Saturday, November 27, 2010

XYZ

I must admit I have had a difficult time thinking of what I am thankful for that begin with the last three letters of the alphabet. I'm sure if I really took the time, I would successfully find something, but...

I have been having such a wonderful time at home that I've not spent a lot of time thinking about anything except family, thanksgiving dinner and home. It's been a lovely week surrounded by everything and everyone that bring me true joy...

This week has been one of true Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 22, 2010

W

Water - I do believe it's my primary "element," complemented by Fire, which is why I am at such peace when I am in warm sunshine near a body of water. I absolutely love oceans, rivers, lakes and of course swimming pools!

World Wide Web (WWW) - it has opened up the world to me! I can't imagine (or remember) life without the internet. When used properly the internet is a powerful tool for good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

V

Vacation! I have the greatest job, really. I work with a top-notch group of people, all working towards a very positive goal - educating children. And I am very thankful for my job. However, I am also very grateful for Vacations. Our school is closed for the week of Thanksgiving, which gives me the entire week to relish in the blessing of my home and family. I'm so grateful to have a full week to enjoy it all!

Vision. I'm grateful that I have always had the ability to see - literally and figuratively. My eye sight has been something I have taken for granted, until about 10 years ago when I discovered the blessing of reading glasses! I am also grateful for the ability to "see" things figuratively. I love to discover the symbolism in literature and life and then see how I can apply it in life lessons. It makes everything so much richer.

Ummm

Umbrellas - 'nuf said.

My Dad's Ukulele - many fun memories of singing as a family with Dad accompanying us on his ukulele "Oh, when the Saints come marching in...!"

I must admit to "stealing" this one from my friend Sue:
The United States of America! Is there any greater feeling that watching our beautiful flag being Unfurled while the National Anthem is being played? I love this country, I'm grateful for it's goodness. I am also very proud to have two sons who have volunteered to defend it. (Thanks Sue for reminding me!)


T

Travis - a wonderful son, brother and friend. He is also a very handsome army pilot. I love him!

Temples - The House of the Lord. In them covenants are made and eternal connections are forged. I am thankful for the blessings of the Temple.

My Testimony - while it is far from perfect, my Testimony in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation keeps me grounded and gives me hope.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shhhh

Shelby. Shelby writes. Shelby writes on her blog when she is not heavily burdened with school work. Shelby is in college. Shelby is cute and a lot of fun too.

Sleep. I am so grateful when I have had a good night's sleep and I wake refreshed in the morning. Oh, I think I'm feeling a little sleepy now!

R

Rivers - running water, really. I really, really love the Mississippi River (I like spelling Mississippi, too!) Rivers bring peace to my soul.

Rain (is there a theme here today?). I love the rain. I would take the rain over snow ANY day. I especially like what the world looks like after a really good rain. I used to love thunderstorms that brought rain except now my dog freaks out and destroys my house, so I dread the storms. But bring on the rain!


Q

Quite, quiet, quit! I'm too tired to think of a "Q" something I'm thankful for.
Moving on....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

P

Prophets to guide us in these latterdays. Oh, that reality is wonderful, wonderful to me!

Promises the Lord and I have made with each other. They keep me focused on moving down the path that will bring the greatest joy and peace in my life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

O is for...food?

Olives - all kinds! I love olives. When I was little I would put olives on each of my fingers and eat them one at a time, my kids used to do the same thing!

Omelets - the ultimate breakfast food for me. I love them soft, stuffed with vegetables and melted cheeses! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Oranges - nothing is quite as good as a juicy, sweet orange. I especially like the Clementines because they are easy and fast to peel and I can eat a lot of them!

Ovens - it's so nice push a button and voila there is heat. Even with the ease of modern appliances, I still have a hard time getting inspired to actually cook something - can you imagine if I had to think far enough ahead to start a fire, or keep it going? I love my electric oven, the delayed start and the timer!


