Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Perils of Eating Cookies

At an airport one night
With several long hours
Before her flight.

She hunted for a book
In the airport shop,
Bought a bag of cookies
And found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book
But happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her,
As bold as could be,

Grabbed a cookie or two
From the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore
To avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies
And watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief
Diminished her stock.

She was getting more irritated
As the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice,
I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took,
He took one too,
When only one was left,
She wondered what he would do.

With a smile on his face,
And a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie
And broke it in half.

He offered her half,
As he ate the other,
She snatched it from him
And thought... ooh, brother!

This guy has some nerve
And he’s also rude,
Why he didn’t even show
Any gratitude!

She had never known
When she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief
When her flight was called.

She gathered her belongings
And headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back
At the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane,
And sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book,
which was almost complete.

As she reached in her baggage,
She gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies,
In front of her eyes.

If mine are here,
She moaned in despair,
The others were his,
And he tried to share.

Too late to apologize,
She realized with grief,
That she was the rude one,
The ingrate, the thief!

—Author Unknown


Although I have heard this poem only once or twice before, and it was a very long time ago, today it popped right into my mind. After a quick google search, I found it and had to post it along with the play by play of the last 24 hours. I hope by the end of my post, you will understand why.

I made a new friend named Debra. (I don't know how to spell her name for sure, but that is how I imagine it is spelled.) I met her at aerobics a while ago, and recently I invited her to attend our early morning, Wednesday temple trips. I was excited when two weeks ago, she came with me and my good friend Becky. We had a wonderful time and on the way home, Debra, being the sweetheart she is, offered to drive the next time we went to the temple together. A week had passed and I saw Debra at aerobics and again we talked about our next temple trip planned for the following Wednesday and how she was planning to drive us there.

Debra has a truck with a cab big enough to hold either 4 or 5 people. (I'm still not quite sure how many it can hold) I had a concern that there was a possibility that we might have more people interested in coming to the temple than we had seats. In that case, we would need to find another, larger vehicle to take us. I sent an e-mail wanting to know who would be interested in coming to the temple and if there would be anyone else willing to drive. (I drove last time and gas isn't cheap!) My sweet friend Heather texted me and said that she would be willing to drive and to let her know who was coming. I texted Heather, letting her know that Debra had offered to drive, but I asked if she would be willing to be a back-up driver, just in case.

Last night I had a confirmed count of 5 ladies going to the temple this morning, so I decided to touch base with Debra to make sure things were okay. I texted her. This is how it went down (I have been given permission to share):

Me: Hi Debra. So far I have counted 5 of us going to the Temple tomorrow. Remind me again..Is that too many to fit in your truck? If so, my friend Heather said she could take us in her van. Let me know and I will let her know.

Debra: Hi. Um....Did we talk about this already? My truck takes me plus four. I can drive if I will get home in time for school. What time do you get back?

Me: (thinking *hmmm, Debra seems a little annoyed at my question. I know I have asked her before about how many her truck can hold, but I forgot...maybe she is having a bad day*)
"Yes we talked about it but I couldn't remember if it was 4 passengers plus the driver, or 4 people including the driver...sorry I'm such a flake. When we went last, I pulled into my driveway at 7:40.

Debra: Ok. That will get me to school ok. What time do we leave? Where do we meet?

Me: (Thinking *wow Debra's memory is worse than mine*)
How about I'll meet you at my church at 5:10 and we can pick up the others together....they live close to the church.

Debra: "Ok. I hope no one minds if my truck makes a noise. I have a squeaky belt. I am sorry I don't remember talking numbers" :0)

Me: (Thinking *would she rather someone else drive if she is worried about her truck? ...maybe I should give her a way out of driving...no I will let her drive and if she would rather not, I'll let her say so.*)
"I'm sure nobody minds so long as it gets us there. :0) I feel sometimes my brain is so overloaded, I don't know my right hand from my left. :0)Just so long as I remember to feed the kids and get them to where they need to be, I feel I'm doing good."
(Sympathy to say,* me too, I'm forgetful too and a little crazy, especially when stressed*)
"Thank you for being willing to take a turn driving. I will see you bright and early." :0)

Debra: "Sounds good" :0)

I went to bed, and got up this morning at 4:30 to get ready to go. At 5:00, I heard a text come in on my phone. It was Debra. This is what she said:

Debra: "Hi Tiffany, are you going this morning?"

Tiffany: (*um didn't we establish that last night?*) "Yes"

Debra: "Do you want me to drive?"

Tiffany: (*Lady you must be crazy!*) "Would that be okay?"

Debra: "Yes, I'll meet you at the church"

Tiffany (*I know!*)"K I'll meet you there."

