Monday, May 18, 2009

End of the Semester!

Today is a thrilling day for me! I have really worked hard this semester, especially the last few weeks, but today is my last final. I am tired and ready for a break! It feels especially good to be finished with my last essay, a ten page research paper. I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. I'm a little disappointed because I was planning to go out to dinner with a friend tonight to celebrate both of our birthdays, but she is sick, so we have to reschedule. I'm hoping to run away this weekend - even play hookey from church - and go camping with my wonderful kids or something like that. After a little break, I have a lot of things to do that have put on hold and have been waiting for my attention. I'll have about 4 weeks to "catch up" before my summer class begins. Have a great summer everyone!

Monday, May 11, 2009


There are many ways of getting someone to do something. For me, manipulation is probably the worst one. I've lived with manipulation for many years and can spot it a mile away. As soon as I see it, I dig in my heels and maintain the opposite position no matter what it takes. I really resent someone trying to force me to do something, especially when they are trying to do it without me realizing it. It seems really disrespectful. It totally disregards my thoughts and feelings in favor of yours. If you respected me you would come right out and ask me. Then I have the choice to say yes or no, and we both have the opportunity to discuss why it is important, or what the consequences may be. I'm naturally pretty easy-going and helpful, but I guess that is when there is mutual respect. If I wouldn't mind doing it, no problem, it gets done. If try to manipulate, it won't get done. If it is something that I wouldn't want to do, you have a much better chance of getting me to do it if you are open, honest, and direct. Otherwise, you can just do it yourself.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Video games

This weekend I just needed to decompress. Last week was really stressful, studying 24-7. So, I did some homework, but mostly I got distracted playing mindless video games. It was probably what I needed, but it bugs me because it feels like it was a big waste of time. I think that there were probably much more productive and effective ways to unwind. I wish I'd taken the time to find them. I need to make sure that I unwind more effectively and frequently so that I can avoid a total mental shutdown.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More school

With the end of the semester approaching, I've been looking forward, trying to plan my future school schedule. My goal is to get into the Occupational Therapy program at Sac City College. They take applications in the fall and the program begins in the Spring. I've been thinking that I could get my GE done and put in my application this fall (Fall '09). After this semester I'm rethinking my plan. In order to apply this fall I would have to take 6 units this summer and then 12 units this fall. Maybe that's no big deal for some of you, but I know that would be really stressful for me - mentally, socially, emotionally, and financially. It's looking like a much better idea to take fewer classes and go an extra year. It would enable me to work more hours which would ease the financial stress. It would also ease the homework load which would ease the mental stress and allow more time for a social life, which would all ease the emotional stress. I believe that I could finish by this fall, but at what cost? It seems that a one year delay would not be too much to sacrifice for personal sanity and well-being.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Seeing the best in people

Usually I'm a pretty easy-going type of person. I have an amiable personality and, except for a very limited number of cases, give people the benefit of the doubt and see what's good about them. Lately, I hate to admit, I've been really struggling with two particular people. Everytime I'm around them, all I can see is their faults. Sometimes my mind is bombarded with negative thoughts about them even when they aren't around. Grumble grumble grumble. I really hate it. I don't want to be that way. It isn't Christian, it doesn't really bother them at all, and it really isn't an effective way to be a happy, positive person. I've really tried to forgive and let go, but I haven't been able to figure out how. So I've been doing a lot of pondering and praying. Last week I got an answer. It was one of those times that I knew that it was not my own thought, but was inspiration given to me because I asked and had been striving for it. My epiphany, once realized, was pretty obvious and simple, unless you're an imperfect human being. The answer was to look at these people as if they were my children. Now, unless you're a parent (a good one - there are not-so-good self-centered parents out there) you can only begin to guess how much one person can unconditionally love another (spouses can come really close, but parenthood is different). I can look at my children, and even though I know their faults, weaknesses and the mistakes that they've made what I see is what is great about them. I know their true character and who they're striving to become, and because I love them what I want for them is their success. I want them to learn and grow and overcome their weaknesses and become that truly great person they have the potential to be - and I would do anything I could to help them to achieve that. It's also how I want my children to see each other. It now seems like a no-brainer that that is how God sees us, his children, and that is how he wants us to see and treat each other.
Now come the more difficult part - proving myself ... by actually putting this new perspective into practice - not just when I'm alone, but when I have the "opportunity" to interact with these particular people. I know it's the right thing to do, so I know that God will help me, too, to overcome my weaknesses.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Great Weekend

