Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Happy Day With the Truck

 So our beautiful green money pit of a truck was in getting fixed yesterday, and having its inspection and emissions testing done.  After I paid them lots of money for their work, they informed me that the truck hadn't passed emissions because the battery was too new -- or at least hadn't had enough highway miles. So, instead of taking my lovely van to Provo today, I took the truck.  I was wearing a nice spring skirt because I was heading to the temple first.  This is a knee length skirt, and truck is kind of tall.  So, I worked really hard to get in and out of the truck as modestly as possible.

After the temple, and after some more painful than usual allergy shots, and after going to the mall to try to pick Kayli an Easter dress by myself, I headed to the Home Depot.  I chuckled as I walked in the store, feeling like I was a little overdressed for the errand at hand.  I was looking for something to protect my strawberries from the birds.  They ate every single one last year!  While I was there I thought I'd buy some bags of dirt, and of course the biggest ones are the most cost effective.  So, I tried really hard to wrestle those big bags of dirt onto the bottom of my cart without flashing anyone, and then to put a bigger one in the top.  Whew!  The mesh for protecting the strawberries was almost as light as a feather!

After buying all of these things, and some sunflower seeds so that I can grow giant sunflowers for the birds to snack on instead of my strawberries, I headed out to the truck wondering just how I thought I was going to get those bags of dirt into the truck bed.  The truck isn't exactly short, and those bags of dirt are heavy!  I laughed again as I climbed up on the bumper to open the tailgate, because that's the only way I can get it open.  The first bag wasn't so bad.  It was in the top of the cart and slid across pretty well.  As I tried to heft the next one I see a man jogging over and he yells, "What do you think you are doing?", just as I finish shoving the second bag in.  He said, "Well, let me at least get the last bag.  No wonder my wife comes home complaining of a hurt back!"  (That made me chuckle) Then I thanked him, he waved and was gone.

Next I dropped the truck off to be retested and walked to the library.  Apparently lots of people have seen me walking around town on all of my truck errands this week.  My friend's daughter Juliann poked her head out of her workplace to say hello since she had seen me walking three times this week -- and this was the second time in half an hour!  I thought that was nice.  Luckily the weather has been great, and the truck did finally pass emissions.  After all of that I also went to the school, and the post office, but I had traded my skirt for shorts, so there wasn't so much drama getting in and out!

That was my happy day with the truck!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Break (Part 2)

The Thursday of Spring break was a beautiful day, and thus I didn't have any pockets for my camera.  I debated taking my jacket, or at least a long sleeved shirt, and decided to leave them in the car.  I asked Derek, Kayli and Connor how often they thought I'd complain that I was cold and they said never ... they were wrong!  Brrrr.  I was at least a little chilly most of the day, but did manage to get too warm once while waiting with Derek for Kayli and Connor to get a front row seat on the Kracken, a big roller coaster that I didn't feel my neck could handle twice in one day.

Sea World was packed with people, but most of the lines didn't seem too long, and sometimes we walked right on to fabulous rides, like the Manta!  We went to see the dolphin show.  It was beautiful and I felt really thankful for the wonderful world we get to live on!  We went to the whale show too, but I was sooooo tired that I was doing a bit of the head bobbers and was glad when it was over.  The whales did seem to really enjoy splashing the people in the splash zone!

Cocoa Beach Pier
Friday was the one day we slept in.  We lazily got up, packed a few things, and then Derek drove us to the beach. We went to a beach on the same coast as we had the first day.  It was a little closer. This time we chose Cocoa beach with the famous Coca beach pier that I'd never heard of.  Derek and I were going to walk to the end so that we could say we had, but they charge a dollar to walk to the end and we didn't care that much.  Kayli didn't feel as well this day, but she did go out into the ocean and jump waves, and she played in the sand and did generally better than we expected she might.


Derek and Connor spent quite a bit of time building big piles of sand.  The funny thing is that, after the water had washed over the pile a time or two, and Derek and Connor were back on their towels, a few people came by and decided to take their picture by the interesting formation of sand that just happened to be there!
 Guess who didn't want me to be taking her picture?
 I spent quite a bit of time collecting shells.  While I was sorting through my collection and tossing the ones I didn't want away, I attracted birds that were ever so hopeful that I was tossing food.  They never gave up, and I felt sorry for them and started setting the discarded shells in the sand beside me so they wouldn't get their hopes up so often!

After the beach we packed and relaxed at the hotel and then had a not so restful night before heading out to return the car and catch our flight.  Travels home went without a hitch!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break -- Separate Vacations (Part One)

On Wednesday when I was up on a high tower getting ready to zip across a canyon on a zip line, the guide asked me "what do you do?"  (He wasn't quizzing me on zipping skills).  I said, "I watch the kids".  Yes, that's what popped out of my mouth.  He looked puzzled.  How much did Kayli and Connor need watching?  They were the only kids with me.  I said, "I have six kids".  There was a general gasp.  Then a puzzled, "You go on separate vacations?"  I had time to say that two were in college, one of those was married, and my youngest was in second grade, and then I was jumping off the podium and zipping across to another tower.  You can imagine that I, as a classic over-thinker, have wondered what I should have said, and what impression they must have gotten!  The guides were great though and I enjoyed being called "Miss Sherie".  It turns out that Derek, Kayli, and Connor were naturals and zipping across canyons, but I provided a lot more entertainment!

This year our spring breaks were separate.  Trisa, Travis, and Tia had their spring breaks earlier -- in March.  Jake and Dan had theirs here at home with their Grandma Fuller.  They got a little time with cousins, and I left surprises for them.  Jake said he liked playing UNO with Grandma, so it was fun, but maybe didn't have the thrills ours did.  Unfortunately Dan spent a few days not feeling 100 percent great.

