14 March 2018

A new season of tennis

These boys of mine have worked their tails off all winter to be ready for this day. The day couldn't have been more beautiful for a tennis tournament (Nate's on the left and Erik is on the right . . . both playing at the same time . . . Nate playing 2nd singles and Erik playing first singles).

Unfortunately, tempers went awry during the first match and Erik had to suffer the consequences. I'm afraid the start of his tennis season didn't quite go as planned.

When he couldn't control his frustration for the mistakes he was making, his coach made the decision to pull him from the match with several sets yet to play. He also didn't allow him to finish the tournament and he had to write several apology letters before being allowed to practice and play with the team.

As a mom, I totally backed his coach and his decision. Coaches are not only coaching the sport, but they are coaching people. And I'm afraid Erik had a hard life lesson to learn here about self-control.

As a mom, I also hurt badly for Erik. I KNOW how much work and dedication he has put into this sport. He has been fully invested, and I KNOW he was expecting to play better than he did. I KNOW he's a wonderful young man who regrettably has more of his mom in him than he'd like or than I'd like him to have. I'm afraid I haven't always been the best role model on how to leash and tame the angry emotions that surface. I KNOW how badly he wanted to play and redeem himself. I also wanted to watch him play more. But I also believe in accountability for choices. He was told he would be pulled if he couldn't restrain himself and unfortunately, he had to learn that very difficult lesson.

Erik was paired with a player who was just as good as he. Everyone there knew that these two should have been playing in the championship match not the first round. I was impressed with the other coach who made a point to talk to Erik and got my number so that she can have Erik come and practice with her team. She knows how important it is to be able to practice against people with your same skill level.

And Bob. I can't thank him enough for the mentor he has been to both Nate and Erik. He gives of his time freely. I hope that one day my boys might pay it forward to other young men in the same way he has.

Nate finished the day winning his first two matches and losing the third. He took second place in second singles.

11 March 2018

Here comes the bride

Well if I thought my life was busy before . . .

I am starting a new chapter in the book of life. Kiersten is engaged to Jason.

And I couldn't be happier for them.

I won't lie though. I'm not old enough for this and thought I had a couple of years before embarking on that journey. It's going to be a busy summer with a graduation, wedding, missionary, baptism, and a month of school for me thrown in there. All good things.

They've created a countdown chain.

I'm not even going to go there. It will be here before I know it. The Lord knew this summer would be a crazy one so there must be a really good reason why He decided it was time for me to go back to school and throw all that into the mix.

I am seriously going to need a getaway when all of this is done.

I love my girl and am excited to add Jason to our family. Had they waited three more days, they could have gotten engaged the same day Tyler and I did -- March 8.

04 March 2018

Book Battle

It's a new school so I was glad to see them implementing some ideas from our old school, namely the Book Battle. The Book Battle is a quiz game where kids have to answer questions about books they read. Only 12 compete across the entire grade, so students have to take a test to qualify. Alex made it. Originally I was told the time was 9:15 so I planned to take a half day off. But then a note came home with a new time of 2:15. I had to leave just 15 minutes early to make it. Another tender mercy from the Lord in the past couple of months.

When I got there Alex had already answered a few and was on a roll.

The second and third round he didn't do as well. But they must have scored it across all three rounds because he was awarded first place, something none of his other siblings have managed to do.

Later that day at home as I was going through his backpack, I discovered a note from a former classmate. Oh how I laughed and laughed. My little guy is becoming a man.

28 February 2018

Mission papers

We've started mission papers for Erik.

This summer is going to be exciting and full of good things.

Basketball is coming to an end and tennis is starting just as winter decided to rear its ugly head. In two weeks we've had several good snowstorms which were much needed, but not wanted.

I'm two months into school. One more to go with these two classes. Out of the two, I've really enjoyed my classroom management one. I'm not too fond of the one about lesson planning and assessments. I am beginning to wonder if teachers spend more of their time planning than actually delivering the content. Maybe I'll get better and quicker at it, but right now it seems like a lot of time spent prepping.

I took the girls home to Ferron for a girls weekend. I noticed in my mom's bedroom that she still has this ceramic duck I made her when I was 10 or 11, over 30 years ago. I've given her permission several times to throw it away, but she can't because of the memories. I'm afraid I didn't inherit her sentimentality.

Nate is registered to take the ACT for the first time. I've had Kiersten and Erik take it early as a way to get a benchmark. Turns out both did fairly well that first time. We'll see how Nate does. At least this will give him time to improve is he needs to.

12 February 2018

Spelling words

Take a look at the type of words Alex keeps bringing home. There are a few that I kept mispronouncing as I was helping him study. This is definitely expanding my vocabulary . . . or voc-u-bowl-ary as Kiersten once called it.

One week there was the word pugnacious. He and I looked it up and had a good laugh when it said, "quick to argue" which so describes his two older brothers. Alex had an assignment from me to use it when they came home from tennis.

Erik and Nate always walk through the door arguing about something tennis related. I'm surprised they keep wanting to play together. He reported to me that he fulfilled the assignment except they didn't come home arguing and just gave him a funny look when he used his funny word.

And on something totally unrelated . . . I had the opportunity to bear my testimony at stake conference yesterday. I usually don't have a problem speaking in public, but when I got up and looked at the crowd that filled the entire stake center, not including the live stream to the Lake Point chapel, I got a little bit nervous. But after giving a talk and bearing my testimony in the last 6 years at stake conference I think I'm good for awhile. It also meant I had to go to the stake center. It was a weird feeling sitting all by myself. I know that day is coming but I wasn't quite ready to experience it yet.

