Totality

I had not made up my mind if I wanted to travel to see the total eclipse when I first started hearing about it.  Once I started hearing more about it though I knew I wanted to see it with my own eyes.  One of my favorite YouTubers did a video on it that really got me excited, but it was a this TED talk that pushed me over the edge.  After that, I knew I had to go.  I have seen partial, or annular eclipses before.  They are cool, but there was so much hype for the total eclipse, and it wouldn’t be this close to my home for another 38 years it seemed silly not to go.  We homeschool our kids so what teacher wouldn’t want their student to see this phenomenon with their own eyes?

We ended up with last minute plans in Pavilion Wyoming.  It worked out perfectly.  Pavilion is right on the centerline for the totality.  An entrepreneurial horse farmer renting out his lawn on Airbnb guaranteed us a 2min and 23-second duration for totality.  As luck would have it, the aforementioned YouTuber would be in Lander Wyoming for the eclipse and to record a live episode of a podcast he does.  We would have an opportunity to meet him.

All of that helped make it a great weekend, but totality.   Totality exceeded my expectations in every way.  You can google some impressive pictures, but seeing it with my own eyes was A-MA-ZING.  I cannot describe to in words what I saw. It just wouldn’t do it justice.  I felt the eclipse as much as I saw it, maybe even more.  Back at work, I had two coworkers who saw it as well.  We had to talk about it, only we didn’t have the words.  We confirmed though it was as amazing as we thought it was.  It wasn’t just the hype.  I have to see that again.  I will see it again.

God’s got it covered

The other night I was sitting with my open journal, thinking back on the day to find five things to be grateful for.  Some days it is easier than others, and this was a tricky day.  And as I struggled to list my five, a picture flashed in my mind.  It was of my 7-year-old sitting on some playground equipment with two little girls, talking and laughing and feeling confident.  And I recognized it for what it was–God taking care of His precious child.

You see, that day I sent her out to find a friend to play with.  We homeschool, and my kids spend far too much time with me.  She is my child who needs social interaction, but I wasn’t in the mood to put any effort into it.

I got busy with other things and at least 45 minutes passed before I asked my other kids if they knew where she was.  No one even knew she had left.  10 minutes later she comes in the house and sits on the couch; she had walked all over our neighborhood, knocked on four friends’ doors, and each one had reasons they couldn’t play.  I was proud of her and sad for her; I can only imagine what it took for her to keep on trying.  But there wasn’t really anything I could do to help her feel better.

But God could, and He did.  We left that park that evening; she had two new friends; and she was her usual buoyant self.  I honestly didn’t know she needed it.  But I am so grateful someone did.

I am so grateful the spirit gave me that insight that night.  Something that seemed so insignificant at the time was shown for what it was.  It makes me wonder how many times I miss all of the little things God does to take care of me, to make sure my needs are met.  Miri didn’t know she needed those 15 minutes of friendship; I don’t know what I need; but God does, and I’ll just trust He’s got it covered.

Trista’s Nuggets of Wisdom, Volume 1

I received an email this week that challenged me to write a newsletter once a week. What?! The idea being that if I knew I was going to be writing a newsletter, then I would pay more attention to what is happening and find some deeper meaning to some of the experiences I have. Well, I thought it was a great idea for my sister in law! So I forwarded the email on to her. When she responded by saying she was excited to write a month of newsletters, I took a moment to consider whether I also should take on the challenge.

The thought occurred to me that maybe this is how general authorities have so many stories from their lives that they can recall and tie into gospel principles. Maybe if I thought about it a little more, the Lord is actually teaching me truths through my ordinary, every day life as well. So what the heck, here goes!

Tuesday night Sabrina informs me she needs to do her hair in a bun mohawk for her theatre performance Thursday evening. Which naturally makes my stomach tighten because me and hairstyles…well, let’s just say they haven’t yet mixed.

