Sunday, November 14, 2010

10 things that make me happy

Okay, I've looked at my blog for the umpteenth time realizing I can now be called "inactive".  I've always been active at most things like church and all.  But, this really bothered me that I just can't get it together.  I did however manage to read a few blogs and came across  my good friend stephanies blog.   I realized that I had something not only to smile about, but to post about.  This officially converted me back to blogging   (until a month, or two, or three from now)

Being qualified for college Math AND knowing I will pass my class at the end of the semester.

Having the best kids a mom could ever want.

My husband still loves me after 23 years. (Even when I wear socks to bed ;)

Memories of quilting  with my friends in Arizona.   Two concepts: Subway and positive/ negative week

Flowers make me happy.  They are God's lips turned upright

Candy makes my tummy smile.

Hanging out with my sisters.

Hearing from good friends.

Going out to Walmart at 10:00 pm just to hang out with a good friend.

Fried bell pepper and onion over a pepper jack cheese sandwich with avocado.
(The Santa Fe' burger at Red Robin with mondo fries on the side works too.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Lack of blogging causes power failure upstairs"

I can't believe that after all this time, I have forgotten the password to my blog.  It has, after all been well over a month since my last post.   I am, however, doing much better in school and even got an A on my last math exam.  Talk about miracles  never ceasing.  The French Revolution is still piquing my interests and Bonaparte even seems like a great guy at times.  Jeremy and Emily have my same History teacher, but on a different day.  The only thing that is beneficial is we all share a book and don't have the burden of forking out money for something we will just throw away.

Besides school,  things are carrying on at home.

Jeremy is taking 5 courses this semester and is eagerly planning his move out from the fam.
Emily is taking 4 courses and working two days at the Dr. office.  In her spare time she still enjoys keeping up on making her crafts and purses.  Check out this cute little Halloween Wallet:

Wendy and John are both in the top Choirs at the high  school and waiting to find out if they made the Regional Honor Choir.
Wendy recently created a Photography club with her friend and had 100 people sign up.  She was way excited.
John continues Karate and can take you on any day. 
Kate continues to develop into a nice young lady in the 3rd grade.  She is singing and dancing her heart out in her little dance and singing group here in town.  she performs at various public places.

As Young women's President ,  I continue to have many challenges and full schedules working with the youth.
Todd's latest project was figuring out how to solar cook from a food storage can out in the back yard.  He had a jar of soup cooked in no time and was very good to boot.  His inventions and zest for learning new things never cease to amaze me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Math update

I hardly know what blogging is anymore.  I have been spending the last two months basking in the sun trying to soak up any summer afforded me after spending the entire month of June in the tutelage of Math.  I can say I finally passed.  With a C-, but hey, what mother of 5 could take 3 months of math and cram it all into one?  I dare say not many and besides it is the only thing that gives me faith when I feel stupid.  since that class, I now qualify for College Algebra.  Woo Hoo!  I start today as a matter of fact.  I was going to take about 4 other classes and after my hubby reminding me that math was my nemesis this summer, scaled my schedule down to two classes.  I cried as I felt duty bound to get my education, but I gave it up and went on my way.  "On my way" was good, until being asked to serve as the Young Women President of our church's young women's organization.  The bishop assured me that if I would put my spiritual learning ahead of the secular, that I would be blessed with the capacity to do good in my classes.  This requires lots of faith and trust. Remember, FAITH is a five letter word.  Who knows but I should come out with a better understanding of the  French Revolution and guess the probability of your newly purchased laptop starting up or being defective.  At any rate, I have been asked to "play" with 15-20 beautiful and great young ladies.  I'm sure they have a thing or three to teach me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blahhhh, blah, blah blahh blahh

Glad you could come see what all the blubbering was about.  Now... how are you???

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Laughter is the best medicine

After spending 6 weeks studying from 7am to 12pm,  Emily and I got little insane doing math all day.  We found that laughter was the best medicine.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Faith in something greater than ourselves enables us to do what we have said we'll do, to press forward when we are tired or hurt or afraid, to keep going when the challenge seems overwhelming and the course is entirely uncertain."- Gordon B. Hinckley

"Faith in taking Math 096 enables me to do what I have said I'd do, keep going to class when I'm so stinkin' tired, sick, and definitely  afraid, to keep doing homework and studying for tests when   this class seems overwhelming and passing is entirely unknown."  


