Friday, May 21, 2010

Utah Tribal Moms

Earlier I mentioned my wonderful girlfriends, aka the Utah Tribal Moms. The first wedding "entertainment" from these lovely ladies was Matt's wedding in Phoenix two years ago. Chris' daughter was married last weekend, which gave me my first chance to dance with the moms. Oh my gosh, it is such fun--but really exhausting!! We've decided that when it comes time for grandkid's weddings, the moms can take on the tribal dancing. We'll transition to the Utah Tribal Grandmas and ride around the dance floor on our Jazzy scooters. :)

This is my UTM necklace. We wear these any time we honor a child with a dance to our signature song, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Each sticker represents a wedding or a grandchild. This year we will add two more grandchild stickers and three wedding stickers. God has richly blessed our families. The Texas charm and the cross came from Valerie. She bought each mom a cross to signify our faith and a specific charm for our personalities--Texas for me, the southern girl; a horse for Chris, who relaxes by spending time with her horse; a soccer ball for herself, since she has a son who loves to play; and a flip-flop for Linda, the ultimate California girl. The charm on the right is a Native American symbol, a charm I gave each mom after Matt's Phoenix wedding.

Evidently, the latest trend in wedding receptions is a photo booth. All the guests step in and have their picture made. The guest gets a copy of the photo strip and one is put in an album for the bride and groom as a record of who attended. It's really quite fun. Of course, the UTMs had our picture made together! Are we crazy or what? The poses (from top to bottom) are serious, scared, sexy, and silly. And this beautiful woman is Penny, the Utah Tribal Mom who now lives in Missouri. We sure miss having her around.

Just in case you wondered, we do not dance unless the bride and groom both want us to. Our goal is just have fun and give the kids something to remember--not embarrass anyone.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Things My Mother Taught Me

October 5, 1934 - April 21, 2010

This beautiful woman is my mom. On this Mother's Day, I am grateful to be her daughter. Fifty-six years is much too short a time to have known her. She loved life and taught me many lessons--both in words and deeds. Here are just a few.

1) Optimism. Notice the smile in the pictures above. That was the way she faced life even during the tough times. Her glass was always at least "half full," which makes getting through those tough times a little easier.

2) How to balance work/home/family. Mom worked outside the home as long as I can remember. And had four kids! At one time, she had a child in private kindergarten (this was before kindergarten was part of elementary school), elementary school, junior high, and high school. Yet, dinner was home cooked, kids were ferried to extracurricular activities, laundry was done, and the house was cleaned. Sure we had chores, and, yes, we complained about them. But, she carried most of the load. And most of the time, still with that smile.

3) How to make my Mammaw's banana pudding. None of that boxed pudding mix. Custard cooked on top of the stove that you have to stir to keep from scorching. Poured over layers of bananas and vanilla wafers. Then put in the frig to cool. To die for delicious. Worth every calorie and fat gram.

4) To give my best to any job. Mom proudly worked as a secretary. She was the Texas state shorthand champion in high school and took most notes in shorthand all her life. Her organization skills were amazing! She had great attention to detail. Her boss when she retired told a friend that mom was the best secretary he'd ever had. Even as a volunteer, mom gave her all. One of her biggest concerns when she got sick the last time was that she would not be able to complete the job as chairman of her church's finance committee and how she was going to get the files back to the appropriate people.

5) A love of reading. Mom devoured books--especially mysteries and romance novels--and could easily spend an entire day reading. I'm the same way.

6) To have fun with friends. Mom was the epitome of the social butterfly. She played bridge, canasta (with two clubs), and bunco; volunteered to answer phones at her church on Wednesdays; and attended a weekly painting class. She and her two best buddies gathered for impromptu dinners, attended plays at the local junior college, went shopping and to lunch, and often gathered to play Mexican Train for an afternoon. She was Queen of her red hat group and met for lunch once a month with what she lovingly called "the old retired secretaries." Fun was the priority. But, when someone had a need, the fun turned to serving. Meals, transportation, companionship--whatever was needed, she was willing to give.

How blessed I am to have had Jo Ella Pope as my mom. What a great lady, wonderful woman, and awesome friend she was.