N

Nights to sleep. I don't especially like the dark, so I could never live in Alaska during the winters. But, come nighttime I am grateful to be able to wind down from a busy day and (hopefully) settle in for a nice long rest.

November - the starting gate for the holidays. I love it!

Numbers - as in data. I am discovering I am a data geek. Part of my work involves gathering, compiling and then analyzing numbers and I love it. It's like being a detective, figuring out the whats, the whys and the what ifs of it all. I already admitted to being a geek, so don't bother pointing that out!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mmmmmmmmm......

Marriage - to the right person, in the right place, by the right authority, at the right time! It's my hope that each of my children are blessed with eternal companions who are committed to them come what may and with whom they can enjoy the vast experiences of mortality.

Melissa - loves Math! Melissa makes me smile. She's thoughtful and cute and fun and single too! If you know anyone worthy of her, please leave a comment with contact information! :)

Men - not merely the gender, but when a man acts like a Real Man. I am fortunate to have been surrounded by good examples of men my entire life. I'm especially grateful to have married a wonderful Man who loves me and is committed to me and our family!

Modern Medicine - my life and the life of many of those whom I love have been impacted by the blessing of Modern Medicine.

Mortality - what a ride! We never know when our experience on earth will be over, so it's important to make the most of it while we can!

Friday, November 12, 2010

L

Laura - she's talented, smart and adorable (that one's for you Laura!) She is also a great daughter, sister and friend. But, beyond all that, she is a stellar example of all that is most important in this life. She's also my baby girl! Love ya, Laura!

Lemons & Limes and the thirst-quenching drinks they can produce on a hot summer day!

LPA - I'm grateful they took a chance on me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

K, I'm grateful for...

KAUAI - If you've been there you understand why it is at the top of my "K" list. If you've never been there, let me give you a peek:




Knives are also on my list today, can you imagine slicing into this with anything else?



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just a Few J's I'm Grateful For

Jesus Christ has made possible all the highs and made bearable all the lows of my life. I am forever indebted to Him. I hope my life reflects at least a tiny particle of His goodness as I try to follow His example.

Justin – Cait’s fiancĂ© and my son. I know she has already made him very happy, I hope he will always take good care of her. He will be a good husband if he follows the example of his own Dad.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans – most any flavor except coffee or chocolate

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Letter I

I

Ice – the kind you put in drinks to make them cold, not the kind you find on the streets and sidewalks during the winter. It’s Ironic that this was on my list today, as I woke up to find snow falling - I hate winter ice!

Ice Cream – preferably with chocolate and/or nuts.

Islands – visited a couple, anxious to enjoy more (especially now as winter is knocking on the door!)

Indian cuisine

Monday, November 8, 2010

Homage to "H"

H

My Heart has served me well these last 52 years, asking little in return. Hopefully it will continue to beat without me even having to think about it for many, many more years.

A Handsome Husband – that would be spelled D.A.V.E. Looking more and more distinguished with every passing year. Speaking of passing years - Happy Birthday (today) to my Dave.

Hair – I should stop complaining about my hair, for I’m sure I look much better with what I have than I would without!

Heros – the everyday variety, you know the unsung ones. I’m thinking specifically of my children who have each worn the SuperHero patch quietly on their chests at one or more times in their lives.

My Home. It’s not huge and it’s not fancy, but it truly is one of my most favorite places to be!

And last, but certainly not least,

Hugs!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

G

G
Gardens filled with Gerber daisies and other gorgeous gems,
Gloves to keep my hands warm, as winter settles in.
Grass - freshly cut - signals time to put my gloves away!
Garlic & Ginger used regularly help keep disease at bay.
Whole Grains in breads and cereals are a great addition to my day.
The Gym is somewhere I should be after all that Grain I love.
And have you studied the Galaxy?
It's a Gift from God above.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

A,B,Cs of Gratitude

So, my friend started this "challenge" . I thought it was a great idea, but have a little catching up to do. Seems like I'm always trying to catch up with her when it comes to letters! Unfortunately, I won't have the fancy fonts like her, but I also do not have my own fancy website!

