Sunday, September 4, 2011

Took a tour of the Welfare Center in Salt Lake a few weeks ago and I really liked this quote.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The other day I took my older kids on a walk. We thought we would just be gone for an hour or so, but we ran into several people along the trail that told us there was a beautiful lake up ahead, so we just kept walking. A few hours later we arrived at this amazing lake. It had paddle boats and miniature golf and a carousel and tons of other fun things. But the highlight of the trip for me was a story that I received from my father as we were walking. We stopped along the trail and took a break as I read this story to my kids:


You always hear the usual stories of pennies on the sidewalk
being good luck, gifts from angels, etc. This is the first time
I've ever heard this twist on the story. Gives you something to
think about.

Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were
invited to spend the weekend at the home of her husband's

My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was
very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing
more than her house.

The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted
to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. Her
husband's employer was quite generous as a host, and took them
to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the
opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so
was enjoying herself immensely.

As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive
restaurant one evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of
Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the
pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was
supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a
single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts.
Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it
up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure.

How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny?
Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her Finally, she
could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her
daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he
had found had been of some value.

A smile crept across the man's face as he reached into his
pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had
seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?

"Look at it," he said. "Read what it says."

She read the words, " United States of America .."

"No, not that. Read further."

"One cent?"

"No, keep reading."

"In God we Trust?"


"And?. . ."

"And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a
coin. Whenever I find a coin, I see that inscription. It is
written on every single United States coin, but we never seem
to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling
me to trust Him. Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I
pray. I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment.. I
pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him.
For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I
think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky
for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!"

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk.
I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been
worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change.
I read the words, "In God We Trust," and had to laugh. "Yes,
God, I get the message!"

It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of
pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are
plentiful! And, God is patient.

Though I've never been a huge fan of pennies, we all really liked this story. Of course, every time we see a penny on the ground, we think of the story. I'm grateful for the things that remind us about our Heavenly Father and that we need to trust Him.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Night in Bogota

A funny thing just happened to me. There I was sound asleep, when all of the sudden, I heard a bang followed by a loud buzzing sound. It took me a second to wake up enough to remember that I was in a hotel room in Bogota, Colombia having just arrived last night. I waited for a moment, hoping the noise would just go away. No luck. What was it? Did someone leave the alarm clock set for the wee hours of the morning? Don't you hate that? I should have checked it before I fell asleep. I located the alarm clock. Nope, that wasn't the culprit. The clock read 3:22 am. It sounded like the noise was coming from my bathroom. I walked back there and started checking everything in the vicinity: the wall-hanging blow dryer and telephone, my shaving kit, an audio feed for the television. Nope; none of those. I was surprised by how loud it was outside. People around here seem to party pretty late (or early, I guess). Still groggy, I checked a few things outside the bathroom: minibar, safe, closet. No, it was definitely coming from the bathroom. It sounded a lot like an electric razor, but my razor was in my shaving kit which I had already checked. Finally, the noise pulsed a couple times and I realized what it was: my electric toothbrush had fallen off the counter and landed on the floor, setting it off. It goes for 60 seconds before it pulses. I couldn't believe it took me a whole minute to solve the mystery, but at least now I could go back to sleep...if only I could figure out why my toothbrush fell off the bathroom counter in the middle of the night.

Don't worry. I feel much safer here than I did on our first night in Honduras.

Escribiré más luego.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Love My Father

Yesterday in the middle of church, my seven year-old, Sydney, and I were writing notes back and forth (kind of like Instant Messaging without computers). This is the first time we had done this together and I didn't really think much of it until she handed me a note with the following:

I love my Father. He loves me. I could never ask for one better than him. I might be bad (sometimes) but he forgives me. He makes rules so I can be safe and that's why I know he loves me.

When I read this, I was incredibly moved and struck by how perfectly this simple message written by a child expressed how I feel about my earthly parents and my Heavenly Father.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Family Pictures

At church today (we just started attending at a new location closer to where we just moved) they took two pictures of our family for a directory. Here's what they got...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Leaving Brussels

My last few days in Brussels were a little stressful as I had a lot to do and several unexpected things that came up making it difficult to fit everything in. My final check out went well (other than the microwave that wasn't ours that we inadvertently packed). We were able to sell all the major things that we wanted to sell. Our stuff and our car should now be on their way back to the States.

My last two days in the office were tricky. I had been working really hard at home getting everything packed and cleaned up. In addition, we had an unexpected high level visit at work that we needed to help support. As a result of all the work, the stress, and not getting enough sleep, I started to get sick. I wrapped up all the projects I had at work as well as possible, wishing I could have done more. I am so grateful that I was allowed to leave in time to make it home to my brother's wedding.

