Hello and Welcome

Hello. Welcome to my new blog...'Between the Jackets'. What's it about? Life. Everything that happens between the jackets of birth and death. The real story. It's about people of all shapes and sizes, different personalities, unusual struggles, and funny situations. This also includes children, animals, crawling, creeping, and swimming creatures.

Let's face it, some days life serves you a big plate of worms. Not very tasty in my opinion. Other days it's a 'picture perfect' stuffed turkey next to a crystal dish filled with cranberry sauce. Yum! And please don't forget there are going to be those 'cheeseburger and fries' days, which essentially boils down to the funny, awkward, and in between moments of day to day living. Because life is pretty much unpredictable, I'm going to do my best at getting it right. Some days I know I won't. The best books and stories ever written come from personal experience and the struggles we face every day. These struggles we eventually overcome and, oftentimes, laugh about. They are the hidden treasures that make up the space 'Between the Jackets' and are well worth remembering.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Real Angels Among Us Two

Real Angels Among Us Two

My daughter and her family moved to Austin, Texas in May of 2012. Having your children move from the valley where they grew up is not something any parent looks forward to. Once packed and ready, my husband and I accompanied her family by driving across several states and into Texas in a BIG moving truck and their black Honda van. My daughter and I drove in the van with the children, while Greg and my daughter's husband drove the incredibly noisy moving truck. In the van the children watched endless videos, they cried, sang, their dog howled; it was a long boring ride for them. The four adults took turns driving to keep from falling asleep on the road. Bathroom stops were many, as no one, including myself, ever seemed to feel the need at the same time. Hamburgers with fries got really old, but remained the meal of choice while traveling.

Once we arrived, though exhausted, we quickly got the truck unpacked and began opening their moving boxes. Greg and I didn't want to leave them until most of their home was set up. That included getting the washer and dryer going, setting up beds, unpacking all of their kitchen boxes, situating dishes, pots and pans, and food, and hanging as many pictures as my daughter and I could talk our husbands into before Greg and I needed to leave. What a job!

I remember worrying when Greg and I left if our daughter and her lovely family would be okay in a new location...so far away from home. While visiting her in September of this year, my daughter told me of a new blog she and a dear friend of hers recently created together. I couldn't simply write one book on this particular daughter's experiences...I could write an entire volume on the many inspirational projects she has done throughout her short life span. I should have known she would continue to love and inspire all those she comes in contact with by choosing to actively care about others.

The address of the new blog is www.eponymrevival.wordpress.com...and it's simply amazing. My suggestion would be to visit her site immediately, as it will completely catch you off guard and have you believing once again in the unique ability within us all to be kinder to those in need of a helping hand, and to those of us who need to feel God's love. 

Essentially, each month these two sweet women issue a challenge to everyone. The challenge involves sharing acts of service with those around us. Their mission statement: "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." They joyfully invite anyone who wants to participate to accept their monthly challenges. These are the kind of things in my opinion that build integrity and faith...and remind us that we are children of a very loving God.

In October the EponymRevival challenge was to deliver a sunflower to someone whose day you could brighten. One sunflower or ten, one delivery or twenty...it didn't matter. I'm going to copy and paste her personal challenge story here, as it is, I believe, very much connected to the first story I told in my own blog titled, Real Angels Among Us.

My daughter's story:

