Friday, November 17, 2017

This Morning's Message from Hannah:

Guess what we've been working on! - (Sent at 1:37AM)

I'm so glad she's having fun, and doing what she enjoys. That pie does look delicious! I scratch my head at her timing, but I guess that is college life? 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Halloween 2017

Josh was a grave cleric (a D&D thing).
Peter was a mudkip (a Pokemon thing).
And John was a boy from the early 1800s.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Has it Really Been 30 Years?

Thirty years ago I was a little twelve year old, uprooted from the only home I could really remember, and tossed into a new house, a new ward, and a new school. And in the whirlwind of adjusting to a new home, I met Tabitha. She was close to my age, petite with a round face and a cloud of bouncy, curly black hair, and she literally bounced when she walked. She quickly became my best friend. She lived around the corner from me and frequently we walked home from school together, and we had an ongoing joke about "walking her to the corner" while never exactly specifying to which corner we were walking the other - there were three street intersections between our homes. We wrote notes to each other. We had a little black book that we would write in and pass back and forth. Over time, I developed other friendships, but Tabitha was always one of my close friends.

Eventually we graduated from high school, and while we both went to BYU, we lived at opposite ends of campus and so we saw each other much less frequently. Then she got married. I went on a mission. We moved to different parts of the country. Nowadays, we don't see each other very often. I'm not very good at keeping in touch. She has eleven kids, and she home schools. But every once in a while we are able to get together and renew our acquaintance. She lives in Missouri now, near where my sister Kristy lives so last Thanksgiving when we were staying at Kristy's home, we were able to get together with Tabitha one day.

Last week, Tabitha and her family came to spend the night with us. They had been on a long vacation, and our home is conveniently located between Utah and Missouri, so Tabitha had asked if they could spend their last night on the road with us. When she first asked, I looked around our cozy three bedroom condo with our five at home, and then pictured their family of thirteen here as well and wondered how we could make it work. Tabitha assured me they didn't mind sleeping on floors, and I really was looking forward to seeing her, so I agreed to it.

In the days before they arrived, I set about cleaning up the boys' room. We would need to pick up the clutter on the floor and move the bunk bed if there was to be room for anyone on the floor in there. The week before Tabitha's arrival, my brother Joey spent the night on a mattress on the floor in John's room due to an overnight lay-over in Denver, and the mattress was still there, so I asked John to wash the bedding.

And then the day arrived. They arrived in the evening having already eaten dinner elsewhere - just Tabitha, her husband and nine kids since one is on a mission and another was elsewhere. We talked and enjoyed each other's company. The older kids quickly became wrapped up with mine in creating D&D characters. The younger ones dashed here and there looking at my crochet creations, playing the piano, drawing pictures and chasing the cats. One little girl ran around in circles for several minutes while repeating, "I'm almost tired!"

We put most of the boys, including John, to bed on the floor in Josh and Peter's room. The girls slept in John's room, with the oldest on the bed and the three little girls sharing the mattress on the floor. The oldest boy slept on the floor in the living room, where Tabitha and her husband slept on the couches. I hope the cats didn't walk over them too much in their sleep.

The following morning we arose and pulled out cereal and oatmeal for breakfast. My kids didn't have seminary or school due to Veteran's Day, so we were able to sleep in, just a little. Tabitha's family loaded their stuff back into the car and they were gone.

Who knows how long it will be before Tabitha and I see each other again? But it seems that no matter how long it is between visits, we can always pick up where we left off. We still are and will always be friends.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

John and the Congressional App Challenge

A couple days ago, a friend texted the following photo to me and said, "Not sure if you've seen this, [my husband] saw it on the congressman's twitter feed."

Well, I hadn't seen it. I recognized some of the people in the photo:  a high school teacher, the high school principal, a blind boy I had seen around the school, and of course I recognized John. But the congressman? When had John met a congressman?  I had to do some asking to find out what it was all about. 

So there is this Congressional App Challenge, where students are encouraged to learn coding, and then winners are recognized by their congressmen. John wrote an app to help the internet be more accessible for blind people. It uses text-to-speech technology somehow, to describe what is on the screen. He has been working on it with the help of the blind boy in his coding club. Perhaps because he was the only student to submit an app in our district, he was recognized by Congressman Perlmutter. 

I wonder, though, when did he find out he was going to present his app to the congressman? Was he excited about it? Why didn't he mention it to his parents? Did he just forget? Or did he not think it was important enough to bring up? He's a crazy kid, but I love him!

Besides Congressman Perlmutter's twitter feed, he was also mentioned on the high school's STEM facebook page:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Only an Orphan Girl

October 20th and 21st
Northglenn High School Theater Department 
"Only an Orphan Girl"
(a melodrama!)

