Friday, January 30, 2009

WGU Faculty Meetings and Graduation

As most of you know, I only see my co-workers twice a year. Even though our week of faculty meetings is extremely hectic, we always look forward to seeing each other and spending time together.

Last Wednesday, we had a half-day of meetings, and then I had the opportunity to take several of my friends to the Draper Temple open house. I think they all enjoyed learning more about the importance of temples and temple ordinances to us. Even as I was saying good-bye to my friend, Heather (hi Heather!), on Saturday, she said that her head was still spinning. I especially enjoyed walking through the temple with Scarlette. In the 4 ½ years that we have known each other, she has always been comfortable asking me questions about my beliefs. It was fun to experience this culmination of all of those discussions.

For those who may not know, I am one of the “Southern Girls,” as far as many fellow WGU employees are concerned. Since I spend most of my time with Scarlette (formerly Georgia, now Alabama), Blake (Alabama), Cindy (formerly Alabama, now Mississippi), and Debra (Georgia), most people assume that I am also from the South. Some of you know that my grandfather was born and raised in Alabama. We’ve decided that I’m a Southern Girl, both by association and ancestry. Here are the “Southern Girls,” also known as the “Dixie Chicks” at our Thursday night dinner.

And here we are (minus Scarlette who always hobnobs with the VIPs) at Saturday’s graduation. I loved this graduation ceremony. We were lucky enough to have former Governor/former Secretary of Health & Human Services/co-founder of WGU, Mike Leavitt with us. We also enjoyed the speech of Scott McNealy, Chairman and Co-founder of Sun Microsystems, and one of the initial believers in (and contributors to) the WGU model and ideas. His inclusion of “the top ten dumbest interview lines” was a great hit, and was very entertaining.

The four student speakers were also very uplifting and motivating. They all had such amazing stories of how they got to this point. They had us all weepy and teary. I need to remember to take Kleenex to graduation!

A couple of years ago, Ryan and Blake started comparing height. Since Blake is the shortest of our group (but not by much), they thought it would be fun to check Ryan's growth every six months by comparing him to Blake. He's getting there!It was a busy, but very fun week. I look forward to seeing everyone again in July!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Draper Temple Open House

From the time the Draper Temple open house was announced, Ryan has been excited about attending. He thought it was great that he would have the opportunity to go into a temple!

On Saturday, January 17, our tickets were for 8:40 am. We were assigned to begin at one of three different churches, and then take a bus to the temple. We started in the Relief Society room with a short video about temples in general, as well as the Draper temple in particular. Then we took the bus to the temple.

We were able to go through the baptistry, the brides' room, the chapels and other waiting areas, several ordinance rooms, and the Celestial Room. We were also able to sit in one of the sealing rooms for a few moments, and look into the mirrors as a family. Ryan and I were able to talk about what the mirrors represented, and later we talked about how we could make sure that what we saw symbolically would come to pass literally. I hope it is a memory that will stay with Ryan for the rest of his life.

This Wednesday, I have the opportunity to take my good friend, Scarlette, to the open house. She will be in town from Alabama, and expressed interest in participating in the temple open house while she's here. I joked with her that "I'm going to the temple with Scarlette" was a phrase I never thought I would say. I'll be anxious to hear her questions and comments about our experience.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In Memory

In the past two weeks, we have mourned the deaths of three people who have been important in our lives.

My Great Uncle Jim, my Grandpa Jensen’s brother, passed away on Monday, January 6. He was 90 years old. He and his wife, Flora, moved to a care center here in Bountiful a while ago. We have enjoyed visiting with them there. Even though our extended family had annual family reunions when we were growing up, Uncle Jim did not attend as often as his siblings did, so I didn’t know him well in my youth. It has just been in the past couple of years that Ryan and I have gotten to know him better. We have enjoyed our time with him, and learning more about not only him, but about my grandpa as we heard stories of their youth.

