Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank You For the Angie Terry

Amazing how music can bring so much from the past to your mind. I was listening to my Pandora radio the other day and reliving parts of my life that were the most fun to remember. I called my sister Gina and told her how much I realized I love music and how much joy it gives me. The words from the song “More than a feeling” from Boston I heard for the first time and took it in:

“ I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
   Turned on some music to start my day
   I lost myself in a familiar song
   I closed my eyes and I slipped away

   Its more than a feeling
   When I hear that old song they used to play
   I begin dreaming
   Til I see Marianne walking away
    I see my Marianne walking away

   So many people have come and gone
   Their faces fade as the years go by
   Yet I still recall as I wander on
    As clear as the sun in the summer sky

   Its more than a feeling
   When I hear that old song they used to play
    I begin dreaming
    Til I see Marianne walking away
    I see my Marianne walking away

   When I’m tired and thinking cold
   I hide in my music, forget the day
   And dream of a girl I used to know
   I close my eyes and she slipped away
   She slipped away……….."

Ok, I wasn't thinking about a girl I lost, but the song did say what music does for me! I escape in my music to forget the day and close my eyes, and I am there in my memory of whatever that song takes me too.

I remember my first experience with music was the theme of "Batman." I loved that show but most of all I loved the theme song and I remember being asked by many family members to do the batman jig to the theme song. I could shake my shoulders and move better than most people my age and in my mind I was Cat Woman. I moved from batman to the Monkeys and as I stated in one of my previous posts, Davy Jones was one of my biggest crushes when he sang, "Day Dream Believer!" I can sing that and move like Davy with the best of them.  As my teen years arrived it lead to so much more music , Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Bad company, Johnny Cash, Elvis , Styx. And of course my mind, they are the best band ever!

All this love for music lead me to want to sing and I wanted that more than anything I have ever wanted in my life! I tried out for Chorus in Jr High and I made it into the girl’s choir. Mr. Rich was the director and he had the love for music that made my desire grow stronger.  I remember listening to "The Bonnevaires" from Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls and the sound coming from that choir was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. I knew then, I was going to do everything I could to be in that group. I took voice lessons and everyday I practiced in my beautiful pink and red bedroom. I practiced so much my brothers and sisters left me alone to do so. Soon I was done with Jr.High and ready for High School and the try outs for the Bonnevaires were at hand. I was so nervous only 40 students had the opportunity to be in the choir and very rarely did a sophomore make it into the group. I sang my heart out and waited for the list to be posted on the choir doors which had the names of the students that made it into the Bonnevaires.  I read the list and did not find my name...I was devastated. I made it into another girls group that year but did not give up!

With the help of my mother, she encouraged me to keep practicing and signed me up with another voice teacher. I worked so hard on my voice and I sang things that I still can’t believe I did. The next year tryouts came and went and once again, I was not named on the "Bonnevaires" list. That summer, after tryouts And not making it for the second time, I was ready to quit and I cried for what seemed the entire summer. About a week before the school year started I got a phone call from the director of the Bonnevaries and she said one of the students was moving that was chosen for the group and my name was the next one on the list. She asked me if I still wanted to be part of the Choir. To this day that was one of the happiest days of my life. I sang with the choir for two years and it was a dream come true for me!  I also joined a jazz choir my Senior year and that music was really up my alley. I set many goals high throughout High School and after I made Bonnevaires I decided the next challenge for me would be to sing in front of a large audience .

I tried out for "The Miss Bonneville Pageant" my senior year and my intention was to make it to the top 10 so I could sing for a huge audience. The talent segment was heavily rated for this pageant. I sang my heart out once again and to my surprise I did make it in the top 10 and the night of the pageant I sang “The Rose” Bette Milder style.  I sang the best I could have and the lights on the stage and music filled my soul!   I received the talent award that night and reached my goal. I couldn't believe I got the talent award , I was so happy and I remember my mom coming back stage and she still had tracks of tears on her cheeks because she was so proud. I hugged her and then told her that I was never competing in another beauty pageant but would sing for anything  and everything I could. I then asked her to take me to Burger King as I was sick of starving for the pageant and I felt as if my stomach was hitting my back.