On Monday Derek, Kayli, Connor and I flew to Florida.  We got to our hotel in the early afternoon.  Unfortunately, though I am known to have a "stomach of steel", not to be confused with abs of steel, I felt lousy and so I went to bed for a couple of hours.  I got up and tried a bit of Tai Chi and then braved the grocery store with everyone else, but I wished I hadn't because I felt incredibly yucky and so I went to the car and then sipped sprite for the rest of the evening, and went to bed early.

Tuesday was Connor's favorite day because we went to Harry Potter World.  Even the pouring rain couldn't dampen his enthusiasm, and it did seem to make the ride lines shorter, and so we benefited by being able to go on more rides in less time.  My stomach was still off, but even the wild rides didn't make it worse and so we were able to have all of the adventures we wanted.  The tower that takes you up high at an incredibly quick speed and then drops you just as quickly seemed to actually make me feel better for a minute, which I thought was funny.  We got pretty drenched, but had a good time. 

Wednesday was our get up early and travel to Ocala National Forest to the zipline day.  That was a fun adventure.  It is easy to feel good about yourself after doing something brave.  It was fun too, and I wish I could do it every day because my abs are sore, so it must be a fun way to work out the abs!  Derek drove us to the beach after that.  I wore a jacket almost the whole time.  I don't really handle cold breezes so well.  It was a fairly empty beach though, and I braved doing Tai Chi on the beach there, even though it was hard for me to concentrate with people around, the wind blowing, and the sound of the surf.  It was fun though, and the last of the Tai Chi I managed during spring break.

Here are some more pictures of Universal Island of Adventure -- mostly Harry Potter World.  I didn't take any pictures that first time we went to the beach so you can see the beach pictures next post.







Tia' Birthday Weekend -- Happy for Me!

Tia and her good buddy Dan.
Tia's birthday is April 6th, and she came home for a day to celebrate.  She brought her friend Taylor.  Trisa and Travis came a couple of days before that and my parents came too.  It was so fun to have all of the kids home!  It is a blessing for parents to watch their kids enjoying each other's company, and getting along well.

Tia made up a bedtime story for Jake and Dan Saturday night, and games were played.  Sunday Derek's parents joined us all for a birthday dinner and dessert.  Tia said it was the "best birthday ever!" 
In this picture it looks like Taylor is praying.  He's probably either praying that the camera will miss him, or that Tia will get her wish, or that Tia's crazy Mom won't put the pictures on her blog! 

Tia dramatically blows out her candle.
You've really got to love Tia.  She is fun.
Thanks to Grandma Christensen for the birthday dessert!
And to my Mom for helping with the lasagna.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Constant Change

Christopher Pei
Picture from Google Images
Tai Chi master Christopher Pei said to me (okay so he was on a DVD) that,  "The beauty of Tai Chi is about change.  Everything around us is changing constantly and we cannot stop the change, but we hope to harmonize our self with the change."

It is true that everything is changing constantly.  Kindergarten registration was today, and for the third year in a row, I didn't sign anyone up!  My oldest daughter is married!  My hair never stays the same length but grows, is cut, and grows again -- in the oddest colors!  Okay, maybe gray isn't so odd.  Our new house isn't so new anymore, and the cars we have now are not the same as the one we started out with as newlyweds (Hallelujah!).

I think there are changes that we need to harmonize ourselves with, like those above, and things like my food allergies that showed up, for the most part, after I was married.  My wishing that food allergies didn't exist doesn't make them go away, and wishing my hair would stay a beautiful golden blond, or whatever color it really used to be, doesn't make it so.  Many changes just happen, and we harmonize with them by accepting that, and coming up with a plan to handle our new reality.

However, there are some changes in society, or our communities around us, that we must harmonize ourselves with in a different way.  There are changes that would move people away from God -- changes in society's values, and morals, and perspectives. We harmonize with these changes by making a plan to deal with them that stays true to our beliefs, and to our knowledge of the truth.  Rather than molding ourselves to merely accept the changing forces, we must harmonize ourselves to the reality that we might stand judged and alone!

So, in my handling and harmonizing with constant change, I hope I will harmonize with changes in a way that moves me toward God and not away from Him, because I believe this is where happiness is found.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Angels are Smiling

Image from Google Images.  I tried to discover the name of the artist, but failed.

Sometimes I think that you fly like an angel
Showing up just when I've needed a friend
Sharing your love and your great gift of kindness
Helping my day have a happier end

Some days have sunshine, children, and good times
Joy multiplies with a friend there to share
Laughter, and warmth, and the peace of a person
That I know as someone who really does care

Storms come with dark clouds and lost expectations
Pain that can burrow down into your heart
Sorrow that pulls the tears from inside you
A heavy load lifted when a friend carries part

Then there are days that seem to last forever
Or days that fly past at the great speed of light
Days where the ups and the downs come together
With the help of my friend, these days turn out right

Chorus:

Angels are smiling, for you, my friend.
They will stand by you each day till the end.
They'll hold you up if your knees start to falter,
For in you they see our Savior's good friend.

This is a song that I wrote for my friend Shannon for Christmas.  I just got around to making an imperfect recording.  I tried for a perfect one, but I only tried twice!  It's a long song when you're singing to the camera.  You can check out my frustrated look at the end when I miss the last note on the guitar.  Just click on Angels . 

While I wrote this song for Shannon, it applies to all of my angel friends.  I am very blessed.