Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Return of Thankful Thursday.

Because today is Thursday, and because it has been SO long since I have written a Thankful Thursday post, I wanted to take a moment today to show my gratitude for some of the things I have been feeling especially grateful for lately. First off, today is the anniversary of the death of Joseph Smith (he died June 27, 1844), so I would feel extremely ungrateful if I did not express my gratitude to him for restoring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth.
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it (D&C 135:3).
Joseph Smith: Photo by
On a different note, it is summer time, and since M is leaving to visit her dad for five weeks on Saturday (frowny face), I have been trying to think of fun activities to do with her all week. In that regard, I am grateful for gift certificates to get manis/pedis, accidentally discovering new places for amazingly good grub, cute (yet inexpensive) sunglasses, See's candy, cheap entertainment (drive-in movies and community swimming pools), new nail polish (a girl has got to have her little guilty pleasures), and movie nights. I am seriously going to miss that girl!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lessons Learned

Gems of Reflection: Week 25
The only lessons I really took as a child were piano lessons. I started lessons when I was in middle school and it came pretty easily to me,  but I hated to practice and often got discouraged when others my age (who had been taking lessons for years) could play so much better than I could. I ended up quitting after only a few years. Now, of course, I am kicking myself in the behind because I listen to how beautifully others play the piano and I feel a bit jealous...and regretful that I didn't stick with it. So, yeah, that didn't really carry over into adulthood, unfortunately. I still remember a few simple songs that I learned when I was taking lessons, but I often think how awesome it would be to be able to just sit down at a piano and play.

Looking back at my childhood years, I realize that I quit a lot of things that were hard. Now, I look at M (who is 12) and I see her exhibiting that same tendency, and it kind of scares me. Not only because I don't want her to have any regrets when she gets older, but also because I want her to learn to overcome things that are hard - to not quit because something takes a little bit of work. But how do you teach your children those types of life skills? Sometimes, I wish that parenting came with an instruction manual. ;)

Friday, June 21, 2013

From the mouth of a babe...

I just have to share one of those funny mom moments. You know, the ones when your kid says something totally inappropriate in public and you just stand there in shock, unable to do anything other than laugh (as opposed to just dying of embarrassment) because you can't believe those words just came out of YOUR kid's mouth?

First off, let me just preface this post by saying this; for those of you who don't know, my son (who happens to be turning THREE today...Happy Birthday to my little buddy) has a speech delay, and has been receiving speech therapy for a little over a year. When he began talking more coherently recently, we all suddenly realized how cognizant he really has been all this time...and how intelligent. We also started realizing how much he has actually been listening all along - to EVERYTHING. He just didn't have the words to express his emotions or to exhibit his understanding of things we discuss on a regular basis.

Anyway, we recently took him to get evaluated for a special needs preschool program with the school district, and while he was in the evaluation with the speech therapist, she began a section of the evaluation where she would grab different articles of clothing on her body, asking him to name the item, hoping to gain an idea of what he already knew. She started with her shoes, working her way up, and as she did so, he named off every piece of clothing she pointed to - until she got to her shirt. As she pinched some fabric in her fingers from a spot up between her collar bone and shoulder blade, she asked, "Okay, what is this?"

Without skipping a beat, L looked at her with the most confident expression on his face and a matter-of-fact tone in his voice, then belted out, "BOOBS."

I seriously about died. Neither the speech therapist nor I could could regain our composure for several minustes. We just couldn't stop laughing. I am just glad she had a good sense of humor. ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Education

I know that I already posted a Gems post this week on our usual day (Monday), but I did promise that I would get caught up on all of the Gems posts that I missed during my little "break" from the blog. Please bear with me a bit since I will obviously have to be posting more than one Gems post a week until I get caught up. So...

Gems of Reflection: Week 21
This Gems of Reflection post was supposed to have been posted on week 21, so I apologize again for the delay (seeing as how Monday, I posted for week 24 - yikes), and hope that you all understand the method to my madness here. ;)

Anyway, the answer to the question is, yes...there are aspects of my education and learning that I do believe I received from somewhere other than school - speaking Spanish, for example. I did take several high school and college Spanish courses, but I don't think I really learned to speak Spanish fluently until I was forced to speak it in the real world. When I was still in college, I was always afraid to speak it. I felt like I would sound silly to fluent speakers, and it made me afraid to open my mouth and try.

One day, I was at work (I was working at a tourist attraction at one of the local casinos at the time), and a Spanish-speaking customer came up to my window for assistance. I looked to one of my Spanish-speaking co-workers for help, but she turned to me and said, "You speak Spanish, Shannon, so speak it." Then she turned away, refusing to help me. At the time, I was so frustrated because I felt like she put me on the spot, but it was one of the greatest learning opportunities for me because it made the need to overcome my fear of speaking Spanish eminent. I physically could not help those customers if I didn't open my mouth and speak, so I did just that. And wouldn't you know it - I survived - and after all was said and done, I had to thank my co-worker because the experience made me realize that speaking Spanish wouldn't cause me pain or death. Haha. It actually ended up giving me the confidence that I needed to start speaking regularly and to become more fluent. 

Eventually, I started working for a law office where a huge portion of our clientele was native Spanish speakers, and seeing as how my boss did not speak Spanish, I was given further learning opportunities in the form of translating for him. It got to the point where I was speaking Spanish on a daily basis and my fluency was constantly improving. Eventually, I would meet clients in person who I'd already talked to in Spanish on the phone and they could not believe that this blonde hair, green-eyed white girl was the person with whom they had spoken Spanish. Their reaction was pretty hilarious at times.

So, I may have learned the basics of the language in a classroom, but it was the life experience that taught me to speak the language and communicate fluently, and I am ultimately very grateful for my co-worker who forced me to come out of my shell and open my mouth that day. :)

Related Link:

Gems of Reflection

Monday, June 17, 2013

Back from the Dead

Gems of Reflection: Week 24
So, before I get into my response for this week's Gems post, I have to take a minute to apologize for my absence from the blog. There are a couple of factors that played a role in my hiatus: I got bronchitis a few weeks ago and lost my voice, so I've been feeling pretty crumby. I also had a family reunion in Duck Creek around that same time, for which I was in charge of orchestrating the entertainment/games, and that had me pretty preoccupied and stressed out.

But ultimately, if I am being brutally honest with myself, what it really boils down to is the fact that I think my self-esteem took a nose dive after I received critiques on my writing at the LDStorymakers Writer's Conference in Provo last month. Haha. I have been feeling pretty lame and basically have had no motivation to write. I thought that I would take a week or two to regroup and allow myself to - well, get over myself - haha, but it's taken a little longer than I anticipated. I finally decided that I've wasted enough time wallowing in self pity and need to return to the land of productivity (I basically need to stop being a loser), so here I am...taking baby steps. I have obviously missed a couple of Gems posts, and I plan to catch up. Eventually. I promise. ;)

So, yeah - about the above picture - I don't recall any one memory wherein I gained these mass amounts of knowledge about learning how to drive. I know I probably should have learned what NOT to do when I rear-ended someone on the freeway for the first time when I was about 7 months pregnant with M (my now 12-year-old daughter), or perhaps when I did it again like a year later. Sheesh. I've actually ruined all too many a good hoods from repeating that same mistake - more times than I care to mention. ::looks for a place to hide:: Yeah, I've never claimed to be a great driver. My husband can attest to this. To this day, I make him drive everywhere. Hehe. 

I do have some not-so-awful memories of learning to drive, though. I remember the first time my parents let me get behind the wheel. We drove home from the DMV after I received my driver's permit. I started to pull out of the parking lot and had to turn the radio off because I felt so small and overwhelmed by the power of the steering wheel in my hands. But at the same time, there was something so empowering about being in control of that vehicle. I am sure you could sit and talk about the metaphors in that whole situation until the cows come home, but I won't bore you with the antics of all that right now. 

I also remember my brother trying to teach me how to drive stick shift. Haha. I am not sure if the transmission on his little Ford Ranger ever recovered. Hehe. He was a good brother for being brave enough to try and teach me though. He and I share a special bond now because we survived that potentially life-threatening experience. ;)