Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Truthist Takes the ACT

Shane took the ACT today.
 Anyone who knows Shane, knows that he does not look on the bright side. He is one to assume the worst case scenario in any given situation. We've discussed this here before and through the years I have come to appreciate this outlook on life. Things are usually not worse than Shane thought they would be because he expects that things will be terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad--in spite of his Pollyanna Mother's cheerful pep talks to the contrary.

 Last night before we had family scripture and prayer, Shane and I ran through the checklist of what to bring and got everything gathered and ready. Then we discussed our timeline for getting him there early and how things would go. The past few weeks we have had ongoing chats about the experiences with the ACT of his seven older siblings and he has had input from friends as well as online advice. 

So, it looked like he was as ready as he could be.

 Well, there was one thing we did not anticipate. 
When I picked him up, he jumped in the car and I asked him how it went. He said "Do you have any kleenex in here?"

I looked over at him and saw the dried blood around his nose.
A bloody nose! 

His  nose started bleeding right as they handed out the science section. It was the last section of the test. He said he felt the bleeding start so he put his hand up to his nose to check. Sure enough, the floodgates had opened and he leaned his head back figuring it was better to let it run down his throat than out on the test. 
But he did need to look down at the test eventually, and also write in his answers.
I give him full credit here for problem solving: he used his hands and his jeans to take care of the copious amounts of blood surging out of his nose. His multi-tasking was admirable. He had to read and wipe and read and wipe...and then write and begin again. 

What other options were there? 
He realized that if he raised his hand and asked for a tissue, it would turn into a full on HAZMAT crisis. The protocol for bloody noses is, as you can imagine, to treat it like there could be a serious blood-borne disease spilling out of a student's nose. Shane knows because he's been having bloody noses at inopportune times throughout his young life.
He didn't want to get dragged out of the room and have to take the whole test over at a later date. There was a close call when the proctor walked by and he had blood on his finger. He quickly stuck it in his mouth. 
 Don't worry, he just had a physical and his blood is safe.

We had a good laugh on the way home--that was certainly a worst-case scenario he didn't anticipate! 
I wondered out loud if any blood got on the test or his answer sheet. That could raise some concerns. We concluded that the ACT took everything he had and he had the bloody hands and pants to prove it. 

The blood-stained jeans

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's Birthday Time for Shane

This cutie is celebrating a Birthday today!

The baby of the family is turning 17!

We had cake and ice cream Sunday while Dad was here and the missionaries were over to join in--we need some extras around here now that we are down to the last of the Mohicans.

Here are some places to look at cute pictures and to read about  our Shane.

When he was a little preschooler, we had a lot of time together when the older seven were all in school. That was our warm up for this phase of life.

Here is Baby Shane with Big Brother Scott:

 Back then, we played a game called "I Love You More Than..."
I would say, "I love you more than all of the stars in the sky." and he would try to beat that with
"I love you more than all the sand on the beach."
We would go back and forth until he declared himself the winner and ran off to play. One morning when we were snuggled up together he came up with "I love you more than all of the pyramids in ancient Egypt!" It was hard to top that one for creativity.

The toughest thing about being Shane right now is being the last one at home. The other siblings think it would have been fun to try out being an "only child" for awhile, but Shane claims it's not all it's cracked up to be. 
Here's a little gem from the back of my journal:
"Shane was having a melt-down because I wouldn't let him have something that belonged to one of the older kids. As he kicked and yelled on the floor, I said
 'Shane, you don't always get everything you want.'
 He wailed back, 'YES... I.... DO!!!!"

Well Shane, I guess you know by now that you don't get everything you want--otherwise you would have a few more siblings so you wouldn't have to be the baby.
I'm sorry that didn't work out the way you wanted.
But hey! We can play a fun round of "I Love You More Than"!

Bonus Pictures:
His scrapbook page from a Father's Day gift we made for Dad many years ago.

Sleeping in a Russian Dance pose in his beloved car bed.

Happy Birthday Shane!
I love you more than all of the pyramids in ancient Egypt!
(I know, I totally copied you. I just can't top that!)

