Friday, August 29, 2008

We're Off to See the Redwoods!

We're taking a long Labor Day and heading south, into northern California to see the Redwoods. Tom has never been there. It has been years since my Mom have been, so we are going to re-discover them together. I'm taking TWO memory cards for my camera!

Lost Video

I found some video tapes that Grandma and Grandpa taped on their video camera before they gave it to Chrissy. The surprise was that I watched some videos I had never seen before, had forgotten all about.

There exists a video of us moving into our apartment in Yreka - unloading the U-Haul. There is a video of our visit up to Waldport that July after moving to Yreka. We had a picnic at Ona Beach with their friends, the Rickeys. Tom is buff. Chrissy is missing her two front teeth. Matt has his "tail" and is reading "Calvin and Hobbs." Ericka is wearing her visor cap. Samara is saying hi to Grandpa every time she goes past the camera. I have a perm. Amazing. I will bring it when I come to see the baby next month.

Dr. Matt - there is a section with me playing catch with Chrissy that you HAVE to see! That toothless smile is adorable!

There are also views of them feeding the raccoons on the deck - before the raccoons became a nuisance.

I can't wait to watch the others. Who knows what is on them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Grocery Saving Website

For my Utah kids - check this site out:

You can print off food coupons and find free food items for a variety of Utah stores.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cayden and his Magic Spray Bottle

Once upon a time there was a wonderful little boy named Cayden.

He loved his mommy and daddy.

He loved his sisters.

And he loved his Grandpa Archer.

Cayden knew how much his Grandpa Archer wanted a wide screen TV. But Grandpa had a perfectly GOOD TV already. Maybe it was a little dusty and dirty, but a good TV.

Now Grandma Archer had a spray bottle. She got it out to help dampen Faith's hair, so she could braid it. Silly Grandma. She thought it was just a regular spray bottle. Cayden knew better!

This was a MAGIC spray bottle. If he tried, Cayden knew he could use it on the plain old TV Grandpa had - and BAM! Turn it into a bright shiny new WIDE screen TV.

Cayden tried. Hmmm. Nothing happened. Now, I don't have a picture of Grandpa Archer when he found his perfectly good TV sitting in a pool of water. But this is what Grandpa Archer looked like when he DID get his new TV.

Cayden is still alive. Grandpa loves his new Tv. And they all lived happily ever after.

Chrissy! Matt!

Is this what you are looking for??? It was DE-licious!

Memory Lane

Maybe it's all the years of HAVING to get ready for school. First myself. Then the kids. Fall makes me trunky. I wrote a poem about it once - compared the feeling to the urge to "migrate." I see all the school supplies on sale and I want to buy them. I have a serious stationary obsession. I found that out when I moved. Fall makes it worse. I'm SURE I need more of those cute little composition books - like the one I bought last year. That are still unscathed on my shelf. Maybe not.

I think it's all the excitement of starting a new school year. Some people get all excited about New Years. Starting the school year does it for me. I want to go places. Do things. Learn new things. I want to quit my job (oops, that just slipped out).

I can still remember one school year that my mom took me school clothes shopping. Back then, girls HAD to wear dresses to school. So, there wasn't much mixing and matching. We went to this one store that actually had several really cute dresses. Money was always tight and I was resigned to that. I tried on dresses and narrowed down my choices to four I really liked. Of course, my limit to purchase was three. I remember agonizing over which one to put back. I tired them all on again - and then a miracle! My mom said I could have ALL FOUR! I still remember the feeling of euphoria I felt. I felt like a princess with an enormous wardrobe! I felt rich! I felt pretty! All at the same time.

I also still remember what the lunch closet smelled like when I was in first grade. We had to put our lunch boxes on a shelf until lunch time. I remember walking in and smelling peanut butter sandwiches and bananas. This was before plastic wrap and baggies. Everything was wrapped in wax paper. The bread in your sandwich would dry out before you got to eat it. The smells weren't contained. It was wonderful.

