Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week at the Boyack's - Week 45

 I was bad at taking pictures this week.  That doesn't mean that we weren't busy...

We had plenty to do.  On Monday I went to my first Pentacle director's meeting because I'm auditioning Secret Garden in a couple weeks.  I knew most of what was discussed.  I am excited and nervous about this show.  Excited because I love to direct theater and nervous because I don't want my first show to be flop.  In addition to the regular stress that comes with directing, I lost my vocal director and choreographer.  My friend Jeff is going to help with vocals.  And I got Kimber to agree to be the choreographer.  This will be good.  Still... not much time to get my act together now.

 I've also been working on a set for my friend Robert.  After I spent 2 weeks helping at the high school tech theater class, I asked them to help me paint the set, while I taught them new paint techniques and strokes.  I have to say, if my kid wasn't in the class and if their teacher wasn't one of my best friends, I wouldn't bother going down to the high school again.  These students are rude.  They really don't want to learn.  They don't value the opportunities that they have with the free educational system of this country. 

On Friday, a couple of these students got under my skin.  They were complaining because I was trying to help them grade their set model assignments   While complaining they were bullying Hannah because she had put in a good effort with her model.  They even had the gall to insinuate that I did Hannah's assignment for her.  When I called them on it, one girl whipped around and said something to the effect that I should have anything to say because I wasn't a real teacher and shouldn't be there.  That was it.  I lit into her.

These students are wasting my tax dollars.  They treat their teacher like crap.  They treat fellow students like crap.  They don't do assignments   Yet they expect good grades.  They expect high paying jobs.  They expect privileges   I will not be giving any of those students recommendations.  I will not be recommending them for jobs ar the high school regarding rentals.  I will not be "teaching" them anything again.  I will finish my sets myself.  When my friend lets me use the shop at the school, I will go and paint by myself.  I hope their teacher lets them read the book.  They seem to think they will learn it better that way.  I can see that I am wasting my time, my education, and my experience on these students.  I will teach my kids.  I will allow students that want to learn to work with me.  However, class time may be done for this year.  These kids don't deserve that wonderful space.  They don't deserve the dedicated teacher they have.  And they certainly don't deserve my time any more.  So, the rest of this set will be painted in my garage.

I've already started.  My friend John Hatch has built a couple of things for me in the garage already.  He built a screen for a dance Kimber is doing this week, and a giant easel for a giant book I need to make for my friend Robert's play.

I will have to move the chickens out of my garage. They are getting bigger.  They are in the ugly, awkward stage of a chicken's pathetic life.  They are starting to get their big girl feathers.  They will all look a little different this time.  This time around, John and Lilli picked all different breeds of chicken when they picked up the chicks.  My favorite is the one that looks like Cruella Devil.  Lilli named all the chickens, but she has changed the name of this chicken McKay because she misses McKay.  This chicken is funny.  Made that is why it should be called McKay.

 See.  Doesn't it have great hair?  It kind of looks like a character Hannah and I saw in a play this week.  LOL.  At least the chickens are entertaining.

Let's see... what else happened this week?

I've been able to walk everyday with one friend or an other.

Hannah and I went to see Radium Girls at Pentacle theater.

I taught voice lessons... and school... and cleaned house... kept the troops fed.

 We all worked on Chad's project.  It is almost done.

Chad is working on banking the corners so that the trails will be good for racing.  We had a lot of dirt to move.

At one place, they discovered a paved road under the dirt.  Weird.  Who did that?

Chad and John sprayed the weeds a couple times.

John keeps getting poison oak.  We are not sure how.  I think it must be on his gloves, shoes, or clothes.
John went to work.

Chad and Lilli performed in the ward talent show.  Chad played the uke.  Lilli made up a tap dance on the spot.

Well, that about sums up the week.  Check in next week to see if we did anything else  more exciting.

Conference Review - A Sure Foundation

Today I am studying Bishop Dean Davies talk, A Sure Foundation.

My first thought is that, "The foolish man built his house upon a trash heap..." doesn't have the same ring as "house upon the sand."  Then it dawned on my that foolish men in my day really are building their "houses" upon "trash."

I'm serious!

