Thursday, November 9, 2017

Halloween Party!!

Halloween party at our house for the extended Cole Family.  
 Monson, Lexi and Tayla as Green Eggs and Ham
 Paula  Carlson joined us with her CRAZY teeth costume
 Liz was Baby Spice and Al was Sporty Spice... they are so clever
 Laila as frankenstein girl...with my Malifecent
 My siblings all got into the spirit of things....
 We did a Dead Man's dinner....
 Alex, Landon, Andrew and Sophia... Army, Navy, White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and Wonder Woman

Alfie was Lightening McQueen and Addison was the Blue car...Jack Storm

Laila and Halloween

  Laila finished up her football cheering on Friday when 4th place Bountiful almost beat 1st place Corner Canyon.  It was great to see Laila do her thing one last on to Basketball cheering.  Laila finished the term with all A’s.  We are proud of her efforts.  She is so capable.  She had her school Halloween Dance  and her group dressed up as skeletons.   She is lucky to have Jenna Cole come and do makeup for her.  What  a great cousin. 

 Halloween dance with Max Eiting.  Halloween is Laila's favorite time of year and she has gone to 4 Haunted Houses this year!

Poppy is here!

 Poppy Eileen Welch made her debut early morning Oct 28, 2017 after 3 pushes and 3 weeks early.  We are thrilled she is here safe and sound and can't wait to get to know her better.  She is a beautiful part of our family already.
 Bre was driving on the freeway Friday during rush hour on her way to Landon’s home in Riverton, when she coughed and her water broke.  CRAZY.  She pulled over in the  traffic and called her dr who sent her immediately to the hospital up in Layton.  Addison was on his way to his Christmas Carol rehearsal, so he cancelled and turned around.  I was watching Laila’s final football game at Corner Canyon HS.  She had just finished the half time routine and I got the phone call to come and help with Alfie… So we all gathered up at the Davis North Hospital…and Bre got hooked up and just after midnight Poppy was born!  3 pushes and she came into this world.  Her birthday is Oct 28th. Bre and Ad love having an October baby and one to celebrate Halloween with as well.  Bre has had elevated blood pressure and they are continually monitoring her for toxemia ..but Poppy is practically perfect.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Humor talk...laughter is the best medicine

SO there I was 8 months pregnant sitting with my little family in church.  I had a 2 year old boy and a 4 year old boy and the baby in my belly was a girl!!  I was so excited. My two year old Landon started to make a fuss in church so I stood to take him out and as I was pivoting out of the pew, my foot got caught in my diaper bag and I  lost my balance and was falling in the aisle.  In slow motion I handed my boy off two rows back as I mouthed the words, “help me.”    I landed on my stomach in the aisle with my large red tent dress flung up over my  bum and unmentionables…and the congregation gasping and the bishopric standing up from their seats, as they had a birds eye view of this event.  The speaker has his head stuck in his notes, and droned on as only high councilmen can.   I scrambled to my feet and burst in to the lobby as red as my dress.. It was difficult to see where my skin started and stopped it was as flaming as my dress.  I wasn’t physically hurt, but my dignity was.  I knew Wayne would come out and check on me…but he didn’t.  He sat in the bench probably more embarrassed than I and sent out little 4 year old Addison to see if I was ok.   I told Addison we had to move immediately!  Welll 1 month later I gave birth to a baby BOY…truly a boy, not a girl at all.  …hence we named him Truman.  In church when they announced that the Welch’s had a new baby BOY..the Bishop also said, “apparently when Melinda fell in church it just popped his little thingy right out!”  We have laughed about this story for 27 years now…and the memory has become a family legend.  I could live with my falling in church because everyone could laugh with me and not at me.   ( Although 6 months after Tru was born we moved)

“Healthy Heart is good like medicine” proverbs 7:22
“It’s a time to laugh”:  Ecclesiasties
Instead of just talking about health benefits… I want to talk about the emotional and spiritual benefits of laughter that are good for all of us
A good sense of humor helps us   1.  keep our perspective  2.  Strengthen our relationships.  3.  Cope with  hard times

#1.  Perspective

You know, little kids say the funniest things.   My mom used to call me up every week and ask for a family funny.  I got so I would write them down so I wouldn’t forget.  I looked back at some of these family funnies…and this is what I found.

