Wednesday, September 30, 2009


on a little inconvenience!  For someone that loves to travel, it helps when you can let the system pay for some of your trips.  And usually it is merely by taking advantage of the airlines overbooking or cancellation of flights.

Recently, I was able to book flights to Hawaii because of a willingness to give up our seats on the way to San Antonio last Spring.  What was only a mere inconvenience for us turned into $800 worth of travel vouchers.

Today, we received word that our flight to Los Angeles was cancelled.  For the added trouble of re-scheduling our flight to later in the evening, we are receiving $200 in travel vouchers.

Throughout the years, we have benefited several times in this way.  Often we have found that one trip helps to pay for the next, and so on and so on...

I've even got my kids trained to be willing to give up their seats if it doesn't hinder their plans too much. They, too, love to cash in on free tickets!


Here are the lyrics to a powerful song.  It is from a hardly-known Musical, It's Only Life.  I think Miranda and I are the only ones that know it.  It sums up how I'm feeling.

I've got a roof over my head
I've got a warm place to sleep
Some nights I lie awake counting gifts
Instead of counting sheep

I've got a heart that can hold love
I've got a mind that can think
There may be times when I lose the light
And let my spirits sink
But I can't stay depressed
When I remeber how I'm blessed

In a city of strangers
I've got a family of friends
No matter what rocks and brambles fill the way
I know that they will stay until the end

I feel a hand holding my hand
It's not a hand you can see
But on the road to the promised land
This hand will shepherd me
Through delight and despair
Holding tight and always there

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Officer of the Corporation

Pretty cool, huh?  I needed some business cards so that I can get into the Textiles Trade Show in Los Angeles this week.  One of the perquisites of no children in school is that I am free to travel with Brian on business trips.  These shows are fun to go to.  I went with him once to Miami also.  There is lots of new technology to see.  Brian has some specific things he will be looking for while I just get to look at all the cool new things.

And maybe I will find some other diversions in Southern California, too...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tired of the Same Old, Same Old...

Hair!!!  I need some style!  I am so tired of seeing the same old stringy hair style every day.  Why am I so hesitant to be bold and daring?  It never seems to matter what I do, my hair ends up looking pretty much the same all the time.  I tell myself that I am being "conservative", like that is the respectable thing to do, and yet I crave something a little more bold and not so predictable.  Even when I go in to have my hair done, asking for something with a little more style, I end up going home with pretty much the same thing EVERY time.  Help!

Sneak Preview to my Blog readers:  The New Me!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

All of life's solutions are a friendship away...

I have been blessed with a new facet cut into the stone of my life; it is the renewal of friendships.  Largely responsible is that quirky, new-fangled invention called "facebook". Have you heard of it?

I know it began as a tool for young people to communicate and network in their respective schools and circles of friends, but it has mushroomed into an overwhelming behemoth that is meeting needs in all walks of life and all age groups.

I think facebook's success comes by bringing to the foreground some of life's basic needs that are usually neglected.  How many of us haven't spent that last 20 years pursuing such things as education, marriage, family, careers, etc.?  And the victim of these priorities is the simple joy that comes from having a friend; someone you can laugh with through the difficult times; someone who can temporarily take your mind off your troubles and the drudgery of life.

I found a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:  "We take care of our health, we lay up money, we make our room tight, and our clothing sufficient; but who provides wisely that he shall not be wanting in the best property of all--friends?"

My facebook circle of friends can be divided into some interesting groups:  my dear friends from Salem, Oregon who have been with me through the raising of my family; my family, including my siblings, and even my old dad ;-); young people throughout the years who have blessed me with the opportunity to get to know them through seminary, sunday school, Young Women's, Girls Camp, and being friends of my own children; one elementary school friend from Cedar City, Utah; a fun handful of junior high friends from Wichita, Kansas; and an expanding, delightfully fun group from my high school days in Grace, Idaho.

