Monday, November 21, 2011

A thought of thankfulness

I haven't written much since our big move.

I suppose I'm written out.  I started a family newsletter that I try and send 3 to 4 times a month, and it just saps any creative energy I've got.

So I thought a post on gratitude would be in order.  How better to do that than sharing some scriptures?  This is from Psalms 107:

‎21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.

28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

It's so easy to take things for granted.  How grateful I am for a reminder to thank the Lord for His marvelous 

works in my life.

Monday, September 5, 2011

listening to train horns

I guess I'm in a contemplative mood tonight.

Sometimes drastic life changes are beyond our control, and after the whirlwind lifts we wonder "what in the world just happened?" 

A week or two ago I was taking out the garbage at night.  I looked around me and thought, "Now how did I get here again?"  Although my surroundings felt so very foreign at the time I felt peaceful and knew that everything was how it should be. 

After all, we're here and we're going to make the best of it.

The most difficult, instant home-sick inducing thing is thinking of how so very far away I am from (seemingly) everything that helped to define my sense of 'me'.  My ancestors walked over two thousand miles in all to get to Zion, and most of the family has been there ever since right down to me.  And then I up and move off to the foreign reaches of the continent. 

I was missing my family very much the other night, so I got onto google maps and took a tour of my childhood neighborhood.  I felt strangely better dragging the mouse down that lane. 

And those stars above me are the same that shine over my mountain valley hometown and all those people that I love.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Manly ratcheting roof straps

We pulled into our new life last Friday amid tremendous claps of thunder and a leaky car roof.  After fighting for survival on the freeway through the torrents and crazy semi-drivers, and plugging the water spouts in the car with diapers, we zipped right to our eldest daughter's new school to register her for class... which we thought started Monday.  We soon came to find out it started last Wednesday. 

It seems like a sort of dream waking up in some strange place, doesn't it. 

Today the clouds finally parted and I was able to get a look around.  I had prayed for mountains, and we have been blessed with more rolling hills than mountains.  (I think there should be a federally mandated definition of 'mountains' so as not to confuse those from true mountain ranges).

It's hard not to calculate 'home' right back into the equation, but I'm trying to envision life here for the long term. It is nice to know we're not being held against our will, though!

In a few ways, it reminds me of Japan here. Rain. Humidity. Green. It is exciting to be in a new place.  And, I've already been able to use my Japanese!  (In Wal*Mart during a mad-crazy back-to-school buying frenzy).

The people here are very friendly and extremely courteous. We feel really blessed to be members of the LDS church.  Anywhere in the world we may roam, we find loving and caring friends at church.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

So, um, what now?!

Big, LIFE ALTERING changes to come.  Freaking out.  Almost.  Anyone have any advice for moving across the country site unseen?!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A short testimony

So we are in a transitory phase in our lives.  We've had some sudden potential opportunities come up.   It almost feels like I am just watching someone else's life at the moment.  I'm not sure why it is, at times, so difficult for me to internalize sudden changes, but I'm trying to remind myself that pretty soon life may become drastically different.  Or not.  And that may be just as tricky!

I suppose I'm in a contemplative mood.  This is dangerous while blogging because I am given to stream of conscious-esque writing, which I end up deleting anyway.  Recently there has been a string of tragic events in the lives of many of those around me that I love.  It's almost shocking how many different people I know that have had something really devastating happen just this last week.  I've found myself wishing that I could wave a magic wand and somehow make everything all right again.  I've also found myself on my knees in prayer.

It is at times like these that I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I believe that we are all children of our Father in Heaven, and that He knows and loves us each individually.  I have felt His Spirit bear witness to me that this is true.  I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can be healed from whatever tries our soul, from whatever torment or pain we experience in this life.  I believe that if we turn to our Father in Heaven, come what may, that all these things shall give us experience, and shall be for our good

Mosiah 16:9

9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

Mosiah 3:17

17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Slithery Encounter

Today we went walking with our friends, the Yahnies*. Initially we went so we could find a letterbox at Parley's Nature Park, but the gate was locked due to the torrential river which was threatening life and limb.  At times it is best to take precautions.  Besides, I am partial to our lives and limbs.     
So instead we decided to stroll along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and hike to the bridges that span the highways.   We started down the lovely, paved path when Ls made a beeline right for a large stick.  A stick that kind of looked like a... SNAKE! 

