Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Resolutions

Tonight I'm babysitting grandkids, even so, I have a little time this evening to wrap up the old year and ring in the new. 2008 is coming to an end and I have been reflecting and thinking of new year resolutions for 2009. I have lots of goals to set, but I won't make them all public here.

Let me quickly refer to my 2008 resolutions. First I declared to keep a blog which I have faithfully done. The blogging bug has bit me. I enjoy keeping in touch with family and friends via blogs. I'm learning more and more and will hopefully continue learning about all this computer doing.

The second goal concerned temple attendance. I was to double my usual 12 sessions a year to 24, alas, I was somewhere inbetween. Oh, to live in the days of my Provo, Utah experience; to just pop over to the temple easily every week because of the closeness in vacinity. Does it sound like I'm making excuses? I hope not. I so wish there was a temple in the Antelope Valley, but that is not my lot.

Now, 2009 - I will continue to make 24 my goal for increased temple attendance; and of course, I always want to lose weight, but #3 is my mystery goal. I'm not going to tell you, but I'll give you a hint. I'm hoping for a change in my behavior and maybe, just maybe, you'll see a change in me. I'll let you guess if you have the opportunity to associate with me during the year. See if you can see something different about me as we progress through 2009? Oh the anticipation of it all. I will report at 2009 year's end.

"While many of us take seriously our New Year’s resolutions, some of us may not have made any because of our prior problems in keeping them. [Welcome to my life!] We must not overlook the power that making good resolutions can have in helping make our lives happier and more successful—regardless of our past performance." - Elder Joe J. Christensen, “Resolutions,” Ensign, Dec. 1994, 62–67 [I'll keep trying!]

Friday, December 26, 2008

Elder Blair's Phone Call

I can't begin to express how pleased I was to receive Tommy's phone call yesterday. He sounded more mature and entrenched in his missionary work as well he should be. Hughie asked him to bear his testimony at the end of our speakerphone conversation. His testimony lifted me. I'm so grateful for his goodness and service. I love Tommy. I miss him so much, but I wouldn't have him any other place. Like Elder Blair, I'm all about Texas.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world.”

Thursday, December 25, 2008

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

"I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year".
~ Ebeneezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
We are all together today. We'll be getting a phone call from our Elder Blair tonight at 5 p.m. We're all looking forward to visiting with him. We'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from our family to yours!
"God Bless Us, Every One."
~Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our Winter Wonderland

Oh! the snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of people you meet.
J.W. Watson
Sammy, Becky, and Janna in a rare snow.
video
The snow was a delightful thrill in spite of the cold and mess. They should have canceled school on Wednesday, but they didn't. Thankfully there was no school yesterday or today. We're all enjoying the extra time for our Christmas vacation. The kids got out and played in it, but Hughie and I are showing our age. We hunkered down in the house and tried to stay warm.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kingdoms of Glory

"There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory." 1 Corinthians 15:41

Kingdoms of Glory
by Martha Blair
oil, 24" x 48"
Well I did it. I entered a painting in the Church's 8th International Art Competition. The deadline was in October. I wasn't very optimistic, but hopeful. I boldly sent in a digital photo for judging. I got a very nice rejection letter this week. Out of 1,100 entries only 20% are displayed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin 1917 - 2008




















"Since the days of Adam, the Lord has spoken to His prophets, and while His message differs according to the specific needs of the time, there is one consistent, never-changing theme: Depart from iniquity and journey to higher ground."

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin,
"Journey to Higher Ground,"

Ensign, Nov. 2005, 16

Elder Wirthlin passed away December 1st with funeral proceedings being held last Friday. I pay tribute to him here for his long standing example, devotion, and testimony as a special witness of Jesus Christ. I loved him. I'll miss him.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

THE WORST SUBSTITUTE EVER!



