Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fun Time

Last night I went to Sierra Vista to do a presentation at "the meeting formerly known as enrichment night." I had such a great time. Honestly, I didn't realize how much I missed having an audience. We talked about some hints and tips for motivating yourself and those around you and everything went even better than I anticipated.

To those that were there, thanks for letting me take some of your valuable time. I hope you were able to take even one idea that you can actually try at your house. Some of you expressed interest in having a copy of the presentation. If you will leave a comment with your email address, I will send it to you.

A really sincere thank you to my sweet husband for coming with me and taking care of all the technical difficulties while I panicked because "the whole night was going to be ruined if the stupid computer didn't start working correctly!" You saved everything Kerry. I love you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What If Everyone Forgets?

I remember so clearly the morning of September 11, 2001. I was at work and the news started trickling in “a plane just crashed into the twin towers!” I remember thinking, “How could someone have made a mistake like that?” as the news continued to come in, it became very clear that what was happening was not an accident! I was shocked, angry, sad, and frightened in a way that I had never felt before. “How could this happen?” I am sure I am not the only one who asked themselves this question. In fact, I remember my nephew asking me that very question. The reality was I couldn’t tell him how or why it happened, but I could help him see the humbling and unifying effect it was having on our country. In our family, the question quickly changed from “how and why” to “what can we learn” and “what good can we do.”

For a very short time we had a less partisan government, people began praying, there were no flags to be found on store shelves because EVERYONE wanted to show their loyalty to their country by flying a flag. People lined up at blood banks and made monetary donations; I think being able to help in some small way helped us feel a little less helpless. I hated what happened on 9/11, but I will admit, I liked the more prayerful and patriotic unified America. One of my favorite memories of that time was at a baseball game. Does anyone else remember that for a short time Major League Baseball changed the 7th inning stretch song from Take Me Out to the Ballgame to God Bless America? So in the 7th inning the entire crowd stood up and sang God Bless America and you know what? I think they meant it. It was like there were thousands of people in the middle of a baseball game all unifying their voices in prayer. Literally, they were petitioning the Lord for blessings on this country. It gave me chills!

So we talked, in our family, about sometimes God let’s bad things happen so that we can be more humble and willing to let him in our lives and how if we let Him help us, even the worst tragedy can be turned for our good. That really seemed to help my nephew feel better. Then one day, and not too much later, we were driving down the road and he noticed there weren’t as many flags waving in front of buildings. He pointed that out to me and said, “Aunt Lisa, I am afraid people are starting to forget. What if everyone forgets” It made me think, there was no more talk of God on television, the politicians were arguing again and, he was right, there weren’t as many flags flying. Then he said something that I will never forget, “If everyone forgets and it all goes back to the way it was, then it was all for nothing” it was just something really bad that happened for no reason at all.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Turning 12, Girls Camp, and Talking!!

That is some serious chocolate cake!!

Talia turned 12 this month! Which means that at church she finally gets to quit going to Sharing time and start going to Young Women. In June, because her birthday was before the start of the school, year she also got to go to girls camp. Oh she was so excited to go to camp! After all, Carmen went to camp last year and came home sharing all the excitement so she has been primed for a whole year. The girls both had an amazing experience and I am SO GRATEFUL for all the leaders in our ward in stake who made sure they did. You are all amazing women and I love you for taking such wonderful care of my girls and helping them have a great time and most importantly build their testimonies of the Savior.

About 2 weeks after her birthday the bishop asked her to speak in church, I was sure she would be a little panicked, then when she told me that her assigned subject was "How Being in Young Women has blessed my life" I was really concerned, the child has only been in there for two weeks, what could she possibly say?" Well, I knew she had been working on her talk during the week and I meant to spend some time helping her, but I completely forgot until Saturday evening when she came to me and asked me if we could go over her talk. Panic once again ensued, how could I have forgotten about this. So I asked her to come in and read me what she has already. She brought her paper to me and this is an unedited copy of what she read

How YW has blessed my life

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Talia Thurber. I became an official member of this ward last month, and an official member of young women’s this month. Bishop Oaks asked me to talk about how being in Young Women’s has blessed my life, so I have limited experience to draw from, but I went to camp and who needs more experience than that?.)

There is no doubt that being in young women’s has strengthened my testimony and understanding of the gospel. Especially at Girls camp, which was as fun and silly as it could get while teaching us gospel principles. I have never felt so clean and so dirty at the same time.

One thing that stood out in my mind while preparing this talk was the tug-a-war battle between us and another ward. We were completely outnumbered. It looked as though our opponents never ended.

We were easily beaten over and over. Then the leaders had a turn. We cheered as they pulled their other wards leaders over the line that separated them. (We have such great young women leader in this ward.)

Sometimes the hardships we face are similar. It seems as though our problems go on forever and ever and we stand no chance. When we feel like this, we should talk to our parents, bishop, leaders, or even a close friend. They will always be happy to lift our burdens and show us how it’s done.

The most important person to talk to is Heavenly Father. He will always want to help us reach our goal, even if the rest of the world seems against us.

This was proven yet again when rain threatened to ruin Sister Welchmans’ evening program. In the opening prayer, a plea for this not to happen was included. It was already sprinkling, but we were still confident.(Some of the girls even did a “sun dance)

A few activities later, the rain still hadn’t come down! Even the sprinkling had stopped and the program was obviously saved.

I think we all silently thanked God at one point or another, and I know my testimony was strengthened.

