Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Boys!


Today is my oldest grandson's birthday.
Jeremiah is 6 years old.


Today is my youngest grandson's birthday.
Big brother and little brother now share their B-days.


Dexter Lorrell Dedman
7:33 AM
8.5 lbs.
20 1/2 inches

Happy happy birthday, children dear;
Happy days will come to you all year.
If I had one wish, then it would be
A happy happy birthday to you from me!

Words and music:
Children's Songbook - 284a
Mildred E. Millett, b. 1925. © 1963 IRI

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Temple! My Temple! It's My Temple!

Last night for family home evening we read our "Family From Yosemite" stories.  Rick even got on the phone from Okinawa to join us.  Our Tom, Elder Blair, will be part of it all when we send him a special New Year's package with all the stories. If you don't know what "The Family From Yosemite" is all about, read my post about our previous Christmas, January 6, 2009.  The following is my contribution this year.


By Martha Reynders Blair
December 25, 2009

We were on our way to see the Christmas lighting of the Los Angeles Temple. It wasn’t something we had done before as a family, but with our four children getting older we thought it was something we could definitely enjoy together.

We were rendezvousing with the McEwan family. Many of the McEwan children were the same age as our own. Brother McEwan’s father was the temple president. President McEwan and his wife maintained a residence nearby which would be helpful if anyone needed a potty stop, a rest, ect. All of which were concerns in transporting children to such an event.

Along with the McEwan’s we met with, President and Sister McEwan, in their home. It was so nice and we felt very privileged being there. We toured their cozy home and yes, someone had to go to the bathroom. There was also a little, round jogging trampoline (exercising apparatus of the day) in their living room. Yes, the kids all took a turn jumping on it.

We enjoyed a musical program that evening on the temple grounds listening to the Southern California Mormon Choir and an exceptional speech by the Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, who officially flipped the switch to turn on the lights for the holiday season.

Our intent too, was to have a bit of a tailgate party. Keeping children happy with yummy hot chocolate and treats. We did and it kept everyone going for the evening. The cocoa was nice and warm which tasted good and felt so good on what was a very cold night. We enjoyed ourselves as we meandered through the temple grounds looking at the array of lights and listening to the recorded Christmas music that came and went as we traveled around looking at the displays.

It was really a very enjoyable evening, but none of it surpasses the moment as we drove along side the temple and got our first view of the edifice that night.  Let me digress just a moment to a family home evening not too long before this event. It was a family home evening prompted by the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball. He had asked families to hang a picture of a temple in their home. We decided to let each child select a favorite temple and we would display it in their room. Ricky, the oldest, picked the traditional Salt Lake Temple. Billy selected the St. George Temple. It was my favorite as a child too. Its very white walls made me think of purity. For this reason, I always thought it looked particularly holy. Cassie the youngest was quick to say she liked the Los Angeles Temple which was where Hugh and I were married. Becky then selected the only other temple that was in California at the time, the Oakland Temple. Each picture was framed and placed in a strategic place in their rooms. The idea was that seeing the temple everyday would remind them of the importance of the temple and how they should prepare to enter the House of the Lord.

We were laughing and talking as we turned off the freeway and headed down Santa Monica Blvd. It was already evening with lights beaming brightly against the very dark sky, but soon the temple came into view. It’s a view Hugh and I see all the time in our monthly sojourn to participate in temple worship, but it was new to our children and our fun togetherness was interrupted by Cassie’s excited screams. She pointed and pressed her face to the window next to her, “MY TEMPLE, MY TEMPLE, IT’S MY TEMPLE!!!” We all turned and looked out the window.  There we saw the Los Angeles Temple in all its luminous glory glowing before us.

It truly is a light upon a hill, majestic, and magnificent, bearing witness to all the world and calling, “Come, Come Unto Christ".  I was moved that night as I viewed the temple and heard Cassie cry, “MY TEMPLE, MY TEMPLE, IT’S MY TEMPLE!!!” Now she’s a young mother with a temple recommend, endowed with power from on high. She hopes her little boys will prepare seeing the joy and hope of the temple, not only from the picture that graces the walls of their home, but by the example she sets in temple attendance. It truly is her temple, THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, where He blesses her life and her family eternally.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Busy Again!

