Friday, January 28, 2011

Haven't laughed that hard...

...for a knock knock joke for a long while.

Emma came home and offered up a knock knock joke at the dinner table. It is not funny in print, so you will have to try this with a significant other or whoever you can find.

Emma - Knock, Knock
Tiffany - Who's there.
Emma - Interupting cow.
Emma (as Tiffany starts to say 'Interupting Cow who?') - Mooooooooo

It really wasn't that funny. But both Tiffany and I had a good laugh. Part of it was the silliness of the joke, part of it was because it isn't really that funny. Part of it was the timing - we didn't expect a joke out of Emma right then, and part of it was because it was a new, never heard before knock knock joke with a twist.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Best Idea Ever

Quite a long time ago, Tiffany heard about an idea out there that we decided to try. It was the best idea ever. However, as often happens, we get out of the habit of doing a good thing due to, well, ... not sure why - but I know it happens.

Like most families, we want our kids to help clean up the house. They make 99% of the mess, it only seems fair that they help. We also want to be ahead of schedule, not running around last minute trying to find everything we need to get out the door or whatever. So we try to implement a routine. A routine that gets us to do the daily mundane tasks that need to get done. Once the jobs are done, then we can get onto other, more fun items for the day. But if you are like us, trying to maintain a routine is hard to set up, let alone carry out day in and day out. Most of you are probably better than us, so no need to read the rest of this.

Here is the good idea which directly impacts your home life, the cleanliness of it, happier kids, and in return, happier mom and dad.

A CD. Of music.

Yep, that's it.

Well, mostly. Add in some instructions of chores that need to get done and voila- instant routine that is easy to follow.

We do both a morning and night time routine. Here is how it works.

You push play at the right time on a CD you created, the routine begins, and you finish the routine at the right time every day.

We recorded the kids voices and recorded them to a CD where they give themselves instructions to accomplish tasks and chores. They will say, for example, that it is time to get up and make their beds and that they have one song to do so. The CD will then play a song.

You see, kids don't understand it when parents tell them they have three minutes to make their bed. But they do know music. Play a three minute song that they know, and they know approximately how much time they have left before the end of the song. Tell them to make their bed in one song and they can do it with ease.

Do this with an 80 minute CD and the whole morning is on auto pilot - it just gets done.

We start ours every morning about 7:15. By 8:20 the kids are up, dressed, fed, ready for school and have done a few jobs around the house.

We also have an evening routine - which does wonders to get the kids to bed on time. If we don't do the routine, we often see the kids up well past 9:30. Use the CD routine and everybody is in bed by 8:30.

So, create your own routine CD. Record your kids, add them to the disc, follow it up with some good music, and off you go.

A couple of caveats:

1 - I don't know how this will work with different school schedules in the morning. We are all generally on the same schedule - our afternoon kindergarten child does it with us in the morning, however.

2 - We started off with a point system to give added enticement to get things done. The points can be for whatever you want... We used it as part of their allowance calculations. However, over time, we find that they don't need 'points' or motivation. They just do it. (Though, they still want allowance, we just don't tie allowance to these routines - we can get into that discussion later.)

3 - After a while they get tired of the same music, so we simply use the original voice recordings and make a new disc with new music. We now have a couple floating around. Generally speaking, it is the same order so they know what is next that needs to get done.

Doing this changes a ton of things around the house. It stays cleaner as the kids are doing chores before school and before they go to bed. Tiffany (and I when I am home) don't have as much cleaning to do so she can focus on other things during the day. Overall, there is a much better spirit around the home. Even the kids feel it and are nicer one to another. Well, sort of.

Let me know if you have any ideas. We are always looking for more ways to improve life.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If you want some...

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and let it come in.
~Author Unknown

A few weeks ago I pitched a product that has seriously been a game changer to household cleaning. My intent was simply to share the Lemi Shine love and let others know of the amazing product out there, especially to those who live around where I do and deal with hard water.

Well, thanks to technology, the Lemi Shine people saw my post and are loving me back. They shipped me out some samples of Lemi Shine to give out to those who may be interested. We received it today.

So, if you haven't already gone out and tried this stuff, let me know and I will give you a sample they sent. They only sent 13 - so first come first serve. As much as I love their product, I am not really feeling like paying for shipping, so if you live around me, it's yours. Email us if you want it.