Brothers and Sisters, it is a fact that our Heavenly Father loves us more than anyone on earth could ever know. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Needless to say I was stunned, proud and relieved. I said "it's perfect, don't change anything." She got up in church the next morning and stood up in front of the congregation and looked people in the eye and shared her thoughts, her dad and I were amazed and happy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Project!

It has been a while since I have done any blogging and there is so much to catch up on! Rather than wait 'til I have time to share everything I am going to put something current today and worry about the rest later. This weekend I installed a system that is (hopefully) going to cut my towel washing in half and all but eliminate the "whose towel is that in the middle of the floor?" frustration. I have not yet figured out how 4-6 kids (sometimes we have 2 extras) who don't even want to take a shower can create 4 loads of towels in a weekend and at least one parental meltdown trying to get people to pick their wet towels up from the floor.

Here is a picture of my kids bathroom on a typical Saturday night after everyone has showered, actually that is a good night because the towels are actually on the bathroom floor and not on the bedroom carpet.


I bought six solid colored towels and six individual hooks. I painted the hooks to match the towels and assigned everyone a color. Everyone is allowed to use ONLY the color they are assigned and if they are caught using someone else's towel, they have to do his or her assigned chore that day. Now after showers are done I can go into the bathroom and see if there are any towels on the floor, if there are I know exactly who put it there. If there are any empty hooks I know whose towel is missing and no longer have to check all the corners in each room. This is what it looked like this Saturday after showers.


BEAUTIFUL!!  Here's to lowering my stress level.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


My friend Nancy and I have been talking about starting a blog together for a while now - a long while. We share really strong feelings that being grateful for what we have and expressing it can change a person's life. We have found that without changing any of the circumstances in our life, gratitude can change everything. We both know this is true. We want people to get a little taste of that and hope to get lots of participation in this project. If not, it will be a lot of stuff from Nancy and I. I hope you will go check it out AND participate.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Baptizing the boy

Last week was Tobias' birthday, and his baptism was scheduled for his birthday.  That was a week we had to go to QC, so we had a full weekend scheduled 'till the Bishop called and told us that the Stake baptism had been postponed for a week.  So I got to baptize him yesterday.

We woke up early, got breakfast and headed for the barber shop.  I sat Tobias in the barber chair and found another one myself.  (Lisa says that it wasn't me she was worried about, but why bother spending the time at the barber shop without making full use of it?)  We got home and jumped in the shower to make ourselves good smelling and to get rid of the last vestiges of loose hair.

The baptism was at 11:00am, so we had a leave the house goal of 10:00am.  That would get us to the church at 10:30 and we would have time to find baptism clothes for Tobias.  I made sure we packed extra underwear, towels and clothes since this was a getting wet occassion.  They didn't call him John the Sprinkler.  He performed baptism, which is a greek word for full immersion in water.   The girls got into their pretty dresses and we were on our way.

Tobias and Me Before changing into our white clothes

When we got to the church we were worried that we had he wrong place, because the place was empty.  Eric drove up a few minutes later in his fancy Mazda Miata.  We took some pictures of everyone in their nice clothes and set off to make some calls when the ward mission leader showed up.  He let us in and I ran inside to find something to baptize the boy in.  After rummaging through the entire closet I came out with a jumpsuit that looked too small.  It was smaller than it looked and Tobias couldn't even get it on his body.  

We found some pants which were only a little too small.  I gave Eric some money to go buy Tobias a white shirt, careful to tell him short sleeves, and what the neck size should be.  He came back with a white T-shirt!  By that time it was too late to change anything and the Bishop chimed in to say that was fine, as long as it was white.  Another boy named Seth was getting baptized the same day.  He had found a bigger jumpsuit the week before while we were in QC.  I guess it was the last one.

Tobias and Me in our white clothes AND before Eric showed up with the T-shirt.

Uncle Mike gave a nice talk on baptism.  He used a demonstration of putting food coloring in water to represent our misdeeds, and then miraculously cleaning it out with bleach, making it clear and beautiful again.

Lisa got everyone's attention with pots and pans.  She let the children pound on them to represent the noise that prevents us from hearing the still small voice of the Holy Ghost.  Let's just say the children got it.  She certainly never short on good ideas.

The Bishop sent Tobias and me into the water first.  By this time Tobias was about to jump out of his skin.  I know you're going to read this and think "no way!" but he was more excited about being baptized than about letting him steer the car, go to Disneyland or play a video game.  The water was just a bit cold, but Tobias didn't notice.  I said the ordinance and dunked him under.  He asked me if he could swim back to the steps, but I said no.  He floated a bit and scrambled up the steps.  

I tried to hustle him in to get changed, but Seth and his father were already walking into the water and he wanted to watch.  He was asking me excitedly whether or not he was all clean now.  I smiled and told him yes, and then Seth got baptized and he was all clean too.  Holding Tobias down was like bouncing a basketball at this point.  He was asking if he could get baptized everyday, or at least once a week.  I told him that was like taking the sacrament, but he asked if he could just get baptized instead of taking the sacrament.  I had to content him with telling him I would explain it later.

Tobias got baptized first so Seth got confirmed first.  (The first shall be last and the last shall be first?)  I feel a little guilty to confess that I don't remember anything about Seth's confirmation.  I'm sure it was beautiful, but I get the shakes thinking about performing a Priesthood ordinance, and I spent every available brain cycle to calm my nerves.  We invited Grandpa Boughan up and Martha's brothers and we all stood around.  My mind went blank.  I asked the bishop if I should call him by name.  He said yes, call him by his full name.  As soon as I said the name the rest of it flowed.  I felt comfortable and sure giving Tobias the gift of the Holy Ghost, and giving him a blessing afterwards.  I feel that God will honor my blessing, and I feel that Tobias will live up to it.