Last month I substituted Sammy's class for the first time. Considering the class already knew me, I wondered how things would go. I'm fun with music on Thursday afternoons as a volunteer, but now I needed to make sure we got all the work done assigned by their teacher.
It was getting close to recess time and the kids were getting a little lax in accomplishing the task that had been set before them. I announced that anyone who hadn't finish would stay in during recess to finish and I would be available to help them. Groans filled the room, but the children were quickly motivated.
Sam had enough presence of mind not to announce his displeasure in front of the entire class. Instead, he marched up to the front of the classroom where I was standing and purposely stood in front of me keeping his back to the class. He looked up at me; clenching his teeth, quietly, but with great drama proceeded to inform me, "MOM, YOU ARE THE WORST SUBSTITUTE EVER!" I smiled and couldn't help laughing. I gave him a hug around his shoulders as I escorted him back to his seat and assured him that he would probably get it all done in a timely manner; there was still time.
I wasn't shaken by his angst. It comes with the territory. I mean, I've already been designated the "WORST MOM EVER" and the infamous, "MEANEST MOM IN THE WORLD", that's unfortunately life when it comes to discipline.
I'm always on a learning curve when it comes to being in a different classroom everyday. Every school, teacher, schedule, and age group, etc. are different. I learn something every time I work in a class and I'm better for it. Fortunately, my greater understanding helps me be a better substitute and being a better teacher means I'm serving the children better.
I taught a 1st grade class for an entire week in November. I was surprised how I easily got into the routine and learned everyone's name. Just the consistency of being in the same place every day made it easier. I also observe in classrooms how I could improve on things if I could only be there on a consistent basis rather than my one day appearance, but then that's not my lot as a substitute.

Well, was I the worst substitute ever? I asked Sam that question at the end of the day. He admitted that maybe I wasn't that bad. There is one thing I know and I'm confident of, if I have the opportunity to substitute Sam's class again, I'll do better.
A teacher affects eternity;
[she] can never tell
where [her] influence stops.
Henry Brooks Adams

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I enjoy the food. I enjoy the family. I enjoy the thanksgiving. I feel humbled and thankful to God for all my many blessings. We're in Arizona for this special day this year with Bill and Chelsea.





















Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one.


















"Worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye


live in
thanksgiving
daily,

for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." Alma 34:38


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's a Mother to Do?

I'm home today, for a change. The subbing has taken off and I'm working almost daily. I stayed home today because my Janna was sick.

Janna and I last Sunday after church. I'm 5' 7 1/2". It looks like I shrunk. Janna is 5' 10 1/2", but with her "America's Next Top Model" stilettos on, she's a good inch or two over 6 ft.

I want to be home with my children, but in spite of my best efforts, there have been times where subbing has taken me longer than my children's school schedules. Because of different school times there have been a few days where I have arrived 15 minutes to an hour after Janna and Sam get home.

Janna has seen me home her 16 1/2 years. The other day she came home from school wanting to tell me about her day. I wasn't home. She found herself disappointed that I wasn't there and concluded that she didn't like her mother working, but truth be told; how many times have I not been home because I was tending Grandma or at the grocery store or on another errand? What's the diff.? Some how there was one in her mind and she was distressed by the situation. I walked in minutes later to hear about her feelings. Anyway, what's a mother to do?

“I know who I am, and I know what I am supposed to do. The rest just follows.” [I]...will build faith and character in the next generation one family prayer at a time, one scripture study session, one book read aloud, one song, one family meal after another. [I am]...involved in a great work. [I know]...that “children are an heritage of the Lord” and “happy is the [woman] that hath [a] quiver full of them” (Ps. 127:3, 5). [I know]...that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. [I have]... the vision that, if worthy, [I have the]...potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions” Gen. 24:60).

Julie B. Beck, “A ‘Mother Heart’,” Ensign, May 2004, 75

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Planting

Puttering in my garden use to be part of my "stay-at-home" routine. Picking and digging was a daily delight, but now subbing has usurped my time; the weeding and other gardening duties have unfortunately been set aside. Consequently, because of neglect, my once therapeutic ritual has loomed into a chore. What needs to be done seems a bit overwhelming, but happily we've had good weather and some special visitors this weekend.

I had some help on Saturday with a fall planting of flowers. It added some color to our front garden that was looking a little drab. I also was a recent recipient of two fun stepping stones that my grandson's, Jeremiah and Joseph, painted at school. Those were gladly placed in strategic honorary spots. The garden still needs more work, but it's looking a lot more perky for the coming Thanksgiving holiday.


Joseph, Sam, and I - digging, planting, and cleaning up.


Another great helper this weekend,
Jeremiah, my grandson.

I'm happy the garden and lawn are looking better, but I'm even more pleased that in working together relationships have grown.

"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, [how colorful my garden was], or the kind of car I drove . . . . but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."
Kathy Davis

Saturday, November 15, 2008

TAGGED

I've been tagged by my friend, Danette.















1. I'd prefer not to "work". I miss my freedom and a lot of things that I use to do with my time.
2. I use to walk everyday (40 minutes to an hour). Now I'm riding a recumbent bike (20 minutes a day).
3. Outside of my family, I have two piano students.
4. I'd like to adopt.
5. I've always wished I had taken ballet lessons.
6. I'd like to take more Art classes.
7. "I hope they call me on a mission."