Monday, July 6, 2015

As I Have Loved You

C.S. Lewis
I am privileged to be the mother of eight amazing children. Each bright, intelligent, witty, fun and loving. They each came with a strong mind of their own. I admire and respect each of them and I am constantly grateful that there was rarely a dull moment in the day to day of their upbringing. We spent a lot of time in each other's company by choice and by the close proximity that is inevitable in a big family. We chose to follow the prophet and gathered each day (most days!) for family scripture study and prayer. We also chose to gather every week for Family Home Evening. These were always lively gatherings and included some pestering and annoying but also plenty of light-hearted banter and even some active wrestling and tumbling around on the furniture and each other. But with persistence, I could corral them into a few minutes of quiet listening. As they got older we could stretch that into some longer discussions on topics of interest or concern depending on my observation of their needs or a topic that had caught their enthusiasm or curiosity.

 It happens that my Love Language is Quality Time so any time spent discussing life, love and truth with my family makes me very happy. We can wax philosophical about the cosmos or debate the finer points of gospel doctrine. We might compare and contrast the literary meaning of Shakespeare or the Simpsons. I love to hear my offspring talk about their shared history and I often learn about some things they did that I am glad to learn long after the danger has passed and they went ahead and grew into civilized adults. These discussions are great opportunities for me to listen and learn. Now that most of them are married, their spouses add to the interesting discussions. Their and their spouses' experience in life and their studies and personal pursuits have made them experts in different fields of interest. I have learned about physics, health and nutrition, scriptures, missionary work, child development, chemistry, rocket science, math, art, Paris, London, Brazil, Russia, Hmong Culture, car maintenance and repair, hair maintenance and repair, fitness, history, politics, literature, cooking....the list goes on and on! 

We do not always agree on everything and a few times there have been rifts. Those rifts were not because of disagreements that came up in discussions but because we were divided momentarily and didn't have discussions we should have. The process of building an eternal family requires us to allow for the inevitable growing pains that are part of the refining process. 
 For our family, we have an underlying foundation of love.
 We always come back to that. 
It is a fierce love and protectiveness that runs through all of us. 

Through the years, there were some things that were a given. One, the favorite FHE song for our family: "Jesus Said Love Everyone". It was chosen early on because I wanted them to understand love in clear and simple terms. Later they chose it because it is very short. Whatever the motives, this song has been the background theme to our family togetherness. 
Jesus said love everyone,
Treat them kindly too.
When your heart is filled with love,
others will love you.
Short, sweet and to the point.
Of course as they grew up they realized that things aren't always that cut and dried. Life is complicated and sometimes confusing. We don't always agree with everyone, they don't always agree with us. But we can still love everyone and treat them kindly. I daresay they have figured out that no matter how full of love your heart is, there might be some people who don't love you. Luckily, we have the Atonement to help us make peace with that inequity. Hopefully the fuller understanding followed them out into the lives they grew into. Also hopefully, the underlying simplicity of loving others and treating them kindly followed them as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday Seth!
Today we celebrate our "Middle Child". 
 Actually, I purposely had an even number of children so no one could claim to be the middle child.
 But Seth happens to be the middle boy.
 Born smack dab in the middle of the five brothers Gale. 
There was hardly a dull moment from the moment he was born.
Born with a head of thick dark hair (you can see his birth story here) and a bright, cheerful, adventurous spirit!
So much energy packed into one little boy!

He was relentless when he got an idea and wanted to create/build something. 
Our yard was his flight experiment lab and the neighbors were patient
with the many rockets and various balloons that flew out of our air space. He  learned to fly and eventually flew way out of our air space!

His love of the outdoors began at an early age with many nights camping under the stars in our back yard. He dreamed up fun adventures with his siblings and built forts and a tepee out there to feed their imagination. He went on to many Scouting adventures and hiked over fifty miles (fifty-FOUR miles to be exact!) along the Olympic Peninsula. And became an Eagle Scout. 