We got home and had a birthday party with the Sullivans, Grandma and Grandpa Boughan and Uncle Walter's family, making 24 people in all.  Lisa barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs.  we sang and fed everyone cake and ice cream.  We gave Tobias scriptures and a mission bank.  Aunt Laura embroidered his name on his canvas scripture case.  I remembered feeling like Tobias when I got baptized.  I didn't ever want to sin again.  Oh well.  You see how that worked out.  We'll just have to hope for better for Tobias!

Maybe Tobias wished to never sin again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A new record!!!

Last night our family washed, rinsed, dried and put away the dishes in 4 mins 37 seconds. That, my friends, is a new family record. When we can get them completely done in that amount of time, it makes using the dishwasher completely inefficient - and not as much fun. We use a stop watch so we can get and accurate time.

Last nights predictions:

Serena - 5:01 (oooh, pretty close)
Dad - 6:37 (man, he thinks we're slow)
Tobias - 6:02 (better than dad!)
Mom - 4:30 (We have a winner!)
Talia - 3:57 (She wanted to break 4:00, we'll do it someday)
Carmen - 5:52 (a reasonable guess, if we weren't trying to set a record)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Once upon a time, not very long ago and right here in this town I was trying to do Kerry a favor and drive his children to school. I say “his” children because we weren’t married yet, in fact, I don’t even think we were engaged. It was a cold morning and the windows were covered with frost. Having limited visibility, because I started backing up way before the windows were clear enough to do so safely, I backed his van into a big rock and scraped the side below the sliding door up pretty badly. I felt awful, and a little nervous. This was new ground for Kerry and I and I was not sure how big this was going to be to him. When he finally got home that evening, I took him by the hand and walked outside and showed him what I had done - HE LAUGHED! Then he said, “Is this what has been bothering you all day? I am so relieved; I thought you were mad at ME!” Then he said, “that can be fixed” and walked inside and never mentioned it again AND never had it fixed. So all of this time when I walk by and see that scratch on the door, I think “I bet every time he sees that scratch he remembers that I was careless with his things.” Which is dumb, I know because he didn’t even feel that way when I first did it.

Well, early Friday morning I took the van and all the children and drove the three hours to our other house so they could be there for the hot part of the day and the children could swim. Kerry worked part of the day and then drove my car up to meet us that evening. He walked in and said, “Sweetheart, I have really bad news, I was in a hurry to get going and I scratched your car when I backed out.” I said, oh well, if it’s that bad we will pay the deductible and get it fixed. Then he started telling me how wonderful and forgiving I was. So I said, "geez Kerry, I put a nasty scratch in your van and you never even let it bother you and you expected me to be mad at a little scuff on the bumper of mine?" (By that time the children had gone out to check the car and came in saying they couldn’t find the scratch). Here’s the amazing part! Kerry’s response? “You scratched my van?” He really had forgotten! I reminded him about the entire event and he said “Oh ya, I remember that.”

Is that amazing or what? He had forgiven me so completely that he had actually forgotten what I had done. He walks by that scratch in the van every time he opens my door for me and completely forgot that I put it there! Kerry is amazing!

So of course that got me thinking, I had apologized and been told I was forgiven. Still, I spent the last year and a half walking by that scratch and feeling bad about what I had done. Kerry? He had truly completely forgotten about it. I was beating myself up (and even assuming he was doing the same thing) for something he had long forgotten. I think that is what happens sometimes when we repent. We take the proper steps to repent, the Lord forgives us, and even though the Lord has completely forgotten, “I the Lord will remember them no more,” we still think of ourselves as less worthy. Spiritually speaking, we walk by the scratch and knock ourselves down a little bit. Worse, we assume the Lord does too.

I am SO GRATEFUL for a forgiving husband who is such an example of Christ like love and forgiveness. And, of course for a Savior who is anxious to forgive the mistakes I make every day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring in the desert

Serena and I went on a field trip to the Sonoran Desert Museum last week. I am not always crazy about the desert, but the spring blossoms are so beautiful! We had a great time and even learned some fun things. I think I like field trips more now than when I was a kid.

Serena getting ready to go into the museum.

Desert Blooms

It is actually really beautiful here!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Answers to prayer . . .

Most of those who read here know that our family has two places of residence and we are trying to maintain residence in both of them. I still teach once a month in the ward that I lived in when Kerry and I met so we travel there at least one weekend a month. Actually we are there about 50% of the weekends. This posed a problem for Carmen, our oldest daughter, for a long time. Carmen is very shy and had a very difficult time going to class with people she didn't know. At first she didn't want to go at all, when she finally did go it was so very difficult for her that she couldn't even get anything out of the time spent.

We talked about how difficult it was and she was encouraged to ask the Lord for help with this problem that she faced. Then we talked about faith and how having faith didn't just mean believing that Heavenly Father would take her fear away before she went to class again, but that showing real faith meant believing that you will receive help, believing it enough to do something hard and even scary. So Carmen prayed and went to class and struggled for several weeks - it didn't get much easier for Carmen but she continued to do what she knew was right and knew that she would get the help she was seeking. Well, a few weeks ago Sister Tucker was called to be her new adviser for Young Women. The very first week she was in the class she was inspired to do a spotlight on Carmen so the girls would get an opportunity to see who she was and reach out to her a little bit. She called us up and asked us for some information about Carmen and the next week we were there she told the class all about her. Carmen came out of class that week all smiles and going to class doesn't seem like such a difficult thing anymore.