At this point, I finally figured that something was not quite right. You see, I have another new friend named Debra. I don't know if that is how you spell her name, but that is how it is programmed into my phone. I met Debra (we'll call her Debra C.) a few months ago at church, and she is the sweetest gal. She is a ninth grade English teacher. A couple of weeks ago at church I invited her to come to the temple, but knowing she is a teacher, I said, "plan on it when you get out of school for the summer break." (I assumed that she wouldn't make it in time for school if she came to the temple in the morning.) She had no idea about this particular temple trip we had planned until I had texted her by accident. She gave me the benefit of a doubt and went along with my plans. (She just happens to drive a truck like Debra B.)

At 5:10 I realized I had texted the wrong Debra! Debra B had texted me in the morning truly wondering if I was going to the temple, because I hadn't made contact with her the night before like I have in the past. I woke Nathan up with my confusion, and then realized what happened. He laughed and I'm sure wondered how this was all going to play out.

I drove to the church and found Debra C., all ready to drive us to the temple. When I pulled up, I was anxious to run to tell her that I had realized my mistake and that I really wasn't crazy (that's debateable) and that I didn't mean to sound like I expected her to drive us all to the temple. I rambled on and on and then quickly jumped out of the truck to grab my wallet out of my purse and realized that my wallet was missing. I thought and thought and then realized that I had babysat for my friend, Sherrie, the day before and had left it in her baby's diaper bag. It's 5:15 in the morning and my temple recommend is in my wallet at someone else's house. Without it, I wouldn't be able to enter the temple. I texted sweet Sherrie, and bless her heart, she texted me back said that she had my wallet. I felt sooo bad for waking her up, but was so grateful that I could go to the temple afterall! Just then Debra B. pulled into the parking lot, all ready to drive. I said, "Hi Debra! This is Debra. Get in and I'll explain."

Then my friend Heather texted me:

Heather: "Hi! I'm at your house. R u still here?"

Me: "I'm at the church"

(Heather didn't get my text from the night before. I think I need to take a class on texting! I probably sent it to someone in China, So bless her heart, she went to my house ready to pick me up.) She received my text that we were at the church and headed over there. When she arrived, I said, "Get in" We're going to pick up Becky."

At about 5:25, we picked up Becky. She ran outside and hopped in. I briefly filled her in on the happenings of that morning. We drove to Sherrie's to pick up my wallet, and then were finally on our way.

We went around the block and suddenly I heard a gasp from the back seat. It was Becky. "I'm wearing my slippers!", she exclaimed. (In her rush out the door, she forgot to put on her dress shoes.) We were already late, so she said she would go like that. So off we went, 2 Debras, Heather, Becky in her slippers, and me (the truly crazy one), to the temple. It was the funniest ride to the temple ever. I explained the whole mistaken identity situation and had such a fun time reading the texts and getting everyones point of view. I think I haven't laughed that hard since I was a kid. (It felt good!)

Thanks ladies for putting up with my Shenanigans. I'm sorry Debra B. for thinking you were crazy! I'm sorry Debra C to make you feel like you had to be the chauffeur. I'm sorry Heather for sending you on a wild goose chase to find us. Sorry Becky that you had to go to the temple in your slippers! I'm sorry Sherry for disturbing you at 5:30 in the morning!

I'm so grateful that despite it all, we made it to the temple. I obviously didn't realize how badly I needed to go until after this morning. (To learn why temples are so important to me and my friends, visit http://lds.org/church/temples)

It was such a funny, sweet experience and it has left me chuckling all day! I don't know if this is funny just to me, however, in all seriousness, I've learned that it is always good, before jumping to conclusions and thinking someone is crazy, to ask, "Is it I?" (Because in my case, the answer will most likely be, yes.)

I think I'll go out and buy a box of cookies to share.

Love,

Tiffany

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dancing Through Life....

What is written below was originally included in the previous post concerning Emma's educational decision. I took it out for all of those out there who wanted to know what Emma was doing and not be fully vested in my little biographical history.

The trouble with Schools is,
They always try to teach the wrong lesson.
Believe, me, I've been kicked out of enough of them to learn.
They want you to be less callow, less shallow.
So I say why invite strife in.
And learn to live,
the unexamined life...
~Stephen Schwartz

That was from the Broadway Musical 'Wicked'. Here is my life to be examined, with hope that I can still dance through life, swaying and sweeping, and always keeping cool.

When you talk about school and friends, it takes me back a bit. I recall my elementary and high school years. I was a slacker - for some reason it didn't dawn on me until college that a little studying went a long way. I would rather be shooting some hoops, passing the football, watching TV, playing computer games, or hanging with friends. The result were B's and C's in high school. But most of my friends, for some strange reason, weren't like me. Most of them were the straight A student kind. You know, the kind that got upset when they got an A-. Me, I was excited if I got a B- let alone an A at all. My mom mused at one point, or perhaps it was a pointed attack, why my friends didn't rub off on me more than they did.