Note that some individuals have said be careful and read the instructions as it is not good for silver and perhaps some other finishes as well - I don't have any silver so no problems there. :)



Monday, January 24, 2011

Turn it off!

Today while I was driving the kindergarten carpool, Porter and I had a conversation that has left me chuckling all day long. This is how it went down:
Porter: "Mom, the sun is too bright!
Mom: "I'm sorry that the sun is in your eyes, (I then threw a jacket over his head which calmed him down a bit.)
Porter: "Mom, turn it off."
Mom: "I'm sorry Porter, but I can't turn the sun off."
Porter: "Yes you can!"
Mom: "I'm sorry Porter but I can't."
Porter: "Yes you can!" *a little agitated*
Mom: "Really Porter, I can't. *a little agitated myself, trying to reason with the 2 year old about the distance from the earth to the sun - and make a left hand turn*
Porter: Yes you can, It's easy." *matter-of-factly*
Mom: "It's easy huh. Porter, how do you turn off the sun?"
Porter: "Get a ladder"

Cracked me up! I love how the cogs are turning in that little brain. Hope this story "brightens" your day :0)



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Emma's Baptism

Emma was baptized today. She was way excited about it. Here are some pics in her baptism dress... Which is kind of funny, you don't actually get baptized in the dress. You have another dress (see the bottom pic) that you get baptized in. The other one is just for show.

I wonder when that tradition started.

She was very excited. We thank the many, many people that attended and supported Emma as well as the dinner after.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You never know

Sometimes you do things you are never really sure if it is the right thing to do. You hope so. You may even feel good about certain decisions, but you often, never know.

A couple of years ago we opted to test Dallin to be put in the Spectrum program in our school district. The program tests students abilities, and if they 'pass' the test, they are put in an accelerated program with kids their same age who have similar ability. We were really unsure if we wanted to pull Dallin out of his school, away from his friends, to do this. Initially he wasn't invited and we didn't have to make the decision. But after other kids pulled out, his alternate status was bumped to active and we were called. Ultimately, we decided that this was a great opportunity and we moved him over. Since then, we have found it as a very good program, allowing the kids to not only learn what they should be learning, but because of the accelerated nature, have had time and opportunity to learn other things, such as the Ukulele, astronomy, and even chess. All of which broaden their horizons and allow the kids to understand more of the world around them. I like this better than simply more math, reading, and history - all of which they do.

But now we come to a crossroads again. This program starts in the third grade. Emma is in second grade, and though she shows signs of greatness (because every parent knows their child is brilliant), she is a different person and has different abilities and different needs. Saturday is the testing and we opted to at least get her tested to see if she would qualify. But even if she does qualify for the program, we don't know it it is the best thing for her. We may never know. At least until we either put her in or don't and wait and watch for the results.

With all this said, it's amazing we don't mess our kids up more than we do. We all make decisions for our children based on how we grew up, what we think we missed as children, and opportunities that we enjoyed. We try to do the best we can with what we know in the world that surrounds us.

And sometimes we get it wrong. And sometimes we get it right.

But you know, until its all over, we may never really know.

So here's to a little bit of hope and faith as we move forward in this journey we call life.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A day of Skiing - Riding

Just a quick light note today.

Dallin wanted to go snowboarding as part of his Christmas gift. So today we took him and his cousin up and introduced them to the thrill of the hill. They both picked it up by the end of the day. Of course, I have introduced them to next-day-stiffness-and-soreness no doubt as well. We will see what happens when he gets up tomorrow.

With that done and grateful everybody is home safe, albeit tired, let me say - I am a skier. And no doubt I have friends who snowboard. But there is a long held belief that snowboarders hate skiers and skiers hate snowboarders. That never held water to me. That is, until you have to wait for a snowboarder to bind in at the top of the hill and bind out at the bottom. Snowboarders take too long, once I get to the top, I want to go! And when I get to the bottom, I want to go! None of this sitting around business. So, hate is too strong of a word, but I don't know if I could ever hit the slopes with you if you do the board thing.

But when we are off the slopes, no worries, we can be friends again.



(PS - maybe I just don't like snowboarding because I can't do it. I tried a few years ago (like 15) and didn't have the patience to stay with it since I knew how to ski and enjoyed it. Why go through the pain of learning how to ride one board strapped to your feet when you already enjoy going down the hill with two?