Kae and Joy set out to “Take the Challenge” of the month.
Before heading out for the evening to deliver our flowers, relates, Joy, we decided to say a little prayer for guidance, asking for eyes to see who might really need a flower that night. Our hearts were full, and we were totally excited for the evening adventure. In a 1980 Ford Bronco, armed with a bouquet of yellow Gerber daisies, and a prayer in our hearts we headed out.
As we were driving, observing, and talking…we saw him. A man sat slumped over on the ground, cross legged, his head hanging in his lap. The tense way he held himself told us immediately that he was in obvious pain. What kind of pain? We had no idea, but knew we needed to stop.
Handing him a flower, we introduced ourselves. At first you could tell he questioned our sincerity, but he was very open to talking and, in fact, quickly stood and straightened his posture. As we stared into his face, we could see that his eyes carried many stories and life experiences. His clothes and body had seen better days. Standing in humble circumstances with an ace bandage wrapped around one foot in a brace; we asked him if his foot was being taken care of properly. He assured us that it was.
We kept talking and discovered that he used to be a bull rider. We said, “Wow you have to have guts to do that.”
He replied, “You have to have heart.”
We could tell this man had been through so much in his life, and he definitely had what he called “Heart.” We again asked him about his foot. He was obviously favoring it.
Peering at us he asked, “Would you like to see it?”
“Sure,” we replied, a little hesitant. As he pulled back the ace bandage our hearts fell. We would never have guessed that such a major injury lay beneath a simple ace bandage. He explained that he had recently been hit by a car. The layers of skin had been torn away on one side of his foot, leaving flesh and bone exposed to all sorts of infection. He told us that he was taking care of it, but we knew better.  We knew immediately our prayer had been answered, and this was exactly where the Lord needed our help today. Still concerned for his welfare, the next day we took him the necessary items to care for his foot properly, and helped with getting him the right medical attention.—a hospital where he could go to receive treatment.
As we continued to hand out flowers that first day, we handed a flower to an old man who couldn’t speak a lick of English. In Spanish he said, “What is this for?”
“Just to say we love you,” we replied. “We hope you have a wonderful evening.” As he walked away he repeatedly looked back at us, giving us a smile that warmed our hearts. We were grateful that we warmed his.
We stopped by a trailer where we found a beautiful mother and her two children. We gave each of them a flower, and again, the door to friendship was immediately opened. We had a wonderful conversation with them and explained we would be back. We could see this single mother would be grateful for any assistance, and therefore, we made plans to take clothes back to both of her girls.
One type of service as quoted by Linda Burton is, “First observe, then serve.”
One woman was hauling branches out of her yard, and was not interested in receiving help. She stared at us quizzically, wondering from her looks about our true intentions. As we handed her the flower her entire countenance changed. With a softened heart she said, “Nobody does this anymore…you have made my night. Thank you.”
We stopped by a friend of ours to give her a flower. She reminded us that “yellow means friendship” and that’s exactly what the flower became for her. With tear-filled eyes, we could see and feel that she was very grateful for the gesture.
Finally, we came upon the beautiful Indian couple in the picture up above. They are here from India visiting their son and his family. The sunflower for them had a much deeper meaning. This flower took them home to their native country, and they taught us about what we were really doing that evening. They explained this beautiful flower always follows the sun. For us, this meant, “the Son.”
As I relayed these special experiences to my husband that night, tears filled my eyes as I thought of the pain the man with the injured foot was enduring. I was humbled by his courage, and grateful for the conveniences that lay around me in my home. Amazing how a simple flower opened the door to a friendship of trust that led to a far greater level of service. I was grateful we were able to be the Lords hands through our service.
Mathew 25:45 “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
We learned first hand that one of the best ways to follow “the Son”  is to serve and love our fellow men.
We are sharing our experience not to boast, but to inspire. “When you receive, give. When you learn, teach.” 
My daughter and her friend shared something unique with many, and keep sharing, but the story I found especially fascinating was the one about the homeless man slumped over on the ground. They were able to brighten his day no doubt by giving him a lovely sunflower, but they went above and beyond when they took him medical supplies and an address where he could receive medical attention the next day. Now here's what she didn't tell in her blog that hit me so hard.
I was visiting her the day she and her good friend took the man the medical supplies. She came home after the experience and related everything to me. Ever the mother, I warned her of the many dangers of helping the WRONG man. What if she'd been robbed or beaten? She reminded me they had prayed about finding the right person, and they both felt they had been directed by the spirit of God. Yes, I really do believe God works through the hands of his children, but it's also important to be ever cautious.
"Mom?" she asked later that evening. "There was a strange guy there today, though. I can't quit thinking about him."
Great! "A strange guy?" I asked, fighting to stay calm.
"He wasn't there yesterday. When we got there today and found the injured man, this particular man was going around to some of the other men helping them. He was dressed more like them, but doing the same thing we were doing. Something about him struck me as odd.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"He was turned away from me, but I walked up to him and said, 'My name is Amber Giles. I'm here to help. Do you mind if I ask your name?' and I held out my hand for him to shake. It took him a moment to turn around, but when he did, he had the most beautiful blue eyes I think I've ever seen. His eyes were so...," she hesitated, "alive."
Her observation completely caught me off guard. I returned momentarily to another place and time, to a Burger King/Convenience store one cold winter morning in Driggs, Idaho. I thought of my own blue-eyed stranger and the unusually odd disappearance of he and his companion. I thought of the warning the blue-eyed stranger had given me...not to drive that morning to Idaho Falls. He, too, had eyes that seemed very much alive.
"He reached for my hand and shook it," continued my daughter. " Then he paused for a moment to study my face and told me...'My name is Gabriel.'"
"Gabriel!" I nearly shouted at her. "The angel Gabriel?"
She shrugged. "I'm not saying he WAS the angel Gabriel. But when he shook my hand...goosebumps rose up and down my arm. He seemed different...special."
I couldn't help smiling. So why not the angel Gabriel? "Maybe it was him," I told her. "Is it so impossible to believe there are ministering angels among us?"
Later that night I looked up the angel Gabriel on the internet. Wikipedia states:  In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God. Gabriel is mentioned in the Bible once in the Old Testament and once in the New. In the Old Testament, he appears to the prophet Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel appears to the virgin Mary and to Zechariah, foretelling the births of Jesus and John the Baptist, respectively. 
Another site stated: The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." The name "Gabriel" has been interpreted "Strength of God." 
Yet another stated: Angels are messengers from God who are directly concerned with the doings of this earth. Rather than mythical beings with wings, they are men, in a spirit state or in a resurrected state. The Bible Dictionary (LDS annotated King James Version of the Bible) states the following:  These are messengers of the Lord, and are spoken of in the epistle to the Hebrews as "ministering spirits" (Hebrews 1:14). We learn from latter-day revelation that there are two classes of heavenly beings who minister for the Lord: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone. spirits are those beings who either have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone (unembodied),or who have once had a mortal body and have died, and are awaiting the resurrection (disembodied). Ordinarily the word angel means those ministering persons who have a body of flesh and bone, being either resurrected from the dead (re-embodied), or else translated, as were Enoch, Elijah, etc. (Doctrine and Covenants 129).
One might ask, "Why were angels so prominent at the Savior's birth? And why were they such an important part of His life and ministry?" The answers are twofold. The first pertains to the nature and mission of the personage whom they were heralding--a divine Being, the Son of God, the Only Begotten in the flesh who came to earth to save all of God's children. The second concerns the ushering in of a new dispensation, a period of time when the gospel would be restored in its fulness. The ministry of angels is to assist in the ushering in of dispensations (see Moroni 7:29-31).
Angels are sent from the heavenly realm to "deliver God's messages, to minister to His children, to teach them the doctrines of salvation, to call them to repentance, to give them the priesthood and its keys, to save them in perilous circumstances, to guide them in the performance of His work, to gather the elect in the last days, to perform all needful things relative to His work."
So was the blue-eyed stranger my daughter met really the angel Gabriel? And who was the blue-eyed stranger I met in Driggs? These thoughts certainly cause one to stop and ponder. Perhaps my daughters and I will get the opportunity to ask Gabriel himself one day? Until then...we've got some incredible experiences that are well worth remembering.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Real Angels Among Us

