Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How a Walmart Clerk's Smile Changes the World

I was at Walmart recently.  I was rather lost in my own thoughts, shopping as fast as I could as my goal was to be anywhere but there.  I don't generally enjoy shopping; it is just another chore that needs to be accomplished.  Checking out at Walmart is not usually a joyful experience either.  This trip was to be different.

As the person in front of me was checking out I noticed that she really had her hands full.  She had several little people attached to her and she was trying to manage a lot of groceries.  The clerk was being so sweet and actually SMILED at this tired mother.

Wow!  That smile just seemed to ease the tension out of that young mom.  You should have seen the change in her! She smiled back, they chatted a little and then the mother and children left.  I imagined that the mother spoke a bit more kindly to her precious children.  The children would then be more kind to each other.  When they got home, I bet their dog even received a bit of the run-off happy feeling!

As I moved up to swipe my debit card, the clerk gave me a big smile as well.  Even though I'd seen her be so encouraging to the previous customer, I still felt as though I'd just received a special sweet gift by her smile and pleasant greeting.   I noticed I pretty much instantly felt lighter, happier.

As I left, I found myself wondering how many people passed through that clerk's aisle during the course of her shift.  Did she manage to stay upbeat and pleasant with all of them?  I'm wondering now if each of those  customers left feeling more kindly toward others?  Did that mean they were more likely to place their carts into the cart rack, rather than leaving them behind the car parked next to their's?  When they drove away, was there a reduction in road rage?  Were they more likely to smile and nod as they patiently waited for a pedestrian?  Did that pedestrian then help a lost dog find its owner?  Did the dog owner, happy to meet a kind neighbor, decide to bake cookies for her child's teacher?  Did the teacher, happy to feel appreciated, encourage each child with a little more enthusiasm?  Did those children, feeling their self-worth, realize their potential and feel more interested and eager to learn?  Perhaps some of those children will use what they learn to build on, eventually leading them to make great discoveries.

I'm sure you can clearly see where I am going with this.  That young clerk's happy smile more than likely will lead to more happy smiles that will likely lead to cancer cures, a drop in national levels of depression, scientific breakthroughs in sustainable forms of energy, poverty resistance, cleaner water, better care of animals, drop in crime, less bankruptcy, a balanced national budget, fresher air, improved international relations and so on and so on.

Don't you agree?  So go ahead, smile at a stranger!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
New Living Translation 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Where I Belong

Do you have a theme song for your life?  I kind of do.  I think I may be adding another, though.

Let me explain.  As I've mentioned before, I was raised in a lot of places.  A lot of houses were "home" to my family.   I was a "new girl" over and over. While I admit to wishing it were otherwise, especially when I had to leave good friends, I don't think I was particularly scarred by all the moving.  In fact, although I don't recommend moving a lot as a superior way to raise children,  I can see that I've gained a few advantages from it.  For one thing, I believe I adapt to change more easily than a lot of people.

I was thinking about this today and realized that one of the reasons I could manage these adaptations was because I knew very early on that I didn't really belong to this world anyway.  I don't think any of us should feel we quite belong here.  This isn't home.

I don't remember the first time I heard the song, "This World Is Not My Home" by Jim Reeves, but I do remember thinking of it as my theme song.  I really identified with it and even thought it would be a good song to have at my funeral.  Do any of you remember this song?

This world is not my home I'm just a passing through

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door

And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do

The angels beckon me from heaven's open door

And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

This song seemed quite cool to me back then.  But, although the words remain meaningful, the sound of it is rather dated now.  Not to worry!  I have now adopted a new theme song.  Being a person of a loyal nature, I assure you I'm not dropping the first.  I just choose to have two theme songs now.  

I'd love it if you would take the time to click on the link and listen to my new theme song.  It takes less than 4 minutes but trust me, it will be time well spent.  You may even decide that you want it for your theme song as well!  After listening to it and reading the words, tell me what you think.  If you like it, please consider purchasing it.

"Where I Belong"   by Building 429

Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive
I will keep searching for answers that aren't here to find

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong

Friday, July 27, 2012

Potty in the Park

So, this is day four of telling you about Monday.  It really was a very full day!

I've told you before about Bode's odd reluctance to urinate away from home.  What a weird feature in a boy dog!  Well, he did it again.

While hiking on Independence Rock,
he held it.

While exploring The Sinks,
he held it. 

While following the path toward The Rise,
he held it.

While wandering around the street by the golf course,
he held it.

Hour after hour after hour,
he held it.

So, we rode on to Riverton, Wyoming.
We went to a park.
The lawn was lush.
FINALLY, he went!  
Apparently he needed a well-groomed 
lawn to potty.

What a weird dog.

Mike's sister and her husband agreed to join us for dinner out.  We were glad to have some visiting time.

