Monday, August 25, 2014

A Trip Doomed - To Gina Waite

Have you heard the expression, "you can't judge a book by it's cover?"  No?????  How about "it's what's on the inside that counts!"  Similar expressions that basically mean the same thing...try not to determine how you feel about something based entirely on the appearance of that thing...make your decision only after you witness the entirety of that experience!  I can tell you I put this expression to the test when a recently anticipated trip to Lagoon Amusement Park went completely awry...then turned out to be one of the BEST Utah trips we've had in a long time!

Picture it...Beautiful summer day...all is right with the world and Interstate 15!  We've got our favorite playlists, playing; our favorite snacks, packed AND a most agreeable sixteen-year-old boy who has volunteered to drive, which means, Mom gets in reading time!  A darling pre-teen girl who is busily engaged in ready a parent-approved book...perfect scenario for a perfect day!  As discussions turned from what song to listen which restaurant we should stop at for dinner ... a noticeable difference in the van temperature occurred!  As the van started to feel warmer and warmer, I quickly realized we were in Utah  and not the cooler temperatures of the Snake River Plains found in Idaho!  It only made sense that the adjustment in air conditioning temperature was a direct reflection of the warmer temperatures in Utah ... which seemed reasonable until the air conditioned air started feeling more like air heated from a heater!

I looked around my son's driving arm at the van's engine temperature gauge as it was nearing the middle of the HOT RED ZONE!  As we were navigating to our destination in post-work traffic (right around 5:00pm) I decidedly called my mechanic back at home to get any helpful advice..."Gina, turn the heater on full blast as it will draw heat off the engine and cool it down!"  If it were December, this would have been a welcomed and lovely statement...but it was July!  Can you say with me "100-Degrees-Fahrenheit!"  The air temperature outside felt cooler than what was coming from the vents in our van and we quickly pulled off the Interstate to let the van cool down!  "Don't worry kids!  We'll get this worked out and have a wonderful time at Lagoon," I said determined to convince myself as much as I was my kids!

Diagnosis...not one, but TWO radiator fan motors!  Thankfully, a wonderfully kind cousin (Thanks Richard) loaned us his extra car...and we were quickly, and almost painlessly, on our way to our lodging for the night as excitement filled the car in anticipation for our day spent at Lagoon!  Lagoon the next day, seemed more inviting and fun than it ever had before...AND it was fun...UNTIL the apocalyptic dirt, wind, hail storm hit the park when the weather turned from heaven to hell in about 45 seconds!  As we were driving back to our hotel, in a car we borrowed from a cousin, a melancholy mood descended over our little company!

As we sat inside the hotel room and looked out of the rain-streaked windows I kept thinking how much my kids wanted to go to Lagoon and how we only had a couple summers left before shipping my oldest off to enjoy the realities of life.  At that moment I was determined that my kids would enjoy Lagoon because our trip would be what we made it!  "Kids, get your swimming goggles that you packed for the pool...let's go pick up some rain poncho's...we're going back to Lagoon!"  My kids looked excitedly at me and raced to accomplish the task I had asked!  Donning yellow rain poncho's (purchasable at the Lagoon Park entrance...FYI) and swim goggles, we were of the few who braved the park that evening!  As the lightning had stopped the park was fully opened and readied for the poor-weather-rider-opportunist!   

The rain didn't affect us as it pelted our swim goggles instead of our eyes and with our poncho's on...we didn't get the least bit wet!  Because of that storm, we rode The Colossus-nine times in a row, Wicked-five times in a row AND never had a second thought about whether we would have to stand in line to get on a ride!  The ride attendants were waiting for us and obliged us with staying in our seats for a second, third or fourth ride instead of exiting the ride each time! My van didn't make it back to Idaho for some time but the occupants of the van, did!  That post-Lagoon day, driving home in a car we borrowed from a kind-hearted cousin (thanks again for the use of your car, Richard) we reminisced about the previous day's events and noted how many things went wrong to lend itself to a trip that really went right!  My son said, " need to write a Nutshell about this trip and title it, 'A Trip Doomed-to succeed!'" My response, "I think I will!"