I tag Annie, Paige, Yvonne, Wendy, Chelsea, Cassie, and Michelle!

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.
Lyrics by Rodgers & Hammerstein

Monday, November 10, 2008

FHE - Let the Blessings FLOW!

"If the Saints obey this counsel [to hold regular family home evenings], we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them." (First Presidency letter, 27 April 1915 - Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose, emphasis added) (Uh.....sign me up!)

We strive to have family home evening every Monday even though some things get in the way of our efforts. Some things happily help our efforts, like the Primary activity Sam attended some weeks ago. Sam came home with a family home evening presentation he made at the activity. We were happy to have him give the lesson tonight.


Sammy's Lesson on GRATITUDE
As a child, I remember my family always tried to have one day a week for a special time together. My dad wasn't always available on Monday nights (the traditional day set aside by the Church for FHE) so we selected different days to accommodate his changing schedule.

FHE had an impact on me. I remember the good feelings I had when we met together. My family certainly wasn't perfect, but I felt the Spirit profoundly as we gathered for a lesson, singing, games, and activities.

I remember years later bearing testimony in a Relief Society meeting of the importance of family home evening. I was a young mother at the time, but very confident in my witness of the blessings that come by faithfully having family home evening. I had experienced it. I oh so knew of it's spiritual significance and strengthening power. After the lesson, a sister approached me. She questioned whether such devotion would bring such great benefits. Her obvious doubts made me reflect on the story from the Old Testment of
Naaman, who was "captain of the host of the king of Syria." He went to be healed of leprosy from the prophet Elisha:

"And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.

Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."
(2 Kings 5:10-15)

I remember what I felt as a child. A simple weekly gathering has strengthened and blessed me and my family more than I know, then and now. I cannot deny it. I believe in the direction of a prophet of God. Our hearts and homes can easily be blessed like Naaman dipping himself in Jordan's waters. I know if we do it, the blessings will flow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

VOTE AMERICA !

“Bad politicians are sent to Washington
by good people who don't vote.”

PLEASE.......

Glitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word GeneratorGlitter Word Generator
Glitter Word Generator

This election I voted absentee ballot for the first time. My ballot went in a week ago. Hooray for the red, white, and blue! Hooray for the U.S. of A.! Hooray for the democracy in which we live. I'm grateful I can vote. I want to make America better!

“We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. … such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people. …” (D&C 134:1, 3.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

NOW THAT'S SCARY!

It seems that many a family or friend take a turn doing some kind of "Ding-Dong Ditch" activity in an attempt to create some entertaining fun. We are no different. I want to envision the event as some happy family experience, but we have to be classified as the notorious "Ding-Dong Dopes"! There is always a story to tell at the end of the evening and I don't think I can say it's always happy. Just plan on someone getting hurt, caught, or how about.....forgetting the goody we were supposed to leave at the door.

It's always an adventure!


This is just one of the infamous
"Ding-Dong Dopes",
dressed in incognito attire,
ready to raid and masquerade
throughout the neighborhood!

Did we hit your place tonight?

"Sometimes fun
is just being together."

--Wes Fessler

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Proposition 8 in Plain English

This was a great presentation I viewed on YouTube. The graphics and explanations are simple, concise, and easily understood. It explains how I feel and I believe how the majority of Californians feel. I love my neighbor, but I'm all about traditional marriage. It's a foundation that keeps our nation strong and blesses the lives of each individual. I know not every family is intact, but it is still the ideal. God ordained marriage between a man and a woman. If you're still wondering about this important proposition, take 4 minutes to view this video:




"The future of this republic
is in the hands of the American voter."

VOTE -
NOVEMBER 4TH

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Subbing Saga Continues......

I was really starting to wonder if this subbing thing was going to take off, but everyone assured me it was just early in the year and that there were a lot of subs out there. My working day count: August - 0, September - 1, and October - 5 with 3 scheduled, making 8 so far this month.....I think we're finally getting there.

Hughie gave me a blessing after I was hired. He said as he laid his hands upon my head, that I would be an "influence". I don't know what I was thinking, some how I envisioned me hanging out in the teacher's lounge influencing adults. Where did that come from? My time is limited in adult association at school, and maybe, just maybe over time, I might influence an adult or two. I soon saw as I set foot in my first classroom and as I have carried on, the Spirit has rested upon me, has helped me, and I recognize that I'm very much an influence on children. Every day has not been a golden moment, but every day I'm learning just like these kids are.

