Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Time to spread the wings . . .

Back when I worked at the airport in Burlington, Vermont I would have to take care of a UNAM (unaccompanied minor) once in awhile. We would have a piece of paper that gathered signatures of people that were responsible for getting the child from one point to another, where they were then handed over to another employee, and yet another signature collected. I could never figure out how parents could actually entrust their precious children to the care of an airline. Don't get me wrong - we did our job well and I don't recall ever losing any children! But that's not my point. I would always think of my own child all alone . . . . flying across the big blue sky. And it always bothered me. I could never bring myself to do it. Even though we had flight benefits and I didn't even have to pay for the fee for having someone guide her from gate to gate and onto the plane. I still couldn't do it. We did send her to her grandparents for summer vacations. But one of us always went with her to make sure she made it ok. Then we'd go and pick her up again.

She's been missing her friends very much since we left Utah. This move hit her the hardest. We yanked her out of her happy place at the beginning of her senior year! Who wouldn't be upset? Maybe some day she can look back and be thankful for the move, or look at the good side. Maybe not! Either way - here we are, and it's a very long way from everyone. And quite honestly, I'm truly thankful to have a daughter that doesn't hate us at this point. She's been a trooper! So we promised her that we'd send her back to see her friends once we got settled. Springbreak seemed like the perfect time. I remember taking a road trip with my friend on our senior spring break. It's kind of like a rite of passage. And thank goodness it's not a Cancun style spring break. She's NOT that kind of girl! Whew! *wipe's forehead*

So we bought her a ticket. But the cheapest one had 2 connections on the way there. One in LA with plenty of time to connect and one in San Francisco with only 30 minutes to connect. That 30 minute connection made me nervous. Oh heck, this whole thing made me nervous! I still can't stand the thought of my baby flying by herself! My niece Jill asked me (referring to my baby bird spreading her wings) if it was a jump from the nest or a push. I replied, "I reluctantly let her jump trying not to get her tangled in the apron strings on the way out!" That pretty much summed it up for me. I know I need to let her get out there on her own. I mean, let's face it, she's going to college in 3 months! But I'm being an over-protective mother hen. Or maybe it's just a delayed reaction. I didn't have a problem letting her go to kindergarten. You know how many moms cry when their children go off to school at the age of 5? Not me - nope, I was excited to have a few hours during the day to do whatever I wanted . . . or laundry - whatever! And I've always let her visit her grandparents during the summers. Sometimes for months at a time! But now . . . . knowing that in a few months she's MOVING OUT of my home . . . *sigh* I think I'm having seperation anxiety! So yeah, letting her step on a plane all by her lonesome and make those connections without the mother hen pecking at her to make sure she has everything and dragging her running to make a short connection . . . it was all I could do not to be a dork at the airport dropping her off.

We gave her strict instructions to text us when she made her connections and got on the next plane. The texts started coming in around 4am our time. And they kept coming in while she waited during her long 3 hour layover in LA. (Camille's texts * - my texts ^)

*we landed and are waiting to get off the plane*
*yeah. I slept horribly*
^don't fall asleep until your on the next plane^
*I won't*
^what did you find to eat?^
*Mickey D's*
*how long is the flight from SanFran to Utah?*
^about 2 hours^
*and the one from LA to SanFran is 1 1/2?*
*Ugh, I hate 3 flights*
^Yup, it's hard after a redeye^
*It's retarded after a redeye*
^Did you find your gate?^
*Yeah, it said on the thing Sanfrancisco 10:28 71B ontime. United 1167*
^how long til you board^
*I don't know. Like an hour and half to 2 hours*
^what are you doing now?^
*sitting and waiting*
^I'm listenting to a squeaky bed monkey^ (I must explain our cat has a squeaky sounding purr)
*What? Oh branford?*
^Yup! He's watching a moth and just got really quiet. And now he's off the bed^
*Hahaha. Silly kitty.*
*Hahaha, oh well*
^did you watch any of the shorts on the iPod?^
*all of them possible*
^are there any shops close by?^
*Yeah, why?*
^Just curious. You have about an hour to kill^
*Yup. I'm just sitting here like I have been for the last 2 hours.*
*Forever long. Time goes by so slowly. Time goes by so slowly. I just saw the coolest belt ever! It was rubber and it had bottle caps, old metal ones, all the way around it and the buckle was like an old car seat buckle you know. slip it in click push the button release?*
^Cool. How much?^
*30 flippin dollars. >:(*
*And there is this way cute scarf that is really really really really soft! I fell in love with it. 17.00 buckeroos though.*
^That's not too bad. What color?^
*It's plaid. light turqoise, marigold lavender moss green and a little bit of white.*
^sounds pretty^
*on the plane now :)* - (a big sigh of relief - one connection down, one to go)
*I'm in the window seat!* (she was supposed to have a middle seat. Score!)
*The old man took my seatbelt and is sitting on his or something! He looks like a grumpy gramps. Uh-oh*
^Be very polite and say "excuse me but I think you have my belt"^
*ha ha ha. Don't worry. I tugged on what I could see of one of them and he noticed and we switched. It's all good.*
^oh good^
text to Scott - ^she's on the second plane^

