By them I was taught to work hard, to serve and care for others and above all to stay faithful even in times of hardship and trial.
My Dad was a high school math teacher and a mason. At 73 years old he is still laying brick and is in high demand for his artistic and beautiful work. I have fond memories and battle wounds to show for my days working along side my Dad on construction sites. He also spent a lot of his teaching years coaching basketball in the small town where I grew up. After many years coaching the boys he made the switch to coaching the girls when my sister and I were in high school. I loved having him for a coach and have great memories of those times.
I have never heard my Dad be critical of another person and he is always the first one to lend a helping hand to someone in need.
Nine years ago this month my Dad under went a live donor liver transplant at the U of A hospital. My brother Ron was the donor. After a lot of pain and many struggles he made a full recovery. I love my Dad and I'm so grateful that on his birthday, 42 years ago, he and my Mom chose me and brought me into their lives!
My Mom is Gold!! I love her and appreciate her for so many reasons. I'll name a few...
She taught me to love and appreciate beautiful music.
She is so smart and is always learning new things.
She loves the scriptures and reads them everyday.
She taught me how to work.
She is so resourceful.
She is full of FAITH.
I have always said that had I been a pioneer, I would have wanted my Mom in my company because their is nothing that she can't make, do, or figure out. She never complains and will work until the job is done no matter how long it takes or how hard it is.
My Mom has sacrificed so much to give me a life that I know I otherwise never would have had. I'm so grateful that she lives her life close to the Spirit and that she taught me how to do the same.
Just a little bit about each of my siblings.
Brent lives in New Mexico and works in airport security. He has four kids- Kennedy, Madison, Nelson and Bailey. They live in Magrath with their mom Sheila. Brent baptized me and taught me how to drive!
Mark lives in Augusta, Georgia and is married to Geri. They have 5 kids- Krista,(who is married to Evan) Matt, Scott, Graham and Hannah and 2 adorable grandsons-Thatcher and Levi. Mark is a chemical engineer and I think he works for Nutrisweet? If that's not right it's one of those artificial sweeteners! Though Mark and I aren't that close in age- our kids are. Our older kids have great memories of their older kids as they lived in Fort Saskatchewan before they moved away to Georgia.
Ron is married to Teresa and they live in Colorado Springs. They have two kids- Tanner and Tara. Ron is in the US Air Force and he holds the highest rank that a civilian officer can hold- don't ask me what his Title is- I just know he's pretty important!! One of my favorite memories of Ron was the time he let me curl his hair on a band trip... it was the early eighties and his longish blonde curly hair was the envy of everyone on that trip!! (ok maybe not the guys, but the girls for sure!!)
Ken lives at home in Magrath. He works at Nutters in Lethbridge and is the sweetest, most dependable guy you'll ever meet. Ken has a HUGE movie collection which makes him a pretty popular guy with all the grandkids.
Suzanne lives in Salt Lake City, she just recently got a new job working for Volunteers of America AND she goes to school full time AND she is MOM to five fantastic kids -Yuki, Isabel, Micah, Camille and Maggie. Suzanne and I are two years and 1 day apart in age. She is the sister who I will always regret not getting along with better as a young child, but who I gratefully connected with as a teenager. I will always wish that we could live closer to each other because she is my only sister and I miss her AND neither of us is very good about staying in touch.
What a cute bunch! This is a picture of my family just before I was adopted. My oldest brother Brent is standing right in front of my Dad. Mark is on the far right. The twins Ken and Ron are in front of my Mom and my one and only sister is in my Mom's arms. The girl beside my Mom is Donna Thompson who was a neighbor and one of our favorite babysitters. As you can see my parents had their hands full!
This picture is my family- minus my two older brothers who died as infants- and my three younger brothers who of course weren't born yet.
After I came along my Mom and Dad had three more boys... Brian, Trevor, and Keith
Below is my younger brother Brian and his lovely wife Linda. They are expecting their first babies- twin girls!! Linda's water broke last week and she is only 29 weeks, so she is in the hospital and is taking medication to help the babies lungs and brains develop quickly. Our prayers are with Brian, Linda and their babies.
Brian and Linda live in Denver.
This is my brother Trevor. He lives in Ogden with his fabulous wife Jeannie and their four kiddos - Parker, Morgan, Jonah and Kate. Trevor is a chiropractor and if he lived closer I would let him work his magic on my back but only because he's my brother!!!
Keith is the baby of our family and of course he holds a very special place in my heart!! I was ten years old when Keith was born and I was soooo sure that he was going to be a girl that I bawled my eyes out when my Dad came to my class room at school to tell me that the baby had been born and it was another boy!! It didn't take very long to decide that I could love him even though I didn't get the little sister that I was hoping for. Keith was born with fragile X syndrome which is a form of mental retardation. He is a lot like a Downs syndrome child but with different physical traits. Basically he is adorable! I can't even begin to tell you all the life lessons I've been taught because Keith is my brother. He is such a blessing to our family and is a constant reminder that Heavenly Father knows what our family needed and we needed Keith!