Happily, things have worked out too to volunteer in Sam's classroom. I started in October, going in every Thursday afternoon. I help with reading, singing (we'll eventually learn the recorder), and I'm the mom that lets them shop in their classroom store once a month with Ms. Munoz Mula (a reward system instituted by their teacher). I'm glad to be there!

"No greater responsibility can rest upon any man [or woman], than to be a teacher of God’s children." - David O. McKay
in the Conference Report, Oct. 1916, 57

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gotta BLOG!

I can't help it! I've gotta BLOG! I know I already did one post on this important subject, and I maintain a constant visual on my sidebar concerning the matter, but we're getting down to the wire.

“...The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

Quoted by Elder Russell M. Nelson from The Family: A Proclamation to the World at general conference, October 5, 2008, Sunday afternoon session.

PLEASE
REGISTER
to vote
by October 20th
and

VOTE

November 4th!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

RELIEF SOCIETY POWER!!!

“The Relief Society is the Lord’s organization for the women. It compliments the priesthood training given to the brethren. There is a power in this organization that has not yet been fully exercised to strengthen the homes of Zion and build the Kingdom of God – nor will it until both the sisters and the priesthood catch the vision of Relief Society.” --Spencer W. Kimball, “Relief Society—Its Promise and Potential,” Ensign, Mar. 1976, 2

That was 1976. This is 2008. Now is the time for women to move forward in their influence with faithful testimonies, strength, and service. Last Saturday, September 27, 2008, we had our annual general Relief Society meeting broadcast. I zeroed in on a particular quote that President Julie B. Beck quoted by Elder Neal A. Maxwell. These are her words including his:

We can do the work of the Lord in His way when we seek, receive, and act on personal revelation. Without personal revelation, we cannot succeed. If we heed personal revelation, we cannot fail. The prophet Nephi instructs us that the Holy Ghost will show us “all things what ye should do.” It was prophesied that in the latter days the Lord would pour out His Spirit upon His handmaids.This will happen as we allow ourselves to be still enough and quiet enough to listen to the voice of the Spirit. Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught us that receiving revelation for our calling and in our personal lives “requires serious mental effort on our part…. Revelation is not a matter of pushing buttons, but of pushing ourselves, often aided by fasting, scripture study, and personal pondering. Most of all, revelation requires us to have a sufficient degree of personal righteousness, so that on occasion revelation may come to the righteous, unsolicited.”

I am confident as I join hands with the sisters in Zion, we offer ourselves as vessels to the Lord prepared to build the kingdom of God. Guided by the Spirit, I will strengthen my home, help in the community, and be valiant in my testimony of truth. As we serve with hearts of gladness and stand for truth and righteousness, individual lives will be touched and our nations will be blessed because of our commitment to Christ and his teachings.

In a time when the world seems to be crumbling, I am grateful for my testimony, the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ and my Savior; that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that truth has been restored; that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God; and that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God here today, leading and guiding us through these tumultuous times. This gives me comfort and peace that sinks deep into my heart, and touches every fiber of my being, radiating calming light to my soul, in spite of chaos in the world. I will move forward with POWER as just one sister among many in my choice to be part of this great work in building up the kingdom of God in these latter days.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

SAVE THE FAMILY!

We've done it before. We're doing it again. Hugh and I walked precincts today in promotion of Prop. 8. If you live in California, please VOTE "YES!" on Proposition 8. LET'S SAVE THE FAMILY!

"When the seas of life are stormy, a wise mariner seeks a port of peace. The family, as we have traditionally known it, is such a refuge of safety. 'The home is the basis of a righteous life and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfil its essential functions' (quoted in Conference Report, Oct. 1962, 72). Actually, a home is much more than a house. A house is built of lumber, brick, and stone. A home is made of love, sacrifice, and respect. A house can be a home, and a home can be a heaven when it shelters a family. When true values and basic virtues undergird the families of society, hope will conquer despair, and faith will triumph over doubt.

"Such values, when learned and lived in our families, will be as welcome rain to parched soil. Love will be engendered; loyalty to one's best self will be enhanced; and those virtues of character, integrity, and goodness will be fostered. The family must hold its preeminent place in our way of life because it's the only possible base upon which a society of responsible human beings has ever found it practicable to build for the future and maintain the values they cherish in the present."


