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The McKs are moving to their first home!

Yep, tomorrow is their big day!!

Those scissors look as big as Grant…or at least as big as Scarlett!

They will be starting their new life in Vancouver, WA…..just across the bridge from where McKay works in Portland. 

And of course this Sunday they will get to meet all their new 
friends that they don't even know yet in their new ward at church! 
It's like having a ready made family wherever they go. 
I can hardly wait to hear all about it. 

McKenna says this is how McKay takes breaks from packing…
This also reminds me McKay doing this 5 years ago.

Strangers out there...

Just as Den and I were coming to the grand check out last week at Costco….I think every line was
open and long... I looked at all the people surrounding us and I said a little bit kidding but mostly serious, "See all these people? We are responsible for them all. We need to watch and listen so we will know if they need anything." (I was referring to a quote from conference:  "We must remember those we meet in parking lots, offices, elevators, and elsewhere. All that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve…")

Not even 2 minutes later a lady came up to us and said, "Will you watch my cart for me? I forgot 
something and I need to go get it." It felt so bizarre, like she reading my mind. "Why SURE. YES 
we can do this for you."

So she went off on her way as it registered with me that she also left her 4-5 year old in the cart with
her groceries! Really? She left her little boy with perfect strangers? The poor little guy looked scared to
death so I reassured him that SHE (his grandma? his mom? not sure) would be right back.

Then I said very quietly under my breath to Den, "She doesn't even know us at all and she left her child with us?? What kind of woman would do a thing like this?" He said he noticed before she asked us that she was checking us out. I guess we looked trustworthy and passed her test.

That's when Dennis said (very oddly to me), "Well it's a good thing we didn't agree to care for her 
child because in case she never comes back we don't have to wait forever. We have things to do."
I thought, now there's a statement without any thought behind it!    (Just in case you don't know him, he
WAS kidding. :)

I, on the other hand, said to him, "I don't care if that woman is gone all day and half the night. I'm 
not going anywhere until she gets back." But I'm a woman and a Mom and that's how we are.

About every minute I assured the boy again that he was just fine and "She will be right back." Since I
was the stranger I didn't want to touch him or pat him on the back or anything like that. How confusing
this must have been to him.

I'm not sure how long this woman was gone, at least a good 5 minutes, maybe longer. When she
returned she thanked us plenty. We were happy to do this little tiny act of service, as odd as it all
seemed at the time.

Which is really just my introduction to this little video clip of Gretchen Rubin I saw on her blog this week….about helping strangers. I love this story she tells, especially the two things she learned from it. 

So many times when I'm out and about I notice good things people do but I rarely tell them about it. 
After watching this, I'm going to be more of a cheerleader for the helpers in this world. There are
always helpers. Don't miss watching this one. It's good!

The girl's got passion!

Sometimes the role of the little sister is being on the outside looking in.
Even though Violet knew Elora and Hailey 
were in there practicing for a skit, 
she didn't ask to join them, she just took her place on the outside. 

I'm not sure how much she could see peeking in like that, 
but she stayed there for quite a while.

Then when the play began, Violet sat mesmerized.

This was a long skit…

at least 20-30 minutes, but Violet never lost her focus.

 Totally and completely would not take her eyes off the girls and what they were doing!

After scene one, the girls INVITED her to be IN their play! 

Was this her lucky day or what. 
Whoa, this was big time news to the little 3 year old sister.  

 I was near tears watching her hurry excitedly behind the scenes, and then came back out with her Belle costume on! 
Violet went right into the serious acting mode.

She basically had 2 lines, 
"We need our pets back. Give us our pets!"
She was suppose to say that several times during the play, 
and she did. With loud voice inflection!
(Anyone wandering in our house at this point would think Violet really did lose her pets!)

She said her lines with such PASSION 
she actually had REAL TEARS. 

This alarmed Elora a little and she tried to calm 
the little actress down a bit.

I don't have guesses yet what Violet will do with her life, 
but one thing is certain, she will do it with her whole heart. 

Or I could say, don't mess with Violet!

Good news with Dad and Susan

I was planning on spending the day and night with my Dad, 
while Susan was having a test done with a possible overnight stay. …
(by the way, I was so happy to see him sitting in a real chair that I had to take a picture.)