So Wednesday morning I sit her down, and we watch a YouTube video “Stuffed Bun Mohawk”. It looked simple enough, so I parted her hair. And I tried to get my fingers to do what the lady on the video did, but I felt like I had no control over what they did. So we watched the video two more times because it LOOKED SO EASY; I must be misunderstanding a simple instruction. But no, every time I went to try it I felt smaller and smaller. So I watched other, similar videos, all of which said “easy”, “simple”. And every time I turned to Sabrina’s head, all of the little negative voices in my head screamed at me; and I was paralyzed. Honestly, tears were welling up and I wanted to scream at all of those people and hit a few of them. Because it was NOT easy! (Luckily my beautiful friend Cami was willing to step in and bun mohawk her hair for her performance).

As I sat there wanting to cry and disappear, I did take a few minutes to contemplate the situation. How often do people say things are easy, that you can do it; yet it isn’t for us, and we feel frustrated, anxious, insignificant or unworthy?

On the other hand, how often do we give the impression something is easy and that if you just try, you’ll be able to do it.

Like last week during our Relief Society lesson, a wonderful lady shared how she has learned to be specific in her prayers. And when she is specific, she receives amazing answers and sees miraculous results. And yet again, I wanted to get up and leave the room because “ha”! I have been very specific and been working so hard to be in tune and to do everything necessary to be “worthy” to receive, yet I have never been more frustrated at the lack of response I’ve been getting. In that moment, I felt small and confused.

Or when my kids are encountering something in their school work or their attitude, and I say “You can do this. I know you can! You just need to try.”. But the more I say that, the harder they cry. I’m being positive and encouraging, so get over yourself!

I could go on and on with examples. So what did I learn? That easy is relative; that I need to be more gentle with myself and with others; that maybe I need to step in and do it for someone because how they feel about themselves is more important than that they need to be able to do it right here, right now; that I might need to lower my expectations (gasp!) to allow for growth; that God gave us all strengths so we can help others where they are weak.

What will this next week bring?

Triathamom

Have you ever met anyone that felt strongly that they didn’t like something when you know they haven’t really given it a try?  You know though that nothing you can say will ever change their mind.  I know someone like that too.  I married her.

Trista didn’t know how to swim.  I said didn’t so you know where this is going.  I tried to teach her once, but failed miserably.  She didn’t mind the water she just literally didn’t know how to swim.  We would take the kids swimming, but you don’t need to know how to swim to do that, so it worked.

Trista owns a bike.  She’s ridden it.  I’ve seen her.  She’s never enjoyed it. We would ride to the Arctic Circle with the kids.  Not the actual arctic circle, while fun and quite far from here, but the fast food joint Arctic Circle.  We would transport our bikes to the Jordan River parkway so she could do her kind of biking, COMPLETELY flat.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but I like bikes.

Trista never liked running.  I have signed up for a couple of running events and she would question anyone’s willingness to just go out and run.  Her observation is that no one looks like they are having fun.  They all look like they are in pain.  Not much has changed here she still pretty much feels that way.

Fast forward to a few months ago.  Her sister has the idea to do a triathlon.  It was kind of a big deal because she felt the same way about the three sports involved that Trista did.   Trista hummed and hawed about whether to do it, but decided to sign up.  Training started and immediately she wondered what she had gotten herself into.  She started going to the pool to teach herself to swim and the coolest thing happened.  There was a masters swimming class going on the mornings she went to practice.  The instructor of that class took notice and quickly told her that she was not a good swimmer, but she could help her become one.  She loves to teach swimming, but the people that come to her class don’t need that much help.  She told Trista if she came a little earlier she would help her, and boy did she!  I mean check it out!  This girl didn’t know how to swim, and now she swims 300 meters.  You can walk in that pool, but she was determined not to walk.  She would swim the entire distance.

So this girl who had no desire to ride a bike had to get on one to do this event.  We are about the same height so I made some minor adjustments to my road bike and put her on it.  She was nervous at first, but it didn’t take her long to get the hang of it.  Another strange thing happened, she liked it.  Not only did she like riding a bike she like riding hills!  The day of the event came, the course was an out and back.  At the furthest point out was a hill you went down then back up.  For whatever reason the cut the hill out and had them turn around at the top.  Trista was bummed.  She actually asked the cop blocking the road if it was okay if she rode the the hill anyway!  (He said no.)

