Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tricks 'r Treats - 2010

We didn't get out Trick or Treating this year, but we did hit a few parties and gatherings at church earlier in the month. No worries, plenty of candy came our way and some fun times with some fun kids.
"Trick or Treat!"

"Who are you?"

("Oh that JoJo!")

"A grandmother pretends
she doesn't know who you are
on Halloween."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I've Learned Something

One day after lunch I was standing by my classroom door waiting for my students to come in with the other staff.  It just so happened I had a friend working next door.  She too was waiting for a class to do hearing screenings.  I greeted her and we talked a bit.  She asked me why I didn't get certified so I could work full-time as a teacher.  My immediate response was, "I don't like working!" For some reason I felt a tinge of regret in that statement.  I mean, work is important.  I guess I'm just not use to getting paid for it.

Soon after I greeted my class as they filed in from taking their walk.  I thought, "These students and para-educators would feel very sad if they heard me say, I don't like being here."  On the contrary, I love filling in for the teacher of this particular class and I have other classes too where the kids are all about me and their student aides are happy to see me too.

How could I say, I don't like working?  I've thought about it.  Working outside of the home has been a big adjustment for me.  I guess I'm still not over it.  There is this thought in the  back of my mind, I shouldn't be here.  Well of course, a mother's place is in the home.  And I have bent over backwards, for oh so many years, to stay there.  I was comfortable with my motherly state of service.  But, I know women are in a position to serve in many, many, ways. I volunteered in my children's classrooms for 25 years. Little did I know I was gaining work experience. One day I realized I needed to step up to the plate as part of my motherly duties and become gainfully employed.  We needed it. DRAT this economy! With my degree in-hand, CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) scores, and the experience I have had as a mother, classroom volunteer, callings in Primary for nearly 20 years; I stood prepared to be a substitute teacher.

I've talked about it before.  I have worked all my life, but this has definitely been an adjustment entering the workforce again after over 30 years and becoming a paid employee again.  I'm sure many people are thinking, "What's with all the drama?  Get over it already!  Cash the check and move on!" But it hasn't been easy.  It has definitely jostled my life.

Heavenly Father has helped me.  I've been trying to find balance through all of this and it has been coming.  I'm more accepting of my situation as I have realized my work is service - a paid service.  Especially having teachers call me back with the idea that they would like me to be the one to care for their class in their absence.

I'm not a perfect sub, but I am a sub who loves children and wants the best for them.  I want to be of service to them and their teachers.  So, I guess I can finally say it, with confidence, "I like working!"  And,  it helps when I get nice notes from teachers like Ms. Miller:

Thanks again for all you do.
I never worry
when you are there.

"Every sister who stands for truth and righteousness diminishes the influence of evil. Every sister who strengthens and protects her family is doing the work of God. Every sister who lives as a woman of God becomes a beacon for others to follow and plants seeds of righteous influence that will be harvested for decades to come. Every sister who makes and keeps sacred covenants becomes an instrument in the hands of God."

Elder M. Russell Ballard,
“Women of Righteousness,”
Ensign, Apr 2002, 66–73

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


My bishop asked me to learn to play the organ.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a miracle that I am doing so.  As I am learning, I am always hopeful that my presentation is never a distraction.  The music at church is to lift your thoughts to higher ground, to help you feel the Spirit.  There is a definite rationale in playing the hymns of Zion.  They are like scripture, evoking eternal messages of truth.

Prelude is the norm as one enters the chapel Sunday morning. I wonder sometimes if anyone is really aware of what I am playing when I hear chatter and the atmosphere seems so irreverent.  It's times like this when I'd like to crank out my melody above the din calling attention to everyone, "Please, be reverent."  But then there are other times when it is so quiet.  I know people are in some kind of reverie. I then become very nervous, worried I might miss a note and interrupt someones solace.

Last Sunday was the Primary presentation.  I decided, because of the situation, I would play Primary songs for prelude.  There was a lot of busyness around me as the children arrived and found their places before the meeting started, that was to be expected.  But as things settled down, I saved the best for last, the most familiar, "I Am a Child of God".  As I played, I heard a little voice behind me as recognition touched her ears.  She said with a pleasing and delightful tone, "I know this song."  I could feel her unfettered happiness.  A smile crossed my face as the music did it's wonder. She began to hum and as I continued to play, right on cue, she quietly began to sing the chorus, "Lead me guide me, walk beside me . . ."

"Ahhhh," I thought, "Reverence is more than just quietly sitting . . ."