Our household became very busy when my mother went on hospice.  It got busy again during Thanksgiving, then the funeral, and now Christmas.  Yes, we've had family visiting each time, but now our busyness has taken on the added responsibility of helping our daughter move.  Cassie has been in Buena Park.  Today she is moving in with my dad, her Poppy.

It will definitely be a help to our family.  I won't have to spend the night over there like I do.  It will help Poppy so he can stay in his home.  We thought about moving him, but keeping an Alzheimer's patient in familiar surroundings is a good thing.  Even so, he gets confused in spite of our best efforts.  Yesterday he claimed he was 28 and couldn't believe he'd been living in that house for the last 50 years.

This move will also help Cassie because she and her boys have a roof over their heads.  Her fourth baby is due soon.  She'll have a chance to recover and regroup her life.  Divorce is never easy.

Our caregiver, Teresa, will continue to make daily visits to help with my dad.  We're hoping this situation works out for all.  As the new year approaches, we're taking it one day at a time.

"With the companionship
of the Spirit,
our approach to trials
will change frustrations
and heartaches to blessings."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a Great Day!

"For many people, 'overdoing it' is especially common at this time of the year. We take on too much for the time and energy we have. Perhaps we don't have enough money to spend for those things we feel we must purchase. Often our efforts at Christmastime result in feeling stressed out, wrung out and worn out during a time when instead we should feel the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem."
President Thomas S. Monson,
Christmas Devotional,
December 6, 2009

"Real joy comes
as we show
the love and compassion
inspired by
the Savior of the World."
President Thomas S. Monson,
Christmas Devotional,
December 6, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

HO HO HO!!!!!

I'm all about touching base with my annual Christmas card and letter, but not this year.  I'm just plain sick and tired, so I've made an executive decision. I'm sending a Christmas wish via my blog.

Season Greetings!

Elder Blair dancing in the snow, thrilled to be in Southern Texas.

The real reason for the season!Simeon Reverencing the Christ Child
by Greg Olsen

Simeon “blessed God, and said,
... mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
(Luke 2:28–30)

Merry Christmas
and a
Happy New Year!
The Blair's

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Dorothy McMullin Reynders
April 22, 1929
November 29, 2009

If at first you don't succeed,
do it the way your mother told you to.
-- Author Unknown
(This says "Author Unknown",
 but doesn't that sound just like my mother!?)

  • My mother passed away peacefully this morning in her home at approximately 3 a.m.
  • View a slideshow of my mother on my sister's blog:  Beth's Notebook
  • Also, I have a mother who KNEW.  Read the words of Julie B. Beck:  Mothers Who Know

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Thankful for . . .


We're coming up on Thanksgiving week.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It has always been my favorite for as long as I can remember.

Watch this video and start counting your many blessings:

  • I'm thankful for God the Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ, and for the power of the Holy Ghost.
  • I'm thankful for my family.
  • I'm thankful for my home.
  • I'm thankful for employment for my husband and myself.
  • I'm thankful for the opportunities I have to serve.
  • I'm just plain thankful.  I know I have been very very blessed.
What are you thankful for?


"As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget
that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words,
but to live by them."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's All About the Grandkids!

The Dedman Boys

Jeremiah, Joseph, and Ammon
Their brother is due January 9, 2010
This weekend Cassie and fam came by to visit Grandma and Poppy.  I got a photo of the boys fun happy faces.  They never get to stay as long as they want.  They love spending time with Uncle Sam.  We're hoping for a good visit over the Thanksgiving holiday.

"We plead with you to take time for your children and your grandchildren while they are young. Special moments may come only once. Before we are aware, they have grown older, and our best opportunity for teaching them how to live happy and fulfilling lives is past."

Elder M. Russell Ballard,
"Teach the Children" Ensign, May 1991, 78

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Special Moments

It has been nearly three weeks since stepping into the realm of hospice with my mother.  Her decision to go the way of all the earth has changed things.  Many good friends and family have stepped forward to serve and say good-bye.  She has had wonderful visits and phone calls that have distracted her from her sick feelings and pain.  Mom is off all her medication except for the occasional pill providing her with comfort and relief.  She's not eating, but has been taking fluids.  She is surprisingly alert and has been a delight to her visitors.  She's starting to quiet down, but through it all her humor and advice come shining through.

Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

Karen Lynn Davidson from Hymn 293

For some inspired insights read:
"Lessons in Love" by Karen Ann Anderson.  She tells the story about the hospice experience of her friend Marie Holley. (Ensign, April 1986, 60)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Compassionate Service

Coach, Teresa, and Mom

Teresa is our caregiver.  She's the one that does all the work tending to my parents while the rest of us senior sit.  She's the BEST!  She's OUTSTANDING!  It's not "just a job".  She renders service from her heart.  You don't get any better than Teresa.  My parents love her and we love her too.

Thank You Teresa 
Glitter Graphics
from the bottom of our hearts!

"Being compassionate is [a] great work of our Heavenly Father and a fundamental characteristic of who we are as a people. We are commanded to 'succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees' (D&C 81:5). Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. Those who follow the Savior 'mourn with those that mourn . . . and comfort those that stand in need of comfort' (Mosiah 18:9).

"When we reach out to bless the lives of others, our lives are blessed as well. Service and sacrifice open the windows of heaven, allowing choice blessings to descend upon us. Surely our beloved Heavenly Father smiles upon those who care for the least of His children.

"As we lift others, we rise a little higher ourselves. President Spencer W. Kimball taught, 'The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls' (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 254).
"Dieter F. Uchtdorf,
Ensign, Nov. 2008, 119

Friday, November 6, 2009

Growing Up

The Birthday Boy
Sam celebrated his 11th birthday
Wednesday night, Nov. 4th

I'm not only late in reporting Sam's birthday, but also of his recent advancement. He received his blue belt October 1st. He also was invited to participate in another class that will include archery, swordsmanship, learning Japanese, and calligraphy. It's a little different than just the punching agenda and he's always wanted to do it and was pleased that he could participate. It will be a while before he advances to his green belt and this will provide him with some experiences that are well rounded in gaining a better understanding of the martial arts.

Four-character Idiom:

Kachou Fuugetsu

Flower, Bird, Wind, Moon

Experience the beauties of nature,
and in doing so learn about yourself.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend Reunion

The Reynders Kids
Mark, Martha, Beth, and Adam
and our parents
Bill and Dorothy Reynders
It's been a long time since we were all together.  My mother going on hospice care is what brought us together last weekend.  It was a nice experience enjoying one anothers company.  My mom has been amazingly alert.  She's been happy to visit with us and talk to other family and friends on the phone.  It was a great weekend.

“Through the restored gospel we learn there is an ideal family. It is a family composed of a righteous Melchizedek Priesthood bearer with a righteous wife sealed to him and children born in the covenant or sealed to them. With a mother in the home in an environment of love and service, the parents teach their children, through example and precept, the ways of the Lord and His truths. They fulfill their divinely appointed roles mentioned in the family proclamation. Their children mature by living teachings instilled from birth. They develop characteristics of obedience, integrity, love of God, and faith in His holy plan. In due course, each of those children seeks a companion with similar ideals and aspirations. They are sealed in the temple, bear children, and the eternal plan continues, with generation strengthening generation.”

Richard G. Scott,
“First Things First,” Ensign, May 2001, 6 

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween Dude!

"Eat, drink, and be scary."
~Author Unknown


Friday, October 23, 2009

Comfort Care

I have a theme running through my life for some time now. It's called "Caring for Aging Parents". I'm due to blog about it.  We (my family) and Teresa Kelly, our caregiver, are in and out of my parent's home everyday. Teresa does most of the work while the rest of us "senior-sit". My dad has Alzheimer's and my mother lays in a hospital bed declining from the aliments of diabetes, congestive heart failure, and more.  She has an infection in her foot which she has been fighting for a very long time and currently has a urinary track infection.  She has been on antibiotics for over a year.

This summer my mother was in the hospital, to the skilled care facility (nursing home), and then back to the hospital many times. My sister, Beth, visited this summer and before she left we were able to orchestrate the situation and brought my mother back home.  I wish I could say she is happy to be home. Her care is certainly better, but my parents have no quality of life. It is my father's and mother's wishes to be home, but they don't know where they are most of the time.