♦ Hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Leaning the Right Way... by Ben Hazlett

When our son Benson was about 2.5 years old, he and I went to Walmart.  While in the bike section he spotted a Lightning McQueen bike with training wheels that was just his size.  He ran over to it and said "I want this daddy, it's awesome!" He had a point... so it some how found it's way into our cart.  Mary's response at seeing it was "you bought him a what?!  He's not old enough for that." I produced a helmet and said, "he'll be fine!" 
Little boy riding a bike

While he proved to be an amazing little bike rider and had his training wheels off before he turned 4, there were several moments that just about made me doubt my confidence.  The most recent was a few months after we moved back to Meridian.  Benson and I went for a bike ride (on his larger version of his original Lightening McQueen racer).  Everything was great, until Benson decided we should race home.  He took off and as I looked a head I saw he was headed straight for impending doom.  I shouted to him to stop or at least to look up.  Whether he thought I was trying to make him lose, or whether he was just disregarding me entirely, I don't know.  The result was that Benson found himself using a mailbox like the Angry Birds slingshot.  I really had no idea that a mailbox could hurl someone backwards that far.  
Little boy riding a bike

I picked him up and held him while his lungs resumed their function and his tear ducts stopped theirs.   Of course, the father in me immediately found the life lesson and felt compelled to share it with him... in my defense, I did hug him and kiss it better first. "Next time listen to daddy and bad things like this won't happen," I said.

Several weeks later I was changing the battery in our smoke detector... the one that is 30 stories up in the air in the highest point of our vaulted ceiling.  I had the biggest ladder we own out and I propped it on the wall I thought would be the best.  Mary, suggested I use another position, but in my stubborn attempt to show that I knew better, I climbed the ladder right where I had placed it.  As I reach out over the gaping abyss below me and awkwardly tried to reach the detector that was now behind me and to the left, I thought "shoot... she was right." Of course, I was not about to admit defeat so I tried some more.  Finally, I realized that from that position, even the American Ninja Warriors couldn't reach it and I came down to avoid killing myself over a 9 volt battery.

I'm not sure why, but as I moved the ladder into the position Mary had originally suggested, I thought back on the mailbox Benson had tried to tackle.  Then I thought, how many times in life do I hear advice or the whispering of God's Spirit that would save me a lot of trouble and yet I get all the way up the ladder only to realize I have leaned it against the wrong wall.
Ladder leaning against a wall

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5

Friday, August 15, 2014 Angie Terry

It gives me honor and great privilege to write about my daughter this day on her birthday. Twenty three years ago on this day the 16th of August I was given the greatest blessing and joy to my life. She came into the world weighing just 6 pounds 2 ounces. The first time I got to see this little bundle of joy my heart was filled with so much love .I thought to myself she is perfect and I could have not ordered a baby to be any more beautiful. I remember the first morning after giving birth to her, I was in the hospital and woke up at 5 am, I did this because for the past few months the little darling baby that was growing inside of me woke me up with incredible hiccups every morning at 5 am.  In those days the baby was not in your room with you, so I could hear my sweet baby coming down the hall with hiccups and crying. The nurses were bringing her to her mom. 

Savahnna was the cutest little girl and she was so beautiful that people would stop me all the time and were in awe of her beauty. I remember a time when Savahnna was a little older and able to talk, an older lady stopped us and was admiring the beautiful little Savahhna and she looked at me and then the lady and she said to me, "Wow, Grandma has big lips!”. This was because the sweet older lady had bright red lip stick on and Savahnna could only focus on those lips. It seems that ever since then Savahnna was never afraid to express what was on her mind. She does have the courage and strength to stand up for what she believes is right and has always been a leader. Her third grade teacher said it best at a parent teacher conference he said, "First of all, I have to say Savahnna is so beautiful and she is so smart and she is a true born leader, but I have noticed that all know how she is feeling or they pay. She is Scarlet O’Hara.” Well said I thought .I do have to take some blame for that one because I encouraged my daughter to let people know how she is feeling, I told her people don’t know and it is your job to let them know.  Savahnna even at 6 years old would order a cheeseburger with no tomato and if it came with a tomato she would not just simply take it off she would say, "Excuse me," to the waitress, "I ordered this with no tomato". I was shocked all the time at the courage she had to take care of things and let people know how she was feeling.

