Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cowboy Bob's "Bob-Lingo" Handbook (1985)

My parents moved us all to Idaho when I was about eight-years-old.  I think they wanted us to be surrounded by people with strong roots, strong foundations, strong faith.  And we were.  It was a time when kids could not only walk to the park alone, but spend the whole day there playing, swimming, roaming, just enjoying the sun and the freedom.  It was a time when we weren't bogged down by homework or 80-hour work weeks, but we learned to work by using our hands--planting gardens, moving irrigation pipe, sorting potatoes.  It was a time when we had Christmas pageants and the Lord's Prayer and the Star Spangled Banner--all at school.  The agenda of the teachers was to teach.  To teach the kids about who they were and who they could become.  And they were examples of goodness themselves.  Our US government teacher, Robert Andrus, (Cowboy Bob) was one of these teachers.

He was known as "Uncle Bob" to many, but we also called him Cowboy Bob because he wore cowboy boots and a cowboy shirt and bolo tie every day.  And of course he sported his fantastic belt buckle, nearly the size of a license plate--we used to say that was the reason he wore boots each day, because there was no way he could bend over that buckle to tie shoes.  That was his daily look (except the two days of the year when he wore what could only be described as his autumn hippy tunic--the only time he wore short sleeves, too) finished off with a big grin.  We thoroughly enjoyed his class.  And not necessarily because of the subject matter, although he made that interesting enough for a bunch of teen-agers.  But it was his unbelievable mastery of the English language from his own perspective.

Yes, we actually wrote down his words (not as in note-taking) and phrases, along with definitions either gained from context or from just asking him what in the world "cut the water off at the pass" meant.  It means to stop talking, by the way.  Of course, we had to preserve his language, not only for the fascinating linguistic experience that it was, but for future government students, as well.  So, we put it together in a hand book and sold it for two dollars a piece at lunch time.

Well, Cowboy Bob passed away this week.  He was one of those men my parents meant for us to be surrounded by--solid, strong, and faithful.  And there's nothing like a funeral to bring old friends back together with old memories.  Cowboy Bob, as people gather in their  "Sunday go to meeting clothes" to pay you tribute one more time, this is dedicated to you--for the many hours of entertainment you gave us then and rekindled now.

Cowboy Bob's "Bob-Lingo" Handbook (1985)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Wish for More Wishes--Really

Summer break at last!  This season finds me outside much more, enjoying and appreciating all the beauties of nature.  I love a fresh sea breeze and a beautiful sunset.  I love a short walk through the park or a long hike through the hills.  We have such a wonderous world!  It set me to thinking...

Any time someone asks, “If you could have any wish you want, what would you wish for?” doesn’t everyone always say, “I’d wish for more wishes”?  You don’t ask for specific stuff, you ask for the ability to get anything you want.  Well, I kind of think of this concept when I think of eternal inheritance.

In Doctrine and Covenants 84 we read about the priesthood.  Christ promises to those who obey the commandments and honor the priesthood, “all that my Father hath shall be given unto him” (v 38).

When I think about this, maybe it doesn’t mean His creations.  I mean, I would love to inherit Grand Teton National Park, or New Zealand’s South Island.  He could give me those.  They are His, right? But how could He promise those to me if someone else wants them, too?

So, maybe He doesn’t mean all the stuff. Maybe He means all the power He has.  

As a parent, rather than just giving my kids everything they need and want, I'd love to give them skills to help them become self-reliant, to help them reach their own dreams, not just the dreams I have for them.

It’s like granting more wishes.  Although He could, Heavenly Father won't give me the South Island,  maybe He'll give me the power to create my own South Island.  The power to create my own national park. The power to create whatever else I wish. 

He has already restored some of His priesthood keys to earth.  But won’t it be amazing one day to possess all His priesthood keys?  Afterall, it is through the power of the priesthood that the Lord created all that we have.  And He has promised all that He has to us.  What a wish!

I'm not saying I want the priesthood conferred upon me.  I already know I can access all the blessings the priesthood brings, and I'm so very thankful for that, for a wonderful husband and sons who hold and honor the priesthood!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Magnificent Mothers

I am awestruck every time I think of Mary.  But today I actually thought about her mother—she must have been an amazing woman herself to have raised a daughter who would be prepared to become the most important woman in history, the mother of the Savior of the world. 

Mary was young and inexperienced.  I’m guessing the things she did, the way she lived, what she believed, her determination to act in faith might have been because that was what she saw her own mother do. And Mary did all that with such grace.  When the angel Gabriel first came to her to tell her she would become the mother to the Christ child, Mary didn’t complain or even question.  She just accepted her call and moved forward in faith. 

I can’t imagine the pressure that must have weighed on her. What a tremendous blessing to have a loving husband who helped her fulfill her magnificent responsibility. I would guess she would have been blessed also with help from on high, angels perhaps, to bear her up and instruct her how to be a righteous mother.  But I’m sure Mary must have always had in the forefront of her mind just who her son really was and the mission he was to fulfill.  

This has made me wonder what I would do if an angel came to me and told me the true nature and calling of my children.  Would I teach them differently, speak to them differently, treat them differently?  I have not had an angel come to me to tell me my children’s missions here on earth.  I don't know if they'll be astronauts, artists, or airplane pilots. But, I have had moments, glimpses, of pure knowledge of who they really are.  They are children of God the Father.  They have been saved for this time.  They are meant to be a light in this world where so much is darkness.  They are born into this family to be taught and loved, and to return together back to our Heavenly Father to become like Him.  

I guess I don’t need an angel to come tell me these things.  I already know them.  I just need to remember.  Like Mary, I will move forward in faith, helping my children to “grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”  And how thankful I am to have an amazing husband with whom to share this incredible responsibility.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Daughter's Dreams

"I am going to be an alientologist!"


