Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kate's Back!

My neice Kate is home from her mission.  Here's from her last letter:  I don't think it has quite hit me that this is all over and that I am entering a new stage of life. I am scared, but I am also excited to begin to exercise my faith and apply all that I have learned on my mission to my own life. I know that God answers prayers. I know he can give us direct revelation to help us. The more I ponder on the scriptures the more I know this is true. Nothing will bring us more happiness than the gospel. Something that Dad has always said is that the gospel is simple and as we do our best we will live with God again as an eternal family. I know that is true more now than any other time in my life. The gospel is simple. Gods plan is perfect! I love my mission with all of my heart and I will be forever grateful I made this decision. I know that my Heavenly Father is pleased with me. Thanks for all of your love and support! You are the best family and I will see you soon!

Here she is pictured with her parents, May 28th.  She's off the plane and into the arms of her mother.  What an exciting moment. Wish I could have been there, but we'll get to see her soon.  She'll be returning to BYU this summer. Can't wait to see her.  YOU'RE GREAT KATE!

A mission can serve as a standard for the rest of a returned missionary’s life. . . Almost daily, you can draw upon the experiences you had and the testimony you built during those days. . . Those who continue to nurture the personal growth that was so abundant in the mission field will one day be greeted by the Savior at the end of life’s mission with the words of divine approval: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matt. 25:21.)

Bruce L. Olsen,
"Home from a Mission", Ensign, June 1991, 46

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Citizens

 This month for the Student of the Month awards the emphasis was on Citizenship.  Mr. George, our principal, was happy to see some boys on the stand.  There were a handful of them with two times as many girls.  Sam and his classmate were two of the boys selected today from Mr. Nelsen's class.  Hugh and I were able to attend and enjoy the ceremony.
"This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened." John F. Kennedy

Monday, May 24, 2010

Catching Up!

Becky's Birthday last February
Becky looks a little peaked here.  It was soon after her birthday we found out she was anemic.  She's been through a lot, but doing better on iron therapy.  She's got some pink in her cheeks now.

Janna, Cassie, and Becky
Out-on-the-town for Janna's 18th B-day.
A belated, but fun party in April.
Us Blair girls and the Burgess girls
all rendezvoused for an Italiano meal.

New Awards
Sam's first Court of Honor as an 11-year old Scout

Dexter, getting too big too fast.  He's scooting around.

Ammon's 3rd B-day in April

Janna's friends at school decided to pull together their own prom.
I was impressed with their ingenuity.  Janna had a great time.

Janna and Alex off to spend the evening
with friends at the Indie Prom.
(Indie evidently means, Independent.)

Sierra Ward Laurels ready to head out to Mormon Prom

Janna and Mistie at the Mormon Prom

Joseph graduating from Jane Reynolds Park Preschool.
He's a big kindergartener next school year.

Here's some real scary!
Me before "The Ten Virgin" production in March.
I was a greeter.

"Time is what prevents everything
from happening at once."
John Archibald Wheeler

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Growing Up!

Janna went to her final stake dance last night.  When she got home I asked the usual, "Did you have fun?"

Her reply was an automatic enthusiastic, "Yeah, it was great!"

She promptly walked out of the room, but then quickly turned and stepped back into the doorway.  Now she looked down and spoke with a melancholy tone, "No, it really wasn't.  I'm so old."

She is older.  It's time to move on.  Tonight was Seminary graduation.  This week is high school graduation and next Sunday she starts attending the singles ward.

"Growing up is a process, not an event."
Paul B. Jamison

Janna, Seminary Grad
Growing Up!

Happy Mother's Day For The Rest of Your Life

We've been looking for a car, but we weren't feeling pressured to buy one immediately. We knew we'd need to get something by August or so. We've been test driving, educating ourselves, and mulling over the pluses and minuses of a number of models. We'll the day finally came that we found what we were looking for, a 2008 Toyota RAV4. We're pleased with our purchase. I'm happy not to be driving our little red truck. Hugh's going to take it to work now. His car was totaled in March. Thankfully no one was hurt and Hugh wasn't driving.
Our New (Used) Car
Hugh and I don't give gifts to each other very often, but when we do get something that's a little over the top we say, "Merry Christmas or Happy Anniversary, etc. for the rest of your life." Anyway, with our purchase coming the day before Mother's Day, of course we're saying:
"Happy Mother's Day for the rest of your life!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wasting Money?

I always come prepared with filler as a substitute. Lots of times the work assigned by teachers is review, busy work which the children get through very quickly. Then I'm left hanging with nothing to do and as far as I'm concerned, nothing to do means an out-of-control class.

It's springtime! My latest project is an easy birdfeeder; peanut butter on a toilet paper roll, covered with birdseed, yarn for hanging and VOILA! - instant birdfeeder. Add a bird coloring page and we're filling time constructively plus I have some bird songs to boot. (It doesn't sound like much, but you would be surprised at what a thrill this gives a kid. The children might know how to do video games, but there are so many children who are unexposed to simple activities like this.)

Yesterday when we were making the birdfeeders an astute 4th grader said, "Mrs. Blair are you wasting your money on us?" I knew and she knew I was spending my money to do this activity, it obviously wasn't on the school district's tab, but I said,
"Well . . . I wouldn't put it that way. I'm providing you with an educational experience."

Yes, Mrs. Blair does spend her money in an attempt to make her subbing days go better. (I'd like to think I'm frugal about it.) I want it better for the kids, but I also want it better for me. I don't like being in situations I can't handle and I have had many a learning experience because of them. My theory is - Always Be Prepared!

