Friday, August 22, 2008


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


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,
"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!


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


Janna, Tom, and Zoe

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


"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


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

~Louisa May Alcott