The sacrifices we make for our children

Heather with her baby, Kaliegh

I have the most amazing children-in-law; three sons-in-law and five daughters-in-law. I  love each of these people as I do my own children. We might not always see eye-to-eye about everything, but my children have married well and their spouses have added rich blessings to the family and to my life.

In about six weeks our twenty-seventh grand baby will arrive via a mother-ship named Heather. Heather sacrifices a lot to bring her babies into the world. Maybe that’s why she treasures them so dearly. This year, one of the things Heather has sacrificed for her new baby boy is going on a family vacation — a Disney Cruise to Mexico. I know this has been a hard thing for she and her family to give up.  We will miss them terribly and wish they were with us, but I, for one, salute Heather for her committment to her family and her desire to do the right thing.  I truly hope that this is the last time we will have to leave any of our children home when we go on family adventures.


Parenting tip:

What are you willing to sacrifice for your children? What are you willing to fight for so that your children will have all the blessings you have in your life and more? We are living in a world upside down in its values. Our freedoms are being usurped and eroded everyday because so many principled people are blind to the evil that is corrupting our government. Are you willing to take a stand for your values and what you believe? Are you ready and willing to take an honest  look at the scary stuff, do your research and  take action for what you want to preserve or change?

Our way of life in this country is hanging in the balance. We can’t prepare for what is coming without information about where we are heading. If you are willing to sacrifice everything for your children, start by sacrificing your ignorance, your prejudices and your skepticism. Ferret out the truth of all things. It is possible to know what is true and what is false, but you can’t be lazy about doing your research.

Our children deserve to live in land free of religious and moral persecution. They deserve to have the same opportunities we have had to make something great with their lives. Let’s not deny them of these rights because of our unwillingness to uncover the truth.

Enjoy your children, find joy in your parenting.

MaryAnn Ball

Published in: on November 11, 2011 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Expectations….and reality

Recently I heard it reported that soon the Earth’s population will pass the seven billion mark. YIKES!!! GRAB THE BIRTH CONTROL! TIME TO PANIC! THE EARTH CAN’T SUSTAIN US ALL!

WHAT? Are you kidding?? Have these people never been to Wyoming? Have they never driven through Idaho, Utah, NEVADA? (Duh!) If they had they would quickly discover that there really is plenty for everyone. There is plenty of land, air and water to sustain many times seven billion people. But that’s the kind of report you hear of when the eggheads in the anthills of the inner-cities together for a panic meeting. Utter nonsense.

Let me clue you into reality. We recently drove through Wyoming. There is enough empty land in Wyoming to comfortably house all the city-dwellers who are tired of living in anthills. We drove for hours and miles to get to the Visitors Center at Martin’s Cove. We arrived at said destination late in the afternoon only to find that it was closed. Now what? The next best thing to go to the RV park I had found online before the trip. It looked like a nice place online, and we were ready to call it a day.

Aww. Expectations.

We drove about ten miles north of Martin’s Cove and found ourselves searching for the city of Alcova. What we found was a small general store — closed, and a sign.

The sign that announces Alcova, WY

Behind the sign we could see where the residents of Alcova resided. The only permanent structure was the general store and a few cabins that made up the single hotel in the area. We found the RV park further up the road, (about 100 yards.)

Eagle Creek RV Park

As you can see, the name just doesn’t tell the whole story. After searching the entire park for three minutes, we concluded that most of the mobile homes were vacant, or should have been vacant. We found a likely spot, pulled in and nervously ho0ked up the RV. The water was a bit rusty but, thankfully, cleared up after a minute of running.

We can honestly say that during our entire twelve-hour stay in Alcova, we saw no other living person or animal. It seems as if everyone in the world had a lot more sense than we did.

When we left the next morning we paid our dues obligingly and were on our way after Gaylon donned his adorable pink rubber gloves and emptied what needed to be emptied by that time.

The office at Eagle Creek RV Park


Gaylon sporting his pink rubber gloves

So, what we learned is that expectations don’t always match reality — in fact, they rarely do. But it doesn’t hurt to have them.