When Laila was about 4 she was climbing around under the benches in our chapel during sacrament meeting.    She found a brass round electrical outlet cover .  She popped up in the middle of the meeting and announced, "Hey I found the Golden Plate!"   

I was so proud of Laila for getting her self ready for church today.  Early church is hard with all of the boys and Wayne in the bishopric.  I wasn’t as proud when after church I turned around to see Laila doing her typical hand stand.  She’s in a phase where she does hand stands every where… well I turned around and her dress was puddled up around her head, and she was naked…no underwear on whatsoever.  I hope she wasn’t showing off any handstands in her primary class.
3/8/2013  .......and now for  a Winning Mother Moment.....
The other night, Laila asked me what a diaphragm was?  I took a deep breath and launched into birth control devices with gusto.  After all, she has 5th grade maturation coming up and all things female reproduction related have been on my mind.  My little girl is growing up. 
As I explained, her eyes got bigger and then her face looked really confused.  She interrupted me....."Harry got hit in the diaphragm?   In my Harry Potter book it says, Harry got hit in the diaphragm." 
"Oh," I said.  "That's right......there are two types of diaphragms."   The birth control device and the one used for  breathing which is down in your gut.  The GUT one was the one she needed explained.
She rolled her eyes at me and we laughed. 
I don't think she's going to invite me to her 5th grade maturation now.

When Landon was little and he said to me one morning while I was getting dressed, "You know those fat things on girls we call boobs?  Well,  Jesus calls them breasts." 

 Landon was always the BEST primary kid.  All of his teachers and primary presidency would compliment me on what a disciplined, kind, obedient boy he was.  I wanted to shake my head and say, “my Landon?  Are you sure you’ve got the right kid?” because at home Landon was anything but.  We have family video proof of this.. always talking, always running and hyper  and talking …he’s that little youtube kid video … “Linda, hey Linda, hey Linda, listen, just listen Linda, …”   He was always crazy in sacrament meeting…it didn’t help that it was the end of the block and not the first… but I remember taking Landon out of church many times because he was so noisy and not obedient… the classic is his  screaming back into the chapel….. “I know I’m just sick about myself. “  It took the wind out of my anger sail, and I couldn’t help but laugh and love on this hyper spirit.

My darling Grandma – Eulala Butters slipped and fell in the airport one time, went up on her back, put her legs in the air and started bicycling.  All stood around in amazement..… then she stood up, and said, “Just needed to get my exercise in.”   Everyone laughed. 

Sense of Humor Stop us from making mountains out of mole hills…

2.  Helps to strengthen relationships.
Touch of humor can bring down the walls that we build around ourselves – can show that we are HUMAN. …and it levels the playing field and allows us to build good relationships and  to make friends. 

