Thursday, February 28, 2013

Where John Has Been

 John has been traveling for several months.  I have already complained on this blog about the fact that I miss him when he is gone.  I thought I would post some pics he has sent me over the months showing me what he was up to.

This is a Pie Five store in Texas.  John had to be there to train as a franchise owner for 3 weeks.  Luckily he got to split it up over a couple of trips before and after Christmas.  He really enjoyed the people he met and got to work with.

A typical store
Pie, in 5 minutes

John met his twin in Texas

Texas was only for 3 weeks. Other weeks he has been up in Utah getting stores opened.  He has been staying at my parents house when he is there.  He told me this last time he was home, that he thinks he would go crazy if he didn't have my family to stay with.  He usually just sleeps there, but he said it is nice to have them to say hi to in the morning and night.  He puts in really long days and calls us as he is driving to check things out.

The room where he spends lots of time ;) (Utah office)
Future Pie Five Location
I am grateful that John is such a hard worker.  I know he puts in days that are longer than mine and he never complains about it the way I do. ;)  While he is working on this new business, he also takes time to manage the pit back here in Durango.  He is calling his managers and sub-contractors, as well as all the different government officials he gets to constantly work with.  We have excavation crews that are working out of state and he has managed to keep up with them as well.  It is all quite mind boggling to me and when I think about it too much it kind of freaks me out.  It is definitely a struggle and a stretch to have him gone, but I think he has had the hardest row to hoe out of all of us.   Thank you John for all you do!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Walking Chuey

Today I stopped by to visit with Kristine.  It try to go when John is out of town although I am not as diligent as he is.  Kristine has been dizzy the last week, but seems to be feeling better today.  She hasn't been walking Chuey which makes it tough on him.  So I took him for a nice long walk.

Kristine's overall health is pretty much the same.  She still has the pain in her leg which is pretty constant and keeps her from being active like she should.  We are going to ask (again) if there is a surgery that could alleviate some of her pain.  She has more trouble with her shorter term memory and forgets things she does or says. She usually uses her phone to call whomever happens to be on the Recent Call list, so she will call John 5 to 10 times a day.  Yesterday she left him 6 messages, all about 2 minutes apart, where she repeated the same message as if she hadn't already left one.

We got a journal for her room that we ask people to write down their visits in.  This has really seemed to help as she can look back through and it will jog her memory of who was just there.  She used to tell us that we hadn't been by for weeks, so it is nice that she can look at the journal and know that someone was just there.  She gets regular visits from other family and friends besides us and that is really nice for her.  They will take her to lunch usually.

A few weeks back she had a dizzy spell and fell.  It was enough for the staff at her home to call the doctor.  She coincidentally had an appointment to see that doctor later that day, but the doctor told us to take her to the Emergency Room instead.  Now, call me naive, but I always thought Emergency Rooms were for Emergencies.  Silly me.  That is just where the doctor sends you to have a bunch of tests taken that they can't fit into their office hours.

I sat with Kristine in the ER for almost 5 hours through a couple of simple tests just so they could tell us she seemed fine.  Talking with the ER doc, we are guessing that she has been taking too much Vivarin. For some reason, she is obsessed with Vivarin and asks people to take her to the store to get it all the time.  She is not allowed to have any pills unless the staff at her home give it to her, even if it is over the counter.  I now understand why.  Kristine takes a Vivarin, then forgets that she has, and takes another.  We think that is what got her to the ER.  She has gone to great lengths to hide the Vivarin in her room (in pillowcases or hidden in drawers) and is really mad when the staff goes through her room to search for it.  She gets very frustrated because she cannot remember.  In fact, she doesn't remember that we spent the whole day in the ER.  But sometimes she remembers things just fine, so we aren't sure what the difference is.

Sometimes I feel bad that she is in an Assisted Living home and I ask John if we should bring her back to our house (she lived in our basement for about a year, and in a trailer near our house for a couple before that, and in a house through the woods before that).  He reminds me how much she told everyone she didn't like living with us and wanted to live on her own.  And I know he is right.  It is good having 24 hour care with medication, food, and any help she needs.  She recently has been hatching plans of how she can get out living in a trailer again.  She asked one friend to take her to look for land, and asked a cousin if she could live beside their house.  It is hard to explain to her that she cannot live alone anymore.  We just try to tell her that this is the best place for her without telling her all of her physical and mental limitations.  We remind her that she is in the nicest senior apartments in the whole county. That seems to help for a while.

