Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Your Thoughts and Mine.... and a couple memories, all thrown into one....

Are my thoughts like your thoughts, sometimes?    Full of the good, the bad, and the silly?  It's a good thing that we usually don't act on all of our bad ones.  And it's too bad that we don't act on enough of the good thoughts that we do have.


Have you ever driven by the neighborhood where you grew up and found that your childhood home had been torn down?
I have... the childhood home that I spent ages 4-11 in, and had a little barn that my dad built from from materials from a little old church that he helped tear down... and a big yard with a wooden walkway thru the yard and garden to the barn, because my dad was a neat freak
(and still is - and now I love it)
. . . .it's all gone.
Replaced by cookie cutter-San Francisco-style attached homes and apartments.

Gone are the trees I used to climb.
The sandbox I used to play in. 
The creek that my brothers and I used to catch crawdads in (well, my brothers did that, not me!)
Lots of memories, just erased. 

And while I realize that room needed to be made for homes for many families on the nearly one acre lot that we used to play on, it's still a little devastating...

Has that ever happened to you?


When I was a tot, like other little kids, I watched the typical children's shows. 

(Until I was 6, when my younger brother turned the TV off and on and off and on and off and on until it blew the picture tube.  Didn't have a TV again 'til I was 13)

They were educational, both of them:  Electric Company and Sesame Street.   I was too young to remember if they did this back then - I doubt it - but I hate it when children's shows - and I am particularly talking about shows geared for pre-school kids - promote the latest controversial fashion or social trend.

Not their place.  
Whatever happened to just teaching the tots their ABC's?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Where Is Hell?

For decades pundits have been saying that the New Orleans Saints were so bad at playing football that Hell would freeze over if the Saints ever won The Super Bowl.

  On Sunday, February 7, 2010 the Saints won the Super Bowl.
On that same Sunday Washington D.C. was paralyzed under several feet of snow and the Government was shut down.
Do you think this indicates the actual location of Hell?

And another somewhat related thought here....

To Pee or Not to Pee ...

Words of wisdom from an unknown person. . .  

Like most folks in this country, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes & the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.

In order to get that paycheck, in my case, I am required to pass a random urine test (with which I have no problem).

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

So, here is my question: Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their BUTT----doing drugs while I work.

Can you imagine how much money each state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

I guess we could call the program "URINE OR YOU'RE OUT"!

Something has to change in this country - AND SOON!

P.S. Just a thought - all politicians should have to pass a urine test too!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Enjoying a Beautiful Day!

On Monday, we had some beautiful weather

(Tanner did NOT need his coat!)

so I took a few of the kids & grandkids to the park....
  Yes, even my teen-age girls.  We had a blast, and the weather was great! 

And it was a good thing that we went when we did.  Today was a wet yucky day out, just perfect for naps --

--and just hanging out with grandma!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Airport Scanners . . .

Here's a solution to all the controversy over full-body scanners at the airports.

Have a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you. It would be a win-win for everyone, and there would be none of this crap about profiling. This method would eliminate a long and expensive trial. Justice would be quick and swift. Case closed! This is so simple that it's brilliant. I can see it now: you're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system: "Attention standby passengers we now have a seat available on flight number..."

(or perhaps: "Clean up on aisle 12?)
. . .  and just for the record, this is just a joke!  I saw another one of these emailed jokes being reported on the news as though the sender was totally serious about it . . . you've seen it, the one where "Michael Jackson was their favorite singer, and Farrah Fawcett was their favorite actress, and by the way, Obama is my favorite President."  
Reasonable people know this is just a joke...
I don't really think we should blow up people in the airport.  (Think of all the children that might be around.  Too traumatizing).  It's just that what we are doing is so benign and backwards, it makes people crazy, as in, if we don't laugh about it, we will cry ourselves to sleep . . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hello From Tennessee!

