Sunday, November 30, 2008

And now it's time for these:

Mom Christmas Sweaters!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm grateful for ONE husband. Rich is kind and loving and generous and funny and I'm so grateful that he is my best friend and eternal companion. I love to sit with him on the loveseat with his arm around me ~ that's where I belong.

I'm grateful for TWO wonderful parents. They love me and continually support me and my family. They are perfect examples of living righteous, service-oriented lives. I'm thankful and proud to be their daughter.

I'm grateful for THREE daughters who are amazing women. They are sweet and loving and my friends. I'm proud of the women they have grown to become and my life is so blessed because of them.

I'm grateful for FOUR seasons. I love this beautiful earth God created for us and especially I'm thankful I get to live in this scenic spot upon it. I love watching the seasons change on my mountain, Timpanogos.

I'm grateful for FIVE grandchildren. I just love their little faces and words and especially their hugs and kisses. I love you Connor, Ayden, Abigail, Sophie and Andrew!

I'm grateful for SIX sons. Three I gave birth to and three who became my sons when they married my daughters. I love that they, too, have grown to become my friends. I'm thankful that they can lift heavy items, move furniture and fix things (like lamps and computers) and they cheerfully serve me.

I'm grateful for SEVEN days of the week; for my time and life on this earth and that I know about the Great Plan of Happiness that began with the Creation of this earth in seven days. I'm thankful that I have work to do, and that I'm able to care for my family and home and serve in the Church and create.

I'm grateful for EIGHT ~ the number of notes in an octave. I love music; I'm thankful that I can play the piano and listen to all kinds of music on CDs and my ipod and the car radio. This time of year I'm especially thankful for Christmas music because it's focused on the SAVIOR. My favorite music during the Holiday season is Handel's MESSIAH. (the Messiah Sing-in in Saturday in Heber!)

I'm grateful for NINE - nine is my favorite number because it's three threes and it represents my love of good design and beauty in man-made things. All beauty and good design is inspired of God, and I'm grateful that my soul is enriched by art and architecture.

Venus & Saturn after Sunset from My Front Yard

Fall Cleaning and Home

In preparation for the holidays I did a major cleaning on Tuesday and part of Wednesday. It was hard work but it felt so good to do this:

Vacuming under the couch cushions
Cleaning both ovens, the fridge and pantry
Cleaning all three bathrooms - really well
Dusting all furniture
Vacuming and mopping all floors
Cleaning my car (thanks for doing the outside, Michael)
Cleaning the garage, including the garage fridge
Cleaning the laundry and mud rooms
Dusting all the dining room chairs
Cleaning fans and light fixtures and mirrors
Setting up two tables and 22 chairs for Thanksgiving dinner

And ending with the fun stuff:

Todd moved out last week and so I refurbished the

"Teddy Bear Room"
I love this old bedroom set that we inherited from Rich's Great Aunt Earleen. I got new boards cut for the bed rails (thank you Home Depot) and now we have a cute and ready guest room ~ come for a visit, anyone?


I've read a poem about how dusting your house is an opportunity to embrace the things you treasure. That's how I feel about cleaning my home ~ I always feel more grateful for it after I take good care of it.

"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only--and that is to support this ultimate career." ~ C.S. Lewis

"Stay at home, my heart, and rest . . . Homekeeping hearts are happiest."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Don't Peek Gkiddies

This is what I've been doing the past couple of days

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Introducing Our New Son . . .

Michael Lincoln Rife

Michael and his Dad with the court in the background

Today we went to court in Provo and officially changed Michael's middle name from Thomas to Lincoln! Anyone who knows Rich knows that he loves and admires Abraham Lincoln, so naturally he wanted to name a son after him. When Michael was born, number six child in our family, I kept track of the kids' activities, appointments, etc in my planner by using their initials. Since I already had an "ML" for Mary Lynn, I thought it would be too confusing to have another "ML," so we went with Thomas for Michael's middle name. Well, now that he's the only one at home, that point is moot (or moo - like a cow's opinion) and since we happen to have a lawyer in the family, we made the change. So it's official, our third son is Michael Lincoln Rife. Now for all the hassle of changing his birth certificate, driver license, social security, etc!

Wrapped in Their Love

Last Sunday I was released after almost three years as Young Women President in our ward. I am sad, and grateful, and wondering what I will do with all time and thoughts I used to spend on my young women. (I'm sure life will expand to fill all possible time; as it always does) It really is my favorite calling and I LOVE my young women, and the young women program: Sunday Lessons, Mutual, Camp, Personal Progress ~ I just love it all! Not to mention the friendships and fun with the other adult leaders. I have tried to be brave, but I must admit a few tears have been shed over this release.