The most beautiful part to me was that when Carmen was asked to give a short testimony on faith last week, she shared this story with the girls in her other ward. She was able to use her experience to teach others about the "work" portion of faith.

Couldn't we all learn a lesson from Carmen? How often do we pray for help and then sit back and wait. We need to see a clear ending before we are willing to take a step. I want to have faith like Carmen's when the right thing seems impossible I want to be willing to pray for help and then continue doing what's right even if a good ending seems impossible. Carmen, you are an awesome example to me, thank you.

Also, of course, we must thank Sister Tucker for being in tune to the spirit and knowing just what to do to help our daughter.

We are grateful.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dale Carnegie Success Tip

Once in a while I get Dale Carnegie success tips in my e-mail. I think it is something I signed up for a long time ago, when I was still in management. Usually, I just delete them. Sometimes I read them and think - "hey, that's pretty good advice" but, this one made me think. Well, you know what that means . . . I gotta share.

When we are dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
- Dale Carnegie

Dear Lisa:

What is it that inspires you to do your best work? Have you considered what things might be fueling the work of your employees/coworkers? Although unique to each worker, professional drive has a basic core to which everyone can relate. Discover your essential similarities, and use this knowledge to inspire others to cooperate, instead of mandating that they do so.

* Don't dictate -- inspire
* Don't direct -- win people to your way of thinking
* Begin with praise and honest appreciation
* Build morale and earn loyalty
* Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
* Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

I admit, at work I was pretty good at this but, at home I am not always so good. Have I considered what things might be fueling the actions of my husband and children? Hmmmm . . . food for thought. I am going to do better.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Miracle of The Chore Pass

So, as much as I have committed and recommitted to myself that I wouldn’t treat the children and my home like employees and a business, there are some things that transfer so beautifully it becomes irresistible. It reminds me that no knowledge gained is ever a waste. This one worked out so well that I just had to share.

First some background. Our children are all old enough to help in some way with the chores. Before Kerry and I got married he made it very clear that he wanted them to participate in this area. So, I have been searching for the best way to make this fun and rewarding for them. I finally learned that they do a lot better if they know ahead of time what will be expected of them that day, so I make a calendar for the whole month that lists what chore is to be done by each of them that day. They already help with the dishes (see: anything can be fun) so the chores don’t need to be something big. Instead of “clean the hall bathroom” the chore might be “scrub the shower in the hall bathroom” this is a much less daunting task and I spend a lot less energy trying to talk them into it than if more were required. When the children were all willingly doing their chores I wondered if there were a way to get them to help keep up with the extra stuff that doesn’t need to be done every day, but still needs to be done periodically. (cleaning fridge, scrub walls, etc.)

Management tool: I learned in leadership training that there are really only three main motivators which all things that motivate people fit into. They are Challenge, Power, and Relationship. As a manager if I could get to know my employees well enough to understand which category(s) they fit in, I could structure my management style around them and help them feel like their job is rewarding. Well, in this house there are children that fit in all 3 of these categories. So I needed to come up with a system that helped each of them feel motivated to help.

The Bonus System: Everyday the kids come home and do their homework and a small chore, and then if they choose, they can pick something small off of the bonus list to do. When the children have completed a bonus chore I write a little personal note on their bonus sheet about what a good job they did or how much they helped (motivating my relationship motivated children). Once they reach 10 bonuses they get a “chore pass” to use at their own discretion. This enables them to choose not to do a chore one any given day (for my power motivated kids) and once everyone gets going it becomes a little competitive as to who can earn the most chore passes (for my challenge motivated child).

Last Friday Thursday in the midst of all the Valentine’s cookie bouquets Serena completed our first chore pass. I will have to do one of her chores soon I am sure. In the mean time, my fridge is cleaner, walls are getting wiped down, kids are cleaning out their drawers and getting rid of things that don’t fit them anymore and laundry is getting folded. Seems like a win-win! I love these children!!

Overzealous. . .

OK, I do have a tendency to have ideas that get me in a little over my head sometimes. Aside from the tired back and shoulders this one turned out ok. I decided that it would be fun to make heart cookie bouquets for the children's classes for valentines day. It was fun, but a lot of work. The kids were proud of them though and grateful, so it was all worth it.

Reason #101

I love Kerry because he sneaks into my blog while I am taking a nap on Sunday and writes wonderfully biased things on there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Being married to Lisa

At almost ten months of experience, I'm still a rookie, yet I am the undisputed champion of the world, an expert so to speak, in the art of being married to the author of this blog. She has sacrificed everything that could civilly be expected of a woman in order to be with me and my children. She has taken on my children, and she treats them as a mother treats her own children--without any nonsense and with an unfathomable amount of love.

She's no longer the highly paid jet-setting lady that can expect to be pampered at every turn by the Navy, Avis and the Marriott hotel. She's no longer in charge of all that is around her--choosing instead to share responsibilities, furthering our lives and interests collectively. She finds that all her talents of wit, humor, patience, organization, care and industry are required, yet the rewards are not public. The daughters of God are unfathomable. Who would give up independence and security for a Valentine? Lisa, that's who.