I did continue to sing everyday!   I sang for weddings, and church, and Christmas parties, and dances. I have since worn out 2 Karaoke machines!  Music is my first love and always will be. I have to tell you of my Christmas gift I received this last year. My dear friends, Cricket and Jim, went to my home when I was working this past December to deliver my Christmas gift. I continued my busy day at the salon and drove to my home at the end of the day.  As I drove up to my house all the lights were on and I could hear Christmas music playing. It was the most spectacular moment as I opened my door and in my living room was the best sound system all hooked up to my TV with Christmas music playing. I was overwhelmed with emotion. MY love of music has never been heard better in my life.  I just stood there and took it all in with tears of joy and so much love for my friends!  They had given me the best gift ever.  

I end my blog with the words from a musical I was in, in which a solo I sang contained these words... “ I say thank you for the music,  the songs I'm singing.  Thanks for all the joy they're bringing. Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty? What would life be? Without a song or dance what are we?  So I say thank you for the music for giving it to me!”

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Autocorrect is my Worst Gina Waite

Have you ever been at Walmart *picking up things and the autocorrect on your cell phone instead texted your children that you were "knocking up things?" My daughters response, "how does that happen Mom?" ... I actually decided NOT to respond back to her question!   How about the time you texted your brother that you just got your son "a real cheap girl" instead of a *gift for his birthday present!  You can imagine the response I got after that text!  Recently, I  have twice texted my brother, Jim, and been autocorrected to say that I was "finishing up another "Butshell" only to mean *Nutshell, the amazingly classy blog/fb page that my Mother tried so hard to promote!  How about indicating to your child's teacher that you intend to throw an "anal pottery" but truly meant *a small party!  Does this "Ring any Balls" or *bells for that matter?  If you answered "yes" to any of the aforementioned questions...You Too, have become as intimate with autocorrect as I have!

"Happy *Valentines Day," shortened in my text to a friend to "Happy V day"...ended up coming out with an Australian accent when autocorrect wrote, "Happy g'day"... her response, "Thanks mate!"  My son has recently been a casualty in an autocorrect fiasco gone wrong! He was texting a friend to ask if he had *bread for a church meeting on Sunday.  The friends response, "no, I don't have breasts!"  Well, duh, cute boy we already knew that!  Once, while staying at my parents house I meant to text my sister, "Dad and Mom have gone to *bed" but was overwritten by autocorrect when it spelled out "Dad and Mom have gone to breed!"  Oh dear...will this electronic nightmare of unintentional innuendos ever end?  How about congratulating an entire team of soccer players only to say, "Congratulations to a bunch of weiners"...couldn't autocorrect have thrown me a bone and spelled out *winners...This was an entire team we're talking about!

Autocorrect...the sometimes bane of my existence...has it's good points and it's challenges!  Those messes, the ones I've gotten into because of autocorrect, cause me to desperately need *caffeine but have texted, "cocaine!"  By the way...did any of you enjoy watching the Olympics?  I really enjoyed watching them this year; however, some of the events did give me "buttflies" instead of *butterflies! ....I especially enjoyed watching the "figure mating"...*skating!   "Happy Turd day" (*Thurdsay) everyone!  Catch you all on the flippity-flip!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Decisiveness on the Gina Waite

Recently, I took an iPersonic personality test and was shocked by the result.  If you haven't taken this test yet, I've linked it for you in this Nutshell.  It's about five-eight minutes of scrutinizing your true feelings of time, commitment and's kind of should take it!  As I finished the test, "Dreamy Idealist" popped up as my personality test result.  Immediately loved the idea of being an Idealist, but after reading the description of my newly identified personality, I felt that I needed to take the test again.  "Dreamy Idealists," the result said,  tend to be cautious, shy and reserved.  I truly couldn't get past those words before retaking the test a second time.  To my surprise, once again the test result determined a "dreamy idealist" living inside my body!  At that point, I decided to accept my fate and read more about the stuff I was made of!  Much to my delight, I truly identified with a lot of the values I hold most dear!

One of those values I care about most is profound discussion.  I love listening and discussing topics of depth but don't often respond quickly (I like to think and weigh-out options for responses in my mind.) I'm sure this is aggravating to those who love me most as sometimes I sense their urgency for me to process the question, make a decision, and recount  my answer as quickly (remember I'm a word lover) as I can for their sake!  Decisiveness is not my strong point, but as a Mother, it's a skill I have acquired! 

