Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thankful Heart

A few years ago our prophet, Thomas S.Monson, gave a talk in general conference.  In this talk he coined the phrase, "an attitude of gratitude."   I love it!  Over the past few years, I have thought  a lot about gratitude, what it means, how people respond to it and (hey let's be honest) "what's in it for me?"

These are my thoughts on Gratitude:

1.  Gratitude is a gift to the giver as well as the receiver.
2.  When I have gratitude I am truly aware of the many blessings from my Heavenly Father.
3.  When I am grateful, my gratitude seems to completely fill every nook of my heart.  It leaves no room for negatives.
4.  When I have gratitude I will not covet.
5.  Listing all the things I am grateful for gives me an overwhelming sense of the Lord's love for me.
6.  Expressing gratitude to others as well as my Heavenly Father makes me more human.  I am more open to friendships and relationships.
7.  Lack of gratitude leads to entitlement.
8. No matter how bad today may seem, there are always many things in my life to be grateful for.

My sister, Shelly, passed away on October 28, 2010. Shelly has definitely been one of the greatest blessings in my life. 

When I was born, Shelly was so excited that she begged our mom to let her show me off to the neighborhood kids.  Mom agreed to hold me up to the front window. Shelly gathered all of her friends and they "oohed" and "aahed" over me. 

Shelly is also responsible for my middle name.  Shelly doesn't have one and that bothered her.  She insisted that our parents give me a middle name.  That is why I am Amy Lyn.   Even at just six years old, Shelly was already looking out for me.

Shelly and I shared a room from as long as I can remember.  I wasn't always the best roommate, messy and all.  I even recall a couple of times when I stole a dime or two from her ballerina jewelry box so I could buy something from the ice cream man (so bad).  One time I as I was trying to smuggle the dime out of the house in my mouth (a genius move), I swallowed it!

When I was thirteen, Shelly went off to college at BYU.  I missed her from then on.  I missed how she and I would lay in bed and tell stories. I missed putting cold washcloths on our heads in the summertime, when it was really hot at night.  I missed sneaking up and getting cups of croutons for a late night snack (we would eat almost anything that resembled junk food).

 I missed listening to her, oh so cool, teenager music.  I missed watching her in plays and dance festivals.  I missed hearing her play the piano as our family sang around her.  I missed her calming influence on our family ( I only remember one time when she lost her cool with me).  I missed her taking me to the drive-in movies and bringing homemade pizza (not always the best).  I missed how she would spend hours reading in her room.  I especially missed how she would hold my hand at night until I fell asleep.

I missed Shelly so much that, eventhough it was the first time in my life to have my own room, I decided to move our little sis, Karen, in with me.    Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Karen, but that room was not the same after Shelly left. I never got to be the little sister again. 

Karen and I enjoyed sharing a room until she was twelve when I left for BYU.  I missed my little sis but probably not as much as the one left behind misses her big sis.  I think Karen missed me as much as I had missed Shelly.

Today I have a thankful heart. I am thankful for my sisters. They have filled my life with love, friendship, silly secrets and inside jokes. They have cheered for me in my triumphs and carried me through my sorrows.

Thankful heart?  You know it sista!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!

It was so fun to play in the snow!! Dave, Steve, Heather and I along with Steve's friend Valerie my brother Mark and his family, Thira, Dell, Karm, Ladreal and Raith. What a great day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I know, I can't believe I'm actually writing again myself. After a very long SIX MONTH break, I am back at the blogging. Yippeeeeee!!!!!!