I know it must be so hard to not be able to remember anything and not understand why you can't do what you want to. I never cease to be amazed and the endless patience my husband has.  He never sounds irritated that she just called him 5 minutes ago and is repeating herself.  He is genuinely attentive to her continued comfort.  He is never condescending and talks to her in a way that makes her feel important.  I have also seen how it has blessed our children to have her to look out for. They have had to develop patience and compassion as well. They love Kristine dearly which helps when it is inconvenient to help her.  Gabe and Seth, for example, get up early every Sunday on their own so that they can go by and pick her up for church.  They leave a good 40 minutes before me and the little kids so they can get her and still be early enough to do the sacrament.

But it is hard.  It takes a lot of our free time.  It takes a lot of extra effort to bring her along when we do things.  It is a whole extra life and lifestyle with it's bills and appointments to manage.  It can be frustrating when Chuey pees at our house every. Sunday. ;) But overall I am glad our kids get to see the older side of life and remember to honor their Grandma.  And I am glad all of my kids are learning how to treat me when I am old and forgetful!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

You're Amazing

Today after church I saw Jebb laying in the Great Room.  I could only see his legs sticking out from the front of the couch.  As I got closer I saw that he was laying on his stomach, nose to nose with our dog, Daisy.  He was singing, "Girl, you're amazing...just the way you are."  I just wanted to remember how cute it was to see him singing it to one of his favorite girls.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Regionals in GJ

Our Varsity basketball team went to a Regional tournament over in Grand Junction.  Gabe let us know that they won their first game on Thursday and because we were all on break and bored out of our minds, we decided to go over and watch.  He wasn't expected to get any play time, but we thought we would make the best of the trip.

We drove over Friday before their game against Rifle.  It was super slow going for a while as it was snowing in the mountains.  We did make it though in time.  It was a really close game but we managed to pull it out! That meant we would play again on Saturday.
Sketch pass over to GJ
 Because the game was in the afternoon, we got to spend the day killing time in Grand Junction.  John saw a place that we thought we ought to try out.  It was a laser tag, arcade, go cart place.  I will tell you that those kinds of places just stress me out! Huge!  It drives me nuts to see people wandering around teaching their kids to play games of chance to squander their money to earn coupons to 'buy' stupid, cheap prizes.  It freaks me right out.  And it's loud.  And weird.

So of course, when we pulled up and Jackson saw where we were going, I thought he might have wept a few tears of joy.  We had tried to take him to play laser tag down in Farmington on his birthday, but it has been closed.  That was back in July.  He told us he had hoped to play laser tag someday ever since then.  I guess it was his little dream.  Who knew.  He was beyond thrilled to do the laser tag and laser maze.  Jebb too was all smiles.  Seth and Elise acted like they were too old for this type of fun, but they looked like they enjoyed it as well. ;)

Because we are Gillelands, we had to drive the go carts.  It was cold and windy, but even I had a really fun time taking a few laps in those little machines.  I have to admit it was a pretty fun way to kill some time before the game, even if it did freak me out.  And Jackson had his dreams come true on top of it all.  I guess I don't mind going to those types of places as long as it is only once every 5 or 6 years.

The tournament was at CMU and this was the final game to decide the Region champs.  Gabe actually got a lot of play time against Palisade, which was the 1st seed in the tourney (we were 2nd).  They jumped out ahead of us and we never caught up.  We had two of our starters out with injuries and Gabe got about 8 minutes of play time.  I thought he played really, really well. Although they didn't win this final game, they will advance to the State Playoffs next week.
Tough Defense! :) He knocked the ball away from
this kid right after this!

 On our drive home, it was still snowy.  We saw a bunch of big horn sheep on the side of the road.  On the drive over we had seen a little herd of about 20, this time we saw a half dozen and I got this pic to prove it.  I think those two must be female.  The other side of the road had sheep with the big curly horns (males?).  It will be fun to see how far the boys will advance. They haven't had a good bball team in years so Gabe is enjoying being a part of it, even if he doesn't play much.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I have learned a few things lately in Seminary and I wanted to write them down so I can remember.

About a month ago in Seminary we were studying in the gospels. It's easy to relate to those that saw and heard Jesus and were healed by him, if we would have eyes to see it.   I told my students that they could get answers to specific questions and would see signs that God was there if they would look. A big part of that is of course reading your scriptures.  It is amazing how you can be reading a 2000 year old story and all of the sudden it answers a question you have today.