What a great weekend! On Friday night I went to see the movie "Monsters vs Aliens" with 5 of my kids. We watched it in 3D. I thought it was a really fun movie. There was no great moral or great purpose for it, but it was really entertaining. One really strange thing was that throughout the movie there was one character that I kept thinking that I knew - it was someone that I knew. Finally, as my kids and I were talking after the movie, I figured out who it was. It was amazing, because even though the character was a reptile, it looked and acted so much like my son's friend, John, that I would swear that the movie writer must have known John and based the character on him. Then we all wore our 3D glasses to the store and got some ice cream. We ate it together at my son's house, while we watched a Bali-wood movie called "Salameishk" (I'm not sure of that spelling). The next night I went with my youngest son to my daughter and son-in-law's house for dinner, movie, and a sleep-over. Tonight I get to hang out and go bowling with another son. Yeah, for family and for spring break!

Monday, March 30, 2009


I love being out in nature. Sometimes I get so busy with homework, housework, etc. that I literally CRAVE time outside in nature. I love to be outside at night, just laying on the grass looking at the stars. There is something totally soothing and grounding about it. I think that it is a great way to put life into perspective. I'm really glad that I live in the boonies so that there is very little light pollution. One of my big dreams is to someday have a special room in my house where I can go "outside" at night to look at the stars - in the winter - without freezing! I haven't quite figured out the best way to do that yet. I guess as I get closer to being able to afford it I'll study it out some more.
I'm looking forward to spending some time outside during spring break. Maybe I'll grab my youngest son and go camping for a night or two. Camping is one of my favorite pasttimes. As a child we used to go camping on a regular basis - and not the fake camping using a motorhome, but real tent camping. It was sometimes quite an adventure as the weather in Illinois is not quite as predictable as it is here in California. Last summer I stole away to Lake Tahoe with a couple of my kids and had a great time hiking, swimming, and canoeing. We discovered the absolute best way to make smores! I used to like to eat everything separately because otherwise the graham cracker and chocolate would crumble to pieces. This time, I put the chocolate on the graham cracker and then set it on the grill above and to the side of the fire. After cooking the perfect marshmallow, I added it to the top of the now softened graham cracker and semi-melted chocolate. Whoo-ee, was it good. In case you want to know how to roast the perfect marshmallow, my dad taught me, so I'll clue you in. First get a good, long roasting stick so you don't have to burn your arm and face in the heat. Second, hold your marshmallow over coals, not fire. Watch closely, and when the marshmallow starts to smoke, start turning it slowly until the whole marshmallow is a puffy toasty golden-brown! Yum, yum. My dad is a great teacher.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I just noticed that I have a new follower! See that handsome fellow with his bride - that's my eldest son! (Dude is his my nickname for him.) Welcome, welcome!


I love music. It's a huge part of my life. I love listening to it, playing it, singing it, and dancing to it. I also collect music boxes. Music was a big part of my childhood. I used to go to sleep at night listening to my dad play the piano. I think I learned to sing at church during the weekly children's meeting, and also at school (back in the "dark ages" there actually were regular music classes in elementary school). I really enjoyed it. My mom has a terrific voice and we used to sing as we washed the dishes together - it made dishes almost bearable. We also used to sing in the car during long trip to see grandma. My dad also used to take us to hear the local symphony orchestra when they had dress rehearsals. When I had the opportunity (in school), I learned to play the cello and my dad taught me a little about playing the piano. I've also taken the opportunity to sing in our church choir for many years. In previous years I've reversed roles and taken on the assignment to teach music to the kids at church. Currently I've been assigned to be the director for our congregation's choir. It's challenging, but rewarding.
One of the times that I realized how big of an impact music has on my life was when I heard one of my children telling their friend that when they wanted to ask permission to do something or to go somewhere, they would wait until they heard me singing, and then they would ask, because if I was singing I was in a good mood and there was a better chance that they would get a positive response.
I also didn't realize how often that happened (my singing around the house) until my children became teenagers and were on the phone alot. They'd be talking on the phone, when suddenly their friend would ask them "What was that?" They'd stop and think and then answer, "Oh, that was my just my mom singing." They were so used to it that they didn't realize at first what their friend was asking about. It's nice to know that their friends weren't complaining, they had nice comments and were sometimes suprized to find out that it wasn't the radio.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Weekend