Laughter has saved my marriage more than once.  At 50 Wayne and I decided to start biking. We spent a lot of money to get the best bikes with clips instead of pedals and the right gear.. actually the first time we came down in our biking "kits' looking like we were participating in the Tour De France, Laila, our 10 year old at the time, took one look at us and said, "Kids shouldn't have to see their parents dressed like that!"   
Wayne was determined for me to like this road biking stuff so he got me the "best " clips...the ones the real bikers used.  THey were so good I could never clip myself out of them.  I could get in and locked ok..but then I was stuck.  We practiced and practiced up on the track at the Jr. High before finally deciding we were road ready.  I fell a lot just trying to yank my foot out of the clip as we came to a stop.   A notable fall was on busy Davis Blvd. and Val Verda Road (3100 South)  It's a busy cross section with  much traffic.  We came to a stop and I was pretty proud because this time I DID IT.  I freed one foot from the  clip.  Wayne was on the side of me waiting..he also had freed one foot.  All was well, until Wayne's dizzyness/balance issue kicked in and now he was going over.  I reached out to stop him, and now I was going over too.  Both of us laying on our sides-- me kind of on top of Wayne, totally stuck and tangled up in each other  and in bikes.  Metal and flesh flailing.  Cars were stopping, rolling down windows, offering help... All I could think of to say in my humiliation was, "There is nothing to see here folks, just keep on driving."  I couldn't release my foot from the clip to release my self from the bike, to release my self from on top of Wayne.  Finally Wayne got his foot unclipped and wriggled out from under me..then came over and yanked my foot out.  This was the last time I was EVER going to go biking with those clips!  We laughed a lot.   It was either laughter or counseling.  Wayne got me a second pair of clips with the reverse problem.  I could easily get out of these new clips, but I could never get into them.  The pedal had to be flipped up for the clips to go in, and I could never get the pedal flipped up and in all at the same time.  Wayne would now have to run behind me while I figured out the clips like he was teaching a first grader to balance and ride a bike.   It was quite the sight when we got stuck on an up-hill and had to unclip and now I couldn't get clipped back in without Wayne's support.  He would drop his bike, hold me up and run behind me til I got my foot clipped in, then I would pedal slowly while he ran back to his bike and  join me.   Such an ordeal..more tears....more laughter.  Now I'm on my third set of clips and these ones are perfect.  They are beginner easy in and easy out clips, just what I needed.   Relationships are  strengthened when we can laugh at our foibles and follies.
We don’t have to put on masks or shows for each other.  Just be real.  What you see is what You get. 

Theatre snafus… Welch girls…Me and Bre had a Christmas Dish debacle.  A Christmas Dish is a song where the ladies sit and gossip about what’s going on with their friends… Bre as Kitty is supposed to talk about Grace Tucker in the 1st verse then there is a  2nd verse about Evelyn Jones and my verse, the 3rd verse, is about Dotti Zalinski.   Well…Bre starts off with the 2nd verse about Evelyn Jones.   We all look at her horrified wondering how to fix it.  Not one of us could remember what Bre was supposed to be singing about…so Then Jan Smith sings the 2nd verse about Evelyn now the audience has heard it twice… and when it comes to me. Before I start to sing I wink and I say to my fellow actresses on stage…”I got this.”   Ready to save the show and sing  the 3rd vs.,  but for some reason “Evelyn Jones” came out of my mouth too.  It caught me by surprise and  I guffawed really big and said, “ oh my we don’t need to hear about her three times.”  By now the Audience knows we are in a big goofball mess....and  trying work our way back out was so crazy.  We were laughing, the audience was laughing…we finally got back on track for the end of the song which says….”It truly is a pity watching people crack…thanks heavens the 5 of us have every living thing on track, for others we’re  sending hope for less disaster, that’s our wish, but we thank you for the chance to have this little Christmas dish.”  These last words fit what just happened on stage perfectly…then we really laughed.  It was a wonderful, memorable stage moment. One we will talk about and laugh about for a long time.   I’m glad I shared it with Bre. 

We can all try to build relationships by keeping a positive attitude and a sense of humor