Last night was my first night missing Mutual, and they brought Mutual to me! At 8:30 my doorbell rang and all my young women were on my doorstep with treats and a card and the cute blanket pictured above - so I could "wrap myself in their love." It made me so happy to see all of them! I will miss our twice-weekly association ~ but these girls are now my eternal friends, my younger sisters in the gospel ~ and callings can't change that!
(And thanks to the new YW leaders who planned this sweet activity in my behalf!)

I will be sustained in a new calling on Sunday ~ wait and see . . . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19th

On November 19, 1976 we went here:

To be married for time and all eternity. I wish I could invite you over to see our wedding video, or at least the pictures of us in our wedding attire outside the temple ~ but we don't have those ~ yes, we are that old!

But we do have these lovely photos of when we got married and when we were called to be mission president

and at our favorite beach in Coronado, just two years ago

And besides, it's not about the videos and pictures anyway, it's about the 32 years of love and friendship and memories and laughs and now we really are growing old together and it's just the best!

And on November 19, 1980 this beautiful, funny, delightful, dancing girl came to share our anniversary date, and here she is with her own sweet Sophie Lynn:

Happy Birthday, Mary Lynn, we love you!

November 19th is a great day!

November 19, 2008


I love pillows! I love that they bring another texture or color to a room's decor. I love that they're soft and lovely to rest your weary head on. I've always like the pictures of beds where the pillows cascade down almost to the foot of the bed ~ and so I did it to mine:

I got some new pillows at TJMaxx and Ross (cheap!) and even made two new ones out of placemats (cheap and creative! thanks, Heather!)

So I thought I'd record my love of pillows throughout our home:

The entry way "give thanks" pillow

The sitting room ~ a mere five pillows ~ love them all!

The family room
and yes, they each have their assigned spot!

Even the dining room as toile pillows that match the table runner in the end armchairs

The "star" room

Our bedroom chairs
(in addition to the bed pillows!)

Yes, indeed, I love pillows!

Here's a quote that validates my love of pillows:
"It's important to have the confidence in furnishing your home with things that please you, not what is fashionable or investment material
~Jane Cumberbatch

And my next post might have to be about plates, I have lots of those, too.

Outside My Dining Room Window

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

99 Things Tag

The ones I've done are in bold

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars (at Lake Powell)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (twice, and once I was 5 months pregnant!)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone swimming in the ocean at night
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse ( I wish)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (are you kidding?)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (doesn't have to be fluent, right?)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (Actually born there in Morocc0)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (just seen it in person)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (ate lots, does that count?)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

My total is 63 - I guess I have some more living to do!

Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day I just want to say how thankful I am for those who have served our country in the military.

I'm especially grateful for two veterans in my life: Rusty Rife (my father-in-law) who served in the Pacific in WWII and my own dear father, Richard Parsons who served in the military for 22 years.

I always knew that my Dad's job was more than a job to him; he loves this country. I'm grateful for the example of these two fathers who sacrificed to serve this great country.

It makes me proud to be an American and the daughter of great Americans.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Purpose and Deep Thoughts

Last week in Sunday School our teacher handed out 3x5 cards and asked us to write down 6 things we "desire most" in life. I took this assignment quite seriously, but only came up with 4 items. At the end of the lesson, he brought us to 3 Nephi 19:9 and reminded us of the Nephites praying for that "which they most desired," which was the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then he suggested we review our lists and see if the things listed were things we would feel good about praying for.

This little object lesson has stayed with me and brought me to some pondering on the subject. What do I "most desire?" And if I really desire it, am I praying for it daily and with real intent? And can I desire things that relate to other people's agency, or just mine? It's clear to me that like the Nephites, we can't get what we desire most without Divine Intervention.

Then I saw Will Smith on Oprah and he said that at this point in his life, "Nothing in my life is without purpose." Which had me thinking about living life "on purpose." Does everything I choose to do all day fulfill a purpose, what I most desire? Or am I just "going with the flow?"

So I won't bore you with all my answers to these questions, some of which are found in the poem, "Quiet Time" on this blog. But they are good questions and I want to keep asking and finding the answers.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Purse

My brother, Keith, posted about his backpack that he uses while traveling, and I couldn't resist doing my own post on my purse and its contents. Mind you, we Parsons are pretty OCD about our bags and being organized. It is a disease, but we can't help it, so we've embraced it.

This is my current favorite purse. I got it at Franklin Covey. I love it because it's blue (duh!) and I like that it just has one strap to grab and fits nicely on my shoulder. I like having an outside pocket for the things I grab most: car key, lipstick and hand sanitizer. And the outside pocket closes with a magnet.

