Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tick - Tock Goes the Clock

The house was so quiet yesterday. I walked by this clock several times. It has been in my home almost 10 years now. It has a consistent tick - tock that never fails to calm me, to remind me of my sweet Mom and Dad. In our home while I was growing up, this clock was referred to as the "Tobacco Clock", which I never understood until I finally asked one day. On the pendulum is an advertisement for tobacco...there you go...mystery solved. I love having this beautiful item in my home and consider it a treasure, mostly because of the memories it envokes.

10 years ago...where on earth did that 10 years go? 10 years ago our family was preparing to say goodbye to our sweet mothers and grandmothers. Evalyn had been in our home for six months, dealing with a malignant brain tumor. One quiet, early morning in early April Evalyn finished her mortal mission. It was as if she picked the timing to depart. It was my privilege to care for Evalyn, a time when I learned more about myself and what I was capable of then ever before. We both learned to love each other in a special, eternal way.

I love this picture of my mother, taken around the time that she and my dad married. My mother passed away the day after sweet Evalyn passed away. We went from one funeral in Orange County to another one in Salt Lake City. Being the youngest sibling I somehow ended up with the responsibility of speaking at my mother's funeral. I look back at that time and often wonder how I did it. I promise that strength came from a higher source when I needed it most.

From that point in time to this the following has happened: 6 months later my sweet dad passed away, we have bought and sold 5 different homes in 3 different states, we built a swimming pool, we finished building one of those homes, we've lived in a fair amount of temporary housing, we've dealt with 5 high schools, 5 middle schools, and 6 elementary schools, we sent our oldest son, Chris, on a two year mission, Lindsay graduated from college, 3 others are currently in college, Katie married Joseph and has brought us sweet baby Claire, I managed to finally finish my college education, I have served as Primary President, Young Women President, and Relief Society President twice, Rich has served as a Bishop and successfully completed and worked on several major projects for his employer, and that's just the obvious stuff.
Change in life is a given, but it's amazing to me the peace and calm and sense of consistency that a clock can bring. Tick - tock goes the clock...I wonder what the next 10 years will bring!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Detroit Surprise!

A fun little tribute to my sister Mary and her good husband David. My oldest sister, Sharon, and I decided to pay Mary a surprise visit for her birthday this past week. David did a great job keeping the whole thing a secret. She was quite surprised, and for someone who apparently doesn't like surprises at all, she handled it very well.
Cute picture from their wedding, I think in 1964. Mary left for college the year that I was born and so most of our interactions that I remember have been for one week stays here and there, but she's always fun to be around. She knows everything about cooking! I have never been to her home, which was on my "to-do" list for this year. Mary and David are quite the gardeners and spend a good majority of their summer canning produce and sharing it with their family. Her food storage area was amazing. I couldn't quite figure out how to get some frozen raspberry jam home on the airplane. I thought it might be considered a liquid by the time I got to security. Ah, but it was SO good. One of her sons owns a bakery and so I did manage to get a 2 lb. round loaf of bread in my carry-on bag...too funny!
Besides celebrating her birthday I had one "assignment" to accomplish while I was there...get Mary to demonstrate how she makes caramels. Mission accomplished! I think it will still take a couple of times to get them as perfect as she does, but now I know all of the inside secrets! We had a nice birthday dinner at Outback...yummy onion flower thing!
Mary has tons of bunnies and Sharon and I added one more! It was fun to put out all of her Easter decorations. She'll be finding things I hung here and there for some time to come. Love you sister!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Almost Forgot...Two More Things About My Magical Musical Weekend!

I almost forgot two very important things from Sunday. While I was rushing around getting ready for church on Sunday, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast came on and I was catching bits and pieces of it. The guy that does that commentary each week started quoting a poem that I quite vividly remembered having to memorize at some point in my younger life! This one, along with the famous Daffodil poem, are probably the only ones I ever memorized. But it all came back as he was quoting it...
by Edgar A. Guest
I have to live with myself, and so,
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I've done.
I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am;
I don't want to dress myself up in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to think as I come and go
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me,
I see what others may never see,
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself- and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

And then, there's another song sung, and then the narrator says, "We close today's broadcast with a rousing nineteenth century hymn by Ebenezer Beesley, 'High On The Mountain Top'." How great is that to have Ebenezer be part of my magical musical weekend! For those that don't know, he's a great-great grandfather and was the composer for lots of hymns in our hymnbook. I often wonder what he thinks of these new renditions of his works. I bet he's thrilled! I'm really looking forward to when the Choir visits St. Louis this's gonna be good!

One of Those Magical Musical Weekends!

I think that this is the first post I have done that didn't have a picture to attach to it. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I couldn't find any...oh well.