After I shrieked a quick warning to absolutely not go near the stick snake, we all froze to make sure it wasn't really a snake after all.  And then the stick slithered its tongue.  EEEE!  This thing was at least 3 1/2 feet long.  And it was golden with black checkery marks.  And it was slithery.  And it was a snake.

After some research upon returning home, I discovered that there are 31 different species of snakes living here in our state.  7 of which are venomous.  Of course I didn't know that at the time, and venomous or not I prefer not to share my immediate vicinity with them.  Or any vicinity, actually.  Besides, a one in 4ish chance it could be venomous is WAY too high for me.   

Moving on with the story, we were, well, waiting for the snake to move on.  Ls and the Yahnies' little gal tried to go inspect our slithery friend, but we moms said "No way."  We gave the thing PLENTY of room.  It didn't look like a pit viper to me, but I took a picture anyway just in case. 

After our glorious bridges crossing experience, we came home quite exhausted but ready to find out what kind of snake it was.  And thanks to the DNR we found out it was a gophersnake.  Thank heaven it wasn't that Egyptian Cobra escapee from the Bronx Zoo out on the town again.

And, just in case you're curious, here's a quick and handy guide for what to do if you're bitten by a snake and how to tell venomous snakes from non-venomous ones.  Not that you'll ever catch me close enough to one to find out.

*In order to protect the innocent, I purposely mis-spelled this name.

"I'm not about to go out and buy a snake for a pet. I mean, I may have faced a few fears but I'm not insane." -Kristin Davis

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fooshy Elevator Music

Back in college our phone had "technical difficulties".  Some may think "issues" would be a more fitting term.

This was in the days before widespread cell phone use.  Back then cell phones plugged into car cigarette lighters and had their own battery cases attached.  Those were corded, too.  A former boss of mine told me she used to work with a crisis hotline and had to carry around a cell phone the size of a large brick and hold it with 2 hands back in the day.  But I digress...

This was a land line.  It plugged into the wall and had a long, knotted, twisty cord that tethered you in the kitchen.  And it was beige.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, there was some kind of radio interference and somehow it picked up the local soft rock station.  So whenever we used the phone we would suddenly hear fooshy elevator music.  Alas, the person on the other end of the line couldn't hear it.  (I always thought it was some kind of conspiracy to up the station's listener count).

One day one of my best friends, Jessica, called me with wonderful news.  She was getting married!  She started giving details and was so exciting to tell me everything that I couldn't break in to tell her how hard I was trying not to laugh.  Not that getting engaged is funny.  No, I was very happy to hear that, of course, but there was this sappy love music  playing over the phone the entire time.  I have never had to bite my knuckles so hard to keep from breaking up.  If only she could have heard that lovey music and known how elegantly it accentuated her news.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A recipe for health. Sort of. And a few secrets...

Quite often when the sickies come to stay at our house, I make a big pot of soup.  We've been sick so often this season that if I had done that, we'd have eaten nothing but!  This time around it's strep throat, AGAIN, mixed most probably with the common cold.  Somehow I have escaped the strep and hope to stay that way.


Undeniably the worst part of soup for me is handling raw meat.  (A side effect that never went away with my first pregnancy).  Thankfully, today an epiphany came to me.  And so, I give you this home made recipe:

Momma K's Quick Soup
1 large onion
4 carrots
3 stalks celery
1/2+ c. rice (I used par boiled today, but any kind will do)
8 - 10 cups of your favorite broth (I used chicken)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme (I mashed mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tsp. minced garlic
Garlic powder, to taste
Thick sliced luncheon meat.  I used Costco's roasted turkey lunch meat.  Thick and yummy.