I truly admire people who can "think on their feet!"  The ability to make quick decisions that are, even in the end, the BEST decisions that could have been made.  Decisions that may weigh the balance of a country's freedom and liberty at the cost of  human lives!  Now, I know I couldn't make decisions like that but ... George Washington could! George Washington was an amazing man known for his ability to make great decisions under extreme pressure!  His very stature elicited the status of natural born leader.  He was referred to as "His Excellency" by the soldiers who revered him because he was a true leader, one that would roll-up his sleeves and dig in with the rest of them!

This picture is an iconic reminder of the decisive man and leader that Washington was.  In this setting, he rallied the troops who were exhausted, demoralized and uncertain of their future and made haste to attack the Hessian-held town of Trenton, New Jersey...just across the Delaware.  Washington made the quick decision to attack on the morning of December 26th, a most decisive and deliberate attempt to overthrow the drunken, Holiday-Happy Hessians!  Washington claimed victory over Trenton and at very little loss of life for the American Continental Army.  That was an AMAZINGLY successful decision to attack considering most of the Continental Army's enlistments would be released for home on January 1st!

Due to the respect the majority of the men had for General Washington, most of the enlistments decidedly reenlisted for another round of service.  As much as I would like to have been there to see them, those tattered and frostbitten men reenlisting for yet another round of service, I would like to quote from one, Elisha Bostwick, who served under General Washington on the Delaware:

"there on the first of January 1777, our years service expired, and then by the pressing solicitation of his Excellency a part of those whose time was out, consented to stay six weeks longer...and although desirous as others to return home, I engaged to stay that time and made every exertion in my power to make as many of the soldiers stay with me, and for his Excellency, as I could...and quite a number did engage with me!"

A difficult decision for those men to stay a little longer BUT I think I know why they stayed and served just one more time...the incredible experience of bravery and comradery while observing decisiveness on the Delaware!  Thank you for your service and a Happy Belated Birthday, General Washington!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"FOOD" For Jim Terry

Spring is in the air and it’s always nice to see the snow retreat from the valleys to the highest peaks of the mountains.  I also enjoy seeing tulips emerge from a snowdrift on the north side of a home.  Or what about the appearance of green sprigs of grass that start to show up among the brown and the dead from the winter months giving you that glimmer of hope that warm days are just ahead? 

Just the other day I was out enjoying the sunshine and trimming trees and shrubs that had become a bit overgrown from our short winters we have here in California.  I got out the pruners, the air blower, and the electric hedge trimmer and started the work that needed to be done.  

First project…a tree that has some amazing red flowers on it that bloom for about six to eight weeks each spring.  I love the look of the tree and am still learning plants native to the region of the Bay Area, but this tree is really a huge MESS!  For six to eight weeks each spring, this tree continuously drops HUGE RED FLOWERS.  I can clean up all the flowers the day before and then in the morning, I will go back outside to leave for work and it will appear as though I have done absolutely nothing.  The worst part of these flowers on the ground though is if you accidentally step on them or run over them on your way to work, the red that makes the flower’s pedals so RED and VIBRANT becomes a gooey dye that also stains your pavement for weeks afterwards. I would say "YEARS" afterwards but I have not been in this home long enough yet. It really is something to behold.

After finishing up with the tree, I then moved onto another area in my yard that has some other trees and several small bushes.  As I began to trim one of these bushes, I was overwhelmed with a fragrance I have known before.  I had to think for a minute but it finally came to me… this fragrance is none other than one of the most common spices…Rosemary. 

I then thought how “awesome” it would be to have my own fresh spice instead of paying close to $10 for a small bottle of Rosemary. I started to do some research on how to dry the plant and was amazed to find out much more about the many uses and the history of this particular spice.   

“Rosemary is an herb that is native to the Mediterranean. The Romans called it ‘sea dew’ after the habit of growing it by the seashore, but it was later changed to the Rose of Mary, in honor of the Virgin Mary…. In Spanish lore, Rosemary blossoms were white in the beginning, but turned a beautiful blue color after the Virgin Mary spread her cloak over a Rosemary shrub to hide from the Romans who were searching for the Holy Family as they fled Egypt…Rosemary was also carried by mourners during funerals and tossed into the graves of the deceased as a sign of remembrance. During weddings Rosemary was worn by bridal couples as a sign of fidelity and couples dipped branches of rosemary tied with ribbon into gold and gave the sprigs as wedding gifts to the guests as a sign of love and faithfulness. Rosemary oil is a primary ingredient in Hungary Water, which has been attributed of restoring Queen Elizabeth of Hungary's paralyzed legs. Anne of Cleves is said to have worn a wreath of Rosemary when she married King Henry VIII. During the Plague in the 15th century, hospitals and commoners burned Rosemary and wore little pouches of the herb around their necks as they traveled to breathe through to help protect them from the spread of the disease. In France, hospitals burned both rosemary and juniper to help keep the spread of infection in check.”