A few weeks ago my mother was in the hospital again.  She received a pacemaker and we were hopeful she'd be feeling better, but it was only days and she was back in the hospital again for the ninth time.  I knew my mother didn't want to be there.  We've contemplated my parents situations and wondered about the next decisions that would need to be made.

Monday we (my mom, brother Mark, and myself) met with a hospice team from Kaiser. We assumed she would be coming home and be under the hospice umbrella, but that was not what initially happened.  After a few days of drama she's now home and officially on hospice as of yesterday.  We're feeling relieved and grateful for their help. Life in this world is coming to a close for my mother.

“Honour thy father and thy mother:
that thy days may be long upon the land
which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

Bill Reynders - 82

Dorothy Reynders - 80

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Testament

I saw that Mark Mabry has come out with another book titled Another Testament.  I have his Reflections of Christ site listed on my sidebar under Art Links.  I visited there today and invite you to do the same.  He has a link to Another Testament, but I also added one myself.  I thought it was inspiring.  Check it out.

"The Book of Mormon is a book that testifies that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. Great prophets throughout the Book of Mormon have borne solemn witness that Jesus Christ is the Creator of the earth (see Mosiah 3:8), the Redeemer of mankind (see Helaman 5:9-12), the Only Begotten of the Father (see 1 Nephi 11:18-21; Jacob 4:11). These Book of Mormon prophets knew Him, as Abraham and Moses did, and received and taught His everlasting gospel. As we read and study their words, we gain a deeper understanding of the Savior's matchless love, His perfect life and example, and the blessings of His great atoning sacrifice."

Craig C. Christensen,

Saturday, October 17, 2009

She Quietly Went to the Temple

“It is the deepest desire of my heart
to have every member of the Church
worthy to enter the temple.”
President Howard W. Hunter
“Exceeding Great and Precious Promises, ” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8

Becky came to Hugh and I earlier in the year informing us that she thought she was ready to go to the temple.  She's 26 now.  She met with our bishop and found that there wasn't anyone else in the ward ready to take the temple prep class.  Hughie offered to teach the lessons to Becky in our home.

When our children were preparing for baptism Hugh had a set of lessons he gave before one of them was baptised.  We sat through those lessons during family home evening many times, 7 to be exact or I should say 8.  He also presented them to our friend Zoe before she was baptised.  Anyway, our family home evening lessons were the temple preparation lessons for a period of time.  Hugh also asked Becky to  read "The House of the Lord" by James Talmage and "The Holy Temple" by Boyd K. Packer.

Well the day finally arrived.  Becky went to the temple today.  It wasn't the same pomp and circumstance like our other children who had gone before.  They were either going on missions or getting married or in Cassie's case having her family sealed together.  Because of the added events there were gatherings with family and friends in addition to the paramount temple experience.  Back then all our children that could go went with us to the temple.  Even the kids that couldn't go inside were outside waiting.  But today, Becky quietly went to the temple joined by her sister, Cassie, and her parents.

I was very pleased for Becky and grateful for her committed preparation.  She was very thoughtful and ready.  It was a great day!  Now when we make temple trips Becky will be able to go with us.

Look to the temple of the Lord
as the great symbol of your membership.”
Presient Howard W. Hunter,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Class Nobody Wanted

"My dear sisters,
do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities,
but pray for abilities equal to your tasks.
Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle,
but you will be the miracle."
Thomas S. Monson

It has been quite an experience as I have tackled the task of being a "real" teacher.  A real teacher for the class nobody wanted.  I talked about my little 4th and 5th graders last month.  It was my first encounter with them and on that day as I evaluated the situation, I said a silent prayer, "Heavenly Father, if there is anything I can do here, then  PLEASE let me do it."  I had such a desire to help those kids. I wanted to be there teacher.

A week later I was back again for two days, but this time the principal met with me and asked me to take the class on a week to week basis. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I knew I had to do something to help and I knew I could at least be there on a consistent basis.  I had such a confirmation that taking this on was the right thing to do.  I needed to remember that feeling when things got hard.  It wasn't my usual subbing situation.  I'm usually a one day production and then I'm out.  But now to fulfill my responsibilities, I was coming in an hour early and leaving two hours late trying to keep up with all that I had to do.

