February 26, 2009

Years in the Making

One of the most disturbing realities that Tymon has faced in our marriage is that I have kept my children's placentas in our freezer. What?! I' m sure your reaction is equally as alarmed as his. I mean who really does that?

It stems from years ago... approximately 15. I joined the speech and debate team my senior year of high school. I think I did it because I was pretty opinionated and of course, always right. Well, it turned out that I didn't really like debate. It was great for me to learn that there are often many sides to an issue and that my perspective and opinion can change in the course of a conversation. But I didn't eat it up like I thought I would. Debate nerds carry file boxes of information and evidence around. They organize everything so that they can pull out an expert opinion proving their point (which is both pro and con for any issue) and throw the hard cold facts out at their opponent. I'm just NOT organized like that.

Well, I was a little different sort of nerd. I wholeheartedly embraced the SPEECH TEAM. My friend Natalie and I performed a piece together entitled, Las Hermanas..."that means the sisters in Hispanic". It was written by Kathie Najimi and Mo Gaffney. It highlights a couple of elderly ladies who go back to college and find themselves in the Women's Studies department. At first they thought the courses would include a little macrame or something on child rearing or sewing. They found themselves knee deep in subjects they never knew existed. The end result is a beautiful spoof on individual identity, all things W O M Y N, and environmental consciousness. We took this 8 minute masterpiece to multiple tournaments and perfected our performance. We were successful and worked our two-woman show all the way to the State Tournament and won 3rd place. It was so amazing for me. I didn't compete so much in high school and here I was, a part of team that worked hard and experienced great results.


But we didn't stop there! We took it to the all school talent show. Ordinarily, literature is non-existent in a show full of song and dance. BUT we paved the way...and won first place. Ahhh, such memories... Thank you to Mrs. Bieragel, Mrs. Cedergreen and Ms. Chamberlain for all of your support and encouragement!

Our high school put on a school play every year and one of its great traditions was that each one had a square in the dressing room devoted to it. There were plays on those walls from decades past to decades present. Natalie and I viewed our accomplishments as SO GREAT that a day or two after we graduated, we snuck into the performing arts center and painted the wall to our hearts content. Technically, that would be considered graffitti or vandalism...but in all actuality, it was tradition preservation. Look at the shading there...just fabulous.

The two ladies go on a field trip with their classmates to see a performance by Holly and Molly at an environmentally conscious cafe.

Holly: Birth Cycle
Molly: I am born from you and am of you... of you, I am...
Holly: We give birth. We are birth, we are fetal, we are afterbirth. My placenta is yours and yours is mine.
Molly: So sister. Can I call you sister, or woman of my life or just me? Are you me? Are we, we?
Holly: Oh live in the great uterus of woman. Live in the walls. Cut the umbilical cord.
Both: No! Don't! It is there.
And there's more. I've found most of the text on the internet...but it's from a book I haven't read...only this one chapter. I'm not sure how the rest of the book goes. Suffice it to say that I have been caught up in placentas ever since. Natalie and I were in a thrift shop downtown and actually found a home perm kit that was made from placentas. It was dated...maybe 20 years old at the time...and it was supposed to be so good for your hair...minus the part about whose placenta was mixed in the kit.

In that time period, I did hear that somewhere in Oregon (I guess they've got some back woodsy folk there), the people all use placentas to plant trees. They dig a hole, pop the placenta in and then put the tree on top and fill the hole with dirt.


Last week, I took my placentas out of the freezer and Graeden and I planted trees. Graeden chose a cherry tree for his placenta. It's the coolest tree with 4 varieties of cherries grafted in it, including a couple of my favorites: Bing and Rainier. We chose Evan's placenta for the Pear tree (4 varieties of pears grafted in). Jocelyn shared her placenta with Jovana. They each got an apple tree. This photo shows our 4 trees with a spattering of snow from this morning...it's kind of hard to see them but they're there! We will split Elliott's placenta with his and Jett's plants. Elliott chose grapes and Jett chose a plum tree.

And so, my friends, after having placentas collecting in my freezer for over 5 years...they are now out and in the ground. May the delicious fruit love it's source of life...my children.

February 21, 2009

Flowers for Evan

We accomplished several great things today. One of them was being able to go to Evan's grave and plant him some flowers. They should be up and beautiful in the next month or so.


