I just took a look at the lesson I’m scheduled to teach to the eleven-year-olds this Sunday and noticed it’s about Esau, who gave up his birthright for some pottage, in other words, food. My first reaction to that story is, How could anybody do that? But then I realized I go for the instant gratification a little too often. Chocolate comes to mind.

Here’s something my neighbor Mark Weiler came up with regarding short term vs. long term choices. If you should decide to use it or share it as well, please make sure you add “by Mark Weiler” so Mark can get credit for writing it.


(by Mark Weiler)




On the other hand . . .








gold starI started off awarding stars to friends and family, but decided I could easily run into problems doing that–there are too many friends and family members I consider heroes. Instead, I’ve decided to award stars to random people I run into during the day who show extra caring and kindness etc. So here are a couple of people I ran into a few days ago who need a big shiny star.

The Situation: I had to tag some of my puppets and toys for my booth and my tag gun got jammed. Aaaaaargh. Even though I could see the problem—one of those little tag thingies was jamming up the works, I couldn’t seem to get it out.

The happy ending: I stopped by Advanced Display where I sometimes shop. They’re probably going to tell me to just buy a new one, I thought. There’s no reason they should help me. But Tania (pictured below) listened to my plight and was willing to take a look at my tag gun. She patiently worked to solve the problem. Even though it turned out to be more difficult and time-consuming than either of us anticipated, she didn’t give up. When she had a little trouble with a particular tool she wasn’t familiar with, in stepped equally patient Cory who helped her to help me. These two were genuinely kind. There was no show of any kind of attitude or rolling of eyeballs at this lady who was taking up their time. They both worked at it until they’d helped me solve my problem. I left that store with renewed faith in humanity and a tag gun that worked.



We got a call this morning from our son-in-law. Our daughter had some chest pain  and to be safe he’d taken her to the hospital. Because it was  last minute and unexpected–most emergencies are– he’d had to bring along our three-and-a-half-year-old grandson. “It looks like this is going to take awhile,” he said. “Do you think you could come pick Reggie* up and let him play at your house for a while?”

“We’ll be right there,” I said.

I wasn’t entirely surprised that my daughter was in emergency. She’d told me just an hour before that she wasn’t feeling well and that if her pain didn’t improve she might need to have it checked. I was relieved she was being looked at. As we drove to the hospital I tried not to let me imagination get too out of hand—tried not to think of the worst scenarios. I wondered how Reggie was reacting to all this.

Reggie seemed thoroughly happy when we came in to his mother’s room in emergency. “Look what I got!” he blurted out, lifting a little blue teddy bear.  He was also gripping two packages of Lorna Doone cookies. When he tried to grab his drink which he pointed out had a lid and straw, a package of cookies fell. I picked it up and convinced him to let me hold his drink as well. “Don’t worry, I’ll give it back,” I said.

“He’s pretty excited about all his loot,” my daughter laughed. But then she grew more serious and caught me up on what was happening. Apparently the doctor had scheduled a  CT Scan to check for a blood clot. The nurse had drawn some blood as well to see if certain enzymes were present that would indicate heart problems. “They’re not sure what’s going on with me,” she said.

I tried not to look worried as I wished her luck. “Okay, let’s go Reggie!” I said then.

Reggie burst out the door of the room and seemed happy to be with me, to go see his grandpa, and to come visit with us for a while. In the car, he seemed more concerned about the fact that his cookie packages had fallen from his lap than he did about his mother back at the hospital.  That was fine with me. I didn’t want him to be upset.

For the next few hours we did our best to keep our grandson happy. We’d just bought the DVD Frozen and immediately put that in the machine. We fed him, of course, scrambled eggs with cheese, some grapes, and toast with spray butter—the only kind of butter he likes. We read books; he jumped on the tramp; and he played a game or two on the Ipad. He even took some pictures of the cat. (He knows more about the Ipad than we do.)

Once in a while I looked at the phone, wondering if I dared call my son-in law. I was concerned about what was happening and what they were finding out. I’d called my other kids earlier to ask them to be praying. Finally my son-in-law called.  “They haven’t found anything,” he said. “It looks like she’s okay for now. They want her to get some further testing this week, but she can come home as soon as the doctor reviews everything with her.”

I expressed my relief, and then we made arrangements to pick up my daughter at the hospital. We would take her and Reggie home so that our son-in-law could make a couple of work calls. Ten minutes later we were back at the hospital. “‘l’ll go in and get your mom,” I told Reggie. “Why don’t you stay here with Grandpa.”

“I want to go with you,” he said.

“Okay.” He followed me in, but still didn’t show much emotion when we got to my daughter’s room. “Can I have more cookies,” he asked.

It wasn’t until we were all settled back in the van that my grandson surprised me. “Mommy,” I heard him say from his booster seat in the back. “I was worried about you. I love you very much.”

My eyes widened. Wow. Interesting.  We’d tried to numb him, keep him occupied, keep him happy, and he’d seemed completely oblivious to anything else. But  apparently even a three-and-a-half-year-old’s emotions run deep.  He’d actually been much more concerned about his mother than we’d realized. We human beings are complicated  and sometimes hard to read—even very young and small human beings.

