February 27, 2010


Today I sat through 3 hours of mandatory Mid Season Tax Training

I sat in the back row, next to Ruth (named changed to protect the innocent)

Ruth is a tooth sucker

You know, they wrap their tongue around the top teeth and make a sucking sound

like they are trying to get pepper out from between

only there's no pepper

just a sucking / slurping sound

the class went something like this:

teacher says something

Ruth turns to me and mumbles something related to teacher's comment

then kicks back on two chair legs, folds her arms, and sucks her teeth

suck suck suck

try sitting next to that for 3 hours

46 days to go


February 24, 2010


When I started this blog, back in July 2009, I was apprehensive about what I had taken on. To ease the pressure, I told myself it didn't matter how interesting or frequent my posts were because I was doing this to please no one, but myself. But, come on, who was I kidding? The hardest person to fool is yourself. No matter how much I tried to convince myself that this blog was just for me, my personality wasn't having any of it. My inner achiever wanted to be a premier blogger . . . which I'm not . . . . . but I wanted to be. I wanted my posts to be frequent and brimming with interest, making readers anxious for the next post, you know, like a magazine columnist or something.

Let's face it, if I really wanted this blog just for myself, I wouldn't have made it public. There is a school of thought that bloggers are a little star struck with themselves, feeling like mini celebrities when others care enough to follow our musings. I have to admit, when you take the time to put something out there, it is nice when it gets some attention. I was quite surprised when I got some followers and soon after, I became intoxicated with the quest for more hits and more comments.

Oh the comments . . . . bloggers love the comments; they are the supreme affirmation that our efforts are not in vain. Though my blog has a small following, compared to some, I was still surprised to see 50, 100, or more hits per day! The pressure started. I wanted to please the readers who had so kindly taken time out of their day to click onto my blog; impress them, and never disappoint. I tried not to let it get to me, keeping my focus and enthusiasm pointed in the direction of my original goal.

My goal has specific terms to keep me within parameters. I don't like to fail at things and I knew if I had an open ended, "once a blogger, eternally a blogger" attitude, my blog would join many other goals I've made . . . . . in a ditch on the side of the road.

I know plenty of bloggers who captured my interest and just about the time I became an official follower , they stopped posting. I like to finish what I start. Actually, like isn't strong enough language; I am deeply compelled to finish what I start and become disappointed in myself when I don't. Self disappointment is never good, so, as a matter of self preservation, I created:


# 1 - Blog for One year

This allows me to cover everything that happens in a year . . . . holidays, birthdays, etc. Most importantly: it has an end, so I can complete the task. I am not very good at thinking I have to maintain a goal for the rest of my life, such as: yoga, read scriptures, eat only healthy foods, watch less TV, get to bed early, keep my fingernails polished etc. If I tell myself I am going keep a goal, from this day forward, every day, for the rest of my life, it is the kiss of death....I may as well never even start. By the way, I am not currently doing any of the aforementioned things, and they have all been goals at one time or another. Point made.

I knew I could do it for one year, so that was the goal. I told myself I could keep going after that if I really wanted to, but, I didn't have to. I used this same logic with my children when they were little; and, apparently, talking to myself like I'm 7 years old works for me too.

# 2

I would include memories, traditions, and stories of my life, so it would all be there, a memoir, should I decide to stop at the end of a year. ...which explains posts about our cars, homes, grade school etc.

# 3 Ultimate Goal

At year's end, print and bind the blog . . . . and therein would be my story.


I recently passed the mid point of my personal blogging commitment.

I have relaxed my please the readers attitude held early on

and am doing it more for myself.

I am feeling pretty good about the content

and I'm excited to see it bound in a book.

July 2010 is the end,

what will I do?

Anything posted past a year would be a goal bonus

so, that would be good.

No need for a decision yet.

Just thinking about it, that's all.


and if you read every word of this, bless your heart;

you are my favorite reader.


February 22, 2010



I'm half way through the tax season

. . . .
it's hard to believe

. . . . seems like it just started.

I like doing taxes

but I have to admit,

I will be glad when it is over

52 days to go


February 18, 2010


Remember that day

I was oil painting with my 2 girls?

As promised, here is what we all created . . .

Chloe's first original oil painting

is of her beloved dog, Rembrandt.

She did it entirely by herself

and I think it is remarkable.


For her first effort,

Chrissy took on every artist's challenge:


Her impressionistic paintings of her husband, Zach, and herself

turned out amazing


As for me,

For a long time, Chrissy has been asking me for a painting.

