Monday, December 01, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love this season. Actually I love this time of year beginning from about the middle of November when it starts getting crisp (remember, I live in California...it's still hot right before Halloween) until the end of February when I celebrate my birthday. That's also usually about the time that I slack off on my New Year's Resolutions and I start feeling guilty...

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving. My brother and his family came to visit. I love having them close. We took our annual trip to Apple Hill where Christmas tree farms abound. We trekked around for a few hours looking for the "perfect" tree. I saw several which I proceeded to point out to my husband only to be given "the look" complete with "the rolled eyes". The poor man really needs a different house, one with a 20 foot ceiling. I kept having to remind him that it could only be 9.5 feet tall because our ceiling is 10 foot and I wanted a star on top of the tree this year. Oh, and I'm so excited because I finally talked him into getting a Cedar tree instead of a Douglas Fir. I love it because it doesn't have needles! I love a fresh tree...no artificial one at our house, but I hate the needles all over the place.

I haven't done a smich of shopping yet. Well, actually that's not true. I was going to say what I had done, but remembered that sometimes my kids read my blog so I guess I can't tell you! All I know is that I want to keep it simple this year...very simple kids, in case you are reading this...don't expect anything big at all...really....the stocking stuffers might actually fit in the stockings this year!

One of the reasons I love this time of year is because of the color red, which happens to be my favorite color. It is EVERYWHERE and I am in heaven!

Oh, in case you were wondering...I did get my rank back. It was only a simulation after all. And guess what. I have memorized the entire Declaration of Independence! Yessiree Bob, my girls and I can recite the whole thing! Can I just say, that it was really hard to do. At my age. Which is 42. That rhymed.

Well this was just a random post to let you know that I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I have been busy...memorizing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Very punny!!




My daughter accidently flushed her phone down the toilet yesterday. From the fuss that was made about it you'd have thought she accidently killed her best friend. Her father, upon hearing about it, exclaimed, "Nice to see that you treat your phone like crap!" She was not so amused but we laughed ourselves silly for a good ten minutes!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Be still my heart

Don’t you hate it when you call to your kids that it’s time to come inside now and then you get busy getting ready to go somewhere and when you take a minute to check that they have all come in you realize that your seven year old is nowhere to be found so you send one of your other kids around to the neighbors to find the child and they come back without him because he’s not there and by now it’s very dark outside so you start calling around the house thinking he must not have heard you but he doesn’t answer so you go outside and start calling for him and he still doesn’t answer so you start running down the street calling for him and you go all the way around the block and even over to the park and you start crying because you think someone has stolen him and you might never see him again and you imagine all the horrible things that could have happened to him and you are running around in clogs so your shins start to hurt very badly and then you limp home so you can call the police and get the truck to start searching only to find out when you get home that the child has been hiding in the house all along because he “wanted to be alone”……

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Change Is Coming...

Can you say SOCIALISM?



The good news is my stint in the rain paid off...it looks as if Prop 8 is going to pass! With 95% of the precincts reporting it was passing by 52%. Close-but a victory nonetheless!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Singing in the Rain


Last night my 12 year old daughter and I rallied on a street corner with our “Vote Yes on Prop 8” signs….in a downpour! There was quite a crowd there, most with “Yes” signs, but a few with “No”, and despite the rain we had a great time. We sang in the rain! We waved and danced and paraded around the pedestrian lanes when the little green man let us know it was our turn to go. I thank my stars that I live in a conservative area as most of the people passing by were honking and giving the thumbs up! I don’t know if our stint of standing in the rain will make a difference in the outcome today. I like to think it will. I hope it will.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we were asked by our leaders to support this proposition. The very foundation of our beliefs is in danger of being compromised. “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and… the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” The church itself has not given money, but the members were asked to donate money and time to help pass it. That has fired up some controversy in our congregations and some members have even come out against it and given time and money to the opposition. I am grateful for the gift of agency and that we live in an era where we are free to exercise that agency, but I am more grateful to live in an era with the gospel restored and a living prophet on the earth.

I am comforted by the following quote, given by Elder Neal A. Maxwell 30 years ago:

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.'

"This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

"Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.... Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."

It is hard doctrine sometimes to go against what the world teaches. The word “bigot” was yelled at us more than once during our stint. This is one skirmish that is in danger of being lost. My daughter doesn’t fully understand the implications of what will happen if this proposition doesn’t pass. She doesn’t realize how much harder it will be to raise her own children in an age where marriage and family values would be severely undermined. But she does know that she is a member of a church with a living prophet at the head. She understands that the prophet is the mouthpiece of the Lord. She understands that if she follows that prophet's counsel, she has no need to fear. She understands that she has been asked by that prophet to stand up for traditional marriage and family values. She has stepped forward and will continue to step forward, rallying for truth and righteousness.

Please pray for California, and those other states where marriage is on the verge of destruction. Because if we lose today we won't be "singing in the rain" and your state will be the ones needing the prayers!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

...does whatever a spider can...

I wasn't tagged, but when I saw this post of Michal's I had to look and see what picture I would find.

Here are the rules. Post the fourth picture in the fourth folder of your picture files. Tell us about the picture. Tag a friend or two.

I found this picture taken in September of 2007:

























And they like to dress up.

As superheros.

And do what superheros do.




Thanks for the fun game Michal! Since I wasn't tagged, I won't tag anyone, but if anyone feels like playing, let me know!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stretch forth thy hand

I love reading bluesdad. While my husband does drive a great big pickup truck, and my kids have occasionally drawn on tables (but not with my knowledge or blessing!), I am not offended by him at all; I like how he encourages me to ponder life.