Besides, if two is better than one, skiing is better. Just so you know.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A New Direction

Almost five years ago I was put into the bishopric of the ward we live in. I was 28. I am a month away from 33 and am being released. I expected it. Our good Bishops wife has cancer and they have done a marvelous job taking care of that situation while the Bishop continues his responsibilities at church. Based on Tiffanys cancer I expected, that if nothing else, that I would be released, but since the Bishop has been serving for almost 5 years, it would make sense that we would all be released.

It is a bitter sweet moment in this journey. On one hand, it will be nice not to worry about some of the administration of different areas of the church - whether its the scouts charter, Friends of scouting, and don't even get me started about the flags, or the worrying about how to help the Primary fill its holes so the children are taken care of. I won't miss the meetings, especially the early morning meetings, nor will I miss being away from the family - indeed that is the sweetest thought of this whole change.

But, I will miss the people, especially the youth. Its not like I am leaving or moving or anything, but there is an intimate relationship you gain with a whole ward (congregation) as you meet and discuss different needs and talk to individuals about different situations going on in their life. I will miss meeting with the youth and having fun times with them while working side by side with them. I will miss watching them grow and gain testimonies. And, believe it or not, I will even miss the deacons (12-13 year old boys).

I found that there was a lot of respect for the position, even though the guy that filled the position was flawed. I am amazed at how many people overlooked my flaws and instead trusted direction. I will miss sitting with our good bishop and watching inspired direction being handed down. On more than one occasion I have witnessed Bishops remarkable ability to listen to the spirit. I will miss the growth and opportunity this have given me, but even more also for my dear wife. Being gone away from the family has been hard, but even harder on Tiffany. This experience has caused Tiffany to grow as well. In my observations she has learned many ways to handle the household in my absence. I fear that with me back in the picture a little more that I will mess up her Sunday routine. Though she says I will be gratefully reinstated into the routines, I wonder if I will destroy the organization she has created.

When all is said and done, we are called for a time to serve where we asked to serve. We do it until it is time for a change. I don't know what comes next, but I will ever be grateful for the experiences I have had for the last five years.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me these past years, whether teaching me, or forgiving me; I have been grateful to both. And many of you did both.



Friday, January 14, 2011

The Good and the Bad

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tiffany had an appointment with Doctor Stinnet the other day. As expected, there wasn't a lot that came from it except that her platelet count has skyrocketed. Which is great news. It came in at 274 - which is so much better than the 60 she was at two months ago. So if nothing else, at least her platelets are much better which means lots of different things, mostly, that bleeding shouldn't be an issue going forward.

We continue to be grateful for the blessings of being were we are today - not in a hospital, not having to combat a life threatening illness, or at least, not now. We don't really know what the future holds. But we do know of many others who are fighting. Though I don't feel right about putting their names out there for the cyber-world to know, at least without their authorization, suffice it to say that we are praying for many others out there. And we hope that you are too. There is much good that is brought about because of so much bad that is out there. We hope that you take some time from your busy schedules to offer yourselves, your time, your talents to help those out there that need it. Not only because we know how much it helped us, but because we know that by helping somebody in need, gives you additional insight into the good things this world has to offer.

We continually thank the Heavens for the good friends and family that we have, who stood by us and were willing to do whatever it took to make our life a little better.

I think that is Christianity at it's heart.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Concerning Goal #1

Below is an abridged letter I sent to my parents recently, along with current plans to our home, which was Goal #1 on this here blog. My intent was to receive feedback concerning the plans and the reasons behind some of what we are looking at changing. Though some basic knowledge of our home is helpful, the two pics below should give you most of what you need to follow along below.

NOTE: If you want to give me feedback as well - please do so in the comments. Many heads, generally, are better than one. Unless you are a 435 member congress! But we will leave the politics out for today. But, seriously, give me feedback.

Mom and Dad,

Attached is what I am shortly going to take to the engineer to draw up final plans for our addition. It shows the old layout as well as the new. I am hoping you can help me before I do.

This has been a fun project - well, the designing. I should have gone into architecture like I thought I wanted to do when I was twelve, I really enjoyed doing this. The next phase will be difficult, painful, and a bit inconvenient. We expect that. We know that. We hope it is better than we expect.