A
Ashley - my oldest daughter. She is also heavy into Apples (computers, that is!) another thing I am grateful for!
And, I can't help but copy Sue on this one, but I also am grateful for the Atonement and the marvelous blessing it is in my life.

B
The family that made me The Mama B! I married into a wonderful family!
Blogs and Blogger Friends!

C
Cait - she's joining our family soon! She's an answer to our prayers! Hopefully she can put up with us!! We can be a little Crazy... my second "C" - I LOVE my CRAZY kids.
And one more "C" for which I am very grateful...Clothing - need I say more? :)

D
The letter D rhymes with three, so I have three things to be grateful for!
Dave - my best friend, a great man in so many ways. I'm so glad he is stuck with me forever!
Dads - especially, mine! Dad, just in case you are reading this... I love you!
Dogs - I complain about their messes a lot, but I can't seem to get away from them!

E
An Eternal perspective - softens the edges of the mortal experience
English literature - Austin, Bronte and Dickens are some of my favorite authors!

I invite you to join me on this quest! It's a great exercise and it's not too late to start!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Character

Recently a friend posed the question, “What defines a lovely character?” In my pondering I started googling and found the following on appleseeds.org:

The world needs men and women. . .

who cannot be bought;

whose word is their bond;

who put character above wealth;

who possess opinions and a strong will;

who are larger than their vocations;

who do not hesitate to take risks;

who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;

who will be as honest in small affairs as in greater;

who will make no compromise with wrong;

whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;

who will not say they do it "because everybody else does it;"

who are true to their friends through good and bad,
in adversity as well as in prosperity;

who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning,
and hardheadedness are the best qualities
for winning success;

who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth
when it is unpopular;

who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest
of the world says "yes."
Unknown


Sounds like a good measuring stick of character to me, the Mama B.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Standing Firm


I love this picture.

Lighthouse in the Storm - La Jument II

A lighthouse standing strong against the storm. Can you see the tiny white speck in the front of the lighthouse, near the bottom? If you could zoom in you would see a man standing at the door. It's hard to believe a man could be standing there, the strength of the ocean ready to overpower it all. But he does stand, firm against great odds.

Occasionally we see examples in our own lives of people who are standing against forces just as powerful and seemingly overwhelming as the storming ocean in the picture. One such man has made a stand against a very loud force in our world today.

Elder Boyd K. Packer, in the October 2010 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints gave a speech entitled Cleansing the Inner Vessel. There has been a huge uproar regarding these remarks by a very loud minority. They have taken offense because there is no room in his remarks for their actions to be justified. President Packer has taken a stand. He is like that man standing alone on the lighthouse with the stormy seas swirling around him.

His comments were not rude, unkind or hateful. He spoke the truth and there are those who take the truth hard. He cannot simply say things that make everyone feel good. If anything, his remarks and the response of "the world" strengthen my testimony that he truly is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He can stand strong because he does not stand alone. He has the strength of the Lord supporting him - like the lighthouse in the picture.

He is my hero. I hope I would have the courage to get up in front of the world and tell it like it is, not mincing words and then be able to take the heat like he is, if needed. I'm grateful for examples like Elder Packer to show me how its done.

Love,
The Mama B







Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lines

I have been thinking a lot about lines.

Not about lines of people at the grocery store


or lines found painted in the streets.


The lines I have been thinking about are more metaphoric in nature. They are not obvious. You can't see them, but they're still there and through our choices we decide if we allow them to affect us or not.

Some lines are negative. There may be lines we use as barriers to our growth or future opportunities, viewing them as limits we may be afraid to cross.

Other lines can be very positive, such as goals to reach towards


or standards we will not cross.

It is about the lines-of-standards-that-are-so-important-to-us-that-we-will-not-cross-them that I have been pondering on lately.