I cannot repay Lisa for her sacrifice--not in my poor circumstances. I can't imagine properly paying her were I wealthy and powerful. I can't even understand why she has married me. I once thought that the gentlemanly thing to do was to try to to talk her out of it. Yet how could I be anything but grateful to have her hands and heart in my home?

It may be that a woman needs a man, but it is far more certain that a man needs a woman. It is not good for a man to be alone, and that is why mother Eve was given breath, and joined Adam in the garden of Eden. God didn't wait until Adam wore haphazard trails through the jungle, or decided to start eating goats when there was plenty of fruit at the ready, or left the garden on his own to explore the wider world and develop nuclear weapons with which to hunt rabbits. According to our record, God saw that Adam had breath, and immediately put him to sleep, took a rib from his side and made a woman. Adam was made from the dust of the earth, but Eve was made from Adam. When sickness, death, poverty and war came, Eve stayed. My wife is truly Eve's daughter. There is no amount of hardship, discouragement, pain or worldly scorn that would keep her away. She was given to me as surely as Eve was given to Adam, and her loyalty is more flawless than the diamond she wraps around her finger.

Lisa sometimes tells me to shut up. When I feign shock and tell her that such language is beneath her she revises it to "please" shut up. I've explained to Lisa that I don't cook with salt. So she puts it in with great discretion and a beautiful smile. Her cooking is delicious. Lisa is worthy of all the respect, consideration and adoration that I have within me to give to her. Lisa is an emotionally enhanced individual. As befits a woman she feels and cries. As befits a man I'm still learning how to deal with her honestly and openly without offending those beautiful sentiments that make her who she is.

I have some struggles with faith. I like to know the end from the beginning, and I like to understand details, beginnings and particulars. God answers my prayers, and Lisa, lovely Lisa, reminds me that He has. I would be a lesser person without her--frazzled and furious, panicked, tempted and lonely. But God loves me, and he brought Lisa to me. Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, God.

Friday, February 13, 2009

100 reasons I love Kerry

I told my friend that I was going to come up with 100 reasons I love my husband for Valentine's Day. She wanted to know if 100 would be hard. I assured her it would be easy. I was right. So here are 100 things that make my husband so darn loveable. . .

1. I love that doing the right thing is never too hard for him
2. I love that he loves the Lord
3. I love that he honors his priesthood
4. I love that he would do anything to make me happy
5. I love that he loves his children
6. I love that he wants to take care of himself so that he can live a long time
7. I love that he loves me just for me
8. I love the silly grin he gets when I tell him I will go to the gym with him
9. I love that he is handsome
10. I love that he wakes up happy; even if it means he will be unable to resist waking everyone up with his singing
11. I love that he is affectionate, no matter who is watching
12. I love that he has a desire to serve others
13. I love that he is unselfish
14. I love the glass of ice water he puts by my bed every night
15. I love that he still wants to take me on dates – Friday night is date night and I love it
16. I love that he magnifies his church callings
17. I love that he is a true gentleman
18. I love that he gets all the spiders
19. I love that he helps with the house work
20. I love how he tries to make it seem real when he lets me win at wrestling
21. I love the gentle way he rubs my back when I am not feeling well
22. I love that he is smart – even if that means I can’t understand some of the things that interest him most
23. I love that he doesn’t get frustrated when I don’t understand
24. I love how he squints his eyes really hard when he is trying to think
25. I love that he is grateful even for the little things I do to help him
26. I love that he doesn’t leave the house without kissing me good-bye
27. I love his strong hands and gentle heart
28. I love his blue eyes
29. I love that he plays with his children
30. I love that he does his home teaching
31. I love that he reads scriptures with our family every night
32. I love that he sets goals
33. I love that he calls me when he is on his way home from work to see if I want him to stop at the store.
34. I love that he genuinely wants to be good
35. I love that he honors his parents
36. I love that he loves my family
37. I love that he says “it smells so good in here” no matter how simple the meal is that I am preparing
38. I love that he is careful what we bring into our home through the television
39. I love that he loves Cadence
40. I love that he like for me to stay close to my family and friends
41. I love that he prays
42. I love that he likes to learn
43. I love his smile
44. I love that he pays attention to the things that are important to me
45. I love that he stands up for himself when he is right and it really matters
46. I love that he ALWAYS opens the car door for me (my mom too)
47. I love that he respects all women, not just the one’s he wants to impress
48. I love that because of him, his family thinks I am perfect
49. I love that he is unwilling to tear people down for the sake of humor
50. I love that he is not afraid to shed a tear in a tender moment
51. I love that he expects the children to respect me
52. I love that he knows how to set aside his own agenda to help me
53. I love that he does laundry
54. I love that he is quick to laugh
55. I love that he helps me see both sides of a situation
56. I love that he knows the scriptures
57. I love that he know how to scrub a toilet
58. I love that I have fun with him
59. I love that I am never bored as long as he is there
60. I love when he says “I’m sorry, a little” just because that is what I would say to him in the same situation.
61. I love that he rarely needs a hymn book because he know the words to nearly all the hymns
62. I love that he treats me as an equal partner with him
63. I love that he lets me pick his tie on Sunday
64. I love that he plays catch and does back flips on the trampoline
65. I love that he teaches his children from the scriptures rather than say, “because I said”
66. I love that even with all these sweet and kind qualities, he still can be ornery once in a while
67. I love that he asks for my opinion
68. I love that if I forget my jacket he insists that I have his, even though we both know he gets cold easier than me
69. I love that he is humble about even his very best qualities
70. I love that he has integrity
71. I love that he think before he speaks
72. I love that he is strong physically, mentally, and spiritually
73. I love that he put the needs of his family before his own
74. I love that he keeps his promises, even when it isn’t convenient
75. I love that he doesn’t mind playing silly games with the children and me.
76. I love that he laughs at my sometimes rotten sense of humor
77. I love that he is quick to forgive
78. I love that he is slow to anger
79. I love how he always whispers “are you asleep?” When he is awake and wants me to wake up too.
80. I love that he warms me up when I am cold at night
81. I love the sneaky grin that gives him away when is trying to surprise me
82. I love that he brings me roses just because
83. I love that he gives me a safe place
84. I love that he says “I love you” - everyday.
85. I love that he doesn’t spend a lot of time in front of the television
86. I love that he doesn’t complain when he has to go out in the middle of the night to get medicine
87. I love that I am my best self when I am with him
88. I love that he doesn’t criticize
89. I love that he hugs his children
90. I love that he makes me want to dance
91. I love how I feel when he looks in my eyes
92. I love that he is a hard worker
93. I love that he is someone I can trust
94. I love that he can solve all the technical problems
95. I love that he isn’t afraid to ask for help
96. I love that he has a strong testimony of Christ
97. I love that he keeps himself worthy to have the guidance of the Holy Ghost
98. I love that he includes the Lord in our decisions
99. I love that he enjoys going to the temple
100. I love that I get to be married to him FOREVER!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wisdom on a Church Marquis