They did, though it took some time. I finally caught the vision in college while taking an English class. You see, I almost didn't graduate high school because of English (nor did I really desire to go to college). I was taking a college level English class, because I wanted to look like I belong, and barely passed the first semester. The school counselor brought me in and told me that the teacher was concerned that I would not pass the second semester, at which point I would have to take summer school. That scared me into changing courses. I ended up taking 'Film Studies' for my final English credit. We watched movies the whole semester and gave our critiques. Not sure I learned any English, but it was one of the most memorable of classes of the High School years.

Any ways, I ended up deciding to go to college (in part, because all my friends did) and somehow was accepted. I tried to hold off taking the required English credits as long as I could, however. But before long, I needed those credits to take other classes. Praying for added help, I started the class, and knowing my propensity to struggle, I promised myself that I would do whatever it took to pass the course. It didn't take as much as I thought and by the end of the semester, I surprised myself with an A. From that point on, I would no longer bank on my brilliance (because it apparently didn't help before) and studying became my game. I became that kid who cried when an A- showed up on my transcript going forward.

And now I am forcing those same study habits on my kids. Last year, supposedly according to Tiffany, I promised Dallin a trip to Disneyland if he got straight 3's in 4th grade. So far he has and Tiffany is making me fulfil my promise. I don't recall the promise, though I probably made it as a passing comment having no real merit to me. However, the boy heard it and has never questioned if I would follow through with it or not; he expects his dad is a man of his word. So, I best be just that (so a Disneyland trip is in the works). Oh, and one more thing, I don't agree with this kind of incentive. So just because we are doing it, I do not condone it. I think good grades are the incentive itself - a real intrinsic based award.

So, while my friends perhaps didn't help me get good grades in High School (though they would argue that I could have been a worse student if they weren't my friends), they did give me the desire to go to college. So yes, mom, my friends did rub off on me, it just took 15 years to figure it out. (And as a tie back to the previous post, this shows that Emma's friends are an important part of her education and ought to be considered as we attempt to help her make a decision).

Cheers,

Nathan

The Trouble With School Is, They Always Try To Teach...

Sometime in January, I posted about a test Emma took to see if she would qualify and be accepted into the Spectrum Program in our school district, an accelerated program put on by the school district.

We received the results yesterday and she has been accepted. Now comes the fun part, you know, the part that you have to ask yourself as a parent, 'what is the best thing for my child'.

You see, the decision would have been easy had she not been accepted. But now we have to make a choice. There are pros and cons for putting her in, though I admit, I think the pros outweigh the cons. A well rounded, accelerated education, where statistics say that 95% of the students in the program supposedly get full scholarships to colleges. I am not sure of the statistics of scholarships offered to those not in the program, and though it happens all over the place, it is nowhere near 95% of students. That's a big boon in the fight against raising tuition at colleges everywhere.

She is on the fence. On one hand she wants to have a new experience at a different school. She has seen what Dallin has done and thinks that would be fun and exciting. However, she doesn't want to leave her friends, or rather, her best friend (who also tried to get into the program, but unfortunately for us and Emma, was put on the waiting list - it would have made Emma's decision easy had her friends made it.)

An education is important. But so is the social education that comes with having and being with good friends. We have a week to decide whether we accept the offer or not. As Emma is her own character, we will work with her in deciding her educational fate.

But when all is said and done it is mom and dad that will get the blame if a wrong choice is made at this early stage of the game.

So - hope that we make the right one!

Cheers,

Nathan

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Regime

So we were watching The Biggest Loser last night, which was the only time this season we watched that show. But the kids were both intrigued and disgusted at the size of the individuals on the show.

Weight loss and healthy lifestyle is a topic often brought up in our home. Between Tiffany and I, we normally run about 40-50 miles each week, lately, any ways. For me, because I have to, Tiffany, because - she just, I guess, just does. We push the kids to play outside and or with friends, hoping to keep up their active lifestyle. In fact, yesterday, we bought Dallin a new bike enabling him to come along with Tiffany or I as we run (Emma has done this a few times already). He and Emma went 6 miles while Tiffany ran.

We *try* to eat right. A struggle at best. It is hard today when sugar and fat are all around you. But a side focus on a healthy lifestyle causes us to hope that we will contend with the genes I brought into the family.

But after watching the show last night, we all decided, right then and there in the middle of the show, that at each commercial we needed to do some sort of exercise. The first commercial we did sit ups - which though difficult for some kids to do 3 minutes of sit ups, we all did. Porter even joined in. The second commercial break we did push ups. Try doing push ups for 3 minutes straight. We all cheated to get through it, but we did it.

After the second commercial we did this, I told the kids the new rule will be to exercise during any commercial when we are watching TV.

I don't know if it will be a rule I will be able to enforce or if the kids will do it or not, but if so, TV time will either be thing of the past, or we will all be in great shape.

I am not sure which one is better.

Cheers,

Nathan

Emma's New Bike - revisited

*Same post as earlier, in a different format that I probably should have used in the first place. However, a few phrases were changed to make it flow better. A work in progress. I guess.