Organizing the room was a necessity, so that was first on the agenda.  My class cleanup helped make things better, but it certainly wasn't the ideal setup.  I would have liked to have done more, but my hands were somewhat tied as a sub.  In many ways I was handicapped like my students.  I couldn't do everything I wanted.  I struggled  everyday putting together a program on a wing and a prayer. Thankfully I did have help from the school psychologist and my dear mentor teacher.  I also had four para-eductors in the classroom that I couldn't have done without.  We were a team.  I was so grateful for everyone's assistance.

I held parent-teacher conferences that first week.  It helped build confidence in the hearts of concerned parents.  The following week I participated in an IEP (Individual Education Program).  Happily it helped bring one student back into our classroom that had left because of not having a consistent teacher.  I also got scratched, bit, hit, and spit on.  That was all part of the learning curve.  There were also the comforting moments when I knew I was an influence in the life of a child.

I could have definitely been overwhelmed and let it cripple my ability to function, but one thing came to my mind that pushed me forward.  It's something I have recognized about myself over the years.  Time and time again throughout my life I have been put in situations - situations that need fixing.  I'm talking desperate situations where something is ready to fall apart.  For some reason I have been put in these positions and God helps me see what I need to do.  I know I can make a bad situation better. I use to think when I was younger, "Why do I have to do this?!"  Now, knowing full well that God will help me, I jump in and do my part.  Heavenly Father guides me and I can make decisions to put things back in order, back on track.  I've said at times, "I'm better than nothing."  But in these situations I'm definitely what the doctor ordered.  I can patch a situation up, put a band aid on it so to speak and start the healing process and begin the repair.  It seems like I'm there just for that and then someone else steps in and takes over.  My job is done and the once bad circumstance is turned around and on the mend.  The crisis is over and someone else takes over where I left off and begins to build.  It's been my lot to deal with such things.  I'm accepting of it now, but I use to be somewhat grudging of giving up my post.  I'd think, "Why can't I carry on and build on this better situation now?!"  Instead I'm off to the next disaster, like SUPER MARTHA, there to intervene momentarily and then I'm off again to where I'm needed.  I'm glad to say I'm happy to be of service and I'll serve where and while I can.

Well, I had the class nearly three weeks.  I was emotional in my departure, but I knew my lot from the beginning.  I was to try and stabilize and prepare the class for a permanent teacher.

"Effective teaching may be the hardest job there is."

I might have been the teacher, but I learned so much from the children and the other adults who helped me.

"I believe that every human soul
is teaching something to someone
nearly every minute here in mortality."

My one great advantage through it all is that I love these children, every single one of them.  My heart aches for them.  I wish they knew how much God loves them.  How special they are to Him.  It was a rough start having their teacher resign and then endure weeks of different substitutes. Again, it was the class nobody wanted.  School should be better for them.  School can be a happy place.  It would have been nice to have had more time, but we patched things up and moved forward and now they have a permanent teacher. (I HOPE!) I'm so grateful I had this opportunity. The Spirit whispered, "You'll be an influence."  And with God's help I was.

"When love and skill work together,
expect a masterpiece."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm OUT!

I've gotten all sorts of emails from people wondering why I'm not on FACEBOOK anymore. I had just barely started with FACEBOOK and all its networking wonder when my daughter informed me the other day that someone was using my name and sending out comments on FACEBOOK. Weirdness comments I might add that included weirdness links. She said, "Just write and tell everyone it wasn't you."  According to her it happens all the time, people hacking and using your name, etc. And I just made contact with so many dear friends, but sorry you all I've deleted my account. I can't take the weirdness and I don't want to be affiliated with weirdness.  No, I'm just going to sit here with my quiet unassuming blog and hope for the best. 


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Only in Texas

Elder Blair and a longhorn truck.

If you hadn't noticed already, Tommy's new address is posted on my sidebar.  He's serving in Pearland and has a new companion and a new assignment as district leader.  He loves being a missionary.  He loves the people of Texas.  And we love getting his weekly email report.  We're so grateful for his happy service.