My parents left the beginning of  February to serve an 18 month LDS mission to Nashville, Tennessee.  They are sooo busy, this is only the second letter that I have received from them so far.  And it sounds like I am lucky to get it!  I am glad that my parents are youthful enough - at 70 years old - to keep up with it all!
If any of you former missionaries ever wonder what those Senior missionary couples do in the office while on their missions, well, wonder no more!
~*~       ~*~       ~*~       ~*~       ~*~       ~*~       ~*~        ~*~ 
There is never a dull moment here. When we get to our apartment at night we are dead tired, we eat and go to bed.
The time is going very fast. We are already on our second transfer which means that we have to re-organize the missionaries and update all the lists, etc. The transfers occur every 6 weeks and we get a new group of missionaries, usually about 7 and roughly the same number go home. The new missionaries come in on Monday and we orient them and they go to the mission home for dinner, a testimony meeting and stay there overnight. The next day everyone that is involved in the transfers goes to the Franklin Stake Center and boy is that wild. The missionaries are really fired up over their experiences and we hear a lot of good experiences and then they find out who their new companions are going to be and off they go. That same afternoon we go to the Temple which is right next to the Franklin Stake Center and shares the same parking lot, and we attend a session with the missionaries who are going to be released. After the session, the missionaries that are going to be released go to the mission home have dinner, a program and a testimony meeting and stay all night there. On Wednesday they fly home. It is always a very emotional time as they want to go home and yet they don’t. It is very hard for some of them. The senior couple that went home the last transfer cried and cried and even weeks later were still unsettled about what to do with themselves once they got home.
Did you notice all the dinners? They don’t happen by magic. Sister Hutchings, Sister Christiansen, (of the other office couple) and I help with at least 3 group dinners a month. Sister Hutchings has it all figured out and does the same thing over and over for specific events as they don’t include the same missionaries for most dinners. In between time we get visa waiters who stay until they get their visa for a foreign mission. There are also temple sisters who are transferred from and back to their temple mission. They usually stay about 3 months. The church wants them to have a regular teaching mission experience. That are wonderful! We just transferred Sister Paterson back to Nauvoo. She was amazing! She and her companions were consistently teaching about 75 lessons a week. The average is around 25 in our mission. President Hutchings had her present her approach to all 7 zone conferences. The last one we had at 7 am so that she could be there before her flight to Nauvoo at 9:30 am. I was able to hear her presentation that morning, and what a sweet, sincere missionary with a message!

Elder Merritt’s responsibilities include: accidents to report, repairs to co-ordinate, registrations to renew, an oil change and tire rotations schedule to maintain, presentation of a safety program in every zone conference which can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 ½ hours one way travel time. There are 6 conferences with 7 zones and 50 cars to inspect every other month. He then enters the changes in the condition in the computer. There are also reports on mileage and gas receipts and credit card reconciliation for all repairs and oil changes and training drivers and updating their status.

We change 2-3 apartments a month and so I find the new apartment and close the old ones. I keep track of the money and supplies and make sure that 140 missionaries have their proper allowances and luggage fees. I pay rent and utilities on 55 apartments and reconcile credit card purchases on office supplies. There are also maintenance issues for the apartments, furniture and appliances to co-ordinate. I also help forward all the mail that comes to the missionaries through the office and fill in for Elder Merritt when I can. Needless to say there is very little down time. We aren’t complaining. We love being busy and still we don’t do as much as President & Sister Hutchings. They never have a day off. At least we can go to the apartment get some sleep. They survive on 4-5 hours a night because he is always on the phone with missionaries or there are medical issues that she is dealing with. He uses 5,000 minutes a month on his phone and I hear hers is more.
All in all we are busy and happy to be serving the Lord. We did get a chance to teach the gospel essentials class this week and we have been able to go on teaching appointments. We want to do more of that and probably will when we get a better handle on the office responsibilities.

Give our love to all. We would love to hear from y’all.