We are kicking out the south of the house and leaving the rest of the house generally in its current state. Basically, we will kick it out to add a 24 x 26 living space plus a covered deck out the back. We will be moving the kitchen from where it is at to where the dining room currently sits. The dining area and a family room are in the new addition, along with a computer/desk space on the north facing wall (for the family, not for my work).

I am sending this to you because I want your opinion to know if adding this makes sense.

We want enough room to enjoy the family as we grow into the teenage years, but I don't want so much house that we can't save for retirement. I don't expect Social Security and will have to come up with my own retirement. A smaller home is just one way to combat this - both in expenses out now, as well as expenses in the future.

We love the house. We like its layout. It's just a little small for our family.

We love the area and the people - and though there are a few places to build, we honestly think our place is perfect if it were a little larger.

We like the city lot (park) behind us, we like the trail in front of us (and the view for what it's worth - we don't have houses right across the street).

Believe it or not, we like living on the busier road. It is not that busy now and though we are sure it will get busier, we don't expect it to get too difficult to pull out of the driveway. We like that it is the first street plowed. We like that we can get on it and go, no neighborhoods to go through. We like the hill, but not the incline on the driveway, something that we have decided to live with as we like so many other elements.

We want the space to be inviting. We want it to be able to hold large groups of whoever, family, teenage friends, and allow us versatility - like bringing in a ping pong table or family gatherings, or neighbor parties or large groups of kids as the kids get older.

We want the space to be small enough that we won't have too much of it in a few short years when the kids begin to leave the house. Nine more years and Dallin will likely be gone. A year or two after that, Emma, and the cascading effect happens with the rest.

Tell me what you think. Sell me a change if you think there is something we should. Before I sink a large amount of money into this, I really want to know from you who want the best for us, what you think. Make your case, explain what you will, and we would like to use that as part of our final consideration and final adjustments. Just don't hold any grudges if we don't use all or any of the suggestions. We are trying to make sure that we think through this before we go forward.



Click on the pics for a larger view.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Whole New World

Don't start singing it. Don't do it.

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me, but behold, by small and simple things are great things brought to pass, and small means, in many instances, doth confound the wise.

So here we are a month out from when Tiffany came home from the hospital. That alone changed our life. Then we found out the results and that changed how we viewed the world. Then came Christmas, which we thought it might be spent in a hospital room. This was a large impact that made a difference in how we view life. Generally speaking, we all look at these large events in our lives and we make changes accordingly (unless some of you are like me and it takes several large events to knock me into changing my life).

But then came a new table and clean dishes. And who would think that those comparatively unequal, inanimate objects would really have an impact on me - Tiffany laughs at my thought, but it has made a large impact to our home - ask us some time - we will tell you all the changes we made to the layout of the home because of the table - for the better we believe. We have played more family games because of the comfortableness of the table (and because we got some new ones for Christmas). The clean dishes was a blessing on many fronts. And isn't that what these things are - little blessings? Some of these little blessings really do change our view of the world.

So what's next? What little thing will change your life? Do you even know it changed? Did you see the blessings of even some of the smallest things that have come into your life?

Whether large or small, there is something around the corner that will change your outlook of the world you live in.

I hope you don't take it for granted, or else, you might miss some of the greatest blessings around.



Monday, January 10, 2011

Product of the Year... or more - I never do this, so don't hate me for it.

Product of the year – no, make that of the last year and a half – and maybe even more than that.

We have hard water and used to have a dishwasher that enjoyed that hard water, clouding up all our dishes, making them look nasty, ruining all our dishes, pots, pans, utensils, etc. in the process. Or so we thought.

There was no way we were going to get new dishes until after we got a new dishwasher. It seemed that the dishwasher was a culprit that took that hard water and somehow made every dish just look, well, disgusting. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, changing soaps, using a rinse product, to little avail, so we finally decided to get a new dishwasher. And it seemed to help. It seemed, at least, that the dishes weren’t getting any worse.

These are considered clean by our first dishwasher. And the new dishwasher, though didn't make it worse, hasn't been able to get rid of this white gunk.