So we were in the Gospels. I was reading about the Pharisees and how much they hated Jesus.  All he ever did was good.  He went around healing and serving and teaching and loving.  Of course the Pharisees saw him as a threat to their livelihood and were hatching plans to get rid of him.  I was reading in John when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. You would think it would give some of the Pharisees pause.  Wouldn't they look at his works and see that he meant no one ill will?  And wouldn't they wonder if God truly was with him after seeing him work his miracles?  But they didn't.  In fact, they just hated him more because this miracle increased his fame and following.   Now they not only wanted to kill Jesus, but they thought they ought to kill Lazarus as well.  

Yes, they made their living by having people listen to them, but come on.  Why did they hate him so much?  He never did anything to them directly and probably had helped friends or acquaintances of theirs.  

I have know this story for a long time, but this time I understood it in a way that I hadn't before.  I understood that the Pharisees hated Jesus, not because of who he was, but because of who they were.  They were, for lack of a better word, haters.  Jesus could have done anything to serve or help them and it wouldn't have mattered.  They hated him because they had hard hearts and were beyond feeling.  It had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and everything to do with them.  There was no way for him to 'win them over' unless they changed who they were.  The feelings of hate they had were completely independent of whom they professed to hate.

For some, this might not be news.  I mean, who doesn't get that the Pharisees were haters, and haters be hatin',  right?

But this understanding struck my heart like a jolt of electricity and it helped me understand a problem I have been fretting about for a long time.  I have someone that I can't win over.  They hate me.  It has bothered me and in the last few years I have simply avoided them, but it has weighed heavily on me.  I felt a burden lifted to understand that sometimes people just hate.  They don't have to have good reasons.  And there is nothing I can do.  It's not up to me.  

Intuitively, this is nothing I haven't considered, but as I pondered this story, I understood.  I knew that the Lord was aware of this burden I had (I had talked to him about it at length, quite often).  And I knew that this was His way of speaking peace to my mind.  I'm not saying I'm like Jesus, because I am not.  I am certainly worthy of dislike.  I can be a real brat.  But I understood that I don't need to fret about this, because it was out of my control and the hate this person has for me is their choice.  Some people are just going to hate.  And I could now accept that and work from there.

On the flip side of this, I also understood clearly that dislike or irritation that I felt for others was MY problem, not theirs.  Any resentment or ill feelings I had were not at all justifiable and I needed to be sure to remember that.  No one needs to 'win me over,' nor can they.  I choose to love or hate because of who I am.

A needed lesson for sure.

In case you haven't guessed, I tend to fret and feel sorry for myself.  I have had a hard time feeling content for a while.  One thing I fretted over in the last while, was my mission.  It was a long time ago, and I have thought a lot about it with the lowering of the mission age.  I had wondered if it had even mattered that I went.  I know that it mattered for me, but I wondered if it really mattered to anyone else. I was a bit of a free spirit and a big mouth, and have wondered if my personality did more harm than good at some times.

In Seminary over a 2 week period, I invited the kids to pray that they could recognize that God knows them specifically as individuals and will answer their prayers in a way that speaks to them.  Jesus healed and blessed people one on one, not as a big group or as a class.  Personally. According to their needs. I asked them to pray for eyes to see and ears to hear the personal love of God.  As the teacher, I try to do the same things I challenge my students to do, so I too had been praying.

This Sunday, I got a phone call from an Elder that served in my mission.  We were in the MTC together and were both from Arizona.  The first time we met was in a culture class about Canada and he was crying seeing pictures of the frozen ocean.  We became instant friends when I tried to console and commiserate about the cold with him.  We have the same birthday week and he calls me every year.  So I was surprised to get a call from him in February.

He told me that he had been talking just the day before to a family from our mission.  They had talked about me.  They were an awesome family that had been through lots of missionaries without committing to baptism (even though they held church callings!!).  There was something about them that I just loved and my companion and I hit it off instantly with them.  They were so easy to love! Even now I still love them. They had agreed to be baptized when I asked them 20 or so years ago and that experience was very special to me.  They told my friend when he talked to them recently that I had been special to them too.  I had mattered to them. 

My heart sang! Not only did I remember the love I had felt for them all those years ago, I felt that the Lord had heard the doubts in my heart and reminded me that I was loved, that I mattered. It was personal. It was an answer just for me, just when I needed it, just when I asked.