Real Angels Among Us

Some winters ago I was living temporarily in Driggs, Idaho with my two sons. We were staying in a condo while there to get the feeling of life in a new town. It was kind of a trial experiment to see if we wanted to move to a location other than in Sandy, Utah, and also live closer to family members who actually resided in cities surrounding that area. Greg wasn't able to live with us that particular winter, due to work, but was visiting us on the weekends when he could.

At the time Greg and I had two married daughters, one son on a mission for the LDS Church in Argentina, a daughter who couldn't fathom a move her senior year to anywhere else on the planet, so she stayed put in Sandy with her father, and two sons struggling to make good choices in their lives. I suppose in retrospect Greg and I were really contemplating a place like Driggs, Idaho hoping our two youngest sons would discover exemplary new friends while there and refuse to leave. Was saving our sons from making disastrous choices with the wrong crowds of friends worth a move? That's exactly what we didn't know and were carefully trying to feel out. Prayers, guts, and determination had gotten us that far.

To put it mildly...it got pretty dang lonely up in those mountains that winter. The condo was lovely and warm, the boys tucked into school and hating it, but life wasn't the same without Greg or my girls. The days ticked by slower than a broken clock, and the nights seemed as endless. We didn't have cable, only local channels in the condo. If the boys and I wanted to watch older videos on television, a small video shop, which was really a hundred year old home starving for paint, sat on main street in the middle of the four plus blocks that made up the business section of the town. Some nights it was worth trying to rent a video, and some nights...it felt far better to take a walk after dark and listen to the ice and snow crunch beneath my boots.

I have to admit that winter was different in Driggs than what I'd experienced in Sandy. When outside biting cold crawled up my nose and froze everything; what didn't freeze...dripped. The cold burned its way down the back of my throat and into my lungs more times than I liked to count. I got used to numb cheeks, mouth, fingers, and toes that got cold even with heavy wool socks and insulated boots. Speaking without a slur was impossible, until I was back in the house thawing body parts. Yep! Driggs, Idaho could get bitter cold in the winter.

One thing that I found rather enjoyable while the boys were in school was to drive to Rexburg and Idaho Falls during the day. I owned a suburban with good snow tires, so I was fairly confident I could navigate tricky roads without wrecking our car. That being said, winter in Driggs taught me that sometimes it didn't matter what kind of vehicle you drove--four wheel drive or standard--icy roads were unpredictable, and in spite of my best efforts, I could slide past a stop sign or slip right off the road into several feet of snow.

One late afternoon a farmer with chains and a tractor pulled me out of a ditch where all four tires were completely buried in dirty gravelly snow. Rocking my car back and forth had only sunk me deeper. The boys had pushed the car until they were exhausted; they were wearing coats and gloves to dig me out and were still half frozen. When the farmer drove down the road and stopped long enough to climb out of his tractor and grab a long fat chain, I quickly climbed out of the car and jumped up and down. "You're hear to save us!" I called while waving to him. "Thank you so much!"

On days that weren't snowing too heavy, though, and when I thought the roads would be less icy and slick, I'd head out to go see my sisters. They both lived in Rigby, so it was great fun to go find a Mexican or Chinese restaurant to catch a bite to eat in the Falls. Sometimes we'd shop at an antique mall that was in the older section of town, spending hours looking for just the right bygone thing to collect. Unfortunately, shopping every day in the Falls, especially with boys in school, wasn't possible. They were struggling to make an adjustment and missing family just like me, so we needed to spend a lot of time together. Plus Greg reminded me on more than one occasion that our funds were not inexhaustible.

Trying to help me fill the new void in my life, one of my older daughters talked (begged) her husband into letting her come for a visit one week. She lived in Tooele, Utah at the time, so it was a long drive for her. "You came!" I screamed when I opened the door to our condo and found her standing there with her two children.

