Saturday, February 28, 2009

Donkey Basketball

We live in a Very Small town, right on the border of another Small town. So we are entitled to some of the most bizarre small town events ever!

I was driving down the highway and I passed the school bill board. It read: "Donkey Basketball..." I called Leif right away and as a typical city girl I said, "What the heck is Donkey Basketball?!" He chuckled...

Donkey Basketball is a game of basketball played in the school gym, with the players riding on the backs of donkeys. YEP! My first thought was, "IN THE GYM??" YEP! They put rubber shoes on the donkeys and they're ready to play. I guess they are literally born and raised to play basketball.

The school sold tickets for this game as a fundraiser. I'd be curious to know how much they earned. I'm sure it was a lot because I swear the Whole Town showed up. Everyone was having a great time. Honestly, it took me a while to warm up to the whole idea. I knew that the donkey's were fine. But it just didn't seem right. :) Really, it was the players that we needed to worry about. They kept falling off of the donkeys, or they would jump up to get back on and end up sliding off the other side right onto their heads. Seriously, it was CRAZY!

They had four teams. Everyone from one of the mothers from town to the town doctors were playing in the games. Leif's brother, Erik, is a Jailer at the county jail. He played on the law enforcement team. The two teams that ended up in the finals were the Town Doctors against the Town Cowboys. The Cowboys won. Good Thing!:)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's Birthday. I wanted to wish him a happy birthday by sharing a memory or experience relating to my dad for each year of his life. Happy Birthday Dad!!

Family Song and Lullaby “Climbin’ Up the Mountain”

Stories about Madrigals and Choir

Brothers and Basketball Stories

Coaching Church Basketball (running around during the games.)

Days of 47’ Deseret News Float Construction in the Graves Driveway.

Sleeping Out in the Alley the Night Before the Parade.

Planting Trees Along the Neighborhood Entrance.

Heading The Development of the Neighborhood Park.

Watching Dad on the Evening News (I remember feeling so proud of him!)

Working Out in the Yard Together. Then going to the lumber store for hot dogs and root beer for a reward.

Dad built all of the beautiful arbors, swings, and barbeque structures in our backyard that made a person feel like they had walked into a secret garden upon entering.

Going to work with Dad on an occasional Sunday. I remember:

Cleaning the lint out of the keyboards…

Gathering paperclips off the floor…

Sending papers through the tube system to the other departments…

Going down to the basement and watching the men lay out the newspaper stories for the next print. The men loved us kids, and I liked them. I remember the smell of ink and cigarette smoke as you got closer to the basement.

I remember working on homework at Deseret News and knowing that Dad would always help me come up with the best headline for the report I was working on. And that I could at least count on the fact that the spelling and grammar would be decent if nothing else was good about the paper because Dad would edit it and help with the layout of the story.

Dad would always ask me to tell him about my “life and its vicissitudes”.

Heathers cake for dad every Sunday.

Playing Cards as a family around the dining table (watch out for flying spoons!)

Playing cards around a campsite picnic table (be careful Dad is surely trying to steal ALL of the hearts!)

Dad dressing up as a dummy for Halloween and scaring the teenagers to death as they reached for the candy in the bowl on dads lap.

Dad wore his pirate costume with his peg leg to our Daddy Daughter Night for Young Women’s. That was so cool!

Pretending that something bit off dad’s leg when he told other kids what happened to his leg.

I remember carrying dads “wooden leg” to him and being very careful not to pinch my fingers in the knee joint (wonder if that concern stemmed from experience?)

Having murder mystery dinner parties at our home.

Hunt Mysteries and Company

We learned A Lot from our days of running Hunt Mysteries as a family. It was no surprise that I had a good idea of how to create and start a business.

Setting up tables

Cutting Clues

Collecting money after the Show.

Rehearsals in the basement.

Countless family road trips everywhere from Salt Lake to Yellow Stone and south to New Mexico to visit Bruce and Chris with stops at everything in between.

JAZZ Basketball! Watching them in Bruce’s living room with Grandma Stanger, Chips and Salsa, and Hot Dogs.

BYU Football! Watching them in Bruce’s living room with Grandma Stanger, Chips and Salsa, Hot Dogs, and painted Blue and White Faces.

Sitting around the dining table as a family and organizing pictures and papers for our photo albums.

Cutting out Coupons and putting them in dad’s old medal lunch box.

Grocery Shopping with dad and knowing that you would be able to pick out a “fruit pie” for a treat.

Dad singing Bass… Lovin’ It!


Saying goodbye to our Rhea and LeOra.

Laying in Dads hammock he got from his mission…

I remember how neat it was to use pictures and stories from my dad’s mission in reports and projects for school.