And then a month after the dishwasher was installed, it stopped (we won’t get into that for now). It was under warranty and the fix-it man came to assist it in its misery. He opened it up, did some wiggling, prodding, even a little bit of poking, and it was up and working again. And then, after that was all done, he THEN earned his keep.

He asked what detergent we used. We told him – we had upgraded to a more expensive one – hoping it would help our dishes – and told us that was probably the worst we could use. Then, he told us to go and buy the most amazing product alive! LEMI SHINE.

That’s right, Lemi Shine. Neither Tiffany nor I had ever heard of it, but he said it would fix our problems right away. I googled it and people pretty much goo gooed all over the stuff.

So I went out later that night and tried to find Lemi Shine at the local Wal-Mart. I went down the dish detergent isle and was bummed as I could not find it. Frustrated with a wasted trip, I started back home, but decided to go to the paper goods isle and get some plastic cups (ones we use when the kids had friends over – we really didn’t want people to see our yucky cups). I grabbed a couple of packages and continued down the isle. To my great astonishment, and gratitude to the guidance of providence, at the end of the isle there was a whole display case stocked full of Lemi Shine. I grabbed a few bottles of it and went on my way.

When I arrived home, I put some in the dishwasher, started it, and then started the evening routine and found myself in bed shortly before midnight. I got up early in the morning for some Church meetings, went to church, had meetings after church, and then went home. When I arrived, I was welcomed home by a wife whose beautiful blue eyes couldn’t believe what they saw.

The dishes, with all their hard water, cloudy stained, good for nothing mess, were not only clean, but sparkling clean. The stuff made most of our dishes look brand new. No, not kidding. The bowls we had been using were looking scuffed up and in bad shape. They now looked like they had just been taken out of the package. You could actually see through the glasses. The pots and pans were immaculate. See here for an example

Now, know that I am not getting paid for this endorsement. But go out and get you some of this Lemi Shine and use it today.


And to those of you who knew about this stuff and never shared with us, shame on you. You could have saved us a world of trouble and embarrassment.


Of course, I can understand. Tiffany and I even joked about going out and buying up a ton of the stuff before we told people about it. Because once this miracle stuff is known among the masses, it will be hard to find forever more.
Before and After

But alas, we share this good info to all who want/need it. It will change your world! It has changed ours in less than 24 hours.



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Did you know?

Our favorite picture
-signed by many (but not all) who have given us the gift of friendship and peace.

Tiffany confessed something today that she hasn't told many people through this experience we are going through.

She never prayed for healing.

She didn't dare. She wanted to pray for something that she knew she could receive. Her thought process was similar to that found in Mosiah 24 where burdens that were placed on the backs of the people of Alma were lightened and they were able to carry the burdens, cheerfully, until the burdens course had been taken. To tell the Lord that she needs healing, when that is not the point of this whole process, may have done her no good. She did the only thing that she could...

She prayed for peace and comfort through the trial - whatever that trial may be. And that, she knew, could be answered. And it was. The peace that the gospel of Jesus Christ gives to all who diligently seek it, came. And we are grateful it did. Sure, there were times of despair. Sure there were times of uncertainty, indeed, there still are. The fact continues that the Lord is mindful of all, and though we wanted a miracle, we were happy enough to receive the miracle of peace.

So the feeling of gratitude fills our heart because the miracle that we see today is in direct answer to your prayers. You who prayed for healing.

And to those who had that kind of faith...

Thank you.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lifes Little Messes... (Part 2)

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

Clutter in a house is easily cleaned. A short amount of time, a little effort, attentiveness, and getting rid of the kids, is all you need. Mostly, just that last one, they make most the messes. Without them, the rest is pretty easy to take care of. :)

But what about clutter in life?

Tiffany brought something to my attention the other day, which has caused me to stop and think. She said that she often finds that she feels like she is behind. Behind in what? Behind in cleaning, cooking, helping the kids achieve their dreams. Finishing projects, starting new hobbies, or developing talents are also in that mix. We can't forget the church, community, or career balancing acts as well. And there are many more that are not listed. All these things must be done, mustn't they?