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In this highly entertaining production, audience members got to sing, boo, hiss and throw peanuts as they got involved in this tale of a villain who tries to steal a poor orphan girl's inheritance.

John received the role of Floyd, the piano player, who not only provided sound effects and musical background music - including themes for each character who ever walked onto the stage, but also accompanied the audience in rousing choruses during scene changes and before and after each act. Songs included "A Bicycle Built for Two", "O Susanna", "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain", "Clementine", "Meet Me in St. Louis", "In the Good Old Summertime", "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean", "Jingle Bells", "I've Been Working on the Railroad", "Camptown Races", and more!

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Joshua also got to participate in this production as part of the tech crew. 

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He got to help with building sets, including this incredible moving saw!

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You can see more pictures from this fun and entertaining production on Northglenn High School's Theater Department Facebook Page.  (Confession: I borrowed most of the pictures shown here from that page.)

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Peek into my Subconscious

I've been interested in dreams lately. I had an idea for a story about dreams, and then started researching to learn more about them, and in the process started recording my own dreams and then looking up interpretations for them. If the interpretations are valid, I think my subconscious is frustrated with my life as it is today and is hankering for some kind of change.

For example, after family scripture reading this morning, Steven left with the older boys to go to seminary and Peter and I went back to our beds. I had an interesting dream, and when I woke up, I wrote it down, and later I looked up symbols. This is what I dreamed this morning (Symbols are quoted from Dream Moods Dream Dictionary):

I slowly made my way through deep puddles (Puddle: To see a puddle in your dream represents feelings that have been downplayed and overlooked. Although these feelings may appear minor, it is worthwhile to address them before it erupts unexpectedly.) and mud (Mud: To dream that you are walking in mud suggests that you are feeling weighed down by a situation, problem, or relationship. You are feeling frustrated.) to the large truck (Truck:To see a truck in your dream suggests that you are overworked. You are taking on too many tasks and are weighed down by all the responsibilities.) dominating the small parking lot (Parking Lot: To dream that you are in parking lot suggests that you need to slow down and take time from your daily activities.). I climbed in, and realizing that it didn't belong to me (Stealing: To dream that you are stealing suggests that you are feeling deprived. Alternatively, stealing signifies unrealized and unfulfilled goals. You may have set your goals too high.), I drove it out of the parking lot and into the street (Street: To see a street in your dream symbolizes your life's path. The condition of the street reflects how much control you have over the direction of your life. ). I arrived at the mall (Mall: To dream that you are at the mall symbolizes the choices, decisions and options you have in your waking life. These choices will help shape who you are as a person. You are trying to establish your identity and sense of self.) and walked inside. Looking through the stores (Shopping: To dream that you are shopping symbolizes your needs and desires. It also represents opportunities and options that you come across in life. Consider what you are shopping for and what needs you are try to fulfill.), I noticed a shoe store and thought it would be good to get some new shoes (Shoes: In general, shoes represent your approach to life. Wearing shoes in your dream suggests that you are well-grounded or down to earth. It also represents your convictions about your beliefs. If you are changing your shoes, then it refers to your changing roles. You are taking a new approach to life.). As I approached the store, however, there was a lady in the entrance acting as a sort of "bouncer" (Bouncer: To see a bouncer in your dream means that you are suppressing your desires.). I was asked to wait (Waiting: To dream that you are waiting is indicative of issues of power/control and feelings of dependence/independence, especially in a relationship. Alternatively, the dream may denote your expectations and anxieties about some unknown situation or decision. You are experiencing a sense of anticipation or uneasiness.) to enter the store until an attendant (Salesperson: To see or dream that you are a salesperson suggests that there is something you need to incorporate in your life. However, you need to make sure that it is right for you and not what someone else wants for you. Alternatively, the dream indicates that you are open to changes and to looking at things from a different perspective.) was available to wait on me. Eventually I was allowed to enter. I told the attendant I would like a new pair of athletic shoes (Athlete: To dream that you are an athlete suggests that you have pushed yourself to the limits. You have achieved something which you thought you could not do.). She nodded, and then led me to an area in the back of the store where she started pulling out various items, including a T-shirt (T-Shirt: To see or wear a T-shirt in your dream suggests that you need to take it easy and relax. Alternatively it represents your honesty and genuineness, especially in your personal relationships. Consider also if there is a design or saying on the T-shirt.) with a picture of Amy Pond (from Doctor Who) on it. She also pulled out some kind of clear paint (Paint: To see paint in your dream symbolizes expression of your inner emotions. Consider the color of the paint and how the color makes your feel. It is this feeling that you need to express more in your waking life. Transparent: To dream that something is transparent indicates feelings of vulnerability. You are able to see things and see through people and their motives. Thus the dream may be symbolic of your actions and your true intentions. Alternatively, if something is transparent, then it represents clarity and understanding.and started painting (Painting: To see a painting in your dream represents creativity and your need for self-expression. The painting is symbolic of your intuition and inner realizations.) over the image on the shirt. I thought she was trying to transfer the image onto something else. Then she pulled out slabs of wood (Wood: To dream of wood suggests that you are feeling dead and emotionless inside. Your behavior is too automated. You are not fully thinking things through), and I thought she was going to build some sort of doll house (Dollhouse: To see or play with a dollhouse in your dream suggests that you are idealizing family life. You have the notion that everything is perfect or problem-free. Perhaps you are in denial about any problems. Alternatively, the dollhouse in your dream may serve as an indirect way to solve and work out waking problems with family members.), and she was painting lines and things on that too. I was wondering how I was going to lug a large doll house back out through the mall, when I noticed Peter (Son: To see your son in your dream signifies your ideal, hopes, potential, and the youthful part of yourself.) carrying the original slabs of wood in a compact package (Package: To see a package in your dream represents hidden creative energy, skills, and/or feelings.). I was escorted out of the shoe store, but I still didn't have my shoes. (Shopping (cont): To dream that you cannot find what you are shopping for suggests that you are trying to find a solution to some life problem.) On the way out of the mall, Peter and I came across a gymnasium (Gymnasium: To dream that you are in a gymnasium indicates that you need to apply what you learned and incorporate it into your daily life.). Peter puts down the slabs to play, and I notice the seat of his pants are covered in muck, and it looks like he is pooping through his pants! (Feces: To see or come in contact with feces signifies aspects of yourself that are dirty and negative and which you believe to be undesirable and repulsive. You need to acknowledge and express these feelings, even though it may be shameful. Release the negativity in your life.)  I'm disgusted by it, but the next thing I know, his pants are lying abandoned on the ground and he is contentedly playing on the jungle gym. 
 What does all this say about me? Maybe that I'm overwhelmed with my responsibilities and I need to relax and look for a new approach to life. Maybe I want to push my limits and accomplish more, but I'm having difficulty finding ways to do that. Maybe I need to find ways to express my creativity more. Maybe I need to express my feelings and emotions more clearly. Maybe I need to set aside negative things in my life.