Before the weekend began I received some sad news, via the internet. I belong to an internet group that is composed of moms that have kids who have been missionaries for the church. There are moms all over the world and we discuss every topic imaginable...I can ask for help or an opinion on anything and have responses rather quickly. It really is fun! I think it is kind of easy for people to express themselves a little bit more openly in "cyberspace", when it is highly unlikely that you won't ever meet the people you're writing to. Anyways, "Jerrie from Waycross, Georgia" passed away suddenly last week. Jerrie wrote at least 4-5 posts a week. She had an opinion about everything and usually they were rather informative. She always closed with "Thanks for listening". I felt like I knew her very well, although I never met her. She will be missed on our list.

Saturday morning was our Relief Society Birthday Party. I came up with the theme this year. I was driving around one day and heard the song, "We Are Family...I Got All My Sisters With Me" and I immediately thought of my sisters and how much I love them all. And THEN I thought, "Gosh, that works for Relief Society, too!" And then one thing led to another and I thought it would make a good theme for something like a birthday party, and then I thought we should work up a little dance to start the party with, and then I had to talk some good friends into doing it with me, and then it really happened and we had a great time! Even our older ladies enjoyed it! I have some good sports for friends! Anyways, we had a fun breakfast together and a great speaker. If you want a little reminder of how the song goes or if you feel like dancing...turn up your volume!

Saturday night we went to Maggianos with a big group for dinner...yummy Zucchini Sticks! Maggianos is conveniently located and one of these days I'm going to make the rounds. I'm going to hit Cheesecake Factory and pick up some Avocado Egg Rolls, cross the street to PF Changs and pick up some Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and cross the street one more time and pick up some Zucchini Sticks from Maggianos and head home and enjoy my favorites!

Sunday morning the Relief Society Presidency had been asked to speak at church. I love the ladies that I get to work with and they did a wonderful job. Our topics came from the hymn "Lord, I Would Follow Thee". I shared the following story as part of my talk...

"The story is told of a young piano student. His mother, wishing to encourage him, “bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away.

“Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’

“His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized."

President Faust tells us, “In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’ “

We also had a musical number in the middle. I found an arrangement of "As Sisters in Zion" and one of my friends worked on it a little and added some more to it. Anyways, three sisters sang and then we had the flute and violin and piano also. I thought it turned out great! Music, music, just adds so much!

And top it off, Sarah and I went to hear an incredible piano player last night over in St. Louis. His name is David Glen Hatch...right up there with Marvin Goldstein. I'd love to hear them play would be awesome. Anyways, his performance took our breath away. He played several classical pieces and, of couse, a lot of church songs. He told about being asked to play at Arlington National Cemetery on the one year anniversary of 9/11. He played "God Bless the USA" like he did for that audience...amazing! He closed with a medley of "I Am A Child of God", "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief", and "The Lord's Prayer". It was a two hour musical feast! I am so grateful for those who are so willing to share their talents and testimonies in such incredible ways. We were on the 3rd row on the opposite side of the room, so we couldn't see his hands. But we could definitely see the emotion he put into playing...when you watch someone like that play, you can just see how they work so hard to get so much out of their instrument. It was just amazing (I'm out of adjectives!) of those times when you walk out and think to yourself, "Did I really hear and feel what I think I heard and felt?" was a great musical weekend!

Having Fun With the Davis Kids

Just awhile ago I had the opportunity to pay back my dear friend Kim. She had helped to tend to Sarah for the time I was gone when Claire was born. Kim turned 40 last week and her husband planned a big surprise party for her in Las Vegas...and left me in charge of their 5 kiddos! Watch out! I definitely came to the conclusion that it is a good thing I was 10 years younger when all my kids were still home! Ah, but I had a great time. So fun to see life through their eyes...especially the babies, Spencer (3 1/2) and Savannah (2). Every time we came over to our house and I opened the garage door Spencer would exclaim, "Oh, I love that red car!" He'd walk by and gently stroke it...too funny! I think it is kind of like the car in the movie "Cars" and Spencer is a huge "Cars" fan.
Saturday morning we strapped Spencer's car seat in the Corvette and off he went for a ride with "Grandpa". I thought it was a riot that they called me "Lisa", but Rich was "Grandpa"! Spencer would walk in the house and exclaim, "Grandpa, where are you?" I think Rich really enjoyed having a little "guy" around, letting him play with all of his special cars and toys.
McKenna is the oldest and was a HUGE help. She definitely knows how the house is supposed to be run. When I let Emma know that it was totally fine with me if she wore the same dress to school two days in a row, McKenna informed me that her mom would be "freaking out"! We all just laughed at that one. McKenna is a wonderful big sis and great example to her siblings...could not have done it all without her help!
Brooke is on the left. Brooke says the sweetest, most detailed prayers I have ever heard. She is amazing! Emma is in 1st grade and is becoming a wonderful reader. I introduced her to Angelina girls' favorite books! Of course, we had to make a trip to Bobby's one custard this side of the Mississippi River!
And then there is Savannah. SO stinkin' cute and cuddly, with a head full of curls. Savi was so good, spent a lot of time cuddling with me in bed and I loved it! It was sometimes a challenge to know what she was trying to tell me, but as long as "mine", "this", or "that" (her blankie) was close at hand, we got along just fine.
Here is Spencer at the grocery store. So fun, all of these new little fun things they have for kids to keep them occupied while you shop. Why wasn't it like this when my kids were little? Guess that is what grandkids are for! Anyways, I had a great time with this family. Ken and Kim are doing a great job!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy 21st Birthday Katie Anne!