I think that this is all I used.  I rarely use a recipe, I just throw things in as I go. 

First, slice up the onion into very small square-lets.  I suppose this would be called mincing them. 
Saute in oil.
Throw in the rice.
Cut carrots, throw in, cut celery (including leaves), throw in. 
Add broth, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, to taste. 

When the rice is nearly done (check cooking times on the package.  Different types cook for different amounts of time) chop up as much lunch meat as you want and throw it in.


I added lime juice to ours, and I served with lime wedges and tortilla chips.

Another soup secret, if it's too hot, just sprinkle with a frozen vegetable such as peas or corn.  This works well with chili, too.

And one more secret.  We wash out glass containers (such as jelly, etc) with screw on lids and use them to put leftovers, such as soup, in.  They are also handy when we make soup for others.  No worrying about having to return anything!

And, for desert we had fruit salad.  I just chopped up strawberries, bananas and apples, squeezed lime juice over it, and sprinkled with sugar.  Stir and serve.  (You can add any fruit you want, of course).

My wonderful vising teachers dropped off a sickness survival bag with all kinds of wonderful things, including Emergen-C.  So, hopefully we'll be all recovered in no time! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Musings on One of the Best Days of the Year - April Fools!

So, today is one of the best holidays ever.  I have always loved April Fools' Day.

I can't describe the joy we had each year that Mom fell for the elastic-band-on-the-sprayer trick.  (She would just stand there screaming and doing a little quick step and getting sprayed on until someone finally quit laughing long enough to turn off the faucet).  She even admitted to me this morning how disappointed she was that she hadn't been sprayed yet today.  Maybe one of my siblings that live closer will fulfill her secret wish.


Thank heavens for me Family Fun always has fun ideas to keep my unsuspecting loved ones on their toes.  Like, for instance, this little gem:

"Easy to Grow - Fun to Eat"

Last year I made their faux-berry pie (shepherd's pie died with beat juice made to look like cream pie).  I also had drinks that looked deceptively refreshing that were actually cups of jello with straws.  

Alas.  I didn't photo-document it. 

This year I made up a fake parking ticket and stuck it on Mr. A.H.'s car.  (I also got the idea from Family Fun, here, but made up my own to look similar to our local tickets.  Not that I would know what they look like).  He totally didn't even notice.  But my sister did.  She and her husband thought they had been cited.  Until they noticed me filming them from the porch and snickering. 


Those were sis's exact words.  :-) 

And now.  Some friendly guidelines for enjoying this most merry of occassions revenge free.  (Hopefully!)

1.  Don't do anything mean.  Remember that golden rule!

2.  Don't lie.  In the words of Gram (roughly):
"If you've replaced the salt in the shaker with sugar, don't say, 'Would you like some salt?'  Say, 'Would you like some of this?'"  Jewels of wisdom.

3.  Pre-planning pays.  Don't be the one stuck running to the Dollar Store at midnight for fishing line and confetti.  Save those last minute trips for Christmas Eve.

4.  Don't break the law! Or else, you know. You're a law breaker. And we don't want that to spoil the fun.

5.  If all else fails, you can always hide patiently behind the door for an unsuspecting victim. 

So now if you'll excuse me, I'm totally going to go sign up for Chore Camp.
Doughnut Seeds look and taste strikingly similar to Honey Nut Cheerios.

Friday, March 18, 2011

My dear Japan

I've been in shock for the last week or so.  I just cannot believe what has happened to Japan.  I am having a hard time imagining what the future may bring to this dear country, and an even harder time thinking of those wonderful people going through such trauma and devastation.

I am a better person because of the blessing I had of serving my mission in Japan.  Those beautiful people taught me so much about civility, integrity, hard work, community and so many other things.  I feel like Japan is my second home and its people, my people.  My heart aches for them.