While cleaning out the basement  2 years after my momma had passed away ….August... I found a Brown Coach purse.  I was so excited because it's my mom's purse.  She always carried a coach purse around and it came at a great time.  I was just feeling sad after losing Marcie and my Dad was in his death bed, and I just felt like it was a warm hug to carry this purse around and feel close to my mom.  So.... a few weeks later I'm  in my kitchen and Truman's friend Aisha says, "Hey I like your purse."  I told her thanks it was my mom's purse and  how I was so excited to be carrying it.  Aisha had a quizzical look on her face and said, "No it's's mine"  I said, I'm pretty sure it's my mom's and she said, " Remember when I went to San Francisco this summer, I left a box of my stuff in your basement including that purse...... " WHAT?!?    We couldn't stop laughing.. and even now when I tell this story it makes me giggle all over again. Aisha was very gracious about it and is letting me use her purse... it's rent for storing her stuff in my basement.  Even though it's Aisha's for a while it was my mom's and I needed that.
My BOYS all know I’m very human.  
At our McDonalds drive through there is a window to pay your money at, and another window about 20 feet farther down the building to pick up your food.  Once while I as in our Dinosaur Van with all 4 of my boys, we pulled up to get our food and the McDonald’s worker leaned out of his window with our bags and said…. “       .”   He moved his mouth, but I couldn’t hear him.  I thought they have hired a deaf person to work at MCDonalds.  I actually turned to all of my boys in the van and said, “Boys, isn’t that great, they have hired a deaf person to work the drivethru.”  Then I leaned out to get  my food and smacked my rolled up window with my  full face.  Lip prints and all.  Between where I paid my money and now, I had forgotten that I had rolled up my window.  So now the worker is holding my food and looking stunned.  I’m laughing.  The Boys are dying of embarrassment… “Mom just take the food and drive.”  I recall Addison muttering at me.  I was lauging and trying to explain to the worker that I thought he was deaf because I couldn’t hear him, which would actually make me deaf… the worker is just trying to get me to take the food and had a look of pity on his face for my 4 boys.  Monson, Tru, Landon and Addison were dying… hands over their faces… laughing.   Well…… Boys definitely know they have a crazy momma.  They love this story and tell it every chance they get…because they laugh at it, I can live with it.

I don’t love outhouses, but when I know there is one just a few minutes away I will use it over peeing while trying to balance in the wilderness any day.  So we were finishing up a Kannaraville Hike in Southern Utah.  It was gorgeous.  There were rivers to walk up and boulders to climb.  I didn’t bring correct shoes for this situation..just slide on sandals and my real expensive walking shoes, so every time we got to the river I would take off my athletic shoes and change to my sandals.  I was determined not to ruin my almost $200 pair of HoKa shoes.  Now we were coming off the mountain and I had to pee.  I knew that an out-house was waiting for me by our car, but by the time I reached the parking lot I was in a pretty desperate state.  I ran to the outhouse and peeked in to make sure the lid was up.  I saw a black hole.  I really don’t like seeing or smelling anything while in there, so I keep my nostrils shut and my eyes up.  Now….I was ready.  I yanked the door open, pulled down my shorts and was peeing before I sat down, but with in seconds I realized the seat was not up, it was just a black toilet seat that when glanced at quickly appeared to be up… tricky potty people…..and now I was peeing all over myself, the stall, and my precious shoes were filling up too…so much for trying not to get river water all over them.  I was a mess.  This was a natural disaster because I pee like a horse -one long stream that doesn’t stop.  By the time I got out of there this stall needed yellow crime tape all over it.  WHAT A MESS… good thing I had water to rinse off in, water bottles to pore in my shoes  and a group of awesome friends to make light of this with me.  And good thing there was a towel to sit on all the way home. 

I had another funny moment concerning the restrooms at Chic-fil-A.  They don’t put women and men  on their restrooms, they put M and W.  Well I’m Melinda and I’m married to a we have quite a few of these letters scattered around our home.  M for Melinda and W for Wayne. Standing at the bathroom juncture trying to decide which one to go into, I kept thinking M for Melinda and W for Wayne and walked right in on a man and a urinal… I screamed..he harrumphed…and I ran into the W room, which now I knew meant Women.  I then hid out there til I was positive the man was not only done in the restroom, but gone from the restaurant.  Wayne had to check on me to see  where I was and if I was ok… which by then I was.

Landon got married to Alex on a very HOT day.. May 31st, 2015.  IT was record breaking 100 degrees.  They got married in my friend's backyard under the trees.  That was pretty much the only shade, and our Gay wedding was a very Hot Gay wedding.  We should have ordered a tent for shade, but who knew? My assignment was to pick up the wedding cake and to get it from Bountiful to Kaysville, 15 minutes away.  Easy enough for this Mom of the groom.   Wayne helped me get the cake and get it in the car.  He was driving, I was holding this three layer beauty.  As we were driving the cake began to melt and started to slide.   I  was holding it straight, but it was tipping.  We turned the air conditioner on high hoping to help cool down the didn't help.  By the time we arrived the cake was not STRAIGHT.  It looked like the leaning tower of Pizza... but we all laughed because who needs a straight cake at a gay wedding anyway?  

