Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our Devastating World and The Power of One.

 It seems like every time I read the paper the news is more and more devastating. The natural disasters we've had this year are awful and incredible.  From earthquakes (see a previous post) to tsunamis, and now tornadoes it seems like the end of days with all the bad news I read in the paper every day.

This past week we had terrible tornadoes in Missouri. The pictures are very sobering. I think about how hard that would be to lose your home and all your possessions, maybe even a family member. One woman I read about had several children and they didn't have much warning of the impending tornado. So she grabbed them all and ran to lay down in the bathtub. Her toddler was torn from her arms as the tornado ripped off her roof and covered her and her kids in debris.

 Now how would you ever hope to recover or even to deal with something that awful? I don't know if I could.  As a mother, I would probably be in a strait jacket.

Then I open the newspaper and there has been another suicide bomber in Pakistan. The Arab/Israel problems and battles and bombings are escalating.  I don't see an end to this fighting in the middle East ever again at this point.

There are several big news trials about young girls killing their little babies; one supposedly suffocating her own child with duct tape over her mouth and nose, the other putting her child in a microwave. How could girls become this bad?
And finally all the high profile husbands that have seriously betrayed their highly admired wives. Some of the hurt and pain they cause their families' is unbelievable. I try to imagine that kind of betrayal and the pain it would cause me. And I think again to myself. "I would not recover from that pain. I would turn inward and start to crumble apart." You'd find me huddled in a corner weeping.


 And I think to myself; what in the world is happening to us as a people? . Why are we all being so evil? And are we being punished with all this natural disaster?

Last week there was an old, 89 year old civil engineer named Camping who decided that the end of the world was coming. The headlines said "For some, it's Judgment Day. For others, it's Party Time." To me that is good versus evil in a little microcosm.

A loosely organized Christian movement had spread the word around the globe that Jesus Christ will return to earth on Saturday to gather the faithful into heaven. I wasn't really focused on this story  until my husband read about a guy who decided to milk the opportunity to take advantage of  people who were believers.

The paper tells of "Bart Centre, an atheist from New Hampshire, who started a get rich quick business called "Eternal Earth-bound Pets". He offers Rapture believers an insurance policy for those furry pets that won't join them in heaven: 10-year pet care contracts, with Centre and his network of fellow non-believers taking responsibility for the animals after the Rapture. The fee -- payable in advance, of course, is $135 since Camping's prediction".  How bad is that? Well it got worse..                              

A Facebook page opened up entitled "Post Rapture Looting" offers the party invitation: "When everyone is gone and god's not looking, we need to pick up some sweet stereo equipment and maybe some new furniture for the mansion we're going to squat in." By Wednesday afternoon, more than 175,000 people indicated they would be "attending" the "public event.

Then the supreme court ruled this week that the inhumane overcrowding in California prisons means they need to let one third of the prison inmates back out onto the public. The conditions are so poor that inmates are getting sick and dying. I'm horrified by that as well. Now we have so many bad guys that we can't contain them all anymore.

 Is it that I'm just so disappointed in the human race? The answer to that is yes. And am I getting more afraid the end of the world really must be close? Yes again. Even so, there are still good people in our world that don't disappoint.

 Last week Elizabeth Smart faced her abductor in court during final sentencing. She quietly spoke her mind to him, with great grace and poise as he closed his eyes and infuriatingly sang hymns to block out the sound of her voice. I would have wanted to personally dive across that courtroom and scratch his eyes out.           

But Elizabeth talked about the beautiful life that is before her, and that she knows in this life or in the next he will be held accountable for his actions. She showed not only her faith in God and in an afterlife, but her unimaginable sweetness. It came across when she said something that really stunned and stayed with me; “One of the biggest ways to overcome … to heal from any kind of experience is by helping those around you.... because by lifting others you lift yourself".

 I could not believe what I was hearing. I was so impressed by her as a human being. She counteracts so much of the selfish evil in our world that I have been seeing lately. She's just one small but resolute voice.

 “I don't deny that was a part of my life. It certainly has brought me to where I am today. Without it I don't think I would be here. But I have also seen how many doors have opened to me and how many opportunities have come ... How much potential I have to make a difference in the world.”

 So she started a foundation. She has a focus called RAD KIDS. She wants to help kids to be safe by training them what to do in dangerous situations.

We have RAD KIDS at our school.  My class was trained last year. It is an empowering program to teach kids to fight off strangers or any kind of aggression. "Nobody has the right to hurt you" is one of the mantras. The foundation she started has a goal to bring RAD KIDS training to every elementary school in the country.
The other thing that happened this week was Oprah closing her show. She is just another example of how one faithful and directed  voice can change the world.  (See my last post)  I have her high on a pedestal. These 2 fine examples of humanity counteract the evil I've seen this week. It's the power of one in great and graceful display.  Evil versus good. We turn to look because the bright light of goodness draws us in.