Jeff’s Great Aunt Winnie, his Grandma Morrell’s sister, passed away on Monday, January 12. She was 89 years old. I first met this great lady in 1996, and I have continued correspondence with her over the years. Even though I have not technically been a member of her family for almost seven years, she always enjoyed hearing about the things happening in our lives. I last saw her at a family reunion on Catalina Island in the summer of 2001. Even at the age of 81, she was willing to camp on the island in order to spend time with her family. Aunt Winnie was the family member responsible for most of the family history work. At one family reunion, I purchased several binders of family history from her. I'm so glad that I have those for Ryan to get to know the wonderful people on that side of his family.
Here is a sweet tribute written to Aunt Winnie by her granddaughter, Jane.
Our neighbor and friend, Irene Dickson, passed away on Saturday, January 10. I have known Irene since I was five years old. When I was younger, she was a loving and caring leader. When I moved back into this ward after my divorce, she was an accepting friend who truly loved unconditionally. I will miss her not only as my friend, but as someone who modeled Christ-like love and service.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

National Bubble Bath Day

Apparently Ryan's calendar is going to provide me with plenty of blog entries this year. Today is National Bubble Bath Day. We had noticed it on the calendar this morning, and talked about when we could each take bubble baths today.I often watch "Studio 5" as I'm answering student emails. (There's a plug for you, Linda!) Today they had a segment on National Bubble Bath Day! It was funny - they had a few guests that were presenting their favorite bubble bath products. At the beginning of the segment, they were joking that none of them even knew it was National Bubble Bath Day. I did!!!
I hope all of you reading are able to "celebrate" this wonderful holiday! I certainly plan on it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What is Today?

As a devoted BYU fan, my wake up song to Ryan every morning is “Rise and Shout,” BYU’s fight song. When I finished singing this morning, he sat up in his bed and gave me a HUGE hug. He had a hard time going back to school yesterday, so I thought maybe he was sucking up in preparation of his “can I stay home today” speech. When he let go, he said, “Do you know why I hugged you?”

“Because I’m such an awesome mom and you love me so much?”

“No!” (What?) “Didn’t you look at my calendar for today? It’s ‘Cuddle-Up Day.’”

That explains it.

We’re having a lot of fun with his calendar. Yesterday we were able to add something to it. Yesterday, January 5, was the inauguration of Governor Jon Huntsman.At the end of his speech the governor said, “No matter if you normally cheer for the blue or the red, today we are all proud of the Utes.” And he declared yesterday Utah Utes Day in honor of the great performance by the Utes at the Sugar Bowl.
For all of you that know me, you know that I am True Blue. Utahns know that if you live in the state, you are generally red OR blue, you can’t be both. Interestingly, at the beginning of the game last Friday, a friend in the South (and die hard Alabama fan) made a comment on Facebook about me cheering for the Utes. I never thought that phrase would be uttered! But I hope I speak for all BYU fans in saying that we ARE proud of the Utes and their spectacular season!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Alice & Claire’s Blessing Day

Yesterday was a very special day for our family. It was the blessing day for Alice and Claire. Because of their health concerns, Marc and Frances decided not to have the blessings at church, but to do them at her parents’ house. It was fun to have so many family members and friends there for their special day. Marc did a great job, and gave two very sweet and tender blessings to the girls. (I just have to add how proud I am of my little brother. He is such an attentive and loving daddy. Alice and Claire are very lucky to have Marc and Frances as their Daddy and Mommy.) And, as always, Ryan enjoyed being the “big cousin” and helping with the girls.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day.

Getting Alice dressed (obviously she's not too sure about all of it)…
Alice & Claire with Daddy & Mommy…Close-up of Alice & Claire on Daddy’s & Mommy’s laps…The Inman family…Ryan with Claire & Alice…
Ryan and Alice continued to hang out after Claire went to get lunch…

Happy New Year!

I know, it’s now the 5th, but it’s still in the first week of the new year. We’ve already had a great start to the new year, which I will write about in a separate post.

I wanted to mention something that I received for Christmas. Ryan’s school class made the cutest calendars! Each child drew a picture (Ryan drew himself holding Alice and Claire), and then the monthly pages are attached at the bottom. His teacher found every possible special day to put on the calendar! For example, yesterday was “Trivia Day.” So, perhaps for Family Home Evening tonight, along with our annual goal setting, we’ll play a short game of Trivial Pursuit in honor of yesterday’s Trivia Day. I’ll keep you posted on any important days you need to know about through the coming year.