 But my Dad got the good news phone call about 9:30 saying she and would be coming
home in 3 hours! What a relief for them both!
(Just a friendly reminder to Susan: Remember, the doctor said you need to stay in bed for 3 days.)

Tom, his helper, was here this morning, as always, and said to me,
"Jill, you'll want to take a picture of this." and proceeded to help my Dad walk….

 After breaking his back in 2012, and the subsequent surgery, 
he was told he would probably never walk again.

Very exciting for me to see! He's always had incredible determination. It's just who he is.
I can't imagine what it must feel like to be 'practicing' upright after being in a chair for 20 months.

Then Tom showed me in the Fresno Bee this morning about the Boston Marathon mentioning Dad's
name. He's run 15 Boston Marathons plus other marathons elsewhere. 
Not to mention breaking the worlds record for his age division back in 1989 for a 24 hour race.

So this should not surprise me now…..

He made a goal of learning to walk in 2014. He's on his way!
I keep thinking of what he said on the News many years ago: 
"I think we all operate far below our capacities." 

The cop's wife was not happy.

Last night with Téa having a mustache….

It reminded Dennis of something that happened many years ago when he was on the police force. One
of his fellow cops had just become a new Dad. This Dad thought he would play a trick on his wife. So
one day he took a Sharpie and painted a mustache on their baby girl. Problem was the ink would not
come off even with all the washing he tried. Finally it took a full 2 months or more for that thing to fade
away! His wife was NOT happy about it.

I keep thinking of the sweet newborn pictures they all missed out on.
After all, this was in the early 1970s, long before photo shop. 

Our Easter 2014

I wish we could have been with all our family this day. Since that can't happen the 2nd best thing is
watching for their pictures to come in. So far this is what we have, in the order they came. If we should
be so lucky to get more, I will add them later.

Hailey, Elora, Erin, Violet, Brock, Cami
Erin took the girls to get those Easter dresses. Aren't they sweet!
Hailey has been with them all week and she heads home tomorrow. :(

Now from our Portland family today:

McKenna and Scarlett

Grant and Rich too busy to look at the camera.
Mixing a little Halloween with the Easter egg hunt. I say, why not!

And then back to Clovis….

Chandler, Laurynn, Kylie, Amy, Macie Téa, Jonas
And yes Téa has a mustache. Don't know why, but she does.

I hope more pictures come our way….:)

Have a joyous Easter!

I have seen this video numerous times and in numerous places.
Close to 3 million plays, and it just came out a week ago!

In case you missed it, please do watch. And I hope your Easter is sweet and lovely.

I talked to a success story yesterday

Autism awareness month continues. I talked for 1 1/2 hours yesterday to a woman whose first child
was diagnosed with severe autism @ age 3. He is now 18 and getting ready to graduate with high
honors from a high school that specializes in math, science, and engineering. He was also awarded a
scholarship to Weber State in Utah.

How did he come from severe autism to doing well at age 18? About 15 years ago during a very
discouraging week, this lady prayed and then felt prompted to call the Autism Research Institute. It just
so happened the founder of this organization, Bernard Rimland, answered the phone himself. He told
her about the gluten and casein free diet. From there she was able to find a DAN (Defeat Autism Now)

Someone sent me this video recently (and I'm sorry but I can't even remember who it was now). The
woman in the video is not the Mom I talked to yesterday, but I think they both went down similar paths.
As the video progresses it talks about other things than diet. I'm not sure if the Mom I talked to
yesterday did these other ideas, but I know she follows the diet religiously for her son.

I find this all so very interesting and encouraging. I've heard some main stream doctors are beginning to
recommend the diet also.

What do people eat for breakfast?

I admit I have an out of norm curiosity about what people eat. If there is one question I could ask
strangers that would be it. I watch what others buy at the grocery store too but try not to be obvious
about it. But I am even more wanting to know what they are going to do with that food once they bring
it home.

So when someone sent me this video showing what people eat for breakfast across the world, well…
this is my kind of entertainment.

I've decided I like Mexico's breakfast the best…although I've never had that particular combination…
yet. And since I love my oatmeal every morning, I'd like to try Mexico's breakfast for dinner sometime.

I would starve if I had to wake up in Italy. Nothing but carbs.


Words from my Mom

Lately I'm being haunted by my mother's very large stack of journals. I've made it a goal to choose the
best parts of them, and make a book for her posterity. If we don't have journals left behind with our 
own words….then someone else will be our spokesperson for who we were after we are gone. I would
not want to trust anyone with that, would you?