*name changed


When I was maybe fifteen or sixteen I had a short, but important part in a church play—a stake play. Without going into too many details let’s just say I memorized those words and knew that part thoroughly, but when it came time for me to give it on stage it had vanished. Oh I stuttered something and tried to piece some things together, but basically I choked. I can still see the stunned face of the star of the play (who was also the star of our high school basketball team) as he nodded with small short jerks of his head, his eyes wide, as if willing the words to come from my mouth.  HE had done a fantastic job playing a character with a dilemma in his life. They’d all done a great job—everyone who’d participated—everyone but me. Those two or so minutes as I struggled to piece together some words and try to have them make sense, were possibly the longest and most uncomfortable few minutes of my life. After the curtain closed, I rushed off the stage feeling I’d ruined the play, and well, I probably had. I couldn’t figure out how I could have forgotten my part after so much practice—other than the fact that I’d worked myself into a frenzy that day before in fear that I would forget them—and other than the fact that I’d told myself I was going to forget them. Well, the brain is an interesting thing. I remembered the words again within seconds after I didn’t need them anymore. To this day I STILL remember those words.

Here they are:  It’s important to dare to be what you want to do in our circles. What’s more we encourage each other to live up to our highest ideals, no matter what. Yes, no matter how much they tease or even torture. Look at it this way. A scientist would be foolish to ignore a known truth in his work, wouldn’t he? Well, so would we. We know that top flight behavior brings top flight results in our lives. It’s that simple. So why live any other way?

I’ve wondered through the years if those words  might have made a difference in someone’s life that night. They’re pretty good guideline words for life. Who knows? Maybe someone would have turned from a life of crime. There’s not much I can do about it at this point. I can’t go back. Time machines only exist in fantasy stories and old Back to the Future movies.  On the other hand, maybe, by sharing these words now, they may still help somebody out there reading them. In fact, maybe if I share these words enough, as many people as were in the audience at that stake center auditorium on sixth east and eighth south that night, will eventually read them. Even though I’m not young anymore or up on a stage, maybe they could still have impact. Okay, maybe not.  But it’s pretty much all I can hope for at this point. In fact, I need to be more positive about it. I think these words are going to help someone today! Here they are again: It’s important to dare to be what you want to be in our circles. What’s more we encourage each other to live up to our highest ideals, no matter what. Yes, no matter how much they tease or even torture. Look at it this way. A scientist would be foolish to ignore a known truth in his work, wouldn’t he? Well, so would we. We know that top flight behavior brings top flight results in our lives. It’s that simple. So why live any other way? If you’re out there and you’re living a life of crime because I didn’t say these words, could you please immediately change now that you’ve read them? Ha ha ha ha.

No, but really. These words are actually pretty cool, now that I really think about them. Hey, maybe they’ll help ME. Maybe they’ll help my grandchildren.  I’ll share them with my grandchildren. I’m feeling better now. Thanks for listening.

Producers of THE BACHELOR: Stick with Americans if you want PC comments

Since the final episode of THE BACHELOR there have been a lot of negative comments about Juan Pablo, this season’s bachelor, some calling him the worst bachelor ever. I understand there was a lot of drama in the last episode as Chris, the host, (and sorry, but I can’t think of his last name) pressed the guy and (supposedly) made him out to be a villain because he wouldn’t say he loved the girl he chose—Nikki.  I didn’t feel the urge to tune in so I didn’t actually see it and just saw little portions a few minutes ago online, but I did watch parts of other episodes and here’s my take on the situation. Juan Pablo is not an American, at least a North American, and doesn’t think or act like one. I’m not saying that’s bad. I’m saying in his culture it may be perfectly fine to say some of the things he said. I’m thinking he’s misunderstood by Americans.

Even though in America we believe in freedom of speech, I believe we are still much more PC and careful about what we say than are people of other countries. We tend to be tactful, polite, and nice—maybe sometimes too polite and nice. Sure we believe also in being honest, but we’re very carefully honest. When I’ve asked an opinion on something I’m wearing I’ve had friends answer me in such a way that I’m still not sure what they think. Americans would frankly rather be nice than completely honest. The foreigners—at least those I’ve known or have met are far more blunt and forth-coming.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

My mother was close to ninety when we took her in to get her license renewed.  She still has all her faculties and is fine driving places close to her home, but she looked older than the rest of those there. Okay, here comes the Dutch in me: She looked old because she is. I’m sure most people at the DMV were thinking, Wow, she’s getting a license renewed? But nobody said what they were thinking except a little Filipino woman. She was only about four foot something, but she spoke right up and said, “You drive?!!! Oh you too old.” I wasn’t surprised it was a foreigner and not one of the locals who came right out and said what everyone else was probably thinking.

My own Dutch family members are also more ruthlessly honest than their American friends. A Dutch person is much more likely to say something like, “Oh, you’ve grown fat!” stating an obvious fact or “This is a funny little room,” and think nothing of it. My mother will never hold back her honest opinion.

We hear a lot about bullies, but for the most part American children are trained at a young age to avoid saying things that aren’t “nice” even if they’re true. If Dutch people are taught that, they don’t seem to live by that rule. They continue to be childlike in their honest observations such as this one my aunt made when she looked at my children’s pictures on my mother’s hall. “They’re all good-looking but have big noses.”  Here’s the point. What appears to be rude here in America, isn’t necessarily considered rude in other places. In fact, if a Dutch person thinks you’re out of line, they’ll tell you. If he thinks you’re asking too many questions, he’ll tell you to mind your own business. In a way, it seems almost, well, healthier.

When my uncle visited, he and grandfather would raise their voices at each other  as they talked about politics. They’d call each other out on things, even tell each other they were stupid.  When the debate was over, they’d happily part ways with a pat on the back. It was no big deal to them. I know Americans who haven’t spoken to family members for years because of far less abusive language.

And that’s where the problem lies. Juan Pablo maybe isn’t the most ideal of single guys, but when it comes to his comments, give the guy a break. Just because he isn’t American and doesn’t say things the way Americans would, that doesn’t make him a villain. To be honest, sometimes I wish we Americans would just come out with it! Sometimes I wish we’d be a little less PC, polite or careful and just say what we really think.