Thomas S. Monson, "Dedication Day," Ensign, Nov. 2000, 64-65

Monday, September 22, 2008

My First Day of School

It's not Sam's first day of school, but mine. Yes, the long awaited day has arrived, my first day of employment with Lancaster School District. I'm glad I had to wait these few months because I was better prepared. I've been mulling over in my mind every possible scenerio I might encounter and I'm sure I haven't thought of them all, but thinking it through has helped me formulated some plans and as I work they will become habits. Consequently, I'm feeling more confident and ready to go.

I subbed a 5th grade class today for a friend of mine who was ill. She has trained her students well. They made the day easy because they were so helpful and quick to do what was asked. It was a great day!

"Better than a thousand days of diligent study
is one day with a great teacher."
--Japanese Proverb

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Digging Out in Texas

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." --Mosiah 2:17

The day Tom received his mission call to the Texas Houston South Mission, I teased him, "You're going to get hit by a hurricane and be digging out for the next two years." Well, when I said that, I didn't think I was being prophetic. Hopefully he won't be digging the whole two years, but right now he is. We just received an email from Brother Thell Williams who worked with Tom today. We are so grateful for the email and picture he sent us. It's our first view of Tommy on his sojourn in Texas. Anyway, I'm so pleased to have it so I decided to post it. A missionary likes letters, but parents like letters too.

Elder Blair on the right (with the black name tag) and Brother Thell Williams (in a Texas Longhorn shirt) and the rest of their crew from Austin, Texas (wearing yellow Mormon Helping Hands T-shirts).

Dear Bro. and Sis. Blair,

My name is Thell Williams, from Austin, TX. My stake, today, sent 250 men to the Houston area to help with the Hurricane Ike relief. We were split up into teams of 7 with a missionary to help work and show us around. I didn’t really think about our missionary until about half way through the day I noticed what a hard working, kind young man he was. So I asked his name and of course he told me Elder Blair. Well we worked the entire day together and what a delight it was for me to work side by side with such a fine young (green-ha! He only got us lost twice!) kind Elder from California.

He could use a chain saw better than any of us and when I asked why, he said he learned it all from his Dad and his construction company! And he could out work any of us which was actually a little embarrassing to have a Californian out work a Texan! :) I told him my daughter served in the San Fernando Valley mission (Sis. Williams, ‘96-’97). We were able to visit her while she was on her mission and travel through your city. I just wanted to let you know how impressed I was with your son. A gentle strong young man with great determination and a desire to really serve his fellow man. I think he’s going to serve the Lord and Texas very well. Thank you for sending him on a mission, we’re glad he’s in Texas and we’ll all take very good care of him.

God Bless,

Bro. Thell Williams

Saturday, September 13, 2008

He Inviteth Us ALL

Last June the Church celebrated the 30th anniversary of all worthy male members being extended the privilege of receiving the holy priesthood. I remember the day it was announced in June 1978. I was driving in the car and heard it broadcast on the radio. As the words audibly hit my ears, the Spirit immediately witnessed to my heart of the rightness of it all. What a blessing it has been for everyone.

Now, 30 years later, the Church had a commemoration event with music and speakers in celebration of that significant day. I was so inspired by the testimonies that were given. What a great blessing is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true and it is a blessing to ALL people. This video was made specifically for the celebration and I'm happy to display it on my blog.



I wish I had a link so you could watch the whole celebration, but I could only find the transcripts to the talks that were given that evening:

Sheldon F. Child

Fred A. Parker III

Catherine M. Stokes

Ahmad S. Corbitt

I know this program was months ago, but it has been on my mind. It was an inspiring presentation. I am grateful for this great revelation and the timing of it. "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform...God is his own interpreter, And he will make it plain." (Hymns, 285)

"He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile."
--2 Nephi 26:33

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Lone Star State

We had a happy surprise this morning. Tom was able to call us from the SLC airport before he stepped onto the plane for the Lone Star State. He arrives at his mission home today. Of course he's very excited and thought the MTC (Missionary Training Center) was awesome plus he is a bit homesick, but he'll tough it out as he gets use to being away and gets involved in the work. It seems like he's been gone forever and it's only been three weeks.

He will be able to communicate with us by email. I will forward his emails to those who are interested in hearing about his missionary doings. If you want to be in the loop, please email me at blairmom@gmail.com.

If you would like to write him, and he will respond likewise, you will need to use the snail mail system. You can always address your letters and packages to the mission office and they will then forward all his communication to wherever he is serving within the mission.