Trashy TV... trashy movies... trash music... trashy ideals... trashy philosophies... trash celebrities...

People have "hitched their wagon" to all kinds of fads, beliefs, and ideals that will never, and can never, keep them safe when life begins to rock.

The only real safety is found in building a SURE foundation, a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ.

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).

I can think of a couple of examples of a sure foundation that have effectively taught me how to anchor my life to the Savior.

I grew up in Central Oregon.  The soil there is sandy and loose.  Plants have a hard time growing there.  Water quickly seeps through the sandy dirt and is dry in a matter of minutes.  Most of the vegetation that surrounded my childhood house included juniper trees and sage brush... and rocks.  We liked to joke that we could grow lava rocks.  In the field of sage brush beside my house was a lone ponderosa tree.  In this environment, where things struggle to grow, this strong, tall tree was a favorite place to play.  We would climb high and observe the vastness around us.  The wind would blow and the tree would sway.  We felt safe.  The roots of the tree went deep into the lave bedrock and anchored that tree to the earth.  

Eventually, my family even built a lovely log house out of ponderosa trees.  It too, was anchored to the bedrock.  As my parents began this home for our family, they blasted into the love fields to anchor the foundation of the house to the best surface.  That foundation needed to be strong in order to hold the massive weight of the house that eventually would sit atop it.

Years later, my husband and I added onto our home.  My parents came to help.  My dad brought his tractor and dug down to the bedrock   He helped us pour footings anchored to the earth to support the addition to our home.

All three of these examples of a solid foundation reflect anchoring my testimony to "The Rock," to the Savior.

I grew up when Bend Oregon didn't have many LDS youth.  I was often a lone tree in a field of sage brush.  In order to survive with my testimony intact I had to send my roots down deep into gospel truths.  There were not many kids my age.  At most, there were 3 students in my seminary class.  I was often alone in my YW classes.  I was the only active youth in my graduation class.  I learned that I had to take my tiny amount of faith and send it deep into the gospel.

I was the oldest child in my family.  My parents tried to have FHE.  I remember when my mom got on a kick of writing journals.  My family went to church every week.  My mom taught seminary and taught me to love the scriptures.  Like my childhood home, I learned to build a strong foundation, a foundation able to withstand heavy loads.  So glad I learned to build a strong foundation.  Some loads I have had to carry would have crushed me without it.

Now I have the opportunity to teach my own kids about foundations.

I can teach them about The Plan.

"The plan is the plan of salvation, the great plan of happiness. The plan lays out for us a clear picture and understanding of the beginning and the end and the essential steps, including ordinances, which are necessary for each of Father’s children to be able to return to His presence and dwell with Him forever."

I can teach them of the materials they can use to make a strong foundation.

"Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end are part of the “blueprints” of life. They help to form the appropriate building blocks that will anchor our lives to the Atonement of Christ. These shape and frame the supporting structure of a person’s life. Then, just as temple plans have specifications that give detailed instructions about how to form and integrate essential components, praying, reading the scriptures, partaking of the sacrament, and receiving essential priesthood ordinances become the “specifications” that help integrate and bind together the structure of life."

I really liked Bishop Davies' comments on finding balance:

"Balance in the application of these specifications is vital. For example, in the process of making concrete, precise amounts of sand, gravel, cement, and water are used in order to achieve maximum strength. An incorrect amount or exclusion of any portion of these elements would make the concrete weak and not able to perform its important function.

In like manner, if we do not provide for an appropriate balance in our lives of daily personal prayer and feasting from the scriptures, weekly strengthening from partaking of the sacrament, and frequent participation in priesthood ordinances such as temple ordinances, we too are at risk of being weakened in our spiritual structural strength."

He focused on prayer, scripture study, and partaking of the sacrament as families.

I need to work on these building blocks more in my own family.

The thought that came to me is that a foundation must be inspected and cared for. A foundation cannot be ignored once it have been build.  If so, it may need repairs later.  Although it can be done, repairing a foundation is a difficult job.  It takes far more work than investing in daily inspections and upkeep.

Next week: Elaine Dalton's talk, We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Conference Review - These Things I Know

I had a great experience reading October Conference and blogging about what I read and what I learned.  I decided to do it again.  I'm hoping that I can get people to read these messages from Conference and to chat about them with me.  It is my hope that I might get some dialogue going.  I'm only asking for one talk a week.  That is do-able.  I promise.

