Thursday, June 25, 2009

She Made It!

She made it through the first round. Janet, (my niece, Mark & JoLinda's daughter) submitted a rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" in hopes of performing it at Mormon Night at Dodger Stadium. There will be 50 finalist chosen and then she'll get to go to LA for a live audition. We'll see what happens. I'm so excited!!!

Janet is also coming this weekend to help us care for Grandma and Poppy (my parents). I'm so grateful for her help and all who are assisting in their round-the-clock care.

“The only thing better than singing
is more singing."


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Reading Program

Each summer I try, and I mean try, to structure my kids in what I call "Pioneer School". I orchestrate activities, chores, play days, reading, and school work to keep them entertained and on track so they aren't idle and bored for the summer. I think maybe they're even learning something, but they all deny it as I put them through my organized tactics.

It's traditional to participate in the county library reading program. Sam is 10 years old now. He recently saw the movie "The Indian in the Cupboard" and decided he wanted to read the book, which I was particularly pleased with. But when I mentioned signing up for the library reading program he didn't say much.
As I was driving in the car today, I told Sam we'd be going over to the library to sign up for their reading program and we'd pick up a calendar showing the activities he could participate in during the summer. Sam set in the seat next to me unmoved. I did a double take and could see there was no happy anticipation.

After a moment of thought he finally said, "I don't want to sign up for the library program."

I explained it was the same kind of program he's participated in before. You keep track of your reading for the summer and end up getting prizes for your good work. The activities they present are always fun, interesting, and promote reading on a variety of subjects and books.

My rah-rah library program speech was of little consequence. His attitude was obviously ho hum. He took a deep breath and finally said, "Every year, I end up making a house out of graham crackers, frosting, and candy." [He was referring to an annual activity during the Christmas holiday at the library. There was once enthusiasm about such things.] He added, "I think I'm getting too old for that."

What could I say? I didn't push it. I said, "I guess if you just read everyday on your own at home, we don't have to participate."

He seemed relieved as he took another deep breath and said "Okay."

But I had a touch of sadness go through me as I relinquished my request. I guess he's getting older. Or, I hate to say it, maybe he's more about video games. That's what his older siblings would say who were deprived of such things. Whatever! It's the end of another era. I've been going to the library and participating in their reading programs for the last 30 years - old habits die hard.

We'll still go to the library of course. He'll pick out DVDs and books. Thank goodness he hasn't thrown in the towel on that experience, but I'll miss the graham cracker house, bingo, the puppet shows, magic shows, and animal presentations, etc. Thank goodness I've got grand kids!

"Reading is to the mind
what exercise is to the body."
P.S. Sam read this post and made a point to tell me that he still liked puppet shows, magic shows, and animal presentations. Maybe we'll be participating in library programs more than I think. YEAH!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


We hit the jackpot this week! Tommy made up for all his skimpy emails with a letter, a tape, and a digital photo card filled with over 500 pictures in one mailing. We were so excited even though most of the pictures are old news, it's still pictures. Hooray!

Elder Blair has been serving almost 10 months now, he writes: "I can't tell you how much I love my mission. I never thought I would ever get to this point, but I don't want to go home."

"You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. His work is to bless His Father's spirit children with the opportunity to choose eternal life. So, your calling is to bless lives.

"Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here. They will be the ancestors and the descendants of those who chose eternal life because of something you said or did, or even what you were. . .You see, there are no small callings to represent the Lord."

Henry B. Eyring, "Rise to Your Call," Ensign, Nov. 2002, 75

Sunday, June 7, 2009

No Se Habla Espanol

I've noticed in a number of classes that there are older children within a classroom grade level because they are learning English. A few weeks ago I was in a first grade class. One Hispanic boy was about a year older than the rest of his classmates. He wasn't much bigger in stature, but you could tell he was more mature. He was also very personable in his demeanor even though he was lacking in English skills.

That morning after first recess, he came running breathlessly into the classroom. He was so intent on telling me something that had happened on the playground. He was panting and gasping for air as he said, "Teacher . . . uh . . . este . . ." and then another word in English and then as he said another word in Spanish, he would stammer as he tried to think of how to say it in English. He was feeling quite frustrated trying to express himself going back and forth between two languages, but I was down on one knee, looking at him, and concentrating on the words he said. He was so concerned. I really wanted to know what he was trying to say.

I could see this little boy was obviously going through one of those moments we've all experienced - when you just really want to tell about something you're going through or something that has happened and in the telling you are hoping that person will understand, and in that understanding you will find comfort concerning your situation.

Well, I didn't understand his words, but I was at least confident that he hadn't been injured. As he continued to try and express himself, he became more calm and his breathing became more even. He knew I was listening and at least trying to understand. I looked him in the eye and patted his shoulder and in English assured him that everything would be all right. He took a deep breath and seemed to be content - at least that's my version of the story.

If I could have spoken in Spanish, I would have told him how impressed I was with his effort to try and speak English. How brave he was trying to fit in to his new American culture. I thought he was awesome! He won't have any problem making his way in America. His vibrant spirit came shining through no matter what language he was speaking, English will come. He was responsible, diligent, and wanted to do what is right. . . . Maybe I communicated all that better than I think.

Love One Another

As I have loved you
Love one another.
This new commandment:
Love one another.
By this shall men know
Ye are my disciples,
If ye have love
One to another.

Words: Luacine Clark Fox, 1914–2002
Music: Luacine Clark Fox, 1914–2002; arr. by Jo Marie Borgeson Bray, 1925–1998© 1961 by Luacine C. Fox. Copyright renewed 1989.
Arr. and obbligato © 1978 IRI. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

From Mormon Messages in English, "Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time", by Elder Quentin L. Cook :

Spanish Version: