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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The 24th of July

Today is the 24th of July and for those of you unaware of Mormon history it is the day in 1847 that Brigham Young arrived in the Salt Lake Valley and declared "This is the place!"  That started the largest exodus of pioneers in our American history.  For decades Mormon pioneers walked behind handcarts, drove wagons pulled by oxen or just willed themselves across the plains.  They came from every place you can imagine.  From factory workers in England, to farmers in Switzerland, they all answered a call to, "come to Zion."  Zion is what they called the Salt Lake Valley and that term was later broadened to anywhere Mormon pioneers were asked to settle.  Brigham Young was not the gentlest nor the kindest soul, but he had the perfect personality to get all those Saints west.  They needed someone tough to lead them as it is serious business to prepare a gentle dairy farmer from Norway to travel thousands of miles with his elderly parents and small children.  Brigham Young was just the guy.

Most of the pioneers made it to the Salt Lake Valley safely, of course it was extremely difficult but they got up every morning and walked west.  They were prepared with enough food and left with enough time to get to Salt Lake before winter.  But some of the pioneers were in groups that left a bit later in the year than expected and encountered the most horrible deprivation you could imagine.  They endured early snowstorms, starvation, sickness and death.  None of my ancestors were Mormon pioneers so it wasn't until the recent past that I began to appreciate the sacrifice these people made.  Their lives are an example to me, as they should be to everyone, of never giving up.  Examples of following something bigger than themselves.  You don't have to be Mormon, or even have pioneer ancestors to appreciate that.

I hope we all follow something that is bigger than ourselves.  That is how we challenge ourselves.  We never know how tall we are until we are in over our heads.  And when it becomes discouraging to keep going, to keep "walking west." we need something to encourage us.  God could have made Utah easier to get to for them, but he didn't.  It was a challenge to get there, certainly a way to measure their commitment.  Most made it, but some gave up.  I have searched for the pioneer story of the woman who simply sat down by her wagon and said, "I am not going another step. I quit, I give up.....I am finished"  I know it is there, even if it is unwritten, you know some had to feel that way, but for the most part they got up, dusted themselves off and kept walking west.  And in our own lives we have to keep walking "west" to whatever our west is.

We have examples of walking west around us everyday.  People challenged by almost everything.  God uses this fallen world to teach us who we are, because He already knows who we are and what we can do.  The problem is we don't.  We don't know how very powerful we are.  So we have this world to teach us how powerful we are.  We get the opportunity to overcome pain or disappointment which in turns teaches us how tall we really are.

By way of happy coincidence, 20 years ago today we bought our little acre of happiness.  After years of searching for our perfect place to live my husband attended a land auction on the 24th of July 1993 and bought our land.  That purchase started the greatest and hardest journey of our lives at that point.  We encountered one challenge after another as we started building our home.  We had no business building a home without a proper contractor, and our lack of experience caused lots of problems for us.  But we prayed everyday for everything. We prayed that the roofer would show up, that the electrician would do a good job, that we would order enough doors....and always that we wouldn't run out of money!!  And you know what?  The roofer finally came through, we ended up with enough doors, and even though we are convinced our evil electrician booby trapped things we haven't had too many problems.

This house is a constant example of what God can do if we are willing to do our part.  If we are willing to do things we have no idea how to do, but have the faith to try, He will make us powerful enough to do it.  Just look at your own life and the struggles and challenges you have encountered...when you believed you could and devoted your existence to that belief you succeeded, didn't you?  And weren't you scared out of your mind?  But you did it anyway.  You went back to school when all the other students were half your age, you went to chemotherapy and survived! or you started a business and that business sustained your family.  You finally found a job you loved after searching forever.  You got out of debt after this horrible recession without loosing everything.  Every story has a happy ending, you just have to have the faith that the ending is the one meant for you, just don't give up.

For us we withstood an angry seller of this land who didn't live up to her end of the contract...but that worked out.
When we were in the initial stages of getting our home started we got our plans back from the county with 36 problems on them. Our architect wasn't actually an architect but just a guy with a ruler who didn't really know what he was doing.  We were facing our own Red Sea.  But just when Raymond was picking up the plans he ran into the man who was contractor for the RV park he was building downtown.  He had a contractor for that, we just didn't have the money for one for the house we were building. This man took the troubled plans from Raymond and gave them to a woman who did know what she was doing.  She found so many other problems that we would not have known about, or been able to fix.  Her rendition of our house plans sailed through the county process in a week.
Almost every day was an answer to a prayer of some kind.  When you don't really know what you are doing all kinds of things can go wrong.....but we were protected at every turn.
Miracles all.
It wasn't easy, and it wasn't smooth, and it was the challenge of our lives, but we stayed with it and our home is a testament to us of what we can accomplish....if we remember that God can make us powerful.  We know we didn't do this on our own, because we couldn't.....but we have proof that God made us powerful one time.  And now that we have started a business, a hard and competitive business we have to remember we can be powerful and we will succeed, because we did before.  Our lives can become our scriptures.

All four of my husband's grandparents came from Italy through Ellis Island.  They came with very little money, spoke no English and had no place to live once they got here.  But they answered a call, just like the Mormon pioneers.  Like every other pioneer who came to America.  And just two generations later their posterity is numbered in the hundreds.  I am sure they didn't think they were powerful, but they did it.  God knew where he planted them, and He knew what they could do.

So today look at your challenges differently and realize they aren't a punishment, they are a way for God to show you how powerful you can be.  Marianne Williamson has a quote that I  love,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

And then one more, from one of my favorite souls...

God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe.”

