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Technology

I told my kids one day, that I was older than Google. They didn’t believe me at first. At least until they googled when did google come to be, and they realized I was telling the truth. Then, of course they asked whether I was older than computers. I said no, but they weren’t then what they are now. I told them they were glorified typewriters. They asked what a typewriter was…. My goodness. I look back on my life and think how much has changed just in my lifetime. When my husband and I got married he had a brick for a cell phone, that we never used because it cost almost $1 per minute to use. It was just for emergencies. Now everyone has a cell phone, and I don’t know about you, but if I forget mine when I leave the house, I go back and get it.

Everything seems to be connected to some sort of technology as well. You don’t need to put your car keys in the ignition, just have them in the car somewhere. You can talk to your phone like it’s a person, ask it questions, and it pulls up possible answers for you. Need the heat turned up in your house, that’s connected too! You can turn the heat up on the way out the door from work, or half way around the world, it doesn’t matter where you’re at. A friend at Church was checking her phone on the way out the door to go home, and told me her roast was done cooking. I guess the cooking thermometer can hook up to your phone too. I would not be at all surprised if she could turn the oven off from her phone when it was done as well.

Technology is great until it starts to malfunction. I don’t know how many times I have sat in Church when someone was there with frantically written notes, trying to give a talk because either their computer crashed just as they finished, or the printer wouldn’t work when they were done and ready to print it out. My kids laugh at me as I mess up my phone or really nice camera I use to digitize my art and I have to call my oldest daughter who does photography to have her walk me through the settings to fix it. But, even with all the malfunctions there are, technology really does make our lives a lot easier and more convenient.

But lately I have really loved one particular aspect of technology. My oldest daughter is on a mission for my Church, and my second daughter is at a remote hunting lodge working for the summer. Missionaries used to only be able to write emails and send mail through the post office, as well as call home only 2 times a year. But with the advent of technology, we now get to talk to our daughter 2 times a week by video call! Now, I have heard pros and cons to this new feature of missions, but for me, it’s way easier to see how my daughter is doing when I can physically see her with my eyes, and hear her, and see her body language, etc. I love talking to her and I am so grateful for the technology to be able to do so.

My second daughter has been at home for over a year, doing college classes and finishing up high school, but home a lot because of the online aspect of most classes due to Covid. She graduated from high school this spring and she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. This job happened along one Sunday afternoon and by Monday evening she was gone. It was a crazy fast transition, but the advent of technology has made a huge difference. It’s amazing how they can be out in the middle of nowhere and still be able to access the internet and the many function, including the messaging and video chats that happen all the time. Again, seeing is way better than an email or phone call, and I am so grateful that any time during the day I can talk to her (usually during the day it’s messaging as she is working), she can talk to me, and that we do get opportunity to connect through the video on a regular basis.

I look back just in my lifetime at all the Technological advances, just in my lifetime, and then looking back at the last 100 years, it’s amazing! I wonder sometimes what will come next. I am waiting for the day that I can beam myself to where my kids are for the afternoon, and then come home in time to fix dinner! What kind of technology do you appreciate? What kind of new technology do you want to see in the future?

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Example

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The past couple of days I have thought a lot about example. Particularly the example set by parents for their kids. I watched my husband last night and several other men today in Church, and it made me think about the examples set by each one of us on a daily basis. Often people remember what we did, not what we said. Often, as in almost always. When our actions are good, people are more willing to listen to our words, but when our actions don’t match our words, what people most often take away is our what they observed, not what we said.

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Last night, after my husband had gone up to our bedroom to work on a Church lesson for one of our Young Men groups, a woman called and needed help loading her broken down car onto a car trailer, and then turning the truck and car trailer around. I thought my husband had gone to bed and told her I would try to find someone else to help her. I texted him to see if he was awake and knew of someone else I could call at that hour, and told him the situation. He came right down stairs, fully dressed, less than a minute later, and he and I and one of our sons went out the door and off to help this person. It didn’t take long, the lady was able to get on her way home in less than 3o minutes. For her it was a huge deal, for my husband it was a small setback in lesson prep that he didn’t complain about. For my son though, it was a huge example of one neighbor stopping to help another, it was a dad teaching life skills, it was real life experience in selfless service. Nothing was said when we got home, and life proceeded without any more interruptions. But the example was set. This isn’t the first time that example has been set by my husband. He has involved our kids in all sorts of service over the years. Sometimes they complain, sometimes it’s inconvenient, but it is always done, and it always helps improve our kids perspectives, and helps them look beyond themselves.