It may be getting closer to the end of the world.  All these examples are telling me it is so. And it's getting harder to live in this world, but I can still see the light and the good. And the stark black and pure white around us, makes it clearer which path to follow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oprah....I Will Be Missing You.....

Yesterday I joined in with all of America in doing the "Ugly Cry". For Oprah has ended her 25 year show on daytime T.V.  I've been watching her and learning from her since I was raising my kids as a stay at home mom in the late 80s.  I am still in denial as I watched the show and laughed and cried.

There isn't another show on television where the sole mission is to empower you and inspire you to live your best life. She's taught me to be thankful and have gratitude, even for the hard things in life because they help you grow. She taught me to look for god's directions in everything that happens to me and to love myself just as I am, that I'm worthy and enough.  One of her favorite quotes was, "Nobody completes you, Jerry McGuire was only a movie." I've always loved that funny quote of hers.

 She has always said she would have been a teacher if she hadn't been led to the career she has.  That makes me smile. She's been such a fantastic teacher to so many millions of people from all walks of life.  She has bettered me in so many ways in my life.  She always called her show her classroom.

"This is what I was called to do...Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to find it." I think we all can still set goals and become much more than we are now. There is so much untapped potential in all of us and she reminded me daily to go and do and be better. I love her for that.  I will miss that the most.
I think another thing she has done for the world is to shed light on important issues of our day. She has enlightened people about so many unspeakable things across the world that others have endured. She's been a lightening rod and she has gathered people together for causes. She's helped many who could not help themselves. Through her angel network, her celebrity friends and through her schools and college scholarships she's founded she has changed the world.  It was heartwarming to see what the Morehouse Men's College graduates  have become.  Many came from violent and very poor backgrounds to dig themselves out and make something of themselves, given the chance with a scholarhsip from Oprah. 


Talking about how she got to where she is, she credits God. And she is not ashamed.  "I'm talking about the same one you're talking about. The Alpha and Omega. The Omniscience, the Omnipresent, the Ultimate Consciousness, the Source, the Force, the All of Everything There Is, the one and only G-O-D."


"You  have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world. You have the power to change somebody's life."

I cried and cried all through the last show, where she just stood by herself onstage and remembered her favorite parts from 25 years on T.V.  She recalled so many small things that made an impression on her. You wouldn't think a letter from a fan would be anything important. But she quoted fans from 20 years ago who had said something personal to her in a letter. That really got to me.  She is just a person after all is said and done. And she feels deeply when strangers across the country take the time to write to say something to her personally. We are all like that.  A kind word can change someone's outlook and their life.

She has always inspired me.  I will miss watching her show. It's been a big part of my afternoons for many, many years. But her words will stay with me for many more.

Signing off she said....


"Well, I say, all sweet, no bitter. And here's why. Many of us have been together for 25 years. We have hooted and hollered together, had our a-ha moments, we ugly-cried together and we did our gratitude journals. So I thank you all for your support and your trust in me. I thank you for sharing this yellow brick road of blessings. ...I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I've tried to be for you. I won't say goodbye. I'll just say, until we meet again. To God be the glory."


 I'll miss you Oprah. Yes I will.

Making Koo-laid Playdough



Here is a fun recipe for play dough I'm going to use in my class this week. I hope I can find Koolaid in the flavors I like!  It's so delicious smelling that you almost want to eat it!  Well you actually could eat it....but don't......just play with it.....it's pretty cool.....

Mix together:                                  

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

2 pkg kool-aid (unsweetened)                           

2 tablespoons cream of tarter


2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons oil

Mix 3-4 minutes or until cool. Then knead and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

I think my class kids will love this for the last week of school and I KNOW my grandkids will love it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Bear Lake Classic Bike Race

This weekend John had his favorite bike race up in Garden City; The Bear Lake Classic! It is a 51 mile bike race around Bear Lake up near Logan Utah.  I love to go with him since we bought our cabin up there 2 years ago because I get to hang out on the deck and watch the bikers come down near our house as the finish line is about a 1/2 mile away. 

Johnny is #925 in the Bike Race
Last year John was on the Cafe Rio Team. This year he decided to be a loner, I guess. Here he is just before we parked the truck to go get his number for the race.  He had to play Dire Straits on the CD player before he got out of the car. "Mood Music" Or maybe just "getting pumped up music". It was pretty cute. I've never been an athlete so I don't get that part I guess. I was just an interested bystander.

He's making fun of me cuz I don't know how to work a video camera. :O The next video they are about the 9th group to go out. There must have been 250 bikers in the whole race. I even saw kids in the race.

 Johnny has #925 on his back...
He finished the race in about 2 3/4 hours. He did better than last year. I stayed in the cabin and watched a movie and read some magazines. Then when he came back he took a hot bath and we ate lunch. Then we had to get down to Heber for my good friend Heidi's wedding reception. We passed through the thriving metropolis of Randolph, Utah. Look at this "Smallest Store in Utah" pic I took. So funny!