Savahnna also impressed me in the teenage years when girl clicks form and the dynamic of teenagers start. She never liked the girl club thing most of her friends were boys and that is because she couldn’t stand people thinking one is better than the other.   She did get in trouble one year in the lunch room, for standing up and yelling at a group of kids that were making fun of a boy. When she told me this story, my heart swelled with love for my girl because I don’t think many people have that kind of courage. She used to say, "I really don’t like people because they can be so rude".

Savahnna was a great student I never had to keep bugging her about homework she set a great schedule for herself and she would go to bed at a decent time always even in her teen years. 

My sweet darling girl from the moment I held you in my arms my life has never been the same, but it has given me a purpose to live and want to be better. I have made many mistakes and I hope you me for those. I know your heart and I remember the little girl who at Christmas time was so excited to go see family and so much love for them all. I remember the Christmas we couldn’t get back home for a few days because of bad weather but we were with our family in Idaho and you jumping for joy when you realized we got a few more days to spend time with our family. I still remember every day I would go pick you up at daycare and when you would see me you would yell, "MOMMY", and run and jump into my arms and hug me so tight. 

I remember all your talents and the awe I felt went I bought you painting supplies and came home to your first attempt and couldn’t believe the painting of the tree in our front yard that you had done. Or the time we went to the flight museum in Seattle with your entire class at the time to take your art work that was chosen to be displayed there. I watched you perform on a unicycle for your 6th grade class. I remember you asking me if I would ever be in a chess club and I said, "Heck NO!" and you laughed at me and said you had joined one. I loved going to all your ballet, tap, and baton recitals. I remember you preforming at a church function with your baton skills and a little boy was totally falling in love watching you preform your talent. I loved the days of baseball and cheering for you and your team. So much talent and skill. I am in awe of you and admire all that you do. The amazing woman you are. Savahnna has been a great worker, started working at 15 and has never stopped. I could go on and on about her talents. 
I love you Savahnna with all my heart and wish you a very happy birthday . Life is so good with you in it,those you know you will agree and I am so lucky that you call me Mom.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Driving a van, down by the Gina Waite

Have you ever been driving with the window down, wind blowing through your hair, your favorite song blaring from your radio, and been completely transported back to the days and feelings of your youth?  You know what I'm talkin' about...that feeling of being young, alive and incredibly cool!  Then, as you look in your rear-view mirror, you see several pair of eyes (you know the ones that look an awful lot like your own) looking back at you with an increased sense of intrigue!  It's at this point that your mind's eye view of yourself changes from adventurous, Jeep-driving, "Lara-Croft-type," to the reality that you're a Mom...driving a VAN...down by the river!  Well I'm here to tell you that being a "Lara-Croft-type" AND driving a van...down by the river, can be synonymous!  I would know...because I had the BEST example of it in my very own Mother!

My Mom...the BEST and most DARING of women...had an appetite for fun and adventure!  The woman kept binoculars in a kitchen drawer, right next to the Ornithological handbook that came in handy in her early morning, bird-watching hours!  She had an iron will...if my Mom wanted to do something…she would NOT stop until she had accomplished it (watched her teach herself how to wire and balance a ceiling fan to perfection!)  ...but one of the things that still impresses me most about her, was her willingness to go on Amusement Park Rides without any hesitation!  This, followed by her unceasing encouragement for ALL of us to join her, was just one reason she was the life of the party!

As you may recall, my brother Jim wrote an article about his Lagoon Amusement Park “Skycoaster” ride experience with my Mom!  She encouraged us ALL to go on that Bungee-jump-inspired ride that day ... and without hesitation, she stepped right up and volunteered to ride with her sons!  My Mom's "ride" encouragement did not stop with her Children!  Ever the adventurer, my Mom once accompanied my son on a death-defying ride at The Boise State Fair!  An experience, she herself, wrote about but didn't realize I had taken photographs of the whole affair! 