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Today at Church I had another opportunity to see wonderful men step up and set a great example, not only for my sons, but also for the other young men in our Church. The young men pass the sacrament to the congregation, and there was not enough. Usually they find more people to help ahead of time, but it didn’t happen today. As they stood up it was obvious there was not enough, and 3 men, without being asked stepped up and helped. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was an example that those young men needed to see, that they hopefully will never forget. People willing to jump in where needed without being asked to do so. I have had so many good examples in my life. People who I know, who I look up to, and people I have never met, and probably won’t ever see again.

One particular incident that had a huge impact on my kids was at a Taco Bell drive-thru. We had ordered our food and were waiting in line to pay. When we got up to the window we were told that our order had been paid for by the car in front of us. My kids couldn’t believe it! A total stranger willing to pay for our whole order! They were so excited that they wanted to pay for the car behind us, so we did. It is something they will never forget, and since then I have done that for people on other occasions, mostly at the prompting of my kids as it was such a cool feeling to be on the receiving end and on the giving end that particular day.

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So, today I am grateful. Today I get to look back at people who have had an impact on my life through their actions, not their words. I also get to look forward, wanting to have that same great impact on someone else. We often forget that, no matter what we do in our lives, someone is watching. Take time to be that example today, tomorrow, this coming week. When you have obvious opportunity to impact someone else’s life in a positive way, do it! This week I am going to look for opportunities to help someone else, and to hopefully find opportunities for my kids to do the same. I hope you’ll take the same opportunities in your life as well. I know that it will not only positively impact the other persons life, but it will brighten your life just a little more as well.

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Temple

Several months ago I had the opportunity to go to the Cedar City, Utah Temple with my oldest daughter. The temples for my Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) are sacred buildings for us. We perform ordinances and make covenants with the Lord within these temples, and you cannot enter yourself until you are at least 18 years of age. Often people enter just before they leave on their missions, or just before getting married and sealed as a couple. Our temples have been closed the last year due to Covid, but started opening up on a limited basis at the end of 2020. My daughter was preparing for her mission, and was in Cedar City as she had been attending college. My parents are temple workers, so she was able to schedule the session with them as the workers, and she was able to invite only 17 people to attend with her because of the Covid restrictions, so most of the people in attendance were family, the rest were close friends. I was able to fly down that morning, and escort her through for her first time that evening. It was an awesome experience, and brought back so many sweet memories from when I went through just before getting married. It was a wonderful evening, and I am grateful for the spiritual strength that comes from going to the temple.

But, it was also hectic in a way. I had spent the night on several airplanes getting there, then the 3 hour drive from the airport. It had been a long 36 hours by the time we got there that evening, and I was really focused on helping her have a great experience and not be worried as she went along. It was also a great reunion with my family as well, as everyone had been busy earlier in the day, so it was the first time I had seen most of them. The next few days were a whirlwind of activity, and then I got on an airplane and left to go home. It was a wonderful trip, lots of memories, but I didn’t really take the time to reflect back on exactly what had happened.

Last night I was able to attend again, this time with one of my daughters best friends and their family in the Anchorage, Alaska Temple. She is leaving on her mission as well. It was so interesting to see things from almost an “outside looking in” perspective as I was able to sit back and watch this wonderful mom helping her amazing daughter the same way I had helped mine. I was able to finally sit back and reflect a little bit on that night in April, to really think about and appreciate the experience. I remembered the instructions, the excitement, the nervousness that she had before hand. I remember the family and the opportunity we had to have most of us together in the same room for the same purpose. I remember seeing my daughter, not just as my daughter, but a future missionary, a future wife and mother, a daughter of God, one who can and will change the world around her.

There was a spirit of understanding last night, a spirit of gratitude. It was almost overwhelming several times throughout the evening, and continues to be so today as I reflect on both of these evenings and the great opportunity that it was to be in those temples on those days, with those people, some who are literal family, and some who are family by choice. I am grateful for the temples of my Church and for eternal families. I am grateful that the Lord gives us these opportunities to experience again, often from a different perspective, so that we have that chance to reflect back. Sometimes it’s to learn, sometimes it’s to experience again and remember, sometimes to see things more deeply or experience from that new perspective. Often it is a combination of many reasons. Today I am grateful to reflect and feel just a little bit deeper the love that my Heavenly Father has for me and my family, and the love He has for all His children. I hope you can see His hand in your life and that you can reflect more deeply on the love that He has for you.

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Understand

I have been reading the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend it. Some of the things I have always felt like should be common sense, but lately I feel like there isn’t much common sense left in the world, so maybe not. Each of the habits builds on the next, so it’s important to start at the beginning. But, because of this book I have been more aware of how I speak and more importantly, how I listen.