There are many who would say I am wrong - that any line so solid as to be deemed un-crossable is not good. They view laying down such firm lines as divisive and uncaring. They may believe that to take such a hard stand is Un-Christlike and uncharitable. Many (wrongly) believe it's best to take a moderate stand, to sit on the line rather than making the decision to stand on either side of it. To do so, especially on some important issues, is to mock Him who has drawn the lines and who gave us all the right to choose in the first place.

To take a stand on one or the other side of the line takes courage.

Once you decide to get off the fence of moderation, you will undoubtedly offend many who find themselves on the opposite side of wherever you end up. But it doesn't mean that taking that stand was wrong. There are some issues so important they require us to choose where we stand.

It is also important to understand why we made our choice. Choosing to take a stand just because everyone else has, does not provide us with the needed strength to hold our ground in the face of opposition. We must find the convictions that grow strong roots.

No matter what side of the line we choose, it is imperative that we always respect man's god-given right to choose. We can try and persuade, but we must never force others to cross over to our side of the line. We must never bully or persecute anyone in anyway for choosing differently than we do.

And, while every human being deserves to be treated fairly and with respect, it is essential to understand that respecting another's choice does not translate into acceptance of that choice.

I challenge all of us to determine where we stand and then do so with courage and respect.

With Love,
The Mama B





Saturday, September 18, 2010

Life...How Do I Love Thee?

In anticipation of my birthday tomorrow, I have counted 52 things I love about my wonderful life so far:

1. Health, 2. Home, 3. A Husband who Loves Me, 4. Ashley, 5. Justin, 6. Melissa, 7. Travis, 8. Shelby, 9. Laura, 10. Mom & Dad, 11. Glenn & Geraldine, 12. Gospel, 13. Brothers, 14. Sisters, 15. Good Friends, 16. Patient People 17. Experiencing Pregnancy & Childbirth, 18. Running Water, 19. Serving in the Church, 20. Our Creek, 21. Electricity 22. Dave's Salsa, 23. Massages, 24. Pedicures, 25. Facials, 26. Exercise, 27. Steam Rooms, 28. Sunny Days, 29. Laughter, 30. My Bed, 31. Having Someone to Share My Bed With, 32. A Good Night's Sleep, 33. Books to Read, 34. Plenty of Food to Eat, 35. Flowers, in All Their Varieties, 36. Learning New Things, 37. A Clean House, 38. Clean Laundry, 39. Oceans, 40. A Great Job, 41. A Dependable Car, 42. Inspiring People, Places and Things, 43. Good Movies, 44. Some Amazing Vacations 45, Clothes to Wear, 46. Dark Chocolate, 47. Eternal Families, 48. Homegrown Tomatoes, 49. My Down Comforter, 50. Shampoo, 51. Freedom, 52. Internet.

52 ways. One for each year of this amazing journey of life I call "Mine".

We are each given a finite number of years in mortality. Appreciate them, make the most of them, don't waste them.

I love you.

Mama B



Saturday, August 28, 2010

Breadth vs Depth


I have
spent many hours this week interviewing potential candidates as we seek to fill a drama/musical theater teaching position at our school.

One constant theme kept coming to mind as I visited with each of these candidates - You may have a passion for something and you may have talent, but that doesn't guarantee you can make a career out of it.

Each of our candidates had a college degree. Several had advanced degrees. One candidate had a plethora of degrees as a result of his fascination with education! Everyone of them had experience in some aspect of theatre (acting, tech, film, dance, radio, etc...).

So they had a college education and experience, what's the problem?

Most of them had degrees and experiences that were too narrowly focused, especially in a tight economy.

Your degree and experience must have enough
breadth and depth to "fit" a number of opportunities. Becoming an expert in one tiny area may indicate you are well educated, but are you easily employable? On the other hand, collecting degrees like someone collects postage stamps is not a good idea either.