I have worried about loved ones over there.  I have worried about the children of Japan.  The elderly, all those in harm's way or who are suffering.  I think of the mothers who have lost their sons and daughters.  I think of the fathers trying so desperately to hold things together.  Many hundreds of thousands are now homeless, with many hundreds of thousands more who have become nuclear refugees. I know there are many people there, even still more than a week after the earthquake, who do not have enough food and water.  There are many people out in the bitter cold, without adequate shelter or the necessities of life.  People that I love don't have immediate water supplies.  I don't know if they are okay right now, and all I can do is send my pleas Heavenward for them.

I'm really at a loss for words. 

So, my dear Japan, I am praying for you.  Hang in there.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


This morning Mom knocked on our door with a forsythia bush in her arms.  And a stylish haircut to match!  She was such a sight with those long sticks darting every which way.  She always wears sunglasses, even when speaking at the church at Gram's (her mother's) funeral.  It's quintessential mom.  Red hair and sunglasses.

Anyway, she handed the swordlings to me, and I pulled them into the house and tried to fit them into our pint sized kitchen.  Really, the bush takes up the whole table, but Mom says you have to be dramatic in small rooms.

She had been down to the other apartments she owns and trimmed her forsythia and very kindly brought me the clippings.  I put them into a pitcher with some rocks, trimmed them down, and hopefully we'll get some blooms soon.  The kids think it's great.  I just hope no one pokes their eyes out.

Some time after Mom's thoughtful gift I called her to say maybe I'd try to transplant them out into the yard in a few weeks. 

Me:  "I'll watch the blooms, then inspect the bottoms for roots.  After that I'll plant them outside and they'll die of shock."

Mom:  "That's a great idea!  It'll be like a symbol of hope lost!  A twig memorial!" 

Until then, then!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reflections on another's life well spent

Today I bumped into a sweet lady and her daughter from Gram's ward. We had a nice little chat, it had been a long time since I had seen either of them. Since Gram has passed away, I have really been out of the loop! She held so many people together.

Afterwards, while driving home I thought about how incredibly grateful I am for my Grandmother. I am so grateful for all the years I had her here with me. I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend with her, and the countless ways in which she blessed my life.

I remember several occassions of tearfully pleading with the Lord to spare her. I could not imagine my life without her here on this earth. She has been one of my greatest comforts, and certainly one of my greatest heroes and examples. I want to be just like her in so many ways.

When she passed away, something remarkable happened. I felt joyfully at peace. I felt grateful. And I felt like I had gained her for eternity, I had not lost her. I know where she is. She made it. She is a Saint, and I know she is about doing good in the next life, just as she did in this one. How very blessed I am to have her, and to keep her always.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love is in the air. And so is gunsmoke.

Last month my sweet cousin Em offered to watch the gals so Mr. AH and I could go out on a date. I don't think that Meemers has ever really been baby-sat, and the last time hubby and I went out it was grocery shopping with the small fries. (Which is perfectly fine. Family dates! Hurray!)

And now a word about guns.

The last time I shot a pistol I was 5. I couldn't even pull the trigger, and when my Dad did for me, the gun jumped back and hit me in the face. So naturally I haven't touched one since. (Not that I have an aversion, just mere coincidence). Until last night. Mr. AH and I went target shooting at an indoor range for our Valentine's date! Romance was just zipping through the air, as I'm sure you can imagine. Such ambiance!

It really was fun.

And loud.

And I think it may have set my natural heart rhythm slightly askew, but totally exciting regardless.

We shot a Glock (40 whatevers), and a .375 or something. They both had kick! I got shelled about a dozen times (hit by a flying bullet cartridge). The Glock spits a red hot one out every time you shoot. For a girl who is proud of her pellet gun (my only gun, other than my trusty daisy b-b), I really had a great time. And, for full disclosure, going to the range was totally my very own idea. (A side note to the gals: You should have heard the excitement in Mr. AH's voice when I suggested we do this for our date. Try it sometime).