As a seminary teacher I've found great strength in working on 25 scripture mastery (SM) verses each year.  It is amazing how these little verse pop into my mind at needed moments.  I read on a blog site about a person  doing Conference Mastery (CM).  What a great idea!  So I'm going to do that too.  I am going to work on memorizing and applying a quote from conference each week.  I made a poster for this weeks CM.

Today I read President Boyd K. Packer's talk These Tings I Know.

Although I am not 68... yet... I still am frustrated with my aging, fat body.  I don't memorize anything well.  If you think I do a lot now, you should have seen me in collage!  I'm not one to long for the good old high school days.  Hated those.  Collage was more my speed.  Yet I wouldn't go back.  I'd be giving up too many good things... kids, lessons learned, people I've met.  I guess I may have made better choices... now that I know what is on this side of the curve.  yet the thought that the other choices could have been worse keeps me content where I am.

I loved his story about the snake in the ivy.  I fear "snakes in the ivy" threaten too many of the people I love.  I fear the that my own little "Garden of Eden" has been invaded (especially as I watch - sometimes helplessly - my own loved ones fall to the philosophies of men).

I know I'm not alone in this sorrow.  Many faithful parents in scriptures have experienced this tragedy, i.e. Adam, Abraham, Israel, Lehi, Alma, Mormon, Joseph Smith, not to mention our loving Heavenly Father.  This knowledge does not make the pain any easier.

I'm not the same kind of parent as these fine examples.  I've heard the warning of prophets, many of which flood my guilt plagued mind.

I know too well that we are not always safe in our own homes.  I know all too well that I must protect the fledglings.

I don't know how.

Back in college I worked at an outdoor theater on the edge of Provo.  During one show the audience began to pop up and move rapidly down the isle.  I looked down to see a large 7 foot rattle snake slithering down the warm rocks.  A few weeks later I was walking up the hill to the top of the theater and heard the warning rattle of a snake.  I don't know what came over me.  I picked up a stick and began to beat the 6 inch rattle snake senseless   The little thing didn't have a chance.  The snake wrangler said I killed it with a crushing blown to it's head.

I want to do that to the things that threaten my family.

The dangers out there that threaten my family seem too numerous.

President Packer says that the best way to protect the home is to keep covenants.

What can I do?

Seek to be prepared and worthy to partake of the sacrament.

Find a way to attend the temple more often.

Care for and service more often... and with a cheerful heart.


Work harder at finding a way to study the scriptures and spend family time that will be acceptable to every member of the family.

Pray harder... kneeling is hard on my knees... so I should make myself a prayer pillow.

Honor the personality of each family member.  I went for a walk with my friend Erin this past week and she mentioned that she was trying to honor the true person in the son that is difficult for her.  I need to do the same.  It may be hard because their choices won't be like my choices, but I must learn to honor those choices and especially the person making them.  She said it much better.

"We are free to choose what we will and to pick and choose our acts, but we are not free to choose the consequences. They come as they will come."

Even I can't change those consequences.

I "must separate the sin from the sinner."

"All are born with the Light of Christ, a guiding influence which permits each person to recognize right from wrong. What we do with that light and how we respond to those promptings to live righteously is part of the test of mortality.
“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”8
What else can I do?
I can allow choice, but I don't need to jump in and rescue every little bobble and mistake.  Some people won't like it, but I may need to force a little dog paddling for a while.
This is a difficult line to walk... that line between keeping the peace to keep the Spirit in the home and to keep the fragile minds of younger siblings feeling safe, and letting someone sink or swim or face the consequence for their actions.
The key is this: "Learn to receive and act on inspiration and revelation."
I guess the best thing I can do is to just keep swimming.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Week at the Boyack's - Weeks 43 and 44

