Thursday, February 26, 2015

Biking and Life

There's not much better than a gorgeous, crisp day and a 20 plus mile bike ride in St George. We had a great ride today. The boys dropped me off at 21 miles and then continued for 41 more so they could complete a metric century today. I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up with them on the big hills. As I was riding today with The Piano Guys music accompanying me, I kept reflecting on lessons learned while biking. 

First of all hills are the worst. You have to be strong and really gear down. When I started biking all I wanted to do was flat and easy roads and any time I would come to a hill, I was done. I have leaned that is a very limiting way to bike. Now when I come to a hill I take one look, swallow my fear, keep my head down and pedal...pedal... gear down and pedal some more.  When I get to the top I am exhausted  but I feel so accomplished, I breathe and its a riot zooming down the hill on the other side.  So much like life. When I have a "big mountain" to climb in a work project or cleaning my house or yard or dealing with family issues, it's best to just put my head down and dig in. And I always feel so good when it's finished then I can relax and breathe on the other side of it.

We have some tunnels that we bike through. I wear sunglasses when I bike so these tunnels are already dark and now they are extra dark. I have to trust the bike in front of me or the few lines I can see on the trail as I go through the dark,if I am alone, and know I will see the light again at the other end.  Sometimes Wayne rides in front of me with his blinking back tail light, If I just focus on that I will also make it out the other side. The dark tunnel can represent so many things...trials, depression, unanswered questions, but once again if I just keep moving forward with faith and follow the little bit of light that I can see, then the bigger light will eventually appear and I will be feeling/seeing good once again. 

It's great to ride with someone. Riding in a pack does a couple of things. Cars that we share the road with can see us better  and wevcan draft off the bike in front which makes it easier.  I'm glad my Wayne likes to bike so I can share the road with him.  I go out alone quite a bit, but it's always more fun to be with other bikers.   I know this is why we come down in families to this we can bike through life together and help each other. When drafting in biking, the lead bike takes most of the wind resistance and the bikes behind get 30% less drag and thus spend less energy.  If you are exhausted just be a few inches behind the bike in front of you and be pulled along. It's nice to have a lead bike and most bikers take turns being in front.  We can't always be the leader (nor do we want to be) and we have to learn to be good followers. 

Other lessons can be: if at first you don't succeed try, try  again with regards to getting  the right shoe clips. 
Take embarrassment in stride--Don't fall down and if you do, just get back up.  
Be prepared with the right biking food for energy and bike equipment for flat tire changing. 
And let music motivate, energize and accompany you on your way. 

I'm planning on my first century this summer. I know my biking and my life lessons will continue---(even if I look like the Uni-biker. )

Thankful Thursday

1. Thankful for good couple friends to play with -the Belnaps (and the Farleys, last weekend.)
We love going down to the Belnap Bungalow  and playing cards, and seeing movies and biking and solving all of the world’s problems as we travel.   Good thing these traveling couples aren’t sick of the Welches ….yet.  We are in St. George to practice our bike riding and get more miles as we prepare for LOTOJA for Wayne and the Cache Century for  me.  It takes training…and lots of miles to get stronger and stronger.  This is usually the yearly trip we take when we finally can take our bikes outside again  after a long snowy winter…but we have been riding all over Davis County all of February.  The winter weather gods have been smiling. 

2.  Thankful we have older kids…Monson, Lexi and Truman to be at our home and help with Laila……. Laila of course, thinks she can just be alone while we are gone…not. 

3.    Thankful to have done  Temple Sealings, an Endowment session and Initiatory ordinances in a one week time at three different Temples.  It was quite meaningful. 

4.  Thankful  to have so many theatre lovin family members… It’s great to have Truman in Shrek as Pinocchio, Addison as the Choreographer for Shrek, and Bre in Ghost the Musical all at the same time.  It would only be better if I was in a show right now too…..but I get to be one of the STARS in the “Alfie show” and help with my little boyfriend at night . Grateful to be at this point in my life.

5.   Thankful to count Alex Buzelli as a member of our family.  Alex is kind, gentle, funny,  giving, a good listener, cultured, Christ like and a great cook.    And a plus to this almost perfect Alex package is he comes with two adorable children, Sophia and Andrew!  It’s Alex’s birthday this week… we will celebrate him.

