Monday, January 31, 2011

Above and Beyond

In loving memory of Raymond T. Park, "Dad"

Once a week, I plan on sharing a story I've heard or experienced that features someone who I think has went "above and beyond" their normal call of duty.  I am always inspired by these stories and know so many people who are deserving of recognition.  I encourage anyone who would like to share stories of their own unsung heroes or people of note to comment.  The world could truly become a glorious place if we followed the examples of those doing more than their part.

I'm going to start by reflecting, for a moment, on my Dad.  He passed away October 17, 2008.  Dad was my hero as I was growing up.  I thought his words were gospel.  His interests were mine.  He was always cheerful and willing to help others.  He wanted to save the world and frequently befriended those who had few friends.  He loved to make people laugh and was always cracking jokes. 

When Dad had a very unexpected heart attack, people came out of the woodwork to show our family love and support.  We were overwhelmed by the love shown to us.  Although there are many I could mention today, I want to spotlight two men:  Larry Russell and Curtis Sagers. I don't know that they ever knew what a comfort they were to my family at this trying time.

Larry was with Dad when he suffered his heart attack.  He was hauling Dad's herd of goats to the auction to sell.  I know that Larry always wished he could have done more to save my dad, but I also know that there wasn't anyone else in the whole world that would have tried harder to do so. 

By the time all of the reviving efforts were made and the paramedics drove off with Dad,  Larry knew that he would be too late to get the animals he was hauling, to the auction.  He called ahead and they promised him they'd wait for him and sell the goats.   

As we went through this trying time, Larry was a valued part of our family, conveying his love for Dad in all of the stories he shared and actions he performed.  He took over the ranch duties for Mom and made sure we could solely focus on Dad.  Words cannot convey the feelings of gratitude we feel for Larry.  He spoke at Dad's funeral and gave us lasting memories to hold onto until we see Dad again.

Curtis was the bishop of the Rush Valley Ward at the time my Dad passed away.  When I got to the University of Utah Hospital, Curtis was already there.  He met me with a big hug and words of comfort that were so valuable in the days ahead. 

We didn't expect Dad to be in the hospital long.  He was very healthy and active and we knew that it was just a matter of time before the doctors would allow us to go in and talk to him.  Curtis shared this optimistic view with us and his light comments and support added peace to our hearts. 

To make three very long and emotional days short, Dad never regained consciousness.  Curtis was there with us throughout.  I'm sure he missed work and other obligations to be with us.  He was so intuitive about when we needed some space and when we needed words of comfort.  The respect he showed when he thought we needed family-only time still causes me pause and I know that he was guided by Heavenly Father at that time to help us get through our ordeal.

Larry and Curtis, thank you for being true disciples of Christ, for bringing a little bit of heaven to our lives when it was needed most, and for going "above and beyond" what we could have ever expected.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Crowning Moments!

Time was running out!  We had been playing this numbers game, going back and forth, the whole nail-biting time.  And now, when we were so sure that victory was ours, a well-aimed toss by our opponents could have just sent our triumph out the window. The score was Home 26, Visitor 27.  Twenty-eight seconds left, 94 feet of court and 5 basketball warriors to hurdle and we could still claim our prize.  Time slowed as the ball was thrown in and, as if in slow motion, the ball was seized and a line drive made right for the basket.  He's never going to make it!  There were too many enemies intent on stopping us!  He made a dodge left, a duck under, a quick leap to the right, one step, two steps; the defending team were mere aids to his perfectly executed lay-up, and he scored!!  We did it!!

This may sound like the final seconds in Jimmer's recent wave of glory, (if you don't follow collegiate basketball, just ask anybody about Jimmer Fredette), but it was my son's church basketball game last night.  I have to admit he wasn't the final-scoring hero, but all that were there felt the pride that came with the well-fought victory.

Well, the reason I tell this story is to bring up my topic today: self-confidence.  I am convinced that a child's, or anybody's confidence will be one of the main factors in their success in life.  Something to think about: are we setting our kids up for succeeding in life, or failing? 

My newly-turned 12-year-old, being the youngest and smallest on the team, and this being only his second game, has been a little intimidated to play.  As such, the amount of play time when on the court is very negligible because the experienced players naturally dominate the ball.  Five minutes into last nights game, the coach, in a moment of insanity, (as determined by all who witnessed it), put in the 5 most inexperienced, youngest players all together.  They were almost a head shorter than every member of the opposite team at that point.  But that's when the miracle happened.  That little 5-member team, previously soliciting the outer edges of the action were thrown into the midst of the flames; and how they shone!  Their once hesitant demeanor changed in an instant and our little guys took charge.  I cheered proudly as my Weston charged up behind a member of that opposing team and stole the ball right from under his nose.  He was a defensive animal when their team was trying to shoot, and he even got fouled while he was making his own offensive plays.  He and his team were on fire and they glowed with confidence.  The rest of the game for them was truly a "crowning moment".

How do we get that confidence in our young ones so that they grow into confident, successful adults?  I would love to hear your comments.  And since this is my blog :) I am also going to share my own thoughts.  My husband and I have discussed this frequently.  We believe that by finding and developing our children's talents, and then giving them opportunities to perform and use them is a huge confidence-builder for them.  We also never tell our kids that what they want to do or try is impossible.  If they are struggling with something, we let them know that anything worth putting our time into takes work, patience, and perseverance.  And most of all, give them praise, praise, praise. 

Our experience last night is one of many I could, and probably eventually will, mention.  I have to thank those who have such an impact on my kids and their confidence levels. Through that encouragement and praise they are becoming forces that will change the world for the better.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Everything I Learned, I Learned in Kindergarten...and Then Re-learned as a Mom!

Art 101:  Remember the straight lines, perfect circles, complementary colors, light versus shadow?  I remember learning about perspective and what a neat concept that was, that as you got closer in the foreground of your picture, the trees, or roads got wider or taller.  There were so many things that made art attractive and "right".  As I've become a Mom, my perspective has changed.  I've re-learned what is beautiful art as my kids have developed their own talents.  When my four-year-old asks if I love her drawing of a horse, I honestly tell her it is the most beautiful horse I've ever seen, (now which end is the tail on?).  As my kids bring home their different holiday art projects, the once pristine blue and silver Christmas tree has transformed into a modge-podge of colors and shapes.  But is it any less beautiful?  Sure, walking around the Festival of Trees sends a longing for a perfectly trimmed tree in complementing colors and shapes, but as we turn on the lights that are hung loosely on only one side of our own pine-scented tree, the warmth and Spirit of the season flows just as strong.  And so, although the masterpieces hanging all over my fridge may not be Monet's, they might rival Picasso's; and even if I have to ask "Oh, it's upside down?", the mountain scene taped to the door rivals the real mountain scene outside my window.  As I continue to "learn" what art is, I'm grateful for the talents I can help nurture and develop in those future artists that seem to decorate every wall (and sometimes, it's literally the wall), with color and life.

Tip of the Day... from parenting to picking out chickens :)

My tip today has to do with kids.  Don't they just want to be loved?  Looking at all of the things my kids do in a day, I can see, if I'm in the mood to look, that their actions were inspired by good intentions.  They want to make others happy, especially their parents.  Smile at them and let them know they make you happy.

I'm Dreaming of...Blog Hops