"We've come to play in the snow!" The children hugged her legs and looked so tickled to be there.

"Come in!" I said to them. "We can drink hot chocolate tonight, read some stories, and play tomorrow until we freeze." The boys were delighted. They quickly set homework aside and played with their two little nephews until they all screamed and giggled so loud my daughter and I thought they'd never fall asleep.

After breakfast the next morning, and I'd driven the boys to school, we put on our snow clothes and built a snowman in a little field near the condo. The children weren't ready to go in yet, so we sat them in a round plastic dish and pulled them up and down the snow-covered street, stopping long enough to have a snowball fight. We showed the children how to lay down in the snow and wave their arms and legs together to make snow angels. The snow was a bit crunchy, so it took more effort than in newer softer snow, but it was a lot of fun. The little boy's noses ran constantly, and their cheeks grew bright red and stayed that way even after we went indoors and warmed them up. Still, their laughter brightened up the long winter day, especially for me.

It snowed during the night, big heavy flakes that covered the snow angels we'd made earlier that day. Once the children were asleep, and the boys in bed reading, my daughter and I stepped outside and let the snow fall on our eyelashes and faces before we got too cold. We laughed and talked, remembering the days when she was the little girl and loved winter as much as her children. "I called my sisters to tell them that tomorrow would be the perfect day for us to meet in the Falls. We can take the children to McDonalds, let them play on the toys while we talk," I told her.

"Sounds fun," she told me. "Can't wait to see them."

She looked sleepy after her full day of playing in the icy mountains. Truth be told, her cheeks were as red as her children's. I reached down, scraped a patch of dirty snow away, then grabbed a handful of clean snow and took a bite, loving the way it melted in my mouth. "We better go in before we freeze." Our breath condensed visibly each time we spoke. Shivering, I turned and walked back into the house.

"Gross!" she said from behind me.

"I heard that!"

After I shut the door and locked it, she turned toward me, smiling wide. Her mouth hung open, chucked full of snow. "Just kidding, Mom. I love the stuff." Does anyone ever outgrow eating snow? Perhaps...but not that night.

I woke the next morning at dawn to the sun hanging low on the horizon. From the living room window glistening fingers of yellow light spread across the farthest edge of the sky, disappearing behind suspicious looking clouds quite possibly brewing another storm. Snow had fallen during the night, blanketing the ground with mounds of white that sparkled like diamonds. I loved seeing the combination of new snow and first morning's light.

Nine o'clock came and we had our purses, coats, children packed into their car seats and were headed down the road in the suburban. Though patches of blue could be seen the air felt harsh and cold under the sporadic cloud covered sky.

There were two ways to drive to Idaho Falls from Driggs. One way headed northwest over the dry farms and went through Rexburg. The other road took you through Swan Valley, over twisting dangerous curves that led directly into Idaho Falls. I chose to take the road over the dry farms to Rexburg, as less curves seemed less risky to me. We stopped at the combination BurgerKing/convenience store/gas station on the north end of  town to get some gas and buy breakfast.

My daughter took the children into the store while I proceeded to swipe my credit card and begin fueling the SUV. It was then I noticed two men making their way toward me. One of them was taller with blondish hair that hung to his collar. They both wore jackets, but had no gloves or hats. Outside of my suburban only one other truck seemed to be getting gas. Had they come in the truck then? No other vehicle was parked in the parking spaces near the Burger King and convenience store. It was early yet. So it wasn't unusual in the middle of winter for the store to be less busy at this time of day. I even looked behind me to see if there was someone else they were headed to see. No one stood outside except me and them. I remember listening to their boots crunch on the ice and snow.

I didn't in any way feel threatened, though confusion over the fact it was now obvious they planned to talk hit me square in the face. What did they want from someone like me? I unscrewed the gas cap and stuck the elephant-nosed gas pump into the hole on the side of the SUV, clicking the handle into place so that it continued to fill the SUV without me having to hold it. When I looked up they both stood in front of me, and I found myself looking directly into the taller man's eyes...the strangest eyes I've ever seen. His eyes weren't just the color of a pale blue sky in the middle of winter; they seemed charged with extra life. A strange light moved inside his eyes, which today still seems beyond my understanding. Something about this man and his companion told me they were very different.

"You and your daughter are on your way to Idaho Falls today?" he asked me.

That caught me off guard. His voice was soft, not high but soothing and firm--dare I say manly? The tone elicited not only felt calming but somehow made me feel okay about answering him. I felt surprise ripple across my face. "Yes."

"You're headed across the dry farms?" The blue in his eyes was penetrating. He seemed genuinely concerned.

Goosebumps rose suddenly on my arms and legs and rolled down my back. How could this strange man and his companion know anything about me? The other man standing next to the one talking to me remained silent. It's not that I forgot he was there, but the man talking to me had my attention, and he was keeping it, or so it felt to me.

This time I nodded vigorously before saying, "Yes, we are."

His eyes held me as securely as any bug in a collection. I couldn't turn away or move from where I stood because I was so caught up in what was happening in his eyes and what he was saying to me that nothing else mattered. "You must not drive to Idaho Falls today. Do not take either road...go home and play with your family," he told me. "The roads aren't safe."