6.    Thankful for  the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is my anchor and hope.

7.  Thankful

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend in Anaheim

Just got back from a fun weekend  spent in Anaheim at the NAFEM convention with the Farleys. While the boys worked the convention,  Kimi and I spent time shopping and beaching.  We laughed a lot and solved our kids issues and just had a great time with the Farleys.  
We went to three different beaches three different days and enjoyed the sunshine, sand and ocean waves while we read books and relaxed.  There is something rejuvenating about my toes in the sand, and the sound of the ocean in my ears, drowning out everything else-- and sun on my face, that I just can't get enough of. 
We ate way too much because that's what Bob does on vacation. He never wants to miss a meal. So Little Sheep Hot Pot, Samborosa Mexican food, and awesome ribs at Banderas. Delicious.
 We did Initiatories at the Newport Beach Temple.  This is a gorgeous spanish style architecture temple.  The workers were so kind and helpful and it was a wonderful way to spend a few hours. Wayne was told by one of the workers  that "perhaps" he has the best head of hair this guy had every seen.  
We had fun exploring the Orange County Swap meet and flea market.  The farmers market part was full of cheap fruit and veggies, so many tasting tables of bagels, tarts, cookies, salsa, hummus...  once again, eating our way through the day.   We loved finding the "worlds best' this or that. 
It was an all around good get away. Wayne said his work meetings at NAFEM went well so hopefully new business will come out of it too.
Newport Beach and relaxing and reading
Little Sheep Hot pot in celebration of Chinese New year
Newport Beach Temple time.
Amazing Sunsets off Balboa Beach
Orange County Swap Meet and Farmers Market
Laguna Beach with the boys this time.
Bob, Kimi, Wayne and Melinda at the shake shop, Laguna Beach

Friday, February 20, 2015

Love Wanda and Wanee

It's a Happy Birthday for these two lovely twins....Wanda and Wanee.
My mother in law, Wanee  and her twin sister, Wanda are two of the sweetest, most genuine, caring, saintly people I know.  They have been so blessed to have each other for 79 years and I have been so blessed to have them in mine.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Miles and Years.... Book Review

I just finished a book called "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller.  I can't stop thinking about it.   So much of it is how I feel about life and challenges me to feel and do more with my own story.  The book is about so many different things...

It's about writing a better story.  We are  in charge of our lives.  We are the stars of our own story.   We can sit around wasting away our days on our smart phones, not doing much, or we can choose something else...

"Here's the truth about telling stories with your life.  It's going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you're not going to want to do it.  It's like that with writing books, and it's like that with life.  People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen.  But joy costs pain." (pg 100)

"And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time." (pg 155)

 "If you aren't telling a good story no one thinks you died too soon; they just think you died. " (pg38)

"The ambitions we have will become the stories we live. If you want to know what a person's story is about, just ask them what they want.  IF we don't want anything, we are living boring stories. " 
(pg 125)

It's about facing fear and overcoming fear and using fear to propel us forward.  Action cures Fear.

"The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is"Do not Fear."  It's in there over two hundred times.  That means a couple of things, if you think about it.  It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn't let fear boss us around.  ....But fear isn't only a guide to keep us safe; it's also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." (pg 108)

It's about change and embracing it.  We are designed not just to live, but to live through something and to change.  That's what makes a life interesting, and that's what makes a life better. The point of our life is character transformation.  When someone says oh, you haven't changed...that's not really a compliment... we all change physically of course, but spiritually, socially and emotionally as well.

