Monday, August 31, 2015

It's still on my mind

I keep thinking about this so I have to write about it.

So at church every Sunday we usually have one youth speaker (age 
12-18), followed by some adult speakers. So yesterday our 12 year 
old speaker talked about love at home.

Fast forward to an hour or so later, I was in the big Primary room 
with the 8-11 year olds. The Primary President asked the kids if any 
of them listened to the youth speaker earlier while we were in the 
chapel. Hands shot up all over the room.

Then she asked, "Do any of you remember what he spoke 
about?" The room got quiet and I could feel the thinking going on 
around me. 

Soon a 10 year old boy behind me slowly raised his hand and then 
quietly said, "Um, I took notes," as he proceeded to take out a 
little crumpled up piece of paper from his pocket. I turned around 
and watched as this boy unraveled this sheet of paper about 5 or 6 

Finally he got it flat enough to read. He looked it over and 
then said so quietly that I'm not sure everyone heard, but he said 
something like this, "Sometimes I'm not as kind as I should be to 
my brothers and sister. I need to work at being more loving." 

While I'm thinking....really? A 10 year old took notes at church? 
As I was trying to absorb this another 10 year old boy sitting about 
4 chairs away from the first boy, also took out a wadded up little 
sheet of paper from his pocket. His looked more like an index card.

This second boy gently said, "I have my notes." Like it was no big 
deal. He went on to share a few points of that talk also, but I 
couldn't even tell you what he said. I just was so mesmerized by his 
gentle soul. After he was finished talking about how he also wanted 
to be more loving at home, I couldn't help but reach my arm over to 
him and pat his back. 

There may be lots of bad things happening in this world, but there 
are also children who want to be more loving....who even take 
notes in church so they won't miss anything. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Want to try my experiment?

So Saturday was interesting. I have a traumatized tooth but I didn't want to miss my niece's baby
shower. So I took something to keep the pain down so I could go....and Dennis drove us there.
(Our granddaughter Laurynn was staying with us last weekend so I got to have her with me.)

I knew we could only stay a few minutes but I wanted to at least see Nicole (Scott and Kim's
daughter) while she was still pregnant. (she lives in Utah with her husband Nate).
Their little boy is due in 11 weeks.

I have tender spot for my nieces and nephews.

There's Nicole years ago in the black check....
along with her brother Taylor, and cousins Colt and Lauren.

So it gets kind of interesting....because see Nicole's cousin Colt standing above there in red?
Earlier yesterday, hours before Nicole's baby shower, 
Colt and his wife Sami gave birth to their first son, Lincoln.

Colt's wife just so happens to be the sister of Nicole's husband.
(and Colt and Nicole are cousins)
Can you follow that?

So Laurynn and I felt sort of like we were doing a drive by baby shower since we couldn't stay long...
but we were there long enough for Laurynn to win the game!

Good going Laurynn!!

I did snap a few pictures before leaving. 

My nieces Mckenzie, and Lauren (she flew in from Ohio!)
and of course our granddaughter Laurynn

Katie (my nephew Jake's wife)
not use to seeing her without baby Harvey

Grandma Nellie, my sister Robin and my niece Brooke
(Robin and Brooke had been driving all day from Utah!)

And the game Laurynn won below, but that wasn't her paper.

Back to Colt and Sami's baby born yesterday, and my experiment....

My sister in law Kim (Nicole's mother) told me years and years ago, 
that the first born child usually looks like the opposite sex parent. 

For years I blew that off thinking it made no sense.
Especially since it's not true with my first born.

But the older I get the more I see there is some truth in this. 
Certainly not 100%, but way more often than not.
I can look around church, for example, and see first borns and yep, they look like their opposite sex 
parent. There seems to be no pattern for subsequent children.  

So look at baby Lincoln's parents below, and then look at the close up of Lincoln.
Yep, I vote Lincoln looks like his Mom.

So do you see it in your own family? Take a piece of paper and write down the name of 5 or 10
families you know. Then as you go down the list think of their first born child and who he or she
looks most like? I've done this in my head and it's about 80-90% accurate….that the first born looks
most like it's opposite sex parent.

