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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell

Fixing Wheels, Mending Hearts

My eight year old participated in his first pinewood derby this week.  Each car was raced one time in each of the four slots of the track.  My son came in 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 1st.  He did not place overall but was thrilled to take first in one - let alone two - individual races.  Neither of my other two boys ever placed overall either.  However, one derby will always stand out in our memory.

It was my oldest's first pinewood derby - he was eight years old.  The first time his car was raced it stopped half-way, it did not even make it down the slope.  My husband realized he had forgotten to lubricate the wheels with graphite.  Too late, once a car is checked in no modifications are allowed.  The second race the car, again, stopped half-way down.  Before the third race I saw the dad of twin Cubs palm my son's car, take it into the hall and then palm it back into place.  The car took 2nd in it's third race and 1st in it's fourth.  I will always have a soft spot for that dad who broke some rules to mend an eight year old's breaking heart.


My 12 year old was invited to a friend's birthday party.  My son really wanted to give his friend a remote control car.  The one he chose was $6.57 over the gift limit I had set.  I pointed out other items w/in budget but my son really wanted to get the R/C car.  He agreed to pay the $6.57 extra so we got the car and headed to the party.

At the party another birthday guest drove the new R/C car off a high surface and then kicked it into the mud after it landed.  The car was ruined.  It was the first thing my son told me when I picked him up.  He expressed disappointment that he owed almost $7.00 for what was now a piece of garbage.

$7.00 is a lot of money.  Especially to a 12 year old whose primary source of income right now is his $6.00/month allowance.  I told my son that part of me wanted to excuse the debt, but part of me knew I shouldn't.  I asked if he understood.  He said that he understood that I wanted to be nice and that I wanted him to feel better but that I also wanted him to keep his commitments and to learn to be responsible with his money.  Yes - but more, much more.

I want my son to know that he doesn't have to keep up with the Joneses AND that friendship, love or happiness can never really be bought - be it by him buying a too expensive gift for a friend or by me allowing him to not grow a little by learning a lesson the hard way.

Hot Coal

After my first date with my husband I told my mother that whoever married him would have to be like June Cleaver, wearing heels and pearls everyday.  He was polite, a perfect gentleman and boring.  After our second date my cheeks hurt from laughing so much.  He was still polite and a perfect gentleman but far from boring.  His quit wit and wry sense of humor are one of the reasons I fell in love with him.


Recently my oldest drew caricatures of each family member.  The ones of my husband and other 2 sons were flattering – the one of me was not.  He drew my husband in a suit and tie speaking in church.  He drew one brother with a big smile, running cross country.  He drew the other brother with bulging muscles.  He drew me wrinkly and frizzy haired talking on the phone.  I said, “You made me look haggy.”  He smiled and said, “I know – how do you like the hair?”  I did not tell him but the pictures really bothered me.  I mentioned them to a friend.  She told me she had done the same thing to her mother as a teenager.  She told me, “Believe it or not, he is showing you love.”  That required more explanation.  She continued that his sharing humor with me was his way of showing me love.  It took a minute and then I understood and a lot of things made sense to me.


When I have had a bad day this son will push seemingly every one of my buttons.  He pesters and bugs and annoys until, the bulk of the time, it becomes so ridiculous that I end up laughing.  I used to wonder why he picked my worst moments to behave his worst – now I understand.  His way of making it better is to make me laugh.


When I was expecting our third I was severely morning sick.  One evening our family was watching “George of the Jungle”.  Initially I thought it was the most inane movie I had ever seen.  Gradually, I began to find it amusing until I was laughing really hard.  At some point I noticed that my son was watching me rather than the movie.  I realized he had probably not seen me laugh for months.


What brought this to the forefront of my mind is a slideshow presentation a local doctor gave of his medical trip to Haiti.  Amid the slides of devastation were slides of mothers playing and laughing with their babies and a smiling grandfather holding his grandson. 


I don’t know the original source but I have heard that holding onto negative feelings is like holding onto hot coal – it hurts the person holding it.  The smiling people in those slides are good examples, to me, of letting go of the coal.

Humanitarian Aid

We just returned from a presentation by a doctor who was part of a humanitarian medical team in Haiti.  He had a lot slides and a lot of stories to tell – it was very touching.  He said there is still great need.  He said there are numerous places to donate but following are some he saw in action while in Haiti:


LDS Humanitarian Services  http://give.lds.org/emergencyresponse


Healing Hands for Haiti  http://www.healinghandsforhaiti.org


Project Medishare  http://projectmedishare.org


Partners in Health  http://pih.org


Medical Teams International  http://www.medicalteams.org


Doctors Without Borders  http://doctorswithoutborders.org


Clinton Bush Haiti Fund  http://clintonbushhaitifund.org


Catholic Relief Services  https://secure.crs.org


Mercy Corps  http://www.mercycorps.org


Habitat for Humanity International  https://www.habitat.org


Heartline Ministries  http://heartlineministries.org


God’s Little Angels  http://www.glahaiti.org


American Red Cross  http://www.redcross.org



Nice hair!
I complimented a teenage boy on his hair.  He smiled and said, "I grew it myself."
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