I am having a really great weekend! I'm on a roadtrip with four of my children. We rented a van and made the long drive to Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday. When we got into town we got to see the play Mulan put on by the local Junior High School. My brother was the musical director. They did a great job. There were about 120 kids in the play. Music is very important part of life for many people in Utah. Many people get private music lessons for their children for voice and/or instruments. Utah also still has music classes at school, too!
Another interesting thing for us to see (coming from a small country communtiy) was the size of the Junior High School. It was 3 stories tall. The High School that my kids went to is about a fourth of the size of the one here.
The next day we attended the wedding of my daughter's best friend - the main reason for our trip this weekend. It took up the entire day. The actual wedding took place in the Salt Lake temple at 8 am., followed by a luncheon a couple of hours later, and a reception in the evening. The bride's family used to live in our "neighborhood" for several years before they moved to Utah 4 years ago. Not only were our daughters friends, but our whole families were friends, so it was really great to see them again. We spent the time between the wedding and luncheon and between the lunch and reception with the family, visiting and helping with last minute preparations. It was like visiting with family. In fact, it was more like visiting with family than visiting with some of my extended family. We also stayed to the end and helped them clean it all up. We got home a bit late, but spent another couple of hours visiting with my brother and his wife, whom we are staying with. Today we went to church with my brother and then after lunch we went to visit and old style farm. We had a grand old time looking at the animals and climbing trees and chasing geese. This evening my parents are joining us all for dinner.
It's alot of driving for one short weekend, but it has been so worth it! I have the best family and friends in the world!

Monday, March 2, 2009


This weekend I attended the wedding of my niece. It was a nice wedding and reception. I love her to death and hope that they have a long, happy, prosperous life together - but I have some concerns. They just started officially dating around Christmas this last year, and had only known each other for a short time before that. She says that she knew that they were right for each other, so why wait. Now, while I believe that it is possible to know relatively quickly that a certain person is right for you, I think that it is not particularly wise to jump into marriage that quickly. We do believe in chastity outside of marriage, so maybe that was a motivation. It would be for a lot of people, but I don't know if that's the case with them. I also believe in personal responsibility, and that people have the ability to exercise personal choice and control, so just because you love each other does not mean that you can't wait. I wonder if it is just youth and naievity, thinking that loving someone means that everything will work out just fine. In reality it is not that simple. Men and women "speak different languages". Individuals come form different homes where there are different values; things are done differently and there are different expectations. Marriage is challenging for people who know each other well, but if you haven't taken the time to do that, then your asking for some really difficult adjustments in an environment where you're the most vulnerable. That's were the engagement period comes in. It's not just so that you have enough time to plan a reception and send out announcements. It's a time to get to know the person much better, plan your life together, and make decisions about how you'll do things together, to lessen the "culture shock" of marriage and increase your chances of success. Once in a while, during this period a couple will find out that there are incompatabilities that were not obvious earlier on. While this is difficult and sad, it can be a very important function of engagement. It's much better to figure out before marriage than after. Well, like I said, I love her to death. So, having made her decision and gotten married, I'll pray for their success and be there to support it however I can.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Les Miserable

