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.