Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wanna watch something warm and fuzzy?

How does a turtle know that his buddy needs to be flipped over?  So amazing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy National Coffee Day (nope, I won't join you but thanks for asking--it is always nice to be asked)

Happy National Coffee Day.
If I were joining you in a cup of Joe,
I think my coffee of choice might look like this.

I, however nicely you may ask, will not be.
Having a cup with you I mean.

To quote a famous movie from the late 1980's--

"It's choice, man, choice."

When I converted to Mormonism, (--side note here completely unrelated--did you see that article yesterday put out by the Pew Forum?  If not, see here--Mormons get 4th..  I took the test and only missed one (93%).  The average US woman got 48%...what is happening with the sisters?  Blog for another day.)

Let me start over.

When I converted to Mormonism, the thing I remember hearing most from other folks was everything I wouldn't be able to do.  Drink, smoke, drink coffee or tea, have sex, do drugs, dance (that is an urban myth...Mormons can dance...have you ever seen So You Think You Can Dance?  Mormons dancing everywhere on that show...)  I wasn't doing those things anyway so I didn't mind to let them go.  Especially the dancing...yeah, you ever see that Seinfeld where Elaine dances...I think it looks a little something akin to that spectacle. 

True, I didn't know they shy away from  Rated R movies (which was a bummer when Schnidler's List came out). 

True, I didn't know that when weekends came along, I would sort of be giving up half of it in regards to possible fun outings (I would take what is nicely put as a hygiene break on Sundays before I started going to church). 

I did know church was 3 hours, in the morning which was fine, but I didn't know multiple congregations might be using the same building and we might even get the 3-6 pm shift.  Not a fan of that so much.

I did know many of their pioneer ancestors used to practice polygamy.  That of course was 150 years ago, so it has nothing to do with me.  Frankly I could use another "sister wife" in my life now for the days I want to sit in bed and eat truffles and she could fold the three loads of laundry currently finding home on the kitchen floor...just kidding, don't freak out.

Another thing I did know is they churn out some pretty remarkable folks. 

These are people whose faces smiled and shined when you talk to them. 

They were kind. 

They didn't swear (a strange concept to a girl from AK who is still struggling to convert to that pure language styling). 

They were smart.  Mr. Fun used to have points of difference discussions with our social studies teacher while we were in high school, and he always had a valid point.

They showed love and kindness.

They treated females with respect.

They seemed to be trying to make the world a better place, along with themselves.

Strangely, I felt like I had come home when I went to church there.  Most importantly to me is that I do better living this way. 

I cannot speak for the LDS Church or even any other member of it except myself, but let me state for the record I could have a cup of coffee with you this morning if I wanted to. 

No one would be monitoring me.  No one is watching me from across the street, noting my every move.  No one calls me daily or have me recording my wanderings and activity. 

I will not joining you because I choose not to.  Choice, man, choice.

I heard once that over 90% of Amish kids who have lived in the "world" for a year end up returning permanently to their Amish way of life.  One could argue that they only return because they were raised that way and don't know anything different.  Which said, I am sure there is validity there. 

However, applying that same logic to me, a convert to my religion, that theory doesn't work. 

I wasn't raised this way.  As a matter of fact, I was raised to be very open minded which I think was instrumental in my journey to become a Mormon.  Strange eh?  I am sooo appreciative for the way my parents reared I could live like this way now.

I would like to close with this great little true story from LDS history.  One of the presidents from church history is David O McKay (isn't he handsome?)

Around the world President McKay was regarded as an important spiritual leader. During a visit with the Queen of the Netherlands in 1952, President and Sister McKay were invited to have tea. When the McKays declined for religious reasons, the queen asked, “Do you mean to tell me you won’t have a little drink of tea, even with the Queen of the Netherlands?” President McKay responded, “Would [you] ask the leader of a million, three hundred thousand people to do something that he teaches his people not to do?” She replied, “You are a great man, President McKay. I wouldn’t ask you to do that.”

What I take away from this is that the McKays didn't freak out when the Queen asked them to join her.  They just politely declined.  She didn't freak out that they declined.  They still hung out and I am sure had a lovely chat.

