No blogger stands alone!

Four of the five posts I read in the last 3 minutes apologized for the lack of posts because of busy lives. Hooray! I don't have to feel like a slacker anymore because I have a busy life!

Oquirrh Mt. Temple Cornerstone Ceremony

When President Monson performed the cornerstone ceremony at the temple during the first dedication, the Cornerston Choir, of which I was a part, sang "How Great Thou Art" and "Song of Praise". As I sang the words, "when through the woods and forest glades i wander, when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze...then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee--How great thou art" I related how I felt this summer as I spend a lot of time in the woods and on top of mountains. I looked down over the valleys and was so grateful that I knew who created this glory.

I gained a solid testimony that President Monson is a true prophet of God. I supported him before, of course, but seeing his interaction with sacred things and children, I realized he truly has been called of God. I've prayed since President Hinckley passed away, to know for myself if Thomas Monson was a prophet. I know now.

I was so grateful my grandchildren could see for themselves he is a prophet. They watched him closely on the front row of people. They felt his aura and the surrounding power he wields holding the priesthood. Seeing him as close as they did will be a treasured memory for the rest of their lives. When things get tough for them, I pray they can remember this and retrieve strength they need. The gospel is not relief from pain, it is resource in event of pain and hard times.

Larry, Kristen, and I attended the dedication Friday at 3:00. We sat in one of the sealing rooms with the beautiful mirrors and chandelier. I was honored to sit with Kristen. She really is a special spirit. During Pres. Monson's talk before the dedicatory prayer, he thanked all of the choirs, and blessed that they (we) all might receive blessings for singing. I was touched by the Spirit several times, and that alone was worth the sacrifice to come home every weekend from Island Park. I am blessed ten-fold because of the choir and the domino effect on family. Life is no easier, but my ability to deal with things seems to be better for now. I can feel the Spirit more quickly, I feel calmer, and my family has been blessed.


The scriptures say that the throne of God
is like a rainbow.
As I gazed out the window at this scene
I could believe that the Lord has His hand in temple work in our generation.

We received a letter asking if we would try out for a choir that will sing
for the Oquirrh Mountain Temple this August.
Quite an honor to even be asked
although I don't feel my voice is good enough
to compete with all of those who will be trying out.
But I will try.

If we do make it, a sacrifice will be required.
My summer in Island Park will not happen as planned.
No quiet days and cool nights.
No hiking in the mountains every Thursday with the hiking ladies.
No biking on mountain roads around the lake,
No hanging out in West Yellowstone working at the diner.
No voracious reading of books with no interruptions,
No finishing my counted-cross stitch.
No moose, eagles, fish, deer, wild canaries...

Odd, but I have made my own peace with it.
If we make it
I'm OK with doing what I have to do
to serve the Lord.

Dedications have already touched my life.

When the Nauvoo Temple was dedicated
I sat in the congregation at the Stake Center
without a voice.
I lost it during parathyroid surgery 3 months earlier.
Not easy,
teaching wood shop without a voice
or answering phones
or sharing feelings or thoughts.
During the closing hymn
The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning,
I decided I'd whisper the words out and the Lord would know that
I honored Him by trying.
During the 3rd verse, a real voice started coming out.
The tears rolled down my face as I finished singing the words;
knowing the Lord had given me a powerful gift.

The next dedication was a new building we met in as a ward.
As the stake president dedicated the building,
I listened to a nice dedicatory prayer.
Typical of many others.
Suddenly, I was not alone.
As if a wind tore through the chapel,
I felt the power of the Lords love.
I was not alone in a grief that was tearing me apart.
He wanted me to know
That He Knows.
And Loves.
And Understands.

If I can feel a fraction of those feelings again,
the sacrifice
of a single summer
is worth it.

Re: We didn't make it.
But what a glorious experience to sing with 20 people
who knew how to sing.
The judges were touched
and claimed they wanted everybody.
But names were drawn out of a hat...
We sang with a heavenly choir;
whether everyone will sing together in the Celestial Room
or not...
We have been blessed.