Have you ever fallen asleep in church?  Have you ever fallen on the floor after you have fallen asleep in church?  Well there I was at a fireside in the chapel for Yw and YM.  Being the president of the Young Women's at the time I was setting a good example and sitting on the front row, encouraging those around me to move up to support the speaker who was sharing his experience of being attacked by a bear in Yellow stone.  It was harrowing...but not more so than my falling experience.  I was tired.. 4 little boys will do that to a momma.  I folded my arms, crossed my legs and settled in to the thing I knew I was on the floor in front of the front row, having dived head first to that position.  I came up laughing, of course, as did all those surrounding me.  It was a Mr. Bean moment.  I haven't fallen asleep in church since and I haven't sat on the front row either.  

3.  Humor helps us Cope with hard stuff
It relieves the stress of more serious emotions.   
 Death, Dying and Funerals  can be difficult.  

My dad is the sweetest.  He cries at the drop of a hat....he wasn't always this way, but as he gets older his tear ducts get bigger.   I blame my empathy crying on him.
We went to his sister Phyllis' funeral today in Preston, Idaho.   Out of 13 kids there are only 2 left, my dad and his baby brother Jerry.    It's always great to see extended family and cousins.  I don't know many, but everyone knows my dad.   He's the connector.
This was a small funeral....and  just like my Aunt Phyllis, really short.   It was 20 minutes long.   Funerals are to comfort the living, and so it was perfect for  her son's Brad and Alan.   Among a few nice grandchildren talks we had the Beatles sing....and Bro. Phil Collins.  Actually both of these were recordings that were to be played during the service.  The guy in charge didn't know this though, and actually announced that Bro. Phil Collins will  sing, "You'll be in my heart."  When Bro. Phil Collins didn't stand up to sing, (because he is a rockstar who lives in ENGLAND)...the man in charge, asked if Phil Collins was there, then some one indicated something pointing to the sound booth in the back of the mortuary, which made the man in charge incorrectly announce,  "Oh he's in the hallway, he will be here soon."  This was more than I could take.    My dad said, "oh boy," .......and we opened the chuckle gates.    Good thing I was sitting by Marcie and good thing when the recording finally began it was turned up pretty loud.   We were shaking with uncontrollable laughter  with tears coming down faces.... I am sure it just looked like we were sobbing with grief.  
 Man it was comical.  I know Aunt Phyllis would have gotten a kick out of it.
We laughed about it all the way home.

End of momma Sheri viewing…. My dad breaks into “Once I went a swimming” song..and we all joined in and loved and laughed through it.  It became our family thing whenever we were together for the next two years..til Dad passed away.   

I had a season of Sadness.  In just over 2 years I had my mom die of Cancer, my sister die of cancer and my dad die of Kidney Failure.  It was heavy and hard.  Mom's death was fast and slow.  See beat cancer once, had a clean bill of health and we were in celebration mode when her cancer came back with a vengeance and by the time she knew this to her death was 6 weeks.  It was devastating.  The last week of mom's life was filled with non stop throw up,  nightmares, hospice family care, meds for pain, no food or water, in and out of consciousness and finally death.  It was very dramatic. Lots of tears were shed.   2 years later we were on a repeat of this with my sister Marcie and pancreatic cancer.   From her diagnosis through chemo and to her death was 3 1/2 months.  She left behind her husband 1 married child with 3 grand kids and 3 young adults.  It was so difficult to watch her deteriorate.  It was all very 2 weeks after Marcie's death my dad's health was now failing him..and we were once again in death watch mode.  
 But...the gift of laughter was finally ours with my dad's death.  