I'm so excited!  SPRING is here!  Look!  I've got Popcorn popping on the ... cherry tree?  OK.  It's not quite the song, but still... look!  BLOSSOMS!  Now to get the garden in order.  Sadly, my favorite garden gnome lives in New Mexico... sniff.  The lawn is loving these warmer days.  It could really use a mow.  However, we are still experiencing intermittent rain showers.  I don't care.  I love that I love in a place where things grow... SPONTANEOUSLY.  It's like the garden of Eden... blossom, daffodils  tulips, crocus... soon I will have roses, lilies, and veggies.
 Spring also brings John's birthday.  He is an old man now.  Seriously, I don't know what happened.  He's like a grandpa or something.  tehehehe.  At least I look younger than him.  :)  Anyway, this year Chad and Hannah wanted to make John's birthday cake.  They are such thoughtful children.  It looked so beautiful... all white... and tasty looking.
 Surprise!  This cake explodes.  They made a cake with balloons and covered it with whipped cream.  When John cut into it, the cake exploded all over him.  We all laughed and laughed.  My kids think they are comedians.
 Ben thought this was great fun.  He couldn't wait to eat some.  His birthday was in February and he completely understands the joys of ice cream and cake.  He didn't quite understand a balloon cake.  He really wanted to eat some.
 Eventually, we gave him a handful of whipped cream.  This made him happy.  The rest of us ate berries with our cream.

Chad went to Canada with his choir.  The purpose for these choir trips is to help the students become a unit.  They also got to have a few classes with music professors in the Vancouver BC area.  I wasn't sure how well Chad would do travelling.  He has a fairly interesting diet that DOES NOT include eating out.  He also like to exercise 2-3 hours a day.  When I saw the agenda, I was worried.  I even sent a message to the teacher apologizing in advance .. is was a joke... or was it?  :)
 Chad made sure he was on the "quiet" bus.  He liked to listen to his tunes and sleep.  He often had to be convinced to get off the bus and explore with the others.  Thankfully, he has a few good friends he likes to hang out with.  They got him to do at least a couple of things.  They visited some rope swing thing.  It's a good thing kids I know on Facebook take pictures.  I stole a bunch.  I know he's not in some of these pictures, but at least there is a record of the stuff he did and saw.
He had this one funny story of sitting in a Burger King with a few others and this crazy man came in and talked to Sai.  No one really knew what he was talking about.  The crazy man went up to the counter and ask the lady even more crazy things and then left.  When he was gone, they all died laughing.  Chad didn't eat at Burger King.  He actually packed every calorie he ate.  It was not uncommon to see Chad walking down the street eating a can of re-fried beans.  Yes.  He packed  a can opener and a spoon too. (after 5 days of mainly beans as his diet staple he was relieved to be home so he could pass gas.  Thanks a lot!)
 Chad said he wasn't really interested in shopping like many of the other people were.  He eventually convinced some kids to do some fun stuff for free.  They went down to the water front and explored.  They saw a cool guy slicing up fish and feeding the left overs to some sea otters.  They saw a guy doing a magic show.  And of course, they saw cool ocean stuff... rocks, waves, sticks, and other cool things boys like.
 He liked the classes with the professors.  They liked the bass section.  Chad was even singled out as being the rock of the bass section.  Not bad son.
 About the only other thing Chad mentioned about Canada was that Canada is fancy.... and expensive.  I remember that from when I went to Canada with my choir...WAY back when and with my grandparents.  I had given him $70 for the trip.  He didn't know why since he was packing all of his food.  But he was glad eventually.  He did get a Jamba Juice... and I think he got a new shirt... but I haven't seen it... and he found some cool new picks for the guitar and uke.

 Meanwhile... I stayed home... by myself... a sort of vacation for mom... because....
 John took Lilli and Hannah on a road trip!  The same day Chad left for Canada, they left for Utah to visit John's family and to watch General Conference live.  I chose to stay home because I had a few meetings.  Besides, I like Conference at home because I can concentration on taking notes.  Besides, I've been to Conference live before.  However, I'm glad that John took the girls and they got to have that fun experience.
 I don't think seeing Conference was the real motivation to go.  The real reason to head off to Utah in a car for 13 or 14 hours was MCKAY and MYLES... at least, I'm pretty sure that is what Lilli thought.  We really miss McKay and wish she lived in Oregon (HINT, HINT HINT Myles - cheesy grin).  When Lilli talked to me on the phone, McKay was all she talked about.

