Sunday, July 31, 2011

To Sir, (or Ma'am) With Love...

I've been thinking about school quite a bit lately...

Well, truthfully, I don't know that I ever really stop thinking about it completely, even during summer...

But, lately education has been in the news, and not always in a positive way. In addition, I've been catching up on the blogs of some of my friends who also happen to be educators, and it got me pondering...

What is a teacher?

 A degree? A certificate? Passing a test?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a teacher as "one whose occupation is to instruct," but is that really all?

I think being a teacher encompasses much, much more...
 -  the countless hours spent in preparation for a new year, a fresh group of students
 - the laughter
 - the tears
 - the worry and frustration
 - the personal money invested without much hope of compensation
 - the joy of seeing the moment when it just "clicks" with a student
 - the pain of seeing a bright future dimmed or lost through poor choices
 - the second (and third, and fourth) jobs  - just so you can remain in the field you have chosen

This is my list... and it could probably go on... but I'd like to hear what you think being a teacher means, so please add your thoughts below...

And before you go, take a little inspiration that what you do really DOES matter...

(Remember the starfish story.... we may not be able to save every one, but we can make a difference...)

Inspiration...Perspiration...or Desperation....???

The phone rang this afternoon and I glanced at the caller id as I answered it. When I saw who it was I stifled a groan, for there on the screen was the name of my Bishop. Now, you know there is something up, when you see that name on your phone. The conversation went something like this.

Me: Hello.

Bishop: Hello Sister D... could I visit with you for a moment or two?

Me: (sighing) Sure, Bishop. (Somehow I knew EXACTLY where this was leading....)

Bishop(hemming and hawing a little) Well, you see... now... this is kind of an emergency situation, and I didn't get the chance to catch you before you left the church... then again, I really didn't have a moment to try to catch you anyway....Still... I know that you've held this position before...  but... well... we're in a desperate situation... there aren't many people who play the piano any more, there are only five in the ward... and... well... I know you work with kids all the time, but... maybe since it wouldn't really be one on one... and don't you work mostly with parents now, anyway? (I'm thinking to myself... do you even KNOW what my job is? NO, I don't just work with parents!)  So... umm... would you be willing to play the piano in Primary again?

Me: Well, how can I say no in the face of such arguments?

Bishop: Well, you see... Sister A. can't do it because...., Sister B. can't do it because...., Sister C. can't do it because.... and Sister E. can't do it because.... So, well, you can see where that kind of leads us... (So good to know I was your last choice...) I mean there was inspiration in this call... but there was also...

Me: Desperation?

Bishop: Oh, No! No! No!... I was going to say perspiration... we've been sweating bullets about whether you would accept this call... So will you?

Me: (another sigh) Yes, Bishop. I'll accept the call. When will it need to start?

Bishop: (breathing an audible sigh of relief) Umm.... well... they've been without a piano player for 2 weeks, so it would need to be next week.... You know, Sister.... I think you'll really be blessed for this....

Me: Yes, well, we can hope, can't we?

Bishop: Thank you so much, Sister D.... Good-bye.

Me: You're welcome, Bishop (sigh) ... Goodbye.

So I am back in the ranks of the Primary again... oh blessed day.... sigh...

Now, don't get me wrong. Primary is a good place, and wonderful things are done and taught there much of the time. But, sometimes you need to not see some of the little dears 6 days a week! Oh well, I'm sure there's a reason, probably a chance for me to learn even more patience... but still....

Life Through My Lens - Yard Sale... Free??

Anybody else see the irony??

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

 Went to my folks house yesterday afternoon to celebrate my mom's birthday. Thanks for everything you do for all of us, Mom!

Thought I'd share a few pictures of the celebration.

Butterfinger and Root Beer Float cupcakes for the grandkids. (I love the straws in the Root Beer Floats. :-)) Homemade Strawberry Cheesecake and German Chocolate cake for the grownups! Yummy!




Monday, July 25, 2011

Turning pages...

As I was pondering what to write in this post I was reminded of a news story I'd heard about Borders bookstores closing. One of the reasons given was because they didn't "keep up with the times" by catering to the online crowd. It saddened me in a way.

Now, I will admit that I have bought my share of e-books. I can take 1 book, 10 books, or 50 books along in my purse on my iPod or iPad and read anywhere. It's convenient and easy.

Still, there's something about holding a book in your hands. Turning pages. The feel and weight of the paper in your hands. The crisp smell of a new book, or the slightly musty smell of an old classic.

I was reminded of the movie "You've Got Mail." How "The Shop Around the Corner" ultimately falls victim to Fox Books. One clinging to the past, the other storming into the future.