Dad said some really cute things while he was in and out of consciousness for his last 7 days.  At one point I asked him if he needed any thing else and in his delirium he said, “I am sufficiently soponisified and anything else would be superfluous.”  He always would wake up just enough to tell people he loved them.  He ate imaginary food and seemed to enjoy it immensely.  He saw mom and said she was just as beautiful as ever.  He heard angel choirs and saw many people in his room including Marcie.  At one point he opened his eyes , looked at us all sitting vigil and said, “Thank you for everything.”  It was sweet.  Dad has sleep apnea and so he would stop breathing for about 30 seconds…then snort and breathe again.  At the end, Dad was doing this…but this time he didn’t breathe for  about 40 seconds.  We all thought this was it, and leaned in and teared up…then dad let out a snort and we all laughed thinking he was tricking us again…but really that was his last breath.  We couldn’t believe it.  He had us laughing in the end and we needed that.   It was such a beautiful way to go.     

"When your heart breaks, you want to be sad, and you want to give that sadness your attention. We often avoid laughter in order to respect the weight of losing a loved one, a job or a big mistake we’ve made. Those, however, are the times we especially need something to laugh at. Humor lifts the loss to keep it from crushing us."  (  Brad Wilcox)  Don’t avoid the SAD…lean into it…but also keep a sense of humor.
David O. Mackay.  Don’t be afraid to laugh. A person without a sense of humor misses much of the joy of living.”
Hugh B Brown: “ A wholesome sense of humor will be a safety valve that will enable you to apply the lighter touch to heavy problems and to learn some lessons in problem solving the ‘sweat and tears’ often fail to dissolve.”  Conference April 1968

If we are not careful we actually get a little upset when people stay positive.   When we see sister so and so always with a Smile on her face.  What is wrong with her?  If she had my kids she wouldn’t be smiling…We almost get mad that she is keeping a positive attitude.  We need to realize that everyone has got problems.  Maybe that happy person is choosing  humor as a way to cope with some of the issues and some of the struggles and  challenges that confront us. 

Laughing really can  help us keep perspective, build relationships and help us cope with hard times by relieving stress.
 But what if we don’t think we have a sense of humor..or our tickle bone is tuckered out….??
4.  Can develop a sense of humor…like any muscle
How to develop a sense of humor.
Try becoming friendlier: Everyday make it a goal to engage a stranger (or friend or family member) with a “good morning”, “how are you?” or a “you look great today”. Making small positive connections with others lifts the spirits and creates an atmosphere for humor to develop..
Smile often: Whenever you make eye contact with someone smile at them. It is a small pleasantry that helps to keep morale and spirits high.
Learn to laugh everyday: Listen to your favorite comedian, funny conference talk snafus,  associate with people who enjoy humor, try to view things from a humorous perspective and simply “lighten up”!
Don’t take yourself too seriously: Notice the silly things you do, notice how vain you are, notice how many things are really not that important and notice whether or not you are a little too uptight for your own good and then begin to poke some fun at yourself.
Try saying something funny: Once you have noticed some of the more comical things in your world, try pointing them out to friends. Consider engaging in more humor laden conversations, even about the economy (although that may be a stretch for an amateur), politics or any subject you like.

Some say I wasn’t born with a sense of humor…but you can learn it.
What follows is a humorous STORY:  
The Doctor's Visit

A physician had just moved to Utah and was meeting with his first patient in his new clinic. Here's how the conversation went:

Doctor: "Well, Mrs. Smith, we've talked about your high blood pressure and your medications. Are you experiencing any particular stress in your life?" 

Patient: "Oh, yes! It's the Sunbeams. They're driving me crazy." 

Doctor (surprised): "The sun beams?" 

Patient: "Yes. I've never had trouble with them before, but this group won't sit still. They bounce all over the room, and run out the door and down the hall." 

Doctor (reaching for a pen): "Have you told anyone about this?" 

Patient: "Of course. I told the president."

Doctor: "Really! What did the president tell you?"

Patient: "She said Sunbeams are like that. I'm just going to have to learn to deal with them."

Doctor (concerned that he may be missing something): "I know people who are sensitive to sun beams. Do they cause you a rash or anything?"

Patient (confused): "A rash? No."

Doctor: "What's the biggest problem they're creating?"

Patient: "It's the noise. They just won't quit talking."