***********I go back to sleep for awhile************

*we landed 30 minutes early!! So I have time to find my next terminal!!*
^Wahoo! Prayers really work! Keep me posted.^
*Will do!*
*I'm at the gate*
^Have they boarded yet?^
*They haven't started yet.*
^Cool beans^
*yeah, cool beans*
^you're on the home stretch^
^Should be smooth sailing from here.^
*Oh yeah!*
*On the plane.*
*Yip yip! Kay turning off phone*

That's it! She got to SLC and called her dad to tell him she arrived! I had a headache from lack of sleep from texting all morning! Thank goodness for technology! Silly girl still hasn't called ME to say she made it! But I'm ok . . . don't want those aprons strings to trip her as she's running around with friends!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Mighty Change of Heart!

Ok family and friends. Some of you who knew I had to speak in church on Sunday said that I should post my talk on the blog. So here it is in all its pathetic glory! You'll just have to imagine me being witty and charming at the podium as you read it. I guess it was ok, I recieved lots of compliments afterwards. Aloha, my brothers and sisters. I know you’ve heard from me not too long ago. And I really pleaded my case to the Bishopric, but they didn’t seem to think it was a problem. And they couldn’t seem to remember that I’d spoken recently. I must not have made a very deep impression. I lay the blame on Bishop Hee who should have passed the word on to the new bishopric!
The topic we’ve been given today is from Alma 5:14-26. This is where we read of Alma the Younger preaching about a Mighty Change of Heart.
In preparation for this talk I came across an article from a BYU professor. He had a student that when he was just 11 years old had bone cancer in his leg. Because of the medicine used in chemotherapy he suffered damage to his heart. He developed a heart condition called cardiomyopothy. With this condition his heart muscles would slowly deteriorate. But in spite of it all, he lived an active life. And when it was time for his mission his cardiologist advised him not to go. But he was determined. He was then advised to request a mission close to home. They said that his last days very well could be on his mission. This was in the time when you could choose 18 months or 2 years. He was given 18 months, but prayerfully decided to extend to a full 2 years. He completed his mission successfully and honorably. When he was 25, his heart had deteriorated to the point that the only option to save his life was a heart transplant. After careful screening he was put on the organ transplant recipient list at University of Utah. He waited for word of an available organ, wearing a pager 24 hrs a day. His family temporarily moved from California to Bountiful, UT to be closer to the hospital. After nearly 2 months he was notified that a donor heart had become available. He went immediately to the hospital and in a surgery that took only 87 minutes, his diseased heart was removed and the new one was put in its place. This young man’s heart transplant was critical to his continued life on this earth.
I use this story to illustrate what happened with Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah. Alma the younger had gone around Zarahemla persecuting the saints. He wasn’t just “inactive” from church. He was purposefully trying to wreck their beliefs, trying to pull people away, causing as much damage as possible. It seems to me he had a very wicked heart and evil intent. You could even say he had a severe case of spiritual cardiomyopathy! His spiritual heart had completely become deteriorated. They were in bad need of a spiritual heart transplant! Their heart transplant team came in the form of an Angel. Let’s just say that his heart transplant surgery took 2 days. As you recall from the scriptural account after the angel spoke to them his “astonishment was so great that he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father.” (Mosiah 27:19)
The parallels between the young man and Alma’s conversion and teachings are evident. The young man from the first story underwent a physical change of heart and was spared from premature death. Alma preached of our need for a symbolic change of heart, with the certain safety from spiritual death. The Book of Mormon refers to the heart 162 times – nearly every third page. Most of these references are in the context of the heart’s need for the healing and strengthening power of repentance. When something is repeated so many times in the scriptures, you can bet it’s very important.
Last week the topic assigned to the speakers was about repentance. I can see a progression here. This week we talk of the mighty change of heart that has to happen after repentance to make it a lasting change.
I think my favorite scripture that has to do with this is Mosiah 5:2, “ . . . because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” The word ‘disposition’ many times is thought of as ‘desire’. But desire is a temporary feeling. Synonyms for the word ‘disposition’ can also be temperance, character and personality. Our desires come and go, often in relation to our environment. I’m certain the mighty change of heart that leads you to “have no disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” is of the more permanent nature. It’s a change so deep and complete that it has fundamentally changed your soul.
I recently, through the miracle of technology and a silly little thing called “facebook”, have been reconnected to my Jr. High math teacher. Now some of you may not think much of that. Or like my daughter may think it’s just weird to even want to be reconnected to any math teacher! But for me, it has been a very sweet reunion. He was my favorite math teacher ever!
On facebook, you can look at a friend’s profile, and often they will post photos. While looking through his profile to see what he’s been up to in the past nearly 30 years, I noticed that his son was on a mission. Now this struck me as odd because I didn’t think he was a member of the church. So I had to ask if my memory had served me correctly. And he verified that he wasn’t a member of our church back when he was my teacher. And if I ever have to give a talk on missionary work – I would share with you how it had nothing to do with living in my small “mormon” town. Since I had my mind on preparing for this talk, I asked what his “mighty change of heart” was that he had gone through that he would be willing to share with me. I give this story with his permission.
