Friday, January 28, 2011

The Winger's Restaurant of Life...A Comedic Salute

Some folks feel like the main dish in the Wingers Restaurant of Life. Others feel like a side dish, the little saucer of coleslaw that only some notice and enjoy. Still, there are those who can relate their life best to a huge piece of Asphalt Pie...dessert...right on. But me...? On occasion, (not saying when...just on occasion) I feel more like the pre-dinner snack. I'm not talkin' the wings...or even the celery sticks that come with it. I'm talkin' about the POPCORN they sit ya down with...mindlessly eaten...spilled on the table...left with nothin' but hard little kernels and popcorn droppings at the bottom of the bowl...completely forgotten by the time the hoity toity Asphalt Pie comes out. Sigh. Oh well. One things for certain, whether the main dish, side order, dessert, appetizer or stinkin' all gets swept off the table at some point. The busser is no discriminator of dishes. Moral of the story... Go to Wingers and enjoy the popcorn. The end.

P.S....I'll be the Asphalt Pie at some point's just the way it is! Cheers!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Love At Home Begins With L!"

"Love At Home Starts With L!"

A friend recently asked me how Kevin and I have maintained such a happy marriage over these last twenty-two years and it gave me reason to really think about just why we are still happily married, when so many of our friends and even some family members have either not found this to be the case in their lives, or have felt the bitter sting of divorce.  I can`t say why others have not found the same happiness, because I do not know their circumstances and have not walked in their shoes, but I can make an attempt to describe why I think Kevin and I have been so blessed with a happy marriage for so many years.

First and foremost, when we were both of dating age, we not only sought out people we were attracted to, but people who we felt shared our own belief systems...beliefs in God, character, work, and family.  On our first date, we weren't just thinking, "Gosh, he`s/she`s so cute!"  We were both thinking, "Something about this person makes me feel like I`ve just come home."  Being that we both came from happy families, ourselves, coming home was a positive feeling of belonging and acceptance; respect and admiration; familiarity and security.

The day Kevin and I married, we invited three other people to share in our partnership and be daily participants in our marriage:  God, our Eternal Father; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit.  We had our own panel of experts to help guide us on our journey - our parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and even those loved ones who had already passed on.  We didn't really have a clue what we were in for, how difficult it would be, and on the flip side of that coin, just how wonderful it would be.  We only knew we loved each other and had the faith and hope in each other and God that we were going to succeed.  Were there times when we thought we wouldn't make it?  Dang right there were!  However, we are both fortunate that we EACH wanted to make it and therefore aligned our choices and actions accordingly.  We have both made mistakes, and a lot of them, but thanks to our Savior, Jesus Christ, we have had and do have the opportunity to repent of those mistakes, receive forgiveness for our wrongdoings, and recommit to living a better today and tomorrow.

As I ponder the ingredients to our happy marriage, I recognize that numerous "L" words come to mind.  The late  President Gordon B. Hinkley, Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, gave advice to the youth of the church in the form of the "Six B's."  Be Grateful - Be Smart - Be Clean - Be True - Be Humble - Be Prayerful.  I appreciated the way he presented this because it sticks with me...I remember.  Well, in relation to our marriage, I would like to present, in a similar format, Kevin and Donna van Uitert's "Love At Home Starts With L!"  