It was a pretty big day for Bode!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

That Sinking Feeling and a Mystery

After we left Independence Rock we headed toward Muddy Gap and Jeffrey City, Wyoming.  As it turned out, we didn't even stop at either place.  It was a lovely drive, though, with lots of space to view.   We talked about how sad we feel for people who don't ever get to see such wide open places.  There is such beauty!

We just kept moving on, enjoying the ride.
We decided to head on to Lander, Wyoming.  We'd been there before but it had been awhile.
Can you see that there is still snow on the very top of the mountains?

As we drove into Lander, Mike spotted a golf course.  I didn't mind exploring for a bit on my own so I encouraged him to go golfing.  Bode and I drove through Lander and then I decided to go out to the Sinks.

"What are the Sinks?" you say.
I was hoping you would ask.

Well, the middle fork of the Popo Agie River, flowing down from the Wind River Mountains, does a very weird thing just a few miles outside Lander, Wyoming...

 it disappears.  I am not kidding you.  It is called the Sinks, and this  is what it looks like:

The river just "sinks" down under ground at that point.

I read that spelunkers had tried to go down into the caverns to get an idea of where the river is going.  Can you imagine?  Who in their right mind would go down into that?  They didn't get far as it quickly narrows down into spaces too tight for humans.

The river resurfaces just 1/3 mile away.  You can follow a trail to where it resurfaces and it takes only a matter of minutes, even walking.  Along the trail is this dry riverbed that only actually has water when there is a water flow higher than The Sinks can handle.  I loved the big boulders!

Where the water comes back to the surface is called "The Rise".  It is a calm, pretty place.

There are a LOT of trout there.
No, they didn't come underground.  
They swam upstream to spawn but
 at that point they
could go no further.
They live out their lives there.

Some have grown to 8-10 pounds there!

The water continues on downstream and looked quite serene to me.

So, what is the mystery?

Well, remember that it is just a matter of minutes from The Sinks to The Rise.
Scientists, using dye, found that the water actually travels for 
before resurfacing?

Where is it all that time?
more water comes out at The Rise than goes down at The Sinks.

From where is that extra water coming?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Drama on the Rock

As I was saying, there was drama this week at Independence Rock.  I am not certain I handled my part well.  You be the judge.

After climbing up on the backside of the rock we wandered around a bit, exploring some of the nooks and crannies.  I admit to feeling a bit tense as there we are lots of places that presented dangerous possibilities.

It was so beautiful, though, it was well worth it.  We had no drama at that point.

After hiking back down (I admit, Mike hiked but some of my descent was on my bottom.) we followed the trail on around, leaving it for just a bit.  We took Bode over to a creek for a time of cool down.

It was quite pretty there as well. 

Nope.  The drama did not occur at the creek.

AFTER the stop at the creek we continued our stroll around Independence Rock.  We'd been following the path for awhile when we heard voices asking us if we knew a way to get down.  It took me a bit of visual searching to discover from where the voices were coming.  Finally, we saw two young boys still up on the rock.  I'd guess they were maybe 10 and 12.  Can you spot them in the photo below?

How about this photo?


They'd been up there awhile and said they were stuck.  They were trying to find a way down from that ledge.    From our vantage point we really couldn't be sure how to direct them as there are so many tricky places up there.  We kept talking to them and found out they were travelling with grandparents, who were back in a camper trailer in the parking lot.  We asked them to see if there was a way up, rather than down.  Our hope was they could get to the backside where the descent was a bit easier.  As they disappeared over the top, Mike headed back to help them down.  I continued on with Bode to get the grandparents if necessary.  I was so very grateful that Mike went back to help them down.  I had a hard enough time getting myself down! 

The plan was for Mike to call me with details from the other side but cell service was spotty.  I paced and debated for awhile.  Should I go get the grandparents?  I worried about getting the boys in trouble but luckily, they were able to get down and soon I saw the three of them trekking back toward the parking area.

It was fun watching them approach as it was apparent Mike had made some new friends!

Happily the story ended well.  They headed back to their camper and Mike and I found a picnic table to enjoy our lunch.  The part that bothered me was wondering if I should have called the grandparents out there.  Like I said, I didn't want to see the boys in trouble, especially now that they were Mike's BFF's.  However, I was wondering what kind of people would let those two young boys go up there on their own and I kind of wanted to let them know they needed to be more careful.  What do you think I should've done?  By the time we finished lunch I noticed their camper was gone so I didn't get a chance to change my mind.

After our lunch we debated what we should do with the rest of our day.  Go home and get some things done or go the other way and explore a bit further.  What do you suppose we did?  Of course, we decided to follow the road a bit further to see what there was to see.  Monday was such a big day, it is going to take me several posts to describe it to you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Rockin' Good Time

Yesterday Mike & I did indeed have a Rockin' Good Time!  We both had the day off so we made a trek to Independence Rock.  We packed up a lunch and took Bode along.

Let me tell you something about Independence Rock.  It is one BIG ROCK!

 It is along the part of the Oregon Trail where it intersects with the Mormon and California Trails and actually... well, here, let them tell you...