We're a little surprised to see the bunny from Halloween still there each time we come. Tymon finally took the Snickers bar. The wrapper was turning colors from the sun.




February 19, 2009

Jovana's Turn

I think we've tried to get Jovana up in the air with JC about 4 times. She never gets to go because of the fog or rain or like last time, she was gone at a tournament. This afternoon as JC was on the way home from a meeting and loving the beautiful clear weather and sunshine. He was driving close to the airport where he belongs to a flight club and decided to check to see if they had a plane available. They did.

Jovana finally got her turn. She loved it. She got a turn at the wheel and felt the excitement of being sideways when making a turn. She got this photo of the valley and even our neighborhood cul-de-sac.

Ours is the one with the fence...our neighbors are having a sprinkler system put in and are leveling their back yard. Tymon is researching how to do sprinklers in our yard, too.

Are You Serious?!

My office manager got this email when she informed a candidate that we wouldn't be hiring him:

No, thank you for not giving me a job I would have been much better at than the person you will hire. Also I would like to thank you for not choosing the most qualified and experienced person for the position. You have done a great unservice to your company.

Can you believe it? I'm still laughing in disbelief. We've NEVER gotten a response like this, ever. So, yeah, any of you out there looking for a job, PLEASE don't ever sting THE MAN for holding you back. You may just find out that it's you with the problem.

February 17, 2009

Sharing


After church on Sunday we went to the cemetery for a little bit. The cutest thing was that Elliott wanted to share his sucker with Evan and wish him a happy Valentine's Day.

They have now poured the cement ring around the grave so we will be able to plant flowers soon...once the frames are removed.

February 16, 2009

I'm a Believer

Our family has been fine during this economic recession even though we don't have to look very far to see how it's affected others in our extended family as well as friends and neighbors. This past week at the driving school we decided that we need to hire a new receptionist. Last Friday about 5:30pm my brother posted an ad on www.Craigslist.org for one. Two and a half days later (this afternoon when I got to the office), I pulled the ad. Um, yeah, my inbox is totally full of resumes. And by totally full, I mean approximately 375. Usually, we get around a hundred and the ad stays up for a few weeks until we actually hire the new person. I am totally overwhelmed at the sheer volume of them and am finally a BELIEVER that the economy took a nose dive in Seattle.

I want to read 375 cover letters and resumes and give them the proper attention they deserve. But that's not happening. I delete resumes for any and every reason I can. Just saying, "i'm really interested in this position" is enough excuse for me deleting the email before I've even opened the attachment. If you can't spell "I" correctly then you won't be representing my company.

Bragging about typing 30 words per minute equals deletion. In my experience, I've learned that when an applicant is tested on typing then they can usually do about half of what they say on the resume...so writing 30 wpm really means 15 and by the time you subtract for mistakes it goes lower. We've actually had a few applicants in the past test at less than 10 words per minute. Touting a GPA in school that is under 3.5 falls into this arena, too. Why mention that you did poorly in school?

One of my personal pet peeves: saying you pay attention to detail and then having a spelling or grammatical mistake. And it's not like I find these because I studied English and grammar in college...most of them are found for me by Microsoft Word. It underlines the errors.

So, yes my friends, I'm getting picky. It's actually a nice position to be in. I want the person who comes to work for my company to WANT a job. To thank the Lord that they have a job and do all they can to do well in the work required.


For too long, it's seemed like the job searchers I come into contact with are really into "building their experience." They don't have the right kinds of experiences though. They have so many jobs that they never really stick around in one job long enough to be good at it. Instead of working through problems with co-workers or bosses they just find another job. They come to work late often or take too many days off. They don't really care if they have a job or not ( because if they did, they'd behave a little differently). They'd take their job a little more seriously and grow in their positions and improve themselves. All of us are in the same boat that way. We're all learning...sometimes, it just takes a while to get that part of it.

I remember having a job when I was 23. I liked having money, but being low maintenance, I didn't "need" very much of it. That spring, my sister and I had the opportunity to go to the UK. So, I told my boss that I was going and would be gone for 3 weeks. I didn't ask. I told. It occured to me a few years ago that my boss probably didn't like that. He accepted it, but it was obvious that I didn't take the job too seriously. I didn't care if I had a job when I came back or not. In the moment, I thought I was in that job for a long time (6 months). I thought I'd learned so much (I did) but in reality I'd have to spend years there to really be effective and good at it. Sometimes, I think of going back. I think about giving it my all and making a difference in the lives of young people. But, my life is different now and I'm making a difference not only in the lives of my little people at home but also other young adults who are learning about the responsibilities and freedoms that come with driving.

Our business isn't immune to economic downturn, and for now we're doing well. Thus far, we've never laid anyone off for lack of work. I truly hope that this recession brings us employees who are grateful to have a job, are well qualified, stay with us for years (we're very nice people to work with), and love our students.

February 13, 2009

Perspective

This past week, I've read "The Birth We Call Death" by Paul H. Dunn and Richard M. Eyre. It's pretty good and really short (83 pages). I didn't realize it but the train analogy from James Schwartz's speech at Evan's funeral came from this book. Another excerpt that I love is as follows:


Any dear possession, if separated from us for good purpose, and if
returned in even better condition, produces joy rather than agony and
peace rather than frustration.


One man loses his billfold containing a large sum of money. Another,
with the same amount, sets goals and makes a planned investment. Both are
now separated from their money, but one feels the bite and bitterness of
permanent loss, while the other anticipates the day when he will
retrieve his investment and enjoys the knowledge that it will probably
grow in the meantime.


A loss that we cannot comprehend or accept (and a loss that is considered permanent) is bleak and stark and comfortless; but a temporary
separation as a part of a goal and plan is acceptable and, in a way even
joyful. The loss of a loved one–the parting of the spirit from the body–is
not a permanent loss, neither is it a separation we cannot accept or
comprehend. Rather, it is indeed an indispensable part of the goal and plan
of God.

I love the part about both men being separated from their money. It really helps me to put our loss into perspective. It DOESN'T make it easier. We still miss Evan tremendously. But it does help. Tymon and I watched some of Evan's videos last night and had a good cry. I love listening to him "talk" or coo. And as I type, Jocelyn is making similar noises. It's so precious to me.

February 12, 2009

Bridget and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Rotten Day



That sums up my day to the fullest. It started with a small boy's tirade and ended the same way. Popping keys off the laptop, throwing clothing all over, eating bread and granola bars and leaving crumbs all over, absolute disobedience. And me in tears trying to hold it together.

Really, I tried. Elliott and I said a couple of prayers together to calm ourselves and get control over our emotions. It was good. We felt good. And it gave me strength to withstand one or two outbursts before I lost it again. I couldn't even take them to school. Sometimes, they get dressed and are ready to go. Other times, I have to literally do everything for them to get them ready. Well, today, I wasn't going to do it. I couldn't do it. So, when they jumped around their rooms and on the beds and hit me and called me names, I didn't let them go. They were disappointed but still not motivated to be kind or obedient.

The best part of my day was that when Jovana came home from school, she sat down with me in the kitchen and asked me about my day. Then she went and organized the boys to clean up their messes.. She made it into a game for them. She was the breath of fresh air that I needed to stop my tears. It was all I could do to keep from driving off without the boys today.

I spotted for Tymon lifting weights tonight and we talked for a while. In between sets we played darts. That was great to reconnect with him. He listened and asked some questions. We both get angry quickly these days.

February 7, 2009

Please Pass the Scriptures


This morning I started building my Scripture Toolbox by not only opening this self help book that I've had for several months, but to actually do the assignments at the end of each chapter. Truth be known, my scripture study has been severely lacking of late. And by "of late" I mean for several months and perhaps years. Don't get me wrong, I read here and there. And as a family, we read the storybook form with pictures with the boys. But I remember a time as a teenager when I read the scriptures every day. Back then, the stories came to life for me. They were constantly in my thoughts and what ever life threw at me, I could draw on how the prophets and apostles handled similar situations to make good decisions.

I remember a time when I was 16 and away from home. I was miserable and living with a very nice family in another country. They had some very different customs than I was used to and I didn't always appreciate them. Often I would sit in my room after school and write letters home or to my friends. I also spent some quality time with my scriptures. One afternoon, when I was at a friend's house, the sister missionaries were also there and we were talking about some problem. I can't remember the situation, but whatever it was, in my mind popped the exact scripture that they needed to help solve their problem.

That's exactly what I want back in my life. Life is a lot more complicated than it used to be. I need the stories that the prophets teach back in my life on a daily and several times a day basis. I am missing a peace that I used to know and a peace that I have tasted ONCE in the last several months. As with other trials I have faced, none of them have passed all by themselves without any action on my part. The scriptures teach me to act on my faith and then the blessings I seek will come.

So, after reading this first chapter of Please Pass the Scriptures I went to pick up my scriptures....and wouldn't you know it. I don't know where they are. I ended up reading most of a chapter in my Slovene Book of Mormon, but my Slovene isn't what it used to be. My next assignment is to find my English scriptures. Please help me fulfill my other assignment in my new book! I invite you to post a comment about why you think it's important to study the scriptures. If you have an experience to share about it, I'd love to hear that as well.

February 4, 2009

Courage

Last week I read about Luis Molina who defended himself in court. I found his story of courage and confidence amazing. From the article by Mike Stuckey ...

"Luis Molina is not a lawyer and he has never played one on TV.

But that didn’t stop him from putting on his best suit, marching into a Miami courtroom this month and going up against an attorney with 30 years of experience to stop a foreclosure proceeding against his family’s home. Molina did such a good job of representing himself that the judge in the case thought he was a lawyer and punctuated his ruling in Molina's favor by tearing up the other side’s motion for summary judgment and throwing it over his shoulder."

THANK YOU LUIS! I borrowed a little of your courage this past week and made some very difficult phone calls. Three years ago today I was evaluating one of our instructors teach a driving lesson and we were rear-ended by a guy driving under the influence. For the past three years I have dealt with several neck/back/headache issues that relate to whiplash injuries. About 10 days ago, his insurance company offered me a sum of money to settle the case. I had to accept it or sue before the statute of limitations was up...today. I talked to my sister in law's brother in law...not my brother, but her sister's husband who is a lawyer to ask about the legal possibilities. He gave me some advice. I called another lawyer's office that a friend of mine is currently using for a collision that she was injured in. That office team collected information from me about the guy who hit me and found that he is probably in his home country now. That would make a lawsuit against him a little more complicated. He also probably has a minimal insurance policy and once the lawyer took out his chunk of change then I wouldn't be getting any more than what the insurance company was offering me.

Soooooooo, I was totally afraid to call the insurance company but after thinking about LUIS MOLINA, I summed up the courage and called them and asked them to increase the settlement amount. I wanted them to cover my out of pocket medical expenses. They added enough to almost cover those. I hung up sort of happier but not pleased because at the end of the day, I'm still injured. The next day I called the lady back and talked to her voicemail. When we finally spoke, she informed me that she couldn't do anything else for me. So, I called her supervisor, who reviewed the case and offered me a bit more. All in all, I was successful in getting them to up the settlement by 50% without having to go to court.

I did learn a few things in this long process.
#1. I can find courage to make a phone call....even little people can get big results.
#2. I can't expect someone to give me what I want when I DON'T KNOW what I want
#3. I can't expect someone to give me what I want when I DID NOT ASK for what I want.
#4. After 3-4 months, whether you're healed or not, the insurance company thinks you've healed from a soft tissue injury (like whiplash). After that, chiropractic care, massage therapy and physical therapy are viewed by auto insurance companies as "maintenance" and they don't pay for that. If you still aren't feeling well and problems persist then you need to be referred to a doctor who will have an MRI done or other diagnostic testing.
#5. It doesn't matter who is at fault in a collision. Everyone LOSES, especially the one who is injured.

My new goal is to sum up enough courage to say NO to the internet and go to bed earlier. After that, I'll add some exercise back into my life...I haven't done anything since the snow storms in mid-December. Then I may even clean my house or do some laundry......but I don't want to be too ambitious! ha ha ha

February 3, 2009

Horsey Rides

Usually each night after stories, scriptures and family prayer, Daddy gives the boys a ride to bed. Well, last night he took us all for a spin and Jovana caught it on film. Please note that Jocelyn really is in the photo...only she wanted to be by herself on the bean bag.

February 2, 2009

YESSSSS!

Armed with his monkey backpack, 2 baby carrots and some Kleenex, Elliott started school this afternoon. It is time. He is SO CURIOUS and so FEARLESS and so SMART that it's time to harness his ENERGY and put it to good use. Last week, when I told him that he would get to go to school, he exclaimed "YESSSSSS!" and jumped around the rest of the day gloating about it to Jett. Heaven help his teacher keep him interested, occupied and learning, she'll need it.