 Jeffrey R. Holland

Overcome your fears my friends, it might be the challenge of your powerful and be successful.  And never, never give up.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

And now for the rest of the story

No need for a long post...this is Miguel from All-American carpet cleaner, my hero.  The price i was quoted on the phone was the price i paid, and he did an awesome job .! an hour.
The furniture is already back in place, and servicemaster is a distant memory. 

Miguel made me promise i wouldn't do anything like that again.

Learn from my mistakes...

Your welcome...

Friday, July 19, 2013

I just did what Stevie Nicks would do....

The worst part is I know better!!  But I did it anyway....I went with a special from a carpet cleaning company I had never used before.  Their advertised special is not a special at all.  It is a bait and switch...unfortunately the very nice young man who was given the job of letting me know they could not possibly clean my carpets for their "special" price, but for a price 3x's the amount, was right in front of me and not the woman I spoke to earlier who assured me the price is firm.   The price was, wait for it.....3x's the amount we agreed to!!  (worlds longest sentence...sorry but I am acrimonious!!  No time for pausing)

I told this very nice young man to gather up his equipment and ease on down the road. He called his supervisor, a not very nice man.  Who assured me I did not know how carpet cleaning companies worked.  I assured him I did know how his carpet cleaning business worked.  If I wanted the Gambino family to clean my carpets I would have called them.

The advertised special is the price....unless you want us to bring in all of our equipment and actually do the job.
Or plug in the machine
Or use a carpet cleaning product

Basically the special was lightly dragging a steam cleaner over the carpet.  And when I was not happy with it he would just say, I told you to do the deep cleaning, can't help you, sucka.

I am so sorry I gave in to my need to find a better deal.   My daughter's boyfriend is coming for the weekend and at noon today I looked at my ancient carpet and thought I have to get this cleaned.  It looked like the bottom of a bird cage.  My regular company increased their prices and I was trying to save some money, so I called someone else who advertised a great deal.  I put all the furniture outside, in the kitchen and dining room.  You know that look?  The one after the hoarder police have gone through the hoarders house?  Cleaning carpets is a great excuse to deep clean every thing and get the Cheetos out from under the couch.  But I like for the process to happen within the space of one day.  Not so on this regular guys can't get here until 1 tomorrow.  I am up on blocks

 I definitely make an impression on my daughter's boyfriend each time he comes.

The first time he came my husband was arrested and spent the entire day in jail.  Suffice it to say over zealous police and a bench warrant for a ticket he had paid.  We just had our insurance overhauled and gone through, you would think they would find his license was suspended.  It was mortifying.  But my husband was able to make many new friends....

The next time he came my husband threw his back out and couldn't get out of bed.

The next time the air conditioner was leaking in the room he was staying and water was everywhere along with a warped ceiling.

The next time he got sick....oh my.

Well the good news is we can lay on the floor in the den, watch TV, eat popcorn and throw it at each other....

Please don't let it rain.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An accepted intrusion, an ornithic experience

Ornithic:  Having to, or pertaining to, birds.

We live in a decidly rural area of Clark County Nevada.  Our roads are paved but that's the extent of our development.  We love the "rural standards" here, streetlights and sidewalks are at a minimum and even very few curbs and gutters. But to the quail, rabbits, chipmunks, roadrunners, hummingbirds, doves, and the occassional coyote, we are an intrusion.  Hopefully, an accepted intrusion.
Early This morning I took my dog outside and we startled three quail that were on our patio. Quail mom and Quail dad flew onto the roof, and Quail junior fled to the open side door of our garage.  All at warp speed. The outpouring of concern from Quail mom and Quail dad was very dramatic and very loud. I have lived here for eighteen years and the quail still amuse me the most. Their actions always make them appear worried and in a profound hurry,  like they are returning an over due library book just before the doors closes.  Since Quail tend to walk very fast instead of fly they embody the word scurry. I didn't think of this before but scurry must be an amalgam of scared and hurry.....and that is how they appear to me. I can almost hear Quail mom and quail dad talking to their brood, "let's go let's go! Hurry up! Hurry up!"....and off they go, scurrying for their very lives......across the backyard, on top of the fence, down the street...scurry, hurry and faster. I have watched a whole family of quail cross the road, and then after a second, the mom runs back to get one slow little quail, as though they are in a constant fire drill. She then appears to give that little quail the what-for all the way back to the others.
I usually step away as quickly as i can when I Intrude on my wildlife friends but for some reason I wanted to watch this particular quail dilemma play out. How do they solve the problem of being separated from their children?
The Quail parents are on the roof, while junior is in the garage, running in circles. (sound familiar?) Quail children are just as neurotic as their parents which solves the nurturing versus nature question. I notice that the mom quail is on the roof looking at where junior went into the garage while dad quail is on the roof on the other side of the garage.  And they are loud!  The adult quail seem to be angry with each other as well as their offspring....I can almost hear them say, "oh what to do, what to do?"  So I reach in and hit the button to open the garage door and hope they figure it all out.  And they do, Baby quail runs out of the open door with his parents right behind him.....

As a parent I realized I have a lot in common with Quail.  I got it right then that we aren't all that different.  And why would we be?  We are all created by the same being, the same force, the one who put into us the desire to "fill the measure of our creation".

And that made me smile.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Funniest Thing Ever...

A man who lived in Cleveland Ohio was a true Browns fan.  He wrote his own obituary and when he died his family had it published in the paper.

"As part of my funeral I would like 6 Cleveland Brown football players to be my pallbearers, that way the Browns can let me down one last time."

Now that's funny......

While we are on the subject I would like my tombstone to read,

"I told you I was sick."

And in lieu of a barbaric funeral just put me in a hefty bag for Tuesday pick up.

I think that takes care of my will......