He didn’t live in my home town for long. He ended up getting laid off from the school. He then moved to Flagstaff, AZ where I believe his family is from. He met a girl at a car stereo shop. He had the car with the stereo that was used as a demo. While she waited for her car stereo to be installed she was looking at the demo in his car. They ended up dating and getting married. She was a member of our church and he was Catholic. He took some missionary discussions off and on through the years. Sometimes she would go to the Catholic church with him, and he would go to the LDS church with her. At one point, their marriage became strained and they even separated for a while. They worked through some issues and got back together. He shared with me, that when he lived according to gospel principals, his life became much easier to live. He had more peace in his heart and in the home. So he started to go to our church regularly. He was involved in all the service projects. He even had a calling as the athletic director! He was still not a member. One day during priesthood, the lesson was on exercising the priesthood in the home. They were sitting in the high counsel room, and the teacher went around the table and was asking questions. When he came to my friend he said, “When was the last time you exercised the priesthood in your home?” My friend replied, “I’m not a member of this church!” Needless to say, the teacher was dumb-founded and didn’t quite know how to proceed after that. After class he apologized for putting him on the spot like that, but he had no idea that he wasn’t a member because he was at all the activities and did everything all the other members did. And maybe a little more! Anyways, it made my friend realize something. He realized he needed to get off the fence! He was doing everything else the members did. That day after class, he told the bishop he wanted to get baptized. Eight years after they were married he surprised his wife and family at a special fireside and was baptized into the church. On their 10th anniversary they were sealed as a family in the Salt Lake Temple.
I asked my friend if he had any moments that he could point to and say, “That was when I had a mighty change of heart”. But he said it was a process over the years. It didn’t happen in a flash of heavenly fireworks. For most of us, it’s a process that happens so subtly we hardly notice it. In an Ensign article by Ezra Taft Benson, Oct 1989, President Benson is referring to the mighty change in our hearts as it refers to repentance. And though in the scriptures we find examples of the sudden and profound change of hearts, President Benson said, “For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9:20)
This is much like my friend. He had undergone a mighty change of heart over time and hadn’t realized it. He “knew it not”. Now he only needed to get his ordinances taken care of.
Last week as I was sitting in Sacrament meeting thinking about my friend and his realization, my thoughts turned to our congregation. I wondered if there were any in our midst that are doing the same thing. Are there any among us who are living according to gospel principals, coming to church, providing service to others, you believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, yet have not been baptized? Or maybe you have been baptized and you haven’t been through the temple and taken part of the saving ordinances there. You haven’t had your family sealed to you. Ask yourself, “Have I been baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost and know it not?” And to those of us who have already had those saving ordinances performed for ourselves. We are not off the hook! Do we have the desire to “do good continually”? Are we anxiously engaged in the 3-fold mission of the church? Are we working on proclaiming the Gospel, redeeming the dead and perfecting the saints? I know that if we’ve experienced this mighty change of heart and were doing good continually, we’d be on the right track for perfecting the saints!
The scripture reference they gave us for this topic is Alma 5:14-26 –
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye aspiritually been bborn of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty cchange in your hearts?
15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who acreated you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption braised in incorruption, to stand before God to be cjudged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye ablessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
17 Or do ye aimagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and bsay—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?
18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect aremembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?
19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the aimage of God engraven upon your countenances?
20 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become asubjects to the devil?
21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be asaved; for there can no man be saved except his bgarments are washed white; yea, his garments must be cpurified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with ablood and all manner of bfilthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?
23 Behold will they not atestify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are bguilty of all manner of wickedness?
24 Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with aAbraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the achildren of the kingdom of the devil.
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a achange of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the bsong of redeeming love, I would ask, ccan ye feel so now?
I’d like to bear witness of the truthfulness of this gospel. I know that God lives and loves us. I know that we can each have a mighty change in our hearts. A change so powerful and complete that we will have “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually”. It is my prayer that we will acknowledge Heavenly Father’s hand in our lives, and his Holy Spirit’s effect on our very character. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So there you go. Holy cow it makes for a long post. During the talk I used a print out of this, only the words you see in blue did not print at all. So when I got to that point I told them some of the words didn't print. And thankfully a member of the bishopric, Bro. Van Sweden, had the scriptures right there for me. He saved me! So a quick thank you to him even though he doesn't read my blog.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Addiction Justified!!!