Can you imagine that?  Out in the middle of the Wyoming Prairie nearly HALF A MILLION people came through in wagons, on horseback and even on foot.  This giant rock became a place of importance because it was so noticeable, easy to see.   Many, many of these people took the time to carve their names into the stone.  People continue to do so.

I love the historical aspect of Independence Rock.  I also love the beauty of it!  Mike and I climbed over much of it, dragging poor Bode along.  The weather was beautiful!

 Mike was especially proud of this photo...

I learned that I enjoy climbing UP much better than climbing DOWN.  It is a lot steeper when you're going down!

Oh, I have so much more to show you and tell you, but so little time.  Tomorrow I will tell you about

Drama on the Rock!  

(I have another early work day so I will again be posting late tomorrow.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sam's Party

OK, so it wasn't much of a party by most people's standards.  However, I can't think of any better way to celebrate Sam's birthday than to just have a sweet family evening.  Sam prefers to keep things low-key and I prefer to please Sam.

We ordered Pizza from two different places, meeting the dietary requirements and personal preferences of all.  One of the delivery guys stood at our door reminiscing because he said our house was the first place he'd delivered pizza when he first started.  He remembered that we had weird orders. He didn't say that straight off but did agree when I asked him about it. We do have weird orders.  All are veggie pizzas. One pizza is vegan, with no cheese. One has cheese but no sauce that would bother people with reflux.  Sam prefers his pizza to have just black olives.  He likes Dominoes Pizza but we usually don't order from them as they don't have a vegan version and they put too much garlic in it for a lot of us.  It was Sam's birthday, though, so, I ordered from two different places.  I wonder what the neighbors thought of that!

After dinner we just enjoyed our time together. We told stories, we missed Ben and Sara, we laughed and we were grateful.  I'll  just let you check out some of the photos.

What did you all do this week-end?  Did you get time to enjoy your families as well?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sam's Last Year as a Teen

Sam turns 19 today!  Happy Birthday Sam!

It seems outrageous that it has been 19 years since this day... but it is true.

Sam was such a fun baby, adoring his older siblings.  However, Sam has always been a bit of an old soul.  That is, he seemed to think about things well beyond his years.  He's a watcher.  Even by about the age of 2 he was making comments to me about people that just blew me away.  He'd notice if someone was on the edges of a group or seemed withdrawn.  He's just always been insightful about human behavior.  

Little known fact: In Jr. High School Sam won the Kindness Award.  The recipient of this award is chosen by students AND teachers.  Sam won other awards during his school years, but none that made us more proud than the Kindness Award.  Sam is one of the World's Good Guys.

Sam is now just about 6'4" so he's a bit bigger than he was when the above photo was taken.  He's still a sweet boy.  His siblings are still very important to him.  He's good and kind and loving and sweet.  What more could a mother ask for?

Happy Birthday, Sam!  

Enjoy the last of your teen years. 
Know that you are well-loved.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Survival of the Fittest

As long as I confessed about my less than enthusiastic approach to growing a vegetable garden, I may as well tell you about my flowers.  

I have some mighty fine flowers, really I do.  I have  pots with annuals that are quite pretty.  So far, I've watered them every evening this summer...almost.

I have some Russian Sage that is thriving.

I planted some Creeping Jenny that seems to love this soil.  It is fairly well-behaved.  I like it because I planted it in memory of our niece, Jennifer.

When we first moved to this property 8 years ago, there was a huge mound of dirt in the front yard where previous owners had done some sewer work or something.  Maria and Eric came and spent a lot of time helping me turn it into a lovely garden.  I was very proud of it for several years.  Then, when I wasn't paying attention, it became all shaggy.  I started noticing that some beautiful perennials didn't make it through the winter.  Eventually, some of the plants that were meant just for filling in the bare spots seemed to be overtaking the prettier flowers.  I've forgotten what this ferny stuff is called but it certainly thrives in this soil that used to be the bottom of a river bed.  It is definitely winning the "Survival of the Fittest" contest in my flower garden right now.

And then there is this stuff.  I was quite pleased with its durability the first year or two.  Now, I'm regretting that I ever planted it.  I forget what its called as well.  It's something like Ice on the Glacier or Snow on the Mountain.  Anyone know?  Anyway, it wants to take over our whole lawn now.  Maybe I should just let it.  No, I'm kidding.  We have a plan to get it under control.  But I do kind of wonder why we don't grow things like that to cover our front lawn.  It grows  great.  It doesn't mind being mowed.  And it is a suvivor.

But, alas, I really do have one plant that makes me proud.  No surprise, I've lost the name of it as well.  Not to worry.  I just decided to make up my own name for it.  It is my Umbrella Star.  See, it begins all closed up like this, like a closed umbrella.

Then, Twaaa-Laaa, it becomes a brilliant, blue star!

Isn't that just so cool?  The color is such a bright periwinkle.  I hope I don't kill it.

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