Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Stop Signs in Life

My daughter sent me this picture the other day and it really made me think:
Funny Pictures Of The Day - 74 Pics:
The funny thing about this is the fact the sign in literally in the middle of NOWHERE!  There isn't a street corner, no intersection, no NOTHING!!  Just a field of corn.  How boring can that possibly be.  I should know, I see fields of corn EVERY day!

But, with the picture she sent this message to me:

"sometimes we just need to stop and take in our surroundings and see where God has placed us at that time. ...Be thankful for what you have."

Now I know that she is my child.  She is even starting to think like I do, kinda.  But really, what she said made me stop and think.  Have I taken the time to ponder why I am where I am?  Have I thought about why God has placed a figurative stop sign right here in this time of my life?  When I am having a bad day, do I ask "why me? why now?" or do I try to figure out why I was given the bad day in the first place?  For most of these situations, the answer is NO.  But on occasion I do literally stop in the middle of it all and THINK about the WHY.

A new school year has started for my family and with that comes new experiences and challenges.  The biggest one is my daughter starting college.  She is only 40 minutes from home, but already I am feeling the effects of her absence.  She is even of the attitude that she can make it in life on her own without her mamma.  Although I am thrilled to think that I raised her right and with a strong desire to progress on her own and see what happens, I do miss her.  It would also be nice if she were to at least make me feel a little better by pretending to still need me, just a tiny bit.

My son started first grade and I thought we were going to have some issues.  On Back-to-School night he held onto my waist in a death grip that nothing could break.  He wouldn't talk to his new teacher and he defiantly wouldn't come out from behind me to even look at her.  One week later school started and everything changed.

When I walked him to school and into his classroom, he gave the teacher a great big hug and didn't even glance back at his mamma.  Not more than two hours later, I get a call from the school.  Now, if you are a mamma of school-age children, you don't dread anything more than a call from their school.  Especially if it is on the first day!  They told me there had been a small accident in that my son had been playing outside on the playground and a stick from a low-hanging branch of a tree jabbed him in the head and that he was bleeding.

I tell you, WORST CALL EVER!!!

I scooped up my youngest daughter, grabbed my car keys and rushed to the school as quick as I could.  I was totally prepared for the worst possible situation ever.  Mainly cuz when my boy gets the tiniest of owies, he squeals like a stuck pig and just gets louder as the time goes on - especially if you tell him he is going to be ok.  

Boy was I shocked to find him sitting calmly on the couch in the office without the slightest indication that he had been injured in any way - except that his hair was now tinted blood-red instead of his normal blonde and there was blood on his clothes.

I was impressed with how he had gone straight to the office and calmly stated "I hit my head" then let the office staff clean him up as best they could and didn't show any sign of distress.  He was even able to rattle off his phone number for them so they wouldn't have to look it up.  When I got there, he let me finish cleaning him up without so much as a whimper.  I was able to get his hair back to blonde, put him in a clean shirt and walk him back to class.  When he got back to class the teacher greeted him with great concern and told him that he was "a tough guy" and his friends were excited to see him again.  He made it the rest of the day and even came home happy.

Now I am starting to wonder if I am needed in my son's life anymore ---- well, maybe just a little.  I am trying to focus on what this particular "stop sign" is trying to teach me.  I love my children more than life itself and it is soooo hard to see them growing up and moving on without me.  I just hope that I can be there for them when they come to their own "stop sign".

Friday, August 26, 2016

Fake It Til You Make It

So, I love this picture:☮ American Hippie ☮ Think Brave:

Sometimes we don't feel exactly brave and up to the task of dealing with the things that life throws our way.  I have learned the hard lesson of "FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT" A LOT this past couple of weeks.  Let me tell you, it has been an up and down roller coaster that I wish I could jump off of, but in the end the ride really was worth the trip.  I even learned things along the way.

I was recently placed in a situation that I didn't want to be in.  I'd been having a really crummy day and I was at my mamma limit with "kid antics".  I just wanted to have the "saving grace" of my sweet hubby when he walks through the door to give me a tiny 5 minute break.  That was not meant to be.  

Instead, I had to head over to the local park for a church party without said hubby (until later that is).  I was completely drained - if you are a mamma you know EXACTLY what I am talking about!  I sat there "venting" to my dear friend about the things that I was exhausted with when the bishop's wife came to me and asked if I would pass out a couple of games for the "more mature" members of our church.  I REALLY didn't want to do this, but she was VERY persistent in her request.  So, I pulled up my figurative "boot straps", plastered a smile on my face and set out to do the job.