So what happens when your husband comes home and says, 'Honey, drop everything, I have got something that we have to do tonight'. How about when you get home from work and your wife interrupts your planned evening by reminding you of that Ukulele concert you were told about while you were too focused on changing the oil to the car. Or when the kids come home and say, 'Mom, I have to get to Joe's by 3 to practice our skit for tomorrow', which just happens to be the same time you scheduled your two years old nap? Or how about that microwave or dishwasher that just went out on you which now needs time to be fixed or replaced. Or how about the backed up laundry that you meant to get to, but you just haven't found the time because you were taking care of a sick spouse and children. Oh, and don't forget that ladies night out is tomorrow and that pick-up game of basketball you played yesterday reminded you of muscles you forgot you had - and now they won't let you ever forget it again!

Life is full of clutter. And with clutter comes chaos. And with Chaos, frustration and bitterness. So how is it done? How do we get ahead? Or at least, get to a point that we are not behind?

I'm not sure, though it has a lot to do with choosing between good, better, and best. It has a lot to do with the ability to say 'no', or at least, 'not now'. It also has a lot to do with attitude. It even has something to do with organizing and time management. A skill I could always brush up on. For me, it mostly has to do with having a good spouse who picks up where I slack.

But to each of you who struggle with life's little messes -

Cheer up, you are not alone. We are right there with you, in this, our chaotic, yet joyous, journey.

The rest of you - Pipe up - give the rest of us a little morsel of help. We could use it. :)



PS - Just so you know, I am sure that getting rid of the kids works to rid clutter in life as well as clutter in the house. Imagine, for those that have children, what life would be like if you weren't chauffeuring, feeding, teaching, training, fixing, cleaning, reading to, and playing with the kids...

Of course, then, where would the joy be?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life's little messes... (part 1)

I don't think that a house needs to be clean. Sure, we love it when it is. Clutter in a home, as in life, creates chaos. Chaos leads to frustrations, frustrations leads to additional chaos and a bitter life. But clutter in a house means somebody is doing something. Something is getting done. Somebody is learning something.

We have a chess set that was put on the table the other night. It is still there. Dallin has a chess tournament tomorrow that he has been preparing for. Some people simply say chess, when all is said and done, is a game. True. But, chess is a very dogmatic game to learn, one that I am grateful my best friend taught me how to play in the fourth grade. It has been said that chess is a gymnasium for the mind, the playground to a great future, an art of delicate intricacies. And so while the chess board is sitting there cluttering up our kitchen, it invariably means that somebody is learning something. Taking pride in something.

The same is true of the Matchbox cars, or books, or snow boots left in the back corner of the room. All these items are items of another generation learning, growing, becoming increasingly brilliant. How sad would it be if all these kids had to look forward to was coming home to a clean house?

And to think that Mom didn't like my cluttered (OK, messy) room growing up. Maybe I am better off for it.

...At least until Tiffany gets after me to clean up after myself. What's up with these mom's any ways?



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Take two... or more... of these and call me in....

A favorite quote of mine since I was, I don't know, maybe eight is from Benjamin Franklin. I also don't know why it is a favorite, it just has been - probably because it was the first quote that I really memorized because of its catchiness.

An apple a day, keeps the doctor away
~Benjamin Franklin

I came down with something on Emma's birthday, a week before Christmas. I have been fighting it with little luck almost three weeks later. It flares up, and dies down. The last couple of days it seemed to flare up so Tiffany sent me to the doctor, against my will. I think I take after my ole' man. I don't think he ever went to the doctor.

Now, I love doctors. I am a big fan of paying co-pays and deductibles and whatever else to people who have spent 10 years in school and are themselves up to their eyeballs in debt. But, I came home with four prescriptions for various purposes. Granted one of them was for a refill for some allergies that I needed to get refilled for some time. But none the less, he didn't tell me to rest, drink fluids, or anything else. Just told me to take some pills and call him next Monday if I don't feel any better.

Is it possible that I would feel better by Monday any ways? Maybe a little more rest, keep the intake full of fluids, and some healthy food might do the trick. Of course, that's what I have been trying to do for the better part of three weeks with little success (well, except for all the junk I have been eating from the goodies so many people, including Santa, have brought over - I couldn't help myself.... Actually, I just helped myself too much!)

So I guess I try the docs way and see how it goes.

Besides, I haven't been eating my apples like Benjamin Franklin says I should. So for that, I was cursed with a doctors visit.

Hence the lesson; Forgetting the fresh fruit forces you to pop a peck of pills.