05 February 2018



My new favorite word.

Last summer as I was studying for my Praxis exam and studying anything and everything, I got to the section about the second law of thermodynamics which states that everything naturally moves towards a state of disorder and chaos. The word for this is entropy. You know when you go on vacation and come back to a lawn that needs mowing and a house that needs dusting and weeds that need pulling. Things will naturally decay over time unless we actively maintain them. The solution to entropy is work. 

Erik's room will never become organized and clean without some degree of work. Tyler's puzzles will never naturally fall together to form a picture without someone to put it together. We work to overcome that natural state of disorder. 

As I've thought about this word over the last eight months, I've come to the conclusion that if everything is spiritual to the Lord (D&C 29:34), then entropy must be an eternal principle and that there surely must be spiritual entropy as well. Lehi tells us in 2 Nephi that "there must be an opposition in all things."

Life and death.

Health and sickness.

New and old.

Growth and decay.

Love and hate.

Entropy and work.

Our bodies fight daily against this principle of entropy as they age. Are our spirits fighting daily as well?

It is the natural tendency for men and women to drift away from God and his commandments. This turning away brings disorder and chaos to our lives and in order to return, work must be involved. It is hard. It is not comfortable. It is not easy. Just like we must work to restore things to their original state, we must also actively and regularly look for ways to restore our relationship with God EVERY DAY (and I might add all relationships in our life). 

It isn't good enough to simply stop doing something to become converted to God and his commandments. Nephi didn't tell us he would go and believe what the Lord had commanded him. He didn't say he would go and think about it. No, he said, "I will go and do . . .," do being the key word. I know when my life become comfortable, I need to work harder at doing something to fill my soul with light or it will gradually slip back into the darkness.

I guess it's safe to assume that in the physical world, entropy always wins. But in matters of spirituality, I don't want to assume anything. We get to decide who will win: entropy or us.

28 January 2018

From Heart to Heart

President Thomas S. Monson passed away the first of January. It's a little strange to have him gone since he was such a stalwart member of leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for so long.

President Russell M. Nelson has now taken the helm at the young age of 93. To look at him you would not believe it. I had a colleague tell me he still snow skis which is quite remarkable. After all he was a heart surgeon and knew a little something about how the body operates to keep it healthy and functioning.

Many years ago my father-in-law, who was a book binder by trade, pulled from their scraps at work a damaged copy of President Nelson's autobiography. He must have commissioned the bindery to print and bind it for his family because you can't find it anywhere.
Heart to Heart -- Top Right Corner

I was allowed to read this book and fell in love with President Nelson who was nothing more than a man, husband, and father at the time. I was intrigued with his insights he gave on the various organs of the body and their functions. The manner in which he described these left me with no doubt that the body is remarkable through the processes and systems that all work together seamlessly.

The following "event might serve to illustrate that men can do very little of themselves. With an education they can do a little more; with advanced medical degrees and training, a little more yet can be done. The real power to heal, however, is a gift from God, and he has deigned that some of the power may be harnessed via the authority of his priesthood to benefit and bless mankind when all man can do for himself may not be sufficient to accomplish all that may be needed that His will might be done.

When doctors attend social functions it is not uncommon to hear someone lightly jest, 'Isn't it nice to know there is a doctor here; he'll know just what to do if there should be trouble.' Medical training can indeed inspire confidence when people are in need. But I recall an occasion when many doctors gathered together could do little but stand helplessly when one of them was suddenly stricken.

This circumstance occurred in Manzanillo, Mexico, in February 1978. Dantzel and I were attending a medical meeting there with colleagues and classmates from our graduating class. Suddenly, one of the doctors became gravely ill with massive bleeding into his stomach. Around him were his learned colleagues representing a wide spectrum of medical specialties and with experiences, skills, and wisdom that each had accumulated in over thirty years of practice. Our colleague was bleeding! As we watched life's blood being projected from him, we helplessly realized that we were in a resort hut in a remote fishing village. there was no hospital; the nearest was in Guadalajara, many mountainous miles away. It was night; no planes could fly. Transfusions were out of the question because of lack of equipment. All the combined knowledge and concern there could not be converted to action to help our friend as we saw his life ebbing before our eyes. We were literally powerless to stop his bleeding.

He knew this. Ashen, pale, and clammy cold, he asked for a blessing. Several doctors there held the Melchizedek Priesthood and eagerly responded to his request. I was asked to seal the anointing. The Spirit dictated that he be blessed that the bleeding would stop, that he could continue to live and return to his home and his profession to continue to bless the lives of those who needed him.

The following morning, he was better. The bleeding had stopped. His blood pressure and heart rate had returned to normal. He was able to return to his home and his work. How he and we gave thanks to the Lord for this remarkable recovery.

Important as the body is, it is merely the place in which one dwells. The spirit inhabiting that tabernacle of flesh and bone is supreme. The gifts of the Spirit such as faith, love, knowledge, kindness, courtesy, charity, compassion, and gratitude are all nurtured by prayer and strengthened by daily exercise. Spiritual supremacy is achieved by contact with the Father of our spirits through daily prayer, study and pondering of the scriptures, and obedience to the commandments given us by God that we may have joy."

I imagine that many parts of this book will be put into his official biography which will allow many to read what I've read and loved.