In addition to what was mentioned above the medicinal evidence is endless…

-Did you know that Rosemary oils have antibacterial and antifungal properties? During World War II, European countries dressed wounds with the oils of Rosemary, which did control bacterial infections --including foot rot --which was common for troops in the trenches.

-Rosemary has long been prized as an herb that increases memory. Greek students wore wreaths of Rosemary to help them during exams to keep their heads clear and their memory sharp. Some current research is also confirming this fact.

-Studies also have shown that Rosemary oil increases circulation to reduce headaches and pains. 

-If the oil is mixed in a tea, it can help with sore throats and gingivitis. 

-In one study, it even showed that Rosemary caused inhibition to the progression and development of cancer cells at an efficacy of 87%. 

-Also adding a few drops of this oil into a steamer have been known to clear up sinus problems and have eased cold symptoms.

-Lastly researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have discovered that even a .02% solution is a more effective food preservative than BHA and BHT with NO chemical side effects? …I would definitely say its ability to preserve is true.  Did you know that Rosemary has also been identified as some of the artifacts found in the ancient Egyptian tombs?

So the next time you see a simple plant in your garden, think twice about what it may or may not do for you.  I guess I need to do some more research on my tree that drops those “DARN” red flowers that continually plague me in the spring as they fall to the ground.  Who knows…maybe, just maybe, the dyes in these flowers that stain my pavement could be the next best “thing” to hit the market as an all-natural anti-wrinkle cream, an antibiotic to accelerate healing, an agent to cure leg paralysis or could even become an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph and be preserved in the tombs with Rosemary? ...or on my DRIVEWAY! 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Garbage Sales in Winter... by Ben Hazlett

Since we were moving back to Meridian, we decided to brave the cold January weather and try to have some yard sales in Ontario.  In spite of rain, snow, and freezing temperatures, we had a lot of success and sold a large majority of surplus things that we didn't want to move (like the huge front loading washer and drier). 

So naturally now that we're moved in with my father-in-law, Verl, and have had the chance to sort through even more things in both our home and my father-in-law's home, we suggested having another.  My father-in-law told my son: "your mommy wants to have another GARBAGE sale." To which Benson replied: "Papa, that's silly we don't sell garbage we sell our stuff... and hot chocolate..." Then he quickly added: "And we don't sell my toys, bike, swing set or... (thinking) ME!"

I had never heard it called a garbage sale either... I guess if one man's trash really is another man's treasure, then it fits.  This brings me to the first thing I learned from this weekend's sale: value depends a lot on need.  For instance, we had one individual who serves in the armed forces stop by.  He has recent had some tragic and unfair circumstances befall him which has left him with nothing.  So, while to us the nice, but superfluous queen-sized mattress, box springs, and frame were just taking up space, to him it was an entire bed for $75. Now one of our veterans no longer has to sleep on the floor. 

It's funny, although we had made a killing at our last 2 yard sales... er... I mean garbage sales, Verl was still skeptical. "No one's coming," he said the night before.  Repeatedly during the sale he would point at glasses, a vase, or some other object and say "no one will buy that".  Invariably with in several minutes of one of those statements, we did in fact sell that very item.  Oh, and people showed up at 8:30am when it started at 9am and kept coming steady until 2pm.  Some times in life Field of Dreams has it dead on: "if you build it, they will come."  How often in life do we have to walk a ways with the faith that it will work out alright in the end?  

Of course, it didn't take long for my father-in-law to come around. Then he started selling more things than I did.  Some little sweet elderly lady would pull one little spatula out of a box and Verl was right there: "buy the whole box and I'll make you a deal."  Then it was my turn to be skeptical.  "That'll never work," I thought.  "No one is going to buy a box full of junk for one thing they want." Sure enough, he sold more "box deals" than I would have thought possible... though I think some of them just bought the whole box to make him happy.  