A wild weekend, was gone and past,
And today, the dreaded Monday.
The weather change barely came
And we know only that it will rain.
Work complete, at least for me,
Chanced my arrival home by early eve.
Dinner started, yet not complete,
Took I the little lady, for an outing, so to speak.

She had been pining for this contraption,
For nearly quite 3 months.
So dad, thus called, whisked her away
To the place these things are vended.
The glee and pleasure broke her face,
And excitement didn’t wane.
She yearned with simple want,
Yet cautious as she desired.
I took the bike out of its home,
And placed it on the floor.
The smile set on her face
Was more than she could spare.
She didn’t dare show happiness,
She feared the dream would fade.
But then, alas, I told her to ‘grab it’,
And then ‘hop on’.
She beamed, and knew, oh, yes she knew,
It was soon to be hers at last.

One caveat I told her,
Was it was hers if she continued nice.
For we know of this little princess girl,
She often gets her way.
But if she doesn’t, watch, beware,
And quickly get out of her way.
Yes, she knows, as daddy’s little girl,
And the only one at that,
That daddy likes to spoil her so,
So often without fail.
But today the bound was set in stone,
She must act when she is asked.
I told her ‘do what mama says,
Or even before you’re told,
Or simply show a smiley face
Even when feeling cold’.
A simple thing, she said she’d do,
No matter what it took.

I looked at her, she looked at me,
And I knew it wouldn’t be.
To change the way you simply act,
Is not a simple thing.
We are all a way, you see,
Set firmly in our path.
To make a change from bad to good,
Comes often at a price.
But if you have a willing hand,
And possibly some courage,
The change can happen with some time,
But also with some burden.
So as I paid the vendor so,
For this fantasy so dear,
I wondered how long it’d be,
Before she saw it missing.

It wasn’t long, till there was wrong,
And I knew I couldn’t wither.
Day 1 had barely come,
And the promise had been forgotten.
The scowl came, and never went,
And so it had to go.
I vainly tried to show her why,
But she just didn’t get it.

So, now you see, this peddle bike,
Is not found in the streets.
It’s waiting for a little girl,
So patiently and meek.
To see if she can change her game
From scowl to some laughter.
It’s not gone, it’s not missing,
It’s hanging in the rafters.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is Life Boring?

Nope.

Cheers,

Nathan

(A heavy post should always be followed by a light post. Hope this was light enough.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

He's Only 10!

*I share this experience with you, hoping that for those of you that will go through this, this will give you something to consider in talking with your children. – Not to say that I did it perfect in any way shape or form. Good luck to all of you!
Dallin came to me and Tiffany the other day and had a question. A question that we knew – and hoped – would come. Hoping that the question would come to us rather than somebody else, like a friend or TV or the Internet. The question surrounded around Tiffany’s gospel doctrine lesson the next day concerning the woman found in the midst of adultery that was brought to Jesus to get his take on it the situation. Tiffany was bouncing some ideas off of me in the kitchen and Dallin, the astute learner, apparently was paying attention.

Somewhere in our discussion he stopped us and asked us, “What is adultery?”

Tiffany looked at me, I looked at her, and we started, awkwardly, into the foray of intimacy. Both of us have in some ways been preparing for this day. Though this was not all that precedented. A few years ago Dallin brought home a book or somehow had obtained a book about the body and at that time a few questions had been asked and were answered. But sex was not a topic that he brought up, and figured that a naïve 7 or 8 year old should stay that way a few more years. We were just hoping, and praying, that we as his parents would get the opportunity to talk to him before any peers or others would get to him. And at the right age.

We lucked out, or so it would seem. That is, if you consider 10 years old the right age to figure this out. He was innocent in asking, and in our response he continued to ask questions. So as quickly as the discussion began, I turned to him and asked him if he would give me some time to consider his questions and that we would talk a little bit later that morning. He smiled and agreed, and went on his merry way.

I was however, much more subdued, as well as prayerful, hopeful – and decidedly nervous. My hope was that I could talk to him in a way that wouldn’t be threatening, embarrassing, or simply wouldn’t gross him out. Having read some books and pamphlets on the issue, as Tiffany and I both thought it would be helpful to know how to approach the children before the issue would arise, I quickly went back to re-read some of the literature and remember some of the thoughts we had in teaching our children about this procreative power.

After a short time, I invited Dallin to talk to me, which he eagerly did. My intent was to only give him what he was asking for, or at least give him enough information to satisfy his curiosity, and leave with him feeling like he could come talk to me when more questions arose.

My intent was to answer questions he had, and add a measure of understanding to what consequences choices will produce. I was then astounded at the questions the boy – turning quickly into a young man – brought up as we discussed body, mind and spirit. He continued to put two and two together to ask how certain things worked and why. I was also surprised at the relative maturity he brought to the discussion, not being overly sensitive to the topic at hand nor being lustily inquisitive. We discussed a range of topics that covered the anatomy of men and women to the function and biology of how children are created, from the emotions that are generally encountered to the spiritual issues that needed to be considered. We talked about the feelings that he will, and even has, experience(d) and how to deal with those. We talked about pornography and the reasons why it is enticing, which helped him to understand why we need to avoid it like the plague that it currently is.