Sunday, June 6, 2010

"I'm 63 and Im Tired" by Robert A. Hall

This is quite long but feel it represents how I feel about where our government is taking my dear country of the United States of America.

Robert A. Hall is the actor who plays the coroner on CSI.

This should be required reading for every man, woman and child in the United States of America .

"I'm 63 and Im Tired"

by Robert A. Hall

"I'm 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.

I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe , the freedom of the press of China , the crime and violence of Mexico , the tolerance for Christian people of Iran , and the freedom of speech of Venezuela.

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.

I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore's, and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don't think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I'm tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.

I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"? And, no, I'm not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I'm willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn't have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military.... Those are the citizens we need.

I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.

I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama's cabinet.

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!
This is your chance to make a difference.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our Missy Owl has died

It's a sad day for me.  We went down the lane this evening to check on our owlets.  We searched and couldn't see any sign of them, so we decided to pull off on a spot on the road that is closer to the owl's tree. 
When we got out, Todd noticed  two lumps by a power pole. We saw two of  the owlets but closer observation revealed that not only an owlet had died, but our missy owl (mama) lay 6 feet away from it.
  We expected that one of the babies would probably die.  That is just how it works.  What we didn't expect  was to see the mama die.  We think that they may have been hit by a car and it's possible the mama was trying to get her baby out of danger. There is a large power pole close by but can't think how they both would have been electrocuted. It's also possible they were shot.
 At any rate, they are gone... leaving two other owlets behind.  The babies are either dead, or they will still struggle as they no longer have a mother to teach them to hunt, eat, or fly.  I have invested so much thought, attention, and excitement as I have watching this beautiful creature tend to her nest and babies.  It has been the highlight of many nights down the lane. I am stunned. I feel silly at times thinking I'm making a big deal about nothing but if God notes the sparrows fall, surely I can be sad for the loss of our little missy owl.  I get a little weepy thinking about it.
A man named Milton Hunter said the following:
"We have come to realize that our Father in heaven provides for [the birds] as He does for us. They are part of His great plan. He created them to gladden our hearts with their songs and to give us joy in observing their beauty. The Savior taught that our Heavenly Father feeds the birds and that not one sparrow is forgotten before God, for He takes note of every sparrow that shall fall on the ground (Matt. 10:29).
Milton R. Hunter, “Friend to Friend: Feeding the Birds,” Friend, Aug 1973, 16

This owl and her babies have certainly gladdened our hearts and given us many days of joy and I hope God will certainly take note of our Missy owl.
I took some pictures... not to exploit, but rather to show you how beautiful they were.

I have posted a couple of pictures prior that I thought described her. This picture more accurately describes what she would have looked like.

I want to share some photos that we have taken in the last few months. She is just sitting in some of them, feeding her owlets in others and looking like a cat in a tree in still another.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our little Missy owl that lives down the lane

Todd and I have been watching an owl that lives down a country lane for about a year.  It would sit on the telephone wire along the road and hunt.    It wasn't too long ago that we found out it is a she as we drove passed her one night and she had something big hanging out of her mouth.  We turned around and she eventually flew over to a tree where we could see her feeding 3 owlets in a nest.  We had never known where she was nesting before so this was quite a treat.  Now every Friday date night, we head down the country road and spy on her and the little guys.  The binocs help quite a bit.  Tonight, we discovered that the owlets are big enough to get out of the nest and flit from branch to branch exercising their wings.  One little owlet did the whole cocking his head in circles like owls are supposed to do.  It was too cute.  At any rate, I'm posting a picture of what the mother looks like.
Since going out to see the owls, I have joked with my two oldest children, now adults, that as soon as the mother owl kicks her babies out of the nest that I expect them to leave my nest.  So far, I have yet to see them flit to the next branch.

Friday, May 14, 2010

How Full is your bucket?

I just read a book... really intended for business, yet, can be applied to any relationship. It is written by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D. and published by Gallup Press.  It's about each of dipping or filling each others buckets whether or not we really know it.  You cannot fill or empty anothers bucket without affecting your own.  Here is an excerpt:

"Each of us has an invisible bucket.  it is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us.  When our bucket is full, we feel great.  When it's empty we feel awful. 
Each of us also has an invisible dipper.  When we use that dipper to fill othere people's buckets- by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions- we also fill our own bucket.  But when we used that dipper to dip from othere' buckets - by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotions-we diminish ourselves.
Like the cup that runneth over , a full bucket gives us a positive outlook and renewed energy.  Every drop in that bucket makes us stronger and more optimistic. 
But an empty bucket poisons our outlook, saps our energy, and undermines our will.  That's why every time someone dips from our bucket, it hurts us."

The book goes on to explain that the choice is ours what we will do... will we empty our bucket... or fill it?

What a wonderful concept in learning that we cannot fill ours UNTIL we fill anothers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all great women

This is to my mother as well as to all women.  Mother's day is not a celebration of bearing children, nor is it a day to celebrate in yourself.  Everyone of us has a mother. If we look around we may find we have many mothers. What of those many great women that lift feeble hands and hearts?   Look around and find the hands that nurtured a young woman in her youth, that rocked or comforted a child, or one that just inspired you to be a better person than you were yesterday.

Real Mothers don't eat quiche;
They don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils
Are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors,
Filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough
Doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what
The vacuum just sucked up.......

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?'
And get their answer when a little
Voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth
Is not measured by height or years or grade...
It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother.....

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't know everything!

14 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother? She wouldn’t have a clue.
16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's so five minutes ago.

18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!

35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she
Shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

lazy blogger, lazy post... but hell, it's worth the laugh

This was sent this morning. It gave me a good laugh.  Not sure where they came from but Enjoy!
They're back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale... It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Baptism time.

I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
and ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away,
and I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quote- stolen from a blogger that declared "I love life"

I was scrolling through blogs when I came up one who's main quote was "I love life".  I had a small twinge of jealousy thinking that someone so callous to life's problems could so easily twist her perspective around and truly declare that she loved all the things about her. My twinge of jealousy toward her statement now turned to a gushing of envy and I very much wished I was she.  At any rate, I enjoyed the little everyday things she posted: the joys of a cup of milk,   gathering around the bbq pit cooking (in the middle of snow), sweeping up a dime and throwing it away and not having a cow.
I'm stealing a quote off her blog that sums up all I hope to attain from my educational pursuits.... please enjoy with me.
“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important: how to live and how to die.” (John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No worries

Sorry to have such a lame blog.  I know I haven't been that great about keeping up appearances or diaries for that matter.  But hey, no worries. I found just what you are looking for.... a thought for today:
Don't let your worries get the best of you;
Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Words to live by

"I don't dwell in the past;
I don't wallow in old events and emotions.
I don't waste time on regret.
No use going over and over
the details of what already happened."

I regret I have nothing to say today.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pity Post

Well, I'm feeling a little guilty for my non posts to this blog and wondering just what I should even do with it. Should I delete it? Should I just type "Blah, Blah's" to keep it active? My life has become one big filled calendar. I'm officially a full time student as of 2 weeks ago. My life has definitely changed. I'm managing, but that also depends if I can remember what my  address, telephone number, and if I can count all the kids I brought into this world.
Jeremy aka (Elder Rader) just got back from his mission about a month ago and although it has been an amazing journey with him, still feel claustrophobic with 4 adults in the house. He is currently registered and attending TMCC with Emily and I as a full time student. Between encouragement to help him find a job, piano and music lessons for John and Kate, full time schooling, planning and taking meals for compassionate service, plus find time to bake bread, sew skirts for the girls, and have my genealogy lined up back to Adam, I can say I'm losing my mind. (I know, I don't do all that... but I'm still adding it for a more intensified effect) I'm feeling overwhelmed to say the least. I'm mad at my history teacher for posting trick questions which have nothing to do with the chapter and the playdough for my special ed class keeps finding its way into the hands of a little 7 and 11/12'th old girl.
So, as I was browsing through the blog list of the friends I have, stumbled across this stress diet that is fit for all. I've posted her blog so you can see what a talented lady she is... which now gives me one more reason to be overwhelmed that I am not creating and doing all of the neat things she is doing. ( I tried,...  but the glitter is still stuck in my hair)

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Houston, I'm coming home!"