*  Laugh
*  Listen
*  Lift
*  Look
*  Learn
*  Live
*  Leave
*  Lean
*  Love

*  Laugh:  Be willing to laugh at yourself and the silly mistakes we all make.  Laugh together, and often, because laughter truly is the best medicine, at times.  Just laugh!
*  Listen:  This one is huge.  Listening is so much more important than talking.  Listen to the hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations of your spouse.  Validate their feelings.  Polish reflective listening skills to help them open up and communicate.  Listen to their cries for help, their complaints about work, their innermost thoughts and workings of their minds and souls.  Even listen to their heart beating inside of their chest.  Listen to the silence as you hold hands, as you pray together or just lay together side by side and reflect on the particulars of the day.  Listen.
*  Lift:  At various times in our marriage, Kevin has had to lift me up when I have fallen, spiritually, emotionally, and certainly physically.  I, as well, have lifted him during periods of darkness, personal struggle, or desperation.  Lift each other's burdens when one cannot carry them any longer.  Lift each other's spirits when one is down and lowly.  Lastly, lift your ideals and standards to meet those of our Father in Heaven's and allow our Savior to assist in all of that heavy lifting!  Lift.
*  Look:  Take the time to look.  Don't just see what's apparent or in front of your face.  LOOK for what you WANT to see in the other.  Look for the good when everything seems bad.  Look for the happy when all appears sad.  Look for a smile you haven't seen in a while.  Take the time to look and be prepared to find exactly what you are looking for.  Matthew 7:7  "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."  Look.
*  Learn:  A popular musical artist, Alanis Morrisette, wrote the song "You Learn," in which it says, "You live, you learn; you love, you learn; you cry, you learn; you lose, you learn; you bleed, you learn; you scream, you learn....You grieve, you learn; you choke, you learn; you laugh, you learn; you choose, you learn; you pray, you learn; you ask, you learn; you live, you learn."  Learn about each other.  Learn what makes the other happy and do it.  Learn what God wants for his children and their marriages.  Learn how to put yourself second to the needs of your spouse.  Learn to be quiet.  Learn when to say yes and when to lovingly say no.  Make lots of mistakes and learn from them.  Make many happy memories and learn from those, too...repeat them over and over again!  Learn, learn, learn.
*  Live:  Sometimes we are so busy working, running, sleeping, and talking, that we forget to really live.  At times it feels like a life of survival, of endurance, of getting to the next day, the next rung on the ladder, the next step ahead.  Enjoy today, plan for tomorrow, learn from the past, but LIVE.  Have fun, be flexible, throw caution to the wind, at times, explore, wonder, be a child and live.  Your marriage will thank you for it.  Live.
*  Leave:  This may seem like a peculiar word to include on the list, but I believe it is essential.  Leave time for each other.  Leave the room when you are so mad that you feel your self-control slipping.  Know when to leave work at work.  Leave it in the Lord's hands... Leave.
*  Lean:  Lean on each other when one is feeling weakened.  Lean on the Lord and let his support succor you both.  Lean like a young sapling when the wind blows and stand up straight again afterward.  Lean into love and away from anger.  Don't fall or break when you can lean.
*  Love:  Don't forget to love...with your language, your eyes, your speech, your time, and your body.  Romantic love has been one of the strongest ties that has bound us together over these last twenty-two years.  We still love to be together. We continue to "be in love, fall in love, stay in love."  Some say that their fire has burned out.  Light it again.  Better yet, keep it burning, because it is so much easier to keep it lit than to find the resources to relight it.  It can be done, though.  Choose to love, want to love, remember to love.  Love is not just a feeling.  It is an action, a choice, a gift, a treasure.  Love others...allow others to love you.  The more love you give, the larger your receptacle is to receive.  Love.

I'll finish by saying that there are so many more ingredients to a happy marriage, but these are some of the highlights from ours.  We still have much to learn and with God's grace, many more years together!  Kevin is a blessing in my life.  He is the only man I want to be with and I am forever grateful that he chose me to share his life with.  He is an excellent father, provider, leader, Priesthood holder, example of patience, and most of all, friend.  I thank my Heavenly Father every day for such a man and pray that everyone can find the same happiness and joy in their marriages as we have, thus far, in ours.

xoxo --  Donna

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Room at the Inn...


Our Sunday School teacher asked the congregation this question, pertaining to the birth of Christ and the innkeepers who would not make room for Him to be born:  "How can we make sure we have room at our inn for the Savior?" These are my thoughts...

My first thoughts were centered more on what my heart and mind are full of already.  Is my inn too crowded to make room for the Savior?  Have I invited too many trivial and inconsequential guests that might prohibit me from inviting Him in?  Is my music, television, car engine or computer so loud in volume that I don't even hear him knocking?  Am I running so fast and vigorously that I can't even see him standing at the door?  If so, then how can I alter this?  How do I get rid of unwanted guests, reduce the white noise and slow down long enough to take note of things of eternal value?  This is what came to mind...