With her birthday coming up in March,

I decided it was the perfect time to paint something for that bare wall in her kitchen.

I painted three 12" x 12" still lifes of fruit

in vibrant complementary color schemes

with a palette knife.


I haven't worked with a palette knife since college

These paintings are very different from my usual style

and were lots of fun to do.

Since I have already given her the paintings,

it's OK to show you.

Happy Birthday, Miss Chrissy!


February 15, 2010

Our Homes

Here is a flashback of the homes we have owned

.......and a bit about our journey.

Steve and I were married in 1977. While engaged, we searched for a place to live in the only part of town we could afford, the bad part. Steve's father had just completed renovation on a tiny home and I asked to see it. Steve, who had worked with his dad on the home, thought it entirely unsuitable for us and didn’t want to show it to me. I coaxed him into giving me a tour, and it was love at first sight. The name of the street was Madison; my parents met in Madison, Wisconsin and it seemed like a perfect place for us to start out. How many newlyweds can say they started out on Madison Avenue?

First home – Madison Ave - Fresno, CA - $17,000 - 1977


While pregnant with our first child, Michael, we began looking for a home at the north end of town. We found an old fixer upper on an acre of land in Clovis. It had beautiful wood floors and lots of light. We moved walls, painted, wallpapered and poured a patio. We cut our teeth on home remodeling at that house. The exterior wasn’t much to look at, but we often heard, “Wow, this is NICE”, when people came inside. I adored that house.

Our second home – Peach Avenue - Clovis, CA – $35,000 – 1978


Tough financial times forced us to move to the Bay Area in 1983. We packed up our belongings and 3 children, all under age 5. We started our own company in an up and coming new field: The Closet Organizers. We enjoyed immediate success that lasted for 10 years.

After renting 4 years, we managed to save up the 10% down payment and bought a home for $168,000. Our family in Fresno, where the same home would have cost $50,000, thought we were out of our minds!

We loved that home, we loved our ward, and we loved our friends in Fremont. We raised 3 children, had another, went back to Electrical Contracting, bought 3 rental homes, sent out a missionary, and had a wedding reception at that house. It will always be very special to our family. We lived in Fremont 20 years and still have dear friendships from that time.

Our third home – Morley Place - Fremont, CA – 1987


With Michael married and Brittany and Chrissy at BYU, we decided it was a good time to move back near our family in Fresno. Chloe was just starting school; she made good friends and loved being near her cousins.

Our fourth home – Woodmont Avenue - Fresno, CA - 2003


After just 2 years in Fresno, we realized that Electrical Contracting was not going to work out for us and so we decided to start a new adventure. Michael & Marci had been trying to sell us on the virtues of Texas, so we decided to pay it a visit. We loved it! Our stereotypes of tumbleweeds and cow skulls everywhere were quickly dispelled. We sold some rental homes and bought 4 Curves franchises in San Antonio. We loved the new adventure and for the first 2 years, we constantly explored the area, like tourists. We bought this home to live in until we could get into our current home.
Our fifth home – Eagle Peak - San Antonio, TX – 2005


We moved to our current home in June of 2007 and we love it.
Front Yard

Back Yard

You get a lot more for your money in Texas. Believe it or not, our 40 year old Fremont house is worth more than this one.

We have lived in Texas 4 years. We sold the Curves, and at this writing, are in the process of regrouping. We still own 2 rentals in San Antonio and 2 in California……who knows where the next adventure will take us!


February 11, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day


When I visited my mother this past November

I took this picture of our hands.

I love hands,

they are so expressive.

I particularly love my mother's hands

and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude

for the service they have provided me


Valentine's Day is about love

and I have a lot of it in my life,

a dear husband,

who is my eternal Valentine,

my children, and extended family.

Of all my loves,

it is my mother who was my example of how to love,


and with gusto.

Not withholding,

without expectation or conditions,

and with true forgiveness....

like Christ.


May all of you,

have a truly loving and

Happy Valentine's Day


February 8, 2010


“I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me

but I find I am grateful for having loved them.

The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.”
R. M. Brown

My dear Grandpa Gibbs holding me - 1954

My ancestors led hard-working lives of faith and integrity.

I am honored to to be Diane (Stayner) Gibbs Freeman.

I am blessed to have wonderful memories with both sets of my Grandparents;

all 4 of them were in my life until I was 19 years old.