So to continue the theme here, what's the life lesson in selling a box of junk?  As I have learned several times recently, a lot of times you have to buy the whole box of junk to get the one or two things you want or need. For instance, as I mentioned before, my dad died after a long struggle with early-onset dementia. That sure seamed like a box full of junk.  But, I was privileged to have him for more than 23 years.  He gave me the perfect example of how to live and what kind of father to be.  And even in death he has taught me how to deal with the loss of a parent so that I can help my wife Mary deal with the loss of her sweet mother. 

So the next time you are thinking about either having or going to a "Garbage sale," just remember, you might just come away with some treasure... or at least some additional perspective. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Indi-Angie Angie Terry

Indi-Angie Jones is the person in my minds eye that I love to escape too. If you have seen the Indiana Jones movies you know it is all about adventure and history, and a treasure hunter who loves history and is dedicated to preserving it and keeping treasure from the wrong hands.

I just returned from Sacramento, California after spending time with my sweetheart and his family. While I was there Scott told me about Folsom Lake. California has had historically low water levels and has revealed a California gold mining town called Mormon Island. It has been under water since the 1950’s .I immediately went in Indiangie Jones mode and had to go see this. Not only do I love seeing the past but also being a Mormon gave me double interest. In my mind, I put on my khaki clothing and Indi hat and had my whip in hand to go see what treasures we could find.

We drove to Folsom lake and the park ranger told us it was about a third of a mile, you can’t drive there you have to walk. I was so excited, the walk wasn’t bad but it was not a third of a mile and it was all down hill to the bottom of the lake. You couldn’t see anything for awhile but then you come around the bend and the lake bottom opens up in front of your eyes and old roads and the trees that lined them are evident.  Then you see foundations and walls that were left from the buildings that use to stand there. I started to sing the Indiana Jones Theme song in my mind as we took it all in that was offered us. I couldn’t help but think if those old stumps of the trees could talk what could they tell us, and what about those rock walls that lined a single lane road that horse and buggy once traveled. We did see a lot of broken pottery and old nails and to think I could touch a nail that someone else built his home or church or school with for their children many years ago. I was overwhelmed with excitement and as I walked those old roads I couldn’t help but think that my love for discovery and adventure came from my mother...oh how I wish I could have told her about this! I started to cry as I hummed that "Indi" theme and thought how much my mother would have enjoyed being there with me!

....Mormon Island, California.

Mormon Island was once a Mormon community, which had an abundance of Mormon immigrants, seeking fortune along the American river. Early in March 1848, W.Sidney.S. Willis, and Wilford Hudson, members of the Mormon Battalion, set out from Sutter’s Fort to hunt deer. Stopping on the south fork of the American river, they found GOLD! They told their story upon returning to the fort, and soon about 150 Mormons and other miners flocked to the site which was named "Mormon Island." This was the first major gold strike in California after James W. Marshall’s discovery at Coloma. The population of the town in 1853 was more than 2500 .It had four hotels, three dry-goods stores, five general merchandise stores, an express office, a winery, dairy, seven saloons, and a school and many small shops. A fire destroyed the town in 1856, and it was never rebuilt. The community dwindled after the California gold rush and only a few families were left in the 1940’s.

What was left of Mormon Island was eventually razed, as the Folsom Dam project was set to flood the town. Mormon Island is now registered a historical Landmark and the state will not let you take anything from the site. Those things you find when walking on the lake bottom are left on the top of old wells and the stumps of the trees that are visible now only because of the low water levels.  Mormon Island has relocated across the street from the Lake.  It is a thriving community today!

Now you know the history and I have been there myself.  I now have to go...dusting off my hat and readying my whip for my next adventure, as I ride off in the sunset on my horse with the famous theme playing in my head!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tiptoe Through the Tulips...Gina Waite

Again with the pictures of beautiful yellow flowers and my kids!  This beautiful place resides in the Pacific Northwest, smack dab in the middle of Skagit Valley nestled near the beautiful Mount Vernon and is home to the most amazing Tulip Festival your eyes have EVER beheld!  Second only to Holland, this breathtaking beacon is home to millions of tulips, and tulip-loving tourists!  In 1999 (insert the song "1999" by Prince) I happened to be one of said tourists!  Accompanied with the BEST entourage and Navigator Extraordinaire...thanks going out to my cousins Terri and Tim, my sister Angie (a compass encompassed in a body) and my darling niece, Savahnna...we set out to find this little spot of Heaven and thanks to Angie, we were completely successful!