"The human body essentially recreates itself every six months.  Nearly every cell of hair and skin and bone dies and another is directed to its former place.  You are not who you were in February," (pg 70)

"The whole point of the story is the character arc.  You didn't think joy could change a person, did you?  Joy is what you feel when the conflict is over.  But it's the conflict that changes a person." (pg180)

"I remembered about story, about how every conflict, no matter how hard, comes back to bless the protagonist if he will face his fate with courage.  There is not a conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing. " (pg188)

It's about overcoming obstacles
"It made me think about the hard lives so many people have had, the sacrifices they've endured, and how those people will see heaven differently from those of us who have had easier lives." (pg143)

It's about hope.
"What I love about the true gospel of Jesus, though, is that it offers hope.  Apostle Paul has hope our souls will be made complete.  It will happen in heaven, where there will be a wedding and a feast.  I wonder if that's why so many happy stories end in weddings and feasts.  Paul says Jesus is the hope that will not disappoint.  I find that comforting." (pg 204)

It's about loving others just where they are.
"She said she had married a guy, and he was just a guy.  He wasn't going to make all her problems go away, becaue he was just a guy.  And that freed her to really love him as a guy, not as an ultimate problem solver.  And because her husband believed she was just a girl, he was free to really love her too.  Neither needed the other to make everything okay.  They were simply content to have good company through life's conflicts. " (pg 205)

"A good storyteller doesn't just tell a better story, though.  He invites other pepole into the story with him, giving them a better story too."  (pg 236)

It's about remembering life's moments.
"I like those scenes in the Bible were God stops people and asks them to build an altar.  You'd think he was making them do that for himself, but I don't think God really gets much from looking at a pile of rocks. Instead, I think God wanted his people to build altars for their sake, something that would help them remember, something they could look back on and remember the time when they were rescued, or they were given grace. " (pg 214)

 At the end of my life, no one is going to say..."Melinda was great she sat around and watched tv all day."    That's not the story I want. I want to have strong, loving relationships in my story;  including a relationship with my Heavenly Father and I want to create memories with my family...have some *whimsy...and create, travel and perform... that's the story  I want, and I know this will take work but it will be so worth it.

*"I asked him what he meant by whimsy, and he struggled to define it.  He said it's that nagging idea that life could be magical; it could be special if we were only willing to take a few risks."  (pg 167)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Craig the Peg

We have had Craig the  Peg make appearances off and on for years at  our home. Wayne wanted to show Sophia, Andrew and Alex. They were agog!!

Sophia guessed the fake leg was the middle one. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thoughts on this Valentine's eve

This is the first time in 23 years I haven't sent a child out the door with a bag full of classroom Valentines and a decorated box.  It feels weird.  So I'm  in a reflective mood...

Wayne and I got to teach "The 5 Love Languages" to our ward on Saturday.  It was a blessing.  I found myself thinking about my mom a lot.  I channeled her and said all of the "right" things and even used many of her examples.  I could hear her in my head.  She was so good at sharing this and so many other things ( Color Code, Essence)...and her love with many, many  people. 

What a treasure I had having her as my Mom.  
My friend, Karen Nickl, also talked about relationships.  Karen is a family therapist and she is so wise.  What really spoke to me was when she talked about  letting go of expectations and just being more loving and speaking with love.  Never a harsh word.  Never speak in anger.  
As I'm struggling with teenager Laila, I try to recall my own teenage years and how I was and what I kept from or shared with my mom.  I know I had secrets.  I definitely had struggles.  I know I didn't talk about my crushes.  I didn't want to have the no dating til 16 lecture...again.  I know I didn't share much about the friend drama at school.  I didn't want her to "solve" my problems...and she just didn't get it.  I know I was insecure about the black hair on my upper lip....and my body image.   I know I wanted her to think of me as "more together" than I actually was.   

I guess I was not much different than Laila is today.  Don't get me wrong....being a teenager is more tough today with so much social access on phones and moral temptations on computers.  But we are still a like in so many teenagerish ways.

Laila is upstairs trying to figure out what to wear to school today and how to do her hair just so because there is a Valentine's dance at the Junior High.  Oh my.  Talk abut a hot bed of disappointment.  All of these pubescent girls that care too much and boys that don't care at all.
I told her to not put too much stock in who dances with whom...and if she wanted to dance to NOT wait for a boy to ask her on to the dance floor.  JUST DANCE.  That's what I wish I would have done during my torturous JR. High dance years.

Laila 4 years old....she was rocking it...singing I am a Child of God at the top of her lungs. 2006
We will make it through the next 6 years and beyond with a strong relationship....I'm going to do the best I can on my side to ensure this happens. Never a harsh word.  Never speak in anger.  Lower my expectations on things that really don't matter and just LOVE.