Elder Thomas E. Blair
Texas Houston South Mission
4627 Austin Parkway
Sugar Land, TX 77479-2146

“No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, *[and hurricanes may hit - Houston is in IKE's pathway,] but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent, till it has penetrated every continent; visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

Prophet Joseph Smith
From the Wentworth Letters, March 1, 1842

*While talking with Tom this morning I mentioned the possible disaster looming toward Texas with Hurricane IKE (it could just end up being a heavy storm of sorts, but you never know). Anyway, not that Tom is all about disasters and injury to people, but with no fear he replied, "We're all about it, because missionaries are all about service." Tom was one of 11 missionaries gathered at the airport this morning heading for the Texas Houston South Mission ready to serve no matter what. I'm so pleased and inspired by their devotion.

Friday, August 22, 2008

CAN I DO IT?!


I've been talking about working for some time now as a newly hired substitue teacher, but I haven't worked a day yet. I am afraid, more than I care to admit, though I am getting use to the idea of being employed. It is early in the school year. I will have my first day soon enough.

Way back in my high school era I recall going to a certain clothing shop downtown. I remember an older woman who was newly employed there. I believe I may well have observed her first day on the job.

She was sitting in a chair close to the back of the store behind the counter, not trying to look conspicuous. She was weeping while another employee was softly whispering to her and comforting her. After some consoling, she wiped her eyes, took a deep breath, and got up to go about her business. She had a look of determination, but it was still obvious that this job was difficult for her. She was uneasy in her assignment and her behavior showed that she very much lacked self-confidence, but you could see she was trying. It was hard for her to talk with people, to go up to them and ask if they needed help.

I very well remember that day so long ago and remember too how it touched me. I felt such concern for this woman. I also observed her through the coming years. I saw her confidence grow with time. She became very self-assured. Her actions once hesitant and faltering became abilities of poise and certainty. I wanted to tell her how proud I was of her, how I had seen her flourish and mature. In my eyes, I was "just a kid" and she was 30 years my senior or so I thought. I didn't have the self-assurance to give her such a complement. And now, I look back, focused on this memory wishing I could tell her how her example has inspired me. As I carry out my employment responsibilities, I too will grow strong in my competence and abilities.

Here I go!

"The way to develop self-confidence
is to do the thing you fear."
--William Jennings Bryan

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Call for Letters

Before traveling to Texas, Elder Blair will be in the Missionary Training Center until September 10th. He'd love to hear from you.

Elder Thomas Edward Blair

MTC Mailbox #134

TX-HOUS 0910

2005 N. 900 E.

Provo, UT 84604-1793

"Letters that encourage and uplift . . . can help a missionary lose himself in service."

“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, Feb 1997, 17

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MTC or BUST!

Elder Blair - Ontario Airport - "BYE-BYE!"


Hughie and I set Tom off early this morning at the Ontario Airport. Uncle Adam, his son, Michael, and cousin, Angie Lockhart, were his supporting family for the MTC send off experience in Provo, Utah.



Elder Blair
is officially
on his mission.

As you enter the MTC [Missionary Training Center], you obviously will miss your family, and many aspects of your daily schedule will be new and challenging. But for a young man well on his way to becoming a missionary, the basic adjustment to the rigors of missionary work and lifestyle will not be overwhelming, burdensome, or constraining. Thus, a key element of raising the bar includes working to become a missionary before going on a mission.
--David A. Bednar, “Becoming a Missionary,”Ensign, Nov 2005, 44

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So Long, Farewell!

"Miss you!" David and Yvonne with Tommy,
a few of the many well-wishers this weekend .











"Farewell!" Tommy and his Dedman nephews
"Good-bye!" Cousin Janet & Tom
For weeks now Tommy has been going to parties, having parties, making the rounds and saying his good-byes before leaving for the MTC (Missionary Training Center).

This weekend in particular gave him the chance to say farewell to loving family and friends. Everyone was so thoughtful and kind and it was just so good to see everyone.

Tom spoke in the Sierra Ward today. He bore his testimony of the restored gospel and his Savior, Jesus Christ. He is so obviously pleased and enthusiastic about his opportunity to serve a mission.

At 6 p.m. Tommy had a final interview. We then filed in and joined him and President Porter for some final counsel. In conclusion, Tommy was set apart as a missionary for the Texas Houston South Mission. He's officially Elder Blair.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto
the end of the world. Amen."--
Matthew 28:19-20

Friday, August 8, 2008

Working Mom

A little girl,
asked where her home was,
replied,
"where mother is."
~~Keith L. Brooks

Last May, Sam, in a reflective tone, asked me why I didn't work like other moms work. I immediately knew he was referring to a paying gig. At the time, I had been going to school with him every morning for several days helping to finalize a little musical presentation for his classroom. My response was, "Well....I wouldn't be able to volunteer my time and help in your class like I do if I had a "job".