Roy & Mable Gibbs - My father's parents

Henry & Sarah Stayner - My mother's parents

My Mother's Parents

Grandpa Stayner was a turkey farmer in Malad, Idaho. His parents immigrated from London, England and Grandma Stayner's parents came from Whales(Evan Jones) and France(Josephine Dechamps)

One of my most prized pieces of furniture

came from Great-Grandmother Josephine Dechamps Jones;


it is her buffet,

rescued from their Malad barn

and refinished by my father.


Grandma Stayner's vase

1954 - Grandma & Grandpa Stayner with me

My mother, Naomi Stayner Gibbs, and her family tree

My Father's Parents

I loved my Grandpa, Roy B.Gibbs; it was fun to make him chuckle. A cotton farmer in Alpaugh, CA , his ancestors came from Bavaria, Germany in 1747. At age 14, Nicolas Gibbs left his parents and traveled by ship to America. An Army Private in 1871, he fought under General George Washington in the Battle at Kings Mountain in The Revolutionary War. A sniper, he and his company ambushed several hundred Red Coats. At a time when America was merely colonies, he received a large land grant in Knoxville, Tennessee, as compensation for his military service. On that land, he raised 13 children in a log cabin that still stands today. Many Knoxville residents bear my maiden name, Gibbs; for more information regarding the Nicholas Gibbs Historical Society, go here or here.

Home of Nicholas Gibbs
Built in 1793 in Knoxville, Tennessee

Grandpa Roy Gibbs was also a Baptist preacher, working odd jobs to endure the Great Depression. One day, when a man couldn't afford to pay him, Grandpa said he would gladly take the desk in the barn for compensation. I can still picture Grandpa sitting at that desk.

Now mine,
I sit at it every day.

Grandpa Gibbs' Desk

Three Generations of Gibbs
Richard Roy Gibbs(my father) / Roy Benjamin Gibbs

Julius Benjamin and Rosa Linda (James)Gibbs

I am related to the notorious outlaw, Jesse James

through Rosa Linda James

Augustus James and Sarah Pierson James
Rosa Linda's parents

Grandpa & Grandma Gibbs holding me

1969 - Grandpa Gibbs with me,
Marsha, Susan, Jennifer (clockwise)

1976 - Our engagement dinner

Grandma Mable Gibbs outlived all of my other grandparents by over 20 years. She lived to be 90 years old and I am thankful all 4 of my children had her in their lives.

Grandma Mable and I shared many interests.

She was a skilled cook, seamstress, gardener, and artist

.....and she loved to oil paint

Mable Flora Gibbs

1997 Grandma Mable with Chloe----1990 Chrissy, Brittany

Grandma Mable's parents came from Liverpool England;
John W.Elvidge(1877) and Minnie Mae Anderson(1884)

I love this photo
of my great grandmother,Lillie Elvidge,

John's mother.


Minnie Mae, or Grandma Elvidge as we called her, came to visit when I was about 12, she was 82. It was springtime and we took pictures under the white blossoms of our apricot trees; she wore a dress with little flowers on it. It was the last time I remember seeing her.

1967 Minnie Mae Elvidge with Roy Gibbs

I have a few treasures that once belonged to my
Great Grandmother & Grandfather Elvidge.

Minnie Mae's cream pitcher(1895) and vase

Razor strap and lather brush used by John W. Elvidge - Circa 1895

Grandma Gibbs' coffee mug - A salt & pepper set given to her by her sister Nora

1953 - Wedding gift to my parents from Grandma Gibbs' brother, Mark Elvidge



“I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work 15 and 16 hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.” - Mario Cuomo

I owe a great deal to my ancestors.

...till I see you again,

I love you, Grandma & Grandpa



About Me

My photo
I married my high school sweetheart 34 years ago in the LDS Temple. I have 4 children (3 married, and a 14 year old) and 6 grandchildren. I lived my entire life in California, until 6 years ago. I now reside in San Antonio, Texas. The most important thing to me is my family; I have invested the most in them and it has paid great dividends. I love doing anything creative that beautifies my surroundings and I love nature. I minored in Art and majored in Interior Design at BYU, yet, my profession is a Tax Preparer.

Steve and I

Steve and I

Steve and I

Steve and I
Pismo Beach

Our Family

Our Family

Mike, Marci & Family

Mike, Marci & Family

Brittany & Ili

Brittany & Ili

Zach & Chrissy

Zach & Chrissy