Never be afraid to invite me out for a "cup of coffee."  I would love the company, and am a big fan of a mean glass of raspberry lemonade.  :) 

Friday, September 24, 2010

You can't wrap your mind around it...or your arms

"To the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream Waters...
This land was made for you and me."

I woke up with that song in my brain yesterday morning,
(Mrs. Brockel, my 3rd grade music teacher would be so proud)
here in sunny Sunnyville.  Home of my brother, sweet wife
and of course the happiest baby I have ever seen
(insert sibling jealousy here).

Ok.  The one piece my brother is lacking in his perfect
life is the technology to rebuild...he won't be
making any sort of bionic man here.

My point?  I got this shot off the internet
because it is too complicated to get them off the camera.
For today anyway.

My other point?  Please don't judge the Redwood
Forest based on this photograph.
It is a-maz-ing.
Actually beyond.

I have seen it before.  Juni took me there with the Girl
when she was 18 that was about 17 years ago.

Don't get me wrong.
The company was fabulous. 
It was cold.  Rainy. 
Baby was tired.  Cranky.
And I only had a tiny film camera.
So as you can see, that entire outing
that day was
set up to be only less than perfect.

Yesterday, however was perfecto.

I slept in until I felt like getting up.
We stopped for some gourmet hot cocoa.
We missed the heavy traffic. Both ways.  :)
(good idea to do the instructions the locals give you)
We didn't get lost and accidently got a great
view of the Golden Gate bridge from the base
in Sasilito that we didn't know exsisted
so most tourists don't see.

We had lunch in Muir Woods
(google the images and you will see what I mean)
with some chipmunks and an elderly
woman who didn't get that memo that
tube-top season ended for her about 50 years ago.

Sunshine on my face.  Local fig jam in my tummy.

I was with my mom.

And a digital camera.
What more could a girl ask for?  :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scary Microburst Storm Post Script --the miracle of the generator

Happy International Day of Peace

Want to hear something warm and fuzzy on Peace Day?
I wanted to get permission first from Tom before I shared this
story from the Microburst storm clean up.  He is private
and I didn't want to embarrass him.  Like your own blog
post from last week wasn't embarrassing enough? 

By the way, thanks for the cards and letters.
He said it is like opening a little Christmas gift.

He wanted me to share this story because he
said it wasn't about him.  It is about the power of God,
our Heavenly  Father.


So we are raking and working down the
street, and some fellows (the one with yellow shed from
the pictures of yesterday)
had a generator that wasn't working.

Tom heard the scuttlebutt on the street,
and wandered over to see if he could help.
He is a Master Electrician, kind
of like being a master like Darth Vader.

And it was true.

The generator wasn't working.
Some sort of wiring something or other....
as you can see, I am NOT a master electrician.

Not only did Tom get the generator working
for these three guys that might be confused
as Hell's Angels members, but in
his spare time he rewired the whole
electrical panel.

For free.

Saving them an emergency call electrician bill,
and hundreds of dollars.

One of them said it best:

"God put an electrician in
our driveway as soon as we needed one."

How cool is that?  :)
Happy Peace Day

Monday, September 20, 2010

Never Fear! The Mormons are here!

I guess I don't have this Missouri weather thing figured out.

I thought the worst weather was in the spring.  Tornados, rain, hail, microbursts...

Microbursts?  What are those? asked the Alaskan girl.

This photograph was taken on Saturday around 3:30 pm.
NOT the kind of blue sky you want to see in the midwest. 

This kind of blue sky means trouble.  Weathery trouble.  Apparently, microbursty trouble.

Sunday morning brought what the elderly on the street we cleaned up "hurricane"-type weather.

A hurricane in a land-locked state?  Go figure.

Go to your Bing to Google (that's for you Girly) Microbursts.  It is there.

So there you have it.  Danger, Will Rogers, danger.

There is a story about when some pioneers were trapped in freezing winter conditions out on the plains.  Brigham Young was the president of the Mormon church at the time.  It was Sunday morning.  The Saints were gathered for chuch.  In a nutshell, he got up to the pulpit and said something along the lines..."our brothers and sisters are trapped out in the plains.  This is our religion.  Go and get them."  End of meeting.

One of my favorite religious stories.

Just Saturday I was talking to Mr. Fun and he pointed out that while I do a lot of service, it is service for those truly in need.  I never realized it.  He is right.  I am all about the need.  And this street of folks in KC, have need.