All in all, it was not overly detailed. My fear is that such talk will encourage experimentation or that he will wish to learn more from sources that are not wise for a young adolescent to turn to. My hope was that I gave him enough information to understand the powers our Father in Heaven has given us, about the changes he will be expecting to both body and emotions over coming years, and to know that he can always turn to mom or dad if questions come up (though I am expecting that he will turn to dad for more answers than mom – just a guess).

I think I was successful (though time will continue to tell) as he asked me a day later if he could talk to me. Of course, I said yes, and he proceeded to ask me some questions about things he has done or seen and felt. We had another good discussion and left with both of us feeling like our relationship with one another had grown a size or two that day.

The world, I think, is scary out there – more so today than when I was a child – and it was scary then. On the way to work today, I turned my radio on to the talk show I often listen to and they were talking about a report of 11 year olds having sexual relations. You hear about reports about the percentage of teens having sex and the number of teen pregnancies. Sometimes, I think we are stunned by such news, but you turn on the TV any night and any kid watching TV will see or experience some form of sexual exploitation. We don’t often turn on the TV for that reason. Go to the grocery store and the magazines make checking out an uncomfortable setting – for me and for my children. The Internet continues to be a quick place that anybody can get pornography at any time they want it, young or old. It continues to be harder and harder to find movies that don’t include a scene or two or more that shows explicit sex. Shows that my children want to see. And we wonder why the children of today are ‘experimenting’ earlier and earlier?

One of the questions Dallin brought up concerned a scene out of a movie, rated PG, that we watched probably a year ago. He recalled a woman scantily clad in a dream scene. He asked me both why I watched it and why I allowed him to watch it. I don’t recall the scene – which both is good and bad - but I told him that the world will sneak this kind of material into otherwise good shows. I should have done something about it at the time, but sometimes we get lazy in combating Satan and the natural man. It sneaks up on us and sometimes we don’t realize it – or sometimes maybe we don’t want to realize it. It made me appreciate that my boy watches me and I have to be that much more on my guard – to protect myself as well as my children.

We ended that discussion by both of us committing to help each other avoid explicit material either of us is exposed to – in music, movies, TV, Internet, or other media or means.

I am now less scared for my young boy. I know that he can turn to me with questions. He knows that I will talk to him without it being embarrassing or threatening. I know that he will be faced with yet more salacious and enticing material, both because it is, and because he will continue to change his mind about girls (though after our talk, I suspect he is getting there already!). But I know that he can trust me enough to include me in the discussions. I want him to know one day the greatness that can be had in a wholesome, wonderful, monogamous, intimate relationship – that can’t be had any other way.

Good luck to all you parents that have young children. I feel I have been lucky. Tiffany has been a great teacher in our home. I can’t express my gratitude enough to her for staying in the home, raising solid, wise, and brilliant children. Giving them opportunities for growth, and giving them assurance that we as parents will answer questions that come in life. It makes my job as a parent so much easier.

Below are some resources Tiffany and I have read in preparing for this experience.

Parent Guide – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints publication. Even if you are not LDS – check the resource – it’s an excellent Christian guide for those that espouse similar guiding principles. – Also, one that I think many LDS members are not even aware of.

Focus on the Family website – www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting – good insights and thoughts to consider.

And They Were Not Ashamed – Laura Brotherson – Last three chapters are about how to teach children about the whole gamut of sex.


When all is said and done, you are the parent, you have the right and responsibility to teach your children correct principles at a time that they need it. It may start when they are young, and you will likely continue to teach them these things up to marriage and possibly beyond (though I don't know - just a guess - I hopefully won't be there for quite a few more years).

Cheers,

Nathan

PS
Tiffany made a side comment that she finds it both funny and sad that this 10 year old still believes in Santa Clause (and yes, we all do in some sort or fashion), yet now knows one of the last and greatest secrets we adults hold. Irony, indeed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Emma's New Bike

A wild weekend, was gone and past, and today, the dreaded Monday. The weather change had barely happened and we know only that it will rain. Work complete, at least for me, chanced my arrival home by early eve. Dinner started, yet not complete, allowed an opportunity to take the little lady, for an outing, so to speak.

She had been pining for this contraption, for nearly quite 3 months. So dad, as they call me, whisked her away to the place these items are vended. The glee and pleasure broke her face, and excitement didn’t wane. She yearned with simple want, yet cautious as she desired. I took the bike out of its home, and placed it on the floor. The smile set on her face was more than she could spare. She didn’t dare show happiness, she feared the dream would fade. But then, alas, I told her to ‘grab it’, and then ‘hop on’. She beamed, and knew, oh, yes she knew, it was soon to be hers at last.