The following week I found myself seriously considering substitute teaching and started the process to apply. I told Sam about it. I asked him what he thought about me working. Somehow I thought he'd be okay with it because of our conversation the week before. I would now be like "other" moms, but he made it perfectly clear that he didn't like the idea. He was worried that I wouldn't be home. "I'm afraid I won't see you," he said.

I informed him that being a substitute teacher made it easier for me to stay home when he was ill or to deal with other home and family matters. I further explained that I would go to work and come home when he did, but he was quick to inform me, "Mom, I know those teachers, they stay after school." Again, I reassured him that substitute teachers don't have to stay after school, just regular teachers do that. He seemed appeased, but he was worried. Of course, this working is not only out of the ordinary for me, but for everyone else in the family. We will no doubt have our adjustments.


Sam and I, working things out about "working".

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"For Such a Time As This" - Esther 4:14

If ever my blog could be an outlet, today is the day. I have a confession to make. I got a job. I'm not talking about being a mother and a wife and all that goes with it "job". I'm talking about actually cutting a paycheck "job". I can't believe it! I haven't worked outside my home in over 30 years.

In the past, I've thought about working when things would get tight financially, but we always seemed to work things out. Now, in my old age, I had really put it out of my mind. Me in the workforce? OH, NO.....NO......NO.....NO....NO!!! People think about retiring at my age. And yet, here I sit, hired to substitute teach. I won't go into all the details of our finances, but suffice it to say, with rising gas prices and more, and in spite of us tightening our belts; I have been pushed into joining the ranks of the employed.

I felt like it was the right thing to do as soon as it crossed my mind. It almost seemed natural and I confidently moved forward to apply, but I've grumbled about it. As I put my resume together, ordered transcripts, and asked for letters of recommendation; the preparation of my application became a time of apprehension. Before actually submitting my paperwork, I wondered if it would really happen. I kept looking for a sign to do differently. I kept looking at our budget trying to see what I could change to make things better, but still, it seemed right to move forward. The truth is, I'm just so surprised.

During the past weeks, while waiting for my interview, I would labor throughout my house and periodically cry out with this angst in my voice, "I need a job!" My family would giggle at my comic relief, but the reality was I was scared and worried at my coming employment.

No doubt there was fear in just applying for a job. My children helped me put my resume together with their suggestions and up-to-date guidance, but still the thought of actually going to work and punching a time card.....Why it just seemed foreign to me.

I very much value my time and to think I was going to give it up to the almighty dollar. "Ugh!......They really couldn't begin to pay me what I was worth," I thought. I've heard how many feel an affirmation of their significance when the money starts rolling in, but the thought has had the opposite effect on me. "I am of infinite worth" and chagrin at the notion of a paycheck. It somehow seemed to devalue me and yet with our situation I'm happy to add the cash to our income.

I have happily incorporated the stay-at-home state of mind. I have faithfully lived and enjoyed my position. Even though it has not always been easy, it has always been worth it. The wife-mother thing has enveloped me and even though I know many women "work" and still have marriage and motherhood encompass their lives; I felt like it was the end of an era and I didn't want it to end.

I imagine my feelings are akin with those who go through the empty nest syndrome, but then that's something I'll probably never experience because my nest is so full. I'll fly the coop before all of my bunch leaves home. Even so, empty nest people are still parents, but their circumstances have changed - no children at home. I too, in spite of working, am still a mother and a wife. Nevertheless, here I am, sad to see my stay-at-home situation ruffled.

As I weighed my plight, I complained on the phone to my son, Billy. His comment was, "Get over it Esther, 'for such a time as this' (Esther 4:14)!" I thought about that and realized he was right. I am very much prepared to take on this roll at 55. I have my bachelors degree (BYU/1975). I took the CBEST test 14 years ago. I have volunteered in my children's classrooms for the last 25 years and in doing so have gleaned beneficial knowledge observing educators in action. I also have some added talents to bring to the table with music and art from earlier learning experiences in my life, and 20 years of service with children in Primary has been invaluable, plus I'm a MOM.

I can do this and it is a miracle to see how it has all come together with such relative ease. I have truly been blessed, for all this learning has come through my everyday living. What's great about substitute teaching is that I can still stay home when I need to, when I want to, and happily I will. Wish me luck!