Winning Streak

Jovana added another medal on Saturday to her growing collection. There were college scouts at the competition and she was offered a $5000 scholarship at one school. Next week, she'll be headed to Berkeley, California to compete in a huge competition. We hope she wins big and gets another scholarship opportunity.

Boy of the Year

For all those that didn't believe Tymon's #1 Random Thing in his Facebook Note

25 Random Things by Tymon Johns

1. I won the “Boy of the Year” award in sixth grade.
2. I lived on a sail boat for about three years growing up.
3. I went to school smelling like seaweed for about three years growing up.
4. I just found out what teams are playing in this year’s Super Bowl this week.
5. I never lived in the same place for more than three years as a kid.
6. I’ve been skydiving 16 times. I was nervous every time I got in the plane.
7. I use Excel to work out the best strategies for computer games…even really lame games.
8. I was awarded “Most Improved” for Tennis in ninth grade. Mostly ‘cause I really sucked when the season started.
9. I usually cry more in sappy movies than the girls around me.
10. I came in last, by a lot, at a camp triathlon.
11. I’m allergic to shellfish, though I still eat it on occasion because I like it so much.
12. I have a terrible memory, but I am organized enough that I can usually access what I need to know when I need to know it.
13. I’m on my second year in a row of not eating candy or drinking pop (though I do make exceptions on holidays and vacations).
14. In general, I would rather e-mail than talk on the phone.
15. When I watch movies at home I need the room I’m in clean. Can we say OCD?
16. I used to have long hair. It hung below my shoulders.
17. I yearn to run my own business some day.
18. Turkish Delight is my favorite candy (an obscure candy bar I’ve only ever seen in Canada).
19. I usually show emotion through humor (or through balling my eyes out in chick flicks).
20. My dream job would be a movie editor, or at least something in post production…like maybe the special effects guy.
21. I'm a certified scuba diver but haven't been in two or three years.
22. When I was four, my brother threw me into a wall and broke my femur.
23. I got all four of my wisdom teeth pulled in one day, and then headed to the post office for passport photos. I went to a wedding reception and danced that evening.
24. I was once interviewed by the FBI – Terrorist Division on suspicion of terrorism.
25. Someday I hope to learn how to play the piano.

February 1, 2009

Flight Plans

I think I was about 14 when I had my first taste of flying. Our family visited some of my parents' friends near Yosemite in California. The dad was a pilot and took us up in his plane. I was the first one to go and he let me take the controls. I was both excited and nervous but I thought it was so great to be able to "fly a plane".



Yesterday, my brother JC took our family flying. He's a small plane pilot and belongs to a flight club, through which he gets a little 4 seater Cessna for a few hours a month.

First he took the boys up. Jett zonked out after 5 minutes.


Graeden and Elliott were awake for most of it but fell asleep about 5 minutes before they landed.

Then I went up with JC. I loved seeing our city and neighborhoods. It was fun identifying the roads and familiar homes of friends and family. We flew over Evan's grave, but I couldn't identify it. Roads and landmarks are a little disorienting from the air. Changing perspective takes work and my brain scrambled to keep up and reacquaint itself with the view. So, we had passed it over before I could put all the pieces of the new aerial landscape together.




At a certain point, JC asked me if I wanted to fly. I didn't. He took his hands off the controls. I took over. I moved the steering wheel a little. JC took control again. I had this overwhelming feeling that I could make a mistake and we'd plumet to the earth and I was pretty sure that JC didn't have the same piloting skills as Chesley B. Sullenburger III. What I don't get is why I was enveloped in this fear. It's the same type of plane I was excited to steer when I was a teenager. It's not JC's abilities as a pilot. I've flown with him before...years ago when he first got his license and his skills have grown since then.

The only thing that's a little different is ME. I'm not as carefree or invincible as I used to be. I imagined what it'd be like if JC crashed with my boys. Beyond the intense and deep grief for my family, there would be other things to consider. Like how JC is our main guy at the driving school. We'd need Tymon to step in to keep the business flowing. Then I stop myself from getting carried away in destructive thoughts (not Tymon, but everyone dying around me). God doesn't want me or my family to live with fear. He has given us peace. My great challenge is to accept it and move forward. To reconcile life with death. The prophet Mormon taught his son Moroni "perfect love casteth out all fear" (Moroni 8:16). It's all about choosing to love.

I love these GUYS!
 
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