School shopping was such a heady experience when I was little. It was almost like Christmas. All these new things. Getting to see all your friends that you had missed over the summer. A new lunchbox. New shoes. Everyone excited to show off what they had gotten. I remember thinking my dress HAD to be the prettiest of any of my friends on my way the first day. Can you remember picking out what you would wear that first day? Spacing out new things to make the newness last longer.

As a mom, school shopping was an entirely different experience. I was always stressed about money. Trying to find the sizes we needed. Making sure I didn't favor one child over another. Trying to find bargains when they wanted brand names. Never being able to do all I wanted, the way I wanted. I know Ericka is having difficulties with it this year. It's a mom thing.

Fall brings up desires for change in me. I've moved three in the last eight years in the fall. I moved to Stanfield, we moved to the 2nd St. Helens' house, and we moved back to Waldport - all in the fall. I never put that together before. Hmmm.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Preparing for Sunday

I wasn't doing my daily scripture reading during all the my family visits, like I usually do. I think that is significant. I do much better when I have my daily dose. I was always able to prepare my lesson, but I didn't always have the extra days to "ponder" and that makes a huge difference for me. In the past, I have gotten lost in Alma. I know a lot of people love the "war chapters." One of my favorite ladies at church suggested that the Lord knew who He was dealing with and how "boys" always love fighting and adventure. How better to keep them involved than my having a general write about his battle experiences?

I used to think that maybe we would need to know different battle strategies to be able to get through the "last days." I would read and see how he set up ambushes and decoyed the Lamanites. In my advancing years, I think I WAS right. I just had the wrong angle on the "strategies." We are in a battle, all right. There are ambushes and decoys plotted. It's just not a military battlefield. It's a spiritual one. We DO need to know how to fight back and protect our family, our faith and our freedom.

I have been reading along with the lesson schedule, but I keep finding myself going back, and re-reading, picking up new information. I have been trying to keep track of the town and the battles and the opponents - make sense of the landscape. This time, going through Alma, I'm really getting something different. THIS is why I wanted to teach Sunday School this year. Having the teacher's role, there are blessing that come to me. "The teacher always learns the most," they say. Having to present what I glean, seems to open bigger doors of understanding for me. Sometimes, it's almost like I am there, standing in their shoes. I imagine things about them I never consider before. I feel things that never occurred to me before.

I have favorite stories from Alma. Some of my favorite "hanging-in-there" scriptures are in Alma. One has always been Helaman and his stripling warriors. My example of what I am trying explain happened today as I was re-reading part of this story. The part I was reading was WHY the 2000 young men went to fight with Helaman. (And I don't remember having this part ever stand out the way it did today.) The Lamanites are attacking the area where the Nephites are protecting the Ammonites, and the Ammonites are feeling bad about all the hardship and adversity this is bringing on their protectors. They are considering breaking their covenant not to fight, to ease the burden on those who have taken such good care of them. Helaman convinces them to keep their covenant. And then it says they were "compelled to behold their brethren wade through their afflictions"

It made me think about repentance. Part of repentance is restitution. But there are somethings we people do to each other that can't be "restored." If you kill someone, you can't bring them back to life. You can't restore lost innocence. You can't restore virginity. What can you do for restitution in those cases? And others. I think this scripture shows us how restitution in those things can happen. We watch someone else suffer as a result of our prior choices.

How do you think they felt - watching the people who had brought them to Christ, given them love, a home and everything they now enjoyed - fighting, being wounded, maybe dying. For them. Remind you of anyone? Someone who was guiltless, who willingly suffered to save - us. It's hard to watch - someone we love "wading through" their afflictions (because of something maybe we did), but maybe that's part of our restitution. To watch and recognize the symbolism.
What do you think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moving On

I'm done pouting over my summer fun being over.

I REALLY like spending time with my kids - call me crazy. They arranged their visits so I had something fun ALL summer long. Saying good-bye to the first visitors wasn't as hard as saying good-bye to the last ones. In June and July, there was still August.

