Saturday, February 26, 2011

Maybe tomorrow......

Raise your hand if you procrastinate. I KNEW I wasn't alone!! It's true, I work better under pressure. But, that is probably because I put things off until I have no choice. The worst is when I put off a project or task because I think it's going to be difficult.

It gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger while I continue to do nothing. Instead of getting the task done, I worry over it for days before even beginning. Nine times out of ten, the task isn't nearly as hard as I imagined. So, I've wasted time, stressed for no reason, and still have to work under pressure. You'd think I would know better after 57 years. Obviously, this old dog isn't learning any new tricks.

Perhaps I should heed these words from Matthew 6:34, "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (The Message)

Easier said than done, though.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Continuing to count...

In my valiant and sometimes successful effort to count blessings and not whine, here are a few more.

6) Heater repairman who was willing to work the broken furnace at my office into his schedule yesterday.
7) A friend who loaned me her sweater to wear until he got the work done.
8) The modern methods of communication that allowed me to easily let my boss know what was happening at the office even though he was in Atlanta.
9) Temperatures that were warmer than the previous week, which kept the pipes (and me) from freezing even though the furnace was out.
10) Sunshine on the snow.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lesson Learned........Again

One of my biggest fears is being a negative person. You know, the type who always sees the bad in a situation and complains loudly about it. The glass half-empty team. Lately, I fear that describes me more often than not.

Just this morning, the sound of my neighbor snow blowing his driveway woke me at 5:45 (my alarm was set for 7). There I was tossing and turning and grumbling about not being able to get back to sleep. So, I gave in and got up and decided to go ahead and clear our driveway. What a treat I had when I stepped out the door! The full moon sitting just above the horizon in all its glory. (No this is not an actual picture of what I saw; it came from Google. But, it's close.) Thank you, God, for that blessing.

The second thing I noticed was that the newspaper delivery person had driven in the driveway and packed down the snow. More grumbling on my part. "Now there will be places where I can't get the snow off, so it will take days for that snow to melt, and he/she didn't even toss the paper on the porch, just dropped it in the snow, good thing I saw it before running over it with the snow blower," etc... We had rain last night before it got cold enough to snow, so there was ice under the snow on the driveway. Our driveway slopes toward the street. Because of the ice, I had difficulty getting the snow blower up the driveway (even though it's self-propelled). My feet kept slipping--until I stood in the lines of packed snow from the newspaper delivery person's car. Thank you, Lord, for your provision.

"And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord." Psalm 35:9 Thank you, God, for the reminders. Once again, I set out to count my blessings rather than grumble. Here are a few:

1) A snow blower to make clearing the driveway easier.
2) A neighbor who cleared the sidewalks in front of my house as well as his.
3) Good tires on my car that keep me from sliding on the icy roads.
4) A roof over my head, hot chocolate, and warm gloves on a cold morning.
5) The winter wonderland of tree limbs coated in snow with the sun shining through them. It looked like a forest of glistening rock candy.

My glass is definitely half-full. Perhaps I'll jot down blessings here from time to time and watch as it fills to overflowing.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


If you know the Wards, you know we seldom travel by car. But in the past year, Tommy and I have made several long car trips and have enjoyed the sights from the ground rather than from the window of a plane. Last spring I blogged about our Utah/Colorado/Arizona/Utah loop. Today I'm going to highlight two other trips.

Trip 1Last August, we bought a new car from CarMax. CarMax will transport used cars to the dealer closest to you, but they won't do that for new cars. And, not all CarMax dealers carry all makes of new cars. Naturally, the one we wanted wasn't anywhere near Salt Lake City. It was in Baltimore. So......we flew to Baltimore, picked up the new car, and drove it home. Nothing like putting 2,500 miles on your new car in less than a week. But, what a great opportunity to break it in.

I'm a note taker when we travel; always jotting down interesting things we see or people we meet. We saw license plates from 30 states! And crossed the Potomac, Wabash, Ohio, Missouri, Mississippi, and Platte rivers!