My only sadness in showing you this picture is that it does not show the rows AND rows AND rows of tulips that alternate colors about every 20-30 feet!  I chose to upload this picture because my son was almost submerged in my favorite color of tulip AND for a two-year old, so completely focused on the flowers.  The careful attention he was giving to each of the flowers he touched and where he stepped...only stepping within the trench between the rows of tulips so as to not disturb the perfect order of the flowers.  I remember taking in the beauty all around me and wanting to be there for hours!

Why I'm reflecting on this picture as of late: the tulip festival is truly a breathtaking sight and more recently is calling my name;  but I'm also longing to go back to a time in my life that felt a little more simple.   Perhaps I was more focused on the details that were important and cared a little less about everything else!  I'm not saying that life with little children is not overwhelming at times but the day-to-day involvement in extra-curricular activities and goal driven expectations were not as much a driving force for my family, then! All I know is life seems too full of expectations, appointments and aspirations and not enough quiet time to observe nature, spend time with loved ones,and reflect on the important things of life...I love looking at the little boy in this picture and he's SIXTEEN now!

So for those of you who need some time away,  a little family vaca or just wanting to take in some of God's green earth...I'm including the link to the information regarding the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival's so worth your while and if you go...I'll be the one waving at you amongst the yellow tulips!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Presence of a Great Gina Waite

Do you ever have those déjà vu moments and then recall something about yourself so grim that you are embarrassed by the memory!   That happened to me the other day while shopping!  As I was standing in line at the grocery store, I happened to glance over at the "impulse shopping rack" located right near the register and ho-hummed at the familiar assortment of candy, nuts, and jerky.  Then I spotted it, the flashy and colorful package of "fruit stripes" gum beckoning to me as it had when I was around seven years old.  I had an instant flashback of an experience of when I went shopping with my Mom at the grocery store that I am not particularly proud of! 

 I remember being enticed by the "fruit stripes" gum commercial and wanting a pack of it so badly, I was willing to risk everything to have it!  I hatched a plan and had decided to put the gum under the "impulse rack" near the register and when leaving with my Mom, I would drop my glove near the gum and pick both of them up together, only to quickly hide them in my pocket!   By completing this heist my Mom would not suspect anything and it would go unnoticed by the store clerk.  I must admit, I'm flushing with heat even writing down the thoughts I had that day!  The next part of my plan shows my inability to be a hardened criminal as I decided I would take the pack out of my pocket while driving home with my Mom and explain, "Oh'd that get into my pocket?  Well I guess I'll go ahead and have some then!"

Please...I can't believe I thought that would work on my Mom as she must have been trained by Sherlock Holmes himself.  A cupcake could go missing in our house and my dear Mother would be able to approximate what time it came up missing and whom it was that took it!  As I started to open the package of Mom started questioning me and before you could say, "Bob's your uncle" she had figured it out!  With great precision she turned the car around and dropped me off at the grocery store.  I was instructed  to pay for the gum, apologize to the clerk,  and  come back to the car to work out details with my Mom to pay off my debt owed to her.  You've just read the story of my ten minutes of juvenile delinquent  behavior!  So that's what I was doing when I was young...typical behavior of a child...unless you compare me with say...Abraham Lincoln.

He was an independent thinker that based his actions on his own moral integrity.  It seems from a very young age, the core value that defined him best was honesty.  Almost every account I've read of President Lincoln's life indicates his dedication to always being honest!  He expressed his utmost concern about being forthright in statements like, "No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar," and "truth is generally the best vindication against slander."  My absolute favorite quote in regard to honesty that I've read from our 16th president was one of caution to his colleagues in the law profession when he said, "Resolve to be honest at all events; and if, in your own judgment, you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation"...seemingly great advice that today's lawyers would do well to think on!  

I had the good fortune of visiting Springfield, Illinois two years ago.   A place where President Lincoln lived, practiced law, and his body now reside.  It was a spiritual experience, for me, to stand at Lincoln's tomb!  Grateful for his legacy, grateful for his life but most especially grateful for his presence of mind to ALWAYS be honest!  Happy belated birthday Mr. President!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Three, Two, One...FLY!" Jim Terry

Traditions are always a lot of fun. …Like the birthday cake with the birthday, the ring with the engagement, the presents with Christmas or Hanukkah, the turkey with Thanksgiving dinner or the peanut butter with jelly!  Traditions can extend for years or in some cases, may just be beginning.  Some can be very "traditional" and others "non-traditional." 