Official Substitute Teacher

"As Latter-day Saint mothers blessed with a
testimony of our Father’s great plan of happiness,
we must never lose sight of the fact that our
efforts and time spent in rearing our families
in the safe refuge of gospel-centered homes
are our most lasting legacy of all."


Camille Curtis Anderson,
"The Fruit of Her Hands", Ensign, September 1996

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More Summer Fun!

HAPPY WINNERS!

July 30, 2008, visiting North Carolina cousin, Carson (3rd Place), and Sam (1st Place, second year in a row) at the Pack Regatta.

JUST HANG'N

Janna, Tom, and Zoe

NORTH CAROLINA COUSINS!
Lockhart's - David and Beth
Carson and Jessica

Kate Reynders' Mission Call

Kate leaves for Canada in November. She's been called to serve in the Manitoba Winnipeg Mission.

REYNDERS FAMILY We have seen my brother's family throughout the summer. This photo was taken at their Thorley Family Reunion.

Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and FAMILY. --Barbara Bush

Monday, August 4, 2008

"You.....are.....BEAUTIFUL!"

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

I was a grandma with bun. I've been twisting my hair on top of my head for years. My motivation was convenience, but I knew I would look better if I cut it. I was worried I wouldn't cope with the daily maintenance of shorter hair. I feel so busy and have grown use to the very easy care of simply wrapping my hair and using a clip to secure it. It doesn't get more trouble-free than that.

This year I devised a plan to help me phase into shorter hair. I was just too afraid to cut it so I have been inching it up throughout the year. First I had six inches cut off. About six weeks ago I had five inches cut, then two weeks ago another five. I guess if I was thinking ahead I could have donated a goodly amount of hair to Locks of Love, but I didn't.

Anyway, this last go round brought me to the point of having to keep my hair down and coiffed. It has been relatively easy to manage and of course, I'm wondering why I didn't cut it sooner. I may well cut even more off, but for now I'm living with it.

Wherever I go, people have complemented me on my shorter do. People I don't even know that well are quick to kindly endorse my new look. Case in point, I was at a neighborhood garage sale the other day. One of my other neighbors, an older gentleman, was there making a purchase. He is from Mexico. He knows very little English and has a thick accent. We passed by each other. I smiled and said, "Hello." He did a double take and responded, "Are you Martha?" Still smiling I said, "Yes." He was so enthusiastic as he tried to express himself, "You....are....BEAUTIFUL!" Did something get lost in translation? Of course, he was trying to tell me he liked my new hair cut. Me, a 55-year old grandmother doesn't get called "BEAUTIFUL" very often as sweet and loved as I may be. I well knew what he was trying to say, but I'm tickled by the whole thing and happy to take the compliment.

"Those who look for beauty, find it."
Author Unknown

Looking and feeling FABULOUS, d-a-h-l-i-n-k!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters - Irving Berlin

My sister has come and gone. She was here a good portion of July to vacation and visit, but mostly to help with my parents. Her insight and understanding is keen. She assessed the situation and made suggestions. She rolled up her sleeves and helped. She lives in North Carolina so she can't be here on a daily basis with physical help, but the emotional support she provides is invaluable. I'll miss her.


Beth Reynders Lockhart and Martha Reynders Blair





SISTERS FOREVER





"Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood."

~Louisa May Alcott

Saturday, July 26, 2008

In the Good Old Summertime

There's a time each year
That we always hold dear,

Good old summer time;

With the birds and the treeses

And sweet scented breezes,

Good old summer time,

When your day's work is over

Then you are in clover,

And life is one beautiful rhyme,

No trouble annoying,

Each one is enjoying,

The good old summer time.

Lyrics - Ren Shields
Music - George Evans


Father & Son Outing
July 23-25, 2008


Tom and Hugh ventured out for three days last week on a memorable trip before Tom leaves on his mission.









Hugh (center) looking and listening on the Hearst Castle tour.






Tom with his deep sea fishing catch for our Friday night fish fry.

Good Friends - Kaley Thacker, Janna Blair, Zoe Burgess

Lancaster Stake Girl's Camp

FRIENDS FOR GOOD
July 22-26, 2008

MORE COUSINS COME TO TOWN
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Me, Doyle, Julie, Cassie, Jim, and my sister, Beth

Alas, so much to blog, so little time. The summer is not over yet and our busyness continues with more doings to report. I'll try to keep up. Hope you're having a great summer!