Day 1 we drove out of Maryland and through Pennsylvania (including a stint on the Pennsylvania Turnpike), West Virginia, and Ohio. I had driven in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago and loved the rolling green hills. It was just as pretty this trip--white clapboard houses; red barns with ads for milk, tobacco, or local restaurants painted on the side; churches with steeples and bell towers. We even passed a horse and buggy near Quaker City.

Day 2 took us out of Ohio and through Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. This was what greeted us as we entered Indiana. Have no idea who put it up, but it was awesome to see! Lots of antique malls here. Wish I'd had time to stop and browse. The rolling hills gave way to farmland; there were cornfields as far as the eye could see with numbers periodically placed on the ends of the rows. Saw my first Denny's with a drive-thru window, but we skipped that and stopped at Steak and Shake for lunch. Yum! While we were eating lunch, we noticed several ladies peeking in the windows of our new car. Nice to know others appreciated it as much as we did.

We detoured a little to the south in order to stop at the famous arch in St. Louis. My first time to visit there. It was awesome! I loved the "stair step" feel of the elevator ride to the top. And, we were blessed with good weather and an even better view.

On Day 3 we hit the 1,000 mile mark just outside Columbia, Missouri, and turned north at Kansas City to press on through Iowa, Nebraska, and into Wyoming. We're talking serious farmland in Iowa and Nebraska. Farmers must be doing fairly well. We passed a farm with a Leer jet in the front yard.
I was surprised by the number of wineries here. And by the number of billboards advertising adult entertainment venues. And by the highway patrol officers on duty. We passed three in a quarter mile stretch who each had a car pulled over. Talk about eclectic scenery!

We wanted to stop for lunch in Lincoln but weren't sure where to do so. Tommy decided to use the GPS to find us a restaurant. It told us to exit I-80 down this two-lane dirt road past a gas station and between rows of corn. It was obvious there wasn't an Applebee's there, so we turned around and got back on the freeway grumbling about how stupid the GPS was. After just a couple of minutes, traffic slowed to a crawl. An RV traveling eastbound had crossed the median and both lanes of westbound traffic and was lying on its side north of the freeway. Had we not detoured, we would have been in the path of the RV! Thank you, Lord, for your protection even when we aren't aware we need it. Perhaps we can rename the GPS, "God's Protective System."

Day 4 took us through Wyoming and home to Utah. Wyoming is windy! Always. Most overpasses have windsocks attached with warnings about high winds. Snow fences (placed along the side of the road to keep snow from drifting across the freeway), wind turbines, and cows are now the "crop" of the state. We passed Buford, Wyoming, billed as the nation's smalled town with a population of 1, but it included a convenience store. We drove across the Continental Divide and ever closer to our beloved mountains finally pulling into the driveway about dinner time.

It was a great trip. We were thankful for electronics--using the iPad to make hotel reservations each day and singing to the iPod as we rode along. Tommy got the owner's manual read. We thought of friends who live in the states we drove through and how they have impacted our lives. But, it sure was nice to sleep in our own bed knowing we didn't have to drive any further than the grocery store the next day.

Trip 2In January, we drove from Scottsdale where our son lives back to Layton in the Jeep. The Jeep is our "toy" car. We keep it garaged in the winter but thoroughly enjoy driving it in the summer. We had loaned the Jeep to Matt and Amber after a hailstorm destroyed their car, and God had provided a car for them; so this was a good time to bring it home. The weather cooperated, traffic was light, and we made the trip in record time (for the Jeep).

Not so many notes on this trip, but pictures of the drive. It is amazing to see the way the scenery changes between Arizona and Utah. I didn't take most of these pictures (it's a bit bouncy in the Jeep).

Matt and Amber live in Scottsdale. Like so many large cities, it's hard to tell where Scottsdale ends and Phoenix or Chandler or Mesa begins. Although I am NOT a fan of the summer heat, I do love all the outdoor malls, beautiful desert colors, and the many things to do such a large metropolis offers. There are a number of ways to get from Arizona to Utah, but we usually go north rather than west through Las Vegas. As you travel north on Interstate 17, you leave the heat behind as you climb into Flagstaff. This is the view out the windshield as we approached the city.