 My son, giddy with amusement park enthusiasm, ran to the most death-defying, head-ache-inducing, ride he could find!  Happy to be standing in line for the ride, my son started waving his arms to acknowledge me to come and stand next to him.  “Come on Mom…it will be really fun…I promise!”  My only hesitation at that moment was my daughter’s scared concern at the idea of being forced to go on the ride with us!  I looked at my son and delivered the blow, “Bud, I can’t ride with you as I've got to stay here with sissy!”  It broke my heart to say “no,” but the idea of my six-year-old daughter standing by the ride "exit" gate by herself, was much worse than foregoing the ride with my son.  About the time the ride gate opened to let the willing participants in…my parents caught up with us as they had been detained while helping my little nephew on the carousel.  

“Mom, Jordan wants to go on the ride with me, but I need to stay here with Paris OR if you could stay with Paris I'll go on the ride with Jordan?”  What followed was a comment that we ALL have heard my Mom say numerous times in her life, “Well, I’ll go on the ride with him!”  I blinked and said, “Mom, why don’t you stay with Paris and I’ll go on the ride with Jordan!”    The ride entrance gates, still opened, with an eager attendant ready to start the ride up and my son shouting, “Yes!!!!  Come on Grandma…come go with me!”

I will NEVER forget the look of joy on my son’s face when his Grandmother briskly walked up to where he stood to enter the ride with him!  Priceless were the expressions of both my Mom, and my son, as the ride’s giant hammer-shaped cars started swinging in pendulum-style...opposite of each other...only to stop upside down and reverse directions!  As the ride was in motion, I could only identify shoes and screams but as the ride slowed down and came to controlled stop, I noticed that my Mom had grabbed her grandson's hand and they were laughing together!  Like so many adventurous experiences with my Mom…I stood there realizing that the example I had in my own Mother had taught me that there is nothing more to keep a person more alive, adventurous and incredibly cool…as being a Mom...driving a van...down by the river!

♦ Hope you'll share YOUR stories and photos with us at:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Birth Announcement ... by Mary Hazlett

I have two beautiful babies of my very own.  What a magical and wonderful experience it is to be a mother.  My whole life revolves around my two children: are they happy, are they sad, are they comfortable, are they busy, are they loved....and so on. With both of my babies, I sent out Birth Announcements, so that each person that I loved could share in my joy of having a baby.  (and not to mention maybe bring a gift or food or offer to babysit).  The month of August is a busy one in my family...this week alone we have two nephew, Andrew, and my dad!

I don't remember a meeting with my mom that I did not hear her mention her little grandchildren.  Mom just adored her grandchildren and especially little Andrew as she said in her own words,

 "Andrew is the third in our grandson count. He is also one of the most happy, sweet and loving boys ever born. Autism makes things, most of us think of as normal and ordinary, very difficult for him. But somehow Andrew has the ability to look beyond the storm clouds to the sunny days ahead and moves on."

Andrew is especially wonderful... I had the privilege of seeing him on the first day he was born.  (I was still single and childless at that point so I know that I did not see it as wonderful as I would see it now. In fact, I got to take Andrew's older brother, Gabe, out for the day to help alleviate the new parent's which we had great fun...went to the park, went to Roberts and bought him a train, and cleaned out pee in my back seat!--Gabe was potty training at the time.)  Anyhow, Andrew graced our lives and world full of love, kindness, and the ability to make us laugh!  Mom wrote a sweet and loving blog on my sweet nephew titled, "Andrew".  We all love this darling Happy Birthday Handsome.

So, on another note... I am 33 and still living in my parent's house... in a sense.   Almost sounds like I am at an AA meeting doesn't it?  Since Mom passed away in November, my hubby and I and two children decided to join forces with my dad and live together in the same household. Which brings me to another birth Dad!  I was privileged in my life to be the baby of eight children.  I watched a very busy full house, empty and almost simultaneously my parent's relationship hit rock bottom and began to rebuild again.  It was obvious that by the time my mother passed on that my mom loved Dad very much with her blogs titled, "The Mountain Man, Blowing Bubbles, Supermen, etc"  One of my favorite lines from her blogs was about my dad, "His best trait? Optimisim."  True to behold I have, once again, watched the love of my parent's grow...although I do not see the love growth on the side of my mother... I see it ever so much now with Dad.  Although he longs for adventure and hugs again from my beautiful brown eyed mother, his optimism keeps him busy in life and still enjoying some of the small things.  So back to my birth announcement being a subtle way of asking for babysitting, gifts or food...I don't necessarily need a babysitter for dad, but I could use a steak or two for his Birthday!!!!!  Happy Birthday DAD!  Thanks for being a father to this enormous family and most of all thanks for showing how much you love our mother!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lasting Jim Terry

Some of you may know about this experience from being a family member or friend because you have already heard the story, but about six weeks ago my flight was cancelled to fly home to Idaho. 