Reading wasn't his favorite but he was always up for listening to a good story and built an astonishing vocabulary with his good memory. We spent many pleasant evenings reading and discussing the scriptures as a family and delved into the deeper questions of life with Spencer and Seth often leading the discussions. I learned to check his pants pockets before washing and often found bits and pieces of his projects along with the odd rocket engine or firecracker. But one time I found his carefully written notes on string theory. He has a great mind for memorization and amazed us all with his 
command of Shakespeare passages. He was amazed to find out that his Shakespeare skills were actually needed one time in the grocery store for someone's video project. 

"To be or not to be, that is the question..."

He met his match, the talented and amazing, Taylor Marie, while we were living in California and here you see them at the San Diego temple on their wedding day: 

It makes my Mother Heart happy to see the love they have for each other and the precious family they are building with their sweet baby Mabel.

Here he is with their bright, cheerful adventurer with her
own head of thick dark hair:

Happy Birthday, Son! Now the adventure really begins!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Celebrating Our Siara

Some fun girl time in North Carolina!

Today is Siara's birthday! I am so blessed to be the mother to some really amazing people. Each came with their own unique personalities and talents and qualities. I have loved every stage of their lives but I feel like the real reward for motherhood is moving into the friendship stage with them when they become adults. 

So here are some Birthday thoughts (and awesome childhood pictures!) of my daughter who is also my dear friend...
Some birthday posts for Siara's past birthdays:
click on this and this and go here.

If you are still interested, here is the story of the day of her birth.

And, the frosting on the cake--a  funny story about our spunky gal.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Grow old along with me...

...the best is yet to be.

We celebrated the 32 year anniversary of the Andrew and JoAnna Gale Covenant Commitment and Marriage for Time and All Eternity a few weeks ago. The hubs flew out here to the  frozen East Coast for Valentine's Day and then I flew out to the West Coast for an Anniversary Rendezvous in sunny California for an early celebration of our special day.

Toasting our Anniversary with Water!

According to a helpful website the traditional gift for the 32 year anniversary is "Conveyances" and "Lapis"...
"For instance, if a couple is celebrating 32 years of marriage, one of the traditional gifts to present for this occasion is a lapis -- a semi-precious stone that boasts a deep blue shade. Other traditional gifts for a 32nd anniversary include modes of transportation." 

Then they go on to give gift suggestions for the husband:
"To honor your 32nd wedding anniversary with a gift of conveyance, surprise your wife with a new car. Choose an automobile in her favorite color, and include features that she'd find useful or appealing, such as an interior with the light-colored leather she likes best or a five-disc CD player. Smaller and less-expensive 32nd anniversary treats can include car air fresheners in her favorite scent, floor mats embroidered with her initials or a GPS system."

My thoughtful husband looked this up and explained it all to me in one of our daily phone calls. (This is how we keep our coast to coast relationship going--communication!) He was telling me that the two options were some kind of blue stone and modes of transportation. He said there was a surprise coming in the mail and I assumed it wasn't a car, (though I guess it could be a car air freshener) but then I said "Oh, did you find a blue rock? Are you sending me a rock?" Which actually I would be thrilled with--I'm always keeping my eye out for pretty rocks.

"A rock? Why would I send you a rock?" he laughed.

"Well you said the 32nd Anniversary gift was a blue stone-- it's some type of rock or something and mode of transportation. I assume you aren't sending me a Vespa or a unicycle or a donkey--so that leaves blue rock."

"Just keep your eye out for a surprise in the mail." he said, rolling his eyes (I'm assuming that last part--since we were talking via phone--I can't say for sure).

A few days later, this arrived:

A beautiful lapis stone necklace. 
Better than a rock. 

But that was not the end of my guy's thoughtfulness...
These beautiful roses arrived on my doorstep the actual day of...

...and then,

he held to tradition and gifted me with a mode of transportation.
And it's lapis blue! 

(well, it's Twilight Blue--but close enough)

 Love is what you go through together. James Thurber

The View From My Window

It is Spring but I guess Mother Nature didn't get the memo...

No Winter lasts forever,
No Spring skips its turn.
April is a promise,
That May is bound to keep.

I'm going to keep that in mind while I am shoveling snow today.