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Check out that smile!

I have no good story for the run.  She did it.  She probably enjoys it a little more now than she did, but it won’t be her first choice.

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Never the less and not withstanding, I’m impressed.  The transformation in her abilities and enthusiasm was fun to watch.  She started out to do hard things, but by they time the triathlon came I don’t even think it was that hard at that point.  She exceeded her own expectations and mine as well.  She already has plans for next years triathamom.  It was fun to watch her on this little adventure.

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The full group of triathamoms.

P.S. We are now in the market for a women’s road bike.  Crazy!

Good advice

Have you ever received some advice and disregarded it because you thought the person was being overly cautious, or maybe you just didn’t trust the source?  Maybe you thought “ain’t nobody got time for that”.  Then later, with more information, you wish you would have listened to them?

I had a moment like that this week.  I had a hive of bees.  They didn’t survive the winter.   Last year they were doing really well though. The first couple of summers were kind of disappointing.  They were doing okay, but there wasn’t much by way of excess honey.  There wasn’t any for me, and if I’m being honest, that’s the real reason I’m doing this. Finally though, honey to spare. At least 20lbs of it.  I went through the hive and pulled out all the good frames of honey, and put the boxes with the honey in the garage.  You need warm days to extract honey. It wasn’t there quite yet.  Here’s where the advice came in. I was told I needed to freeze the frames of honey because if I didn’t moths would take over.  I had seen a documentary on Netflix about bees and there were moths that would invade hives, but you might see one or two. We don’t have enough room in our freezer for all the frames so I took the “he is overly cautious” and combined it with the “ain’t nobody got time for that” and did nothing. Well I saw some moths a few weeks ago, then Trista tells me there is honey leaking from the hive.  I thought that was weird because bees have been doing this for thousands of years, and they are pretty good at building a structure that can hold honey for a long time.

When I finally opened up the hive I had no idea what I saw was even possible. You see these are wax moths. All they are interested in is the wax and pollen. There were hundreds of larvae crawling around destroying the wax and leaving behind a brown substance that I suppose is excrement. All the while the honey is dripping to my garage floor oozing out. So not only do I have no honey, I have a huge mess.

I decided that bees are really good at cleaning up honey, and the moths are really good at cleaning out the wax.  Who am I to try and out do them?  I’ll let them have a go at it and clean up the rest.

My advice to you is take the advice of those that have been doing things longer than you.  Otherwise you may have an unnecessary mess to clean up.

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Louisville

I recently went on a trip for work to the Louisville temple to upgrade their phone system. I had never been to Kentucky. It’s a beautiful state. I couldn’t get over how green it was.  Everywhere I looked was dense forest. The city and towns seemed to be carved out of the forest.  I know I live in a desert, but somehow I forget.  When I visit places like Kentucky I see the stark difference, and am quickly reminded.

While I was there I was Invited to a empty nesters family home evening. My hotel room was empty so I went.  I try to say yes to opportunities when I travel. That’s usually when the memorable things happen.  This was no exception. The theme for the evening was share your favorite scripture and why it is your favorite.  As each of these people shared I realized that nearly 100% of the people in attendance were converts later in life.  Most were found by missionaries.  I thought about a couple of things.  One, missionaries work. Two, where would I be if I hadn’t grown up in the church?  I’m not sure I would be member.  I gravitate toward skepticism, I need to work on that.  I think I’m open minded about religion, but because OF my religion.  I love the outdoors and when I look at Delicate arch or an amazing sunset. I struggle to see how that’s an accident. The amazingly delicate balance required to sustain life on earth alone is a testament to a higher power.  I have come to those conclusions on my own not from being spoon fed them throughout my life.  So if a missionary knocked on my door and I had no attachment to any church I might hear them out.

Being raised in the church not even knowing for sure what generation of member of the church I am, then sitting in a room full of faithful members that found the church and made decisions in their lives that led them to conversion left me pondering.  We all have our own conversion stories, but having not had to find the church on my own leaves me grateful.  The thought of having to find it is scary.  We all ended up in the same room at that time, but our journeys were very different.  I was grateful for their testimonies, but more grateful for mine.