I went from one person to another with a "fake" smile on my face and then after awhile of helping the "mature members" laugh and put a smile on their face, I started to feel better about the day.  There wasn't a single person that I talked to, and convince to take a game, that didn't laugh or smile in some small way.  I could see their burden become a bit lighter because I was willing to give them a tiny bright spot to look at even for just one minute.  My smile started to become genuine and I really did feel lighter.  I felt like I could handle things for the rest of the night.  I was even able to have a greater love for both my kids and my hubby after all was said and done.

Lesson:  Even if you don't feel like doing something, or if you feel you can't do something, do it anyway.  You never know who's life needs to be touched by your smile.  You will also start to notice that you are "faking" it less and "making" it more.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A New Chapter Begins....

So my daughter graduated from high school this past spring and is now headed off to college this fall.  We had the distinct opportunity to take her over to college and get her settled into her dorm this weekend.  This was a very bitter-sweet experience.

We spend all our children's lives preparing them for that fateful day when they will eventually move onto the next chapter in their lives, and yet there is a tiny space in your heart that screams "NO!  I'm not ready to let you go yet!"  That is where I am at tonight. 

I know that my baby girl has grown up to be an incredible young woman that has a level head on her shoulders.  I know that she will go far and do well in all that she is now involved in.  BUT I will still miss her.  My hubby, big tough guy that he is, had a difficult time locking the door the first night she was gone.  He said, "It just feels weird to lock the door and know that she isn't coming home."

I promised myself that I would not cry - and I haven't - YET!  I am getting teary-eyed as I write this and when I dwell on the fact that she is indeed moving forward with her life.  But there is an upside to all this too.  She only lives 30 minutes away and still loves to call home and come for visits.  YAY!!

Today she called and told me about an adventure that she had just today.  You see, the college she is attending offers a free shuttle service to and from campus.  They call it the "campus loop".  There is also a local bus system in the city that will take you anywhere in the city as well.  This bus also stops on campus to pick up students that need to make a run into town.  This being my baby's first time riding the shuttle system, she accidentally boarded the wrong bus.  She stepped onto the city transport instead of the college shuttle.  She texted me with her dilemma and the only advice I could give her was to sit back, enjoy the ride, and people watch.  That way she would have many stories to tell later.  After about an hour she finally made it back to her dorm.

This got me to thinking about how we ride the transports of life - do we get on the wrong bus, or do we pay attention to what is coming and going and make sure to ride the correct shuttle?  If by chance we DO get board the wrong bus, do we moan and complain and worry that things are going to turn out horrendous?  Or do we sit back and enjoy the ride?  Sure, it might take us time to get back on track, but what are we willing to learn from the experience?  

My theory has always been that you can either complain about a situation that you are placed in, or you can take a deep breath and learn from the situation.  Either way you look at it, you have to go through it cuz there isn't any going around.  Might as well take the deep breath and look for the good in the situation cuz the other alternative is just gonna give you ulcers and migraines!

I love the quote from Marjorie Pay Hinckley that says:
Image result for marjorie pay hinckley quote
 So, my life has started a new chapter.  It is sad to turn the page in the book of my baby's childhood and hard to see her grow up, but at the same time, I am excited to hear all the stories that she will share with me along the way of her new adventures.  And, I do get a small consolation prize, I still have two little ones at home that I can share more adventures with for years to come!

May your days be filled with laughter.  May you look for the adventure in a "wrong bus".  And, may your story be one worth telling.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Life's Little Blunders....Ugh!

You know how you are planning to do something really right for a change and then it turns out you did it really wrong?  Well, that was me......TODAY!!  

I feel like Ohh in the movie "Home" who sent out the email inviting the sworn enemy to their new home - "You're all invited to a party!  Just head to the Milky Way, turn right at the Big Dipper, third planet from the Sun.  Look for my balloons!"
You see, I was in charge of sending out an email to the ladies of my church, reminding them of the upcoming activities.  During this very simple task, I was interrupted SEVERAL times and when I have distractions and interruptions, accidents happen.  So the intended recipients DID get the email, along with EVERYONE I have EVER emailed before in my entire history of email.  This included, and was not limited to, several customer service places, my friends and family in other states, and maybe even one or more of you readers received my errant email.  This experience has showed me that even when I think I am doing things right I have LOTS of room for improvement.  Luckily, this particular email will not result in the destruction of my planet!

The funniest thing about this is I had included the quote:

I hope that the rest of my week goes better and this isn't an Oman for doom!  May your week be filled with as much adventure as mine will be (I get to answer responses to my errant email - yay!) and you remember that NOBODY is perfect and that we all need a little lovin' instead of criticizin'!