One of my favorite movies of all time was Les Miserable. When it came out in theaters several years back, I had never before read it or seen it onstage. I had only heard that it was good and knew that it was a classic, so I decided to go and see it. I LOVED the story line! It tells about a man who in France who was thrown into years of hard labor because he had stolen a morsel of food because he and his family were starving. In prison he is treated like a piece of garbage. When he is finally released, his traveling papers label him as a convict, so he is unable to find a job or even a place of lodging. Finally, he asks for lodging at a parish and is admitted. The priest treats him like an honored guest. In the middle of the night, Jean steals the gold silverware and splits. He is caught by the law and brought back to the priest, who suprisingly tells the officers that the silverware was a gift, and that Valjean had forgotten to take the candlesticks, which he then gives to him. The officers then release Valjean. Valjean is confused and the priest explains to Valjean that he has now been redeemed and has the opportunity and obligation to make something out of his life. From this beginning, Valjean works hard, always sacrificing and helping his fellowman. Even though he is always humble and does not seek attention or fame, he becomes very successful in business and society, accomplishing much good for his town.
This is a very short and simple synopsis. The play and book are even better.
It is one of my favorites because I love this example of how faith in God, in one's fellowman, and in oneself can make a monumental difference, not only to one individual, but to all the lives that he touches. This is how I try to live my life.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I never expected to post a rant, but here it is.
I just read a story on Yahoo about a woman in Southern California, Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to octuplets at the end of January. Well, octuplets isn't even the shocking part. The shocking part was learning about her life situation. She has 6 other children, ages 7 and under (so now she has 14 children age 7 or less)! On top of this, she is single, lives with her parents, owes $50,000 in school loans, has been unemployed for several years and is currently collecting several forms of welfare from the state of California. While I can understand finding yourself in a situation where you're temporarily unable to provide for yourself and your family, I do not understand purposely compounding the situation. What in the world is she doing in a fertility clinic? I personally love being a parent and understand and support the whole pursuit of happiness thing, but not at the expense of others. What about personal responsibility? Why should your and my tax dollars be spent on someone who is being so irresponsible. Isn't there some reasonable way to protect society from this kind of insanity without curtailing the freedoms of reasonable people? While I have compasion for them as people and hope that they get the help that they need, I also hope that part of that is getting her the help that she needs to be responsible for her actions.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Some of you may have noticed that I included my age in my personal description. In our culture it may be a bit suprising that a woman of my (haha) "advance" years is willing to reveal that information. Personally, I find age an item of great interest. It can be a type of benchmark to give you a more complete understanding of a person's experiences, young or old(er). I'm also of the opinion that in many areas of life, it is not chronological age that makes a person old. Attitude, perspective, maturity, behavior, knowledge, wisdom - these are some of the many factors that can be used in assessing one's "age".
I've really enjoyed my 44 years, even though some of them have been extremely difficult, and am pleased with the way they were spent, so I don't mind claiming each and every one of them.
I'm also one of those "strange" women who doesn't color her hair. I do have gray hairs, and I've earned each and every one of them. In fact, if earning were a factor, I'd have quite a few more. I've decided that I love them, partly because mine aren't gray - they're silver. I love shiny things. They're beautiful. So when I see my silver hairs in the mirror, it feels like a celebration - like putting tinsel on a tree at Christmastime.
I think that age, in some ways, could be compared with a tower in a large garden. The view of the garden at the bottom of the tower is beautiful. The climb to the top of the tower can sometimes be difficult and tiring. But once you get to the top and take a look around, the view is breath-taking. Never could you say that the view from the bottom is more beautiful than the view from the top of the tower. I think it's marvelous that life is give us the opportunity to enjoy both views, and, if we're wise enjoy the journey in between.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My best friends

OK, so my son has helped me figure this out just a little bit. I actually tried to do a post before this one, but it didn't show up. He also taught me how to put a picture on my profile. Yay! It's not the best one, but I don't have a large inventory of digital photographs of me.
So, I think I'll start with an introduction of my kids, since I'll probably refer to my kids alot while I'm blogging. They all live close and are a HUGE part of my life. I have five children and they are all girls except four. I feel really blessed they all think that I'm cool and like to hang out with me.
The oldest is Dustin. He's the one who helped with the blog. He is 24 years old and married to Megan (who' a sweetie). He's tall and thin and loves learning! When he was 18 he had major surgery at Shriners for Pectus Excavatum and nearly died a couple of times.
Next is Dallin. He's 21 and just got back in October from serving a 2-year mission in Arizona & Texas where he learned to speak spanish fluently. In high school he wrestled and won 2 state championship, one in free-style and one in Greco-Roman which he then went on to the national championships. He also went to the California State championship for collegiate wrestling @ 130 lbs.
Third is Dean. He's 21, same as Dallin. He missed being #2 by only 7 minutes. They are biologically identical, but they diverge from there. Those two have been quite an adventure! I contribute most of the gray hair that I have to them, although the others have each taken their share, including their dad. Anyway, back to Dean. He is currently doing construction, to support his music habit. Dean LOVES music and plays the drums. I am in awe of his natural talent, and I'm not simply biased. He's good. He is always introducing me to different styles of music and "new" bands to share his passion and educate me about what is out there.
Next is Desi, short for Desiree. Her name means long hoped for, which after 3 boys is self-explanitory. She is an amazing daughter. She is 19 and in November, she married Junior, whose real name is Raul. He is originally from Mexico and is a very hard-working, conscientious young man working toward becoming a doctor. Desi is attending FLC for Early Childhood Education while working in pre-school childcare. Megan is also in childcare and they hope to someday open a day-care together.
Lastly, there is Drew. He just turned 18 in November. He's working at Subway and trying to get his car up and running and prepare for the GED.
One of these days I'll see if I can figure out how to add pictures in here.
We all have wacky senses of humor (I wonder how that happened) and laugh like crazy when we're all together. I love that they are honest and open and share their hearts and lives with me. We have learned so much together through the years.
Yes, I have other friends, too, but my children are definitely the best.

Monday, January 26, 2009


This is my first experience with blogging, other than visiting my son's blog for the first time a couple of days ago. I hope that you'll be patient with me as I embark on this new adventure and I'll try to make it worth your while.