Parenting tip:

It’s vital that parents are clear with their children about what they expect in terms of behavior and attitude But remember that agency plays an exceedingly large role in what and how expectations are actually realized. The best thing we can do, dear parents, is to be grateful when an attempt is made to meet expectations. The healthiest thing we can do after that, is to remember to forgive frequently, put on our patience pants and keep trying.

Happy parenting. Find joy in your efforts.

MaryAnn Ball

Our LHWWOP (Little hotel with wheels on the prairie)

Our HOW, (hotel on wheels)

Now, I have a nice large home, you understand. It has all the latest and greatest in home-making amenities. It’s an American dream come true. And I left my beautiful home for more than two weeks to travel with my honey-bunny in this. Within 12 hours we realized that we were no longer at Ball Manor; we had traded paradise for red-neck — temporarily.

We call it “Living small in America.”

This is the kitchen. A place for not many cooks at once…in fact one will do. More than one and you have friction when passing. This could create some s….tension. (If you catch my drift.)

The kitchen -- a small chef's delight

In a way, this is Gaylon’s dream come true. He always talks about how nice it would be to roll over in bed and turn on the stove. No need for a lot of extra steps to get something from the fridge, just reach over and rummage away.

The master bedroom.

Speaking of tension, this is our cozy nest — provided you don’t have to get up very often. We found that it takes a few acrobatic moves to make this puppy.

The master bath

The bathroom was about half the size of my shower at home. Speaking of showers, try standing in a washtub with the water squirting out beneath the curtain. At least we showered — or tried really hard to. It just added to the fun each day.

The dressing room/hallway

Yep! A whole two-foot square to dress in.

Gaylon in his office -- or the garage. You pick.

It’s amazing how creative one can become when faced with unusual space restraints. Every surface, nook and cranny becomes multi-purposed.

Yet, we are grateful that we’re not pioneers walking across the plains pulling a handcart full of a few meager belongings and a small store of food. We’re grateful for our LHWWOP and our small living and love every minute of traveling in it.


Parenting tip:

So life isn’t perfect. It’s messy and disorganized and if it isn’t, somehow we have to mess it up just to keep it interesting. Kids who grow up expecting life to be perfect are going to be chronically disappointed. If something isn’t right in your child’s life. take a deep breath before you try to make it right. Allow that child to be hungry for a few minutes or dissatisfied with her clothes. Help your children understand that perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If someone isn’t happy, it’s not everyone else’s job to fix whatever doesn’t meet that someone’s expectation. At some point children need to start taking responsibility to fix their own life.

Give your children the message that their life is their job — not yours or anyone else’s. It’s okay if it isn’t perfect. It’s life and life is messy. And still the world turns and the sun comes up in the morning and even though life isn’t perfect, there will be always be good things to be grateful for.

Enjoy your family, find joy in your parenting.

MaryAnn Ball



Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

On the road…again

Our little land yacht

This is a post of hope for all parents currently involved day in and day out with children:

For several years, actually since our children were gone from home and that part of our life was over, Gaylon and I have enjoyed going on road trips. We happily discovered that traveling without children is very pleasant. About six years ago, we went back to Nauvoo. It was delightful with only one problem — the temple was closed. Bummer. So we decided to go back to Nauvoo when the temple was open but our plans were thwarted when we were called to work in the Boise Temple. Now our temple is closed for at least a year for renovations and just like birds fleeing the coop, we are leaving our nest. So off to Nauvoo we go again — this time we are traveling for about three weeks in a little RV — a new adventure for the Ball team.

So….here YOU are now; in the middle of diapers, getting kids off to school, worrying and sparring with teenagers, dealing with those frequent requests from your young adult. And where you’re going is towards an empty nest. This is nothing to be afraid of, in fact, the scary truth is that being a parent really never ends. But it does change. While your children will continue to weave in and out of your life and your grandchildren will be your bragging rights, your responsibilities shift and if you are wise you will happily relinquish current responsibilities for new freedoms and goals.

When Gaylon is asked about his family, he points to me and says, “Here is my family!” He and I are once again our own family. Diapers, school, car pools, big meals and loads of laundry every day are our past. We, together are our future — as it has always been.

Our epic journey to Nauvoo is one of many journeys and adventures we plan on taking together. We have our moments as we are still learning how to be together and really be a Ball Team. But we love each other and practice being improved people with each other. So off we go! This is going to be fun.