Maybe it's just semantics, but I didn't like the word "wasting". It was eating at me as the day went on. I don't doubt that someone has said to this student that they didn't like "wasting their money" on her. I talked with the class at the end of the day and privately with the girl who had said something to me earlier. I made it perfectly clear that even though I'm a substitute I come prepared to give them the best educational experience they can have for the one day that I am there and yes, I may spend some of my own money, but I'm happy to do it.

I believe that every human soul

is teaching something to someone

nearly every minute here in mortality.

M. Russell Ballard,

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Truth Will Go Forth

We received our Mother's Day phone call from Elder Blair yesterday - 40 minutes worth. It was the best! It was so good to hear Tom speak of his missionary doings. I have no doubt that our home is blessed because of his missionary service. We felt it as our other sons served too.

Tom has returned to an area he served in earlier, Pearland. He's currently training a new companion, an already enthusiastic hardworking elder. And, he's on a bike which he hasn't rode much during his mission. He has about 3 1/2 months left of this wonderful experience of being a full-time missionary. Great things are happening in the Texas Houston South Mission.
I can't wait to go on a mission! The testimony of Tom and oh so many others, inspire me to go; and the missionary experiences I have now uplift and enrich my life. I love it!

We need increasing numbers of senior missionaries in missionary service. Where health and means make it possible, we call upon hundreds more of our couples to set their lives and affairs in order and to go on missions. How we need you in the mission field! You are able to perform missionary service in ways that our younger missionaries cannot.

What an example and a blessing it is to a family’s posterity when grandparents serve missions. Most senior couples who go are strengthened and revitalized by missionary service. Through this holy avenue of service, many are sanctified and feel the joy of bringing others to the knowledge of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Better Mother

You're the BEST!

I share this little story on what I hope is a Happy Mother's Day for you. Being a mother is certainly the hardest job ever and yet brings the greatest rewards.

Over the years as things have gone awry in my home for one reason or another, I find myself in the quiet of my room disturbed and crying; thinking somehow I must be a terrible mother, no doubt the infamous - worst mother in the world ever. But in spite of problems, I have always moved forward, pressed on, prayed, and hoped for the best.

A tender mercy has distilled upon me from heaven (April 11, 2010 to be exact). I'm always amazed and grateful for such blessings. I didn't even ask for it. I wasn't looking for it. And yet it came one Sunday morning, very, very quiet and very, very still. Really it had come during the aftermath of some recent turmoil and family concern. Again, during those times I'm always questioning myself, wondering if I had done and said the right thing. I'm in constant check, making sure my heart is in the right place and wondering, "Am I doing as Jesus would have me do?"

The Spirit whispered as I readied myself for church, "You're a better mother than you think you are." I paused. Can you imagine the peace that filled my heart, knowing full well from where this quiet declaration came. With my new found affirmation I savored each word, "YOU'RE A BETTER MOTHER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE!" I took a deep breath of relief with quiet happiness and satisfaction. Again, the gift of the Holy Ghost has brought me comfort and I continue to move forward, press on, pray, and hope with even greater confidence, happiness, and peace.

"When things go wrong in our lives, it is easy to lose all sense of perspective. We forget our divine inheritance, when we should remember that we come from heavenly parents who love us. We are impatient for instant solutions, when often it is the passage of time that will allow things to work out. We ignore or downplay our strengths and abilities, just at the time we should be recognizing and applying them."

"You're a better mother
than you think you are."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Janet Is On Her Way TODAY!

Janet or I should say, "Sister Reynders", and I don't mean her sister, Sister Reynders. Is this getting confusing? Anyway, my niece, left for her summer mission in Nauvoo this morning. I'm so excited for her. She will be one of 20 young performing missionaries serving in Nauvoo, Illinois. I wish I could be there to see her, but I won't. DARN! But I do get to play one tiny part in her experience. She asked me to assist with her blog which will help keep family and friends updated on her missionary experience. You know me, I'm all about missionary work no matter what shape or form it comes in - preaching, teaching, dancing, singing, blogging, testifying. I'm all about it! Keep updated with Sister Reynders at We've titled it Summertime in Nauvoo. Look for letters, pictures, and videos.

The Nauvoo Temple
The gem of the city. Once lost is now rebuilt.
Just one of the many sights to see in Nauvoo.

The architectural magnificence of the Nauvoo Temple is not the most important thing to remember. The significance of this temple rests in the impact it had in the lives of those Saints who lived and labored in Nauvoo to finish a temple unto the Lord that he had commanded them to build.

It was this great sense of vision and desire to live eternally with beloved family members, this hope for the future and a glorious day of resurrection, that provided inspiration and motivation for Joseph, Hyrum and the others who gave their all in the midst of great affliction to build this temple. How grateful I am for their faithfulness and their example. By studying their lives and following the patterns of living they established, we will not only walk in the way they walked, but we will also walk in the way Jesus walked.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

For Thy Good

Admittedly, most of us would rather learn the hard lessons of life in the secure comfort of a Sunday School class or in the radiant warmth of a fireplace during a family home evening. But, may I point out, it was from the cold, dark corners of Liberty Jail that came some of the most beautiful, comforting scriptures given to man, concluding with the words, “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” Likewise, out of our adversity we might seek our greatest triumphs, and the day may well come that from our challenges we will understand the familiar words "for thy good."

Recently watching my mother suffer in death, it makes me wonder what she was learning. Many times she would cry out, "Why am I going through this?" In the end I don't doubt that she received the answers she was looking for.

I add my witness that some of our greatest strength and understanding come through enduring hard things. Growth comes as we turn to God in times of trial. He always blesses our lives and brings comfort, insight, peace, and joy.

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
Samuel Medley
from the hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"