As August dribbles away, all I could think of was the shortening daylight (living above the 45th parallel, we are lucky to get 8 hours of daylight in the winter), the rains starting again (if you don't get an annual rainfall of five to six FEET of rain a year, you won't understand) and not being able to take much more time off from work for a while.

In my wallowing, somehow I forgot about my two new grand-babies about to make their entrance next month. BAD Grandma! They will too far away to do all the "grandma things" I wish I could, but I will do what I can and look forward to better possibilities in the future.

I was also regretting how long it will be before Tom and I can get away alone again. It was something we have never really done before. We never had even flown on a plane together. How sad is that? It was like a mini-honeymoon. Truly wonderful for our relationship. Something we will repeat. Couples NEED couple-time. Too bad it took us 15 years to see how wonderful it was.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vacations and Family Visits

The only bad thing about them is when they end.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Family Time Again

We've had my youngest daughter and her husband visiting us for the past two days. It's been slower paced and I'm grateful for that. I still don't feel like my battery is fully charged. I'm dragging around and tired all the time. I'm due for a physical, I think I will schedule that. I don't feel 100%, but can't really put my finger on what is different. I just know something is.

This morning started off with Matt's amazing French Toast. It was better than mine! I LOVE when that happens! It means I don't have to be the cook anymore!!

We all piled in the van and took the tour south again: Devil's Churn

Heceta Head lighthouse, which has special significance for them. It was where Matt "formally" proposed and gave her an engagement ring. We claim that Matt has a special blessing when it comes to Oregon weather. The one week they came to Oregon in April, 2006, was the ONLY week of sunshine we had that whole month. It rained before and it rained after, but for that week - amazingly beautiful weather.

We decided to take them to a place we hadn't been in a long time. It's down south by Reedsport. I used to drive in from California that way when we would come to see my folks. You drive along the Umqua River and just before you get into town, there is a large meadow, that used to belong to a local rancher. The elk started coming to the field in HUGE numbers, year after year. Soon there were traffic problems, illegal hunting problems, land right issues - bunch of stuff happening. The rancher sold the land to the state and it was made a protected area for the elk and turn-outs were made so the public could watch the wildlife being wild.

So we are talking this up to the kids. The last time Tom and went, it looked like a cattle feeding yard - only for elk. There were so many you couldn't count them. So we get there, and what do we see:

A big green field. An empty, big green field. And we drove about an hour to get there. But Eagle-Eye Matt spotted some elk resting in the distance

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Special Day for Three of my Favorite People!!

I'm just having a little trouble getting back up to speed after our little vacation. I think I relaxed and dropped-out a little too much!
August 12th was Chrissy and Matt's second anniversary!

And my little Faith's 8th birthday!

Two years ago Faith shared her birthday with her aunt. She put up with having a "lessor" celeration and got to go to Utah with her mom for the wedding. In 2007, it happened again when her other aunt got married in the same week as her birthday. This August 12th was ALL hers! She got her ear pierced! (STOP GROWING, Faith! I've warned you!) And I love you!

Hope you all had a great day to celebrate the wonderfulness of yourselves! I thank the Lord every day for all of you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

LDS Temple Weddings

I was asked a question about my posting of David and Jill's "sealing" in Mesa. Sometimes I forget that our "Mormon" vocabulary sounds really weird at times. I wanted to answer her questions and thought I could do it better HERE. Besides, maybe others have questions and didn't ask.

One of the most important things in the LDS faith is our family. We believe the connection and responsibilities we have as mothers and fathers last beyond this earth-life. We believe families are forever; we will be together after this life. Our children will have children and they will have children and we will all still be able to visit and associate together. It's like a great big expansion of what grandparents have now, without the illness, sorrow and conflict we have here, in my mind.

