Thursday, December 18, 2008
The first happened a few days ago. I was walking out of the office after a really crazy day at work. I just wanted to get to the car and go home. I passed a woman and a little girl who appeared to be about 4 years old. The little girl was singing at the top of her lungs,
“Oh, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town!”
The next experience happened today in Sacrament Meeting. There was a special musical number performed by the Matthew and Zachary Zalar along with their mother. It was a medley of Christmas hymns and Matthew played the violin. I wasn’t prepared for the feelings that rushed into my heart. I thought of my mother and how when I was younger, we would do the same kind of things. Both Bobbye and I cried and cried.
After church, as I was putting the nursery toys away, I saw Savanna Prince walking down the hall. She had candy from the Bishop’s office in her hand as she greeted me with a huge smile. I hugged her and asked her if she was excited for Christmas. She said that she was and she was looking forward to getting presents. I agreed with her that it was fun to get presents at Christmas. As she followed me into the nursery classroom, she said, “Sylvia, Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and WE get the presents!”
It took me a few minutes to fully comprehend what she said. As I did the tears began to flow once again. I am thankful for the wisdom of a 5 year old. This Christmas I hope each and every one of you remember how blessed you are because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ gave US all the presents. May your hearts truly rejoice during this wonderful holiday season.
Friday, November 14, 2008
a) link to the person that tagged me.
b)mention the rules of the game
c)tell six quirks about myself
d)tag six other people
e)comment on their blogs to let them know they have been tagged
I am hoping so far that I have accomplished the first two rules. So on to the quirks...
1. I love to do dishes. A clean kitchen makes me so happy. Cooking the meal is fine and I enjoy that too, but cleaning up the kitchen and making things organized and sparkling just really satisfies me. The rest of the house can be in total chaos, but if the kitchen is clean and organized, then I am a happy camper. I like to cook, but refuse to do so in a dirty kitchen. So in our house, that means, Eric does most of the cooking! About once a month, I get really frustrated and attack it with all my might. That cleaning lasts for a week or so and then it is trashed again. Since returning to work full time 8 years ago, I have had to learn the art of selective neglect. I selectively neglect this dirty kitchen because I have more important things that need to be done in my limited time. This habit has saved my marriage since I am married to "Messy Marvin".
2. I hate to leave home. I know this may sound odd, but I could stay home for days on end. Those of you who have been to my house, know that I have everything anyone could ever want or need so I wouldn't have to go out for a long time! I have noticed that this is an interesting paradox, because all my life, I have had to be gone from home. My secret desire is to be locked in my home for a month...oh, the things I could get done!
I have had tremendous opportunities to travel and each time I have a trip coming up, I get really nervous. I just hate to leave. This doesn't stop me from going and having a great time, but I really enjoy coming home.
3. I have really weird sleeping patterns. When I was younger, I considered myself a "night person". I functioned the best between 10pm and 2am. This didn't work well while I was in school. After I got married, I had a few years when I could still stay up late and sleep in. When I started back to work full time, I had to learn to go to bed early and get up early. Usually I am asleep before 10pm and I get up around 5am. Sometimes, I wake up even earlier. This happens frequently on the weekends. I have found that I get a lot done early on Saturday morning because everyone else is asleep.
4. I have a fear of drowning. Not so intense that it keeps me out of or away from water. In fact I love the water. It is just every now and then when I am driving across a bridge, I think about the car plummeting into the water and what I would do. Part of me thinks I would try to escape and then another part of me thinks I would just let go and surrender myself to the deep. I hope I never have to actually face that fear. When I was a little girl, we lived in eastern Pennsylvania and we would have to drive to one of my parent's friends houses a lot. She was an elderly lady named Sister Jonnsen. The road to get there was narrow and winding. On one side was a river. I would be scared every time we drove on the side of the road closest to the river especially in winter when the roads were covered with ice and snow.
5. I have a two new loves...Cruising and Florida. After having such a great time on my recent vacation, I have spent hours dreaming and planning about a return trip. I am totally in love with Florida. Now I am smart enough to know that I don't want to go there in the summer, nor do I really want to live there--way too hot! But just like Utah, a visit now and then is perfect.