So what in the world does this all mean? I have no idea.

Would anyone be willing to try it and let me know if you see a pattern?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Our house guest

Her name is Brooke, and she's from Ohio. 

Austin and Brooke spent 2 weeks in Ohio with her family, 
and then they flew here to spend 2 weeks together in California. 

Some things she tells Amy about Ohio are just shocking.

Nah, just kidding....I have no idea what they are talking about there. 

We've already given her a tour 
of some of the dead lawns in the area. 
We call California "a way of life." Or "we hope you like short showers."

She's an adaptable girl. I can tell....because when I gave her the 
book, "300 Questions LDS couples should ask before marriage." 
she said thank you, and put it right into her purse!

So right about here, I wanted to put a video her playing the piano 
because I've heard she is quite accomplished. 


since I don't have that video.....

Instead, I will show a commercial dedicated to my sister Peggy. 
Her last child (of SIX) graduated from high school, 
and Peggy just got her very own teaching job.
19 First graders! 

Something tells me she may relate to this...

Monday, August 17, 2015

"They are not dead, they are just living somewhere else"

The title above was the actual name of the family history conference that was held at BYU last
month. I didn't attend, but I read about it and I can't stop thinking of these quotes by the speaker,
Gerald Lund:

"Surely those who have passed beyond can see more clearly through the veil back here to us 
than it is possible for us to see to them from our sphere of action....We are not separated from 
them...Isn't that a wonderful concept of service? They are watching over us, seeing what we are 
doing right and see what we are doing wrong. And trying to care for us and influence us."

For about the past 18 years, since my first husband died,
I've felt quite certain those who passed on before us, are very aware of us. 
We though, don't usually get that privilege...until later.

Even relatives we didn't know we had. There is that eternal connection.
Families are more powerful than the separation of death. 

 This is my Dad's cousin, Margaret Rozier Kountz. I never met her but she died a few weeks ago, I
learned on Facebook. I do have a few beautiful letters she wrote about our family history.

She was several years older than my Dad and remembered him as a little boy living on Rozier 
Avenue in Tuolumne, after house was one relative after another....
and it really was called Rozier Avenue.

In the 2 pictures of her below, I can see the resemblance Margaret has to my Dad.

I learned also a few years back that Margaret, or Marnie as people called her, was also known as 
Grandma Honey by her grandchildren. Don't know how that came about for her, but it makes me
happy to know there is a Grandma Honey in heaven now who I am related to.

Margaret is the daughter of Frank and Emma. 
Frank is my Grandpa Romeo's brother, as you can see by the chart below:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our water verdict

May not seem like a big deal to you....
especially if you live outside California.

But this is the first time in 25 years of living here, that I was
ANXIOUS and cautiously EXCITED to get our water bill.
And it came today!
(along with Bill's high school reunion invite, I might add)

Den thought we would make the required 36% cut on our water. 
I didn't think we would. 

I didn't think we had suffered enough for that. 
Or I thought it would be close.


It was not close at all. Look at this bill.

If we are figuring it out correctly, comparing to 2013,
we cut back our water by 60%!

It was for the past 2 months....June and July. 
The city compares it to June and July of 2013

(And to those people who criticized us for having a green front lawn last month, apparently we cut
back more water than you thought! That's okay, we forgive you. We know you were just looking after
mankind in California. Besides, it's dead now.)

 We are celebrating tonight by watering our lemon tree. 
It's not looking very good.

So we won! That's what it feels like anyway.
Our lawn is dead, and some of our trees 
are barely hanging on (oops). 
Sorry to brag. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The most creative wedding announcement I've ever seen.

Before I get to that, I need to tell you who it is about.

See these beautiful girls....

These are my Laurels. They will always be my Laurels.
I taught these very special girls years ago at church when they were 16-17 years old. 

See the one back row, 4th from the left? That's Natalie. And this is her invitation 
that I received this in the mail a few days ago. How she kept track of all this info, I have no clue!