LDS couples can be married civilly or in an LDS temple. The goal for most of us to be have our marriage made eternal (be "sealed" together) in the temple. In civil weddings the term of the contract is given within the ceremony as being "as long as you both shall live," or "until death do you part." A temple wedding takes out that limitation. We believe Christ had the power, as he said in Matthew, to bind things here on earth and have them be bound in heaven as well. The greatest treasure we have here on earth is our relationships with our families. Why would that end here? As much time and effort as we put into these relationships, is seems to me that they have lasting value. I believe the Bible teaches the families are eternal.

A couple who want to be "sealed" (have an eternal marriage), have to be members in good standing in the church. They meet before the wedding with their bishop to get the form which allow them to go to the temple. It isn't a commitment to be taken lightly, given the sacred nature of the promises given. Wedding couples are asked to keep the number of guests small, usually their immediate family and a few close friends; this allows the service to remain reverent and sacred. The ceremony is very simple and beautiful. It lasts about 30-45 minutes.

The sealing takes place in a small room, called a "sealing room."
The room has chairs for the family and friends. It is always beautifully decorated. There is an alter in the center of the room. The bride and groom kneel at the alter and make promises to each other and God to live Christian principles and make God part of their life as a couple. They are looking into each other's eyes. There are mirrors behind each - the bride and the groom. The symbolism is in the repeating series of images reflected. You can stand before the mirrors and see telescoping images of yourself going on forever. Which is how we see our lives together - forever.

This site gives a list of all the temples - pictures, facts, history. Probably more information than you would ever need. Cool site. This site give more info about our temples purpose. All new temples have an open house after construction, usually for several days. At that time, anyone who is interested can take tour and see the building. When older temples are re-furbished, they do the same thing. Once the temple is dedicated to the service of God, only members who are in good standing may enter.
This link shows all temples announced or under construction, down at the bottom of the page. Hopes this answers some questions.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Second Day

The storm passed. We were concerned about David and Jill's wedding pictures, but the day dawned sunny and humid.

We went to the temple a little after 8 AM and saw the cute couple sitting in the waiting room. David was SO happy to see us. And Jill is adorable. She looked so beautiful.

It was wonderful. The whole thing. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. There were four sealing going on that morning. I thought their sealer, Bro. Fish, was adorable.

They had a reception/luncheon at a nearby church building. David and Jill sat with us - which I thought was so cool. We got to hear their "story" of how they met and fell in love. It gave me a little better "feel" for this sweet girl. Get ready kids. I didn't loose an adopted son, I gained an adopted daughter. She's family.

We also got to meet David's sister, Katy and her husband Jesse. They have four kids and they were SO cute and so good!

After the reception, we changed clothes and took a drive out to the east and went up towards the Superstition Mountains. I have read about them and know the legends, but had never seen them.

It was still HOT, but we had air conditioning in the car and knew how to use it.
The cactus is like nothing I've ever seen. The Sonora Desert is completely different from the Mojave Desert. That surprised me. I thought it was prettier. More flowering cacti than I have ever seen.

We drove up to Canyon Lake, which reminded me a little of Silverwood Lake, in the San Bernardino Mountains.

It is a desert man-made lake, but much bigger. It looks like a good fishing lake and has some excellent picnic areas and swimming areas.

The big saguaro cacti are like trees for the birds and animals of the area. You see holes in their trunks. I even saw a bird fly in and out of the one in the picture. His hole was in the top section, just above that little knob. (Center arm, tallest one)

A big turkey vulture was chasing him. He probably thought he had an easy meal. Then he saw Tom and I. I could just imagine what he was thinking. "Look at those two! This is my lucky day! Please fall down. Please! I could week for weeks." We had other plans.

On the way back, we stopped at In-N-Out for dinner. Did you think we wouldn't??? We got comfortable and watched "Geronimo" for our "dinner and a movie." What else would be more perfect? The story happened in Arizona.

I looked at a map today and realized HOW close we are to California. We are just a few miles away from Blythe and the Colorado River! Our rental miles are only good in Arizona so we probably won't run over there - but wow! We're right by Lake Havasu. It's like old home week....