Love Elder and Sister Merritt

PS We love Tennessee!
I wonder - are they going to come home with a Southern accent?  My guess is Yes!
And if you want to read their first letter, go here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spokane Washington Tax-Day Tea Party (and Why I Love Idaho!)

After all the posts I have done voicing my opinion about the government, the economy, and the direction they are headed towards,  I decided it was time to do something besides just faxing and emailing my congressmen and senators. 
(and feeling slightly frustrated  too, I might add, because my {Idaho's} representatives view the world in a morally and fiscally conservative way, for the most part.  That's a good thing, yes, but how do I make a difference - on a national level, I mean?)
After checking to see if there were any rallies anywhere in Idaho (there weren't), my husband and I decided  to attened the rally that was being held in nearby Spokane.
Saw this as we were parking....
There was some diversity . . .

. . . and lots of signs being waved, voicing various opinions

There were some great speakers, and a couple of youth who sang an original patriotic song,
and the Governor of Idaho, Butch Otter (great redneck name, right?) spoke.  

We also heard from a Representative from Washington state. 

The difference between liberal-leaning Washington state and quite-conservative Idaho?
In a nutshell, Idaho has cut it's operating budget by about 30%.

The democratic majority of theWashington legislature wouldn't even listen to budget-cut proposals made by the republican representatvies (sound familiar?).    This is in a state where about 189,000 people have lost their jobs. And during the same period of time, government jobs grew by about 1%.  Not a big number, it's true, but shouldn't the public sector feel the same kind of pain that the private sector is feeling?

Just a thought.
Great turnout in this relatively small city . . . this is only about half of the people that were there.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Yummiest Chili Ever!

Yes, I do believe that I make the yummiest chili in the world.  At least, that's what my family says, and if they're sayin' it, I'm sure not going to argue.  Especially when my food doesn't get that many compliments in the first place.    (Really, usually there are complaints at almost every meal from at least one person.  And that's when the meal is a hit!)

But I do have a few other people who might back me up on the chili issue.   A few years back,our ward held a Chili Cook Off.  Due to the craziness of this particular activity, the chili got set out to be served before the judges got to taste-test it.  My chili didn't win; didn't even place, but that was because there was none left to sample!  That's how good it looked and tasted and so got slurped up right underneath the judges' noses!
photo courtesy of google images

So Sunday, for our bi-annual General Conference potluck, I served this specialty of mine.  And I did get compliments.  And even got asked (again) for the recipe.  It's time I shared!  (And a bonus - it's really easy to prepare!)

My Family's Favorite Chili

2  - 30 oz cans Western Style Chili Beans ( I use all Western Family brands)
1 - 14.5 oz can black beans
1 - 14.5 oz can kidney beans
2 - 14.5 oz cans Petite Diced tomatoes with Green Chilies
2 - 10.5 oz can condensed tomato soup
1 -TBS chili powder
1 -2 cloves garlic
1 - 2  medium onions, chopped
1 or 2 fresh chopped chili peppers, with seeds and veins removed
2 pounds ground beef

Cook ground beef in a large pot till almost cooked through.  Add chopped onions, jalapeno, and garlic and finish cooking til onions are just softened.  In large crock pot, add all the canned ingredients.  Add cooked meat and onions and 2-3 cups of water, and stir together.  Season with chili powde,r and salt & pepper to taste.  Cook in crock pot on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.  Serve with cheddar cheese or any other favorite topping.

And, if you want the recipe for the really yummy cornbread that I make to go with this Chili, go here.  You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Quilt of Holes

by Cynthia Groopman

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles;   an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.
But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been

difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again.

I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.  Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes.   He said, 'Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles.

Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.'

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

God determines who walks into your life's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.'

The author of this email asks to send this back to her, and send it on to others.   Instead, maybe you can put this on your blog, and pass this message along....
The author goes on to say... 

If you'll do this for me, I'll do it for you....When there is nothing left but God that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

General Conference - and Why I Love My DVR . . .