I had another experience just a few days after that.  I got a call from an old friend of mine and she suggested I purchase and read two books.  Both of them are the type of book I enjoy reading and find easy to learn from or relate to.  One called 'The Slight Edge' is basically an elaboration of the truth that through small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.  By doing the small things each day (when it doesn't make hardly any difference on just that day), we can make enormous progress over time if we are diligent and patient.  The second called 'The Happiness Advantage' is about finding happiness where you are.  I have wondered why I always feel like a square peg in the round Durango hole so often, especially when we had thought recently about moving.  This book reminded me that there are things I can do to shore up my own happiness.  One of the key ideas my friend liked was the necessity of cultivating friendships.  When life gets stressful I tend to 'buckle down' and try to get things done at the expense of my friendships.  This has certainly been the case since Kristine moved in with us last year.  While I know it was the right thing for us, I felt quite overwhelmed and never quite got ahead of all the things I felt I needed to be doing.  I put many things I enjoy on the back burner until I felt I had more time. According to this book, I am doing it all wrong. ;)  I need to be sure I am living after the manner of happiness first, then work at my list.  If done in that order, my load would feel lighter.  Definitely some truth in that book.

My friend said she had thought of me (even though she lives in a different city) when she read it and thought I might like it.  She was right.  Both books together were an answer to the problem I have had in my own mind of how to tackle all of my 'stuff.'  The Lord had again answered my prayers in a very personal way.  It made me grateful for a friend that followed through when it occurred to her I'd like the books even though I hadn't told her what I had been praying about.

To me, although they may seem like small things, the personal nature of each answer to prayer confirmed that God does know me.  And He wants to help me.  Often I just forget to ask.  I am grateful for the things I am learning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BigG Basketball Recap

Basketball season has (mostly) come to an end in our home.  I will give a short recap of how the season went. I made it to the majority of the home games and loved seeing them all play.


This was Elise's first foray into the sport of basketball.  She enjoyed playing on a team in volleyball and when a lot of the same girls went out for bball, she decided to try out too.  Elise was pleased to make the B team, although she was not a starter on that team. She worked hard and got a fair amount of play time.  She made 2 baskets this season and I sadly missed them both by minutes.  We were glad to see that she improved over the season.

I am typically not a fan of girl's basketball, I just don't enjoy watching it that much, but I sure am a fan of Elise!  She is such a great young lady! 

Apparently our middle school dominates in girls basketball. In fact, the A team had several girls that transfered to our school just to play. Who knew?  So Elise's team always won handily.  They also managed to win the whole shebang at the final tournament last Saturday.  'Undefeated' has a nice ring to it. ;) Way to go!


Seth was on the High School Freshman team this year.  Unfortunately, Seth had an injury in his hip and leg that really slowed him down.  It is something called piriformis syndrome where your sciatic nerve is pinched as it goes from your hip area, down your leg.  It makes it painful and difficult to walk and sit.  The doctor said that growing fast can trigger this and that makes sense as Seth is now taller than I am.  Seth had some deep tissue rubs and lots of stretching and he did get better by the end of the season.  Unfortunately, the season was ridiculously short.  The freshman only had a half dozen games over a few weeks.  The Athletic Director said that because the freshman girls only had a few games, the boys could only have that same amount.  Lame.  His team did not win all of their games, but  I think Seth did well.  I was proud that he worked through his injury instead of giving up.  He scored in most games and although I took more pictures of him, this is the only half decent one I got, and it is poor at best.  He is rebounding, then shooting the ball under the hoop. He is blurry and all you can see are his arms and head. :(  A sports photographer I am not...

Because their season was so short, Seth and some of his teammates were able to participate in the local 3-on-3 tournament.  They played well and were able to win prizes including the Lip Balm in Seth's mouth.


Gabe was a starter on JV at the High School this year.  He played most of the time in most of the games and scored lots of points.  He got to dress out for a few Varsity games, but didn't really have any play time.  The JV team won a lot and their season finished up a couple of weeks ago, but Gabe stayed and has been practicing and dressing with the Varsity.  Playoffs will begin this weekend.

