Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Okay, this is year of countdowns. I have only survived this year due to the wonderfulness of countdowns; they have kept me going!

This time last year we were counting down the days until Mike and Aubrey came to celebrate Christmas with us and going to the temple with Aubrey in Anchorage, Alaska.
As soon as they left we began the countdown for Mike and Aubrey's wedding in January, which was lovely. Our whole family was together for the first time in years!
Then Hawaii, with my brother David and sweet Stephanie in February.
Valli brought Madeline for a visit in March and it was wonderful to be with them.
We had a bit of a dry spell until Jenny and kids arrived around Memorial Day for a surprise three week visit. It was so nice to spend time with the grandkids (and their mom!).
Megan graced us with an apperance the first week of July and brought her lovely friend Ladessa with her to share new Alaska adventures!
Bear Lake for Pioneer Day. We were all there except for David, who was and is still in Afghanistan, and we missed him and his family so much.
Valli flew up again with Madeline to visit family and celebrate our birthdays in October. I feel so blessed to share birthdays with little Madeline.
I flew out to see my mom for a week in October and had a fun time enjoying some nice warm weather.
A secret visit to Hawaii for Thanksgiving compliments of an Alaska airlines companion fair and a serious need to get into some warm weather since we basically had so summer this year, but we did have a lovely and lengthy fall.
As of this moment, I am counting down the days until December 11 when I board the plane for Utah and my newest favorite grandchild! (They are all my favorites!)
Only 10 days to go and I am counting the hours! My only regret was missing you all so much at Thanksgiving but spending three weeks with my children for Christmas is going to more than make up for it!
That is if they can stand me for that long!
If only my luck could be this good two years in a row.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Thought

Recently I had a short conversation with a co-worker that caused me to reflect on some typical and often repeated occurrences in life. He told me that recently he attended a leadership training conference where one of the guest speakers was a former general in one of the branches of the military. I'm sorry that I don't remember more details about the man, but he made ten statements about leadership. The one that he relayed to me was "Don't feel sorry for your soldiers."

Of course the initial reaction upon hearing this is one of shock or maybe disbelief, but actually the meaning is that leadership requires us to expect the best in others, even when hard things are required. Without the proper training, soldiers will not be prepared for what they will encounter on the battlefield and they need to be prepared for anything.

At anytime during the course of our lives we find ourselves in positions of leadership and/or of being led, to teach correct principles and then live by what we teach, to give orders and take them.

The test of a true principle is that it holds up under every circumstance. I've reflected on this lately in light of my job, my calling, and my relationship with friends and family and I believe that only good can from from expecting the best in others and not feeling sorry for them for the tests we must all go through in this life. Many of our trials are the result of our choices. But we should love each other and provide support while we seek to learn and grow during our mortal tests.

I'm sure that our Heavenly Father has great expectations for us and has sent us here to learn to do the hard things, without a lot of whining and complaining, because we need to learn to be strong spiritual leaders. And he probably doesn't feel sorry for us because he knows we can do it, with His help. And we are called to help and lift others along the way.

And speaking of lifting, how often do we react to the needs of others by simply saying something quick and often thoughtless in an attempt to make them FEEL better. How much more helpful it might be if we actually took the time to bear our testimony of true principles that could inspire them to BE better.

I hope that I can remember that I am here to train to BE better, and not allow myself the temptation to try to shortcut my training.
Especially since I seem to need more of it than the average person. Thank you to all who take the time to try and train me!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting a Jump on the Season

In true form, I bought the supplies to make this cute advent calendar last year. I just finished it tonight. It's made from a 24 mini muffin baking tin and magnetic squares covered with card stock and embellished. It was a lot of fun once I got started and it gave me an excuse to listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on CD while I was working. So I can check this little guy off my "to make" list although it needs a better bow. I must decide what to put in all the little compartments. Treats, scriptures, or service? Any ideas? Our Relief Society has a once a month provident living class called "Tasty Tuesday". This month the class taught simple hot water bath canning and the item canned was Carrot Cake Jam. I know that sounds so gross, but it reminds me of a really yummy spicy pineapple sauce. It's super easy to make and smells like Christmas morning! I could put the recipe here, but just google it and the first hit is a winner!
Note: We reduced the sugar to 4 cups and it was plenty sweet and still firm.
We also put our little "outdoor tree" in the arctic entry this weekend for dinner group. That is probably the only one to see daylight this year due to the holiday traveling schedule. But it's giving a nice glow to the front of the house.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Panda Bear

Valli and Madeline came over on Halloween night to pick up some things and here she is! This is the cutest costume I think I've ever seen. I wish I'd seen Valli's as well. Oops! Sorry Valli - didn't mean to chop you out. This was under the costume. Still cute for Sunday Halloween dressing. Love the tights.
Loves Grandpa's remotes.
Loves Grandpa too!
Loves to take pictures. They left for the airport very the early the next day. We hope to see them soon.
Loves tortellini! We left a little on her face.
Bye bye Madeline!