I have been so blessed to know all of these fine people.  I have been so blessed to be able to call them "my friends".  There is such power in that word, isn't there?  My desire is that in taking so much from all of them, so much kindness and support and love, that I in turn can somehow be a source to lift them, to guide them, and to help buoy them up in some small way.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two Great Ladies, One Shared Birthday

Today is a special day.  It is the day to celebrate two amazing lives, lived by two of the most inspiring ladies that I know.  My mother, Caroline Wakeman, and my oldest sister, Wendy Peatross.
These two have set examples for me of unconditional love, self-sacrifice, obedience, faithfulness, and sometimes, just plain enduring to the end.

They are creative, and immensely talented.  They can take ordinary materials and transform them into beautiful and useful objects to bless the lives of their families and anyone that is in need.

They know the meaning of charity and it directs their lives.  I don't know how many hours have been spent in quiet service, always behind the scenes, never in any showy way, but just to follow the admonition of the Savior to be a friend to the "least of these".

My life has been blessed by these two women.  Thank you for your love and patience with me, but mostly for your example.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Exactly 90 days until Christmas Eve!

How do I know this?  It has been marked on my calendar for months!   I woke up very early this morning so that I could put a call in for Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World at exactly the 90 days out mark. Can't wait!  The challenge now will be to make Christmas at Disney World as christmassy as I can ;-)

If anyone knows me, they know I love to take trips.  If anyone knows me well, they know I especially love to PLAN trips. It's all in the details!

So for months now I have been checking and re-checking different menus for all the potential candidate restaurants.  And I am happy to say that because I called at the earliest possible time I was successful in snagging reservations at some of the best restaurants in all the parks and resorts.

Call me obsessed, I know...  But for our family, the dining experience at Disney World is part of the fun.

And I am always on the lookout for the best Key Lime pie!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Leap of Faith...

in oneself?  Do we do it enough?  I have been reminded lately of the need to feel gratitude not only for the things we have been blessed with, but also for the spiritual gifts we have been given.  And with that gratitude, we need to show sufficient faith to rely on our abilities.

I had an experience recently that required such a leap of faith in myself.  We were in California, it was the afternoon before Evelyn's Blessing Day, and it was time for a practice for the musical number to be presented in church the next day.  Josalyn's sister, Alysse, a recording artist that has released 3 CDs with piano extraordinaire, Marvin Goldstein, was to be the vocalist.  She would be accompanied by a violinist and my son, Robert, on the piano.

Robert hadn't looked at the music yet, which usually isn't a problem because he is a gifted musician.  His ability to play by ear and improvise and embellish usually always allows him to shine even without practice.

I knew something was wrong when he came to me with a look of uncertainty.  "Mom, you're a better sight reader than me.  I don't think I can do this."  What?!

I was so enjoying my trip to California, spending time with my grandbaby, drinking in the amazing hospitality of Robert's inlaws, WHY would I want to ruin it with anxiety over a musical number?  My first instinct was NO!  I can't do that!  There were so many obstacles fighting against me, and they had nothing to do with the 5 flats in the Key Signature.  The music was arranged by Marvin himself, with all his signature flourishes and runs, my eyesight has gotten so bad that I can't play the piano without glasses and all I had with me were tiny reading glasses, AND I didn't want to do anything to embarrass my son, daughter-in-law, and her wonderful family.

I took the leap.  I said yes even though everything in my body was screaming otherwise.  After perhaps an hour of practice on the piano, which included the time with the other two musicians, I felt no better, but I knew that was all the practice I would be able to have.  It was time to rely on the Lord.

Did I play all the notes?  No.  Were there mistakes?  Only ones that Marvin and I would know about.  But I was able to help contribute to a powerful musical number that invited the Spirit to touch hearts that day.  I did what I could, and then I turned it over to the Lord in faith.  We often pray to be instruments in the hands of the Lord.  That day I was.  I felt inadequate, ill-prepared, and very thankful for answered prayers and an opportunity to use a spiritual gift.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