I've already admitted that I have a serious addiction to Facebook. It's no secret. And this past week I've been feeling rather guilty about it. As some of you know, I'm a substitute educational aide at the elementary school here in Pukalani. Well, for 2 weeks now they haven't had the need to be graced with my presence. And that's fine with me - I thoroughly enjoy (and secretly wish for) days to myself. But after I've made the beds, washed the dishes and had a little exercise (emphasis on 'little'), and having no second car to run to the beach if I want, and having "winter weather" (translates to windy and rainy) I would find myself giving in to my 'addiction' with no reason not to! Besides, this is my way to peek in on my friends and see what's happening in other parts of the world. Not to mention I've had my astrological personality explained to me by an old JC (Joseph City) friend who now lives in Germany! I may do another post explaining more about that at another time.

So the other day when I'm eating my breakfast, waiting for a call from the school, I hop on Facebook to see what's happening and to kill a few minutes before possible work. An old friend, Chas DeWitt, who is now the principal of a Blanding Jr. High School is online and "popped" in to say 'hi'. (I actually typed "pooped" but quickly corrected myself!) He was at a conference and apparently was a little bored with the speakers at the moment. So I think to myself, "Blanding . . . I wonder . . .". It went something like this:

Me: Hey Chas, do you know any Kartchners?

CD: I know a Keith Kartchner . . .

(at this point, being that it's been way too many years back and having a sketchy memory I had to think really hard about that. And I had to ask my sister to verify! "Yeah, Keith was the blonde one", she says.) So a few days later after Chas returns to school:

Me: Keith is my cousin! Will you tell him 'hi' for me?

CD: Sure.

Me: Did you tell him 'hi' yet? How about now? . . . now?

CD: I haven't seen him yet . . .

Me: I'm not going to stop buggin you until you tell him 'hi'.

CD: here's his number (---/--- ----) why don't you just call him?

Me: NO - I'd feel like a nerd, just tell him 'hi' for me.
****time elapse****
CD: Keith says 'hi' and here's his email address!

I'm all excited now! So I write an email right away and get an answer the following morning. He said it was a nice surprise to hear from me. I had him tell me all about his family and where everyone is living now. Told him I was sorry to here his dad passed away. We emailed back and forth a few times now. (a side note, if he was on FB we could chat live! hint-hint) But that's not the end of the story!

Like I said, I haven't been called into work for 2 weeks, so I've had a few days of indulgence! On another morning when I was on the computer I had it signed into Facebook "just in case a friend wants to 'pop' in and say hi"! But I was really working on my resume and applying to Hawaiian Airlines. Really! . . . . I don't understand why you're having a hard time believing me right now. But I'm really telling the truth! So I'm feverishly trying to remember hire dates of old jobs and find employment info when I hear that "pop"! That "pop" tells me I have a message on facebook. I get all excited to see who's "dropped in". So it's Chas again:

CD: Tauna!

Me: What?

CD: I found another cousin of yours!

Me: WHO?

CD: Linnae
**thinking to myself "hmmm - Linnae?" -brain trying hard to remember-**

Me: what is her last name?

CD: Cluff
**thinking again, "Cluff? That doesn't sound right. Especially if she's Uncle Sam's daughter."**

Me: ask her who her parents are

CD: She says "aunt Erlene"

Me: That's what I was thinking. Tell her to add me as a friend on FB
****about 2 seconds later I have a friend request from her****

Me: her last name is Lewis!