After getting the chills yesterday afternoon and then the night sweats, I was worried that we would have to cancel our traditional General Conference potluck.  This is where a few families will come to our home and watch conference with us.  Then a few more families will join all of us for the best potluck EVer! 

We have been doing it for about 12 years now, and I was so sad to think that we might have to cancel it this year.

But thankfully, I woke up this morning feeling really good.  No chills, no aches, no fever.  

Great Conference. 

What I actually heard of it.

Unfortunately, even though I'd felt well, apparently I didn't get enough sleep.  So I slept through the first half of it. 
In front of our guests.  They are all great friends, so they understand...
Still, So rude!

Then just before the second session was about to start, I started feeling icky again. 
Sore throat this time. 
Couldn't hardly drink my ice water. 
So I gave in and slept through all but the last 2 speakers. 
Nothing really registered in my brain with those talks, either.

(To be truthful, those that know me best know that I have a hard time staying awake through movies and shows in general.  But not feeling well just made it worse....)

So, thanks to the invention of the DVR, we do have all the sessions recorded.  Yesterday's and today's.
(And I did try NOT to breathe on our guests too much!)

So tell me, what are the best, can't-miss-highlights of conference this year??? 

(I KNow, they are ALL good!)
But help me out here anyway, please  . . .

Which were your favorite talks?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools!

In honor of April Fool's Day, I thought I would post the best family joke ever.  But then I realized that I'd already posted this story last year.   But for those of you who missed it, here it is again!
The Accidental April Fool's Joke

In honor of April Fools Day, I am not going tell you silly jokes, leave silly comments on your blogs, or play a prank on you. . .

Instead, I am going to tell you about the best April Fools Day EVER!
that happened accidentally.

First Week of February 2003

My then almost 16-year-old daughter Kayla got up one morning and told me that she had dreamed that I was pregnant with twins! I looked at her like she was crazy, which was exactly what I was thinking. After all, I had 6 kids already, and my oldest was approaching 20 years old. Not to mention how old I was.

But I didn't tell her then what I already suspected: that I was pregnant.

Sure, I was in denial. I even thought it was possible that I was entering menopause. Women in their late 30's - it could happen, right?

Late February

A quick home pregnancy test confirmed what we already knew. My husband and I were a little freaked out, but we knew that if this is what Heavenly Father wanted for us, then we wanted it for us, too.

Early March

Talked about telling the kids. Decided to wait. Spent my time laying around on the couch, dead tired and nauseous.

Mid March

Talked about telling the kids. Decided to wait. More couch time. Too tired to even read. TV was my friend, but I don't remember anything I watched.   Found out later that Kayla seriously thought I was sick, as in possibly terminal, and was kinda scared.

Late March

Talked about telling the kids. Decided to wait. Tired and grumpy all the time. I'm sure by then my kids were wishing I was dead. . . JK

A Few Days Later

Woke up one morning; didn't consult the calendar.

Decided that this was the day that I'd tell the kids.

Told Kayla first.

She looooked at me, and then surprised me by starting to laugh.

"Good one Mom. You really had me going for a minute."

I looked at her blankly, not knowing what the heck she was talking about. "What a good April Fool's joke. . . . . right, Mom? Mooommmmm?!?"

She finally believed me when I told her that I really was pregnant.

Then she went to school all freaked out, and also had to take a psych exam.  Perfect.

So, a little later that day, I told the rest of the kids. One by one. They all thought it was a really funny April Fools joke. I was too sick and tired to try and convince them.

8+ months preg with #7
April 2

Kids heard us talking about the baby. Some more.

"Um, mom, dad, that was just an April Fools joke, wasn't it?"

Took us all day to convince them that the baby, now affectionately known as Tanner Alexander Carey, was for real!

And Kayla's dream about twins? I think it was a warning. . . this little guy was (and still is) busier than all six of my other kids put together!