Alas, we forgot our camera. No evidence of our exploits.

Anyway, so this got me thinking about other things that I would really like to try out. Maybe someday I'll take up archery! Sounds like fun to me...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

“If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well viewed.” -Lily Tomlin

I finished reading Condoleezza Rice's book, Extraordinary, Ordinary People last night. It was enjoyable, educational and insightful.

I was particularly fascinated by her insider's recounting of the fall of the Berlin wall, of segregated Birmingham through the eyes of a well-loved child, and making tough financial cuts while provost at Stanford.

A few weeks ago I read Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Ms. Wharton has been described as one of America's greatest writers. She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer for fiction. She is an extremely talented in her ability to tell it like it is. Her observations of the natural man are the best I've read. This book deals primarily with the disastrous consequences of completely bowing oneself to social expectation. I agree that we ought to make our own well informed decisions, but where the author and I differ greatly is that I believe we ought to make our decisions and then consult our Father in Heaven whether or not they are what he would have us do. If her main character had done this, his life would have been so much better! (And she probably wouldn't have won the Pulitzer). She is stating a message, a cautionary tale if you will. Well written, it really made me think. It certainly isn't my favorite book, but I do appreciate the fact that it caused me to reflect on life and things that I value.

I am currently reading Wild Nights (Nature Returns to the City) by Anne Matthews. I've just started it, but I LOVE IT. This non-fictional book is about wildlife returning to New York City. She writes about deer in Manhattan, a corn field growing in a median strip in upper Broadway, and my favorite so far "By 1999 coyotes and wild turkeys had began to roam Central Park. ("How did they get there?" demanded The Wall Street Journal. "Crosstown bus?"

Ms. Matthews divides her book into 3 sections, summarized by me as
1: nature's return to the modern city
2: the historic struggle of nature vs. man in NYC
3: possible outcomes of nature returning to the city

So far her writing is gripping, humorous and educational. She really knows how to tell a story, and I'm really enjoying it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Extraordinary, Ordinary People"

I have been reading a lot lately.

I guess I've always been an avid reader, sometimes moreso than not. Anyway, I am currently reading Condoleezza Rice's memoir "Extraordinary, Ordinary People". It is fascinating, and I am really enjoying it. I put it on hold at the library as soon as I heard it was coming out, and just got it a few days ago. She is extraordinarly adroit at painting a picture of the segregated South without at all singing the victim. In fact, I'll quote her:

"All these elements - extended family, community, schools, and churches - conspired together to convince me and my peers that racism was "their" problem, not ours. Whatever feelings of insecurity or inadequacy black adults felt in the appalling and depressing circumstances of Jim Crow Birmingham, they did not transfer it to us. For the children of our little enclave, Titusville, the message was crystal clear: We love you and will give you everything we can to help you succeed. But there are no excuses and there is no place for victims."

I love this book so far, and recommend it highly. She is a fascinating person.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong!

I grew up in the most beautiful place on earth. It used to be much more rural than it is now, but even so it is such a quaint, soul soothing area. Coming up and over the mountain highway and seeing that first view of my home town is a little glimpse of heaven.

As we were coming into town, I commented to Mr. A.H. how things had so drastically changed since I lived there. New buildings, new developments. It really feels a bit like Park City spilled over the mountains. I told him that when I was younger, we pretty much knew everyone. And, even if we didn't, it sure felt like we did because wherever we went people would wave. (There is something refreshing about rough old cowpokes throwing up their hand in a friendly greeting as they pass by in their 2 ton pickup).

Anyway. We stopped by a few stores before heading to Mom's. I had forgotten how hospitable and pleasant Heber is. We heard small town talk and uplifting greetings. Teenagers held the doors open for us. People buying their things would pause for a quick chat. Isn't is wonderful when people greet you, really wondering how you are doing? When they pause to hear the answer? Part of my soul still hangs out in Heber and I find it each time I go back. Sigh.

Thank Heavens Mom and the gang still live there. An anchor!