One caveat I told her, was it was hers if she continued nice. For we know of this little princess girl, she often gets her way. But if she doesn’t, watch, beware, and quickly get out of her way. Yes, she knows, as daddy’s little girl, and the only one at that, that daddy likes to spoil her so, so often without fail. But today the bound was set in stone, she must act when she is asked. I told her ‘do what mama says, or even before you’re told, or simply show a smiley face even when feeling cold’. A simple thing, she said she’d do, no matter what it took.

I looked at her, she looked at me, and I knew it wouldn’t be. To change the way you simply act, is not a simple thing. We are all a way, you see, set firmly in our paths. To make a change from bad to good, comes often at a price. But if you have a willing hand, and possibly some courage, the change can happen with some time, but also with some burden. So as I paid the vendor so, for this fantasy so dear, I wondered how long it’d be, before she saw it missing.

It wasn’t long, till there was wrong, and I knew I couldn’t wither. Day 1 had barely come, and the promise had been forgotten. The scowl came, and never went, and so it had to go. I vainly tried to show her why, but she just didn’t get it.

So, now you see, this peddle bike, is not found in the streets. It’s waiting for a little girl, so patiently and meek. To see if she can change her game from scowl to some laughter. It’s not gone, it’s not missing, it’s hanging in the rafters.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doctors Visit - April

Tiffany went to the doctors yesterday for her continued evaluation. Aside from a slight fever, which we are pretty sure was due to her getting up early and working out, nothing to do with why she was there, the doctor gave her a clean bill of health and told her not to come in for three months.

And then a rather interesting conversation ensued. Tiffany talked to one of the nurses or administration staff, and she told Tiffany about some of the behind the scenes talk that went on in the office back last November and December.

The oncologist, apparently, came out from meeting with Tiffany and I after giving us the news and talking to this assistant said, something to the effect of,
‘It’s just not right… She is too young, and with children… To face only 18 months left in life.’

Tiffany, hearing this 4 months after the fact, had a realization. Her words last night to me were that she really didn’t see the cliff she was dangling off of until now. It has caused her to think and ponder on where she has been, and where she is. She is realizing that second chance in life. Not that she (or we) didn’t see the drop off then, but now that the ordeal is all but over, she is considering how our life could have been and how it currently is. To which we honestly couldn’t feel more blessed.

You see, no doctor ever told Tiffany or me any prognosis – except that 75% of people walk away from this – Which both Tiffany and I, after doing our research, always felt that was just a show of optimism and were pretty sure that statistic was pulled out of the air to give us hope. It did give us hope so the doctor said the right thing, though our own study of the prognosis was far more dark. What we found was exactly what the oncologist told his assistant - that the prognosis was bleak, and that, on average, 18 months was all people had from prognosis to passing on.
But to hear it from the office staff that they knew all along the difficult prognosis, caused Tiffany to pause and consider it.

Thankfully, she was also told by this assistant that the doctor became somewhat emotional over this situation. That the doctor cared was wonderful to hear – though he always made us feel like he did. It was just nice to hear it from a different source. We have had too many doctors that don’t seem to care. And I won’t fault them for that. They see all sorts of diseases, injuries, and even death. At some point in their career, I would assume that many check their emotions as they walk into work, as the daily emotional struggle likely would simply tare at them insomuch that they themselves would emotionally suffer, and perhaps so much that it may become difficult to do their job.

But the doctors who show that emotion, who seem to care, make you believe that they are on your side and will do anything they can to either cure you, or to help you feel as best as you can through whatever process you have to go through. And to me, that is comforting to know.

Tiffany continues to be fine. I get questions asking me all the time how she is doing, literally every day. And I can’t report anything other than no news is good news and that we don’t expect any news on this issue.

We continue to joy in her good health, and in this journey we are experiencing.

Cheers,

Nathan

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Media Week

The kids in school have 'no media' week this week. Which means they are 'forced' to do other activities.

Halfway through the week, I wonder why we even let the little munchkins on media in the first place? A question I will attempt to answer shortly.

What I have found is that the kids are better for it. Which is not really a surprise. They are out having fun, riding bikes, playing with friends, running around, getting good exercise. And most of all, they are not sitting around being spoon fed commercialism at the most vulnerable age.

So why do we let them sit in front of the TV or computer?

Because we enjoy it just as much. We like the entertainment. It is easier to sit down and click a remote for entertainment than it is for us to create entertainment ourselves. It allows us to 'experience' the world in the safety of our living rooms (though, with the trash that is on today's television, what are we really experiencing?). Surfing the web gobbles a lot of time, and in the end, you ask yourself, what was accomplished? Usually (or at least often) nothing. You may have wanted to find a price on a new running stroller, but after 30 minutes, you all but forgot what you were looking for. But the news story about the guy who ran around the block one hundred times to raise money for lovestruck porcupines sure caught your interest.