 Jebb and Jackson

I am such a mean mom that I didn't sign Jebb or Jackson up for rec league basketball although both of them asked to participate.  I just wasn't able to get them to practices or games.  So this year for basketball season, they spent a lot of time under bleachers, running in school hallways, and playing their Nintendos.  They did watch and cheer on occasion, but they mostly just played together during the games.  We'll see how next year goes!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Clean Up Crew

It's Winter Break this week and the kids are home from school.  I guess we could do something fun, but why bother when you could do a little yard work?! What's more fun than that.  Besides, John is here for  the week and I am putting him to work.  J&J were glad to help out.  We cut and raked the front flower bed to get it ready for spring.  I will add some new dirt and we'll see what comes up!
The Clean Up Crew
Look wheat we found under the dead stuff!
Hauling it all away

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Well Dressed

For the past several weeks Jebb has refused to wear a tie.  He also unbuttons his collar and stands it up.

When I asked him about it, he said he wanted to have his church shirt like Joseph Smith.  You can't argue with that. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jackson's Service

I had to write about this kid today.  Jackson is in 4th grade this year and I was pleasantly surprised when he told me that he had joined Student Council.  He has had some good experiences doing it and it has helped him to stretch a lot and think a little bigger.  The SC decided that they wanted to serve at the Soup Kitchen here in our town.  They arranged to volunteer from 4-7 after school today.  

I was a little sad that I couldn't stay and join him, but the other kids needed a driver and John is out of town. I decided to go with the line of thought that this is a great experience for him to have on his own. ;)

When I picked him up it was a little hard to get him to talk much.  He said that he had packaged chocolates and cleaned bathrooms with chemicals.  I questioned him a little more, and he told me that he was surprised that there were so many people in our town that were hungry and came to eat.  Jackson has a tender heart and is quite thoughtful about such things.  I am so glad he got to do this today and I feel humbled and grateful that we have never gone hungry.  It gave Jackson and I both something to think about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Learning on the Mountain

We had a snowstorm move through town over the weekend and the forecast said we would get 6-12 inches overnight before school this morning.  I fretted and wondered, and decided to cancel Seminary.  When I woke up this morning and saw there was no new snow, I felt a little guilty, but I must admit that I enjoyed putting the younger kids on the bus in my sweatpants.

This weather must have put me in a weird mood all around because last night I also agreed to let Gabe and Seth miss school today to go snowmobiling. John left town Mon. morning and was quite shocked I had agreed to let them go.  Both of them have been doing well in school and are always busy with sports. I know it is important to be dedicated to attending class (a lesson I didn't understand well in college), but there is this General Conference talk a while back that really struck me and influenced my parenting thought processes.  It was a talk by Larry Y. Wilson called Only Upon the Principles of Righteousness and it encourages parents to help their children make their own good choices. A standout paragraph for me was:
Our children are in our homes for a limited time. If we wait until they walk out the door to turn over to them the reins of their moral agency, we have waited too long. They will not suddenly develop the ability to make wise decisions if they have never been free to make any important decisions while in our homes. Such children often either rebel against this compulsion or are crippled by an inability to make any decisions on their own.
I know that not everyone may see a direct correlation between this quote and snowmobiling, but I have been trying to let my boys make more decisions and do more things on their own.  I let them know that I expected grades to be maintained.  I also reminded them that to have the privilege to play, your work at home all had to be done.  It was amazing to me how lovely their rooms were when they let me know Sunday night that they felt like they could manage missing school to take advantage of all the new snowfall.  So Gabe, Seth, and their friend Collin loaded up their sleds on Monday morning and headed up to the Lemon Reservoir area (not far from Collin's home) to spend the day.  As I bid them farewell I also reminded them to get home with plenty of daylight to be able to put all of the gear away and clean the truck, leaving it better than they had found it.

To say they were excited is a bit of an understatement.  They drove out towing the snowmobile trailer with huge grins on their faces.  I didn't hear from them until late that afternoon.  Gabe walked in the house looking very tired and somewhat subdued.  I quickly asked if everyone was all right and he assured me they were all fine, just tired.  He told me that the trailer had blown out a tire.  And then blown out the spare.  Also, the front ski on his sled had broken off (a major problem) and they had taken a long time to get it down off the mountain.  Snowmobiling is a tiring activity even under the best circumstances, but when you have broken machines, it quickly becomes exhausting. It was easy to see that Gabe was completely worn out.  The boys had managed to successfully load up the sleds onto the crippled trailer, then they just left it there and come home.

Gabe was somewhat surprised when, after consulting with John, he was told that the sleds needed to be retrieved before nightfall.  John had simply told him that we could not leave them there and Gabe & Seth would have to figure out how to get them down.  They called Collins dad to help but (surprise!) he was at work on a Monday.  They ended up enlisting the help of a fourth friend as they literally had to have more muscle to help them lift the broken sled.