In a world where employment is becoming more difficult to come by, Miranda snagged the coolest job!  She is the seating hostess at The Sassy Onion Grill, a place where they tout, "Food with an Attitude!"  It is so nice to see her becoming more comfortable with her responsibilities and making friends with the other staff.  The Sassy Onion is down on State Street, just across the street from Willamette University and all the State buildings so there is always a good breakfast and lunch crowd.  And they are famous for their french toast, made with cinnamon rolls and dipped in cornflake crumbs.  Yum! 
We are so thankful that she found a job in such a nice environment and she has fun putting that paycheck straight into the bank, saving up for her next big adventure, BYU-I in January!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Magic of Creekside Golf Club

I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  And because of that...
the golf courses are spectacular!  Here is one of my favorite holes, #3 on the front nine. Why is it my favorite?  Because I can actually make par on it occasionally :-)

But you know what?  That aside, there is a completely different reason why I love to golf.  It doesn't matter how stressful the day, or how lousy I play, I find magic on the course that relaxes me, lowers my blood pressure, decreases my anxieties, and restores my soul.

I feel so blessed to have been able to add this new dimension to my life.

Brian and I love spending this time together.  It has to be well-planned and protected from an otherwise consuming schedule, but we are usually successful in going at least once a week.

Another bonus has been being able to golf with our buddies, the Brocks.  Rich and Patti are so much fun to be with, and Rich always manages to give me a few welcome pointers.

I am still trying to figure out if I will be a foulweather golfer in addition to fairweather. The rains are surely coming.  Will I still be so anxious to go out when I will need rain pants instead of golf shorts?

If it means hanging out with these two guys?  You BET!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Am I the only one that wasn't familiar with that term?  Apparently it is something that is necessary at some point between two people in a relationship, or at least where there is promise of a relationship.  I suppose I am familiar with the concept; I just never knew that there was a term for it.  I am so glad to finally know what to call it.  Oh, by the way, it stands for "Defining The Relationship"...  How nice.  Back in my day I guess we simply wandered around aimlessly never knowing the importance of DEFINING IT!  I guess, "it's complicated"...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ultimate Comfort Food...

at the Haws House:  authentic Hungarian Goulash.  Some days just need it, don't they?  I know of a particular man that is having great challenges today in his bishop's office.  I don't know what those challenges are; I can't ask him about them; he can't tell me about them.  What can I do?  I can make sure that when he walks in the house, at whatever hour he is eventually able to break away, that he is greeted by heavenly aromas, a tidy home, and a smiling, sympathetic wife.  So right now the crock pot is working its magic on some simple ingredients.  Now I just need to make sure the other parts of the formula are ready, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Looking for my own style...

of blogging.  I have spent some time looking at others' blogs, and there are some amazing ones floating around the cyber universe.  But, I think my quest will include trying to find what feels best for me, what will have my own thumbprint.  So I will try a variety of approaches.  I have thought a lot about journals, and the problem I have with journals is that people only discover the "real you" after you are dead.  I think that misses an important opportunity to let people know you while they can give feedback and help and suggestion.  I don't presume to think I have all the answers, far from it.  But I do have a lot of ideas swirling around inside my head, and writing has always been a catalyst for organizing those ideas into manageable thoughts.  Perhaps this format will be an impetus for that.  Or maybe not....  I invite whomever is interested to join my quest with me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time for Oktoberfest

One of my favorite times of the year:  Oktoberfest!  And this year was particularly delightful.  The weather couldn't have been nicer.  Just the drive through the beautiful valley out to Mt. Angel was inspiring, considering my mouth had already begun to water in anticipation of the delights to come.

The last several years we have attended Oktoberfest with a bunch of friends in addition to making a family trip out, but due to a busy schedule this weekend, we decided Thursday would be our best and only chance to go.  We brought Miranda along with us and the three of us had fun together.  She's a good sport to tag along with her old parents.  I took pictures of some of our favorite things so my family that is away can see, and remember, and wish they had been with us!  Enjoy!  We certainly did:  EVERY SINGLE BITE!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let's try this again!

At the suggestion of my friend, Derek, I think I am going to re-try my efforts at keeping a blog.  I think it will be a way to hold myself accountable for making good use of this priceless gift of time.  Over time I hope to try new hobbies and projects and chronicle my efforts and results here.  All we really have is time.  How will you use yours?