Those reading this blog, do you get some value out of reading it? Or is it some blather from some guy who has nothing better to do? (I hope, and have tried, to create thought provoking posts - which I hope does cause you to think and therefore not a complete waste of time. But who am I to say my words are really thought provoking? See, here I go blathering again.)

I think media has a place in our lives. However, after No Media Week ends, I think I will try to help the family avoid more media more often, and find things to do that will enrich their lives more than any media could do.

At least, until football season is upon us.

Some media just can't be banned!

Cheers,

Nathan

Monday, April 11, 2011

Joy of Today's Journey

Each day brings new challenges. Challenges can bring excitement, and sometimes they breed stress. Sometimes those challenges are in the form of doing the same thing day in, day out. Cleaning the kitchen in and of itself is not a challenge, but doing it every day, often multiple times a day, can be a challenge. Especially when there are more important things to tackle, like playing with or teaching the children. At least that is sometimes how we see it. It is often those daily mundane tasks that bring the stress, while the new challenges bring the excitement. The challenge of making my yard look a little better (not that I am good at it) is a far more exciting challenge than paying bills. Yet, getting the bills paid is usually far more important than sprucing my yard up with, well, whatever. And besides, doing the money tells me how much I can spend on my yard, but I digress. To accomplish what we must, to do what we wish, is the very essence of diligent work.

So today's challenge is not to view the mundane tasks as mundane. But rather, view them with joy, because once you are done, you can move on to greater, and more exciting, challenges.

So take heed, move forward, and do what you should, for greater joys are just around the corner.

Cheers,

Nathan

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Break - A Break To Remember

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
~Winston Churchill

Spring Break 2011 -

Plan - Go down to St. George, spend three days basking in the warm sun, hiking along trails in Zion's National Park, swimming in the hotel pool, playing in the park, good food. Just good ole R&R.

What we got.
Visions of white Sandy Beaches. See below.



Due to inclement weather both here and in St. George, we opted to cancel the whole thing altogether. Why pay hundreds of dollars to spend three days holed up in a hotel room? We can do the same at home and be much more comfortable. So instead of white sandy beaches, we were dreaming of a white Christmas.



But we did promise the kids that we would take them swimming. We first went to the Clearfield aquatics, but we arrived, and everybody had the same idea and they were full. So we quickly ran to Layton's Surf and Swim and enjoyed the chlorine-induced asthma attacks the whole time (talk about bad air - don't go there if you have bad asthma). But the kids enjoyed it. Porter relaxed so much that he fell asleep while on the tube in the wave pool. Both Tiffany and I knew we would have tired kids after we were done, we just didn't expect it to happen during the swim.



The following day we opted to run up to Promontory Point where the Union and Pacific met to finish the transcontinental railway back in 1869. Today it is a National Historic site that Dallin has learned about in school, so we took this opportunity to go and see it with our own two eyes. We found it. Out in the middle of nowhere. Saw some train tracks and pictures of the event (same ones you can find online) and were about to leave when the ranger asked if we wanted to see the trains holed up for the winter. So we followed the ranger past the 'no authorized vehicles beyond this point' sign and went into the winter shed where the trains were being worked on. Every winter they come here to get repainted and polished to shine every summer. They took us around each train and we saw up close the amazing detail of the trains.



On the way 'home' we tricked the kids in going the back way to Logan. Unbeknownst to the kids, we had called Grandma to see if she would like to go to dinner with us, and she invited us to stay the night. Tiffany and I opted not to tell them and surprise them once we got there. The snowy weather helped out as we were only a quarter mile away from Grandma's house when Emma finally realized that we were in Logan. A loud clatter of hoorays and excitement brought us the final 200 yards to grandma's driveway.

The following day we went home and Tiffany and I took the final trip alone (with some friends - but without kids) down to Provo to see the Carl Bloch exhibit down at BYU. I think I will leave an additional post concerning that trip alone, but suffice it to say, I am not an art enthusiast. But there is something special when you start to look at a piece of art and consider what the artist was thinking/feeling and then wonder how much of the final work was completed with good design, and how much of it was left to inspiration. As good as Carl Bloch was, I am betting there was much to the latter.

So, we enjoyed our time, though the weather continues to wreak havoc with our livelihood here. More of the same this week. But no matter the circumstances, a good attitude will get you through about anything.

Thanks, kids, for having a good attitude and making Spring Break a break to remember.

Cheers,

Dad

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WAS looking forward to a warm spring break

Thanks to funny Utah weather, we are staying home for Spring Break.

We were going to head down to Utah's Dixie to shack up in warmer weather, basking in the sun, playing in the pools, and hiking along Zion NP's scenic hills.

But instead, we are staying home.

Weather down there is going to be similar as it is up north, and there is no sense in spending good vacation dollars to sit around in a hotel room watching reruns of Seinfeld or I Love Lucy (and please, no Barney or whatever).

So, staycation, here we come.

If you think we are home, we aren't. It just looks like we are.

We are really on vacation.