Today  our missionary son returns home.  I have waited two full years and 2 days for this moment and yet, I do not feel ready.  I am both nervous and excited at the same time. Sleep was  intermittent amidst counting Southwest and Delta Airline jets and Todd's snores.   Waking from my sleep for the umpteenth time, I envisioned his mission calendar with only 10 months crossed out.  Tossing and turning, I reminisce with myself about the concerns of the last 6 days, okay month:  Plane delays, snowstorms,  making connections, etc. Still yet, worries of smelly socks,  buying 2 more gallons of milk, and wondering just what all the excitement was all about.  My checklist for Elder Rader's arrival included the last post to his missionary blog, making  his bed, and adding another jar of peanut butter to the kitchen cupboard.   I have anticipated this event for so long that I am of the opinion that anticipation is just plain overrated.   Don't get me wrong, I really want him to come home... but the anticipation is literally sending me to my grave.   At this rate, I may go home before he does.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Summation of my son's mission

While being a member of the Missionary Moms website for some months, this e-mail was posted by a mom that read this article in the Deseret News  posted  Monday, June 23, 2008.  It sums up my feelings as a mother of a missionary.  Elder Jeremy Rader returns on Monday.    Enjoy!

Deseret News
Edition: All
Page: C01
Anxiously awaiting my missionary[0]
By Ann Cannon

    It's late enough to be truly quiet. There's no music blaring from the apartments down the street. No teenagers talking on the front lawn. No cats fighting on the front porch. No TV.
   No crickets, even. Just the sound of a clock and the distant whoosh of a solitary car. Still, I can't sleep.
   Our son returns from serving a mission for the LDS Church tomorrow, and I am crazy eager to see him. The extended family will be at the airport in all our stereotypical Mormon glory to welcome him home with hugs and tears and flashing cameras and possibly balloons, if I remember to buy them. Which I won't. But oh well.
   So yes. I'm thrilled. It's never been easy to let someone go, but in our age of instant telecommunication and access, not seeing or talking much to a kid for two years seems particularly hard, even artificial.
   But at the same time that I'm so happy, I'm also anxious. Downright scared, in fact.
   Scared? Of what?
   I try to analyze the reasons for my fear as I lie in bed, twisting the night away. Here's the list so far.
   1. I'm afraid that we've got the time wrong somehow and that he's been waiting for us at the airport. Since Friday.
   2. That even if we do have the correct ETA, we'll be late because my piece of crap German car might break down along the way, and I'll have to call Caesar (the Car Tow Guy!) to come rescue us. Again.
   3. That our son will be soooo physically changed we won't recognize him.
   4. That we'll be soooo physically changed he won't recognize us.
   5. That home is nowhere as good as he remembers it.
   6. That we, his family, are nowhere as good as he remembers us.
   7. That he will, in fact, think we're all slackers.
   8. Which, actually, we kind of are!
   9. That possibly he'll try to make us stop being slackers.
   10. (Which is a good idea but one to which some of his younger brothers might object.)
   11. That he'll also wonder how his dog got fat. (Answer: I fed her too much.)
   12. That he'll also wonder why we bought a second dog that weighs 160 pounds and drools.
   13. That his friends will have all moved on.
   14. That he'll be lonely because all his friends have moved on.
   15. That he'll wish with all his heart he was back in the mission field.
   That last one is the thing that scares me the most, because all you really want is for your beloved boy to be happy. And you understand that leaving something behind as absorbing as a mission must be difficult — as hard as it once was to leave home.
   The French novelist Anatole France observed that "all changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."
   Saying goodbye to a mission is like experiencing a little death. And yet there's new life after it, too. And in some corner of my sleep-deprived brain, I know that my worries will fade in the bright light of morning.
   Hey. The kid will be fine.