That's all he said. Then he and his companion turned and walked into the convenience store. Who were these guys? I glanced down at the gas handle, which had stopped pumping gas, and immediately followed them. The pump could wait. I wanted to spy on them inside the store, perhaps discover their identity.

I stepped into the store and stomped the snow from my boots. My daughter, who was standing near the front counter, didn't waste any time catching my attention. She appeared to be excited over something and pointed in the direction of the two men who had just entered the store. She cupped a hand to her face, kept pointing and whispered, "Mom! Did you see that guy with the blue eyes?" She was trying to appear inconspicuous. I couldn't make it over to her fast enough.

I grabbed her arm and pulled it down. "Yes! I saw him."

"Oh my gosh! His eyes are incredible!" she whispered.

"He talked to me outside," I told her.

Her mouth formed the perfect 'O'.  "He talked to you?" The look that crossed her face told me that even she thought she'd seen something unusual.

We looked up in time to see both men walking out of the store, the door shutting behind them. Why were they leaving? They hadn't bought a thing. Now both our mouths formed the perfect 'O'. What were these guys doing?

"Come on," I said and bent down and picked up one of her little boys. "Let's follow them. I want to see where they go." My daughter didn't hesitate. She picked up her other son, and we walked toward the door.

Once outside...we looked in all directions, but the man with the strange blue eyes and his silent companion were gone. A light skiff of snow was falling. The blue sky had disappeared behind grey clouds, yet we could see clearly; no morning mist hindered our view. The truck that was parked at one of the other gas tanks was still there. A heavier set man walked out of the store about then in blue overalls, got in the truck, and drove away. The two men hadn't come in the truck. Of that we were now certain.

So where had they gone? Down the road? We looked up and down that road again. No car or truck was driving away from the store. That bothered us because we knew how fast we had moved to get outside. We figured the men couldn't have gotten five steps from the door, let alone to a vehicle parked near the gas pumps. We had ONLY seen the one truck when we pulled up to the gas station.

I quickly ran around to the back of the building. A blue car was parked by the back door...but certainly no men sat inside preparing to drive off. Both men had simply disappeared...vanished like the fancy assistant in a magic show.

My daughter walked up behind me. "What did he say to you?"

I turned to her, shaking my head, completely baffled. "He told me not to drive to Idaho Falls today," I answered.

"How did he know we were going?" Confusion hung evident in her voice.

 I shrugged. "I have no idea!"

My daughter, her two darling sons, and I decided NOT to go to Idaho Falls that morning. I told her everything the blue-eyed man had told me outside the gas station while driving us back to the condo, which wasn't a whole lot. Later we played with the children until it was time for them to take a nap. It was a lazy enjoyable safe day with no mishaps. Scrabble was pulled down from the closet shelf; we were busy thinking up words and trying to outdo one another when it began to snow in earnest. We actually drove through the falling snow to rent an old John Wayne movie at the local video store in town, which we thoroughly enjoyed that afternoon, too. We bought some homemade burgers and fries early that evening at the local sports restaurant in town, the boys and children happily in tow. It was still snowing when we left after dark. The children made a frightful mess on the floor, but it was a great deal of fun and worth the effort. Who wanted to cook? Not me.

Over the years my daughter and I have talked about the blue-eyed man and the very strange warning he and his companion gave us that day many times. Yes, we decided to take his advice, and we've never been sorry for it. But what would have happened had we decided to drive to Idaho Falls anyway? I can't really say.

My daughter and I can only tell the story as it happened...and wonder on long winter nights, when the snow falls heavy, and the crisp cold air gives breath to silent ghosts, if the two men we encountered were angels sent to warn us.

Can such things actually happen?

I choose to believe they do...that real angels are indeed among us.  


Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Does God Hate Me?

Why does God hate me?

Every day of my life i work until my hands are numb and i have a massive migraine, I've been just barely passing through school for years but I'm still not getting good grades, i do all the work but i just never get the grades.

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

I don't know who you are, but you sound like an awesome hard working individual, a person with integrity. We can't all be born a genius. It's the way life goes. Does that mean we stop trying? Absolutely not! God doesn't hate you. He loves you. We don't grow or develop physically or spiritually without facing trials. Those trials are what make us who we are and what we will become. God is aware of every single human being on this planet. But we don't all get the same breaks, have like problems, identical bodies, great health, strong arms and legs. We don't see, hear, taste, smell, or feel the same. You're different. I'm different. Everyone is different. And you need to come to terms with that. It's okay that none of us are perfect. You're young...be patient. Give your body and mind time to develop and learn the skills you desire. You eat an elephant...one bite at a time. I don't know anyone capable of stuffing the entire elephant in their mouth all at once.

Have you thought about getting some extra help? Find a tutor. Tutors can really help students improve their grades. I think it might be worth it to you. What's most important here? Don't give up. Keep working. Hang in there. You're not the only one. You're worth the effort! Good luck.

I Don't Feel Like I Can Dance?

I don't feel like I can....?

I don't feel like I can dance. I'm only 14, but at my school dances, everyone is always pestering me about it!!