The Marathon of Life

I wanted to figure out why I am so beat when the day ends, so I actually kept a notebook on hand and recorded everything I did in one day. This is for my own pity-party, so if you want to go play on Facebook instead of read this, I still respect you!

3:50 am My body and mind woke up whether I approved or not.

4:15 am Gave up on the 'might go back to sleep' fantasy, and got out of bed. Cleaned a bit and got ready for school.

6:15 am I get to school thinking I can organize my office and set up a couple of tools before students come in.

6:35 First student showed up at school for help--he watched me set up one of the miter saws I bought last night at Lowes to replace a broken one. I helped him on his project.

6:40 2 more students showed up to work on their project.

6:50 I'm thinking I may not get much done, because a few more students come by to talk. I sigh, thinking 'isn't this the reason I got into teaching' and enjoy their company. One student tells me his goals for school--he wants to work in the automotive industry, and has hopes for a scholarship to help him with that goal. Another student tells me that his family's company is being sued by his weird Grandma, even though the Dad saved it from going under--no love lost between them. Other students wanted to know how to fix problems with their projects. I'm expected to know ALL the answers to complicated projects or screw-ups, and although although I help them figure out solutions, I get a bit over-whelmed sometimes and have to rely on inspiration from higher sources than me! (who says you can't pray in school!)

7:00 A student comes in who made me a beautiful vase in ceramics, and I must sheepishly confess to accidently breaking it yesterday when I hit it with my knee. :-( I felt so bad, but he laughs it off and says he will make another one.

7:10 I register students on the computer who won SkillsUSA State competitions for the national conference in June.

7:20 A student comes in to ask about questions about his bed posts.

7:30 School starts. While I am teaching, 2 students come in to see if I can build them a frame for their art project. Their teacher sent them in. I did a couple of things for it, and one of my students offered to finish it for them. (they were cute and he ended up being the hero--it all works out!)

After class and before the next class, I sit down to put attendance and daily grades. Someone else who works at the school comes in to ask about refinishing their antique furniture. The question moved from refinishing, to 'will you build a piece for it'. I try to be nice and pick out a piece of wood that will work. (they later come in to say it's not big enough--so I have joint, rip, and glue boards together, later plane, cut and sand--when I give it to her, she says she wants carving on it, so I have to take it back to the shop, set up the C and C router to carve it. She picked it up and put it in her car 'so I wouldn't be bothered by anyone else wanting one'. How thoughtful. lol

After the next class, I sat down again at the computer again to put grades in and order SkillsUSA clothing for competitors. Another student walks in to ask about a vacuum bending machine I ordered a couple of weeks ago is in yet. Nope. He sat and talked...

I figured out how much is in the SkillsUSA account so I know how much I can help students with the cost of the national competition.
Read email, and found out that an short article I wrote for the district newsletter is published so students can get praise for their success at the SkillsUSA state competition. Yeah!

While I was eating lunch working on my computer, a student came in to tell me that he was driving a car and he was hit by a another car that swerved out of the way to avoid hitting a cat and hit him instead. The student was holding a phone, ipod, and a shake. When hit, the shake flew out of his hand and landed right-side up. No damage to his car. Is that talent or dumb luck?

Walked to the office, picked up papers from my box, turned in my preferred schedule of classes for next year, set up paperwork for a parent meeting for the SkillsUSA, set out tools to change a cutterhead on the shapers, finished setting up the chop saw.

Organized a Busartra Bash get-together (business--art--trades). A few teachers trade-off bringing goodies so we can sit down and enjoy each others company.

Ran around the shop 20 times to get some exercise in and get ready for a 5K.