Exhausted, the boys got back into the truck and went to pick up their friends and retrieve the sleds.  (This made me grateful for the good friends that are in my boy's lives.) They borrowed a 2 place trailer from Collin and figured they could put the 3rd in the truck bed.  It wasn't too bad loading the good snowmobiles, but unloading and reloading the broken 500lb machine was a very difficult task.  They eventually managed to get all of the machines loaded, and they dropped the borrowed trailer with the two sleds at Collins house and headed home around 9:30.  Our empty trailer with the flat tire is still up at Lemon, but it will have to wait until we can fix the tires.

I am sure that all of those boys slept well after their long day.  I know that Gabe and Seth were surprised when we told them they had to go back up the mountain to retrieve the snowmobiles.  When it all happened, part of me wanted to solve it all for them, but I didn't do anything except express my confidence in their ability to get it done.  John is always around at times like this to fix things, but he was too far away to help them now.  And wouldn't you know it?  They figured out a way to get it taken care of!  And, yes, it was hard for them.  But they did it.  Earth moving? Life changing?  Maybe not.  They didn't choose to have the snowmobile break, but sometimes there are unexpected hardships in life.    Sometimes things don't go as planned.  Will this kind of thing happen again?  Ya, probably.  I am glad I let them skip school today so they could learn this lesson.

Resting on Collins Sled to get
Down the Mountain
Broken A-Arm

Pretty Clever way to drive it out

Friday, February 8, 2013

A New Board

For the last 2 years I have served as the Secretary of our county's Republican Party.  It has been a great education and I have gotten to meet some really great people in our community.  I had the chance to go to the State Convention, then on to the National Convention.  Both were fantastic experiences.    My involvement in politics has been such a growing experience for me.  I have had to evaluate my own beliefs and feelings about things.  I have also had to learn to 'agree to disagree' about many things.

Last night a new Executive Board was elected.

So I am done.

I typed up my last set of minutes, forwarded needed paperwork, and that's it.   I hope to keep informed, but for now, I have decided that the most important thing I can do to change the world is to have a solid family and politics has occasionally taken time away from them.  When I got involved 2 or 3 years ago, my life was a much different pace. But now, with John traveling, Kristine needing our attention, Seminary every day, and my 5 kids getting older every day, this is a welcomed change.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Jebb's Volcano

Jebb has been learning about weather at school.  He wanted to build a special project and take it to class, even though it was not an assignment.  He brought home this diagram:
He told me he copied it out of a book and it was directions on how to make a volcano with just newspaper, flour, and a straw.  We didn't have any newspaper, so he taped together several sheets of printer paper.  He then had John help him form the cone shape that would be the volcano.  He found a straw somewhere (water bottle?) and inserted it where he wanted it.  

I helped him scoop in the flour and we gave it a test.  The 'eruption' happens when you blow into the straw at the bottom, forcing flour to puff out the top.

It was a success!  I put some flour in a baggie so he could take his project to school and show his class. Luckily, I snapped a quick pic this morning right before he got on the bus of how it will work.  Jebb was really resourceful and gathered all of his own materials to execute a plan he found.  Way to go Jebb! I bet Aunt Keryn will be impressed (she is our volcano expert in the family)!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Boys Night

For many years John has participated in the City Rec League basketball.  It is a bunch of old guy teams that battle it out on Thusday nights for the glory of the win.  This year John sponsored a team and got to put Gabe and Seth on the roster.  So far they have played several times at 9:15pm and I haven't been able to go and watch.  Last night was their most recent game and one of our dear friends was there cheering on their team. She sent me this picture in a text with the caption "Such a family moment!"

I love it!  And the best thing is that John, Gabe, and Seth all love it too!

These are the days.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thinking About Technology

I have been concerned lately about the big distraction that technology can be.  I have seen it with my seminary students, with my kids, and with myself. This Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting and I thought it was an especially spiritual meeting. We have a newly converted family that has many children, and several of them came up and spoke about the fact that Jesus saved their family and brought it back together. I actually got up and shared an idea that their testimonies prompted in me. I thought of John 15:13 which says:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
The seminary manual suggested that the Greek translation could replace 'lay down' with 'set aside'.  I expressed my respect for the new members in our ward that reminded me how much love and courage it must take to set aside an old life and take up a new one as a disciple of Christ.  I expressed my gratitude that both of my parents had loved their family enough to set aside their lives and raise my siblings and I in the gospel.