Sometimes I can hear a quote or a concept more than once, and then one day - I really finally hear it. Does this happen to anyone else or am I just really hard headed? (Rhetorical question) Well, the other day it happened again. I saw a church marquis in our neighborhood that says, "Problems are just opportunities in their work clothes" I am sure that I have heard that before, probably more than once, but this time it really got my attention. Perhaps it was because of the timing but, it really made me think.

Really, some of my best, most creative ideas have come when I was faced with a problem.

For example, in my career at Boeing, I had a lot of opportunities to give training. Usually the material was a pretty easy sell so the classes were really fun, I worked hard to make it that way. There were a few subjects, though, that were really hard to get anyone to see the value in. I remember sometimes getting very frustrated thinking, "my training is a waste of time if I can't get anyone to change his or her behavior." I had to come up with something better. I knew I couldn't convince anyone that the way I was showing them was the best way. Somehow, I had to get them to convince themselves. I began building training activities that "proved" the value of the lesson we were doing that day. The trainees would go through the exercise, have a really good time, and most often come away willing to do something new. These training activities, build mostly out of desperation, usually worked like magic. Soon I realized I actually had a real knack for building creative training packages. Who knew?

Eventually, my reputation for building creative training is why I was offered a job in consulting.

So, because I had a problem with some of my training subjects. I was able to find a more creative way to reach my classes, discover a new talent, and launch a new career. I'd say that was an opportunity after all.

I am grateful for the difficulties I face every day. Because of them, I learn lessons, discover things about myself, and have new opportunities.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Everyone put on your thinking caps - PLEASE!

I am trying to think of something fun and creative to do for my husband for Valentine's Day. I have found that creative and personal gifts mean far more to him that all the cool gadgets that I like to buy for him and I am just feeling lost about what to do.

Kerry with Martha's mom and my mom, the picture was his idea, he is such a kiss up!

So, any ideas? I would be most grateful.

Not-so-cold Corporate America

Once in a while, something so wonderful happens that I can't help but share. This something came from a most unexpected place - the big cold world that we call Corporate America.

Before I get to the wonderful part, I have to start with some sad news. I have some very good friends, (no I don't have to pay them - very much) Bruce and Kim. In early October Bruce was diagnosed with cancer and a couple of weeks ago he returned to our Father in Heaven. Bruce was a wonderful man who loved everyone he knew, even Kim (sorry Kim couldn't help it). OK, OK Kim is also pretty great and truly a good friend to me.

As if the stresses of battling cancer and loosing a loved one are not enough, the financial strain can sometimes seem too much to bear. Medical bills, funeral costs, missed work, and in Kim's case the added stress of going from a two income household to a one income household. It can leave a grieving person with a choice between going back to work before he or she is ready or going weeks without pay.

OK, this is where the cool part starts. Kim works for a wonderful company, "Allegiant Air." When they got the news that Bruce had passed they immediately did a fundraiser for her and raised $2,000 in cash for her. A few days later, the Vice President of the company called her and told her they were planning to pay her minimum flight hours (probably more that 3/4 of her regular pay) until she was ready to return to work. Not because it was company policy, but because they cared! Imagine that. At the funeral, no one could help noticing that at least a dozen of Kim's coworkers all dressed in their snappy blue "uniform" suits were in attendance. In fact I heard several comments like, "who is flying the planes today" and "WOW, wouldn't it be great to work for a company that supported their employees like that." As if all of this wasn't enough, Kim just read on the employee website that they are planning another fund raiser. Is that awesome or what?

Kim with a few of her Allegiant Airlines Friends

Now, you should all know that I was a Die-Hard Southwest Airlines (SW) flier before all of this happened. In fact, if I had to fly somewhere that SW didn't fly to I have been known to drive up to three hours in order to avoid flying another airline. Now, I can't help thinking that a company that takes care of it's employees like that deserves my business. So, from now on, if I have to fly, I am going to see if there is an Allegiant flight available before taking a Southwest flight. Hopefully some of you will too.

