"Middle children have remarkable diplomatic skills."

-The Secret Power of Middle Children, by Catherine Salmon

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Activity Day with my girls

We went to the Nisqually Bird Refuge for a little field trip. The girls were really great. Just so much fun to be with.
Ellie, me, Balentina, Brooklyn and Haley. (Bethany and Camille were on family vacations.) We had a picnic, then set off to see what we could see. Apparently they have psycho squirrels at the refuge that aren't afraid to steal your lunch, pick your pocket, or drive away with your car!:
My sweet husband was our driver, chaperon, and "look-out" for squirrels-gone-rogue.
It turned out to be a beautiful day to be outdoors.

The Pickle Juice analogy

An excerpt from one of my favorite Apostles, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. His talk was given at the April 2012 General Conference. ....Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those. Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him “all that he hath,” as the scripture says. So lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live..... *Such a great reminder.

Monday, July 30, 2012


I was following behind this truck on my way to the Post Office. I just had to pull out my phone and snap this picture! It might be hard to read because it was taken with the worlds lamest phone. But it reads: OOPS! (in Obama font) then 1.20.13 (the next inaugural date) and under that it reads: THE END OF AN ERROR. *Uhh yeah!

Our little bunny visitor!

I have a big garden window in my kitchen. I love looking out back especially in the morning, because there are lots of little creatures who visit us. All kind of birds come and dig for worms in the morning. We've had squirrels, raccoons, and this little guy comes around every few days. Today I saw him hopping towards our garden so I grabbed the camera and caught him nibbling on the strawberries that are still left. I sure hope he doesn't like tomatoes!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

He knows us.

I continue to be amazed by my Heavenly Father. Not that I've ever doubted his magnificence. I've experienced the miracle of perfection in our tiny new grandbabies, and in the awe-inspiring grandeur of Zions Canyon and the Pacific Ocean. But what I am always amazed at, is that Heavenly Father knows me. He knows me. He knows me! He knows my heart. He hears my prayers. He answers my prayers. And when I need Him to, He answers them quickly. Recently I've had an attitude about some issues. I didn't like the way I was feeling about these issues. In fact, to be honest, my heart was hurting over my attitude about these issues. Like a physical ache. And you probably know that when Satan sees someone at the tiniest bit of a low point, he thinks he can squeeze his little toe in the door and then his foot and then his leg and then his bum and then his other leg...and well, before you know it, he's got his whole self inside your home and your life and your head. I didn't want to have these feelings and I really needed the Lord's help. This morning in Sacrament meeting, the Spirit was so strong, and everything that was spoken was exactly what I needed to hear. And I was so aware even at that moment, that Heavenly Father was answering my prayer. He heard my pleading, He knows my heart, and he made me aware of the fact that those messages were for me. I love my Heavenly Father.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We took a different ferry back to Washington. This one took us through the San Juan Islands. They said it takes about 2 hrs and 15 minutes. I wasn't keeping track, and the time seemed to fly by. Before we knew it, it was time to get back into our car and get ready to make like a tree and leaf!
This ferry took us real close to Whidbey Island, so we spent a couple hours with Grandma and Grandpa Talbot. They are such amazing people. So Christ-like.
We went to an early dinner at Zorba's with Helen and Cecil. It was my first time going to a Greek restaurant. Yummy!
Canada is such an interesting place. I love odd signs, and this place is FULL of odd signs and weird names of things. For instance, there are two things you can do at this park. Can you guess what they are?
...and apparently they teach their kids it's OK to play on the highway:
They must be REALLY good at Dodge Ball!
Every-thing in this town must feel like such an emerg-ency!

Butchart Gardens

When my family's vacation took them to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) back in 1978, I'll be the first to admit I was thrilled that I had just started my first "real" job and couldn't take time off work to go. Silly, immature 17 year-old me! *Add this to the list of regrets from my childhood! I'm pretty sure I never would have appreciated it like I did today. This place was AH-mazing! Each garden was more impressive than the one before it! Here's me to Ron: Ooh! I want to transform our backyard into an English garden, with rose covered arches!
then,"Ooh! I want to transform our backyard into a Japanese Zen garden, with a Pagoda water feature!
then, Ooh! I want to transform our backyard into an Italian garden with window flower boxes and naked statuary!
then, Ooh! I want to transform our backyard into a gravel pit, then transform it into a gigantic world famous garden that people come from miles and miles to see and pay tons of money to feel sad that their backyards mostly grow moss and mushrooms!
Yep, it was pretty darn cool! Thanks Honey, for taking this bratty 17 year old (just a few years removed) to the "gardens". My mom was right, I loved it!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

We had such a great time this week and experienced so many fun things. This is the fancy shmancy Empress Hotel...
...where Afternoon Tea is served each day...and where we did not stay................................................................................. This is the fancy shmancy Super 8 Motel where they serve a decent continental breakfast and no Afternoon Tea...and where we did stay.
...And notice how the three "Super 8" flags across the front of the building give it that International flare! Are ya with me on that?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vancouver Island