4th Period: I stopped students from using the bad chop saw without a guard that had been unplugged and locked until they set it up again, when the new one I had just set up was sitting there. And I wonder why I don't sleep at night! Set up the Shop Bot to carve a pine cone for the blanket chest of a student, Mr. Park (principal) came down to talk to me about a student-of-the-month breakfast I was invited to attend the following morning since I nominated one of my students. Later he caught one of my students in the hall sluffing. 6 students cut their rails wrong length--one had set up the stop, and the rest followed suit without checking. (sigh) Recut new wood for them to use. Helped the rest of the class work on their projects.

2:25 School is over. Ran to the office for a bathroom break and a breather

2:40 Lab with 20 students.

A student came in to ask me to change his Incomplete to a B because he finally finished his project and took it home
Filled out the paperwork for the sluffer in 4th period.

4:45 The last of the students left
Found out the 2 of the brand new tape measures are gone
Checked email
I filled out the paperwork for the change of grade.

Son asked for an address so I got it for him
Got ready for a stress-relief PACK class tomorrow--a class to help students feel involved. I'll do a meditation lesson with a couple of my CD's. Made some copies of lesson materials

6:45 Arrived home--hip hip hooray! Larry had fixed dinner, I sat down and played on Facebook and checked blogs I like and watched American Idol. This is my take-it-easy time

10:30 Bedtime! Read for 15 minutes, rolled over and slept, ready to start again in the morning. Woohoo!
So if you stayed this long to read all of this blather, you really are a friend!

I know I have reasons for my bleary brain and I can really feel sorry for myself (not).
I like my job, but I sure look forward to the summer to read, hand-sew, hike, and enjoy nature in the mountains!
I've decided that if God can get to the end of the day and say it is good (and He had six really busy days) then I should get to the end of my day and appreciate the activity, health, accomplishments, and lose some of the guilt, don't cha think?
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The End of the Day

I don't know why it is that no matter how much I listen to conference, I get to the end of the Sunday afternoon session and feel like I haven't learned enough, or felt enough of the Spirit, or absorbed all of what was meant for me.

I feel like I'm so thirsty for truth (don't get much on network tv) and it's so refreshing to hear it, that I don't want it to end. I hear the first hymn the Tab Choir sings and my soul sighs and feels home. We 'gather' around the Prophets in the 'tent' of our own home just like in King Benjamins day.
The last talk by the Prophet leaves me wishing for more! ...and guilty that during the 8 hours of conference, I didn't listen harder or become the organized, angelic, spiritual giant that I wish I was. I take notes and write down messages that meant something to me, but it doesn't seem like it's enough. The perfectionist in me says "Be a better person NOW! But the realist in me says "Enjoy the time listening to men and women of God and appreciate whatever Spirit you feel".
I love that I can multitask while I listen. But do I lose the message? Maybe sometimes, but I also think that it's like when I read the Book of Mormon. It's not just in the words where I learn spiritual things. It's the needed personal revelation that comes to me when I'm doing things that are asked of me.
Reading the Conference edition of the Ensign and listening to Relief Society lesson summaries brings those sacred prophetic messages to heart as I hear them repeated. Maybe then the organized, angelic, spiritual giant will appear!

Perfection is a journey, not a destination.

As much as I feel overwhelmed or guilty because I never feel like I'm organized enough, good enough, skinny enough, or smart enough, I really do like my life.
*I love to teach--even if those 10 out of 200 kids aren't living up to their potential no matter how much I try and inspire them.
*I love coming home at the end of a super busy and long day and knowing I really did work hard, even if I didn't get enough done.
*I love coming home to my DH, because he is glad to see me, patient that I spend more time at school than he does (he is a better-organized teacher than me), and he usually takes care of dinner. ha!
*I love weekends!
*I love my kids and all the people they have brought into my life--their spouses, their kids, and their friends and the lessons they taught me since they were born. Some lessons were easier on the heart than others, but I still learned.
*I love the Gospel and know that the Lord loves me in spite of my weaknesses and I know that He knows I try to be a little bit better every day.
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Stuck in the Mud, or Who Needs a Dinner and a Movie for a Date Night, or No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