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Joy of This Years Journey's

Tiffany is an avid fan of David McCullough. She likes his books as they get to the nitty gritty of the details of a persons life, but do it in such a way that doesn't feel stuffy and reads like a novel. For this reason as well as the concern at the time that she might be more bed-ridden than she is (to which we are grateful), she received a copy of Truman, McCullough's first Pulitzer prize winning book, as well as the illustrated version of 1776, a book that any history buff would enjoy pouring over with all the additional visuals and documents it contains.

I remember thinking what it must be like to have that kind of knowledge to write in such detail that it sounds like you were there with the individual you are writing about. The man is amazing. To be able to know and understand a subject so clearly is pure genius. Then I came upon this quote from the man:

Every book is a new journey. I never felt I was an expert on a subject as I embarked on a project.
~David McCullough

Isn't that the way we all are? Don't we all embark on a project feeling inadequate or as though there are so many other people who are better than us in that thing? And indeed we should. Very few of us could ever be considered the top ranking individual in any given set of skills and abilities. There is always somebody out there that is better than what we are or can do.

But that should not stop us. We should take the first steps to become good at something. Then let that progress and continue to become something great. Part of the key, however, is not simply looking at the end result, but to find joy in the process along the way. To enjoy ones journey. As I continue to consider my goals - with the end in mind, I think I will focus on the getting done, more so than the being done.

A Chinese proverb says that the journey is the reward.

Is yours?



Monday, January 3, 2011

Tiffany Update

Because this blog was more to keep you all updated on Tiffany, let me update you.

She is in good spirits, and generally, is able to perform all daily responsibilities as normal. She still cannot pick up heavy things (Porter, mainly) and feels like her stomach has shrunk as she thinks she can't eat as much as she used to before feeling full. I think she thinks this is a great return of investment (ROI, for you money peeps) on the whole splenectomy. I just hope she doesn't waste away to nothing.

With that said, many people have asked what's next. The truth of the matter is, we don't know. Aside from visiting with the doctor every few weeks, having blood work done, and watching for any symptoms, as far as we are concerned, life is back to normal. She was going to the doctor for many months before the bone marrow test skewed things a bit. Basically, that is all we do until the doctors finally conclude what the rest of us already have; That a miracle has taken place and no further testing is needed.

She does have a doctors appointment next week, however, and each appointment will hopefully give us that much more comfort. So for all those concerned out there, no news is good news. And that's the way we are going to play it until there is something to report.



Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goodbye, Old Friend

Yesterday was the end of a good run. A time that will be looked upon with much appreciation for good times as well as times difficult. The end of an era.

We replaced a well worn dining table, given to us by Tiffany's sister as we were in our last few semesters in college. It came with no chairs. I don't really recall what chairs we used with it. I am sure they were some hand-me downs that we had come up with. I am sure none of them matched; To the table nor to each other. We then graduated and moved and Tiffany's grandma, no doubt feeling sorry for the tables predicament, found some chairs that, at least, matched each other. She painted them, and we used them. And we were grateful for them.

With that table and those chairs, college homework was written and tests were prepared on them. Scriptures were studied on them, while pages were flipped. Games were played there, laughter was created there, discussions were voiced over the tops of them. Countless dinners were served thereon, along with spills, messes, and no doubt some baby drool were all part of the tables life. It had no name. It was simply 'the kitchen table'. Though Big Bertha (the hutch next to it) had an identity, the table, was always, the table.

It was replaced yesterday and Tiffany's first response to the table that replaced it was how it made the space so much better. How the room felt more alive. And how she felt like she could actually invite people over without feeling embarrassed. Actually, that was my issue, not hers. The poor old table never had a chance. The new one was bright and new. It had no dings on it. It was clean as a whistle. It even sat the full family plus some around it. The chairs matched, and the finish was bright and new. After one days use, it got primped and primed as new place mats adorned it. A tablecloth was specially ordered to fit it. This was a king in the paupers place.

And what happened to the little ole' table we used to love so much? It was relegated to the downstairs. Designated for kids plates and additional scorn, being unprotected from the eyes of responsible adults.

It will always be a part of our life. One we will cherish, if but only for the memories created around it. Because they were many. RIP, our good ole' friend. You had a good run. You had a good fight.

Here's to hoping the new table can do just as much. Some big shoes to fill.