Some of our best friends, Dave the Hot Rod Rock Star and his wife Carol, have had a long few weeks.  Carol's father passed away about 6 weeks ago.  And now her mother (the new widow) and her single sister had this microburst hit their houses Sunday morning.  Broken windows, flooding basements, trees on live power lines.  Sounds like need to me. 

So Dave and Carol were off after our main meeting to help her family.  So we were we.  So was the C. family.  So was Jack.  So was our buddy, Tom, who of course just got out of surgery a month ago.  Read all about him here:

It looks like someone just blended up leaves without a blender top on.  Vegitation was sprayed everywhere.
We all worked hard.

We worked on Betty's home, Susie's home, the 88 year old man
Max across the street, Rose's house (which cracked me up--Rose is in her late 50's probably and really didn't work because she explained to us that she has "horrible" health--diabetes and high cholestrol--the irony of all that was she said it to Tom, who was raking her yard...the guy with the terminal cancer--
I learned a good lesson on perspective yesterday listening to all that)

We cut, raked, hauled and chain sawed. 

We met the L family, the longest living
first members of the street (husband has a peg leg). 

Dal, who lost her favorite tree in the backyard.  A huge tree.

Teresa, who guessed we were Christian because we served all and didn't ask for money.  :)

And we did the green shuttered house, even though that guy was recently evicted.
This picture below was interesting.  The Mormons, as the neighbors were
calling us, were working on this tree.  Notice the next picture,
what the family is doing...
They watched. 
Look how sweaty Mr Fun is!

Dave and Jack, the man formally known as Bishop
The C Family

My favorite part of our story is that none
of these people we served are Mormon.
I love that we can all be so different,
believe so many different things,
and still serve and love each other.

We learned from Max that the key to long life is a cup of coffee,
some toast,
and three chocolate chip cookies each morning.
He asked us to please come back for a visit. 
But of course Max.
And I will bring the cookies.  :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: The idea of Ubuntu and Rick Rescorla

Just finished reading about Nelson Mandela.  What a guy.  If half of what I read was true, then what a pleasure to know a fella like this is running around the world.

Ubuntu is the African idea that we are all-interconnected, even if we are not related by blood.  That we have a "brotherhood" that is shared. 

"It comes from the Zulu proverb Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu which is often translated as "A person is a person through other people." 

Nelson believes in it.  So do I.  So did Rick.  Rick?

We used to live with Mr. Fun's grandmother when we were first married.  She was born in Ceylon (Sri Lanka now).  She wasn't east indian, she was a British colonist.  She had a perfect British accent and would never be caught dead eating food from a teaspoon.  She had matching handbag and shoes, and always wore a perfect bun at the nape of her neck. 

I was always amazed that she was so loyal to the United States.  She married the grandfather in England during World War 2 and never returned to Ceylon.  She loved America.  Raised Eagle Scouts.  Enjoyed a political discussion.  A lively political discussion.

We spent some time this last week watching documentaries of 9-11.  It was a very good use of time, especially for the children. 

We learned about one man I thought you should know.  His name was Rick Rescorla.  He was a security director for one of the companies in the World Trade Center.  His story is apparently is well-known, and if you are interested to read more (you should)....go here:

Rick, like Mr. Fun's grandmother, was British.  When you read his story, you will understand why I think he must have got the memo on Ubuntu. 
He volunteered to serve with the US in the Vietnam war.  He is credited for saving all but 6 of the 2,800 employees of his company on Sepember 11th. 

He did it by using a bullhorn and singing "God Bless America." 
There is a woman that I don't really know named J. from my church congregation who has been laid up for months in the hospital.  Her hospital room was empty of decorations and she has been lonely.  Hot Rod Brother Dave said that when he visited her lonely room, he was struck that she had no color or visual stimulation. 

So I made some picture posters. 

The children's group at church (50 plus I am guessing) each drew her a card on vibrant colored cardstock.

Another family delivered the items, tied in a shiny white bow.

And they said she was cheered.

Sometimes I guess brotherhood can be shared with simple pieces of paper.  Or a bullhorn and a song.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: Warm Fuzzies

I like fuzzy.
Fuzzy socks.  Fuzzy sweaters.  Fuzzy heads.