She DID keep many years of journals. So I need to do her justice and let HER WORDS speak to all
her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and all the many yet to be born.

It's a long process, but today I found this little gem I wanted to share written by her, 34 years ago when
she was 52. (the capitals are all hers)

"May 22, 1982

Jesse Evans Smith

Read the above in Relief Society bulletin today and IT IS SO 
TRUE---- except I guess as you get older you can anticipate the 
results more. So it isn't so hard to do ----whatever! 

…..This old age stuff ain't half bad."

Thanks Mom. I agree!

This was not one of my better Grandma decisions.

(I was SO tired last night that I pressed publish when I meant to press save. So if you were here earlier this was all jumbled up and half done. Such is the life of a tired but happy Grandma.)

While their parents are in New Orleans for the week, the grand girls have moved in…

The sisters wanted to be together. Not in separate beds. They insisted on it. So we gave it a try.

Why did I ever think this would work?
It didn't.

Violet wanted to sleep, Cami was ready for fun and wide awake, and 
Elora needed to braid her hair "so it would be crimped for school tomorrow. "
 We suggested and when that didn't work, we announced that Violet would sleep in the crib. 
No way would Violet have any of that.

The next night was so much better….thanks to the fact that Elora can talk Violet into anything. 
She told Violet the crib was a "princess bed" and then we all had 
a happily ever after sleep the following nights.

Elora asked if she could sleep down the hall. I guess she is growing up. 

Violet insists I call her Snow White.
As long as they sleep well, I will call her whatever she wants!

On a side note, it's been wonderful sharing this week with Grandma Lynn.
She's been taking a big bulk of the day shifts. But even with all that help,
I been thinking lots about young parents this week and wondering how they do it all day after day after day.

There is nothing sweeter though. Nothing sweeter. 

Another play to love….

One of my most favorite things to do in this world, is attend plays…but especially ones our 
grandchildren are in.  Like last Friday evening.

See that lady right above Logan's glasses? I enjoyed talking to because she is Laurynn and Macie's
drama teacher/director…AND because she was IN Logan's drama class back in 8th grade! And now,
she's the teacher of Logan's children. How cool is that.

I went up to her and said, "Do you remember me? I use to be Logan's mother back in the day."
She right away said, "Oh yes I do remember you!" She was polite and didn't say anymore than that. 
I probably spent more time hovering around those drama kids than any other parent back then. 
But Logan survived it all.

I asked Logan if I could get a picture of her and him together and he said, "Uh, no." So that was that.

Seems where ever she goes Amy is approached by people wanting to discuss 
the Primary children (ages 3-11) at our church. 

And here are our stars….Laurynn 2nd to the right and Macie, far right.
They both did a most excellent job. Very into it. 
I kept my eyes glued on them most of the time and even when they were not singing, they both know
how to be in the moment of the play. My Grandma told me once while we were watching Bonanza,
"It's just as important how actors are when they aren't saying lines as much as when they are." 

(Not that she ever acted that I know of, but her mother did write Hollywood screen plays... 
that never sold, but still, she did write them.)

Macie missed Téa for that time she was on stage, and could hardly wait to hug her again.

The four sisters together. Aren't they beautiful! 
And better than that, I have never ever seen them mean to each other.
Seriously, I have never seen them be less than kind to one another. 
Macie, Kylie, Téa, Laurynn

And here are 6 of the 7 siblings, minus Austin who is on his mission. 
(We can't claim the Genie or the cute girl in the blue dress next to him.)

I had never thought so before, but Laurynn is beginning to look 
more and more like Amy. Can you see it too?
And, well, I fail at posing for the camera. It's not my fault Dennis keeps me laughing.

Great job Laurynn and Macie! We are so proud of you!

God's Not Dead

Did anyone go see this movie yet? I know it's only been here about 2 weeks, so maybe not. 
But if so, I'd like to know what you thought of it.

Since I have many thoughts rambling around in my head I'll just number them off:

1. Some of the acting was outstanding. Some was very much not.

2. I like to support movies that are clean (this one is) and I like to support people trying to do good in
this world. That alone was worth going to see this…..however….