It is crazy! This tiny store looks like a Tuff Shed!
We passed by some sheep, cows and antelope. I tried to snap pictures while we were going 60 mph. That doesn't work too well as it turns out!

Where the deer and the antelope play?

I'm thinking the antelope didn't like John's choice of Leonard Skinnerd on the CD player? They skeedaddled!
 We have not so fond memories of Randolph, Utah.  John got a ticket last summer when our boat died in the middle of Bear Lake and the rangers towed us in. Did you know you needed oars and a whistle on a boat? Oh yes, AND a fire extinguisher? Yeah we didn't either. We got a ticket! That was nice of those rangers.  So you can't just pay the ticket. You HAVE to go appear before the judge! So I had a Monday furlough day off the day John had to appear so I went along to watch the fun.

The tiny Randolph, Utah courthouse (Kangaroo court)

 Jeez you wouldn't believe it unless you'd been there. It was like that show Night Court! The judge had cowboy boots and a flannel shirt on! I said kinda loudly "THAT'S the judge?" and John elbowed me in the ribs. hehe  But they had bailiffs, a bouncer cop, lawyers for the county, clerk of the court, the whole 9 yards. Then they read every little offense you made in front of like 50 kids sitting in this miniscule courtroom that had all been busted for drinking (underage) on the beach It was crazy! Then dramatically, the judge says that all these offenses (including no insurance on the boat, who knew you needed insurance? NOT us obviously) they all added up to $400 bucks fine. WTH! 

We stopped here the day of the ticket and inquired about getting a giant teepee for our grandkids at this fun little shop!
John in his good natured way told the story of he and I packing a nice picnic and then getting stranded in the middle of Bear Lake on our boat. And finally calling a ranger and giving him our GPS address, he  towed us in and gave us a  ticket. So everybody laughed in the whole courtroom! Even the judge was caught laughing. 
This giftshop in Randolph seriously is a 12 x 12 building with a gazillion gifts of every type inside!
John was sitting next to a guy in a blue jumpsuit who was handcuffed.  He almost asked him, "what crime did you commit?" It is only funny now. At the time it was very quiet and serious in the courtroom. Anyway, the judge read off that John had purchased insurance that very morning, like an hour before we met in court, he read off the exact time and just looked at him. I felt pretty sorry for him at that moment. I slid a little lower in my seat at the back. He saw from the fax our insurance agent had sent to the courthouse!

We saw lots of deer as we drove down Highway 80

 That started another loud guffaw of laughter in the courtroom. By then all the clerks and cops were laughing too It was kind of a slap in the face to the "system". I was wondering if this was daily fare for the court people. But the judge started chuckling too after John just smiled and admitted it all. Then the judge gave John some fierce advice about oars and whistles and he knocked the charge down to a $100 fine. It was a total embarrasment to us as we both slinked out of that courtroom. The strong arm of the law and all that.

Windmills for sale along the road...

Anyway we were on our way through all these small towns and it started really raining hard with lightening and thunder. We were almost to Evanston and I saw this cute little windmill advertising in a little old farmer's yard. There were big windmills and cute tiny ones.  I'd like to get one of those for my cabin...very cute!

We stopped for a snack at McDonalds and returned our Redbox movie too. Did you know you could return Red box movies even interstate? We rented it in Utah and returned it in Wyoming!

Everything is so green too! Spring has finally sprung!
I noticed all the rivers were right up to the edge! EEK, floodin' may be a'comin

We went past Echo Reservoir and I remembered having our whole family together there the first time we took out our jet skiis. All the boys could get up on the older ones where you have to get to your knees first and then try to stand. Those were fun times. Good memories.

Echo Reservoir...a fun place to go boating in the summer!

We finally got to Park City and turned off to go through to the small valley of Heber, Utah.

Beautiful green Heber...It's one of my most favorite towns!
Snapped this pic out the car window...so green and pretty!

 I wrapped up a pretty wrought iron and glass beverage dispenser and we went to the reception. It was in this million dollar vacation home in Heber. It had the most beautiful view which I forgot to take a picture of. We met up with lots of friends and had a great time. The bride and groom looked so happy together.

Cute Couple!

They had little crabcake appetizers with corn salsa in little clam shells...mmmm yummy!

Eric Olson and Layne Halverson kept us in stitches telling stories (both are business owners) of finding skunks, racoons, and bats in other people's homes and how they went about getting rid of them, or working with them. Too funny!

Yummy salads and salmon and grilled meats...so delish!
We really laughed at the racoon and gopher stories...the guys were so funny!

Heidi and Alex...Congrats you guys!
  All in all it was a very fun weekend spent doing stuff we love with good friends and yummy food. Life is


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