There were several other really heartfelt testimonies of the Savior's love for us and the Spirit was the kind that you hope your kids are feeling and soaking in. I looked over at my big boys and much to my disappointment saw that one of them was playing a mindless game on his phone. I was really bummed when, while discussing it later with John, he said that he had challenged them specifically that meeting to put away their phones.

Now I can't complain too much because I (too often) miss out on the little things in life because I am reading political opinions on my iPad. I decided we might all benefit by watching the Mormon Message by Elder Bednar called Things as They Really Are for FHE.  It presents 2 questions to consider when using technology. 1-Does it invite or impede the Holy Ghost? And 2-Does it enlarge or Restrict your capacity to live, to love, and to serve?  When I asked myself these questions, it was easy to see I had much room for improvement.  By expressing this to my family, it prompted a great discussion where the older kids seemed to thoughtfully consider these principles.  We encouraged the kids to seek personal revelation, and to be still often enough and long enough to receive it (we looked in Joseph Smith History for some clues on this).  I have had a few challenges with technology in Seminary myself (and I am not just talking about that mini projector mishap) and know that I need to do better so I can invite my students to do the same.

It was a thought provoking night for me and I told Seth that I planned to not check my phone, or listen to the news in the time before seminary (I have a bad habit of turning to the news as I drive into town) and asked him to help me stick with it, as he now drives me in each morning (drivers permit practice).  It all got me thinking about having inspiring music, and before bed, I was on iTunes listening to multiple versions of Bach's Air on the G String. I must have listened to it 10 times- it never gets old to me.  I didn't decide on anything to download, but I certainly resolved to be more aware of my use of technology.

Well, new days come, and feelings of resolve sometimes fade. While I didn't check my iPad for news before school, I found myself alone in the car as I drove into town (Seth came later with Gabe) and I looked at the button on my radio. I reached for the news button, and I am embarrassed to admit it was really tempting for me to just listen in for the 12 minutes I would be in the car.  But I thought back to our lesson and I left it off. I was proud of myself ;). About 3 minutes from class, I decided to go ahead and turn it on, but I selected the classical station. I flipped it on just as 'Air on the G String' began to play. I savored it until I pulled into the seminary building, where it perfectly timed out to finish as I shifted into Park.

I know to some it would seem like a coincidence, but to me it was a true Tender Mercy, an idea also taught by Elder Bednar.  It was a confirmation to me that I too need to have quiet time so that I can feel and hear the promptings of the Spirit.  A good lesson not just for the big kids, but obviously one that i need to learn better. I am grateful that the Lord is patient with us.  I know that technology can be really helpful, but I need to remember that there are times when I need to be still. Now if I can somehow get my kids and all of the Seminary students on board too!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Geeking Out

Every winter there is a weeklong festivity in our town refered to as Snowdown.  There are events, socials, dances, competitions, performances, and general revelry all over town.  The theme this year was 'Get Your Geek On' and many horn rimmed glassed and suspenders were seen around town. Most of the events have a definite adult flavor, but there are many things that we enjoy as a family.

The High School this year had Winter Week with dress up days and sporting competitions that Gabe and Seth participated in. There was a volleyball tournament that had teams from each grade as well as a few that blurred class lines.  The finals came down to Gabe's team against Seth's team.  I was pleasantly surprised when Seth and the Freshman took it all. Seth was quite the player at the net! :)
Seth at the net!

Gabe sets with his long white arms ;)

2nd Place

Frosh Champs!
There was a parade that the big kids took the little kids to.  It is at night and features lighted floats and hot air balloon flames that warm the crowd.  Jebb wants to dress like a Geek for school everyday now after putting together his own ensemble for the parade.  And Seth along with a few of his friends won the 3 on 3 basketball tournament for their age group.
Jebb finds his inner Geek

Winners of the 3 on 3
It is a fun celebration in the winter and I am glad my kids all got to enjoy Snowdown this year.

First Flight

John has decided to get his pilot's license.  This was his first flight from SLC to Durango.

Mixed feelings on this one.  I am excited that he will be able to commute faster.  I am not excited about the risk of small planes.  John has participated in plenty of risky things, and I always remind him that he has severely overworked the Guardian Angel assigned to look over him.   I will continue to cling to what Joseph Fielding Smith taught: "No righteous man is ever taken before his time." ;)