Monday, April 20, 2009

Two things

First and foremost, happy birthday to my wonderful mom! I honestly don't know anyone more generous, giving or good with people. I like to think of myself as being generous, giving and good with people, but I've got nothing on her. She schools me, bigtime.

Some of the unique things that make my mom my mom:

  • She loves my children absolutely, which is a joy and a comfort to me. When she is around, they prefer her to me. She would rather be with her grandchildren than out with the adults, but does not relax when they are around. It's constant counting heads, making snowcones, taking off too-warm clothing, changing diapers, getting drinks. It's exhausting, and she's good at it. And she loves it. (I'm pretty sure.)
  • She hates flying, but flies all over the place, because travel and culture and enriching experiences and seeing family trump her fears every time.
  • She also hates bridges. And swimming. And confrontation. And cooking. And bad grammar. And dopey people. And attention (this post will likely make her uncomfortable).
  • She is magic with teenagers and young adults. Growing up, all her children's friends would come over just to hang out with her.
  • She has always encouraged me in everything I do. (Unless that thing has any semblance whatsoever of being dangerous.) She has raised her children to be educated, openminded, and inquisitive.
  • I do believe that to know my mother is to love her. Happy birthday, mom! Isn't it great that your children finally appreciate you?
The second item of interest is quasi-related to my mother. In the sense that she is the most generous person I know, and it became clear to me yesterday that I have very stunted levels of generosity in my heart. Here's the story:

Driving home from Arizona yesterday, we were stopped at a gas station/Burger King in Fillmore, Utah. A man came in, kind of scruffy, and asked the gas station attendant if he could make a call. The phone call was long distance so he couldn't use the store phone. He asked if the attendant had a cell phone, and she said she didn't. Steve was standing right there and offered the man his phone, and we stood there as he (supposedly) called his dad. "Hi, dad. We're in Fillmore. We only need about 10 or 12 dollars in gas to get home. The lady says she can't take a credit card number over the phone. Can you go to Check City and wire me some money? Okay, here's my account number."

Steve whispered to me, "Should I just buy the man some gas?"
Me: "I think he's scamming us."

Ten minutes later, we're set to leave and the man is out by his car waiting for money to appear to buy gas to get back to SLC. I remember about how charity never faileth, and tell Steve to do whatever he thinks is best. Steve goes over and buys the dude $15 worth of gas. The guy seems grateful, and we all leave.

I still felt a little distrustful, which is weird, because I always give money to the beggars in parking lots and on street corners when I see them and when I have some, even when it's quite likely that I'm being scammed. It doesn't bother me then. Mosiah 4 gets me every time (read verses 16-20, and they'll get you, too). But if this guy at the gas station was scamming us last night, it was an elaborate and dang good scam, and I didn't want to be the major sucker who fell for it. I was even tempted to redial the number on the phone and talk to the guy on the other end to check out the story. You know, say something like: "Did your son just call you asking for gas money? Don't worry. We took care of him and he's well on his way." But Steve wouldn't let me.

Our last bishop was tremendously generous with a few people who may have been scamming him, and he knew this, but said, "I'd rather be scammed than be uncharitable." So that is the principle that Steve and I talked about after we gave this guy enough gas to get back to Salt Lake. And we talked about how though that might have been a kind thing to have done on our part, it wasn't overly generous in any sense of the word. There are some people in this world who would have filled the man's tank, bought him and his friend lunch, and sent them away with a wad of cash just in case they needed it.

We aren't generous like that. What do you think? What would you have done?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I'm starting to think about my kid-less trip to Toronto this summer. I'm really excited about wandering the streets solo for five days with no agenda and no one to answer to while Steve is in his conference. What should I see? Where should I go? What should I eat?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

How well do you know my husband: Happy homemaker edition

1. Hypothetical: Steve has a couple hundred dollars at his disposal to spend as he pleases. Which of the following is near the top of his wish list?
a) a new suit that fits well
b) an ice cream maker
c) surround sound

2. Which of the following is a goal that Steve spends a decent amount of time thinking and talking about?
a) learning to make homemade yogurt
b) retaking that physics class that overwhelmed him in his undergrad days
c) mastering the John Denver anthology on his guitar

3. When the sun is shining, which of the following is Steve most likely to be doing?
a) pulling weeds in the yard
b) laying out
c) making Sunday dinner in the solar oven

4. Just about every night before he goes to bed, Steve:
a) gets a loaf of whole wheat bread started in the bread maker
b) watches the evening news
c) calls his parents to chat

5. The kids know daddy really, really loves them when he:
a) plays catch with them in the backyard
b) makes whole wheat pancakes from scratch on Saturday morning
c) works on finishing that go-cart (aka "Death Machine") sitting in the garage

6. If Emily were to, say, wipe down the kitchen counters, a somewhat likely mess she could find the next day might include:
a) tools from fixing that pesky leak in the faucet
b) sound recording magazines left out
c) flour that spilled out from the wheat grinder

7. Choose the best option for what Steve is most likely NOT doing on a Sunday morning:
a) poring over the lesson he is to teach n church
b) ironing the boys' shirts, and my clothes, too, if needed
c) putting dinner in the crockpot

And that concludes today's quiz. Please check your own answers, giving yourself three points for every answer that falls in the Happy Homemaker category.

16-21 points -- Congratulations! You really know him! You are invited over for some fresh, hot bread, anytime.
11-15 points -- You are a good friend, but you might make the mistake of inviting Steve to play basketball sometime, or even worse, to go shopping. We've all made that mistake at some point, don't fret.
10 or fewer points -- Did you pick John Denver or the evening news? Tsk, tsk. He is not who you think he is. Also, read the title of the quiz next time.