(More stories of our RV adventures are on their way. Enjoy!)

Good-bye, Dad…until we meet again.

Ross D. Thurber, 1925 - 2011

I’ve been at the side of my father’s death-bed this past week. The experience of watching him die has been sweet, peaceful and just a little sad — especially for my mom.

Dad was a good man. A really good man. Many people have been greatly blessed because he touched their lives. He was not afraid to die, the mark of a man at peace with his life and with his Savior.

Dad was a loving son, a soldier and veteran of WWII — he was a hero. He was a missionary for two years and then spent the next sixty-one years taking care of his family and doing his duty to the Lord. Dad was a man of integrity, courage, honor and compassion. He was generous and kind. He was industrious and thrifty. He taught me the characteristics I’ve needed to make my life successful. But what I will miss the most is his unique sense of humor. Whenever he found something funny or thought of something funny to add to the conversation he would get the cutest little twinkle in his eyes.

Dad will be missed by many people — me included.


Parenting tip:

Death works well to help us take stock of life. When death occurs we remember what’s really important. It gives us the opportunity to let go of the things in our life that just aren’t helping us advance in life. We get to choose how we want to make our life meaningful and where we need to improve.

My dad taught me to always make my life meaningful — to do meaningful things with my life each day. I’m grateful for his example in my life and the love he had for his family and the Lord.

Enjoy your family — even more, find great joy in your parenting.

MaryAnn Ball

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm  Comments (1)  

The incredible, everlasting bond

Mama Mindy and Baby Emma

I’ve become an observer. I pay attention to parents with their children. I am always intrigued by parent/child relationships. I love to watch how differently parents interact with their children and the closeness of the relationships between parent and children fascinate me. I like to watch how parents move in concert with their own children. It’s fascinating to listen to the unique language between parents and their own children.

I always knew Mindy would be an outstanding mother. She had to wait until she was almost thirty to achieve the status of motherhood, but by the time she had her first child, she was more mature. She was much more patient, more delighted and sweeter with her child than I was when I had my first child at twenty. From the first she had her own special way of holding her child, talking to him and playing with him. She knew instinctively how to simultaneously nurture and empower her children. Her children are entirely enjoyable because she enjoys them entirely.  The way she finds joy in her children is a joy to watch. I’ve learned a lot about parenting from watching Mindy parent her children.

Enjoy your children. Find joy in your parenting.

MaryAnn Ball

The beginning of Spa Princesses

Four Beauties

Spa night at Ball Manor started and ended in pajamas. Four beauty queens in the making started the evening screaming at Justin Beber to kiss them while they danced in front of “Never say Never.” For the beauty portion of their evening they had a facial–just like a real spa. They softened their already baby-soft skin by smearing smashed up avocado on their faces and laid on a towel patiently for two minutes with cucumbers on their eyes.

Eva was the spa champ. She laid straight as a board with her hands at her side and her chin in the air. She crooned, “I’m sooooo relaxed.” Lily Ann wriggled and fidgeted until the cucumbers rolled off her eyes every few seconds. The cucumbers were just a little too thick for comfort. (I don’t know. Do you think 1/2 inch of cucumber on your eyes is too thick?)

The late over spa night was obviously a success. The girls are all still beautiful and sweeter than ever.


Parenting tip:

When you call your daughter a princess, or tell her that she’s a princess, don’t forget to add the part that  princesses are princesses because they serve others — not the other way around. Treating someone like they are royalty and you are the servant to them is to do them a grave disservice. The last thing we need as a society is more entitlement. We have enough people who think they’re entitled to receive unearned privileges. Let’s not include our daughters in this group.

Teach your children, sons and daughters, that all rights come with responsibilities. Their first responsibility is to do all they can for themselves and always look for ways to help others.

Enjoy your family, find joy in your parenting.

MaryAnn Ball

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 6:46 am  Comments (1)  
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Eva, the angelic imp

Eva ready for a swim

This was three-year-old Eva. She is now six and today is her first day of kindergarten. What I like about this picture is how it shows Eva’s cute personality — she is a little angelic imp — a little mischievous and a lot sweet. Eva loves to cuddle. She’s very affectionate and never hesitates to share her loving heart with her family and friends. She forgives easily and is always on the watch for fun. Thanks for being our granddaughter, Eva. We love you.