Sometimes I dance when I'm by myself and I dance horribly!! Please help!!

Post links if preferred... ;)

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

You know the more you dance the better you get, right? So you need to dance. Dance is something that bubbles up from inside you that wants to get out...you hear a beat...and you can't resist moving. Dance is expression; there are so many ways to do it. Walking is an expression, exercising, running...every movement we make is expressive. Dance is part of who we are; it's all around us.

Classes are a good idea, but if you don't have the money or time...try listening to music at home, outside, everywhere you can and dance and have fun. Enjoy yourself. Move those feet and arms...just let go. Don't worry about who might see you. If you want to dance...you need to be more concerned with dancing and letting yourself go than who might be watching.

Watch television shows about dance. Study the dancers you see. Try some of their moves. There are several movies on dancing, too. Try the Step Up 1,2,3 movies...and have some fun. Sometimes, telling yourself you can't dance and believing it is like telling someone you hate tacos. Then one day a friend asks, "Have you ever tried taco's?" You shake your head, no, and say, "I just know I don't like them." Your friend is surprised. "How can you say you don't like tacos if you've never tried them?" So one day, when no one is looking, you go buy a couple of tacos, eat every bite, and decide that you love tacos.


What If you Don't Know How to Dance?

What if you do not know how to dance?

like simple moves of waist wind and skin shake.

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

Start practicing. Put some music on where you feel most comfortable...and start moving. Any kind of movement is dance. Organized movement is even better dance. But believe me when I say that anyone and everyone can dance.

Haven't you ever watched dancers on a dance floor? Sure. There's the incredible dancers out doing their thing...and very well I might add. But there's also those dancers out there who don't care how well they dance or what they look like as they're doing it; they're just moving to the beat of the music and enjoying it...loving it. They're not worried about who might be watching. Dance is a way for people in this world to express themselves. And the wonderful thing about that is there's plenty of room on the dance floor for any kind of dancer, including you. If there's no room...start dancing and make some more room. Dance because you love it. Dance because there's something in you that wants out...and the right music brings out the best in you. Dance and have fun. Anyone...absolutely anyone can dance.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Help! Poor Man Beaten!

I was on my way to dinner a few days ago with a few friends in Salt Lake City when I witnessed a brutal act perpetrated on a young man that tore at my heart. One of my friends was driving, thank goodness, or I probably would have wrecked the car. In fact, I don't even like driving the city in heavy traffic, and that's what we were in. We stopped six cars back from a red light, kitty corner from a large crowd of men and women gathered outside of a building. There appeared to be, at least, a hundred or so waiting. Most were standing, but some were sitting. I couldn't help thinking they all appeared restless.

"Is there a concert going on here tonight?" I asked the friend who was driving the car. Two other friends turned and gave me the strangest looks. "What?" I asked them.

"It's the homeless shelter," one of them replied.

I quickly turned back to the large crowd. "Homeless? But there's so many of them!"

"It's so sad," another said to me.

"Unbelievable!" said the driver, shaking her head.

Unbelievable, yet so much more! I live on five acres in a country setting over an hour's drive northwest of Salt Lake City. Unless I'm going to a movie, a sports event, or shopping, I don't often see that many people at one time. But even I couldn't believe the size of the crowd that stood covering the corner in front of the building that day. Most of the people I noticed seemed younger. I found myself wondering how many of them had something unfortunate happen they had no power to control, only to find themselves fighting to find enough to eat and a place to sleep every day.

As my friends and I sat in the car waiting for traffic to clear one of the bigger guys on the corner stood up and grabbed a smaller man by the head and threw him to the ground. In seconds the bigger guy sat down on top of the smaller guy and began beating him. The bigger man slugged him in the sides and began pummeling him in the head. I let out a scream. I wanted to get out of the car and go pull the bully off of the other guy's chest. I pounded on my window, but I know no one heard me. The traffic was moving by that time and it was time to turn the corner.

"Someone, please help him!" I yelled, trying frantically to roll my window down. Through the crowd two young men who didn't look any older than about eighteen or nineteen finally grabbed the big guy's shoulders and arms and pulled him away from the kid being beaten. There were so many others who could have stepped up and stopped a fight like this but didn't. I saw plenty of older guys there--strong able men. And yet it seemed like it was the younger men that day that deemed it necessary to take charge and reestablish some semblance of order.

I watched the young man who had been beaten so badly get up, throw an arm around a young woman who stepped up to help him, and limp down the street while wiping away a blood spattered face. Though we were turning the corner and driving away I wanted to get out of the car and run back and hug him. I wanted to cry with him. I wanted to help him, give him enough money to feed him and his girlfriend for a couple of nights. The restaurant where we planned to dine was just around the corner, but by the time we parked and I'd run to the street to find him, he and his girlfriend were gone.

I turned toward the homeless shelter. The crowd of people still stood there...restless and waiting...and my heart ached. I couldn't feed them all. I wanted to cry.

The scene that had just played out before my friends and me remained with me the rest of that night...and still plays over and over again in my mind. So many of the men and women who crowded the street late that afternoon wore faces of desperation, despair, and hopelessness; these weren't criminals, though one acted out violently, they were human beings down on their luck, jobless, and facing future days of empty pockets and an oncoming winter. Scary stuff!