6. I have two things that I have never done, but would like to do before I die. I have never been to Disneyworld (or Disneyland for that matter). I would like to go there just once. Not to ride the rides but just to experience the atmosphere of "The Happiest Place on Earth". Of course it would be fun to sleep overnight in the Princess castle! The other thing I have never done, but would love to do is to attend the Tucson Gem Show which is held every year in February. It is one of the premiere gem trade shows in the world. It is strictly for business owners so I will have to either know someone or have my own business. About ten years ago, Eric's mother got to go to the show with her Sister in Law who owns a quilt shop in Tucson. She bought me a really neat sterling silver and opal ring. She told me that there is so much to see you can't even see it all. I just want to see all the gems.
Ok. so here is where I don't play the game too well. I am going to "freeze" on tagging anyone else. Number one, I don't know how to link people. Number two, I am sure that it is so late in the game that everyone I know has already been tagged. So thanks for reading my quirks. Feel free to comment and know that you are all safe...there'll be no tags from me!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I learned many things from attending this conference. First of all: The Gardner Girls Rock! We are all awesome, talented, funny, smart and beautiful women. Second: It is important to take time to do things with the ones you love regardless of the sacrifices you have to make. Third: Cruising is a great way to vacation. I have never felt so pampered in all my life. I am looking forward to taking Eric on a cruise someday.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
It was hard to do, but I did it! When I sat down to write out my goals for 2008, I never imagined I would find myself actually wanting to go downtown and be around a whole bunch of people walking in the rain. I started my walking program to help me lose weight. This has been particularly frustrating since it isn't happening the way I would like (but that is for another blog). When Maura mentioned walking the 5K at the Flying Pig Marathon, I thought, "ok, I can do this."
I worked really hard in January and February to get my walking distance up to 4 miles at time. In March I started having some health issues so cut back a bit and I completely stopped in April. I was very frustrated and wasn't even sure I would be able to do the 5K even up to last week. On Tuesday I made the decision that I had set this goal and I was going to do it even though I had not walked in over a month. I put in my slow walking DVD and managed to do 2 miles before I quit. I did ok so figured I would just go for it.
Friday at the Health Expo was a total blast. Maura and I checked in and picked up our posters, T-shirts and other goodies. We walked around and I just took in the atmosphere. At this point, I have to interject that I usually avoid crowds, events and the like so this was highly out of character for me. Maura was so knowledgeable about things and I loved her enthusiasm. It really lit my fire and made me eager for the events of the next day.
I hardly slept at all Friday night. We got up at 5am and were out to door by 6 to pick up Maura. We got downtown and parked in a great spot--I have to say here that this was my real fear--where to park so that Eric didn't have to do a ton of walking. I prayed that things would go well and they did. Shane told us exactly how to get where we wanted to be and we parked about as close to the action as you could get. Once we were there, I was more relaxed.
It was wet and drizzly when Maura started, but I really enjoyed cheering her on as she left. She inspired me so much and I was extremely proud of how well she finished. It was a highlight of my day to stand there at the "finish swine" and clap as she crossed. She totally rocks! It was fun to see all the cool stuff they had for the racers once they finished and it made me excited for my turn.
We went back to the car and hung out for a while. We ate snacks and watched the people walking by on the sidewalk. We could see that the rain was starting again--so much for the weather forecast that said the rain would be over by 9am! Silly weathermen!!! When it came time for my race, it was pouring down rain. I was really excited despite the wet conditions. The thing that impressed me the most was the participants...there were all kinds of people: young, old, skinny, not so skinny, people in wheelchairs and some were even blind. When Maura initially mentioned I should do this walk, she told me about all the different people who participated. Seeing it for myself, just drove home the point that everyone can participate if they want.
I started off strong and confident, the first mile was easy. Maura was talking to me and coaching me the whole way and I was so thankful. I could have done it alone, but she wanted to be there with me. Her encouragement helped me get through some really rough spots where I would have been tempted to quit. Before we got to the 2nd mile marker, I could feel the blisters starting to form on my feet because my socks were so wet. There was a point where the course was not marked well and we--like many others, because we were following the crowd (also a lesson for another blog) went the wrong way. We had to backtrack so that we could get back on course. We could see the finish line, but still had about half the course to run so we joked about going across, but decided we did not want to cheat ourselves from having the full experience. On we walked.