"I wish I were a red neck." 

What do those two unusual quotes have in common?  Both came from my daughter today.  Yep.

Dream Big!  That's always a good idea.  So, when my little girl tells me what she wants to be when she grows us, I try to encourage her.  Normally she has ambitions to be a teacher, a doctor, a mother--all great plans.  Well, I guess part of my job as a parent is to help them fulfill their dreams.  Unless they are nightmares.

I suppose I should explain.  It is true, my daughter does love unusual things--she has a personal relationship with the librarian who is constantly on the search for books about monsters, mummies, mythological creatures and anything else of the paranormal, abnormal nature for her pleasure reading.  She's eight.  

Well, last night we picked up a little hammer and chisel for her for a "dino dig" activity in her school class.  She was so excited!  To have seen her you'd have thought she had just inherited ownership of her own personal beauty salon run by vampires and werewolves!  

"This is so cool!"  She said.  "I feel like a...what's it called?  I'm going to be an alientologist!"


Well, I explained that I thought she meant paleontologist, and she agreed, but had to give it some thought.  So did I.  Alientologist sounds so much more fascinating, and so much more her.  

Of course, that has nothing to do with red necks.  Lest you think we have toyed with the idea of buying a monster truck, a shot gun, a box of dynamite, and a few American flag bandanas, we have not (at least not out loud).  And as much as my little girl may faint dead away at the idea of driving a truck that is a monster, she really was just watching Duck Dynasty.  Yes, you read that right.  Last month my boys finally convinced the rest of us to try an episode, and, I fully admit, I'm kinda hooked.

So, we were watching Phil babysitting his grand-daughters.  And as any good grandpa should, he took the girls out to repair the duck blind where they all got covered in mud.  After squirting them all off with a hose, he proceeded to teach them how to gut a fish and fry it up in peanut oil.  The dirtier and gooier they got, the more excited she got.  Until she finally exclaimed,  "I wish I were a red neck!"  

Well, a girl can dream.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Prayers of the Righteous

I learn so much from the sweet, sincere prayers of my little four-year-old primary kids.  Yesterday, one of the boys prayed, “Please help me to be rich when I grow up,” (a few smiles and snickers—yes, I was peeking, thinking about the conversations that must take place in their house), pause, “so I can buy a house someday.” 

Oh—of course! This is California, after all.  I realized maybe I better start praying for the same thing for my own children.  At the rate things are going here, they’re going to have to be rich in order to buy a house here, or anywhere, for that matter.

I forget sometimes how important and powerful prayer is.  It suddenly struck me today, there were times when the only thing that saved an entire people were the “prayers of the righteous” (Alma  62:40); and times that no righteous were even found in cities that could have saved them. 

So, I had to ask myself, how often do I pray in such a way that my prayers could save our city, or even my town, or neighborhood, or even family?  Are my prayers sincere and full of enough faith that I could call on the Lord for miracles?  Or just everyday blessings? 

I want to be sure I have the kind of relationship with the Lord that comes from daily, sincere prayer, so that when I do have great need for miracles (and as my kids grow older, those needs seem to come more and more often), I can ask with faith.

We are taught to pray in any place over any thing we need.  So, why not pray to figure out school plans, or to overcome temptation, or to save a nation, or to be able to buy a house? 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hope for the Future

There's something magical and hopeful about a bunch of handsome, rowdy, active teen-age boys sitting in the loft playing Super Mario Brothers and listening to music.  How is that hopeful, you ask? Because they're listening to Beach Boys and Disney cartoon sound tracks.  I think their theme song is Rapunzel's "I Have a Dream." Our future is in good hands!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Evolution of Mother's Day

Mother's Day has changed a lot for me over the years.  I've gone from the afternoon pleasure of finding my son using un-laundered underpants to soak up then suck out muddy water from a puddle (see previous Mother's Day blog), to having my children, on their own accord, pamper me with poetry and breakfast in bed, and heart-felt messages on Facebook.  The phrase "This too shall pass" has been a sort of Mother's mantra for several years as we've struggled through nights of insomnia with infants, tiring days with toddlers, and trying times with teens.  But it's been an adventure and joy!

Here are a few of my thoughts today about my most magnificent children:

I love that my teen-agers still love the Muppets
I love that my sons aren’t afraid to try to drink soda from a mentos geyser
I love that my daughter won’t let them try to drink it all without her
I love that my son asks me to play catch with him
I love that my daughter worries about my being terribly lonely when my husband is out of town
I love that my kids don’t really believe they will give me a heart attack when they hide under piles of pillows and jump out to scare me (I just hope I don’t prove them wrong)
I love that my sons ask me style advice
I love that my sons ignore my style advice
I love that my daughter can’t wait until the fathers’ and sons’ campout so we can have our own mother and daughter girls’ night
I love that she insists that we have chicken nuggets, M&M’s, cotton candy, ice-cream, and pop corn on said girls’ night
I love that my son writes me poetry
I love that my son writes stories with me
I love that my son is becoming a better writer than me
I love that my son creates beautiful art as gifts
I love that my daughter wakes me up early on Sunday morning to bring me hot chocolate in bed
I love that she asks me to teach her to work the stove and microwave so she doesn’t have to make hot chocolate for me from the tap.
I love that my children get upset when they see injustice
I love that my children aren’t afraid to dream big
I love that they are proud to stand up for right and share truth
I love that my children love each other
I love that they love me
I love that my children are mine
I love being their mother

So, my Mother's mantra, "This too shall pass," has taken on a new meaning--these wonderful moments will pass, and all too quickly.  I plan to enjoy every one of them and make the most of each day I have with these incredible children the Lord has given me!  I couldn't feel more blessed!