Another fun day! Tomorrow we MIGHT drive to Sedona - don't know yet.

First day in Mesa

This has been the BEST day I've had in a long time!

We started our day at the unearthly time of 4AM. We stayed the night at the Ramada Inn in Portland because they have a park and fly option. We were able to leave our car there and take their shuttle to the airport.

My son-in-law sent me this video about hotel glasses. We usually have plastic ones, but this time there were GLASS ones. The video came racing back into my memory. We DID NOT use them!!

We took the 4:40 shuttle and (having already gotten our boarding passes on-line) went straight to the baggage check-in. I arranged for a wheelchair for Tom because we were leaving from the farthest gate possible on Southwest and though he COULD have walked it, he would have been hurting the rest of the day. We were given priority boarding and were the third couple to be put on the aircraft and picked out seat in the first row. It meant we wouldn't have tables and had to stow all our belongings overhead, but was well worth it.

We had a great flight, and beautiful cloud formations. It was overcast on the ground, but a beautiful day at 10,000feet!

The flight took about two and a half hours. Plenty of time to take pictures!

Phoenix has a neat arrangement for getting your rental cars. After you pick up your baggage, they have "rental car shuttles" right outside the baggage area. The shuttle is manned and you don't have to deal with your luggage getting on or off the bus. In a short 10-15 minute drive, you are taken to another airport-like complex. It has a circular drive entry, like at the airport. It has a multi-tiered garage underground. Each company has its cars parked there, on different levels. All the rental car companies have an office area on the ground floor.

You are dropped off and all the rental car companies have an office area, like the airlines do at the airports. You simply pick out your company and walk into their waiting line. We didn't have to wait more than a few minutes. You pick your car and make payments. Then you take an elevator down to the appropriate floor garage (for your rental company) and they take you out to your car. I had so much fun in the process - but you KNOW I'm easily entertained! Everyone was so friendly and personable. Picking out the car was like new car shopping without any of the pressure or anxiety. We picked a Chevy Envoy mid-sized SUV. I'd never OWN one, but it's been great fun to drive!

Our first stop was finding our motel, in Mesa. Our agent at Enterprise gave us easy, simple, clear directions and we drove straight there. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Mesa, just two blocks from the Mesa LDS temple. (The temple was different than I thought it would be. And it is RIGHT in the middle of town. Kind of like the L.A. temple's location.) It's a brand new motel and since this is the off-season in Arizona, it is almost empty. Our room is beautiful and has a flat screen TV!

Next stop after settling in and unpacking was In-N-Out Burgers!

They were better than I remembered. And that is saying a lot!

I'm sure the people in the restaurant were wondering about Tom and I. We took pictures of the food, of each other taking our first bite, of the kitchen. Tourists!! Freaks! Yes - we were.

Next stop was Bass Pro Shop.

Tom doesn't smile big and wide often. But he sure did here. I thought he was going to genuflect!

He kept referring to it as the Fisherman's Shrine.

AND they had this HUGE selection of bass boats around the parking lot.

If it hadn't been for the temperature, I think we would still be there.

For dinner, we decided to try a Mexican place called El Rancho De Tia Maria.

It was AMAZING. Good food, great atmosphere, wonderful waitress. We decided that there was NO way we could ever move to Mesa. We wouldn't be able to walk, we'd weigh so much. When we walked to the door to leave - guess what we saw out in the parking lot? RAIN! Coming down by the gallon.

If you have never been in the desert, you won't understand desert thunderstorms. This one came on quickly and POURED. There was lightening everywhere. Totally awesome to watch. A little scary to drive in. We stood at the door, dumbfounded. It had just been 110 degrees outside. Bright sun shine when we walked in. Now it's pouring. Another couple walked up behind us and said, laughing, "It's just rain." I turned and smiled. "Yeah, we're from Oregon. I know rain. I just didn't expect to see it here!" He laughed and said, "We're from Alberta! Go figure!"

Tomorrow - David's wedding!