Oh, one other thing.....Learn to laugh at yourself for your mistakes, it makes you look human!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Yellowstone Bear World

Finally on our way home!  YAY!  But first, a sidetrack to the AMAZING Yellowstone Bear World.

We packed our van and said good-bye to our temporary home in the shadow of the beautiful Teton Mountains in Wilson, Wyoming.  We had many great memories and lots of fun times, but as always, vacations need to come to an end at some point.

Because we had at least a four hour drive home, we decided to use some of that time to visit Bear World where we would be guaranteed to see BEARS! 

Before we got to the habitat for bears, we made a stop at the beautiful Rexburg Temple.  We spent some time feeling of the love our Heavenly Father has for us and admiring the beauty of such a magnificent building.  WOW!

After a picnic lunch, because we still had enough food to feed a small army, we headed out once again.

Bears - HERE WE COME!!

"No vacation to the Yellowstone National Park or Grand Teton National Park region is complete without an adventure into the wild at Yellowstone Bear World, a drive-thru wildlife park. During your visit you will be surrounded by the free-roaming wildlife of North America as you drive your personal vehicle through the park. Wildlife you will see includes Rocky Mountain Elk, Bison, White-tail Deer, Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain Goats, Moose and of course American Black Bear, Grizzly Bear and Gray Wolves." (as quoted from their website)

After what seemed like FOREVER, we pulled into the park of Yellowstone Bear World.  When you first pull up to the gate, there are rules posted that must be followed at all times.  One of these rules was to keep your windows rolled up and doors locked at all times while driving through the bear park.  That way if the bears decide to attack, they will go for the park workers that are roaming around in an open-air golf/utility cart.  You also had to keep driving and not stop at any time during the drive - HOWEVER, driving REEEEEALLY slow isn't a problem.

Click here to view video of Yellowstone Bear World highlights
We saw so many bears!  It was well worth the drive!  But wait!  That's not all we saw.  We saw bears, bison, elk, an extremely rare white elk, deer, wolves (who decided napping was more important than saying "Hello"), moose, swans, deer, goats, and many other animals.  There was even a swan that tried to eat my hubby's shoe cuz it thought the shoe was food.
rare White Elk

the deer nursery
Bull Moose "Stiltz" and cow moose

here little chicky, I won't hurt you, I just want to pet you!

There was a fun little petting area where we were able to get "personal" with the baby animals.  One baby elk really liked the taste of my daughter's hand.  My hubby had fun petting the pot-bellied pig that would squeal every time he touched it, no matter how light the touch the pig would squeal.  And there was a set of twin fawns who would rub up against each other every time someone would pet them as if to say to each other, "EWE!  A human touched me AGAIN!  Please help me rub it off!"

We really loved seeing the baby bears as well.  They were exactly like little children.  One cub would be the instigator while the other cub took the "rap" for the misbehavior.  Then the "wrestling" would begin!  One cub would walk away while the other, more offended cub cuz he got blamed, would be all "don't you walk away from me!  Come back here and take it like a BEAR!"  I guess even the real "mamma bears" have their paws full when it comes to children!

Along with the animals, there were some really fun amusement rides.  I rode on all of them and had a great time - EXCEPT for the demon bear belly!  That is right DEMON BEAR BELLY!  I don't really know what they called the bear ride, but when you put a mamma with an unstable tummy into the belly of a bear that spins, and a teenager that loves to control the spinning wheel, well, lets just say I was just short of tossing my lunch.  I entered the belly of the bear with the intention of having a fun time with my daughter, then she started to spin the wheel.  If that wasn't bad enough, there was an evil ride attendant who controlled how long and fast the ride went.  Not only did he control the ride, he also controlled whether the door to the ride opened or not to either let you on or off said demon ride.  After the first time around, I was doing OK, but I really needed to get off the ride.  As the ride attendant came around to let us off the ride, my "sweet" (aka demon child) daughter convinced him to keep us on, so he walked away from us with me begging to be let off cuz I didn't know if I could keep the "upholstery" clean for very
Hey stop spinning!  You're making me sick!
much longer.  Yeah, he just laughed even harder as he walked away.  Needless to say, the ride started up and ran even longer than the time before.  When the ride finally stopped and we were thankfully allowed to exit the ride, I was really unstable and in desperate need of Pepto!
Me?  Now why would I do THAT?

All in all, this was a great adventure and a perfect end to such a great vacation.  If you are ever in the area, it is worth your time to stop and visit the bears at Yellowstone Bear World!

Now that the vacation is over, it is time to carry on with life as I know it......STAY TUNED!