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November 27, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to All!




We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We enjoyed being with 7 of our 9 children and 15 of our 16 grandchildren over the long weekend. We get to see the other family next week. With the dust still settling, we did manage to have dinner at our new home, despite the fact that there is still much to do before we can actually live there! Today in Phoenix we enjoy participating in Joy School at our daughter’s home. There is nothing quite like Joy to describe the Thanksgiving weekend! Here is our Thanksgiving message to you this year:

The 36th Annual Eyrealm Thanksgiving Card

“Thanks-Giving”…. Is it a
Noun? (holiday/season/long weekend)
Or a
Verb? (appreciation/acknowledgment/attitude of heart)
Or an
Adjective? (describing the kind of persons we long most to be)

The noun is there to prompt us to practice the verb,
So that we might one day wear the well-fitting adjective.

To this end, this year,
As a TG(noun) greeting, we send you
Our A-list workout regimen for TG(verb):

Ask for and develop the
Appreciation for life and the
Awareness of small connections that
Allows us to thank the
Author of every blessing every day.
Add the remarkable
Attitude of Serendipity, Stewardship, and Synergicity* and
Adopt the spiritual perspective of
Awe, thus cultivating our
Ability to receive with grace and to gradually
Acquire the joy-giving, joy-gaining
Art of
Acknowledging His hand in
All things. Then, daily,
Ascribe to Him as you Inscribe your journal.

Sending this TG(adj.) greeting,
To you and for you,
Our family and friends,
On this Thanksgiving week (noun, verb and adj)
Is good practice for us on all fifteen A’s

As you read our sign-off whos and wheres below,
Look for thanks-giving clues like:
New ones joining the family horizontally and vertically,
Siblings located in geographic pairs for efficiency of visits,
Eleventh of eleven called to serve.

2007: For us, a year of Grand parenting,
Building, Transitioning, Traveling,
Writing, Speaking, Politicing, and

With Love, from the great, full, thanks-giving Eyrealm:
Linda and Rickey (SLC), Saren and Jared +5 (SGU),
Shawni and Dave +5 (PHX), Josh (PHX),
Saydi and Jeff +2 (BOS), Jonah and Aja +3 (SGU),
Talmadge (JFK), Noah and Kristi +1 (JFK), Eli (SLC),
Charity (BOS until Christmas, then as missionary, LHR)

November 18, 2007

Hooray for Mitt and Ann!

On a very personal note to our readers, we have been building a house for two years which is almost ready for a Thanksgiving Dinner inaguration on Thursday! Though it won’t be done, we have committed to having dinner there, whether there are baseboards and casings and doors or not (we’re really pushing for the bathroom doors)!

In the midst of welding a balcony thanks to three good and reliable men (we’ve had our share of the other kind) we took a trip to Mitt and Ann Romney’s house for a breakfast fund raiser in Deer Valley on Saturday morning. Though our house seems very humble in comparison we are much more humbled by their magnificent courage in throwing their hat in the major political arena when they could be just sitting around enjoying their beautiful homes and vast fortune!

We have been life-long friends of Mitt and his parents and have grown to dearly love Ann and their children! Richard ran Mitt’s Dad, George Romney’s national student campaign when he ran for President all those years ago. And we have become fans of that family’s unfailing spirit and energy ever since. No one will ever know what it requires to be involved in the often very nasty business of politics. We so admre their ability to stay intact in spite of dangerous darts and well-meaning hearts coming at them from every direction!

The first picture shows a glimpse of our current building effort and the following three are of the incredible log home of the Romney’s. But what we wish we had a picture of is what happened after the breakfast. Richard was following Mitt to a private room upstairs for a short meeting after the event when he was stopped by a friend with a question. After a short conversation, Richard continued up the stairs not knowing where Mitt had gone. With ten doors to choose from, he heard Mitt’s familiar voice behind one of them. He was talking to a grand baby and as he opened the door, he heard Mitt say, “Come on, let’s get this poopy diaper taken care of. That can’t be very comfortable!” Sure enough, when Richard opened the door, there was Mitt changing a dirty diaper. What a Grampa!!!

