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?