Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Book #10--In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving

In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving
by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy

One of my favorite movies in the past year has been The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. According to, "Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Michael has no idea who is father is and his mother is a crack head. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft." It's a powerful movie and I LOVE IT!

One day, wandering through Sam's Club books, I came across In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy. I read the cover jacket and was intrigued. I give an autobiography/biography assignment to my 9th graders first term and thought this might be a good addition to my personal library I loan out. However, because of some other books I've purchased and wanted to add, I decided I'd better read it as a preview. WOW! What a great book!! You feel like you're in the room with Sean and Leigh Anne as they tell you their story! It's very well-written and makes you think about things you could do in your own life to take on this spirit of giving and caring for others. Sure, they're loaded beyond words (monetarily) but they weren't always in that position. Both came from VERY humble beginnings and worked their way up. Nothing was handed to them and consequently, they don't hand their children the world. It's a concept this society could really learn from to help deal with the "I'm entitled" mentality our children, and most adults, have. 

I didn't finish the entire book but plan to as soon as it returns to my shelves. 

Pages: 288

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Taking the Potters "home"

The SAD day finally arrived and it was time to help the Potters begin their new adventure. We left for Cedar City in two stuffed vehicles pulling trailers. After MANY stops to retie things down, potty breaks, lunch, etc. we made it to Amanda's parent's home. We were greeted with open arms (they're SOOOOOOO excited they're "home") and then were off to the storage sheds. When we got back, we found Amanda's youngest sister, Sami, and Kobe out riding horses. As they approached, Sami asked if I was ready for my turn. Frankly, to my own shock, I said, "YES!!" She hopped off and I climbed on (she's a pro at helping an "out-of-shape-old-lady" up on a horse!), flip-flops and all. Fortunately, it was a "slow" horse so I had to keep prodding him to go...fine with me! She walked us (Kobe and I) down the road a ways and then Kobe gave her his horse so we could go the rest of the way. It was so much fun!! Of course, Bob had to take pictures for evidence...the kids would NEVER have believed it!

Proof  I did it!

Kobe is a natural!

Sami promised I could ride again next time...I'll be sure to take appropriate shoes. :)

It was really fun to be down there. The Mellings are FABULOUS at hospitality and making you feel completely much so that we had a really , REALLY hard time leaving. They kept trying to talk us into staying, tempting me with tickets to the Shakespeare Festival, and everything but we had to leave (my last day of summer vacation is Tuesday). After many more tears, we headed out about 9:00pm and got home safe and sound but with sad hearts at 1:00am. 

We'll miss you Potter family! 
But we'll see you soon!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Amazing Friends!

Ten years ago this month, the sweetest little family moved into our neighborhood and into our lives. Ron and Amanda Potter and their three adorable little boys (Kobe was 2, Carsen was 1, and Tyson was 5 days) bought the house next door to us. Instantly, we became "family." Over the years, they have added two more sweeties to their family, Logan and Sydni.

We have experienced the greatest of sorrows and the most wonderful of excitements as the years have gone by. We have supported each other through thick and thin and grown closer together throughout it all...just like family.

A year or so ago, Ron followed his dream of becoming a teacher/coach. This past spring he graduated with his Masters in Education and began looking for a position. We tried so hard to find him a job in Davis District but nothing worked out. A couple of weeks ago, he accepted a position at a charter school in West Valley City but it wasn't what he wanted. Last week, he heard of a Math/Coaching position at Canyon View High School in Cedar City...where they are from originally. Much to our heartache, he was accepted on Tuesday of this week and will begin work on Monday, August 16.

That means, our beloved Potter family, will be leaving our neighborhood and ward. I feel like my own children are moving away and it hurts!! Through many tears and broken hearts, we know this is the right thing for them. Miles will not be able to mar our friendship and love for each other. We will make this work...even long distance!

We love you, Potter family!

Back: Amanda, Ron, Maddi, Bob, Tom, Zack
Front: Sydni, Logan, Tyson, Carsen, Michelle, Mallorie, Kenzi
(Their oldest son, Kobe, was spending some time with a friend. We missed him! Of course, we missed Sammi as well...she'll be SOOOOO sad when she hears this news!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Meeting Sister Hale!!

President and Sister Hale's oldest daughter, Heather, got married Friday, August 6. Unfortunately, as a Mission President, he was not able to attend but was able to go with her to the Orlando Temple. I can't imagine how hard that was for everyone...not having "Dad" there to share in the joy of the sealing and reception.

President told Sammi to make sure I knew to go to the reception so I could meet Sister Hale. I was SOOO excited!! I asked Mallorie to go with me which was really fun. None of the Missionary Moms had met her so I was really excited to show off my beautiful, sweet oldest daughter!

I rode down to Salt Lake with my great Missionary Mom friends, Becky Olson and Lanette Crane, and one of my favorite RM sisters...Karli Olson. We met two of my other BFFs, Jan Call and her RM, Meryl at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. (Evidently this is the FAVORITE place for Florida Missionaries to eat...I have to ask Sammi.) Mal met us there after work.

Sister Meryl Call and Sister Karli Olson
Returned Ft. Lauderdale Missionaries
(Sammi loves these girls!! Me, too!!)

The reception was held at LeJardin (check it out here) in Sandy. Interesting reception center to say the least but I ended up really liking it after all. There we met up with another BFFMM,  Marianne Wardle and her husband Kevin. We all proceeded to head into the reception. I had heard that Sammi's FAVORITE people, President and Sister Lake, would be there...SHE LOVES THEM!!!! (See one of her funnier posts about President Lake here.) Anyway, they were right as we walked into the reception! The minute I told them I was "Sister Denson's Mom," they threw their arms around me and wouldn't let go! We talked for a long time about how much they love her and how wonderful she's doing. They absolutely could not say enough good about her! They just kept going on and on about much she's grown personally and spiritually and how much good she's doing. It was AMAZING!!!!!

After visiting with the Lakes, Mallorie and I proceeded to go through the line for Heather and Josh. What a CUTE couple!!

Wisely, they had separate reception lines for Josh's parents and Sister Hale. It was kinda funny because Sister Hale's line was almost as long as Heather and Josh's! She was so gracious and didn't rush through talking with people simply because of the length of her line. She visited with the people in front of us, said good-bye and turned and exclaimed, "I know who you are!! SISTER DENSON!!" She opened her arms and completely enveloped Mal and I in the biggest, warmest hug I've ever had. We'd step back, look at each other, and she'd pull us in again. She proceeded to cry with me over Sammi and how wonderful she is, how much they LOVE her, how much she's changed and grown, how proud we can be of her. It was one of the greatest moments I've ever had! She was WONDERFUL and it was such an incredible blessing to visit with her for a few minutes. I'm SOOOO grateful to her and President Hale for being such amazing "parents" to our Ft. Lauderdale missionaries and especially, our own Sister Denson!

The BEST hug ever!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Book #9--Sold

Sold by Patricia McCormick

My good friend, Kate Swain, gave this book to me at the beginning of school last year. I read the cover and wasn't very motivated to read about a 13-year old girl from Nepal being sold into prostitution. Maddi read it and really liked it although she kept saying how SAD it was. Finally, last week I picked it up as I went to SLCC to hang out with Maddi as she took a test. I was instantly hooked! Patricia McCormick wrote it in a really interesting style...I'm not sure how to even describe it. It kind of reminded me of "Out of the Dust"...not novel form but you still get the story/message. It was heart-wrenching to think things like this truly are happening in the world today. This is not some random fictional REALLY happens! However, it also shows the strength of the human spirit! I highly recommend this book but also give the prepared to be heart-broken. 

Pages: 272