"I believe that every Latter-day Saint who has received a testimony of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged has [the] same feeling that Alma had—a desire that all the world might hear the testimony of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ [see Alma 29:1–9]. When men and women receive a testimony of the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, they are anxious that all the world should have that same knowledge and faith. They are anxious that the gospel should go to every honest soul. And there is no other labor in all the world that brings to a human heart, judging from my own personal experience, more joy, peace and serenity than proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"In no part of the work of God here upon the earth at the present time is there such a band of happy, contented, peaceful people as those who are engaged in missionary service. Service is the real key to joy. When one is giving service for the advancement of humanity, when one is working without money and without price, with no hope of earthly reward, there comes a real, genuine joy into the human heart."

Heber J. Grant, The Teachings of Heber J. Grant, Chapter 9:  "The Joy of Missionary Work"

You might find longhorn trucks ONLY in Texas, but the joy of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ is everywhere.

Friday, September 18, 2009


"It is for us to pray
not for tasks equal to our powers,
but for powers equal to our tasks,
to go forward with a great desire
forever beating at the door of our hearts
as we travel toward our distant goal."

Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan

Remember that class I substituted for about a week ago.  I was asked back again later this week for two days.  During my lunch the principal was able to catch me in my classroom and talked with me.  She asked if I would take the class on a week to week basis.  My heart is full.  I'm all about it!  I love those children.  I don't know how long I'll be there, maybe all year (wouldn't that be something) or maybe I'm preparing the way for someone else.  Whatever the case, I'll make my mark - one week at a time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Matters Most

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
Robert Brault

Since I've gotten more and more busy, the time I have with my family has taken on new meaning. Those moments together seem so precious. A short conversation takes on a depth I did not appreciate before. I so long for more. I was once on the other end of the scale with so much daily family doing. I would then long for an isolated moment. I would envy some time alone. Now, the moments together I bask in. I delight in with the utmost gratitude.  I'm surrounded with joy. I want more of what matters most.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"You're Better Than Nothing"

I know I can be very self-deprecating. I have visions of grandeur and of course the vision never matches up with what really happens. In my younger days I use to get so down on myself. One little bobble could fester and lead me into the depths of despair. It's that glass half empty, half full thing. I unfortunately and often see things as half empty, but I have this little mental trick I use to turn myself around. I tell myself, "You're better than nothing!" Now that doesn't sound like much - BETTER THAN NOTHING, but I envision that without my doings, there would be nothing. I try to look at my positive impact instead of what went wrong.

So when I'm asked at the last minute to play the piano to accompany a hymn and hit what seems to me a gazillion clinkers; instead of being devastated by it all, I just say, "I'm better than nothing!" When I get asked to sing and forget the words or miss a note; I just say, "It was better than nothing!" I say those words with great confidence for I know Satan would love to have me down and out.

I took a painting class at our local college a few years ago. I was feeling discouraged because I couldn't reproduce what I saw in my mind onto the canvas. My instructor, Mr. Glen Knowles, was an outstanding teacher. He saw my discouragement and frustration and simply said, "You need to get over it!" I so admired his work and at first thought he couldn't understand where I was coming from, but he assured me that he had never really painted anything exactly the way he saw it in his mind. I thought about that. I knew I was learning and progressing. Painting a masterpiece in the beginning is really unthinkable. I related his comment to my own experience with piano. More than once I have had to encourage a piano student who was discouraged because they weren't measuring up or playing like they wanted to.

The parable of the talents is a great guide in showing what happens if we don't utilize what we have been given, the servant said, "I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth." Those who become downcast or afraid become stifled. Their talents then lay hidden, locked away, and eventually lost.

Admittedly, my BETTER THAN NOTHING theory is not perfect in providing me an escape from discouragement. Case in point, I've been subbing nearly everyday since school started this year. The more I have substituted the more confident I have become though some days are better than others when it comes to my effectiveness in the classroom. With my one-day appearance I'd like to think I'll have an incredible influence in the lives of all the children in my class. The reality is I might make a dent here or there in the life of a child as we pace through a hopefully educational day.