Cheers,

Nathan

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taking a Chance

I sometimes feel like this poem.

I often have a chance down two paths. We all do. Not spiritual paths, though each path we take really is its own spiritual journey. But paths of simple choice.

I am not talking about choices such as becoming an artist or an engineer. Or moving to city A or city B. But choices like, eating a burrito or experiencing caviar. Walking to church or getting in the car and driving. It could even be watching movie A versus movie B.

Each a choice. Each with a consequence. These consequences shouldn't be, and often on their own aren't life altering. But we make them for one reason or another.

And then, like the poet said, one choice leads to the next, and before you know it, we are well on our way down a specific path, which sometimes leads you to places never intended in the first place.

Hmmm. I will always wonder if I should have had that caviar.

The Road Not Taken
~Robert Frost
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Cheers,

Nathan

Monday, April 4, 2011

Consequences Part II

Happiness is not a reward / it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment / it is a result.
~Robert Green Ingersoll

You will find that I did not post Consequences Part I on the blog. I wrote it. I also decided that the consequences of putting that post out to the world wide web could be great. There was nothing wrong about it, but there are consequences for everything we do. When it comes to blogging, there are only certain aspects of our life I want to share. You hear of stories of different scenarios that play out because of certain things people put out on the web. So I opted to keep a personal story personal - at least for now.

But consequences don't always come from posting stuff on the net. Consequences come everyday for every choice. Some consequences we expect. If I didn't pay the mortgage, I would expect, eventually, to be kicked out of my home. I would expect that if I chose to stay up late to watch a movie, that the next morning would be more difficult to get up early. If I spent time with my wife, I would expect our relationship to grow.

But, it would seem, that sometimes either we don't know what consequences exist, that they exist at all, or that we don't care if they exist. Sometimes you hear of the law of unintended consequences, meaning we made a choice based on outcome A, but did not consider outcome B, which would also happen.

Sometimes, we just want to react now and think later in certain situations. This happens in our personal lives and trust me, I see this often in the business and political world just as much, and probably more.

My Dad was a forward thinker. When I was young, because of my lack of judgement, or lack of understanding consequences, he taught me the STOP method. I heard something like this later in life, but my Dad I think made it up on the spot to try to help his son during the dumb teenage years we all go through (or, at least, that I went through).

S - Stop - don't do anything until you do the next step
T - Think about what you are doing, and what choices you have to make
O - Observe what the consequences will be
P - Proceed once you thought it all through and made a decision.

I will bet you he doesn't remember it, but another lesson was taught by my dad. I don't know how much it helped me at the time. I was still a know-it-all teenager, after all, but on many occasions I have referred to it and have been grateful for it.

So next time, be careful before you make a choice. And remember that you have full responsibility over those consequences that come after a choice has been made.

It's like when Dallin tells me that he forgot his homework because Emma laughed at him. It just doesn't fly. Or when you tell me you have been having a hard time learning how to ski because the snow makes it impossible. Take responsibility for your actions.

Do it when you are ten. Do it when you are 50.

Cheers,

Nathan

Friday, April 1, 2011

Embrace It

I remember growing up, conference was a party. We didn't have to go to church on those Sunday's. Even in Colorado we were able to find a scratchy station that would broadcast conference. It didn't come in well, but we were always happy to stay home to 'go to church'. However, Conference Saturday's meant getting dressed up for the evening and going to church to watch the Priesthood Session. They often had ice cream afterwards, a sneaky attempt to get us young men to go. It worked. But getting dressed up on Saturday evening to go to church was not something I fully embraced.

And then came the shock of my life...

I don't know when it was, I have to believe I knew before my mission, but I really don't recall knowing, but somewhere between adolescent naivety and receiving my mission call, I learned that there were two additional conference sessions on Saturday, along with the Saturday evening Priesthood session, that went along with two Sunday sessions.

One full weekend every six months completely gone with general church leaders speaking on religious and moral principles.

That was, until I totally embraced it - which happened during the mission.

I looked forward to those two days. I relished at the opportunity to listen to church leaders and it gave me a break from normal missionary activity (which wasn't good or bad, just a change for a couple of days). It also helped my moral compass. Not perfect it, that is for me to do, but it aligns the dial just right.

And now, 12 years later, I continue to relish those weekends. And so does the family. The kids look forward to making tent 'temples' facing the TV as we prepare to listen to the Prophet and other leaders. Conference bingo, french toast with peaches and cream, Sunday afternoon walks between sessions and, often, heading down to Temple Square after the last session, are favored traditions. The older ones are starting to understand a little here and there why we follow this tradition. The younger ones enjoy the games we put together that allow mom and dad an opportunity to listen. But at least some of the excitement that they exude is genuine and real.

But only because we embrace it, and prepare for it. If we considered it a nuisance, we wouldn't get as much out of it.

So to those that watch conference, embrace it. Expect it. Look forward to it.

Good things will come if you do.

Cheers,

Nathan