One of the things he talks about in the book is how our own story affects how we view the world. I started to look at how I projected my story on other people’s stories, or how I interject with my story sometimes without even thinking. My kids and I get talking about family experiences and the differences in perspective are sometimes quite stark. This can cause some major disagreements in our home as everyone remembers “the way it really was” just a little bit differently. It’s the same idea when we view an accident or incident. Every person is coming from the perspective of not only a different point of view because we each weren’t standing in the exact same spot, so we each saw the accident from a different angle. But we are also coming at our vantage point from our own experiences. Someone who has been in an accident will view it differently than someone who never has. Someone who knows a lot about cars will view it differently than others. People who have medical training will see different things, and pick up on differences that others may not. But each person saw the exact same thing, at the exact same time, and came away with something different. And none of the perspectives are wrong, there is value in each one.

Because we project our story into someone else’s story, we don’t listen very well. Most often we listen to reply, to share our own story, or our side of the story, or some memory that their story brought to the surface. But how often do we just listen and then just leave it there? How often do we let others have their moment. This got me thinking and wondering how often I personally listened to reply. So, at the most recent Farmer’s Market I decided to try and pay attention to my own words and behaviors.

At first it started off rough. I realized, usually as the conversation ended, that I hadn’t really listened at all to what the other person was saying. I would interject a comment here or there, try to tell my story as they were finishing up theirs, etc. Sometimes I was so focused on what was going on around me that I had a hard time concentrating on just one person talking. Once they walked away, I realized that I couldn’t even remember their whole story or why they shared it. But as I went along, I started asking questions, but then listening to the answers. Trying hard not to jump in, but to just listen. I met some wonderful people from all over the west coast as I was listening and paying attention. I learned a lot about the differences in our weather as compared to theirs, and that some people really enjoyed the heat of the day while others felt like they would melt.

Do you ever have big news, or a cool experience you want to share with someone, anyone who might listen? Maybe something you just really need to get off your chest? You’re not looking for advice, you just want to be heard. I think we all have those times, and when others start telling us their story, sometimes it can be deflating to us, we feel like maybe it wasn’t as cool or as hard or as exciting as we thought it was, even if for us, it really was cool or exciting, or new. But have you ever had that one person who just listened? That one person who asked relevant questions, who helped you feel important in that moment? How good does that feel? We can each be that person. When we listen to hear and to understand we can share in that person’s excitement, fear, joy, whatever it may be. We can be reminded of experiences we had and just relive those in our own minds and allow that person the time to be excited, to be share, to smile and laugh, or to cry when needed. When that happens we no longer walk our path alone, we have a friend to walk with.

I have discovered this to be difficult. I have tried many days since Friday, and I am at least getting the hang of noticing afterward that maybe I should have just listened. But I am grateful for the reminder, and the goal. I’m not saying that you can’t have a conversation, but when we really listen, we can clarify, we can ask applicable questions, we can be interested, we can learn from someone else. It’s not that it’s a one-sided conversation, but that each person has the ability to be heard. I will continue to work on this in my life, I hope you take time to really listen today.

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Seward

Today I went to Seward to drop off 2 framed orange Octopus prints to an art gallery named Cobble company. My husband and I discussed the possibility of shipping them down, but I decided with the glass in the frames that it would be about the same price to shipping them as compared to just driving down, and then I didn’t have to worry about the glass breaking in transit. This is one of my favorite drives in Alaska. But just as I’m typing this, I remember that, no matter where I go in Alaska, it’s a beautiful drive! So for my blog today I thought I would share with you in pictures my drive down and back. First, I need to apologize, I was by myself and taking pictures as I drove, so I was paying more attention to the road than my phone. That’s were quantity comes in. Of the 50 or 60 I snapped, I got about 8 pictures that weren’t too bad.

One of my favorite parts of the drive is all the lakes along the way, and how beautiful blue/green they are. As kids we color water blue, but when you really look at most water it’s a brown/gray color. But the water here in Alaska is literally a blue/green color from the glacial silt in the water. It’s beautiful. I also love the ocean. Today was a rare day going down around Turnagain arm as there was absolutely no wind. The water was almost completely smooth and calm. I don’t drive down through there all the time, but I don’t remember the last time I drove down there when there weren’t at least small waves. It was so calm and peaceful. I also enjoy the green. I grew up in the desert, and there is a beauty in the desert that cannot be found anywhere else, but the green that is everywhere is so refreshing. This year has been quite a bit wetter than the last several, and it is evident in how healthy, lush and green everything is. The air was fresh and calm, and there couldn’t have been a better day to go for a drive.

So, without further adieu, here are the pictures I took of my drive down:

The drive into Seward

Obviously, I love the water! I am so grateful for the time I had today to head down to Seward, and the opportunity to share with you some of the beautiful scenery I was able to enjoy on my way down.