Coming down out of Flagstaff takes you past the western edge of the Navajo Reservation. This landscape is beautiful in its own way, but it is also desolate and discouraging. I am saddened every time I drive through it about what we did to the Native Americans as we pushed westward. This picture is from further east near Monument Valley, but it gives you a sense of the poverty.

Next comes Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. Gorgeous! The picture doesn't do it justice.

That brings us into Utah where we turn left, drive through Kanab and begin the climb to Beaver.
Kanab is home to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter for dogs, cats, horses, and other animals. I had just read a magazine article about the director, who visited the shelter on vacation and ultimately moved from New York to Kanab to work at the shelter as a volunteer before being named the director.

You can stay on Highway 89 and drive through all sorts of small towns between Kanab and Layton, but it takes much longer. Given this is a 12-hour drive by interstate, and we wanted to get home before the predicted snow storm of the evening, we opted to press on towards Interstate 15. That takes you through central Utah, which is grazing land; and on into Salt Lake City. Sounds quick, but it's another four hours plus to our home. After 12 hours in the Jeep, we were more than ready once again to sleep in our own bed and not have to drive very far for a while.

I did notice in putting this blog together that, when we do take road trips, we seem to drive in a straight line. Google map instructions from Scottsdale to Layton say something like "turn north on I-17 and drive 200 miles, turn left at Page and drive 117 miles, etc. Perhaps we are so accustomed to flying that we automatically take the route the crow (or should I say airplane) flies.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


What is MFF, you ask? "Mandatory Family Fun," a phrase coined by Tommy when the kids were younger. Any parent--especially of teens--has experienced the eye rolling and whining when children are required to participate in a family activity. Don't worry. Calling it MFF didn't take that away; Lindsay and Matt still complained when we forced them to go on a picnic with us or to work as a family to get the yard in shape or anything else they believed was beneath the dignity of a child/teen. But, the name stuck; and as they got older they actually enjoyed family time.

Well, MFF came back to bite Tommy in the behind while in Phoenix for our Christmas celebration. He does NOT enjoy playing board games, and the rest of us love it. Amber got "Pit" for Christmas and wanted to teach us how to play. Lindsay and Matt played the MFF card and forced Tommy to join us. This is the adult version of eye rolling and whining.

Oh yes. The kids gave him infinite grief.

Ward Family Christmas

There is one bright spot in January. The Wards gathers to celebrate our family Christmas. It's not exactly the same as exchanging gifts in December, but it works for us--less expensive airfare, you can buy gifts after Christmas when there are LOTS of sales, and it's much easier for Tommy and Lindsay to get time off work. This year we rendezvoused in Phoenix at Matt and Amber's. Sunny skies and 70 degrees are always a treat for the Utah and Washington Wards.

Whoever hosts usually leaves some Christmas decorations up so it feels like Christmas. Amber's mom and I both bought decorations every year for our kids to take with them when they left home. You can see their tree is pretty full. What fun to reminisce over the ornaments and remember where they came from or the special occasions they represent! And to see what special ornaments Amber had.

We don't cook a big Christmas dinner, although we did make hamburgers one night. It's the time together, not the food, that's important. We worshipped together Sunday, which is always a treat. Love to hear my son play drums and Amber play bass in the praise band. The girls managed to sneak in mani/pedis. Ahhhh........ We played games, talked until way too late, wandered an outdoor mall one afternoon, and just generally relaxed. What a blessing.

Have you ever seen such concentration playing Wii?

Amber's uber excited to get her workout clothes. I love her wonderful, expressive personality

Lindsay left the Gap this summer after working there for ten years. Because she could purchase with a discount, and we took advantage of friends and family days, we've had a generous supply of Gap boxes over the years. This may be the last Gap box we'll ever see. :)

Three of the best kids a mom could hope for. Proverbs tells us that children are the crown of old men. We definitely have glorious crowns! I am so proud of the young adults they have become and so blessed to have them in my life.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.