When I was nearing the "Finish Swine" Maura broke off from me and ran ahead to meet up with Eric. I was left to walk the last part on my own. It was at this point that I had two profound thoughts which brought tears to my eyes. The first was that I was actually going to accomplish my goal which made all the work and sacrifice worth the effort. The second thought was about the Savior when He atoned for our sins. When the suffering got difficult, an angel was sent to strengthen him, however, there was a point where he had to finish the task alone...and he did. Maura was the angel that strengthened me. She stayed with me until it was time for me to finish the race on my own.
This experience has changed my life forever. I am now really excited about walking and running other marathons. I have set a goal to run the 10K next year and I also want to walk the 5K with my sweetheart, Eric. My heart is full today as I contemplate the numerous blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me. Maura, you are the best. You were sent to me at a time when I really needed you.Thank you for your support and encouragement. To those of you reading this (since you have persevered to the end of this rather long posting) this is an open invitation to join us next year. We would love to share a walk/run with you.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Last April, he went to Mercy hospital with pain in his abdomen. He was transferred to UC where they treated him for a blood clot in the main vein coming from his liver. He was doing pretty well with his treatment, however during a procedure there was a complication which caused him to go into respiratory and cardiac arrest. The doctors and nurses were able to bring him back, but were certain that he would not live. I was at the hospital when this happened and it reminded me a lot of what you see on tv.
We were blessed to have two worthy Priesthood holders working at the hospital that night who were able to administer to him. The blessing was beautiful and comforting to myself and also his mother. In the days and weeks that passed, Louis got stronger and eventually was able to be moved to a long term care facility in Utah so his mother could be close to home. In Nov. he came home from the nursing home and now lives with his parents.
He still has a long way to go. He cannot speak, but his facial expressions let you know what he is thinking. He requires constant monitoring, but he is home and he is happy. This brings me to my story for this week...I called my sister to see how she was doing and the Relief Society president answered the phone. At first I thought I had dialed a wrong number, but she assured me that I had not. She told me that Martha was busy with Louis and he was having a problem so they were taking him to the hospital.
Later that night, Martha called me to explain that Louis was choking on some mucous and they couldn't get it out. She shared with me how wonderful and calm his brother, John, was as he called 911 and explained that they needed help. She said that John looked at Louis and told him, "Louis, you stay here with us. You don't go to Grandma! Stay with us."
As I have thought about that statement the past few days I am amazed at John's perspective. He is 16 years old and he shares a large portion of the responsibility to care for his older brother. It would be easy for him to resent the time he has to sacrifice to care for Louis. It would be easy for him to resent the time that his mother has to spend taking care of Louis. My sister said she feared that they were going to lose Louis and she was sure that my mother was there during this episode.
I also know that this past year for Louis has been frustrating. One day he is healthy and able to go about living his life the way he wants and the next he is trapped in a body that won't work. I have wondered what impact John's words had on Louis. I have marvelled at the love John showed for Louis. Most of all, I am thankful because I understand how John came to love Louis so much.
When John was little, Louis was a lot older and he loved John and always went out of his way to do things with/for him. One might think that would be the reason, but the real reason that John begged Louis to stay with them is because he truly loves him. I believe this love came as a result of the example of my sister and my mother. My mother cared for my handicapped sister, Julie for 20 years and allowed each of us to take part in that. The privilege of caring for Julie is one that I treasure to this day. I miss her a lot. Martha now is doing the same thing as she teaches her children while they care for Louis.
I know for a fact that we love those we serve and there can be no greater blessing than this. I am so thankful for John's insightful words..."Stay here with us." Don't feel like you need to leave just because you are tired, frustrated, too much trouble, or you think we are tired and frustrated. We will take care of you because we love you. We want you here with us. What a different world it would be if more people understood the power of unconditional love. Thank you John, for giving me a fresh perspective.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Some of the children followed my prompting and tried to put the piece into the space I was showing them but they were not sucessful because it was slightly twisted and it didn't match the opening. Of these, some persisted to follow my instructions and eventually got the piece to go in the opening and others started looking for and trying to put the piece into another opening.