Doctor (astonished): "The sun beams are talking to you?"

Patient: "Well, yes. But mostly they talk to each other."

Doctor (scribbling furiously in the chart): "I see. Can anyone else hear them talking?"

Patient (after a moment of stunned silence): "You're not LDS, are you?" 

Having a sense of humor is essential for enjoying life.
 It will help Relieve stress, 
Keep perspective, 
Enhance our relationships 
and it may even Extend our life. 
If you already have a sense of humor, use it as often as possible. If you don’t, then develop one as soon as possible

We are counseled to avoid light mindedness…..but Light mindedness is not light heartedness.  Light mindedness is taken lightly things that should be taken seriously… we don’t joke about that but that doesn’t mean we aren’t light hearted.
Maxwell quote:  “There is a special gladness that goes with the gospel and appropriate merriment…Zion is where the pure in heart dwell and where there is joy of countenance.  By contrast, in hell there are no smiles!”  Things as they really are  pg.xiv
“Loud laughter”  is not talking about a volume it means inappropriate laughter at any volume.  Sacrilegious laughter, laughter of making light of someone or someone’s handicap etc… Avoid inappropriate no matter the volume
Then we can truly use humor the way God uses humor…
Maxwell quote: “Though he was called ‘Man of sorrows’, that description refers to His bearing of our sorrows- not His; it does not describe his day to day bearing!  Jesus was happy!”  Even as I am  pg. 103
God has a sense of Humor???  Really?  In Book of Mormon when Christ came to visit the America’s he smiled.  Jesus was Happy
Heber C. Kimball quote:  ….. “God is the happiest of men…I am perfectly satisfied that my Father and my God is a cheerful, pleasant, lively and good-natured Being…He is a jovial, lively person , and a beautiful man.”  Journal of Discourses VOl. 4 pg 222
God told Adam and Eve… “be happy, find joy there in.”

Maybe when we learn to keep a good smile on our faces, we aren’t just doing that.. …we aren’t just faking it…  Maybe we are taking one more step toward our ultimate goal of having his image in our countenance.   

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Soul Sisters Retreat recap

Chris Marsden, Rachelle Kofford, Cindy Sweeten, Darlene Ostlund, Debbie Hadlock, Nan Bruske, Kathleen Newman, JoAnne Murdock, Kimi Farley, Kelli Orchard, Heidi Bingham, Peggy Rinehart, Melinda Welch, Jill Allsop, Jacqueline Romney, Barbara Schwartz

The first ever Soul Sisters retreat was WONDERFUL. … really hard to put into words how healing, loving, fun  and helpful this retreat was for all who came.   I had 15 diverse women, 2 who didn’t know anyone.. attend with me up in Eden.   I was so glad to have my cohort- side kick – Board of directors- Kathleen Newman with me to settle in , figure out bedrooms and food.  She took over the kitchen for the whole event with food prep and clean up.  Kathleen is a gem. 
Everyone gathered at 4:00 on Thursday to settle into the awesome air bnb and find their rooms.  I was so happy Aunt Darlene and Cousin Cindy were the first to arrive because it really brought my angel mother near and I felt her blessing as I looked into Dar’s beautiful face.   We slept 5 women on the main floor, 5 upstairs and 6 down stairs in different arrangements  of beds, blow ups and couches.  I put a note and a fun word bracelet on everyone’s bed to welcome them.     I was really worried that Debbie, who reached out with her sad email after seeing me on Good Things Utah, wasn’t here yet…  when an hour and a half had passed and she still wasn’t here I got worried.  I didn’t have a phone number, only her email… so I sent.”are you lost?  Call me.”…and prayed and prayed that she would come.   By 6:00 she rolled in and I was so happy to see her.  She told me she was in bed til 3:30  in the afternoon trying to decide if she was really coming or not  and finally the spirit told her to get up shower and go…so she did.  

