Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can Do

I have to say I loved the Volkswagen commercial from the 2011 Super Bowl with the mini Darth Vader. (And I have to admit to watching it a couple times online just because it was so cute. Since when is a commercial supposed to do that to you?)

Well, the seven-year-old boy inside the Darth Vader suit, Max Page, is going through open-heart surgery on Wednesday, July 14. I'm sure he can use all the good thoughts and prayers we can send his way; such a big ordeal has to be scary for a young kid and for the rest of his family. But the Deutsch LA ad agency released an email from Max's mom that talked about some of the things they were doing to help him prepare for his ordeal. They decided to focus on the things that he can do while he's recovering, and made a "Can Do" list together.

They also put their heads together and made their house more fun. I won't quote the whole email here; you can read what his mom wrote at the Deutsch LA blog. But I've gotta say...wow, what fun ideas! They decided to add quirky themes to each room in the house and the result is something a kid has got to love.

What I liked most of all was Max's attitude about the whole thing. His mom says he's understandably scared, but here's what he finally told her:

"Mom, I don't have a choice. I have to go through it. I don't like it and it's still scary--but I have to. So I think I might as well go through it with a good attitude."

Wow. I love that. I think sometimes we think that having a good attitude comes when everything is going as we want. Sure, it's pretty easy to have a good attitude then. But deciding to have a good attitude when things are not going as we would choose--that takes real courage. And it brings real power.

Here's the Volkswagen commercial video (yes, I watched it again before I posted it):

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Can a Teenager Dial a Phone?

Note: The following conversation is slightly fictionalized. But only slightly.

Teenager: I can't get ahold of Leopold. I texted him and he didn't answer.

Me: Why don't you call him?

Teenager: What??


Teenager: (confused) I don't make phone calls.

Me: What do you think phones are for?

Teenager: Texting. Music. Apps.

Me: You don't know how to make a phone call?

Teenager: Oh, yeah, I do. You just hit their name on speed-dial.

Me: Do you know how to make a phone call that isn't on speed dial?

Teenager: Yes, I can enter a phone number. But I don't know about those old phones with the rotary wheels where you had to actually dial the number.

Me: They didn't have screens on them that showed what you dialed so you could see if you got it right.

Teenager: I know. That would be terrifying.

Me: So you don't know how to make phone calls, and you don't know how to address envelopes.

Teenager: Oh, I can address an envelope. All you have to do is Google the instructions.

PS: Teenager was laughing as much as I was. Teenager is not stupid. But I am wondering what my future grandkids will think the word "phone" means. Will they ever stop to wonder how the device in their pocket is related to the ancient talking box known as the "telephone"?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Moments in Music: The Barney Clean Up Song

No matter what people have to say about the big purple dinosaur, I have to say that Barney has a rockin' clean up song. Or, that is, he used to. My days with preschool kids around are long enough ago that we sang the catchy song he sang in the early seasons of Barney and Friends:

Clean up, clean up,
Everybody everywhere,
Clean up, clean up,
Everybody do your share.

It's a simple song, with a singsongy tune, but boy does it work on preschoolers. At that age, cleaning up is just another game for them. Sing the song and they know what to do! In fact, if you don't sing the song for them, they'll sing it for you. One little boy I used to babysit was still learning to talk, but his "mee mup, mee mup" was pretty unmistakable when it was time to put the toys away.

I've been serving in the nursery at church for the past several months, and guess which song sticks the best when it's time to pick up?

And with all my recent exposure to Barney's "Clean Up" song, what do you think the first song was that came to my mind the other day when we fixed the car and reached the point where it was time to put the tools away? You guessed it. All my husband did was say, "Let's clean up now," and the song just sailed from my lips. I'm sure it raised morale immensely.

Everyone has their own opinions about Barney, and I do have to say that I haven't missed watching his show since my son grew out of it years ago. (Actually, it would be pretty scary if I did miss it.) But something I love about Barney and Friends is how they make cleaning up part of the game. They have fun, sing songs, and they clean up before they go. It goes to show that even little kids can learn big things if they're taught in a way that resonates with them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tetris (fake) Movie Trailer

Just when you thought you were having a bad day, you look up in the sky and...

Your day just got a whole lot worse.

This is a trailer for a totally fake movie based on a totally cool video game that would totally not make sense in the real world. Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Free Kindle Ebooks Saturday May 26!

I'm sharing this message from Rachel Ann Nunes. I know I always love a good deal on books, and you can't do better than free! --Katie

This Saturday, May 26th, kick off your summer with FREE Kindle books by two best-selling authors!

What better way to celebrate the start of summer than by stocking up on books? This is the perfect opportunity to get that Kindle you always wanted—or download the Kindle app for your iPad or computer and read for free!