So what can someone like me do for so many, I asked myself repeatedly over the next few weeks? I'm one woman...and there were so many on the corner that afternoon. I decided that to begin with I could add my prayers to the many other prayers of those praying for brothers, sisters, friends, families and children who are in desperate situations searching for jobs and in need of food and shelter. Prayers are far more powerful when multitudes pray together, I think. If you haven't started to pray in earnest for those in great need, my thought is to join with us and begin doing so now. I believe emphatically and without reservation that prayer can and will make a tremendous difference in all of our lives.

I also decided that I could give more to the homeless from my own closets at home. In one closet I filled two black garbage bags of clothes, coats, and shoes. This wasn't my junk. I gave the kind of clothing and things my husband and I would still want to wear. I have plans to donate toys and blankets for the holidays. I’m donating food. I’m going to seek out families that might need a few Christmas presents for their children. I’m going to buy extra turkeys for Thanksgiving. I’m keeping extra dollar bills in my wallet. And this is a big one…I’m going to keep my eyes open and pay more attention to people around me. I’m going to look at their shoes, coats, pants, shirts, and watch for cold fingers. I’ve got blankets I can share.

My son stopped in the other day at our home…just to say hello. It was cold outside and raining. The wind was blowing relentlessly. “Son!” I asked. “Where’s your coat on a day like this?”

He didn’t say anything. That confused me, so I asked him again, “I mean it. Where’s your dang coat?”

He turned and gave me the sweetest, most indulgent smile, one I’ve seen hundreds of times over the years, which of course told me immediately an unexpected revelation was forthcoming. “Mom! Don’t worry.” He threw his arm around my neck, hugged me close, and whispered, “I gave it away to someone that needed it far more than I did.”

His comment left me speechless. Little does he know, that’s just the kind of thing that makes mothers worry even more; it’s in our natures. And of course…somehow between us…another coat will be bought to replace the one that was given away.
Think for a moment what would happen if fifty people did the same thing...then one hundred people...or a thousand decided to help, donating more time and energy than they ever have before now.

Yes, our family enjoys donating to needy families every holiday season. Acts of service over the holidays brings peace and harmony into our family. But my personal challenge is to increase my efforts to help those in need (people who fight every day JUST to survive) more consistently. Yes, I really do believe efforts to help can be tripled...and that my family and I can make a bigger difference.
More importantly...we want to make a difference.

What kind of nation would we have if we all stepped forward to lend a helping hand? That old saying…United we stand, and divided we fall…is certainly a familiar cliché, yet it seems as true today as it ever did.

So I’ll keep praying for a nation that could use a great deal of new direction, and for the unification of people everywhere, that we may be ever mindful of our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves, and unafraid to pray for the divine intervention needed to help us all.

Brown-eyed Spanish Woman

I was visiting my daughter a few years ago in Idaho Falls, Idaho when we decided to go to the store for extra groceries. When I stay with her, it’s kind of a tradition to buy treats and extra things they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford. We did our shopping, buying extra cereal, fruit, ice cream, our favorite chips and dips, chocolate milk, a couple of gallons of milk, even a dozen donuts from the bakery. We planned on playing some family games, and it’s always a lot more fun if there’s game food to munch on.

The cashier checked our groceries and gave me a total for the amount. As I opened my purse and grabbed my wallet, a voice plainly told me to get extra cash. I paused. I knew that I didn’t need any extra cash. I had a couple of twenty’s stuffed in my wallet, and there weren’t many places that I would need cash that afternoon; it would soon be dark. I opened my wallet, and again, a voice told me to get PLENTY of extra cash this time, that I would definitely need it. The whopping sum of one hundred dollars popped into my head.

“But I don’t need a hundred dollars right now,” I quickly told the voice.
I glanced up at the cashier. He was watching me closely, giving me that impatient look they can give sometimes if you don’t pay as fast as expected. “Can I get extra cash?”  I suddenly asked, wondering why had I just done that? 

The cashier nodded. “How much?” he asked.

My daughter, who was standing next to me, gave me a surprised look. “What for? We don’t need anything else," she said and tugged on my arm.

She was right. I didn’t need any money. But someone inside my head was telling me that I was going to need a hundred dollars in the very near future, and I’ve learned to trust that voice over the years. In a million years I couldn’t have guessed what I’d be doing with it. I patted her hand. “I really need a hundred dollars. Can you give me that much?” I told the cashier. After what my daughter had just said out loud, I tried to throw some determination in the look I gave back to him.

“Mom?” The curiosity in my daughter’s voice was evident.

The cashier hesitated for a moment, as if he found my question entertaining, then said, “I think I can manage.”

I turned to my daughter. “I’ll explain later.” I didn’t really know what I was going to tell her though. What I’d just done surprised even me. When and if I do get money it’s usually from a bank or ATM, but today would be different. As I keyed in the extra amount of money, I couldn’t help feeling confused. As soon as the amount was approved, the man opened his cash drawer and slid two fifty dollar bills out from underneath the money tray. He placed the money in my hand, which I then slid inside my wallet. "Thanks," I told him.