Urban dictionary says warm fuzzies are: 
The warm, pleasant sensations one feels in the stomach and
heart area when emotionally moved by an act of goodwill or love.

Several months ago, the leader of the LDS Church gave a nice talk about warm fuzzies.  Read it here:

This talk has started a movement.  (so creatively named...) 
The Warm Fuzzies Movement

The bookstore chain owned by the LDS Church
is collecting submissions of random and non-random
acts of be added to their
virtual "warm fuzzies" jar.
I don't know why you couldn't add
your acts of service...or service done for you.

Here, I'll start.
This is the service I have heard about just today:
Cleaned cat box
Petted animals at a shelter
donated time to the local boys at church
repaired some clothing

See.  Easy peasy.
I wonder if they will post the number of service deeds they get in the next couple months.
I hope so. 

I can't imagine the power of good that can be harnessed.
Makes me smile just to think of about it.

While lots of folks are consumed with how they
can demonstrate how much they hate
other folks religions on Saturday, I like the idea that I have
somewhere to "demonstrate" acts of kindness.

My tummy feels warm and pleasant already.  :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wanna see a miracle? I got proof

Be sure to read to the bottom.  I need your help.
A lot of folks say that miracles no longer happen.  That there is no God and consequently, no miracles.

Be that as it may, I believe in miracles.

Maybe not the kind of miracles modern day folks are dreaming of.  You know....the world peace kind.

I am pretty simple. 

Get out bed, be nice as I can (which some days go better than others), and help out where I am needed.  "Do a good turn daily" according to the Boy Scouts.

I try to "connect the dots" as my friend says.  Trying to see the miracle of everyday living.  See where the dots of life come together in a miraculous way.

I have seen some great things this world has to offer.  Hamlet's castle (it is real).  The Great Wall of China. My boy going to school full time again.  A world record guitar playing of Smoke on the Water.  My brother eat green salad.  As I said, some great wonders have graced my eyes.

There is another miracle I have witnessed..  His name is Tom.

If you have followed this boring blog from time to time, you have read of him.  Stage Four Renal Cell Carcinoma.  Translation:  terminal kidney cancer.  At age 37.  Three young children.  "An old white man's disease."

He was the image of great health.   Never sick.  Ate right. 
Careful how he treated his body.
Wanna see a picture from before he was diagnosed:

Wanna see a picture now?

I know he looks tired, but this is the look of a
warrior.  A man of miracle.

I once heard a guy say that grey hair was a sign of life's battle being won.  This is the picture of a man who has beat the odds.

Given one year to 18 months to live, Tom is coming up on his 4 year mark of aliveness.

I was there when the doctor said that no one lives with kidney cancer longer than 18 months.
I heard it with my own ears. But I have seen different with my own eyes.

We recently learned that all six or seven people who were diagnosed at the same time with the same cancer (his "class") have been dead for at least two years.  Most three. 

Not Tom.

As Mr. Fun says, "There is a God and I am not Him."  I don't know why Tom is still alive....but I can guess.


So many folks have loved and prayed for this man who has served them so kindly over the years.  To quote one of my favorite movie lines  "God has surely grown weary of my endless prayers."  It isn't just Andersonville prayers.  It is prayers from everyone, from around the world.  Literally.

I don't know what defines a miracle to the God I am not, but being the simple chick I am, I am going to count this as one.

Wanna do a good turn today?  Tomorrow or next week? 

Tom is getting tired.  His life is limited by pain.  He doesn't get to get out and serve much anymore.  He is growing weary in his battle.    So I had a thought. 

Can you help me out? 

You know those emails you get about some sick kid somewhere collecting postcards or stickers or whatever before they die....I would like to do that for Tom. 

Some of you I don't know.  Some stumble across this blog from somewhere else.  You will never know Tom, but you could still do a good turn for him.  Be a boy scout for the day.

Will you send him a card in the mail?  Just a simple note.  Anonymous if that is more comfy for you.  Maybe your favorite story or scripture.  Just something.  (he doesn't know I am asking....until he read this anyway)

He is very private, and would not be happy for me to post his address on my blog. So you can send it to me:  I will pass them along...unopened. 

Tom A.
c/o Valerie Anderson
10504 North Forest Ave
Kansas City MO 64155

Thanks, friends.