Though we don’t usually discuss politics on Valuesparenting, we do think that Mitt is the best candidate to champion the family! The proof is in his terrific partner Ann and their five good and loyal sons and ten delightful grandchildren. Having just dipped our toes into the political arena for a local referendum we have remembered what an amazingly difficult business politics is. We take our hats off to Mitt and Ann for their integrity and valiance in an often mean-spirited world and especially for their knowledge that as families go, so goes America. The Great American Family is still our most important commodity! How grateful we are for the people who support that cause!

Have a wonderful Thanksgivng! We are so grateful for our Valuesparenting Family who share our passion for creating strong families. We’ll be thinking of you, even as we enjoy our feast with the dust still settling!

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November 11, 2007

The Joy of Spontaneous Delight

Looking back at my 37 years of parenting I can honestly say that I am grateful for every day…now that the kids have gone on to their adult lives. But there is one thing that I do regret: basically hating Halloween! Every year, the day it was over and I was always exhausted from the gathering process which included many trips to craft places, drug stores, grocery stores and Deseret Industries to gather Dracula teeth, fake blood, witch hats and unimaginably crazy items to complete wildly creative costumes. I was also tired of being a witch myself as kids decided that the costume they had so carefully planned just wasn’t quite right and they need to change at the last minute!

Muttering under my breath the morning after, as I washed the “blood” off of the counter, tried to get the black hair spray off of the mirror, took down the spider webs in the front entry and wondered how to get rid of the three pounds of Halloween candy sitting just below my waist, I was already dreading having to do it all over again next year!

Sure, the annual pumpkin carving contest was fun…after we spent most of our time trying to pull and scrape out the slithery pumpkin seeds which always reminded me of the dreaded pulling out of the insides of a chicken from my childhood on a farm. Those eleven pumpkins lined up, all with hysterical looks on their faces and each labeled with a special award such as “Scariest”, Wackiest”, “Funniest”, “Most Creative” was always fun to see all lit up in the front yard on Halloween night. But then there was the throwing away on the morning after and the screaming of the four year old who had grown strangely emotionally attached to his molding pumpkin.

I have changed! Now that my children are figuring out their own costumes and a plethora of other costumes for their own children, I love the creativity and seeing the joy in my grandchildren’s eyes as pictures are sent from far and wide of each adorable child pretending to be something or somebody else! Normal people who I see every day at the grocery check out, the Post Office and the neighborhood café show the fun side of their personalities as they check you out with a halo hovering above their head or dragon teeth hanging out of their mouths!

I have come full circle, looking forward to having Halloween pictures of adorable, decked out kids and grandkids on our refrigerator in November! This year includes it will include a “mean” witch with fabulous sparkly eyelashes and platform flip flops, a two year old bumble bee, a beaming Snow White, a widely grinning cheerleader, a wicked pirate, a sparkling princess, a spectacular Ninja Turtle and a Cabbage Patch doll to die for and a “Blue Man Family Group”!

One of the greatest joys of life is experiencing what we have always called spontaneous delight. It can happen, not just on Halloween which is fertile ground for spontaneous delight, but if you’re looking for it, it happens every day! “Five year old Ashton was being urged by his mother, our oldest daughter Saren, to finish his peanut butter sandwich one day. After doddling over it for a long time his mom said, “Ashton, I’m putting this cookie right here on the counter and you can eat it as soon as you’ve finished your sandwich. But if you don’t hurry, I’m going to be really tempted to eat it myself!” Without batting an eye, Ashton looked up and said, “You won’t eat my cookie Mommy. Just believe in yourself!”

The challenge for this month of gratitude, as you go through the daily challenges of being a mom is to watch for and be grateful for the spontaneous delight in your life! It will help you discover how much fun you’re having right now so you don’t have to wait 37 years to figure it out!

P.S. Note the Joy School Halloween Party! Hope all you Joy Schoolers had a lot of Spontaneous Delight with your little Pirates and Princesses!

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