Striking the balance of combining what you love doing and are good at with a degree you can actually get work with is an important part of deciding upon a major. And combining your undergraduate degree with an MBA would definitely not hurt your future options.

Just sayin.

Love,
The Mama B

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Forgive, if ye have ought against any..."

As I was going out to water the garden today I heard a little voice reminding me that we must forgive everyone.

Even little doggies who do things like this:


Extending a forgiving heart to someone who has offended us is difficult; often it seems the least logical thing to do.

There are so many ways to justify our anger, disappointment and hurt. However, when we don't forgive others we only hurt ourselves. Our hearts are filled with darkness, our spirits feel heavy. Ultimately, it is we who suffer. (see Mark 11:25-26)

I don't believe the Lord is requiring us to be a proverbial "doormat" that people (or dogs) walk all over. We have been blessed with the ability to reason and make adjustments in our lives that help us avoid situations where we are being abused. But when offense does come, and it will, the Lord expects us to deal with it, learn from it, forgive and move forward.

I choose to feel peace and light in my life.

I hope you do to.

Love,
The Mama B

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cobblestones of Virtue

I had the privilege of teaching the Young Women this week. My lesson was based on this talk by Elaine Dalton - A Return to Virtue.

I reminded the girls that our main goal in life should be to receive the blessings of the temple, and that the path to the Temple is one "paved" with "Cobblestones of Virtue".

Did you know that paving with cobblestone is the best way to ensure a road will last over time? Anciently, roads made from cobblestones did not wear down from heavy use; they prevented the build up ruts often found in dirt roads and they did not get muddy in wet weather or dusty in dry weather. So, "paving" our life's path with Cobblestones of Virtue sounds like a wise idea.

We discussed different ways we pave our paths with Cobblestones of Virtue, using the scriptures found in Sister Dalton's talk as well as some basic ideas such as scripture study, serving others, attending our meetings, magnifying our callings, daily prayer, seminary, personal progress, living the standards in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, etc...

Eventually, cobblestones lost their popularity as easier and cheaper options (asphalt) became available; however, asphalt cracks and erodes from heavy traffic.
Paving our life's path with Cobblestones of Virtue is not the easiest or the most popular way, but it is still the best way.

I promised the girls that as they lived a life of virtue, their path would be sure and that one day they would receive the blessings and ordinances of the temple. I extend that same promise to you and hope you choose the right way, even when it seems old-fashioned, difficult, or unpopular.

The right way is always the best way.

Remember this when you remember me.

The Mama B



Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh, Be Wise...

Sometimes...
  • bad things happen to good people
Occasionally...
  • good people do bad things
Every now and then...
  • people do stupid things without getting caught
Eventually...
  • most people get "caught" when they choose to do stupid things
Sometimes...
  • you can play with "fire"
Frequently...
  • the "fire" wins
My sister told me the father of her grandson overdosed on drugs this past weekend. He died. He was 25 years old. He was from a good family. He was a returned missionary. He was a good-hearted person. He was a loving father. Somewhere along the way he made some stupid choices and kept making them until they eventually killed him. He is gone. His son has lost his father. His father has lost his son. A family is shattered, now trying to make sense of it all.

Remember, every choice has a consequence.

Good consequences are those which we seek.

Be Wise in the choices you make.


I love you,
Mama B


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paying the Price


Last night I took some of the Young Women on a hike to Ensign Peak. The internet assured me it was an easy hike, appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. I approached the activity with confidence that it would be a positive experience for us all.

Glancing towards the ridge we were going to ascend, I wondered if we had been fooled by an over-zealous reviewer of this supposedly easy trail. Our goal looked even more ominous at the trailhead, but, while ignoring the murmurs of some of the girls, we moved forward with a determination to get to the top!

My body (and spirit) responded to the challenge in positive ways. I felt invigorated as the trail required more and more from me. Eventually, we did reach the summit and enjoyed breath-taking views and cooling breezes.