A Bid For Love – a heart-stopping contemporary romantic suspense novel by Rachel Ann Nunes. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003PDN5EC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=rachelcom-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B003PDN5EC

The Captain of Her Heart – an intensely romantic historical novel set in the Revolutionary War period by Anita Stansfield. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084TTWXA/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=rachelcom-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B0084TTWXA&adid=0VC3P0QCSQC5CCATCZWD&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rachelannnunes.com%2FRecommendedBooks.php

Join us any time on Saturday May 26th, and pass this on to friends and family. Make sure you mark the date on your phones and calendars because you don’t want to miss it!

(To download the books in England or another country, go to the Amazon site for that country and search for the books.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Visiting Teaching, California Style

Last time I posted, we were living securely in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. We aren't originally from there, and have no family there, but had been there for several years and had made a home of it. We owned a house and enjoyed serving in the ward there.

As of this writing, we have been living in San Jose, California, for nine months. My husband took a new job here, so we moved. Of course the actual moving was more complicated than that, but the concept is pretty straightforward: New job. Move.

Much as I didn't want to move to Wisconsin in the first place back in 2004, it broke my heart to drive away.
We really threw ourselves into our church callings in Eau Claire and grew to love the people there. But it has struck me that no matter where you are or which people you serve, it is all part of the Lord's work.

This was particularly clear to me as I went visiting teaching for the first time in our new ward. I'd had a great route in Eau Claire, and had built some lasting relationships with our sisters. But as I went on my first visits in San Jose, I had this underlying sense that this visiting teaching was only pretend. After all, visiting teaching for me meant going with Lisa to visit Virginia, Jane, and Dianne on a Friday afternoon in Eau Claire. In San Jose I was with a bunch of strangers.

But there was something familiar about it as well. The gospel was the same. The Spirit was the same. Even though I didn't yet personally know the sisters in San Jose, we could still come to a meeting of hearts as sisters in the gospel.

I still miss Lisa as my companion and good friend, and I miss visiting with Virginia, Jane, and Dianne. But if I were still in Wisconsin, I'd never have had the opportunity to work with Nancy as my new companion. I wouldn't have gotten to know Amy, Jenn, Margaret, or Julie. I wouldn't have had the chance to pray for them in their trials, or to learn from them and enjoy their company. I wouldn't have been able to learn how to magnify my calling as a visiting teacher from Nancy's steady example. I wouldn't have made these new friends.

I don't know how long we will stay in California. But I do know that the work of the Lord is the same wherever we go. Individuals and circumstances differ, but we are all children of the same Heavenly Father and part of the same work. The work is the same.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Two Seminary Classes and a Funeral

It's just one of those days. Today I subbed in early morning seminary, came home, couldn't find my phone, went back to church to look for it, came home again, got everyone off to work and school, worked on the home study seminary assignment to hand out to my class tonight, assembled a batch of funeral potatoes, stuck them in the oven, dressed for a funeral, went (with the potatoes) to said funeral, played the organ at the funeral, and came back here to a messy kitchen and a home study seminary assignment that still needs work.

So what am I doing now? It starts with a B and rhymes with "clogging." :-P

Actually it has been a good day in many ways. It probably looks like I'm always subbing in early morning seminary, since that's what I was doing last time I blogged, but in reality we have a very good early morning teacher who is almost always there--except for when she's sick or out of the country, which almost never happens. Except now, of course.

So it's a rare treat for me to get to teach the early morning kids. And today we got to read the "best" chapter of the whole Book of Mormon--3 Nephi 11, where the Savior comes to the people in the Americas. I hate getting all teary when I bear my testimony, especially to a bunch of teenagers who just look at me funny, but what an awesome opportunity to testify of the reality of our Savior and the truthfulness of the prophecies of His coming.

The funeral was for a great man who had given countless hours of service to his family and to members of the Church (and to others, I'm sure). One of his lasting legacies to our congregation here is the chapel we use today that was built under his watch years ago when he was bishop.

And home study seminary...These kids are the coolest of the cool. They don't just show up in the morning and sleep through class. They do homework and read the scriptures on their own. I know they're reading their scriptures and thinking about the material because I see what they write on their homework.

To add to this...I just got a phone call from a dear friend from college. It was fun chatting with her for a while. (I know I'm warped today because I would never, ever normally call anyone a "dear friend." "Good friend," maybe. "Old friend," yeah, I'd use that too. But "dear friend"? What's with me? Am I going to start talking about everyone being "special" now??)

Anyway, it's natural to kind of surf along on a spiritual high, given all the opportunities I've had today to serve. It is also unfortunately easy to feed that little voice in my head that says, "But what about me? I'm spending all this time helping other people and doing church work, but when do I get what I want?" Right now that voice is being quiet for once. Maybe that's the kind of thing Joseph Smith meant when he said we should "waste and wear out" our lives in the service of God.

I don't doubt that the little impish "me me me" voice will come back; it always has before. And I don't mean that we shouldn't take care of ourselves and our own families as we serve others. But right now I am happy and at peace.

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