Some of the children didn't pay any attention to what I was showing them and immediately tried to get the piece to fit into a different space. It became frustrating for me because I was trying to help them and they weren't listening.
Some of the children were excited about taking a turn with the toy and others didn't really care at all if they got the piece in the correct place. It didn't take long before I was ready to put the toy away!
As I reflected on this experience this afternoon, I wondered how many times Heavenly Father has become frustrated with me. In the past few weeks, I have been struggling with some health issues and I have been extremely frustrated. I have prayed and asked for help. I have had Priesthood blessings. I have acted on the things I have been instructed to do and nothing changed. This past week, my patience was exhausted. It was 3am on Tuesday morning and I had had all I was going to take. I was on my knees issuing an ultimatum: Solve this problem or else! (and the "or else" was that I would work all week because I have to and I would rest all day Saturday and Sunday and I wouldn't be going to church). I did feel somewhat guilty about throwing a temper tantrum, but I was really tired. I have since repented of the tantrum.
In the hours and days that followed, I got the answers I was needing. How thankful I am that despite my temper tantrum, I was blessed by a Heavenly Father that loves me. In thinking about my experience today, I know I had the right pieces to the puzzle, they were just slightly askew. Instead of adjusting each of the pieces, I was looking for a different opening that fit the way I had them arranged. After humbling myself and making some alterations I was able to see some changes. As these changes came, I expressed my gratitude for the blessing.
I had planned to attend an all day stamping party yesterday, but instead spent the day in bed getting the rest my body needed. I know this was the place I needed to be even though I wanted to be with my friends. I knew it was important that I have the strength to be in the nursery class and that if I have to work all week and sleep all day Saturday so that I can be there on Sunday then that is what I will do.
Nursery today went pretty well. I am confident that there is much good being accomplished and that is why I am experiencing such opposition. Corrie's talk in Sacrament meeting today was very uplifting. With my current struggles and stress, I know I need to be in church each week. I also know that Heavenly Father will give me the strength to be there. I am hopeful that in time, I will get all the pieces into the ball and everything thing will be in the correct order. I just have to be patient and listen to His instructions.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
We had so much fun during our whirlwind weekend in Texas that we wanted to travel again so almost immediately after getting home, we started planning another trip. We looked for airline tickets online because we decided that we didn't like flying stand-by. We found a great deal and reserved our tickets. The day before the deadline to actually pay for the tickets we talked again about taking the trip. Neither of us felt good about going so we canceled the reservation. A few months later we were humbled as we realized that had we gone on the trip we had planned, we would have been flying home (or should I say trying to fly home) on Sept. 11, 2001. How thankful I am that we followed that prompting.
Pam found this dude ranch online and we decided that we should go there. The rates were good because it was the end of the season. One of the highlights of the trip was called "The Sunset Ride". Now, I must confess that I was a little intimidated by the prospect of riding anything up the side of a mountain, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity and I was not disappointed. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I'm sure the ranch hands were accustomed to dealing with people that didn't know anything about riding and I was thankful for this. The mule's name was "Shaw Lynn" and he was very gentle. They had steps that I walked up to help me get on his back. It was nothing like trying to get on the cow. After a brief lesson on how to ride, we were off! Pam was riding behind me and she coached me a few times until I got the hang of it.
We started up the mountain and rode for about 30 minutes until we came to a beautiful lake. It was just about sunset and the temperature was great. I remember being in awe of my beautiful surroundings. It was the beginning of Fall so the leaves were starting to change color. It was wonderful. By the time we got back to the ranch it was nearly dark. Pam snapped this picture so I could have photographic evidence of my ride. I don't know why I didn't take my camera with me? I definately will, the next time I do this.
During this same trip, we went to Yellowstone National Park. That was my first time to go there and I didn't get to see Old Faithful, so I have to go back someday for that. We also stopped in Grand Teton National Park. Now that was a beautiful place. We drove to Twin Falls, Idaho so I could visit my grandmother and we spent a few days in Salt Lake visiting my family. We knew we had done a lot in the ten days we were gone because we logged 2000 miles on the rental car! Wow! Oh, and I also got a speeding ticket in Taylorsville, Utah--but that is a story for another blog.