 John was happy to visit his family.  He doesn't get to visit with them much.  Although, he was sad that he missed a few sessions of conference due to his familiy's activities for the day, he was glad that he could spend a little time with his parents.  His sister, MaryJane and her family also came to visit.  They are looking to move there, so they spent some time house hunting.  John's sister Lisa brought over a few family members, as did his brother Mark.
Lilli learned to pump gas.

The trip was fun, but I got many text messages that they were in Oregon.  I think they were super glad to be home.  Although, I loved my stay-cation, I loved having them all home... even if they are loud... and messy.

The best part of my stay-cation was that I got lots of one-on-one time with the cutest little button ever!  I got to spend time with Kimber.  We went to dinner and to a movie.  I got to listen to Conference un-interrupted. My house got a deep clean and I finally caught up on laundry.  I was able to have a great meeting with my costumer for my next show.  I went to lunch with a friend.  And I could sleep in silence!  I even wrote a blog about it.
The Sound of Silence
 For the last couple of weeks I've been helping at the high school in the Tech theater class.  Their teacher assigned them scripts to read and explained the basics set design, and assigned them to make a model of the set.  I came in and helped anyone that asked for help.  I explained floor plans and elevations and using stock.
 Some kids took it more seriously than others.  Hannah is on that really gives her school assignments her very best.  The other kids like to accuse her of being an over achiever.  She confidently replies that she is only doing what is asked and expected.  Well... I know I'm her mom... and I know that it might even look like I did it for her... but Hannah KICKED BUTT!  The assignment was due today and Hannah was one of 4 students to turn in their model.  She designed Noises Off.  Although there are things she would change now, she turned in a great design.  It's usable.  She paid attention to detail.  She does have a future in this theater gig.

 The kids in Tech class are helping me make an other set for my friend Robert.  (I will post that later... when it's finished).  Meanwhile, I try to teach them something new with each set piece we build.  This set I taught them how to spackle.  For a week, I warned them that we were going to paint and that this time would be messy.  Few came prepared... thus they didn't try, or they got paint on their clothes and pouted.  Hello!  I warned you.  Here is the problem... they want a REAL drama class.  Hate to tell you this... Tech is REAL drama.  The district isn't likely to give an acting class when what is offered isn't appreciated.  Besides, the district was hoping that the kids were going to be able take over "running" the theater, effectively making my help unnecessary.
 I hate to break it to the district... this is what these students think of learning tech theater.  They know enough to break things and to get into trouble... and that is all.  The only student who is able to use the light board or the sound board is Hannah... and she learned it because she has been following me around for years.
 These flats were knocked over by a clumsy student... go thing flats float.  No worries... nothing is broken.

Meanwhile, Chad's choir sang at a competition and qualified for State choir competition. They are pretty excited and it looks like their trip to Canada paid off.
 In other big news... Charlie got a hair cut.  Kimber is a saint, and did the dirt deed for me.  Even Ray helped out.  Charlie is too heavy for me to hold up and Kimber couldn't clip him when he sat down.  I bought a new clipper for the occasion and it died before the end of the hair cut.  Kimber had to finish with a comb and scissors.  LOL.  I think he likes it.  He seems happier.  Meanwhile, our socks, clothes, vacuum  they are all relieved with the reduced amount of hair all over the floor.

 April 12 is Lilli's 10th birthday.  I was originally going to have her party a surprise.  I invited a bunch of her firends, and I was pleasantly surprised that they all said they would come. (I'm not good a parties and people raely show up).  I had a docotor's appointment and had to go shopping for personal pizza stuff.  When I got home I found an agenda on my desk.  It read, "1.) Once everyone get's hear we play a game. 2. After we play a game eat dinner if dinner isent ready play another game 3 after dinner we eat cake 4 after cake we open presents 5 after presents we play with presents 6 after we play with presents we watch a movie (emperurs new groove) 7 after we watch a movie we wait until our parents get hear and then we leave and go to sleep."  Thank goodness I had a plan to follow.  LOL.

We had an ice cream cake... per her request.

Hannah has moved into the role of "Party Assistant".  Originally, it was Kimber's job.  Then McKay was given the mantle.  Now that they are old married ladies, Hannah has been handed the baton.