      Maybe the dream means something totally different.

            Or maybe it doesn't mean anything at all.

                     What do you think?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Peter's Talk on Honesty

Peter got to give his first talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday:

Honesty is choosing not to lie, steal, cheat or deceive in any way. Two of the ten commandments talk about honesty: "Thou shalt not steal", and "Thou shalt not bear false witness." In the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet it says, "If you lie, steal, shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and your relationships with others."

President Monson once shared an experience where he learned that honesty is the best policy. He said:
Finally, honesty is the best policy. I learned this truth in a dramatic manner during boot camp when I served in the Navy 55 years ago. After those first three weeks of isolated training, the good news came that we would have our first liberty and could visit the city of San Diego. All of the men were most eager for this change of pace. As we prepared to board the buses to town, the petty officer commanded, “Now all of you men who know how to swim, you stand over here. You will go into San Diego for liberty. Those of you who don’t know how to swim, you line up over there. You will go to the swimming pool and have a lesson on how to swim. Only when you learn to swim will you be permitted liberty.”
I had been a swimmer most of my life, so I prepared to get on the bus to town; but then that petty officer said to our group, “One more thing before we board the buses. Follow me. Forward, march!” He marched us right to the swimming pool, had us take our clothing off and stand at the edge of the deep end of the pool. Then he directed, “Jump in and swim the length of the pool.” In that group, all of whom could supposedly swim, were about 10 who had thought they could fool somebody. They did not really know how to swim. In the water they went, voluntarily or otherwise. Catastrophe was at the door. The petty officers let them go under once or twice before they extended the bamboo pole to pull them to safety. With a few choice words, they then said, “That will teach you to tell the truth!”
How grateful I was that I had told the truth, that I knew how to swim and made it easily to the other end of the pool. Such lessons teach us to be true—true to the faith, true to the Lord, true to our companions, true to all that is sacred and dear to us. That lesson has never left me. (President Thomas S. Monson, "The Call to Serve", General Conference Oct 2000)
 Another part of honesty is integrity. Integrity is thinking and doing what is right at all times, no matter what the consequences. Joseph Smith showed integrity by not denying the church, even though people threatened to kill him. There are many examples of being honest in the scriptures. One of them is the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors. This group was the sons of the people of Ammon and they fought to protect this land because their parents took an oath not to take up arms against their enemies. Their children, however, did not. So Helaman takes the sons to battle. And in verse 20 of Alma 53 it says, "And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all- they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted." I know that this church is true, and that if you are honest that good things will come from it. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.