Driving with dad and hearing him sing “Baby baby Can’t ya hear my heart beat…” in reference to the fact that we were celebrating because mom was pregnant with Nathan. We came home and ate “Purple Cows” which is vanilla ice cream and grape juice.

Bottling peaches and tomatoes in the kitchen.

Phone calls. Thank Heavens for cell phones.

Getting the call that Dad and Nate had both fallen and broken several bones (both on the same day).

I love watching my dad interact with Jakob and Caleb. My dad likes to surprise Jakob with little toys here and there. He has captured Jakob’s heart! I’m sure Caleb will follow suit.

I think I have finally mastered the art of filling a glass of anything for my dad to drink. The liquid to ice ratio is almost equal.

I have always enjoyed listening to my dad teach a Gospel Doctrine class or give a talk. He has the gift of teaching and presenting a message.

I like to think that I was probably a lot like my dad as a missionary when I was a missionary. He tells of how he came up with new and unusual ways to teach the gospel to their investigators and the members in his area. I was very much the same way. We were NOT your typical missionaries.

My dad had the same job, with the same hours, at the same place, throughout all of my growing up years. This brought a sense of stability that we never recognized or appreciated as a family. I didn’t value it until I was married and life was not so predictable.

My dad loves nature. He has instilled this love in his family. We often ate dinner outside in the summer time and we spent many hours working outside together.

We still love being outside together. We will often go walk the trails with mom, then come back, and rest with dad. He will often show us a bird or a little critter that is hiding near by. None of us would have noticed, but he has learned how to just sit quietly and enjoy the moment enough that he can spot them.

I remember watching my brothers and dad wrestle each other on his bed. I know that those were good times for each of them.

When I was in elementary school some how dad made it possible for me to have a book review that I wrote up printed in the newspaper. I remember feeling so valued and as if dad was confident in my work enough to suggest me as an option. (What was the whole story behind that memory dad?) The book was a children’s book, I think it is called “Down by the Meadow.”

Christmas Tradition: A special box of cereal selected and wrapped up under the tree from dad.

Christmas Tradition: Dad would read us the Deseret News “Christmas I Remember Best” story every Christmas.

My dad has not had an easy life, EVER! Yet, he has accomplished many great things! This has taught us by example that life will throw us many hard blows but you have to get back up, get back in the game, and play your best until it’s over!

Happy Birthday Dad!
I Love You Very Much!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The "Marriage Lifestyle" vs. The "Marriage Covenant"

I have a few very dear friends of mine who live in a way that weighs very heavy upon my mind and upon my heart. Up to this point I have just loved them through their decisions and supported them in the good choices that they make in life. But there comes a time when I just have to express my feelings. I love these people as their sister. I will forever love them! I pray that they will love me in the same way and love me through this post as well.

These dear people that I am pondering about have grown up just as I have with the gospel of Jesus Christ intertwined throughout their life. They know without a doubt the most prominent commandments of the Lord. They know that we should love God above all else. They know that we should love our fellow men. They know that we should not murder. And They know that fornication and adultery are an abomination against God and all that he has taught us! They Know This!

And yet, they have chosen to just test the waters of the marriage relationship before they dive right in. They are living the marriage relationship in every sense of the word, except for the covenant that goes along with it. They are in the water, but they have missed the boat! They will drown without this covenant. A covenant is a two-way promise. And within a marriage it is a three-way promise. It is a promise between the husband, the wife, and God, that no matter what happens, through the triumphs of life and through the heartache, they will bind themselves together and wait out the storms together. And in return, the Lord promises that He will sustain them through every trial. He will lighten the burdens upon their backs. He will open the doors of opportunity that only He can open. And ultimately, He will guide them to safety and peace in the end.

Without making this covenant, no matter how hard a person tries to believe otherwise, the Lord can not completely support them. Even if they are doing everything else right except for this. He Is Bound! When God makes a commandment He is also bound by those commandments. He has said that if we do not do what He has asked us to do, we have no promise.

It is easy to talk ourselves into believing that God loves us enough that he will love us through this or that sin. We rationalize that He loves us as a father and he'll have mercy upon us. We think, "He knows my weaknesses. He knows how hard this is for me. He knows my whole story and the heartaches that come along with it. Surely he will allow me to live this way." Unfortunately, God does know us perfectly. I say unfortunately, because this also means that he knows how strong we truly can be. He knows the beautiful story that will play out if we will follow His guidelines.

When a person chooses to go against the Lord and not legally and spiritually marry before living a "married lifestyle" they choose to close the door to God. Good things can still happen. God does not abandon his children. However, they miss out on all that COULD happen if they were living completely right.

