Friday, October 31, 2008

Jordan's Countdown

Just wanted to let everyone know we put a countdown till Jordan leaves for his mission. ...Not that we're excited for him to leave, but you know. We're happy and proud of his decision, and are excited for him. So check it out if you can!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

California Trip

Hi all,
I've been out of commission with blogging for over two weeks now. We went on vacation to Nicia & Joe's over the school fall break from the 15th-22nd and had an absolutely fantastic time! I haven't been able to get to my pictures, which has been so frustrating, so I've been waiting to blog. But it may be awhile before I get pictures up (left cameras at Dave's parents' house and some pics are on a different hard drive - long story). For now, please see Nicia's blog for pictures! We had a lot of snags on our trip down, making the drive 17 hours (should have been around 12!), but there were good things too, like having lunch with our dear friends, the Nissons, in St. George, and eating Tommy's hamburgers in Barstow. Yum! Emily is such a trooper on the road. Singing and playing travel games with us, reading, working in an activities book, taking a nap, and generally keeping pretty well content.

Alyssa was just the star of the show the whole time - absolutely adorable! Since we skype with them every week, I think Alyssa recognized us pretty well, because she was so good about coming to us when we got there, even though it was really late. I forgot how comforting it is to have a baby snuggle up to you! Aunt Emily loved playing with Alyssa too (we have the cutest picture of them laying on the beach visiting together), and Alyssa's Grandma and Grandpa - well we just enjoyed every minute with everyone!! Joe & Nicia have a darling place there in Santa Maria, and the weather couldn't have been better. I'm a beach fan from my growing up days, so I was right at home with all our trips to the beach. A little colder than southern Ca, but still just as beautiful.

From playing Ticket to Ride & Farkle, to beach trips & searching for sand dollars, to going for walks, shopping (I found some darling outfits for Alyssa!), visiting, geocaching (this is such a fun and cool thing to do), and eating the yummiest food (thanks to Nicia we ate lasagna, apple pie, and chocolate molten lava cake - all homemade!) It was all just wonderful!!

On the way home, we stopped to see Dave's Dad & stepmom (near L.A.) It was good to visit with them. We met them in Granada Hills, the town where Dave went to high school. We got videos of them in front of their houses and church, telling memories. Those are going to be some priceless videos!

It was really a joy to spend time with everyone. Truly, family is what life is all about. Thank you again, Joe & Nicia, for helping to make the week such a great memory for us!! We love you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Joy in the Journey

I just thought I'd share a portion of Caitlin's most recent letter. It was so well put and needed by so many of us right now.

"I´ve been reflecting lately about trials. We had a lesson yesterday in church that was great about Joseph Smith and the trials he had to endure. There´s something ironic about this life on earth…we know we´re here to be tested, but we also know from the scriptures that we´re here to have joy. It seems ironic doesn´t it? We don´t usually think of being tested as something joyful, and many times it´s not. But it can be. We can ¨find joy in the journey¨. Or as Elder Worthlin said ¨come what may and love it¨.

"I noticed that in the last General Conference last weekend, a lot of the speakers talked about trials…overcoming them, finding the good in them, having hope, thanking the Lord for these experiences we have that help us learn. I thought it was interesting that it was such a common topic, but I think it's something we can all improve on. "

(here's my favorite part) "Many times we have trials not because of something we´ve done to ¨deserve¨them, but because of the actions of another person. None of us likes trials. We don´t ask for them. But inevitably they do come, and when they do we can focus on finding happiness and blessings in the midst of them. The difference is not what trial we have, it´s how we choose to encounter it. If we give up in the midst of it- having feelings of self pity and defeat, or if we choose to do what Joseph Smith and so many other prophets and examples in the scriptures have done—get up and go forward with faith."

"I´m thankful for this lesson I learned yesterday. I love the church and the things I´m able to learn every day! Eternal progression!!" Hermana Caitlin Ritter
Thank you, Caitlin, for your words of wisdom. I continue to learn so much from my children!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blessings from Heaven

I'm sad to say that this year, for the first time in about 15 years, I didn't have a garden. I decided ahead of time that I was going to focus on some other things in my life, namely organization and getting in shape, and chose to make my vegetable garden a lower priority. Well as soon as I did that, of course the garden never happened. Now that it's harvest time, I've been a little disappointed that I can't walk out my back door and pick some produce. I've already decided that next year my garden will take a higher priority, even if it's just a couple of tomato plants! It took going without a garden to realize it's something I enjoy, and it gives me many opportunities to teach Emily. I just need to make sure I've got my ducks in a row next spring!