Ron is taking me on little excursions to show me the beauties of the Pacific Northwest. Not that he need take me any further than our own little town for that, but it has been fun to see all these places through his eyes. Leaving Port Angeles on our way to British Columbia. I love that I get near the water, any water, and suddenly my hair turns into a Chia Pet! Eeesh!
We had set the camera to take the beautiful Olympic Mountains, with a small view of us in the foreground. Then we asked a lady on the ferry if she'd mind taking the picture for us. While we were standing there, she started moving the settings on the camera..what?? who does that? So here is a BIG shot of us and no Olympic Mountains! I guess she minded taking the picture! hahaha!
Coming into the harbor...so beautiful!
Coming back to our car from the restaurant we walked past a phone booth. When was the last time you saw a real phone booth? I didn't know they still existed!
Tomorrow: Butchart (pronounced, Boo-Shart, NOT Butt-Chart) Gardens. Can't wait!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Childhood revisited

The window in my art room is open. A warm breeze occasionally whispers in through the screen, along with one of the best summertime smells ever, freshly mowed grass. I can hear the squeals and yells of older kids playing nighttime games in the neighborhood behind our house. I am transported back to 1973, playing "kick the can" and "hide and seek" with all the kids on First Street. It is a welcomed delight to the senses. Hello Summer. I've missed you.
"I have long felt that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.” - President Gordon B. Hinckley

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Sacred Experience

I was sealed to my Eternal Companion yesterday in the Seattle Temple. It was the kind of sacred experience you want to share with everyone you love. I truly wish everyone could feel the Spirit we all felt in that sealing room. It went beyond anything I have ever experienced. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to my Heavenly Father.
Here are some of the people who brought the love... Jack and Sue Cousins, our dear friends and Home teachers.
Bob and Heather Call. Extra special, because Elder Call's "free time" is so limited and sweet Heather was recovering from Bronchitis
Becki and Chris Blackner. Our dear friends who are just so special to us. A big thank you for sharing your talents and surprising us with these pictures, sweet girl!
Tracie and Rick Hartman, our forever good friends!
Chris Blackner with our Bishop and dear friend, Don Scott (JoLynn was away at a soccer game for Kirsten)
Our Stake Pres. and his wife, Gary & Debbie Gessel. Our back door neighbor and dear friends.
Jim and Jane Dewey. President Dewey performed our sealing, (even though he was recovering from pneumonia.) He made it such a beautiful, personal, ceremony.
From left: Chris and Becki Blackner, Bob and Heather Call, Kathy and Ron, Debbie and Gary Gessel.
The only couple we didn't get a picture of was Gary and Denise Shaw. It was so sweet of everyone to drop what they were doing to come to the Temple on such short notice. Everyone has such busy lives, and Ron and I appreciate the love and support that was shown to us that day. It really was a day to remember.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Grandbaby #17!

Ben and Erin gave us our 17th grandbaby. Bringing our total to 13 boys and 4 girls. Blake Talbot Abrams. What a precious little guy. I love baby boys.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our Call to Serve!

When we got home from our trip, this is what was waiting for us on our bed! It's our Mission call! We were able to skype with most of our kids and one of my sister's, and call with Shannon and Ron's mom while we opened it. We have been called to serve in the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission! We are thrilled to be able to serve the Lord and we look forward to sharing the Gospel with everyone in our new assignment! We have started a mission blog that will just talk about us preparing for the next 4 months and serving the following 18 months. The address for that is ourmissionispossible.blogspot.com. Join us on our journey!

Friday, July 13, 2012

We received our mission call...

But we aren't home to open it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Brief Intermission...

I'm jumping ahead to today while I've got a minute. We left Sonia's this morning and drove up the coast. First, we got lost at a detour in Palos Verdes, which turned out to be serendipitous because it was a beautiful place to be lost in! Look how pretty that is behind us. And right near there the road had "sluffed off"(the cause for the detour, Yikes!)
Then we drove up to Santa Barbara then to a cute little Swiss Town called Solvang, and had dinner at Pea Soup Andersens. Man, I look as tired as I feel!
There are vineyards all over the place. It was so pretty, we stopped to snap a quick picture.
We are headed up to San Simeon to Hearst Castle in the morning. Upon recommendation, we made a stop in a little town called Cambria...probably a good thing, because by the time we reached this town the highway was closed beyond here until tomorrow morning. We turned off the highway, with the fog rolling in off the Pacific Ocean and no moon, it was pretty dark as we drove down the windy road following the one sign that directed us to this town. No street lights, no houses, no cars in front of us or behind us...I see a Wes Craven movie in the making. Finally we see a little town up ahead! (Thank heavens) We'd kinda been joking that our situation sounded like something out of The Twilight Zone, or a Hitchcock movie, but at last we saw a place we could lay our weary heads for the night, and there is a vacancy!
I'll write more tomorrow. It's my turn in the shower. ******************************************************************** Next day... Let's take a little tour of our room, shall we? First, the toilet:
Everyone feels safer and more "sanitized" when there's a strip of paper across the toilet seat, right? I know I do. ****************** Next, the soap: Do they really think this is a deterrent?
How am I supposed to "steal" the little soaps and shampoo's when they bolt it to the wall?? ****************** Nothing says "you are the first person to ever touch this-never been used-half roll of toilet paper" because it has an envelope-flapped point.
...and....the Pia de resistance:
If this doesn't conjure up memories of Janet Leigh's Psycho shower scene, I don't know what would! Ha! It is RED marble in the shower...the only person who should be killed in this scenario is the decorator, for having insanely bad taste! Actually, I kid about this being a bad motel. Although this is what it felt like last night in the foggy darkness:
It really was quite clean and sweet:
And now, we are off for more adventures!