Saturday, July 17, 2010

Visiting the Past

On our first day of vacation we headed to Colorado Springs. I was born there, but my family moved when I was four and I have never returned. We left pretty close to on time, punched the address into the navi and trusted it would get there the fastest way. I am not sure it was the fastest way, but it was a beautiful drive! We drove through all sorts of small towns and the scenery through Colorado was breathtaking! We even got to see a black bear running through an opening in the trees somewhere between the Continental Divide and Colorado Springs. The drive took two more house than we thought, so we missed getting into the cemetery. See the reason we took our route through C.S. was so that I could visit my little sister's grave. She was born 18 months after I was, but only lived three months. We got up a bit earlier the next day, and found her grave marker with very little difficulty, considering it was a huge cemetery. Her name, carved in Granite, Melissa Ruppel, was tucked up against a large tree, but was a little overgrown. I dug around it, and Wonder collected stray flowers, while Potential snapped photos. It was a lovely experience, topped off by Tradition feeding Fruit Loops to a Fox who posed with great dignity for out camera.

Day two was 16 hours in the car! Again, we trusted the navi, which someone inthe back named "Delores", and she took us through beautiful stretches of the Mid West on the way to Nauvoo, Illinois. We own a building there, one built by dragging the original stones that had once belonged to the original Nauvoo Temple just up Mulholland. Along the way I read "Remembering Isaac" to the three girls in the back, finding ourselves increasingly enraptured with the town of Niederbipp. The highlight of the day was as we wandered down some delightfully verdant back road, we almost missed a sign that read "Adam Ondi Ahman, 4 Miles. I had no idead that was on the route, as we had left all those decisions up to Delores. We screeched to a halt and backed up. We made it through the gates just as the sun set, but the sky was still full of pinks and oranges. As we tumbled out of the van in the deserted parking lot, we were instantly aware of the completely different feeling that the paths and fields there evoked. I wish I could write how we felt, but words just don't begin to capture the sunset, rolling hills, quiet, potential and fireflies! Oh the fireflies!

Day three was a warm one in Nauvoo, there on the banks of the Mississippi;, they told us later it was 110 counting some index. Undaunted, we walked from our hotel to our store. Each visit finds us more enthralled with the bits and pieces of the temple that clearly mark the hand work of some pioneer who chiseled and carved at the stones with such devotion. We wandered up and down main street and then it was finally time for lunch at our favorite place, the Nauvoo Mill and Bakery. We ate all of our meals there, squirreling away bits for snacking later. In the evening we went to see the pageant that told the history of Nauvoo. We have ancestors who lived and died there, so we feel connected besides our building.

Day four, on the way out of town we finally caved and stopped at the darling quilt store, which used to be housed in our building, but hard times hit everywhere, and the quilt shop is now part of another gift shop. I bought some lovely pieces to make an apron, my favorite is a fat quarter covered with speckled eggs for the pockets. Potential caught amazing photos along the way, our favorite ones were Amish clothes out to dry on a line. We used great self discipline not to take photos of the darling amish girl who waited on us at the little grocery stand, run without electricity. Again, Delores took us down long country back roads and past amazing old churches, schools and barns. At last, we arrived in Terre Haute to see Childhood and her thriving family.

No time for edits and fine combing, there are three little grandsons waiting to show their Grammy how well they can jump into the water from the side of the pool!

Friday, July 9, 2010


As the four and a half of you who follow my blog know, I have to post once a week or I have to do Potential's laundry. Potential hasn't used the washing machine in weeks, so I am very motivated to stay as far away from her bulging laundry basket as possible. Now here I sit exploring all sorts of morsels I could potentially write about as they pop into my head.

The problem, is that I have been trying to give up complaining. I don't just mean not whining about stuff, I mean completely getting away from saying anything that is not constructive. That means giving up saying things like, "It sure is hot" and "I gotta get new shoes, my feet are killing me", both of which I think I said this week anyway. I am trying to get away from saying anything that doesn't take the conversation somewhere better. I am trying to say things like, "Let's cool off and go get a frozen yogurt" or "According to my calculations, these shoes have walked about 1,500 miles in the last 3 years, aren't they awesome?"

Not complaining is surprisingly boring, which is not a complaint, but totally a statement of fact. The not complaining conversation goes like this:
"How has your day gone?"
"Great, how has your day gone?"
"The wife and kids, how are they?"
"Great, thanks for asking. How about that new car you got?"
"Humms right along, no problem at all."


Now notice, that I switched to a conversation as if it might be between two men? That is because years ago, the first time I started thinking about not complaining all the time, I called a friend and asked her what she thought it might sound like if the two of us gave up complaining, what would our conversation be like? She thought for a minute and said, "We would sound like men." I'm not going to elaborate, just putting that out there.

So as I searched my wee brain for current events, I found I had to eliminate them or figure out how to put a positive spin on them. For example, I took the car in to be looked at and came home with a bill twice as big as the current blue book value, not exaggerating. If I were trying to put a constructive spin on that particular morsel, I could say this, "Hooray, what a wonderful time we live in. There are so many options available when disaster strikes. We can dip into the kid's tuition fund, sell a kidney, or just simply learn to do without, blessing our lives with additional patience and understanding. Think of how many more miles my wonderful shoes could go if we didn't have a car!"

I'm going out now for a frozen yogurt. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the car made it there and back?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

the big and small of it

"I'm sorry you had to step in, there is just so much time I can spend with one mortal at any given moment. So what did I miss?"
"Pretty much the usual wallowing. She's sure she has missed too many opportunities, missed too many chances to develop talents, personality is too difficult, has no potential, yadda-yadda. Today the big deal is she remembers feeling that she was supposed to do something big with her life and thinks she blew it."
" Well what did she expect when all her elementary teachers were hippies who went and got teaching certificates? That decade has been driving us nuts ever since they were told they could be anything they wanted, even be the President of the United States."
"And you can see..."
"Let's stick to the mortal at hand, shall we?"
"Sorry. Got any ideas?"
"What did we do last time?"
"Sent all those hymns to rattle around in her head. Woulda worked, too, if she hadn't had the sound track from "Glee" turned up so loud."
"Let's send Jane."
"Brilliant! That is why I love working with you"
So the two of them watched as the floundering mortal walked down the hall of the church to wait for her next meeting. Along the way the mortal bantered with a young father about the candy dripping down his two year old's face, and laughed about what it would do to her fancy Sunday Dress, and then turned to the approaching Jane. Jane stopped in front of her, in all her five year old glory, arms straight out, face lit up with a huge smile. The mortal wasn't sure if Jane was gesturing for a hug or a compliment, so she gave her both. Jane asked, "When are you coming to teach us again?" The mortal replied with delight and commitment, "the minute someone calls me and asks me too. I love to sing in Primary with you." Jane gave one more twirl, in case the mortal had missed any of the splendor of her Sunday best, and skipped off after her retreating family.
"Did she get it"
"Hang on, let me listen a second...Yep, there it is. For the moment the mortal remembers it is a big deal to teach someone something good, even if it is just a small child."
"We will just remind her, for the umpteenth time, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass."