Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Memorial Day is always pretty special to me.  I got a pretty fantastic gift in 1998 on Memorial Day.  She turned 16 on Sunday.  I am reminded of my Miller grandparents, who have since passed on.  Memorial Day is the beginning of summer for me, as school is out until August.  Our family gets together.  Today, we even looked at slides from New Orleans circa 1982.  A few weeks ago, I sat in a hotel conference room and caught up on life with two very dear friends from my high school days.

Memories, for me, are treasured lifelines to the person we were.  It is with these lifelines, interwoven with others, that help us to see who we have become, and how we came to be that way.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to revisit the home where the Hill family lived while I attended high school.  

A sign appeared on the acreage selling the barn and the house, declaring they "must be moved."   The property is now zoned for commercial, and the owners will break ground on the lot for storage units within the next 3 months.

Aaron, Whitney and I walked through. The memories flooded back.  I saw the furniture, heard the sounds, remembered the yard work, the construction (the destruction) and even found a few historical remnants in the vast reaches of the attic eaves.

This home was the first house the Hill's actually owned.  Up to that point, we were in rentals, or military family housing.  I remember, still, the first time I was alone in the big house, sitting in the kitchen with the now-ancient cell phone because the phone line hadn't yet connected.  Looking out the front door, I saw Jake and Brandy run, then sit next to me on the front step.  Standing on the second level looking down toward the kitchen, I heard mom calling up the stairs for me.  Stepping down the entry staircase, I slid through the large cardboard box with my brothers again.  Walking through my old bedroom, I felt the safety, the solitude and the comfort of family.  Even with no furniture, time fading the walls, carpets and windows, memories whispered through, offering memories of childhood, growing up, and moving on.

This evening, I sit in the place I have called home for the last 12 years.  7 years ago, this became the home in which I have lived the longest, and I feel it.  This is home.  This is our life...  and our life story.

Over the past few months, we have undergone some changes.  The two upstairs bathrooms had complete renovations, and they look awesome!  We have a new roof, siding, windows, gutters... The perennial flowers are coming in.

Still, this feels like home.

My reading today included 1 Nephi 4-6, from the Book of Mormon.  Nephi and his brothers left their family in the wilderness to return to Jerusalem, where people wanted to kill their father, to obtain records of God's commandments, genealogy and written language.  Their travels had taken them away from the "land of their inheritance" for years.  Upon obtaining the plates, they were to return to their family.  I can only imagine what it must have felt like to walk through their home.  To see the material wealth their family had, to offer it in exchange for the record on the brass plates, and to have it stolen, and be labeled as thieves must have broken them.  And yet, Nephi and Sam welcomed the commandment.  And they brought a friend - Zoram - back with them.  They welcomed him home.

"There's no place like home" is true.  And there's no place I would rather be.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

2014 Summer Fun List!

Summer Fun List!!!

This is what I have so far!

As always, please let me know if you think of anything else.  Keep posted as I will update throughout the summer!

For Families:
·         http://48bowl.com/kids_bowl_free.html - You can purchase a shoe pass for $10 at both bowling centers! These are active now!!!
·         http://www.negpp.org/ - The Great Park Pursuit sends you all over Nebraska to visit the State Parks.  If you like the outdoors, this one is for you!  Just make sure you pick up a park permit. They are available at Hy-Vee, Wal-Mart, or can be ordered online.
·         http://www.nebraskapassport.com/ - Iconic Nebraska sites are listed on this passport.  Once again, load up in the car and drive around the state.  This is also available as a smartphone app (Google Play or Apple App Store).
·         http://www.lincoln.org/play/be-a-tourist - Be a tourist in Lincoln is closer to home, but has the same general idea as Nebraska passport.
·         Lincoln Parks and Recreation Summer Guide includes hours for pools and rec centers as well as special events - http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/parks/programs/info/links/LPR_Program_Guide.pdf
·         Skate Zone – Roller skating summer hours will be posted here.  http://skatezonerocks.com/
·         Champions Fun Center - http://www.championsfuncenter.com/admission/index.html
·         Omaha Zoo - http://www.omahazoo.com/ - Don’t forget the “educational component”: http://www.omahazoo.com/education/educator-corner/resources/

For Elementary-aged kids:

·         Lincoln City Libraries Elementary-age Reading program (grades K-5): http://lincolnlibraries.com/kids/summer_reading_program.htm
·         Barnes and Noble (Grades K-6): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/summer-reading/379003570
·         Book Adventure:  http://www.bookadventure.com/Home.aspx
·         Scholastic(if you want to be part of "My classroom" let me know.  If you are a student with me, you already have a password.  Just email to get the info!)  www.scholastic.com/summer
·         Chuck E. Cheese:  Reading, Chores, etc.  These are great! http://www.chuckecheese.com/discover/rewards-calendars

For Teenagers:

·         Twelve Weeks of Personal Progress – Thanks Wendy!  We will be doing this one at our house!!!  http://www.themormonhome.com/12-weeks-of-progress-or-how-to-complete-personal-progress-this-summer
·         Seminary Doctrine and Covenants prep day trips:
o   Of course you can go to Nauvoo, but it is worth at least a weekend!  Plus, you really should see the pageant.  It is amazing!
Now for the shameless plugs:
·         I do have music lessons slots available over the summer.  I will be holding private lessons on piano and violin for students READING at a 2nd grade level or higher.  For younger students, I will be offering an “intro to music” class once a week.  We will use percussion equipment, listen to some amazing tunes, and have a lot of fun!  Lessons are $12 for half an hour, and will occur on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
·         I also do offer tutoring over the summer to help with retention of information, a quicker start to the school year, to complete reading programs, or just to learn something new.  $15 for 45 minutes.
·         Spencer Terry will be offering swimming lessons in his backyard.  If you want his number, please let me know!

Have a great summer everyone!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

There is Sonshine in my soul today!

This week, Pop was really struggling with happiness.
She just wasn't.
She's 14.  I get it.  But it was ridiculous how difficult life really was NOT.
That being said, revelation came at a moment truly needed.  Pop now must present a list of at least 10 good things about each day.
It has changed her whole attitude.
I decided, to be fair, that I am going to list things for which I am grateful.  (I know it isn't Thanksgiving..  I don't care.  We should always be thankful for the blessings sent to us!)
  1. My family is AMAZING!
  2. We have a new roof over our heads
  3. There are also new gutters to move the rain from the new roof to the gardens (some of which are starting inside this week!)
  4. New siding protects our home!
  5. The new windows offer a clearer perspective on life!
  6. One bathroom renovation is almost finished... and it looks awesome.
  7. The second bathroom renovation begins tomorrow.
  8. The Master bedroom was rearranged and cleaned today (except carpets.  Those get cleaned after the renovation is finished.)
  9. 5 pounds was lost over the last week starting Weight Watchers.
  10. My friend came to Weight Watchers with me.
  11. Asparagus was only 98 cents a bunch.  (I LOVE asparagus.)
  12. My uncle and cousin are coming into town this week, as my cousin is playing baseball against the Huskers.
  13. My manatee was found.  (See #7 above.)
  14. I went out to a movie with some friends.  LOVED it!
  15. I'm getting my hair done on Thursday!
  16. Hawaii is ONLY 3 months and 3 days away.
  17. My hands are going through a deep moisturizing treatment tonite.  They are going to feel so good tomorrow.
  18. Even though I am not working this week (as school is on Spring Break), my job is the greatest job ever!  I got to play my violin, the bells and conduct this week.  I also got to hang out with some pretty fantastic high school students.
  19. Only 8 more days until Frozen comes out on DVD and Blue Ray.
  20. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I am blessed to know it, love it and live it!
What are you thankful for?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Appropriate Parent Noise

The other morning, Hailey texted me from seminary asking if she could go to a friends house to spend the night.  The standard questions followed...
  • Is your homework done?
  • Are your chores done?
  • What are the details of the visit?
Questions 1 & 3 were pretty easy for her.  Question 2 stopped her short.  She told the friend she would not be able to spend the night, because she had to catch up on chores.  Not that chores are a gross imposition on time - when completed daily it usually only takes about 15 minutes TOTAL - but when not completed - all week - it takes awhile.  The point of the story...  I didn't have to tell her no.  She knew what the answer would be all on her own.

Saturday, the same progeny was at a friend's birthday party.  Her ride was ready to leave, but she was not.  She called for permission to stay.  The standard questions...
  • Is your homework done?
  • Are your chores done?
  • Who are you with?
  • Who is bringing you home?
  • When will you be home?
Successfully answering all the questions brought her to the conclusion that she could, in fact, stay the extra time at the birthday party, with permission from her parents.

That was the point...  she, by thinking through the questions she knew I was going to ask, was able to process a reasonable explanation why what she wanted was valid.  This morning, as I met with each of my daughters, we ran through our normal questions.
  • What is your schedule for the week, and do I have that information in my planner?
  • What assignments do you have coming up, and when are you going to do them?
  • What do your grades look like?
  • How are you feeling about your family expectations? (chores, exercise, etc)
  • How is Personal Progress coming along?
These are normal.  They are the standard.  So, why, then are they so hard to answer.

Then I thought about the questions we are asked, through loving leaders, by our Heavenly Father.  These questions include, but are not limited to:
  • Did you read your scriptures today, personally? as a family?
  • Did you pray today, personally? as a family?
  • Did you have family Home Evening this week?
  • Did you go to the temple this month?
The questions may repeat, but they set a foundation for our days, that will bring us closer to our Heavenly Father.  It is his Appropriate Parent Noise.  Are we listening, pondering, and responding???

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On the move...

Yesterday, I went to the doctor.

I love my doctor.  He's awesome.

I do NOT like the effects my weight has on his scale.

However, I was motivated to begin walking everyday again.

This morning I met my friend, Brenda, for a 30 minute walk during seminary.  It felt so good.  When Wendy and Jennifer joined us after their run for their cool-down walk (incidentally, that was faster than Brenda and I had been walking...) it made the walk even more fun.

I'm so grateful to have friends who encourage me to get "on the move" to help our health.  My ability to work out has a lot to do with my willingness to walk.  When my friends walk too, it makes it so much easier!

Thanks ladies!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I loved seminary as a youth.


Okay, the early morning wasn't my favorite, but I really did LOVE what I learned and the opportunity to bond with the other students and the teachers.

I loved serving on the Stake Seminary Council and helping to plan events.  It was awesome.

Driving the early morning carpool has also been an awesome experience!  I love talking with the kids... or not...  first thing in the morning.  It reminds me to start out the day happy.

Imagine my delight when I was asked to teach seminary for two days.  I was so excited.  Nothing prepared me for this morning's conversation, not even ALL the prep that went into the lesson.  (I'm about to go into a long story, which is awesome, but time-consuming...)

We were discussing how to study the scriptures, and there were several different methods recommended.  (If you would like a copy of the handout, let me know...  thanks LeAnne Hahne!!!)  As a demonstrative tool, we used 3 Nephi 17:1-10.

First, we read the passage.  No preamble, intro or anything.

 Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my atime is at hand.

aperceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot bunderstand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.

 Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and aponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and bprepare your minds for the cmorrow, and I come unto you again.

 But now I ago unto the Father, and also to bshow myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not clost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.

 And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they wereain tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.

 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled withacompassion towards you.

 Have ye any that are asick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or bleprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will cheal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.

 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that yourafaith is bsufficient that I should heal you.

 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their ablind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.

 10 And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did akiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears.

Then I asked them to tell me about the history of the passage.
638 years before, a group of jews, including a prophet, left Jerusalem and traveled to the American continent.  Alone.  They fought amongst themselves for hundreds of years, but the gospel was always present.
38 years before, Samuel the Lamanite stood on a wall and prophesied about the coming of Jesus Christ.  He listed signs that would evidence of the arrival of the Savior.
33 years before, the wicked people in the Americas set a date by which the signs must be made manifest, or those believing in Christ would perish.  Nephi, a prophet, prayed to God.  He was promised that the signs would come the next day!
The signs came.
33 years went by.
Earthquakes, storms, destruction, death, injury, illness, and then darkness...  complete...  utter... darkness for 3 days.
A voice comes.
3 times.  It is the voice of GOD.
Then the Savior appears.
He greets them.  Spends time with them.

Then we talked about who was telling the story: Nephi
Who was he talking about:  The Savior and the Nephites...  his people.
What did the Savior do?  He was trying to leave, but they asked Him to stay.  He did and he healed all those with infirmities.

Awesome..  we get the literal, right?

Now for the cool part...

I then asked them what principle the Savior was teaching in this passage.  We started with verse 2-3 - after all the horribleness the people experienced.  After everything, Jesus tried to leave.  He told them they were not ready for the rest of the words He was to say.  That they should go home, ponder on what had been said, pray about it, and come back tomorrow to talk about it.  One of the students said, "He gave them HOMEWORK!" 

She was right!  It was homework.  The Savior asked, and still asks us, to ponder, pray and prepare for new light and further knowledge.

It gets cooler than that...

In verse 5, the Savior looks at the people, one last time, and realizes they are asking him to stay.  They want to see the same miracles He performed in Jerusalem.

Their faith is so great (verse 8) that HE CANNOT LEAVE!!!!  He stays to perform these miracles because they have done what was needed to receive the blessings.


I have read that passage many times, but today, it came full circle...  It doesn't matter how rough I think my life is.  It doesn't matter how hard things get.  My Savior will be waiting until the time is right.  He wants me to watch, read, ponder, and pray.  He wants me to prepare to meet Him.  If I do what He asks of me, He will be there to issue the blessings that are best for me, and if I demonstrate that kind of faith, He CANNOT DENY the blessings.  He will be filled with compassion toward me.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn and study the gospel of Jesus Christ with the ease of turning on my phone, opening my own copy of the scriptures, etc.  They are truly a blessing in my life!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

This is a silver lining post...

Had you asked Wednesday night or Thursday, I would not have been enthusiastic about my location.

I would have been very scared and frustrated.

That's because I was in the cardiac unit of a local hospital with my hero.

Having chests pains two times in three days encouraged him to get checked out at the hospital.  (Okay... so my nagging and worry helped nudge him in that direction.  I also threatened to call his mother.  That was probably the "last straw" motivational tactic that worked.)  He went to the emergency room.  They began running tests...  and more tests...  and evaluations... and more tests...

Thursday afternoon (on his birthday), he was released with a clean bill of heart health.  They have no idea why his chest hurts, but his heart is fine.

The silver lining...  We now have x-rays, echo-cardio-grams, CT scans, EKG results, telemetry notes, blood work results, and vital sign checks that show just how healthy my hero's heart really is.  I'll be honest, I have always worried that his heart would go, and that he wouldn't make it.  I don't so much anymore.  As a matter of fact, I am more confident about his heart than mine right now... because we know.

Furthermore, we found out that his blood pressure is low enough, we should probably have our doctor adjust his meds down.  He didn't even take them the night he was in the hospital because he didn't need them.  We also found out that he has lost some weight, and that was truly a blessing.

While, in the moment, I was not thrilled about where I was, looking back, there really was no place I would rather him be.  Now we know, and knowing is half the battle!