This week I found myself in a classroom of severely handicapped 4th and 5th graders. There were 14 children, all present. All I found was a brief outline on the desk to guide me through the day. I immediately quizzed the four para-educators I would be working with. I soon realized I was the substitute for the substitute. These children had had two different substitutes in the last two weeks and I entered the classroom as number three. Doing the math, I surmised that this class had only been functioning for two weeks before, whatever the reason, the teacher was gone for the next two weeks. With it being a brand new school, a new school year, and whatever other reasons; the guidance I was hoping for from my helpers was very limited. I could see in their eyes they were definitely looking to me for support. Happily about a third of the class recognized me from previous subbing encounters the year before and they were happy to see me.

I don't know how that class is really supposed to run, but with my limited knowledge and a prayer in my heart; I put a smile on my face and jumped in. Yes, I had some initial anxiety wondering what to do next, but I moved forward and felt the peace of the Spirit. The other adults were quick to follow my lead. I certainly appreciated their help. I couldn't have done it without them. I had a parent come in to observe the class for part of the day and I had to deal with some behavior you wouldn't find in a "normal" classroom, but I know I was guided.

After school I sat alone writing my report and pondering. I wondered if I had made a difference? Did I look like the latest dog and pony show with my reading antics and singing production? Or had I been a viable teacher for these students? I couldn't say for sure; I had been left with so little to go on. As I evaluated my day, one of the para-educators stepped back into the room. She had been out fulfilling her responsibility of walking some of the children to the bus. She stood at the door and thoughtfully and quietly said, "I wanted to tell you . . . It was a pleasure working with you today. You really ought to leave your number. You're the best substitute we've ever had." I'm sure I had a surprised look on my face, but I also had a great sense of relief flow through me as I heard her words. I sincerely thanked her and finished my report, which always includes my sub number and phone numbers.

Now repeat after me:
"You're better than nothing.
You're better than nothing.

You're better than nothing."
And it really helps when someone says you did a great job.

"There is no effect
more disproportionate to its cause
than the happiness
bestowed by a small compliment."


"I can live for two months
on a good compliment."

There is not doubt,
I'm so thankful!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We're Legal!

I finally got a cell phone that is bluetooth worthy. It's the law in California - Hands Free, Baby! But I didn't want to spend the money to buy a new phone. Naughty me! I've been sneaking around for over a year without one. I purchased a speaker for my car instead of an ear piece and I'm very happy with it. I hope you can hear me! I'm forever talking in the car as I go about my daily doings.

Janna too took a big step and got her license last week. She was very nervous during her driving practice and in taking the driving test; but in spite of her anxiety, she did very well. Janna doesn't seem too intimidated now. She's all over town doing errands for me and driving to school. I'm so grateful for her help even though Erma Bombeck's sage advice is:

"Never lend your car to anyone
to whom you have given birth."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Year Mark

Elder Blair is all about Texas.

And from what I hear . . .

the Texans are all about him.

Tommy is happily serving in the Lone Star State.

Today is his one year mark.


By Grace Gordon, alt.

Called to serve him,

heav’nly King of glory,

Chosen e’er to witness for his name,

Far and wide we tell the Father’s story,

Far and wide his love proclaim.

Onward, ever onward,

as we glory in his name;

Onward, ever onward

as we glory in his name;

Forward, pressing forward,
as a triumph song we sing.
God our strength will be;

press forward ever

Called to serve our King.
Listen to the Tabernacle Choir sing this favored song -
on my sidebar, just click the play arrow.

Elder Blair - Texas.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Mama Drama

My friend's blog is titled "A Mama Drama", but I'm taking the title for my post today. Everyday really is a mama drama when you think about the ups and downs of life. Today's drama entailed Janna getting her license. We've had weeks of "drama driving". I'm so glad she was successful. Now we've got to concentrate on her learning the stick shift.

Today my mother fell. I won't talk about that. Suffice it to say, "She's alright in spite of the drama!"

I scheduled eleven more jobs today. Four consecutive days for one teacher and seven Fridays for another. I'll be subbing while they're attending workshops. "Hip, Hip, Hooray! I've got work!"

I went to Back-to-School Night with Sam this evening, that was the calm part of my day. I was happy to share a bit of time with him.

I'm off to spend the night at my parents and hoping for less drama in my busy days.

"Save the drama for yo mama."

It's telling someone to stop yappin', stop complaining about what's wrong with this, what's wrong with that, and why you've got it so hard.--from Urban Dictionary