Myself, I'd like to believe there's a happy medium out there between new technology and old, between the ease and convenience of an online bookstore and the comfort and feeing of greeting an old friend when I browse through the pages of a book in a cozy bookstore, hidden in an old building or the middle of a mall.

The power of words ...

                                                                                THE READING MOTHER
Strickland Gillilan

I HAD A MOTHER who read to me 
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea, 
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth, 
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath

I had a Mother who read me lays 
Of ancient and gallant and golden days; 
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe, 
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales 
Of Celert the hound of the hills of Wales, 
True to his trust till his tragic death, 
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things 
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings- 
Stories that stir with an upward touch, 
Oh, that each mother of boys were such.

You may have tangible wealth untold; 
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. 
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

I "borrowed" this picture from my sister-in-law's blog, because it captures such a perfect moment. (Thanks, Jenny!)

I love this poem because it is so true.

I was fortunate to have not just a "reading mother" but a "reading father," too. Some of my fondest memories can be tied to books. Listening as my parents introduced me to:
 "The Little House on the Prairie" books,
"The Chronicles of Narnia,"
"Charlie, and the Chocolate Factory,"
 "The Door in the Wall"
 (and so many more)
  filled my mind with a thirst for knowledge and my heart with a love for the written word.

I also had more than one "reading teacher"- not in the traditional sense of the phrase, though I had many of those throughout my schooling - but teachers who were truly passionate about words. And not just in books - poetry or prose; short or long - it didn't seem to matter. They devoured the phrases set before them and created a similar hunger in me.

I hope that in some small way, I am creating a similar desire in those I teach.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fourteen trips around the sun...

Fourteen years have passed since I landed in this valley
Near the river of green. 
Challenges and changes have come and gone.
I am still here. Still learning. Still growing.
Still hoping to be a positive influence.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clouds illusions

There's an old Joni Mitchell song:

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's clouds illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all 

Say Cheese! (Part Deux)

I'm revisiting a blog post I made in February  hoping for a few more suggestions about good quality cameras before I plunk down a chunk-o-change for a new camera. I'd appreciate any help you can give. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Foolish or wise...

Just another Sunday.
And then...the speaker related the story of the ten virgins-
the five foolish and five wise -
and I began to ponder... which am I?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Let's get together...yeah, yeah, yeah...

Nothing too profound this time, just a few snippets of family fun...

"Before the parade passes by...." 
(Sing it, Barbra...LOL)

Who? Me?

Hostess with the mostest....

Top Chef....

Mystery of the blackened fingertips....

Life is a balancing act...


Come fly with me....
oooo.... sparkles..... 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make today worth remembering...

          Tonight I had the opportunity, along with two very good friends, to attend a play at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, in Cedar City, Utah. The play we chose to attend was Meredith Willson's "The Music Man." The play was superb, the cast talented, and the audience entertained. It was an immensely enjoyable way to spend 3 hours. ($2 for a bottle of water during intermission is stretching things a little, however.)

            In the end, as with all good art, the play got me to thinking.

          As the second act begins, the charming swindler Harold Hill meets the lovely librarian and music teacher Marian Paroo at her home and utters a line that struck a cord with me. Marian, nervous about Harold's proposition that they meet at the footbridge, tries to postpone the meeting until "tomorrow." Harold replies, "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering." This simple phrase reminded me that too often we "put off for tomorrow, what we [should] do today." (Thomas Jefferson).

 "Tomorrow" I'll get started on that book I've been meaning to read. 
"Tomorrow" I'll call/write/email my friend.
"Tomorrow" I'll be kinder.
"Tomorrow" I'll make amends with my neighbor/friend/family member/co-worker.
"Tomorrow" I'll take the time to truly listen to my child/parent.
"Tomorrow" I'll be more patient.
"Tomorrow" I'll get organized.
"Tomorrow" I'll begin that diet/exercise program.
"Tomorrow" I'll take that trip I've always dreamed of.
"Tomorrow" I'll be less shy.
"Tomorrow" I'll be braver.
"Tomorrow" I'll pursue my dreams.

           We humans are creatures of habit. We long for the comfort of the status quo. What we seem to forget is that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow so we better make the most of our opportunities today.
           I've decided that "today"- this moment - I'm going to try to do everything I can to make it worth remembering - no more waiting around until "tomorrow." I don't want to awaken years from now with "a lot of empty yesterdays."

           Perhaps, for me, that means:

- Finally collecting all those poems and stories I've written over the years and trying to see if someone beyond those near and dear sees something of worth in them.

- Taking the satisfaction I find in capturing people, places, moments, and things on film and focus on turning it into something less amateur so that what I capture through the lens is meaningful to others as well as myself.

- Going on a trip now and then to a new place (out of my comfort zone), taking an opportunity for an adventure, no matter how small.

