Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grateful for the Cold!

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm so grateful for the cold weather that has suddenly swept through Wyoming. Last week, we had spring-like weather with sunshine and above 60 degree temperatures. My tulips were coming up and the grass even started looking a bit green. When I heard that it was supposed to snow yesterday and that it would be freezing cold for a while, I was so sad!! I had hoped that, just for once, spring might come early here. Spring in Wyoming usually comes near the end of April or beginning of May. I guess I got fooled!

Well, now I'm actually glad it's cold! Our fridge broke down over the weekend and we weren't able to get a repairman out until this morning. The freezer still worked so we were making as much ice as we could to put in the fridge and keep the food from spoiling. I wish we had realized it was broken before I went grocery shopping on Saturday! It turns out that the controller for the defroster is broken and the airway from the freezer to the fridge is blocked up. The repairman replaced the controller and said that we had to defrost the freezer for 24 hours in order to clear the blockage. So, all our food is outside the backdoor, which is nice and cold. Isn't this a lovely picture of the contents of our fridge? Most of the blue plastic food containers have ice in them, for keeping the food cool inside the fridge when I bring them back inside tonight.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time Out for Women

Besides losing my wallet, Time Out for Women was awesome! I had fun just being with women who were all trying to do the best they can in life. I felt uplifted and reassured by the speakers and the music. There was a lot of laughter and moments of spiritual reflection. I wish I could've recorded the whole thing but here are some of the things I remember most.

Sister Okazaki's talk was based on these words by the prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves" as applied to dealing with others, particularly our children. Well, let me tell you I wish she could've spoken for much longer so I could get how to do this. I for one could use some help getting my 3-year-old to govern himself. She talked about the principles of agency and love and the importance of respecting our children's agency and showing love to them. This is definitely much easier said than done for me. Sister Okazaki should write a book and share in more detail how she was able to get her second graders to solve conflicts with each other without her involvement and to behave when she had to leave them without supervision in the classroom for periods of time. I personally think she just has that magic touch... and is a genius for figuring out how to teach correct principles.

A really cool realization dawned on me on Friday night as we were listening to Michael McLean talk and sing. It's a connection I've never made before because I've only heard his music a few times. I have to start with the story of how I became a member of the LDS Church.

It was Easter Sunday and I was flipping through the channels. For some reason, I stopped on the PBS channel which was showing what I later found out was "The Easter Dream." I didn't know what it was and I only caught the last few minutes. At the time, I was 15-years old and had been trying to figure out what was the purpose of life, why I was here, and where I was going. Life's big mysteries. So, at the end of the show, there was an ad for a free video, "Our Heavenly Father's Plan". I thought, "Cool, a free video!" and I called the 800-number. Three weeks later, a couple of elders knocked on the door with the video. That led to me taking the discussions and being baptized.

So, basically, this video changed my life! And I realized on Friday night that Michael McLean directed the video! After the event had ended for the night, a bunch of friends and I went up to talk and get pictures taken with him. I had to tell him the story so he could know that at least one person's life was influenced for the better by his work. When I told him the story, he said that he was involved in every single aspect of the video from writing script, directing, and writing the music. How cool was that?

Another speaker I loved was DeAnne Flynn, the author of The Time Starved Family. Besides the fact that she told the most hilarious story about how she didn't want to die naked in her kitchen, I loved her message about being prepared to meet God. It really struck me how we go along with our lives every single day and not really be any closer to being ready for the time when we will have to meet our maker. I know what it's like to sit down at the end of the day and ask myself, "Where did the day go?" It seems like there's always something to be done: laundry, diapers, meals, dishes, phone calls, playgroup, bills, work, and on and on... I'm grateful to be reminded that while there are many worthwhile things out there, I need to not let them take place of the things that are most important to me like strengthening my relationships with my family and loved ones and being ready to go when it's time.

I'm really glad I took a "time out" for myself. It's given me a chance to reflect and to refuel so that I'm ready to tackle the everyday routine again.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How I Lost My Wallet

I've always thought what a nightmare it would be to lose my wallet. If someone unscrupulous happens to find it, he/she could do a lot of damage. I've heard horror stories of identity theft and how devastating it could be on your life. At the very least, it is a pain to try to replace the driver's license and the credit and debit cards.

Well, today it happened. I was down in Denver and we went to Subway for lunch. I was in line and as I got closer to the counter, I decided to get my money out to be ready to pay for my food. I opened up my tote bag and realized my wallet was gone!! I thought maybe I'd left it in the convention center where we were sitting. After lunch, we went back to the convention center and I checked at the courtesy desk as well as the lost and found to see if anyone had turned in a wallet. Nope. I then checked the bathroom stall where I could've left it because I remembered bringing it to the bathroom with me.

As the time passed by, and there was still no wallet to be found I became worried that maybe some strange person from off the street had walked into the building, used the restroom, found the wallet and taken it. In my mind, I pictured the person taking all the cash. (I usually don't keep cash on me but had just gone to the ATM this week in anticipation of needing it for this weekend.) I didn't care too much about the cash since that was a small loss compared to the damage that could be done if thousands were charged on my two credit cards and one debit card. The thief could max out the cards and wipe out my bank accounts. The more I thought about it the more anxious I was for my wallet's safe return.

I checked lost and found a couple more times and even talked to the events center facilities staff. No luck. I thought maybe I was going out of my mind. I double-checked with my friend who drove and asked her if she didn't remember me asking her to hold a notebook and my wallet for me so I could have my hands free to put on a necklace when we were in the parking lot. She thought she did remember doing that.

During my search, I said many silent prayers that I would be able to find my wallet. Finally, just to be sure, I decided to check the one place I knew for sure it couldn't be. I got the car keys and walked out to the parking lot. It was a long shot but I've got to check everywhere. I opened the trunk, got into my bag and rifled through the contents. It wasn't in the side pocket. I dug into the main compartment and there it was, hidden between the pajamas and toiletry bag, my beloved missing wallet, safe and sound. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and realized what an idiot I'd been.

This has to be THE worst case of mommy brain I've ever had. I'm glad I didn't lose my wallet but I'm afraid today will always be etched in my memory as the day I lost my brain.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Something to Look Forward To

I have never been away from my kids for more than a couple of hours, unless you count the few days I was gone to look for a place to rent when Dan got a job offer in Wyoming. Not that I'm complaining because Dan and I are great partners in caring for our kids and doing household chores. Dan does a lot around the house and works very hard at his job all the while dealing with pain resulting from a car accident many years ago. Still, I do dream about taking a break once in a while.

That's why I'm so excited about this weekend: I'm attending Time Out for Women in Denver with a bunch of women from our ward! For those who are not familiar with TOFW, it's sponsored by Deseret Book. There are presentations/talks by prominent LDS people. This weekend features Chieko Okazaki, Kenneth Cope, Michael McLean, and others. This is my first time going so I don't know what to expect but a friend has told me it's amazing. So, I'm ready to be amazed! I'm also looking forward to hanging out with my friends and eating at one of my favorite restaurants. And I heard there's a hot tub at our hotel. Mmm!

I've been looking forward to this since I signed up last month. I'll be gone from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening. I've gotten Ellie to nurse only once a day so she won't be too upset while I'm gone. Dan knows what to make for dinner. All I need to do now is pack by bag!