But for now I've been reflecting back on the past several months, and how the Lord has continued to bless us. One way has been through the produce we've received. Throughout the summer I have canned peaches, peach jam, tomatoes, grape juice (27 quarts), frozen green peppers, and was given every bit of the produce, including fresh green beans. And tonight my in-laws just brought us apples and a pumpkin for Emily! Thank you Mom & Dad Bascom!! With the economy the way it is and grocery prices skyrocketing, it's really been a blessing to receive all this produce. People who usually don't ever contact me, let me know about produce they had.

The fruits of my labor last Thurs. & Friday:

whole wheat bread, diced green peppers, tomatoes, grape juice

Last but not least, I am so blessed to have a wonderful mom who took time out of her very busy schedule to teach me how to do all these things as I was growing up! Thank you, Mom!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Little Teacher

I have a little teacher
Her name is Emily
She may not know this fact at all
But she's always teaching me.

1) Last week Emily showed me a sheet of paper and asked me to help her. I looked down, and she had written "My Important Things to Do" at the top. There were 7or 8 things already listed, and Emily was wanting me to help her think of a few more. I would think of one, then she would think of another, then I'd come up with another, then she'd think of another.

Emily was so pleased with this list and asked if she could read it as part of family night. I suggested that maybe we could have some family night lessons on these different things, and she thought that was a great idea. So Monday night she did read her list for everyone, and we had a great lesson about the first item on the list: Be cheerful.

Our "cheerful" collage, created by Emily & Mommy

It is truly amazing to me that at 6 years old Emily is even thinking of making this kind of a list, and even more amazing, it wasn't just a fleeting thing she did. It's been an important thing to her. I have to admit that I felt a little guilty reading it. While my list of things to do during the day includes phone calls, laundry, dr. appts, etc., my daughter is focused on the things that everyone should be focused on, the non-tangible things that really matter. Really I should be writing some of these down right in between all the other items on my daily "to do" list. Thank you, Emily, for helping me recognize the important things I should be including in my life.

2) On Saturday evening during the Priesthood session of conference, Emily and I had some mommy/daughter time at Roberts Crafts where they had all kinds of fun things for moms and kids to do. While there we each received a strip of letter stickers - I was thinking how nice they would be to use in Emily's scrapbook.

Sunday morning during conference, I looked over and Emily was busy putting her set of letter stickers all over a sheet of paper. Thinking of how I'd wanted to use them for her scrapbook, I hurried over to her. Sounding disappointed, I explained that they were for scrapbooking, and started taking them off the sheet of paper as quickly as I could, trying to salvage them for later use. Emily was quiet and still. It wasn't until I had removed 3 or 4 of the letters that I looked more closely at the sheet of paper, and my heart sunk. It wasn't just a bunch of letters:

I can't describe the awful feeling I had! Even now as I write, my eyes are filling with tears. My daughter was teaching me by example how to be thoughtful and loving, and I was so worried about a few letter stickers I was going to use (which weren't even mine!) that I rushed right in to wrongly reprimand. I tried to apologize as best I could, but it was evident I had squelched her excitement for the surprise she had been making me. Later I took her in my arms, apologized again and asked if she would forgive me. I asked if she would glue the letters back on the note for me, and fortunate for me, she did.

This note has become special to me, and I'll be keeping it in a visible spot to help me remember to stop, look, and listen before reacting, but especially to remind me to be thoughtful and kind, just as my little teacher does so well.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tribute to My Son

This past Thursday was Justin's 24th birthday. Emily and I called him in the early morning and sang Happy Birthday to him, and I enjoyed some one-on-one time with him at Red Robin in the late afternoon. We held a family party on Friday evening, with homemade pizza, rootbeer, carrot cake, and the the BYU football game.

I'm not sure why this birthday brought so much reflection for me. My sweet little boy is all grown up. How well I remember the day I held him in my arms for the very first time. Time. Where does it go? How quickly it passes. Memories of his childhood and our time together flood my mind, and my heart is full of joy at the love I feel for my Justin. Not being too skillfull at words and expressing myself, I found a poem that echoes some of the things I feel in my heart:

a poem by Angel Marie Schmidt
A son is born
Life goes on
No one knows
Just when it happens
But one day
A miracle happens
The child has changed

The child is no longer
A man has taken his place
All grown up
Ideas have changed
Responsibility comes easily
Parents sit back and admire
The person he has become

Apron strings cut long ago
You cannot help but wonder
Will you always feel
The way you do now?
Prouder than anyone
Of whom he has become
Admiration beyond imagination

A parent's love
Enduring all else
Wanting to be needed
Knowing when to stand aside
A fate hard to accomplish
Needing to be wanted
As if the man has not emerged

The life he lives
Has room enough for all
The thoughtfulness in his heart
His caring ways
New hobbies he shares
With friends old and new
The man shines through

My son, my child
You are a man, this is true
To me you will always be
That child in my arms
Whom I loved from the start

Happy Birthday, Justin. I love you!