Wow, where did THAT 21 years go?? I remember Katie's birth so well. Katie was born during a leap year and I think she was due about a week before February 29th. None of my kids came early or even close to on time...sure enough, Katie passed right by the 29th and had to be encouraged to come out. But when it was time, it was time and there was NO waiting for any doctor...she was delivered by the nurse! Right from the beginning you can recognize "Katie's Grin"!

Katie and Lindsay spent a fair amount of time learning how to "twirl" their batons. Not too long before this picture was taken, Katie had taken quite a spill on her bike. She was going down a very steep dirt hill and by the time she got home it was a pretty sad sight. But the parade must go on!

Katie Rivera took pictures for Mother's Day one year when I was working with the Primary children. It is one of my favorite pictures of Katie. It is really hard to get a picture of Katie with her eyes w-i-d-e open!

Katie was a trooper on this day! I got the crazy idea that maybe if we hiked up to the "Y" on her due date it might help Claire get on with the process of being born! Was not to be...

Katie has such a wonderful way about her. She is the perfect middle child, doing all she can to make everyone happy. Katie was always kind of quiet, happy to be left alone reading her favorite book...until Chris and Lindsay left home. I will never forget the night she came home from a dance and said, "I am SO tired of everyone asking where Chris and Lindsay are. It is time for the Katie-show!" She has always been one very determined young lady (think FURBY), not one you would ever want to get into an argument with because you would certainly not win! Her determination has transformed her into a happy wife, mother, and successful student.
Recognize that grin? Such a beautiful this girl. Happy 21st birthday sweetie!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Claire, My Movie Star Grandbaby!

Claire is featured in the video below. This was just a piece of a wonderful talk that Elder Uchtdorf gave last September at the General Relief Society Meeting. We all left that meeting feeling so uplifted. Now I will always remember how good I felt for another special reason.

Mamacita y Papacita Go To Mexico, Part 1

That's Cancun. I don't think I ever imagined myself going to Cancun in my lifetime. I don't know why, guess I just didn't. But LAST year in February I let Rich know I was going somewhere warm and sunny THIS year in February. I kind of have a hard time being surrounded by all the dead trees and really cold weather. Anyways, so we made plans and headed to Cancun. Rich needed the break way more than I did and I'm so glad he was able to get in a little rest and relaxation. This is just off where our little beach was. The water REALLY is that blue!
My version of a great vacation...sun, sand, ocean waves, some good books, and my pillow! I go NOWHERE without my pillow. My sisters are all the same way. This way, you see, now that I'm back home, I can still smell all the wonderful ocean smells (and tanning oil!) while I sleep at night in very cold Edwardsville. They're imbedded in the fibers of my pillow...there is a method to my madness!
These were all over the beaches...nice to get out of the sun, if necessary.
This is the view from our balcony...not bad, huh?
Head to Part 2!

Mamacita y Papacita Travel to Mexico, Part 2

So we were walking down a street somewhere and saw this above what appeared to be a restaurant...Margarita Y Marijuana (?) Some place I definitely (NOT) want to go!
Some of my new friends...these guys were so cute!
One day we took a tour out to Chichen Itza, which is one of the Mayan ruins. It was very, very interesting. This ruin is all about their calendar...I thought it was amazing that they were able to look to the sky and figure it all out. It is kind of funny that I am the only one in the picture. There really were other people there that day.
And last, but not least, another new friend. These iguanas were just running all over the place at Xcaret. At first we wondered if they were real and quickly learned that they were. This is as close as I dared get and will probably ever get to an iguana!
Ah, it was just fantastic to spend time with my best friend! We read books, watched several movies with spanish subtitles, ate whenever and whatever we wanted, did a fair amount of dealing with vendors, and came home with a renewed appreciation for each other and the abundant blessings that we enjoy.