- Sticking my neck out and getting to know people, even when the thought of meeting new people scares me to death. (I can laugh and joke with the best of them, but deep down, I'm a mass of trembling nerves hoping I don't say or do something utterly stupid or embarrassing.)

- Taking a hard look at myself and making changes to who I am, how I act, what I say and do to make me a better person, friend, family member, and coworker.

        I'm sure there is much more I could add to the list, and maybe in the future I will. For now, though, this seems to be a good starting point.

         What about you? How will you make today worth remembering?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

... The sound (or sight) of silence... again....

Just an itty, bitty reminder that I really don't mind comments on my posts.... I really don't.     :-)
(And thanks to those of you who have left comments.... this is meant to foster a smidgen of guilt in those who don't.... you know who you are... LOL)

Sunday, July 10, 2011


                                                          Amidst the cobalt blue
                                       Scattered drops of rainbow
                               Soar heavenward
                                                                  By gravity
                                                                                No mortal shackles
                                                                          To keep them
                                               Carrying treasures
                                                            Precious messages
                                                                                Beyond sight
                                                                                                      -MLD July 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Where is heaven?

I had an opportunity today that got me thinking about life and family and the loving relationships we have with others that expand beyond this mortal sphere. It brought to mind a song I remember hearing when I was younger. The lyrics, by Janice Kapp Perry, went something like this:

In quiet moments when I'm all alone,
I close my eyes and try to see my Heavenly Home.
Where is heaven?
Is it very far? 
I would to know if it's beyond the brightest star.
Where is heaven?
Is it very far?
When you're with the ones you love-
It's right where you are.

Some very good friends gathered to honor the 2nd anniversary of the passing of one of my friends' mother and graciously invited my to be part of the commemoration and celebration of this wonderful woman's life. My friend planned to launch a balloon with a message written on it to his mom. He gave those of us with him the opportunity to do the same on our own balloons. My note was sent to my grandparents on both sides and my uncle who died far to young several years ago. At 6:00 p.m. MST we let the balloons free for their celestial journey. We watched until they were so small you could no longer see them. (Unfortunately, my camera was unable to capture them.)  Yet, we knew they (the balloons) were there, though they were now unable to be seen. It seemed to me that the were very much like those in our lives whom we may not see because they have gone on, but who live forever in our hearts.  It also brought to mind all of the people both here and beyond the veil whose love and guidance have influenced me to become the person I am today. I have been blessed in my life to have met so many diverse people - both family members and friends. In the long run, I guess the song is correct - when you're with the ones you love, Heaven isn't very far.

So - thanks, Mr. Z. for including me along with the H's in your celebration. Thanks for reminding me not to  take for granted the relationships with family and friends that are still among us. And, thank you for helping me remember those who are waiting beyond the veil. It's an experience I will look back on with gratitude and good memories.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"How it all began...." (Borrowed from a friend)....

"In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com."

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent. To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others." And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

That is how it all began. And that's the truth."

I had to share this. It made me laugh!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Three geese a laying....

As my family gathered to watch fireworks last evening at my brother's house, I noticed three geese and two ducks in his neighbor's yard. I suppose in a small town that may not seem terribly out of the ordinary.  Apparently, however, these geese have names....

New Years

Yes, you read it right.

 I'll leave it to your imagination where the inspiration for those names came from. (My own guess is pure speculation...LOL)

I didn't dare ask what the ducks' names were - I was worried they would be
 A L'Orange
Foie Gras.

Monday, July 4, 2011

When in the course of human events...

I love the 4th of July. I love being with family and friends enjoying the fun of the day. But, as I read over what I wrote last year I was reminded that sometimes we forget that beyond the parades, barbecues, and fireworks there is a deeper meaning to this day. It is often lost in the bustle of activity that surrounds this day. It amazes me that what began 235 years ago with a motley crew of farmers, merchants, and every day citizens has lasted so long.

I hope that as we celebrate our country's 235th birthday, we can say along with Francis Scott Key:

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave
(4th Verse -- The Star Spangled Banner)

I guess I'll close this post for now as I head with my family to watch the fireworks that will end my hometown's Independence Day celebration. I'll end this post with this song I thought was appropriate for the day. Happy 4th of July!

I think I'll post some pictures of our day in a later post.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Declaration of Independence


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Friday, July 1, 2011

A "Swell" sunset...

I was driving through town tonight and caught what I thought was a beautiful sunset over the San Rafael Swell....

I hope you'll forgive the quality...  Just thought it was too beautiful not to capture.

Calling Ichabod...

I  LOVE that we have a motel called the Sleepy Hollow. I often wonder.... are there any headless horsemen? There are vacancies....