One of my favorite non-traditional traditions as a child and as a young man was our annual trip to Lagoon amusement park just north of Salt Lake City.  
 It has now been years since I have been there, but I thought it was a pretty "cool" amusement park at the time.  Of course it has all the games for you to win those overpriced stuffed animals. Not overpriced at the beginning of the game but by the time you finally won the BIG ONE, you literally were “breaking the bank” so to speak. I think I may have spent at least half the cost of a college education over the years trying to win my favorite stuffed animals as a kid. 

I also knew better than to be a competitor and waste my money against my sister Lora at the game “Whack-A-Mole.”  It’s a simple game where hydraulics lift little moles out of five or six holes in an area that is a three foot square area.  And as they quickly rise up, you simply “WHACK” them HARD and “WHACK” them as fast as you can with a baton that looks like it has a boxing glove on the end of it. 
…As the competitors would approach with confidence, I would just sit back and watch older teens and grown men think that this “young girl”-- again being my sister Lora--couldn’t beat them.  I am also sure they would say to themselves as they placed their money down to play…”just like taking candy from a baby."  Surely an easy win so they could give ‘their girl’ a stuffed animal.

Let me just put it this way, Lor truly rewrote and redefined the “candy from a baby” phrase.  It was more like “step up to bat and be OBLITERATED!”  It still makes me laugh to this day when I think of it...the look of the teen boys and men that left Whack-A-Mole wondering what had just happened in knowing that they had just been beaten by a “GIRL” in front of their girl. :o)

Lagoon also has some amazing rides.  The Wild Mouse was one of my favorites.  It would feel as though the little two-seater car you were in on a roller coaster-like track would almost fall off of the edge at each and every turn.  The Colossus, The Tidal Wave, the log ride, Dracula’s Castle and the Jet Star II we also some of my favorites.  I was amazed one year, however, that my brother Richard and I were able to talk my Mom into going on the newest attraction in 1995 named “THE SKY COASTER.” 

The Sky coaster is a giant steel arch that extends from the ground and tops out at 150’.  In the middle of that arch, they have cables that are suspended and reach to only 6 feet above the ground below. They then put you in a harness, hook you to the before mentioned cables and hoist you up and back to one of two support towers that are also 150 feet tall.  As the pulley that hoists you, your Mother and your brother stops, and you dangle back and forth above the ground, realizing that you are now suspended 150 feet in the air, you literally start to question yourself and the decision you just made.  You feel your hands start to tighten, a small drip of sweat from your brow and your heart begins to beat faster and deeper... so much so you can feel it in your chest and can hear your heartbeat in your ears.  As your concentration becomes more intense with the anticipation of the drop, you hear from the ground below on the PA system, "GO THE BIG KAHUNA!"  "Thanks Lor" for the comedic relief, but in just seconds you know you will be headed towards the ground at 80 mph.  Finally the moment when you hear the announcer say: “Three, Two, One….FLYYYY----------------!” 

 I must admit that when I had to pull the ripcord at the top of the tower so we could “FLY”, I literally thought I had pulled the wrong thing.  There was a moment or two of complete weightlessness where it felt like I had detached the harnesses that held us all secure to the cables overhead.  If my inner monologue at the time had become an outer monologue, I’m sure there would have to be some editing to this video (several four-letter words like “crap” and “gosh” entered my mind), I was literally “scared to death” until I could feel the harnesses once again begin to support our weight as we sped towards the ground, swung out over the crowds beneath us and were finally able to “FLY!”

In the video below, you can hear my Mother say “Mother of the year.”  …Yes, Mom you got Mother of the year award for sure.  For those of you that do not know, my Mother was deathly afraid of heights, but she loved to fly. Kind of a funny contrast don’t you think?  It reminds me of a friend who says “I hate the ocean but I love to scuba dive!”…Again this is why Richard and I were so amazed we were able to talk Mom into going with us on the Sky Coaster this particular day.  I think she looked at the bigger picture in this situation, or the end result, and that is how Richard and I were able to share this memory with our wonderful Mother. She was afraid of heights but in the end she knew she would be flying and that is how she conquered her fear of heights that day.