Personal note:

Today I am watching Glenn Beck’s Restoring Courage event from Jerusalem, Israel. I wish to declare my undying support for Israel. I stand steadfast for Israel and therefore for America. It takes a lot of courage in today’s world to do something as politically incorrect as declaring love and support to the center of all freedom of religion, Jerusalem, Israel. But it’s important for me and for you to do so.

If you want to be truly inspired and have a greater understanding and appreciation for the responsibility each of us has to stand for liberty, go to today and sign up. Watch and listen to the messages given this week from Israel. You will come away with a conviction to make a difference in the world for good. You will be strengthened in your desire to improve your life. It is a good thing, which means it is from God.

Bless you and your family,

MaryAnn Ball

Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 9:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Moorea and Champ; BFF — so far

Moorea and Champ, Best buds -- for now!

Moorea and Champ were born within 13 months of each other. Brother and sister who will neither of them ever remember what life what life was like without the other. They will uniquely share their  history and, if they remain good friends will share a lot of their thoughts, friends and perceptions with each other.

Moorea and Champ are a great argument for having children close together. They are a lot of work but sweetly tuned into each other. Moorea feeds Champ and Champ watches for Moorea and already depends on her for company entertainment and food. They understand each other when no one else does. They keep their mommy busy and vie for her lap time. But they are content to share it when she offers.

What a pair. I hope they will always be the best of friends and that their relationship will always be sweet.


Parenting tip:

There are many things that parents can do to foster strong relationships between siblings:

Compare them with each other
Make them to complete with each other
Allow them to be mean to each other
Pit them against each other

Let them have time to play together often
Observe their conflicts rather than become involved in them
Help them always see the good in each other
Allow them to fix their own relationships when they are damaged

Enjoy your children, find joy in your parenting.

MaryAnn Ball

My friend, Scott

Scott, RossAnne and Winston

I clearly remember the first time I met Scott Gibson. He had driven from Salt Lake City to Boise to meet his future in-laws. It was a warm early Spring day. He got out of his car and stretched. He took his time standing around and then joined RossAnne’s younger brothers who were playing a game of driveway basketball. He didn’t come into the house for at least twenty minutes. It might have been longer.  I knew he was a little nervous so I just waited for him to make his move in meeting us. He came in with a little swagger and  wearing a bit of an arrogant smirk but I saw through his bravado and greeted him warmly. I had a good feeling about this young man and looked forward to getting to know him.

Scott is an interesting cat….oh, I forgot. He hates cats. His boys brought a couple of cats home a few years ago and he did everything in his power to get them out of his life. Cats are attracted to him, however. A good life’s lesson. You attract what you put your attention on. But Scott does have an interesting sense of humor which he brings to every family gathering. Oh I forgot. He doesn’t really relish family gatherings. He would rather be home in his underwear watching TV. But every once in a while he graces us with his presence and it’s always fun when he does.

Scott doesn’t like to clean up, but he likes feeling guilty even less. So he tries to come to family gatherings in time to help prepare food. His favorite way to prepare food is in dutch ovens. He likes to perfect recipes in his dutch oven until it’s amazingly good or until the smoke alarm goes off — whichever happens first.

Scott has a gift of helping everyone feel at ease and welcome. He’s a people person in spite of the fact that he doesn’t really like to be around people. He’s quick to find solutions and is meticulous in everything but his wardrobe.

Scott and I have had a few differences of opinions but I have always enjoyed and loved him. He’s a great addition to our family and has brought us a lot of fond memories. He is a good husband and father and I have always admired his unwavering faith. He’s always been respectful to me and willing to help whenever asked. He’s taught his sons well.


Parenting tip:

It is an interesting and daunting experience to gain new children. A child brings home someone whom he or she has chosen to spend their life with and suddenly there is another child in your family you need to learn to get along with, like and maybe even love someday. This person is usually a stranger to you, unfamiliar with your family culture and unused to the way you live and think. It takes time to make this person a part of your family but with a little patience and a warm, giving and genuine attitude, your child’s soul-mate can become your good friend as well.

Enjoy your family, find joy in your parenting.

MaryAnn Ball

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm  Comments (3)