it's because they aren't the only ones looking for friends. It seems that this has come up a lot lately, at least for me. At church, I've heard more than once the issue of someone not having friends and feeling lonely. Someone even said that the church are fake.

A year or so ago, I found myself in the same situation: newly married, not many friends in the area (since most of my former roommates had graduated and moved) and in a new ward. It took some time, courage and effort. The challenge wasn't new to me, but different since I had to make sure my husband had a male counterpart that wanted to be his friend too, or at least play League of Legends with him.

My saving grace stemmed from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The only way to have a friend is to be one." My dad had told me this as a little girl. It's stuck ever since and it seems that someone has to take the initiative, the frightening first step of putting oneself out there for possible criticism or rejection.

Over the years, I have been blessed with some very good friends. Many of them are spread out around the country and some are even found around the world. I know I can rely on all of them if need be and I hope they know they could rely on me as well. I look forward to making new friends. Although I can improve in being a friend, I'm rich in friends and for that I am eternally grateful.

But for those who feel poor in this aspect, here's an email from my all-knowing and intelligent father who sent this to my sisters and me:

How do you make friends?

Some friendships happen naturally. Some occur because you are forced by circumstances to become companions, which evolves into a friendship. But sometimes you just have to make a friend. How do you make a friend? Sometimes it is harder than you would think. 

What does it take to make a friend? Well, it takes more than just being available, convenient, or experiencing a shared event. Being in the same dorm room, young woman's class or neighborhood does not, in and of itself, build a friendship. It also takes more than just liking someone and having them like you. Friendships are nurtured-planted, watered, fed, and cared for. Otherwise they die.
  • The first step in developing a friendship is that you have to rub shoulders with a lot of people. They don't have to share all of your interests or values, but it does help to share a few. But if you keep to yourself and like it that way, or choose not to get out and be with people very often, your opportunity to build a friendship will be dramatically limited. You don't have to be a party animal, but you have to do more than sit around your living room watching TV every night. Get out. Get involved. Have a hobby that enables you to have experiences with like-minded people.
  • Then get to know people. Listen to them. You don't always have to agree with them but you have to listen to them. For some of us, this is difficult. We want someone to listen to us and care about what we feel emotional about. But the best friends are those who we listen to first because they know how much we care about them. Ask them about their lives, what they feel strongly about. Do not judge them, or even try to advise them at first. Just listen to them. They will appreciate that you care about them. 
  • An important factor that influences true, long lasting friendship is what I call "chemistry". Another way of putting it is that you can't force a friendship. You can wish for it, want it, hope for it, but there frequently is a "spark" between people that makes the relationship feel right. This is not the same as "friendship at first sight". It's a feeling of "connection" that draws people together and then holds on to them.
  • A common shared experience feeds a friendship. While a girl's camp overnighter in and of itself doesn't make a relationship, it can provide a beginning of years of memories. Service projects, working together, attending the same difficult class--all contribute to strengthening a friendship. A shared experience, such as being in the same YW class, does not necessarily imply that a friendship exists. But it can lead to those shared experiences which enrich a friendship.
  • Friendships require that you are truthful and even occasionally painfully honest with someone. If you cannot tell someone how you really feel about them or how they have acted, then it really isn't much of a relationship, much less a friendship. Sometimes we are afraid to tell someone something we don't think they want to hear. This inclination must be overcome. When people are close, it is inevitable that things are carelessly said or done which offend. The quality of the relationship is the degree you can discuss an issue and then move beyond it.
  • Gratitude and appreciation are expressed frequently in true friendships. These efforts strengthen friendships and contribute to enriching the relationship. They make people glad they are with you.
  • It's tough to have strong friendships if you don't spend much time together. Effort must be made to find, invest, and expend the time to be with others. This doesn't imply consuming every waking moment of someone's time, but orchestrating events to be with someone. This is especially true if work, family and other obligations absorb a great deal of your time away. But if this turns into weeks or even months, a friendship can die. You can like a person still but feel the relationship has grown apart. Regularly schedule activities, such as a shared lunch, occasional movie, or physical workout can rejuvenate a friendship. 
  • A true friend forgives the other for mistakes and offenses that inevitably happen over time. If the relationship is rich, mistakes and offenses can be weathered in spite of the attending hurt and pain. If the relationship is not well developed, friendships are inclined to end when mistakes and offenses occur.
Any relationship that evolves into a friendship generally involves work. One cannot take for granted that time in and of itself makes a friendship. Work includes finding time to nurture the friendship, experiencing shared activities, forgiving your friend for mistakes and offenses, expressing appreciation for their care and concern for you, listening, even when you don't want to, and being honest with them when they need to hear the truth.
For what its worth, these principles are true for missionary companionships, moving into a new area, and, yes, even marriages. Learn to make true friendships now. Much joy and happiness comes because we have true friends.

So if you find yourself wanting to use craigslist or the BYU-Idaho bulletin board to find some friends, just remember my ol' dad's advice. It's never steered me wrong.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Afterglow of Christmas

I just finished cleaning the floor in both the bathroom and kitchen. Hands-and-knees style. Santa dropped the ball on a new mop this year (ours broke a few months ago). Oops - forgot. I'm Santa. Guess that tells you where my priorities lie. However, it did feel good to do some physical work, especially after a long and blissful holiday break that involved a lot of chocolate, turkey and sitting on the couch.

Speaking of the holidays - wow. Talk about a different Christmas/New Years. In a previous post I mention ways I would make this holiday extra special since we would be far from family. I was semi-successful. I tried. I really did. But I found my efforts were thwarted due to lack of sleep, fussy baby, etc. etc. And then, when I had the chance to be serviceable, I was rejected or it didn't work out. I swallowed my frustration and waited for the next chance. I think the highlight for me was the Wednesday before Christmas. I desperately wanted to go caroling at a nursing home, a tradition that began with my family when I was young. Naturally, I waited until the day before to call around to the three nursing homes in town and one was available or didn't have a scheduled program. Then I texted everyone who I thought was in town from the ward and two families were able to join ours. One has three kids and the other has two. We were quite the bunch of carolers. I had selected some songs - a mix of spiritual and secular - and printed them out.

The nursing home had three separate buildings. We began at one, per the request of the coordinator to whom I spoke when I set things up. Luckily, a few residents were still around in the living/entertainment area and we started to sing. The look in their eyes was unforgettable. They sang along to "Away in a Manger," "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" and "Silent Night." My voice caught a few times as I watched their faces.

The folks in the second building were more interested in the children, but in the third building, no one was out, so we went from room to room. One of the last people we sang to was a woman who had just moved from Powell, Wyo. I may be wrong, but I doubted that she had family in the area. Or maybe she did. Whatever the case was, I felt that we made her night special. Ruby Reno was her name.

We left that night in the falling snow with warm hearts. We said our "Merry Christmases" and went home.

The next few days we spent as a family and read of the Savior and of His birth. It was a beautiful, simple Christmas. My mind drifted across the country to South Dakota and my wonderful family there, but my heart was also held steady with my husband and little one. I hope your Christmas was just as memorable.