TRADITION…(sigh)….so many wonderful memories…so many fun times…so many???  What are your memories and traditions?

I’m noticing as I age, that months are becoming seconds and years are becoming minutes. Remember to cherish those moments and those traditions we all hold dear, and always look forward to the end result. I'm sure you will find yourself laughing, loving and living. Because as that countdown begins with “Three”, then “Two”, then “One”…remember in the end to always “FLY!"  

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Home Is Your Richard Terry

It's funny how often I've heard my older brother Jim say jokingly to my wife, Iolanda, "Mi casa es su casa".  Many know that this is a common expression in Spanish that means, "My home is your home". What makes this saying so fun to hear is that I know he says it to my wife with two motives in mind. The first is that Jim knows that though Iolanda speaks Portuguese as a first language, many fluent Spanish speakers take one look at her and due to her Latina appearance, assume she speaks Spanish. I've witnessed this on occasion when even total strangers speak Spanish to her. Her reply is always a polite reply in English, "I'm sorry I don't speak Spanish I speak Portuguese".  This helps explain why my brother speaks in Spanish to my wife; he knows very well that it will get a laugh from her (probably not surprising for those who know Jim)!  The second reason he says to her, and the reason I believe he has said it often to her, is to sincerely return to her the same caring and warmth that my wife has always extended to him.

Though it may be a Spanish expression, I believe it's a principle by which my wife lives her life. One common way I've witnessed my wife make our home a place where all can feel at home is by inviting you over for dinner. I remember the first time I experienced this quality in my wife, we were recently married and my wife invited my brothers over for a Brazilian lunch. She was excited to provide for them a small experience from Brazil though more importantly; she was excited to make her new family feel welcome in our home.  As newlyweds typically experience, we didn't have quite enough utensils to set our table, we didn't have enough groceries in the pantry, and to top it off, we were living in a pretty tight space. Somehow though, between tracking down the needed groceries, getting cookware we needed at the local thrift store, and making do with what we had she was able to put together an authentic Brazilian lunch experience for my brothers. What I love most about that experience was that she wasn't embarrassed or worried by any of the things that embarrassed or worried me. She simply wanted to share what she had, no matter how humble or simple, with those she cared for. The meal was delicious and to top off that memorable day, my brothers, who are all comedians by the way, provided entertainment by sharing those funny, albeit embarrassing, stories that siblings share growing up together (many of which came up later from my concerned wife).

Through my marriage, similar experiences like this have come up many times with many different wonderful people because of my wife. I've watched her, though swamped with responsibilities, still reach out to newly made friends, co-workers, and family when I thought she should have waited for a better time. Thankfully, she has taught me that there is never a better time that right now to open your doors and your arms to those around you.

On one other occasion, one that warms my heart as I reflect on that memory was during Christmas time a few years ago.  My wife had been working in retail and as those who work retail know, the holidays meant longer hours at work and less time at home. I also was under considerable stress to deliver some large furniture and cabinet projects due before Christmas. Those days and weeks leading up to Christmas that year were strained and stressful.

As Christmas day neared, I anxiously looked forward to having a day off together with her and the kids. I was surprised when she came home from work on Christmas Eve and announced that we needed to clean the house because she had invited a friend over to have a Christmas lunch with us. My heart sunk a little and I knew that what lay ahead wasn't the rest I was hoping for. We mustered up the courage we had and spent the evening cleaning up the house and preparing food for our guest's visit the next day.

Despite my initial disappointment, I quickly learned from my wife that the person she had invited was going through a particularly trying time in her life and didn't have the support of family near her for Christmas. The next day during our Christmas lunch, I came to realize the opportunity my wife had given to our children and myself to reach out and be a friend in a very meaningful way. Thankfully, her mind and her heart were tuned into more than just rest from the stress and pressures of day-to-day life. We had a wonderful experience and as a family, we learned an invaluable lesson through her example. 

I've wondered many times how my dear wife has developed those endearing qualities that emanate from her so naturally. Much I think can be attributed to her humble start in life of growing up in a family of twelve in Brazil. Personally, I like to think that she developed most of her spiritual qualities before she came to this earth and that a loving God placed her here specifically because the world would need courageous and loving people like her to champion His causes and make the world a better place. She is my angel, my best friend, and the brightest light in my life. Today on her birthday, I celebrate her life and her efforts! I love you, Lola!