I am sad to say that since this trip we have not traveled much. Lives get busy and so for now we have nothing planned, but I am hopeful that in a couple of years after her children have graduated from high school, that we will again be able to take a trip together. How thankful I am for the beautiful earth that the Lord created. I am also thankful for the freedom to be able to travel about and see these wonderful creations.
Friday, April 4, 2008
As a follow up to my ABC's, I thought I would post some rare pictures of me doing things that are a little daring. This first picture is from New Year's weekend in 2000. I went to Texas with my dear friend, Pam Clark. The story is quite funny...you see, her mother worked for US Air and we got really cheap tickets flying stand by. We wanted to go to LA, but that was pure foolishness. We flew from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh where we checked all the available flights to the west and then started sitting at gates. We finally made it on a plane that took us to Dallas. We rented a car and got a hotel room for the weekend. This picture was taken at the Fort Worth Stock yards.
This man was walking up and down the street. He would let people get on the cow for pictures. Pam (who had lots of experience riding horses) was able to get right up there on the cow. Now, for me it was a little different. The man (standing there next to the cow) said, "If you can get your foot up in that stirrup, I can get you on that cow." Being the daredevil that I am, I said, "No problem!" I stepped up as high as I could and got my foot in the stirrup. Then jumped. He pushed. I pulled and you know, I got on that cow. Great picture, don't you think?
Pam and I had so much fun on this trip that we decided to do it again. In my next posting, I'll show the infamous "Sylvia on a mule" picture from when we went to the Dude Ranch in Montana. I am really thankful for my adventurous spirit. I am especially thankful that even though I have a lot of "body" I have enough muscle to do just about anything I want.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The end of Feb. I got sick with a really bad ear infection and I had to slow down. I was making good progress on my goals, but since then, I have lost my momentum. Having to stay inside last weekend, gave me the time to get things back on track. I will confess that I usually hate snow. I like the way it looks and how peacefully it comes down from the heavens, but once it starts hanging around on the ground, it begins to create problems for my life. We have been blessed with a really good neighbor who will clear our driveway with his snowblower. He has saved us many times this winter. He was able to clear the driveway on Friday evening, but after the big snow on Saturday, his snowblower froze up before he could get to our driveway. I ended up shoveling it myself which was really good for me. I enjoyed the exercise--which I have to say, before starting my walking program, I wouldn't have enjoyed shoveling all that snow.
This afternoon, as I walked out to the car from church, I saw the sun shining, I heard the birds chirping, I breathed in the fresh, slightly crisp air, and I got excited about the arrival of spring. I am so thankful for this time of year when things are fresh and new. It gives me hope that I, too can begin anew. I can make the changes I need to make to become what I want to become. I am thankful for this Easter season. I am especially thankful that this year it comes early because I feel like I really need that reminder right now.
Last Sunday, Eric and I held our own Sacrament meeting and read several articles from this month's Ensign magazine. I was thankful to read the testimoy of President Hinckley. This morning as I was getting ready for church, I reflected on that and then thought about General Conference which is coming in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to hearing from President Monson. I am thankful the Heavenly Father loves us enough to give us prophets and leaders who love us and desire to help us live the gospel so that we can be happy.
Serving in the nursery has given me some really choice experiences. As many of you know, it was hard for me to accept this calling. I have struggled with this like no other calling I have ever had. I can't even tell you exactly why. It has been a challenge for these young children to adjust to being in Primary. I have worked hard to make the atmosphere inviting and also establish a routine but despite this, we still have some that cry.
I want you to know how much I love these children. They are so sweet and it is wonderful to see their progress each week. I am amazed at what we have accomplished in such a short time. Today, they played together so well. They are singing more of the songs and the funniest part of class is when we do moving to music from the Primary 1 CD. The children are really great and I am thankful that Heavenly Father has given me a chance to get to know them. I am looking forward to taking them outside for walks when the weather gets warmer. Spring will be here soon and I am so thankful!