First up was Si of A Bountiful Kitchen’s cooking class.   Si did great showing off the Insta Pot electric pressure cooker and how to use it was we all made Chile Verde together.  She also showed us the tricks to the Levain Chocolate chip cookie and we mounded and baked them together and compared them to  the tried and true chocolate chip cookie.   It was a fun taste test.    We wore name tags  so everyone could learn names quickly.   

With dinner over we settled in for Story Time.  This gave some of the women anxiety…what were they going to share??   We sat in a big circle in the living room and everyone had 5 minutes to share a story from their lives.  It could be anything.  I shared Laila’s adoption story…others shared their conversion story, haunted child hood house,  babies being born,  how met husband,  sadness, happiness, how started business etc…  Debbie shared why she came, basically the email she sent to me, and all just rallied around her and her loneliness.     Everyone just listened to everyone else.  Everyone was genuine and took off social masks and just loved on each other.  It felt like a ministry.  We pulled out snacks, played cards and talked til after midnight. 

Friday those who wanted to got up and went on a chilly, beautiful walk with me up on a mountain trail where we stumbled upon a pond with ducks and geese and gorgeousness.  Breakfast was hash brown and sausage or croissant and berry breakfast casseroles with fruit.  We  had a little devotional on God’s beautiful world is a testament of his love for us  and gratitude and cultivating a gratitude practice.

Shelley Davies came in the morning and gave a beautiful presentation on grand mothering and how important it is to be in our grand children’s lives even in small ways.   Genuine encounters are the important parts.  She even shared a new subscription box service she is putting together filled with books, recipes, projects and journal writings for grandparents.    We all shared some traditions or things we do with our grandchildren to connect. 

Lunch was plates and palates salads , more talking and sharing and Bre came up to take candid shots and a bit group picture to celebrate this event. 

 In the afternoon I led the group in Brave Intuitive painting…this was harder than I thought and gave another group of women anxiety as they faced a canvas and paint and we discussed creativity and the shame around it that begins in grade school when comparison starts and  “artists” are pointed out.    I need to work on teaching this many stop at the first thing they put on the canvas….that’s not the point.  Need to give up control and  keep adding layers and turning the canvas til something beautiful emerges.  I want to do this again, I just need to get better at teaching and inspiring this process. 

Free time for Hot tubing out in the beautiful setting.  The air was freezing, but the water was great.  Or…to go on a nature walk, take a nap, read a book, jump on the tramp…all good things.

Dinner of soup and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that the ladies made themselves, then we had special guest Michelle Campbell come and share her sacred Cancer experience.  She has had 300 days of it in her life and she is at the All clear part…praying that it will last.  She  gave great ideas on how to help, what to say, how to process cancer and other sicknesses and be more empathetic.  
-->  My darling friend, Linda Wangsgaard came up with Michelle and then she stayed to spend the night with all of us.   Linda always fits right in anywhere she goes because she is so interested in other.  
  After the sadness cancer class…  we  switched gears and discussed the benefits of  laughter and humor and we all went around shared funny stories and laughed and laughed til  our stomach’s ached.    Marie Callendar pies and more sharing and talking til after midnight.    We had way too much FOOD on this retreat..we will have to readjust for next time. 

Friday morning up for a walk or sleeping in a bit, then breakfast of yogurt parfaits and bagels   with a final devotional about beauty and how we are all beautiful daughters of God.   Cleanup and out of their by 10:30.

So now I sit at this end of the event processing it.  It really filled my cup so full to put this on.  I prayed and planned, worried and worked for this event and it turned out better than  I could have imagined.  It was a diverse group of ladies ages 49-83, but when one get’s older, I think we have all been through stuff and just have so much more empathy and wisdom to share with each other.  There was NO  know it all in this group, just women really trying to share and listen and validate each other's lives and problems.  It was beautiful to witness and to be a part of.    I really feel Heavenly Father’s hand in this retreat and know that the ladies who came were the ones who really needed to be there.  They came for themselves or they came to be the listening ear- shoulder to lean on  for another. 

I  am going to send a survey to get feedback for this first one on what to fix and how to make it better…then begin planning the next one.  I have one scheduled the end of February, the third weekend of May and NYC in Oct.