Leif and I know the ever changing nature of life first hand. The thought of going through some of life's trials without the sustaining promises of the Lord is a terrifying thought to me. When we make a covenant with the Lord He is also bound by that covenant. He has to follow through. I know that it is only through our marriage covenant between each other and the Lord that we survived a pregnancy miscarriage and the loss of our twin daughters all within one year's time. The grief and heartache that comes from such losses can disintegrate a marriage and linger as a dark cloud in a persons life forever if they do not have the healing power and promise of the Lord in their life and marriage. Not everyone will go through the loss of a child in their lives. But Everyone will experience a refiners fire. It is our choice whether to prepare ourselves for the inevitable properly by following the commandments of the Lord, or just face them as they come and drown in the depths of the tumultuous waters.

I pray that these people whom I love so much will take a moment to reevaluate their situation. I know that some of them are taking great steps to strengthen their relationship. I am so glad to hear this. I know that it will bless their lives. But I also know that the complete fulfillment that they are seeking in their relationship will not happen until the covenant of marriage is made. The steps that are being taken are meant to be done within the bounds of a marriage covenant. The Lord longs to bless you completely. Yes, God knows of your fears and concerns. But as I said earlier, he also knows your strengths. It is possible to learn from past mistakes and trials and come out stronger in the end. I know that if you will make the right choices now, whatever they might be, you will Never regret it.

Decide if you truly love each other heart and soul. If you do, Get Married! If you don't, stop dragging each other down and move on (that advise does not apply to my already married friends!!). If you're waiting until you can have a beautiful wedding, go have a quiet ceremony somewhere and reap the blessings. Then let everyone celebrate with you later with a beautiful reception and full celebration. If you are just bound and determined never to get married outside of the temple, just know that it is too late for that in your current relationship. Just get married. Then set the goal to make things right.

I know I have said a lot. But I have said everything because I know the joy and strength that comes from a strong marriage covenant throughout the journey of life. I pray that you too will feel of this joy soon!

I Love You! I will Love you forever!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fire Proof Your Marriage!

FIREPROOF is a movie created by Christian producers that is both entertaining and inspiring. They have produced a show that depicts the marriage relationship of what I predict might be the story of 70% of the married couples in our country. I highly recommend this show to everyone! They have also created a website that has several tools for strengthening a marriage. I was going to write more about marriage on this post. But I used all of my blog time writing the post titled The "Marriage Lifestyle" vs. The "Marriage Covenant" So you can read that for a run down of my strong feelings about marriage.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Is This Possible!?

How is it possible for a four year old to lay on the floor and allow himself to POOP in his underwear? How is this possible TWO NIGHTS in a Row?! How is this possible after the first night Mama was EXTREMELY angry about the first time and she sprayed the four year old clean in the shower with cold water? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!!??? How is it possible that this four year old can call through the door "please don't let me sleep Mama!" after being put to bed, and completely miss the fact that he is in Very Big Trouble!? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE??? - I know, because he's four years old.... What a nightmare for Mama!

Isn't it amazing how we can get to a point where we see our little children as little adults? I guess sometimes they have to give us a wake up call that clearly lets us know that they are still little. I pray for patience through this wake up call...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Today: Sick At Home On Sunday

I wanted to write about today. We didn't go to church today because of how contagious we all are. So we decided to have primary at home. The following was our program:

Opening Song: I Lived in Heaven (led by Papa)
Opening Prayer: Mama
Family Motto: We are all on the same team! (led my Mama)
Talk: Sacrament Time (Read by Jakob and Mama)
Music Time: Musical Dice (Led by Papa)
Sharing Time: John 14:27, Where Can I Turn For Peace (led by Mama)
Closing Prayer: Jakob
Lesson: Restoration Movie

We obviously had a great day at primary!! We watched the Glenn Beck conversion story this evening (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) Glenn Beck talked briefly about peace during the show, I was thrilled when Jakob picked up on it and said "nice that he talked about peace..." Lesson Taught!

This afternoon Leif and I took Jakob outside to begin one of our latest projects. Jakob was Absolutely THRILLED because we took him outside and we were actually going to play dinosaurs With Him! We went out and all of us set up dinosaurs throughout the yard in different scenarios. We then took Jakob's Book of Mormon action figures and made it look like they were hunting the dinosaurs. Leif then took pictures of all of these scenarios. Bet you can't guess what the next step will be:) Yep, A Book! We're all going to write a book together. Right now we have two titles for the same book (just directed to different crowds) First: Dinosaurs in Zarahemla or Dinosaurs Among the Nephites. Second: Dinosaur Hunters. It will be a silly but fun book for children. Hopefully one that my kids will enjoy reading to their kids.