That's my Valentine advice.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tru at the Grammy's

Truman went to the Granmy's as an official seat filler. He applied on line with 32,000 others and was one of three hundred that got picked. It was quite an ordeal. He had to check in hours early and hang out in a very hot parking lot across from the Staples center with few potty breaks and little water. He had to turn his phone in and go through metal detectors etc. When the group finally went in And was ready to be seated, Tru  lost the line of where he was supposed to go and ended up back in the holding room dejected with a close circuit tv  to watch. He thought he was going to get crap seats and that his Grammy experience was going to be a bust.....but in True Tru fashion he ended up on the front row the entire night, he didn't get switched out at all.....And the guy sitting next to him had a cell phone and allowed Tru to use it and then sent the pics all to Tru. 
It was "the best night of his life". 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Treasuring Motherhood

I didn’t start out wanting to be a mother.  When other girls were playing with dolls and saying they wanted to be a mom when they grew up, I was going into some type of business or theatre or something  "much grander" than that.  I really am not the nurturing type and I’ve had to learn to be more empathetic and caring as I have raised my kids. 

It’s actually amazing I even have children.  When we got married, I told Wayne we wouldn’t  have children, and he just smiled his wise- all knowing- smile and said, “We will see.”    He  has always known  more than I have.

 As young marrieds with no children in our home for the first 3 years, we would get a lot of questions and  quizzical looks when I would say, “ We are not having kids.”  (This was right after I asked them to call me Melinda Cole-Welch… I was quite the feminist .) I didn’t get a long with little kids, I didn’t find joy in them.  I never felt the need to hold the new born baby and would give it back to it’s momma pretty quickly.   But something clicked…some button got turned on around year 4 in our marriage and the idea of a child, mine and Wayne’s little child, was all I could think about.  I couldn’t wait. 

Being pregnant was not fun for me… it was relatively easy as compared to those who are bed ridden and have so many physical issues.   I got big fairly early and stayed big for years.  I lived in a “tent” dress—love that title, but it fit because we ( pregnant women in the 80-90’s) weren’t cute like the baby momma’s of today with their form fitting belly bumps…we were more like a circus freak show.  I have pics to prove the ginormity of it.  I had the regular first trimester throw ups the easy second trimester and the uncomfortable third.  But when the baby finally arrived….oh my goodness it was always a flood of  tears and love at first sight. I couldn’t help myself.   I would say to Wayne every  time, as I was being wheeled out of the delivery room with my epidural filled body,"Oh let's do that again."  Even with Laila when she arrived by being carried into the room in her car seat…it was love at first sight…and tears.

 It’s amazing how the momma bear instinct kicks in and the nurturing gene starts.  It’s amazing when you  keep this new little person alive.   It’s amazing how when you think you cannot love this first child any more that  a 2nd, , 3rd ,  4th and 5th one come and your love just multiplies and includes.  And now 5 children later I can’t imagine my life without my children.  I love being a mother to Addison, Landon, Truman, Monson and Laila.  I treasure it.

We have scrapbooks and DVD’s of  our early family years with 4 boys under 6 years old…it shows our messy house, bowl cuts, crazy outfits and my arms always filled… and the noise and the energy…the smiles and the fights.   I love seeing other families in this same predicament now at church or at  grocery store.  I always count the kids, smile  at the momma and remember.  If I have a regret,  like so many other mothers before me, it's that I didn't treasure this time while I was in it.   I thought I had it so hard back then.  So much sickness; so many doctor visits; so much laundry; so many tears…the kids and mine.  But now my children’s issues are adult ones and the worry is ever increasing.

I love being a mom. I have learned to be more nurturing.  I have learned that there are things I can control and things I can’t. I have learned that a messy house will get cleaned up eventually.  I have learned that a lot of my worrying and issues that I have no answers for, are best put in a symbolic box and laid at my Savior’s feet.  He can handle it so much better than I. 
And when I have made mothering mistakes and have had to ask forgiveness from my Wayne and my children this is what I know……… they let me try again the next day and the next  to be a better mother.    

"Oh God of new beginnings and second chances, here I am again."  Author unknown