We just had the best time in NYC!! Dave and I along with Steve, Colin and Heather were able to go to NYC recently. We had the best time taking the subway everywhere, going to the top of the Empire State Building, Times Square, The Body Exhibit, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and spending a day with my college roommate, Ginny Charles Bodner, and her adorable family.
I think this was our most favorite family trip to date!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Juju and the crown

My niece Julie was married to Chris Phillips on May 16, 2009.  It was a beautiful event and they seem very happy  and well matched.
I started thinking about Julie or "Baby Julie" as we always called her (Dave called her this til she was like 15). I feel so privileged to have been a close aunt to her. I remember many things about Julie's childhood but on the day, her wedding day, a particular memory came to mind.  When Julie was about 6 year s old, she competed  in the "Little Miss Santa Clara" pageant. Julie was a good little dancer and lit up on stage.  Julie's dance teacher encouraged my sister, Shelly, to put Julie in the competition.
On the day of the competition, Shelly was fixing Julie's hair and talking to her about her upcoming performance. Shelly, wanted to "soften the blow" so to speak, by telling Julie not to be upset if she didn't win because there were lots of girls in the pageant that had been competing for years.  Julie took it all in, then she said, "I've just gotta get that crown!"
I did not realize then what a great life lesson Julie was teaching us.  As I attended the sealing of Julie and Chris, in the Fresno temple, this scene came to my mind. Julie was well on her way to "getting that crown."  As she continues her life on the righteous path that she is now on, Julie can be a queen to her husband, her children and in the righteous home she builds here on earth.  If she continues on this same righteous path, she will be crowned with glory in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

Life, unlike the pageant, is not a competition, every one of us is offered "the crown" if we will follow our Heavenly Father, live righteously and uphold the covenants we make in the temple.  Everyone who does their absolute best will win the crown.

So, Baby Julie, as you begin your new life as a wife and someday as a mother to elect spirits of our Heavenly Father,   I hope the wisdom of that five year old Julie comes to your mind and you will reclaim your childhood goal. As you profoundly said many years ago, "I've just gotta get that crown." This is the greatest goal of all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break!!

I LOVE spring break (or any other type of break for that matter). I do remember back when my kids were little, not yet old enough to babysit, that I would sometimes dread the time off but not anymore and not for a long time now. I totally love kicking back with my kids. Sleeping in late, watching TV, eating too much, going to the movies etc. I guess I'm really just a lazy bum at heart. Oh well, these are always the best bonding times with my kids.

I was talking to my friend Shannon today and we figured out that we only have four more "spring breaks" left until we are both empty nesters. Wow! How did that happen? It makes me sad to see this part of my life coming to an end. I guess I thought I would have kids at home forever.

One thing I have learned is that life moves on and that is what forces us to grow. I am going to miss "breaks" with my kids but until they are all out of the house I am going to continue to love the time we have together. Life is amazing. I love being a wife and mother and I am so thankful that I have a hard working husband who allows me to spend time with our babies. I really do have a terrific life.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"What? Me, a Counselor?"

A few years ago my friend Haley and I decided to run the 5K Race For the Cure. I really worked hard to be able to run the whole thing. I say "I" because Haley was already able to run that far but she ran with me almost every morning for a few months until I could do it too. It ended up being an amazing experience. It's so great to have friends who encourage you to do things you never thought you could.

The other day, my friend Shelley called me. She's involved with the "A New You" program with Barbara Barrington Jones. It's sort of like an EFY for women. You get to spend a week in dorm rooms with other women and go to amazing classes on fashion, style etc. plus hear a lot of great inspirational speakers. The best part is that you have no laundry, dishes or meal prep the whole week (love it!).

I attended the program four summers ago in Hawaii at the BYU Hawaii campus. I went with my friend Cindy. We had the greatest time ever! Now the program is being held in Utah (aloha Hawaii). I loved the time I had to think about life and my goals and think of all that is ahead of me. It was a real boost.

So anyway, my friend, Shelley, asked me if I would be a counselor this summer. "What, me a counselor?" I don't know, I never really think of myself that way. I mean, I really loved the program but I wasn't 100% on board with the nightly "goofy song singing" time. You see, "singing" time reminds me of girl's camp and I am a girl's camp hater (it's true, I admit it). That whole "gratuitous goofy behavior thing" has always turned me off. Now don't get me wrong, I can goof off with the best of them it's just that I have never been comfortable goofing off when you're expected to (hey, that takes all the fun out of it, right?).