A view from the trail

The hard work to get to the top was so worth it. Every one of us made the goal. WE ALL SUCCEEDED at what we had started out to accomplish! Each of us got to the top. Each of us enjoyed the the views and the breezes. It didn't matter that some of us got to the top sooner or easier than others. It didn't matter that some of us made the journey with smiles and positive attitudes while others needed a little more love and encouragement. We all made it to the top because we were all willing to Pay the Price to get there.

Life is so like that! The prize is promised to anyone willing to Pay the Price - to make the sacrifices, to exercise the discipline to do what needs to be done, to choose the right, to bless the lives of others, to be kind and loving and all that good stuff. We each have to make our own journey at our own pace. I can't make it for you and you can't make it for me. The attitudes we choose determine if the journey will be happy or not, or if we are invigorated by the challenges we face or not. But, regardless of how we choose to make the journey, sticking to the path and following the guideposts along the way - Paying the Price - assures us all eventual success!

Remember this, when you remember me.


Momma B

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lessons Learned from Grandpa Merrell

A preface to any reader - My dad has cancer.  He had cancer a couple of years ago - pancreatic cancer.  He was miraculously cured.  It was a miracle because people just don't survive pancreatic cancer.  He was cancer free.  No sign of cancer.  Until this past spring, in a routine scan they found two spots on his lungs.  He is now on his second round of chemo. He is tired.  But he doesn't complain.  He doesn't let on that he is in pain or that things are bad.  But, he is, they are.  This is a letter to my children.

The point of this post is to let you know what a great man your Grandpa Merrell is.  If I can think of one word to describe him it would be generous.  He is generous with his time.  He is generous with his money (which he has very little of).  He is generous with his service.

Many years ago our family had part ownership in a couple of waterbed stores in California, when waterbeds were cool.  I sold the beds and Dad delivered them.  I remember he would do anything for a customer.  If they needed the bed set up that day, he would do it.  It was easy to sell beds because of the great customer service Chuck would provide.

When I was at BYU I knew I could call home anytime and he would send me money.  I was at the Western Union office picking up money orders so frequently, the guy who worked there eventually asked me out on a date.  My first experience at skiing - at night - Disaster!  But, I digress!  If I needed money Dad would send it.  I'm sure I abused his generosity as only children can, but he never complained.  Looking back I am certain it was a hardship on them.

Dad has always been ready to serve - anyone.  He has a happy, willing heart.  I'm grateful for his example.  

His positive attitude - even now as he is so seriously ill - has always been an inspiration to me.  I remember one time I was with a bunch of my friends.  I don't remember the details, we were on an outing and things weren't going well. Everyone else was complaining and whining.  I offered a positive outlook and one of my friends said, "You were just like your Dad just then."  I don't know why that one particular experience has stuck with me.  Maybe it was because I wanted to be like him so much.  

Dad comes from great, hard-working, simple Arizona stock.  I have always loved the heritage I can claim from his side of the family.  I wish you could have known his parents, his brothers and his sisters.  They were amazing people - just like your Grandpa.  

I would challenge each of you to spend what time you can with him while he is still here with us.  It's easy to get busy with our lives and I know we will see him again one day.  But, you can learn great things from him NOW.  You can learn to be generous from him NOW.  You can learn to work hard and be positive from him NOW.

He would love it.  I'm certain you would too.

I love you. 
Mom 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The "Why"

Today at church I received a prompting to create a blog for the benefit of my children. My children are, for the most part, grown (ages 26-16) and so my blog will not be about the cute little things they do, like so many delightful "mommy blogs" are. Instead, this blog will be filled with letters of wisdom, counsel and encouragement from me (the mom) to them (my children).


For the time being I will keep this blog open and public (I don't think anyone reads these things anyway!).  I feel the need to write to my children; however,if someone else can glean something from the things I share, great! Eventually, all of this wisdom will be bound into a book and cherished for generations - I'm sure of it!  So, with that introduction - let's let the fun begin!