Rev’rence is more than just quietly sitting:
It’s thinking of Father above,
A feeling I get when I think of his blessings.
I’m rev’rent, for rev’rence is love.
When I’m rev’rent, it shows in my words and my deeds.
The pathway to follow is clear.
And when I am rev’rent, I know in my heart
Heav’nly Father and Jesus are near.

Reverence Is Love, CSB 31
Words and music: Maggie Olauson, b. 1949
© 1987 by Maggie Olauson. All rights reserved
This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

"I believe that those who choose, conduct, present, and accompany the music may influence the spirit of reverence in our meetings more than a speaker does. . . An organist who has the sensitivity to quietly play prelude music from the hymnbook tempers our feelings and causes us to go over in our minds the lyrics which teach the peaceable things of the kingdom."

Elder Boyd. K. Packer
"Reverence Invites Revelation,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 21

Saturday, October 16, 2010

They Came - They Went

Billy and family came visiting this week.  We were happy to have them for four fun filled days.  They hadn't seen Tommy since he came home and Tommy had never met Ryan because she was born while he was gone.  It was a nice reunion for everyone.  As always, lots of food, hiking, games, playing, and more.

Ryan, Bill, and Chelsea

“Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home. Parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles are made more powerful guides and rescuers by the bonds of love that are the very nature of a family.”

President Henry B. Eyring,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

San Diego Weekend

I love to see the temple

and my granddaughter too.
Billy and Chelsea came up from Arizona for a wedding at the San Diego Temple.  They wanted us to come babysit outside while they were inside for about an hour.  Who travels three hours to babysit for one hour?  Grandparents DO!
We made our venture into a bigger weekend by coming up the night before and attending a session in the San Diego Temple ourselves. It was nice spending some time together.
We got to see Ryan and we'll get to see her some more with her parents later this week.  They are adding on a visit to Lancaster so they can see Tommy.  We're all looking forward to it.
"The temple is an ever-present reminder that God intends the family to be eternal. How fitting it is for mothers and fathers to point to the temple and say to their children, “That is the place where we were married for eternity.” By so doing, the ideal of temple marriage can be instilled within the minds and hearts of your children while very young."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Have a Garden - An Autumn Garden

If I post pictures of my garden it's usually in the spring, but after our recent rainy days I looked at my garden this morning and thought it especially pretty.  Unfortunately my pictures don't show the beauty I saw.  My photos had too much glare, so I cropped out the glare parts and revealed some of the area where the tree's morning shadow casts across the flora.  It will have to do.

This makes me think of a favorite song I learned as a child in Primary. It's a song I would sing and rock my babies to.  I even sing it now, to myself. I love the old French melody and the message.  I have never forgotten it. The words are by Mary Hale Woolsey:
I Have a Garden
I have a garden, a lovely garden,
With flowers blossoming ever fair;
Where sun shines brightly, and rain falls lightly,
And breezes gather sweet fragrance there.
Songbirds come singing out of the sky;
Butterflies winging, hovering by;
And in my garden, my lovely garden,
There's always beauty to greet the eye.

I have a garden, a secret garden
Where tho'ts like flowers grow day by day;
'Tis I must choose them, and tend and use them,
And cast all wrong ones like weeds away,
Goodness and love are seeds that I sow;
God up above will help me I know,
To keep my garden, my heart's own garden,
A place where beauty will always grow.

Mary Hale Woolsey is also the author of the more famous, "Springtime in the Rockies".  This was a favorite song of my mother. It was a goal of hers to learn to play it on the piano.  I remember her practicing it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Back-to-School for Me Too!

It's not just back-to-school for Janna and Sam, but for me too.  I'm not taking a class, but working again.  It's been a bit of a slow start.  No work the first week, but I ended up with six jobs (two a week) by the end of the month.  I like this pace.  It's a little slower, but I have lots to do at home and elsewhere.  So it gives me time to get other things done and earn a little extra money which is especially helpful right now.

My first job was a class of autistic children.  It's a classroom I have subbed in before.  It was mostly  the same kids from the previous year.  None of them are particularly verbal, but you know me; singing is always on my agenda.  As we sang some songs together, I started to get requests from one boy in the class. He was taller than the other children and could talk better than any of them.  I felt like he was stepping forward as the class spokesman. He remembered the songs I had sung with them before, even Halloween songs from last year.  What a surprise! I understood what he wanted, so we sang his desires.

I was in their classroom for two days.  At times it can be a difficult class to handle, but with one child's enthusiasm he spurred us on to greater singing heights.  It all went well.  I'm hoping for a great school year.

"A song is a wonderful kind of thing
so lift up your voice and sing."