Today I am grateful for Allegiant Airlines and the way they have taken care of my friend Kim in her time of need.

Does anyone else know of a company that has gone so far above and beyond to take care of it's employees or customers? If you do, leave a comment, let's recognize them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Anything can be fun

Those who know me know that I can have fun doing just about anything. Those who know me best, know that I can nearly always turn it into a game or competition. I knew this attribute was beginning to rub off on the children when I asked them all what was the most fun thing we had done as a family since Kerry and I got married and one of them said "washing the dishes together." You can faint if you want to, I almost did. Truly, I was just as shocked as you are, especially since we took them to Disneyland only a few months previous.

So now you are wondering how in the world you get a child to say that washing dishes is fun, right? Well, I am not sure of an exact formula, but here are some of the things that are vital components (I think).

1. Do it all together; everyone has a job - In our family there are too many people to have just one washing, rinsing, drying, and putting away. So, being the efficiency expert, I couldn't help noticing where the bottle neck in the process was and stacking kids there. Usually, I wash (unless someone didn't clear their plate after dinner and then they have to wash and I rinse). One child rinses, three children dry, and Kerry has to put them away.

2. Laugh a lot - Usually someone is getting wet (usually me because the child that is rinsing "accidentally" sprays me). Also because I usually find a way to get the ones who laugh the loudest wet too.

3. Sing silly songs

4. Talk to each other - Sometimes I will ask the children, "so, what is the best thing that happened to you today", or "What is the funniest thing that happened at school today". Once we were doing this and the children were were actually disappointed when we were done with the dishes (probably a sign I need to spend more time talking to them).

5. Play a game - Typically our game is try to stack the dishes up and get dad behind. The kids think it is hilarious when we all get done and Kerry still has a few dishes left to put away. He, of course, plays the victim role for them, whining about how he is always the last one done - this makes them laugh every time.

OK so last night we added a new dimension to our dish washing games, everyone tries to guess the exact time we will be done with the dishes and I write it down and see who is the closest to the actual time. When we were writing down our times Carmen said "I am going to guess the exact same time as Mom, if she is right I am also right, and if I loose, she will have to admit she is wrong. It's a win-win! (For the record Carmen and I were both right). Last night we actually finished in exactly 9 minutes! Tobias was trying to change his time because he realized how quickly we were going to get finished so I asked him if he would rather be be wrong or be a cheater he smiled and said, "I'd rather be a cheater" OK looking back it was a really bad question. Still, it made us laugh.

Life is great! Especially when you find ways to turn mundane chores of life into family fun.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nancy has a blog!!!

I am so excited! My friend Nancy has a blog. Today there is only one entry there, but I am hoping that this is a place where she will often share her wisdom and insight with me and any one else who will take the time to check in once in a while. I know she would be happy to share with any of you, so feel free to check it out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things are about as good as you decide . .

Some of you may wonder why our families blog is titled "It's a Great Life." Well, we have a great life - that's why. Not because nothing difficult happens in our family, but because of a conscience decision to say it is great and believe it.

We all know people who focus on the negative. I actually have a book that has labeled them "Negaholics." Those people who have something wrong in their lives no matter when you ask them. When you show up to work Monday morning and ask them how they are doing, the very best they can say is "Not bad for a Monday" and then you walk away relieved, 'cause it could have been so much worse.

Well, I don't want a "not bad" life. I choose for things to be GREAT! So I say they are great. I have a friend that always makes an excuse for me to be great. I will ask her how she is doing and she will just sigh and say, "you know . . ." Then when she asks me and I tell her I am great, she usually says, "of course you are, you just got a great new job" or "you just got married" or whatever my latest good news is.

Last week, not too long after my job ended, I ran into her . Kerry and I had been trying to figure out what to do about our finances and had begun to come to the conclusion that we would probably loose the house in QC (she had no idea about any of that). She asked me how I was and I said "fantastic." Then she said, "well of course, you are still a newlywed with a great new family." Isn't that funny?

For everyone who is waiting around for perfect circumstances so they can also have a great life,quit waiting and decide to be grateful. There are plenty of things to be glad about. I have a great life and I think if you will look carefully - so do you!

I can't help thinking of one of my favorite President Gordon B. Hinckley quotes:

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around and shouting that he has been robbed. The fact of the matter is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey...delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

Words to live by.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Brainwashed Children

Well, I am reaping the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom. On Friday I had the opportunity to go with Serena's 4th grade class on a field trip to the zoo (forgot the camera - again). I drove the family minivan with Serena and three of her classmates one and a half hours to the Tucson Zoo. We had a great time doing the scavenger hunt that Mrs. Grisham had prepared for them. I have never seen children more interested in reading all of the zoo signs as they looked for something that lives in the mountains, something that lives in groups, and about 20 other items. When we were all done looking at the animals and were gathering back together Serena had this conversation with her teacher and I.

Serena: Mrs. Grisham, mom is always right!
Mrs. Grisham (to me): Wow, you really do have them all trained.
Me: Well, not trained really, more like brainwashed
Serena: Actually, we aren't ALL completely trained, sometimes we still have to remind dad.

Poor Kerry, I wonder if he ever feels outnumbered?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not to be rude but . . .