RSV Recovery and My Book

I know this might sound terrible, but I feel like I have been on a bit of a vacation for the last four or five days. Yes, we have been quite sick. But it has been really nice to have reason and an excuse to just SLOW DOWN.

We have all been sick. Caleb and Leif have been the worst this weekend. I was sick for a week before everyone else came down with it. Luckily Jakob has just had typical cold symptoms(hopefully that's all it ever is.)Once Leif comes down with something bad, I feel like it's alright to just take naps whenever and for as long as we need to. We haven't gone anywhere except for the hospital and the store either. Caleb has slept a lot so I have been able to sleep when I wanted to. So as sad as it is to have a sick baby and husband, this time I've been grateful for the excuse to just relax.

I have been able to accomplish a lot on the computer this weekend. As you may have seen, I finished my book. It turned out to be a project. Not a horrible project. But I did have to scan in some of the pictures that I wanted with this volume and I selected backgrounds for each individual page and set up the lay out. But I really like doing that kind of stuff. So it was GREAT! Some people really like to scrapbook. I REALLY like to do this kind of scrap booking. I am the QUEEN of Copy and Paste, and this program allowed me to use that talent:) I was also able to add other articles and things that I had written outside of my blog and include them in my book. I am so pleased with the outcome! It seems like a lot of money. But it was DEFINITELY worth the money!!! For all that is included in my book, I was ready to pay up to $100 for it. These books are priceless (I'd like to think so anyway...) I have had some of you (my fellow bloggers and friends) say that you only wish your blogs were as insightful as mine. As if what you write on your blogs are not valuable. I say YOU'RE CRAZY! You might not write as much as me, but everything you put on your blog has value and it should be preserved. If anything, it is a Great way to compile your photos. Just HAVE FUN!! You WILL NOT regret it!

I have also started to dive into my Holistic Health Practitioner studies. That has been really interesting. Unfortunately, there are not enough hours in the day to fit all of what I want to do. So I try to keep a good balance and tell myself that in the end, it will all get done and the most important thing will be what I have done as a wife and mother. If I can keep that in mind and really believe it, I'll be fine.

Can you believe that I have created ANOTHER BLOG??:) Yep! For school I have to write a lot and analyze a lot of different subjects. So I decided that instead of just having everything sit in files on my computer I would blog it so I can Make A Book (of course;) The blog is called: Healthy Mama's Notebook if you're interested in following.

So, we've been sick, but we're doing well. Caleb didn't have to go into the ER today for nasal suctioning. Leif feels well enough to go to work tomorrow. And Jakob and I are fine.

Thank you everyone for your sweet notes of encouragement and Love. I am so grateful that Caleb's RSV wasn't near as bad as it could have been. I feel truly blessed!!!

My Blog Book is Published!

WOW! That was so FUN! is DEFINATELY the company to use when you want to make a blog book, or ANY book. Click on the button below to check out my book:

Mama's Thinking Corner: Volume One
Volume One 2006-2008
By Lena Marie Baron

Larry H. Miller

Salt Lake City is feeling a bit empty this weekend. One of it's greatest supporters and friends has passed away. As a child I grew up watching Utah Jazz basketball. As a youth I began to go to Utah Jazz basketball games. And when I became a wife Utah Jazz basketball is what keeps my husband connected to his basketball passion in life. And all the while through my Jazz basketball journey, there was Larry H. Miller.

Larry H. Miller is the owner of the Utah Jazz basketball team. He passed away at his home due to health complications and Type II Diabetes. Larry Miller was the type of man who did not demand the fame and fortune that is his. He earned it. When you heard the name of Larry H. Miller it was always accompanied with a good action or a good word. Even when it was a story about him being reprimanded by a referee during a basketball game, it was still backed by his passion and dedication to the Jazz team.

He has been a great example to the whole state of Utah and beyond of the classic saying, "where there's a will, there's a way!" Throughout my growing up years in Utah great things happened. Salt Lake City was accepted to host the 2002 Olympics. Larry H. Miller was there in the middle helping make things happen. I am a member of the church that Larry Miller belongs to. There have been many times that rumor's had it (almost always being true) that Larry Miller funded this... and Larry Miller offered his private jet for that... One of the most recent being the Joseph Smith Papers project. This project was a great undertaking and it required a large amount of funding and support. Much was offered by Larry H. Miller.

I could go on and on about this good man. But I will stop here. I just wanted to add my thoughts to the thousands that are circulating this week about this great man and his great mission fulfilled. Thank you Larry H. Miller for setting an example to us all. And thank you Gail for sharing him with us!
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