And here is the new blended family. Aren't they beautiful!

They are now living in Portland, about 30 minutes from the McKs, and Tyler and Karen.

Natalie was the one who came over to our house one afternoon in 1996 after my first husband died, 
armed with art supplies. She helped Tyler make a memory box for some of his Dad's things. It was 
one of the most thoughtful things she could have done for him.  

I look at the family picture above 
and I'm filled with happiness for all of them. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Long ago in 1977

Some of these pictures I'd never seen before. They were passed on to me via Bill's brother Jim.

Like this one of Bill's Mom, Niada, with my first baby....the one who made her a grandma.

I'd never noticed before today, but I can see a little of McKay in her.
I wish I could call her tonight and tell her. She passed away last April.
(Coincidentally, today would have been her 90th birthday)

During that same period of time. 
My sons Grandpa and Grandpa Heasley in 1977.

Bill and I somewhere in the mid 1970s.
Bill's Dad must have taken this picture since it's their house.

I can tell this picture was taken at St Agnes Hospital in Fresno.
The boys' Uncle Jim, and my Dad....waiting and waiting, for Brock to be born.

Again, we were at Bill's parents house. 1977

Old, old pictures these are.

I don't think I was ever more relaxed than when holding one of my babies.
Especially when he was sleeping. Mothering was the best fun I ever had.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Have you noticed how DIFFERENT washing machines are now?

My neighbor and I both have new washers, 
just regular top loading ones, 
and we were trying to figure them out.  

They use less water, they lock shut after the cycles begin...
features we are not use to.

So I brought her into our laundry room and showed her mine. It 
was in the middle of a cycle, and locked. I had never unlocked and 
interrupted a cycle before...and nearly gasped at just how low the 
level of water was. Really, that little bit of water? Maybe this is 
why our clothes don't feel as clean lately.

So then it occurred to me... if the new washers use less water, then I 
should start putting less soap in. No where on the instructions does 
it say this but wouldn't that make sense to you? So now I use just a 
little over 1/2 the amount of detergent called for and guess what? 
Our clothes feel cleaner, and definitely softer.

So I'm going to save big now on detergent.

But there is also a glitch with the matching dryer.

See that little hook at the top, just inside the dryer?

Or maybe this shows it better....

Do you know that if even one item of clothing gets stuck to that 
hook when I shut the door, ALL of the clothes follow along.

Like this....

All of Den's lovely shirts didn't look so lovely.

Shirts of a feather flock together.
Or something like that.

PS  This is the first matching set of washer and dryer I've ever had in my life.
And I just now noticed that fact. Obviously it never mattered to me.
I only notice when they quit working.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"...then you simply get to be happy more often."

(I know McKay looks very stressed here at 3 weeks old….but this taken in 1984, about 30 minutes 
before I learned at a routine dr visit, that his heart was racing near 350 beats per minute….)

However, today I'm focusing on the sweater he was wearing...

Do you want to know the real reason I love that little sweater 
so much and STILL have it all these 31 years later?

Because someone gave it to me while she was suffering. 

Vicky, the sister of a good high school friend of mine, was pregnant 
with twins at the same time I was expecting McKay. 

About half way through her pregnancy (can't remember the exact timing) one 
of her twin boys died. She was in the hospital trying to save the 
remainder twin, but he was born too early, 
and tragically they lost him also.

A few months later I gave birth to McKay, and Vicky mailed this 
sweater to me from southern California. I remember looking at her 
gift in awe….that she could be happy for me, when she had just 
lost the joy I was now experiencing.

I don't think I would have been so thoughtful 
had I been the one grieving.

Her gift taught me a great life lesson. 

I've thought about Vicky and her gift many times throughout the 
years. Her story has become a part of how I want my brain to think. 
It's helped to shape my life and who I strive to be.

So why am I bringing this up now all these years later?

I read a great blog post recently by a Mom who felt such joy 
that her sons were happy for a friend
who got an award they wanted, but didn't get.... 

My favorite line from her post is this:
"If you are happy for other people, 
you simply get to be happy more often."