Picture the foundation of a home in your heart.  With every act of kindness, service, minute spent in prayer or scripture study, showing love to your family, friends, and strangers, the foundation of this home grows in strength and magnitude.  With every act of hatred, anger, selfishness, ingratitude, or impatience, this foundation shrinks in both size and quality.  The choice is yours.  Would you like to build yourself a sturdy, spacious home full of room for ALL of your loved ones, the Savior, and future worthwhile experiences?  Or would you, instead, prefer a shanty fit only for temporary shelter from the that will not stand up to the storms and tempests of life?  The wind and rain will buffet...the earth will groan and tremble...the floods of adversity WILL rise, no matter which home you choose to build.  It is the nature of this world we live in.  Choose now what the habitation of your heart will be.  If we have already built ourselves a shanty, just remember that we can always start is not difficult to tear such a structure down and rebuild.  After all, the Lord will never repossess the land he gave you to build upon!  No bank or contractor or real estate agent can ever offer such an extraordinary contract or opportunity to match that of our Lord and Savior, our Father in Heaven and the Holy Spirit who promises to be the foreman on any worthy project we should choose to build.    

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We could all take a lesson from a cow...

Driving into Logan tonight, I passed a field full of black cows. Come to think of it, I pass them about three to six times a day, and last night, in the blizzard, my children and I expressed our compassion towards said bovine for having to weather the storm. Today, however, it struck me that we, the human race, could sure take a lesson from these cows in the field...a lesson in endurance, faith, coping skills, and optimism.

First off, these poor cows were getting hammered last night. They were covered with snow, buffeted by the wind, and left standing in the middle of a field with no run in shelter. Several of them huddled together, perhaps finding comfort from the companionship of their peers, or the heat of extra bodies. They have no choice but to deal. They endure. I can't help but think they are prewired with the knowledge that "this too will pass." They've been through storms before, and they know that they end. To me, this serves as an example of endurance through our trials and faith in a future free of, at least, the particular trial at hand. When times are tough and the wind buffets and the snow swirls around us, we can find comfort in the companionship of others - friends, family, pets, Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We can find warmth in their smiles, their words, their hugs, and their acceptance.

Secondly, I noticed this evening that the cows were already pushing the snow aside to find the remnants of green grass perhaps hiding underneath. They made it through the night, through the subzero temperatures, and on the new day, pushed away the evidence of their trial to find new hope of fresh comfort. How many of us, after the tempest of our trials, stomp around on the evidence, curse it, nurture it, cling to it? How much happier would we all be if we had the smarts of a cow to stick our noses in the cold snow and push it aside? They don't get rid of it, but merely shift it to another place, in order to move on with their duty of survival.

Now, I haven't talked to a cow, recently at least, and therefore know not their thoughts on these matters, but am pretty sure one might say, "Donna, you think too much. We're just hungry and we don't give a rat's butt about endurance, faith and optimism. It is what it is. Enjoy your steak and think of me." And with that, I bid you adieu.


Donna van Uitert
a.k.a "The Cow Whisperer"
11/24/10 11:15 p.m.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Limber Pine Trail Pictures :0)

Limber Pine Trail Pictures

Limber Pine Trail

Today, Kev and I and the kids took a drive up Logan Canyon for a little hike. There's a great trail that is easy breezy up at the top of the canyon, overlooking Bear Lake. The quakies were changing colors, the air was crisp and just a bit chilly, and the trails were moist, but not wet, from the rain we received a few days ago. We weren't prepared for the cooler temps being quite so cool and didn't pack any sweatshirts, so....we had to improvise. All we had in the car were Gerrit's and Dayton's shirts from Priesthood conference, that were inadvertantly left in the back. So, when you see all the white shirts, you'll understand! We don't typically go for a hike in white church shirts, but there's always a first! We had a great time and snapped some photos to share with y'all. Hope you enjoy them!