I made it to the airport with plenty of time and waited in line to check my bags. I answered all the security questions the best I could (though the Could you tell me all the electronics you have packed? one took a while). As I was checking my bags, there was a little confusion because the second leg of my trip was on a separate reservation. I explained that the people I worked for were paying to get me back to DC, but that I had to pay separately from there. I clearly stated my final destination and thought everything was fine. Though I was crammed into the middle of a five-seat row whose lack of leg room was criminal, the people I sat next to were very friendly, the on-board movies were decent, and I slept most of the way anyway.

My problems really began when I landed in Dulles. Take my advice and try to avoid Dulles Airport at all cost. I followed the signs for people who had connecting flights and stood in line for Customs for a good two hours. Once through I began looking for my bags. Surely my bags would have made it there by now. The thing is, there were bags everywhere and my two bags are about as generic-looking as you can imagine. After I noticed that the majority of people on my flight had eventually found their bags and mine were still nowhere to be found, I went and waited in line for another 45 minutes to try to figure out where mine were. Since my bags had the clothes in them that I needed for my brother's wedding, it was important that they made it in time. Turns out they had been sent to a different baggage claim for people who weren't making connecting flights. I spent the next hour trying to get to them or at least trying to make sure they were heading to the right place. I was completely unsuccessful and, as a result of wasting so much time looking for my bags and spending so much time in security lines, had missed my connecting flight by five minutes, even though I had run to get there and had arrived several minutes before it was scheduled to leave. Luckily there was another flight on a different carrier that would get me to my next leg on time, but I was going to have to run for it, too. I also had to cut in front of people at security (something that I hate when people do to me--Why don't they just get to the airport earlier or plan more time between connections? I always think to myself). Pardon me, but I just had all sorts of problems with my baggage and I'm trying to make a connecting flight so I can get back in time for my brother's wedding I said as I pushed my way through a good hour of waiting allowing me to arrive at the terminal just before the plane was scheduled to leave. Wouldn't you know it? This flight was a good 45 minutes late, which was going to make it really tough to catch my final connection. Don't worry they said, your connecting flight is running really late also.

I paid a few bucks to upgrade to Economy Plus so I could have an aisle seat with a little more leg room. I pulled out my brand new laptop to watch one of the new Blu-ray movies I had recently acquired. As it booted up, I was horrified at what I saw: hard disk failure. Apparently all the running around had done bad things to my hard drive. No movies for me. More waiting; but at least I wasn't standing in a line. I was really feeling sick and exhausted by now. Finally we were able to board the plane and I was very glad to have upgraded to the livable legroom section. Several other people followed suit after trying to fit themselves and their stuff in the "normal" seats. Finally I arrived in Phoenix only to discover that my connecting flight, which did leave quite late, had made up the time in flight and had already left. There were no other flights to Salt Lake that night, but there was one early in the morning that would still get me home in time. They were willing to put me on the other flight, but would not pay for a hotel. They said there was nothing more they could do. I contemplated driving from there, but figured it would take just as much time and I was certainly in no condition to make it safely. I agreed to the change and walked off very upset passing by another gal who was having a similar conversation with a different ticketing rep. That's the most I can do he said as he handed her something. I walked right up to him and said I am in the exact same situation as her and I would really appreciate it if you would give me whatever you just gave her. It was only a ten dollar credit for food, but at least it was something.

So I paid for a cheap hotel in hopes that I could get a few hours of sleep. The first thing I did after checking in was to get on the phone to see if I could figure out what was going on with my bags. After two hours of people paying lip service on the phone, I was pretty sure my bags were still somewhere in Dulles Airport and were not yet on their way to my final destination. How hard could it possibly be for someone to go find them, put correct tags on them, and put them on a conveyor belt that would allow my clothes to make it to me in time for the wedding? I settled in for a few hours of sleep.
The rest of the trip actually went quite smoothly. It was so good to see my wife and family. Since my bags didn't make it in time, we immediately went shopping for some replacement clothes and then went straight to the wedding. I was completely exhausted and sick as a dog, but the wedding was amazing and it was so good to be there with all of my family.

My bags finally made it a couple days later, though they tried to deliver them to an old address when we clearly told them that we would pick them up from the airport.

My laptop is kind of functioning again, though the hard drive is making bad noises and needs to be replaced.

When I finally made it to a doctor, the diagnosis were bronchitis and an infection in my lower abdomen. Two separate antibiotics and I'm finally starting to feel better.

It was very difficult to leave Brussels (in more ways than one), but it has already been worth all the trouble.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cleaning Up

I spent the last few days cleaning up the house and yard, getting ready for final inspection. I am so grateful to all the people who came and helped me. Kevin, Ben, and Ted are especially appreciated for helping me to reclaim my yard. Together we were able to trim down the massive hedges and weed out the gardens. This would have been impossible for me to do by myself. I am so grateful for good friends and their willingness to help out.