The cart was filled and ready to go, so I grabbed the handlebar and pushed it from the store. My daughter followed me. We were talking about something, I don’t even remember, when I first saw her sitting on a curb outside the grocery store—a Spanish woman, probably in her late twenties.  I didn’t notice she had two small children standing near her until I was standing next to her. Her beautiful brown eyes were filled with such sadness, I completely forgot about the groceries and everything else happening around me. The desperation she appeared to be feeling at that moment penetrated every fiber of being.  When my skin began tingling and my heart beating faster, I knew immediately that she was the woman who needed the money I’d just gotten from the cashier inside the store.

I knelt down and reached for her hand; it was shaking. Her eyes were red and swollen, like she’d been crying. She looked scared and worried. I told her my name and squeezed her hand for reassurance. “What can I do to help you?” I asked.
At first, she just sat there staring at me, and I wondered if she could even speak English.  “Is there something I can do for you?” I asked again. “Your children are so sweet—a boy and a girl. You’re lucky to have both. I have six children—three boys, three girls. They wear me out!”

She smiled at that and nodded her head. “The police are coming to help me,” she finally told me in a heavy Spanish accent. Relieved that she did indeed speak English, we continued to talk for a few more moments. She told me that she was running away from a husband that was drinking and abusive. She had called the police and was waiting for an officer to meet her at the store.

She also told me he that she had family but they couldn’t come get her, yet. They would be able to help her soon, though; she reassured me, perhaps by tomorrow or the next day.  A cop car drove by about then and parked a couple of rows down near the front of the store. I knew in moments he would be there. 

It became plain to me that she needed another option. A hundred dollars wouldn’t get her far, but it might buy a few nights in a cheap motel or feed three mouths for a couple of days. I opened my purse and reached inside of my wallet. I placed the two fifty dollar bills in her hand, closing her fingers over them. “Take this,” I told her. “It will help until family comes.” She looked so shocked for a moment, and then she quickly tucked the money down the front of the shirt she was wearing.

“Thank you,” she told me three times in Spanish.

Tears filled my eyes. “It’s okay,” I told her. “It’s for you and your children.”
Cheek to cheek, I threw my arms around her and hugged her. Her body was shaking; she was crying. My heart ached for the pain and heartache I knew she’d endured. I worried about an uncertain future, yet hadn’t heaven already intervened? A sweet Spanish woman I’d never seen until that very day hugged me back like we were full-blooded sisters. It felt so good to help her. My daughter grabbed my hand, and we walked away to allow her to talk privately with the policeman now approaching her.

We have been back to the store several times since then. The Spanish lady with the sad eyes has not returned. I sincerely pray that she has family helping her through the difficult circumstances she described to me that day. I have never missed the hundred dollars. I know the beautiful sweet woman I met and cared for put it to good use.

And for me…that’s more than enough.

I believe there are angels that watch out for us all…and if we listen with our hearts…we will be led to those most in need. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Strange Stone piles--Communication between Bigfoots?

Yep! You got it right. I'm an avid rock collector. My idea of having a great adventure is to grab some rock picks, buckets, shovels, water, sandwiches, a daughter or two, as many grandchildren as I can squeeze in the car and head out to a new area I've heard about to dig for rocks. I'm not really particular...as long as the rocks are shiny and/or filled with beautiful colors...I'm hooked. I've been going on rock hunting expeditions for over ten years. But the last couple of years I've been seeing anomalies out there, desert or tree-covered mountains, it doesn't make a difference; strange rock piles appear in the most unexpected places. Many of the rocks are balanced so precariously, when I stop driving long enough to take a look, I find it hard to believe whomever or whatever stacked the rocks took the time to do it. That is...unless the stacked rocks in the middle of these uninhabited areas are markers of some kind, perhaps even messages for something that I don't understand.

A recent sighting of a Bigfoot in Provo Canyon has the Bigfoot enthusiasts chatting non-stop. There's even a video of some dark-haired creature with strange eyes that actually turns toward the person shooting the clip. At best...the video shows very little. It could be a guy in a gorilla suit for all I know. One moment the Bigfoot appears to stand then quickly walk into the trees; it's followed by more of the same video showing something moving that appears almost too close, considering the distance between the video and the animal in question in the first part of the video. Yes, it appears the person capturing the video is running; you hear breathing and shuffling feet, equipment bumping, and it sounds exciting for a few seconds. But how did the person videoing catch up so quickly to a moving Bigfoot? I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when glimpses of the Bigfoot as it was being chased looked closer than I would have guessed under the circumstances.

Can't wait to hear what people really think. Somebody want to talk about it?

And while you're at it, be sure to look at the rock piles in the pictures I'm posting. Who is piling up rocks? Bigfoot? And if it really is hairy wild man-like creatures that are doing it, who are they talking to? Themselves?

I'm not saying I believe in Bigfoot or any other elusive creature that has as yet to be inarguably identified as a new species of man or animal, but considering the circumstances, if there was something lurking in the dark dense places of uninhabited forested areas, couldn't he/she be far more intelligent than what any of us think?