In the process of the cancellation and unbeknownst to me at the time, you were also then awarded a three hour wait while in line for the “customer service” counter to reschedule your flight. This was of course after you had already endured almost three hours of announcements that your “flight was delayed” which still gave you hope that you were leaving that same day. 

As this waiting for over six hours came to an end, I had become “friends” with this sweet elderly German woman.  We had talked while waiting for our flights and then again in the customer service line.  She could understand English but couldn’t speak it so well. She had been flying all day with this particular airline from Germany and had one more leg to go to get to Southern California to see her family.  As I bid her farewell while she stepped forward to the customer service counter to get her flight rescheduled, I had to control my temper with what I was witnessing. 

While standing in line, again for over three hours, I could easily see the employees who were treating people well and those who were not.  There was one woman behind the customer service counter that had this curt, impolite and rude attitude towards everyone she assisted to reschedule his or her flights.  I actually, if the truth were known, was hoping I would get her as my “customer service” representative and not my sweet elderly “friend” I had just made. I knew I could handle her and her unprofessional manner more easily than a person that does not speak English fluently.

So as I eavesdropped a bit on the conversation of this elderly woman and this customer service representative, I could hear that the airline was not going to put this woman up in a hotel because “all the hotels were full.”   Upon further eavesdropping, I also witnessed that the patron of the airline, my friend, would have to wait until 6pm the next day to get to Southern California. 

As I heard this and my friend’s kind pleas for a hotel room, I simply brought up a site on my phone to see if all the hotels in the immediate area were full…Just so you know, there were DOZENS of rooms available not far from the airport.  Just because your airline doesn’t get a corporate rate on all rooms doesn’t mean that the hotels are all full…right?

I stepped up to the counter by my “friend” and showed the customer service representative what I had brought up on my smart phone and that there were “dozens of rooms available.”  She proceeded to tell me it was “none of my business” and to “step back.” 

I then proceeded to tell her, “I know how this works…Let’s just get your supervisor here now so we can discuss this matter.”  This must have been where I became, I’m sure, a “lasting impression” for this customer service representative…Living in California has taught me not to necessarily be mean when you are confronted with situations like this, but you have to stand up for yourself or people will take advantage of and walk all over you. I was determined that I wasn’t going to let this happen in this situation since again this cancellation of our flights was the airline’s fault with improper scheduling of their employees.

As I left the airport and back to our story, not only did the elderly woman get the hotel room that I felt she deserved that night but I also received a travel voucher towards a future flight, took some free drinks from their beverage cart they provided and was finally able to get my flight rescheduled.  The only problem with my rescheduled flight is that it was a month later due to all the flights being full that particular weekend to my destination in Boise. 

So as my month wait came to an end and as I entered the gate area where I was to board, I noticed that same “rude” customer service representative that I had the “conversation” with just four weeks before.  As I approached the counter at the gate to get a tag for my carry on, I could feel my blood pressure rising.  Did I need to be ready for another round in the ring with my boxing gloves on?  As we made eye contact, I could see the look on her face that indicated she knew who I was.    

“I saw you were on this flight Mr. Terry”, she began to say.  “I just wanted you to know that you made an lasting impression on me with our last encounter…you were simply trying to help someone else and I was wrong for not trying harder to help her.”

I’m not sure this is exactly the way I wanted to make a “lasting impression” on someone but it appears it may have worked somehow...I often think of lasting impressions throughout my life, good ones, which have helped me be a better person and strive to do my best…my Mom, my Dad, my siblings, scout and church leaders, teachers and friends. And for all the people in my life not mentioned or forgotten in the preceding statement, “Thank you.” You have helped this man become a better person because of your kindness, your leadership, your friendship and for your lasting impressions. 

What lasting impressions have you had in your life?