Has anyone else ever noticed that any statement following "not to be ___________ but, is exactly what the person said they are trying not to be. For instance "not to be rude but," rude statement coming up! Or "not to be disrespectful but . . ." guaranteed disrespectful statement to follow. One of my personal favorites is "I don't want to gossip but," Isn't that funny? Of course they want to gossip or they wouldn't be passing on the information. The worst part is that I don't think anything that has ever followed a "not to be _________ but," statement was something that needed to be said.

Perhaps this is a pet peeve of mine because I feel so strongly that using the word "but," is just negative anyway. If someone says, "I really like your new haircut but, it is a little too short". . ." Don't we just really hear them say "I think your hair is too short?" Really, everything we say before the word "but" is pretty much erased by that word. (hint: try replacing the word "but" with the word "and" and see how much less argumentative your conversations are). The "I don't want to be rude but," statement is even worse, It screams at the listener "I AM ABOUT TO SAY SOMETHING RUDE!!"

Suggestion, if we have something to say and have to start it with the statement "I don't want to be: rude, disrespectful, petty, judgmental or any other negative personality trait" statement and you really don't want to be those things, just don't say it.

OK, that is my soap box for the day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Be Careful What You Pray For

Have you ever heard anyone say, be careful what you pray for cause you just might get it? Well, I just want to take a moment and say, THAT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE! And I am so grateful that it is.
Most of you know that Kerry and I have been married for almost 9 months now. When we got married he had a job and some empty acreage in one town and was renting the house that he and the children were living in. I had a house that was worth a LOT less than I owed on it in a town that is a three hour drive from his and a job that kept me out of town for a week at a time. The good news was I could live anywhere as long as I could get to an airport to go to work. So we kept both homes and both jobs with the hopes that he would be able to locate work somewhere near my house so we could give up the rental and maintain only one house. Then I could stop working and stay at home and be the mom. So for eight months we have been praying "Father, we want to have a mother in our home full time, please help up know how we can get down to one income and make this happen" Well, apparently the Lord decided that what we needed was a little leap of faith and not necessarily a plan. About 2 weeks before Christmas the my boss called me up and said that there would not be any work for me in 2009 and I would have to be laid-off. Well, my last day as a working mom was last Tuesday and I feel GREAT! It is so wonderful to get to Sunday afternoon with my family and not have to get packed and get to an airport.
Now some of you might be wondering, what about the houses and all that "important" stuff from before. Well, we still don't know. We are still working on that one. I do know that I am right where I should be right now and I am very happy about that! Great blessings sometimes come packaged as difficulties and trials. So please don't start feeling sorry for me about getting laid off from my job, it truly is a wonderful blessing! I am grateful.

Monday, January 5, 2009

True Friends Appreciate Their Differences

Today in Relief Society the lesson was about being a friend. Certainly, that is a subject that is apt to make one consider many of the amazing blessings in one’s life. As several of the women spoke about people who had been good friends to them it made me think of many who have blessed my life; my husband and children, parents, siblings, special cousins, aunts and uncles, and certainly many who are outside of my family (come on, don’t make me name names, you know who you are). Truly I have been blessed with an abundance of people in my life who I love and trust. I am grateful.

Then someone stood up and spoke of a close friend who had touched her life for good and ended her thoughts with this statement. “True friends appreciate their differences.” Wow! That rang true with me. While I am sure there are many that fit in this category, it made me think of only one person - my friend Nancy. Certainly we are different, but our similar core values make us able to employ these differences in a way that is both useful and uplifting. Often she sees things differently than I do, and I can go to her to get a better perspective on things. Well, at that point I was lost in my own thoughts and can not remember another word that was spoken in Relief Society, a bad habit that I really am trying to overcome. I spent the remainder of the meeting trying to figure out what makes Nancy’s perspective so valuable to me. Or in other words, why do some peoples differences make me shy away from their “advice” and the differences that Nancy and I have make me seek out her opinion. The answer is quite simple - Nancy is a true friend, in every possible way. Here is a list of things about Nancy that make her a true friend, and things that I am going to try to get better at so that I can be a better friend to everyone in my life.

"A friend is someone who knows the song of your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words"

1. She listens: She listens to my words lets me finish before she begins speaking. She listens to my heart and knows where my words are coming from and then speaks more to my feelings than my words.
2. She is unselfish: Nancy’s opinion about my decisions NEVER includes what is best for Nancy. In fact she is better than anyone else at separating her feelings from my decisions. Sometimes she says things like, “You know what I would want you to do, but this isn’t about me” Aaaah, refreshing.
3. She never tries to lead me away from my center: Nancy and I are not the same denomination, but we are both Christian and share the same perspective on every aspect of the Gospel that we have discussed (at least I think so) She is pure in heart and wants to stay close to the Lord and wants to help the people she knows stay close the Lord also. She would never encourage me to do something that would take me farther away from the spirit.
4. Nancy is happy: Have you ever noticed that happy people want the people around them to be happy and miserable people . . . well you get where that goes. One day a coworker of mine, who didn’t know Nancy but, knew of my friendship with her said to me, “Have you ever noticed how Nancy can brighten someone’s day just by saying hello to them?” Well it is because she is happy and she exudes positivity.
5. She is trust worthy: When Nancy gives me her word, I don’t have to wonder if she means it. I can share things with her that I am not ready to tell the rest of the world, because I know she will keep my confidence. I can do business with her because I know she will be honest and fair.

So, I have decided that I am going to try to be more like Nancy. My friend, if you read this, please know of my gratitude for your friendship and example. You are wonderful.