I did love going to "A New You" so I agreed. I guess I'll have to practice doing "goofy song time" so I can be a good counselor (won't my family love that).

I am looking forward to August. I know that whenever I step out of my comfort zone I grow in ways that are amazing to me. So here goes!!

Oh yeah, Shelley told me that I need to send her a picture along with my "bio." My What??? This should be FUN!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Good To The Last Drop" A Farewell to Postum (reprised from 1/08)

Doesn't everyone has a favorite childhood taste memory? You know what I mean. That special something you just have to have when life knocks you down and sucker punches you in the gut. When you need some mothering but you ARE the mother. That one palatable, culinary mouthful of magic that will bring you back to your favorite childhood blankey, visits with a doting grandmother or afternoon tea parties on your back porch.

Just this very morning I was reminded of one of those very childhood taste memories. After suffering for days with the what was probably the flu, I awakened long before dawn. Coughing, congested and achy I just couldn't get comfortable. After tossing around for an hour or so, I came to the conclusion that I'd better get up or my poor husband would also have to suffer the consequence of my restless night's sleep.

I enjoy a little time to myself just like the next mom but 3 AM is not my idea of "Me Time!" Weighing my options at this early hour between infomercials, old movies and sitting in the dark, I decided to make yet another, cup of herbal tea.

Although I do enjoy the occasional "spot o tea," I had quickly become bored with the watery, lack luster stuff after consuming what now seems to be gallons in the past few days.

I started down the stairway and into the kitchen, set the tea pot on the burner, opened my cupboard and proceeded to search for the perfect "Celestial Seasoning." Chamomile, Mint Magic, Tropic of Strawberry, Country Peach Passion, nothing seemed to "Zing" out at me. Sleepy time, Orange Spice, Black Cherry Berry, Hot Cocoa, Hot Cider, no, there must be something more. As I moved box after box I realized that my choices were quickly running out. Just as I was ready to resolve myself to a cup of sleepy time, a familiar sight caught my eye.

Way back in the far corner of my cabinet, a place rarely ventured, was A small glass jar, white lid, blue with white lettering. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Could it be? Straining my arm I reached far into the corner and grasped the jar. As I pulled it toward me I realized that, yes, it was what I thought it was.

Postum, an unbelievable find! You may not know this, but Postum is no longer in production so running to the store to purchase a fresh new jar is just NOT an option. Excitedly, I twisted the cap to reveal it's contents. To my disappointment a mere tablespoon of the brown, rich smelling granules were left.

Disregarding the expiration date, which was probably around 1997, I scraped the bottom of the jar to free the granules of petrified powder, then dumped every last granule into my favorite mug. I mixed in a little sugar, being careful not to over sweeten. I noticed that, as a bonus, next to the postum jar was a small container of that fake, dried creamer stuff. (I'm sure my mom would say it causes cancer but I just couldn't help myself, it definitely completes the whole Postum experience). I put a heaping scoop of creamer in my cup without checking the expiration date on that either! The teapot began to whistle, echoing my feelings of glee.

Grasping the teapot with a hot pad I slowly poured the steaming water into my mug and began to stir. The water turned to a caramel brown color. A small amount of foam formed on top and the familiar aroma of the enticing elixir wafted through the kitchen.

I took a sip, instantly, my mind went back to weekends with Grandma Tena, tea paries and cold rainy days wrapped in a blanket.

I snuggled on the couch enjoying my hot steamy mug of childhood comfort. I sipped slowly hoping to make this bit of childhood last but, just like that red valentine heart box of See's candies you thought you would never be able to finish, soon the mug was empty.

Emotions welled inside me as I realized my childhood memories would never again be awakened by the comforting scent and bitter, nutty taste of Postum. As I placed the empty mug in the sink I thought to myself, now that really was "Good to the Last Drop."