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Blake’s Birthday

If you looked up obsess in the dictionary, you might see a picture of Blake. When he gets into something it’s all he can think about.  He has had an obsession with pokemon for some time. If you let him, he can go on and on about different pokemon, and their power and evolution. If they have a legendary, or a mega. When he heard about pokemon go of course he was interested. I had it on my phone and once he saw it he had to have it. He wanted to get it on his tablet. I warned him it probably wouldn’t work on it because it needs a GPS to know where you are.  We tried to install it, and sure enough it wouldn’t install. It wasn’t compatible. He tried to hide it, but I could tell he was devastated. We took pity on him let him create an account on Trista’s phone. He was elated. Always wanting to go hunting. He even took Shelby and Jonah out with him one afternoon.  Tonight for his late night we played pokemon go. He was able to level up, and hatch an egg. He even took over a gym and collected 10 coins. You should have seen him. I don’t know if he could have been happier. I had a good time watching him. If I have any questions about pokemon, I just ask Blake.  Cameo made a cake for him for his birthday WAY better than we could (or would) have. Thanks Cameo!

He is excited to be nine. I am excited to spend time with him and hear him obsess over whatever he wants. It’s fun to see his excitement.

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Happy Birthday

Today is my little brother’s birthday.  He turns 400…I mean 40 years old today!

Most kids at some point dream of being a firefighter someday.  My brother doesn’t have to dream about it because he lives it.  I’m not sure when he decided he wanted to be a firefighter.  Maybe all those years in a warehouse driving a forklift gave him time to dream of it. Maybe he dreamt of burning the warehouse to the ground I’m not sure.  What I do know, when he decided it was all he wanted.  His eye was set on it.  He found a way to get his foot in the door with wildland firefighting.  This took him away for a week or more at a time, but sleeping in a tent by night and fighting forest fires by day sounds pretty manly doesn’t it?  That worked well for him for a while, but as the family grew the time away wasn’t very conducive to family life.  He moved on from wildland, but his goal was still clear.  While he work another job he got his EMT to increase his odds.

Now because so many little kids have the dream of being a firefighter, and many adults are only called adults because of age and height, there is a lot of competition for the openings.  Sometimes hundreds would be competing for a handful of jobs.  He didn’t get in at first.  That didn’t stop him.  He tested with different departments.  Eventually he found an opportunity with Weber fire dept. It was only part time, but he was in. He did what it took to work two jobs.  He knew that part time would lead to full time, and he was right.  Eventually he was hired on as a firefighter. He wasted no time in testing his way into driver/engineer and with his superior knowledge and slightly bulging belly he made Captain.

I’ve never heard him say he doesn’t like his job.  Quite the opposite. He has said on many occasions he’s working his dream job. He looks forward to going to work. Not everyone can say that.

Happy Birthday Captain.

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Check it out a new post!

I was up mopping the floor tonight when I heard the kids door open, the light in the bathroom came on.  Time went by and the light was still on, and the door still open.  I didn’t think much of it.  Often the kids come out to use the bathroom, but fail to turn off the light and close the door.  So as I prepare for bed I need to get the light.  I round the corner and find this in the hall.

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I guess bed was just too far away.  I felt bad at first waking her up to help her to bed, but I’m sure she’ll sleep much better now.

 

On another note.  Jonah…

Jonah has become…how do I say this…a troublemaker.  He hits, pushes, and throws things now. Not cool.  He also grabs a chair and slides it over to any counter to help himself to whatever caught his eye.  The other day I was cutting watermelon.  It was about nap time and Shelby asked me to go take a nap.  I love it, and couldn’t say no to that.  I get her down and hear a bit of a ruckus in the kitchen.  I come out and the older kids inform me that Jonah was helping himself to watermelon.  Not a big deal except that instead of eating the cut watermelon from the bowl he was clawing at the half of watermelon still uncut.  I wish I had pictures of him in action, but all I have is the evidence.

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His cuteness is currently his saving grace.

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