3. Den and I enjoyed watching it. Not boring. Captivating, to us. Mostly uplifting.

4. I have issues with the way this movie ended.

*5. My Grandma was an atheist and while I can't speak for her, I don't think she would have liked this
movie for the ending alone. She was a very practical woman and the ending was not practical. Maybe
I'm wrong, but I think she would have come out of that theater feeling comfortable staying an atheist.
But she knows better now.

6. I did not care for the music which was a little disappointing.

7. It was hard NOT to clap at one point in this movie. Sure I could have, but with only 5 of us in the
theater, I chose not to. I wish I would have though.

8. This movie, to me, was also about not judging others. We can never know what makes people act
the way they do. That's why we just need to love them. "Love them anyway," as Mother Theresa use
to say.

*More explaining of #5. My Grandma LIVED Christian values. She felt it was her duty to humanity to
help and lift those around her. She would continually seek out the disadvantage and the suffering. We would often go on walks together but it wasn't to just enjoy the scenery. No. We would stop at homes along the way to check on sick or disabled people she knew.

She lived a VERY Christ like life. I had often wondered how a person could be filled with such
goodness yet not believe in Christ? I asked this to a friend of mine many years ago and she said
something like, "Whether your Grandma believes in God or not, she was still created in His image."

Some notes from yesterday

Now that our kids don't join us at our home for conference since they are developing their own family
traditions….I figured out that Dennis and I watch General Conference better if we are in two separate

We talk too much when we watch it together. We get excited to share ideas we have learned and then
we end up missing several paragraphs ahead.

I also learned that I take better notes if I just type quickly directly into my online journal. So I will need
to go back and rewatch Saturday's sessions since I took those notes the old fashioned way.

Here are just a few of my favorite notes from yesterday:

President Uchtdorf: "Instead of being thankful for things, focus on being thankful in things…(be 
thankful in the moment, not after the trial has passed. There is good in everything.)
"There seems to be something in us that resists endings. Why is this? Because we are eternal 
beings. There are no endings, only everlasting beginnings.…"
Jean A. Stevens:  She told story of seeing a boy on the side of road and she stopped by because 
she felt impressed to GO HELP THAT BOY. 25 years later this boy contacted her and said he had 
been walking 1 ½ hours that day with no houses in sight and got down on his knees to pray and a 
few moments later she came.
She also told about a family…husband only had 2 weeks to live. Family all gathered one last time. 
A family picture, a family dinner, and one last trip to the SLC temple all together. The daughter 
said, "I would never ask for this trial but I would never give it away." The gospel is not weight, it's 
wings.You are not alone. Face challenges with prayer and trust in the Lord. 
May we have faith to trust in Him.
David A. Bednar: Each of us carries a load. Sometimes we mistakenly think happiness is the 
absence of load.
President Thomas S. Monson:  "We must remember those we meet in parking lots, offices, 
elevators, and elsewhere. All that portion of mankind God has given us to love and to serve. It will 
do little good to speak to the general brotherhood of mankind if we cannot regard those who are 
all around us as our brothers and sisters….We need to strive to always be considerate and 
sensitive to thoughts and feelings and circumstances of those around us….let us be 
compassionate and encouraging."

Lawrence Corbridge  “God IS our father. You are more than human. You are a child of God….
Everything did not begin at birth You lived before. The family is the pattern for heaven.
Michael John U. Teu  We need to put more time and effort into strengthening family relationships.
Marcos Aiduktius (sp?) If we are sincerely seeking the truth we will do all we can to find it.
D Todd Christofferson  Told about a man 100 years ago who set out to prove there is no God in 
his book called, "God and my Neighbor." All was well until his wife died and then it all came 
crumbling down. He realized as he stood near his dead wife that her soul was gone and he 
returned to his belief in God.

I especially love this little poem President Monson quoted again. 
I think it's about the 2nd or 3rd time he has recited this during General Conference:

"I have wept in the night.
For the shortness of sight
That too somebody's need made me blind
But I never have yet
Felt a twinge of regret 
For being a little too kind."

This is what we are doing this weekend

Sad to me that I didn't think to take pictures of my family watching conference 
while my sons were growing up.
It has been one of our most beloved traditions….every 6 months….since even I was a little girl.

Dennis' Sad Barber Story

Dennis asked recently if I'd heard anymore about those tests to see if a person is immune to COVID.  I said, "No, why do you ask?&...