OK then. Larry’s knee was bugging him, so when I got home for our date night, he suggested I take Eric’s dog for a run up the canyon. Which I did and had a great time! Beautiful snow, beautiful, quiet canyon.
When I was finished with the 4 mile run/hike/snow experience, I drove to Iceberg, thinking that would be a nice treat for Larry and I—after all, I worked off all those calories, why not put them back in? I picked up shakes, onion rings, fries, and a chicken sandwich for Larry. (drool) One of my students waited on me, and did a great job. (sort of)
When I got home, Larry’s shake was chocolate marshmallow instead of caramel and he had onion rings instead of fries. I thought I could just trade him, but he can’t have chocolate, so I offered to run back down and buy new stuff. (He told me not to worry about it, but I said, "I don't mind", really meaning it. (This is where the ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ comes into play)
So…I’m driving on 13400 South in the dark, with some guy driving up my rear pretty close, and I see Kneaders, where I will turn in to go to Iceberg. I flipped my blinker and turned into what looked like the road at first. I found out quickly that I had turned too early, and ended up in an empty, very muddy lot. There were tracks from another vehicle, so I thought I could follow them and go out the other way. It didn’t quite work out that way in my little Honda Accord. I made a pretty good effort and ended up 7/8 of the way, probably from momentium until I stopped dead. I tried to rock, but it didn’t work.
I realized I left my phone home (because this was going to take 10 easy minutes-tops, right?), so I had no way to call home for my knight-in-shining armor to come rescue me.
I got out of the car and walked to iceberg, one inch taller than normal with the mud on the bottom of my shoes. The patrons of Iceberg were impressed with my muddy Nikes, I’m sure, with the odd looks I was getting.
My student let me use his phone to call Larry, then he made me an order of fries and the right shake and didn’t charge me—so I gave him a tip instead. I stomped back (kind of hard to walk with mud stuck to my shoes) to my sunken Honda and waited. And waited…and waited…until I thought Larry must have problems, and he couldn't call me, not realizing I had used another phone to call him.
Boy, did I recognize how dependant I am on my phone.
Did I mention I took the dog, who I left in the car while I made the phone call and who ate my onion rings. WITH the fry sauce... :-(
Just when I was ready to go back and borrow the phone again, Larry showed up (yes!). He wasn’t happy—who would be? He had to go buy a new tow rope because a certain child borrowed ours, that's what took so long.
But he kneeled down on his poor new fake knee and hooked me up. (Isn't love grand) He pulled with the truck, but my car was too steeped in mud for my engine to turn over. (sigh).
He got out of the truck and said, "Your wheels aren't even moving!", in that tone of voice that meant he believed I must be an idiot. He then pulled me backwards a ways, and the car started. It probably was good for the engine to be out of the gooey mire. Larry moved his truck around the car (thank goodness for 4-wheel drive) hooked up the rope, pulled a few feet, and the rope flipped off. I'm thinking 'there goes the bumper'. (Can you picture the fun we are having?) But it was ok. He did it again and towed me forward to the road, unhooked the car, and I pulled out, leaving a track of mud all the way home.
I lost my appetite, so the calories I burned up the canyon stayed burned, which is always nice.
Twas a date night to remember. Why do the same boring movie night, when you can do a bit of mud wrestling?
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How Do I Love Thee...

...Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. I memorized that poem when I first fell in love in March of 1972. Looking back on almost 37 years of being together, I realize I only touched the surface back then. I thought I could feel love to the depth and breath and height--but I had only scratched the surface.
The beginning was lingering phone calls, flowers, heartbeats pounding, and sighs when he walked into the room.
After 36 years of holding hands, paying bills, sometimes being selfish and sometimes giving, 5 nauseating pregnancies, 5 labors, dirty diapers (yes--I sewed and cleaned cloth diapers--gag), 12 different houses and moves--with another one coming up in a couple of years, lots of dinners and movies, saved and wasted money, scrimping with one income, admiration, embarrassment, laughter, and disappointment, hospital visits, laughs and tears, relatives, raising kids who sometimes listened...and sometimes didn't, Friday night date nights, dejunking then seeing it build up again, finishing school, getting a teaching job, then back to the books with a Masters'--and all of the support through all of that, not getting home until 6:00 at night, all of the callings we both have had, appreciating the Gospel in our lives to know divine help is just a prayer or blessing away, knowing I'm far far from the person I want to be. I will never be organized enough, witty enough, thin enough, smart enough, rich enough, or pretty enough, but I'm loved because--and in spite of it all...thank you Larry.
I really do love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach...and my soul will keep reaching as our lives continue and I learn more about what this life is really about. No easy answers...but I gave up on the 'perfect' life, and settled for the life I was meant to live.

Autism in Woodworking

When the new semester started, I gained 4 new classes of beginning classes. In the first new class, the twin of a previous student sat in the second row. He was outspoken, kept getting up and walking around, and read a book when he should have been working. He brought a tracker to me so I signed it, mentioning his actions of the day. He said "You can't say that! My Mom will kill me", but I left it as I wrote it.

Two days later in class again, he was reading a book while students wrote from the board. I gently touched his book, and said, "Please put it away and write the question". He angrily looked up and loudly said, "You could have at least said my name!" In his tracker, I later wrote that he was rude, and he said, "What does that say? What do you mean?" (This is in front of the whole class, who were all eagerly listening). I motioned for him to come into my office and explained I didn't want to embarrass him. He calmed down and left for his next class.

Later, his Mom called my office and left a message for me to call her to talk about him, mentioning he is autistic. Knowing nothing, really, about autism and wondering if he really should be in Woods, I was afraid to call, even though I know her and have enjoyed her other children in class. I did try unsuccessfully, but the next day, he was super in class.

I finally got in touch with his Mom and she explained why he behaved so well that third day. She told him; "You should be respectful to all of your teachers, but especially this one, because she was a friend of your mother." His eyes opened wide as she explained how. I knew his real Mom, Annette, about 15 years ago. She did my hair and I helped her as she desperately put together scrapbooks before she passed away from cancer. She wanted so badly to leave a legacy for her family. The twins are especially sensitive to anything having to do with their real mother, since they were so young when she died.

Sheri married into the family and is now doing a great job raising Annette's children, along with her own.

I feel his angel Mom is near him and wants me to help him, but I worry about him in a class of 34 other kids who also need help. I can tell he is a smart kid, I just feel the pressure. I know so little about autism, but I pray the Lord will help me, in spite of my own weakness.

More Opry Hotel

Life-sized Nativity set in front of the Hotel

Loving sisters in paradise

Bryn by a waterfall

Posted by Picasa I can't even comprehend the man-hours it takes to build, maintain, and decorate this place. RaNae told me she came to Nashville on a layover and had time to tour the hotel. It was one of the highlights of her flying days. I felt an extra boost of love for her when I called and talked to her, while I stood on a beautiful walkway above hidden gnomes, about the now-shared experience.

Opryland Resort

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Walking around the hotel was like walking into a fairy land! We passed the Vanderbilt football team as we entered (they played Boston 2 days later and won). I thought we would walk around the 2-level room and be done, but every time we walked through a doorway, we viewed a new atrium full of exotic plants, waterfalls, and Christmas visionary delights! The experience was enhanced by sharing it with people I love.
(Pics starting at bottom circling left clockwise)
1. Watching the water fountain 'ballet'.
2. Jared and Coco on the walkway above one of the restaurants.
3. The girls posing in front of one of the 'rooms'.
4. One of the huge Christmas trees!
5,6,7 Looking down on the water ballet.
8. The 3 girls and Jared peeking out from behind the waterfall!