The very little picture below (I can't figure out how to make the scanner do it's thing) is of Keith and I at his graduation in 1996. He asked me to be his "date" for Grad and I gladly accepted!
Finding time to get everything that needs to be done accomplished.
It's funny because just yesterday in Sacrament Meeting the High Councilman gave a talk on this exact subject and it was also discussed in Sunday School and Relief Society. It seems to be an ongoing issue for so many of us.
If I don't have enough hours in a day to do all that I need to do why am I spending time on this blog of all things? Because we all need balance... that was the take home message from Sundays meetings and I know that when I try to live a balanced life my stress level is decreased and though I still may not get everything done everyday, I am a happier person, a better wife, a kinder mother and a real friend.
Balance is important, but a lesson that I seem to have to keep learning through trial and error is that dedicated, consistent personal worship of our Savior is paramount to being a happy, productive, stress free individual. I KNOW that is true. Studying the scriptures everyday and praying for guidance in all that I do is what helps me stay grounded. When I neglect these basic simple truths in my everyday life I get STRESSED.
A few weeks ago I went to Texas to visit Maryn and then spent a week with my Sister In Laws at the Houston Quilt Show. It was a great time and I was glad for the break from my real life, which at times can be a bit out of control. Here is what happened though. Because I have been given the awesome opportunity to teach seminary each day, a large portion of my time is spent reading, studying and pondering the scriptures. I pray before I begin my preperations, sometimes as I prepare and always after I am done to acknowledge the Lords hand in helping me accomplish the task. When I was gone I took my scriptures with the intent to read each day, it didn't happen. I tried for the first few days, but soon forgot as the fun and excitement of the holiday took over. On my flight home with several free hours spent on the plane and in airports I read a lot and tried to make up for my lack of time spent doing concentrated daily reading. Well it doesn't work. The days missed were done and I found myself feeling stressed and uptight and farther from the Spirit than I had felt in months. Don't get me wrong, holidays are for fun and we all need time off from our regular lives, but when we neglect what is MOST important in our lives, things get off track fast.
So, before this gets way too long for even me to read, let me just say this:
Something that STRESSES ME OUT is not taking time everyday to read the scriptures and pray. It's that simple! Go do it for yourself, it will change your whole day... I promise!
In all my spare moments (and yes I do have a few moments) I have been enjoying the commentary on a friends blog as she is doing the "15 day challenge" and because she has encouraged all to "jump on the wagon" I have decided to do just that... like the title to this post states, this could possible be the longest 15 day challenge EVER, but I'm still going to give it a try!
Here are the details:
Day 1 - Self portrait picture and 15 interesting facts
Day 2- Something that stresses you out
Day 3-Your siblings and parents
Day 4- Something you're looking forward to
Day 5- pictures of things that make you happy Day 6- A song that makes you cry and why
Day 7-Favorite movies
Day 8-A place you've traveled to
Day 9- Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 10-Something you're afraid of
Day 11-Favorite tv shows
Day 12-What you believe
Day 14-Some pictures you love
Day 15- pictures of your Dream house
So here goes the 15 interesting facts about me:
1. I haven't needed or used an alarm to wake myself up in the morning for well over 20 years. My internal clock was always set for about 6 to 6:15 am and never failed me. These days it's more like 5 am... read on to find out why. (and no, I'm not pregnant!)
2. After 21 years of having little children by my side, on my back, on my lap, and in my face. I have finally graduated to being a Stay at Home Mom sans Kids! ( just while they are all off to school!)
3. I love being the first person to walk in freshly fallen snow and even though I complain bitterly about living in what was, for one day last winter, "the coldest place on earth" I do enjoy the peace and beauty of crisp white snow at insanely early hours of the morning!
4. In August I was called to be a Seminary teacher and besides the complete chaos that has found it's way into my home life, I am loving it and learning so much! (this should help explain #1)
5. Fresh flowers are my fav and i am not afraid to buy them for myself!
6. I can't remember the last time I didn't fall asleep at the movie theater.
7. I could never live in a house with plain white walls... I'm pretty sure it has something to do with living in a place where it is winter for 8 months of the year.
8. I really really want to learn to scuba dive.
9. Apparently my jaw pops when I chew... everyone can hear it but me!
10. Mice freak me out!
11. I hardly ever make my bed... but it does get made everyday. Thanks Mark!
12. My first two children are born on April 1st exactly two years apart. The next one was born two years later on May 1st and after that I honestly have to refer to a list in my wallet to get all the dates right!
13. I like to ski but secretly would rather be a snowboarder.
14. When I was 14 I hiked to the top of Old Chief and back down in white canvas Keds They went in the garbage when I was finished.
15. Fifteen is a lot of facts and I'm really not very interesting!
I am a wife to my best friend Mark, and 7 great kids call me MOM! I love my family and everything I do is in some way an attempt to make our lives together better and more meaningful! I take life one day at a time and try to make each day a good one!!