CD: oh yeah, duh!

Me: Thanks Chas! We might have to have a family reunion in your back yard!

CD: Fine by me!

Then Linnae and I start chatting up a storm getting to know each other again and sharing memories. But there was an instant connection! We are family after all.

Who knew Facebook would be the family reuniter? And now I'm not feeling quite so guilty about my few indulgent days. They were worth it and I'm totally thrilled to be reconnected to cousins that I have fond memories of. Memories of camping trips and family reunions. Memories of trying to break a pinata at Grandpa's house! Linnae told me a memory she had of my brother David and how he was trying to get her to talk, but she was too shy. Then he slammed his hand down on the table and scared her half to death! Poor girl, I hope there was no lasting emotional damage from that! =) But just in case - I'd keep all sudden loud sounds away from her!

Sorry there aren't any photos to go with this post. I know how you prefer "picture books" to "pictureless novels". But this was all about the 'typed' message and how it brought some family back together again.

And just a quick shout out to Linnae - I read your blog page about your side of the story and that inspired my blog post. Very cute, I loved it. And to all of your family that will hopefully read this, and my family as well . . . GET ON FACEBOOK!!!! It's much easier than waiting for a post or an email to know what's happening in our lives or going through our minds. And WAY easier to carry on a conversation in a chat box than through email or blog comments. I'm just sayin' . . .

Monday, March 2, 2009

a little reminder . . .

It's March everybody! And you know what that means . . . MY BIRTHDAY IS ON THE 18TH!!! (hint, hint *wink*) Oh thank you! I don't think I look a day over 25 either. You're so kind.

You say you don't know what to get me? Well, let me see if I can give you a few ideas . . . hmm. I think the perfect gift would be a magic lamp! Preferably with unlimited wishes, not the lame 3. But I'll keep my wishes at the 3 limit just so I won't become too greedy. And I really hope it's not one of those lamps that gives you the wish with really bad twists on what you asked for. You know what I mean, you ask to be rich and it grants that wish by making you a Columbian drug lord! Just grant my wish simply without complications. I'll try to be clear on my wishes just to avoid any confusion.

Wish number 1: I wish for billions of dollars. Let's face it, with lots of money you can do lots of things. I don't want lots of money so I can say, "Look at me and all my money!" I just think that with lots of money I'd be able to visit my family whenever I choose. I wouldn't have to wait for an incredible deal on flights! And I would be able to build my dream house with the money so I don't have to waste a wish for one. That goes for a lot of things really. Money can cover quite a few wishes so I don't have to waste them. And just think of the fun we could have shopping for all those things. Everyone's invited. And the travel . . . oh my goodness we would have fun traveling the world together. There will definetly be a Disney Cruise involved!

Wish number 2: I wish to be the perfect size 6!
And I'm not talking about hitting size 6 for a week and then the moment I eat a piece of celery it starts increasing again. No, this size 6 will remain, no matter what I eat! I did say it was the "perfect" size 6 after all. What would be more perfect? Don't worry! I don't plan on making a pig of myself and eating 24/7. How boring. No, I just want to enjoy an occasional piece of cheesecake or molten lava cake without suffering the consequences.

Wish number 3: I wish to live in a town with ALL my family and friends and all of my favorite people. Of course the houses would be ADORABLE and charming. Very much like the houses in Daybreak. Only with much bigger yards. It would be somewhat like the town of Celebration, FL. The town that was planned by Disney.
It would have a town green like they do back east where we would have many gatherings and parties. Wonderful charming shops would line the town green, and they would have very good prices, not ridiculously high ones! It would be in a climate that had the perfect balance of seasons. Yes! We need a change in seasons. I love fall with the many colors in the trees. And we must have a white Christmas! And spring with the cherrie blossoms!
We'll have cherry trees lining the town green just for the cherry blossoms in spring. And summer will be chock full of bbq's and 4th of July celebrations with parades and fun.
But of course there will be no gossiping in this town! And no one can make others feel bad. It's not allowed! And of course, no crazy HOA's that think they are all mighty! No indeed. No, in this wonderful town, we all take great care of our yards. We never litter, we love to keep our land beautiful. We plant gardens and can food in the fall, have quilting bees and shoot the breeze at the local diner. We are happy when our neighbor's have successes. We come together when there is a tragedy. We love our neighbors as ourselves.
I hope it's not too much to ask for my birthday! Ooohh, I can hardly wait. You spoil me so!