At Franklin Covey I also got these nifty cases that allow you to have everything organized inside, nothing left jingling about on the bottom of the bag. There's a pocket for my cell phone and one for sunglasses, a pen and a highlighter. Sometimes I carry a folded magazine or book to read and you never know when you need to highlight something!

The inside components are, (l to r clockwise) my wallet, which holds only cash, my driver license, debit card, medical cards, Costco card and temple recommend. My famous "bag of tricks," which gets its own picture. My camera. The cute little zipper bag that came with and matches the interior of my purse, which I use for extra stuff I don't want in my wallet like punch cards for businesses I frequent (Great Harvest, Costa Vida, etc) and coupons and gift cards. The small card holder has credit cards in it and honestly I don't carry this in my purse - so I won't use them, but it matches the set so I thought I'd photograph it.

The "bag of tricks" - a concept I have had for decades. The contents have changed from time to time, but here's what's in there now:
comb, tide stick, cuticle nippers, (I hate it when I have a hangnail!) nail file, eye pencil, nail file for cleaning under nails, flashlight, sharpie, highlighter, extra keys for the house, lotion (actually body cream from Bath and Body Works in Moonlight Path fragrance) blush, MAC studio fix, wipes and tissues, and earphones for my ipod and . . .

My mini first aid kit with dental floss, bandaids, neosporin, alcohol swab, small zippy with safety pins, bobbie pins and elastics, two small pill holders - one with Ibuprofen and one with Tummy meds like pepto bismal and tums.

And there you have it folks, the crazy OCD girl's purse contents. Yes, I am just as weird as my brother!

Blankets and a Legacy

It has been a hobby of mine for some time to crochet around flannel baby blankets. I like it because it's a "mindless" craft you can do while watching TV or visiting with people or riding in the car, and I like always having a baby gift ready to give. It's creative and the blankets are soft and cuddly and colorful and pretty.

But this little hobby took on deeper meaning for me a few years ago after a visit to my Grandma Carlsen's home in Pocatello. Ever since I can remember whenever I have visited Grandma she has taken me through her home and shown me the projects she has been working on. Sometimes it was genealogy, or knitted hangers, but always there were the blankets. She would have closets full of quilts that she had made, or was going to make. She would lovingly pull them out to show me the entire pattern and tell me about why she chose the colors and who she was planning to give them to and then neatly fold them away again.

One year she asked me if I knew why she loved to make and give away quilts and blankets. It was then I learned that when she gave birth to her seven children, she never had a new blanket to wrap them in. They were poor Idaho farmers and a new baby blanket was a luxury they couldn't afford. (My mother told me she could only remember sleeping on patched sheets and using threadbare towels - which is why she has become the wonderful sheet and towel snob she is today - but that is another story) Tears came to my eyes as I thought of having a new baby without a special blanket to wrap around your newborn. Grandma told me that was why she made quilts for all her grandchildren as they married and for all of her great-grandchildren when they were born.

My Grandma passed away in 2000. I miss her, but I am grateful for the legacy she left me of making blankets. And I'm grateful for the quilts that she made for me. Two are pictured here, the twin sized patchwork corduroy quilt she made when I was just a toddler. It was made out of scraps from skirts my Mom wore. When I was growing up it was the "sick quilt;" if you were sick enough to lay on the couch all day, you got to be wrapped in the sick quilt. It was such a soft and comfy quilt, you almost wanted to be sick! The blue baby quilt with little bunnies on it and a soft flannel back is the one she gave me when Mary was born and I didn't really use it much, because by then I realized what a treasure Grandma's quilts were and I didn't want to wear it out.

She also made me a tied quilt for my wedding. It currently resides in Jenny's trunk - you never know when you might need a picnic quilt or it might get really cold in Logan! On one side it is plaid, blue and lavender, and the other side is solid lavender - which my Grandma called "orchid." I always thought it was funny/cute how she had different names for colors than I was used to.

The yellow baby quilt she made for Laura was completely used up, but lovingly so. It was yellow and one side was really soft and the other was tricot with a lining over it.

And so, I will continue to crochet baby blankets and maybe someday, when I'm old enough, I'll make quilts. And I will always think of my Grandma who didn't have blankets for her own babies, but made sure that her posterity did.

More Halloween Pics

I couldn't leave Halloween for this year without a few more pictures

Yes, here I am again being totally "outwitched" by Kathy Chamberlain

The Hammers as James Brown and Diana Ross

The entire family of Hammer devils

Andrew, Connor and Abby trick-or-treating

And here they are for their trunk-or-treat

And for Abby's third costume: a Zebra