I was just reading this post and as I started to comment I realized that what I wanted to say was probably about as long as a post and so I thought I might as well just make it one.

Tonight for family scripture study we were reading in the third chapter of Mark. Jesus enters the synagogue and there is a man with a withered hand. He proceeds to heal him, even though it is the Sabbath. The Pharisees are watching him (maliciously, it says) and rather than being happy for the man because he has been given a new lease on life, they are happy that they found something with which to accuse Jesus with, it being unlawful to “work” on the Sabbath.

We talked as a family about how we often find ourselves looking for and accentuating the negative in others rather than feeling compassion for them and doing things to ease their burdens. Lately it has come home forcefully to me about how I have been so very negative with my own children. I want them to be successful and happy in life, but rather than being encouraging about what they are doing right, I pick at what they are doing wrong. By accentuating the negative, I am actually contributing to their burden rather than easing it. I can see how that negativity has impacted them as they are not very confident in certain areas of their lives.

Thanks, Blue's Dad, for being humble enough to share a not-so-proud moment. It is these painful moments that define and refine who we truly are. Hopefully from them we can learn to be more compassionate and bring hope and healing to those around us. Hopefully we can learn to be more like the Savior who “saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

%@#*!

Don't you hate it when you change the comment settings on your blog and you only find out after 70 people have viewed your post that your comments weren't working properly.......and since you only average about 10 hits per post you find yourself wondering how many of those 70 people would have left a comment if the comments had been working properly?

If you were one of those 70 people wishing to comment on the last post, please come back and do so!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Price of Liberty

Today something devastating happened.

I was stripped of my rank.

Huh?

You heard me. I was on my way to becoming a Four Star General, but was cut short.

No, I’m not in the armed forces. I’m just taking a class with my kids. It’s called Key of Liberty and we are learning about the men and women and the documents that formed this great country we call home. We read books, write papers, memorize documents, scriptures and the states, and participate in simulations. We have a list of requirements for each semester that, as we accomplish them, we earn rank. It is in the form of a paper that we put in the front of our binder and a colorful ribbon that we tie to these old-fashioned iron keys. The really cool part is that those of a higher rank get to order those of a lower rank around, asking them to get water, or whatever else we feel the need for during the course of our class! We don’t have to do the requirements if we don’t want to, but if we do then at the end of each semester we can earn a really great prize. The first semester’s prize is to have a flag flown IN OUR HONOR over the Capitol in Washington DC! Cool, huh! The second semester we earn a package with a quill pen, real parchment paper and ink. And then if we go ABOVE AND BEYOND by doing all the requirements each semester and a few more we earn the rank of Four Star General and we get to go to an etiquette dinner wherein we are honored and are presented with framed copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America!

So, I have been busy with my girls reading and writing and memorizing and reading and writing and memorizing and reading and........it has taken a lot of time! Writing doesn’t come easy to me. Teaching my kids how to write is even harder. I have sweated and cried over these paper - we have to write one essay per week! Actually three per week for me because not only do I have my own to do, but I have to help my girls with theirs before handing them in. And they aren’t easy questions; they take a bit of pondering:

Why are a moral people required for good government?
What are your God-given rights?
When is it right to defend your liberty with physical force?

On top of all the writing I have memorized the 10 commandments, the 13 original colonies and can place them on a map, and I have memorized almost HALF of the Declaration of Independence, researched and given a report on The Stamp Act, read several books, and much more, somehow fitting it all in along with being a mother, wife, homemaker, chauffer, physician, chef, maid…

Essentially, I have worked hard for all this, only to have it stripped away today.

And why was it stripped away?

Well, I shall tell you.

In class today our instructor laid on the table a plate of very delicious treats—and then proceeded to eat them in front of us, not offering to share. She gave her lecture and we discussed a book, during which she ate two or three treats in front of us while we all sat there drooling. Finally, she asked if we would like some. We all excitedly said yes. She then proceeded to give us a very tiny piece. She asked if we wanted more, of course we did! Well, she said, these treats represent liberty. She had worked and slaved over them. She had spent her own money and time in order to make them. She wasn’t just giving them away. If we wanted some we had to play a game. If we won, we would get the treats. If she won, she would get all our ranks and our ribbons. Did we still want some? Most of us said yes, but a few were apprehensive. But, we thought, it was just a game, surely it wouldn’t be too hard; and those treats looked might tasty, so in the end we agreed to her terms.

Our instructor had taken the Declaration of Independence and divided it into six sections. Each of these sections was cut into strips and placed in an envelope. She told us we had twenty minutes to put together the strips in the correct order. If we did so we won. However, if even one phrase was out of place, we lost. Four students were picked to represent the rest of the class, I being one of them. The rules were, we (the representatives) weren’t allowed to speak to anyone but each other, and the class was not allowed to help us.

She dropped the envelopes on the table and the game began. Thankfully, because some of us had memorized the first part of it, we were able to proceed through the first three envelopes fairly quickly. Then it got hard. Imagine, sorting through the strips, trying to piece 20 random phrases together into something that made sense, feeling the eyes of your classmates on you, knowing that if you fail, you not only affect yourself, you affect everyone in the class, some of who agreed to the terms, but others, who did not really want to do it, but were coerced into the game—needless to say, the pressure was a little intense. We persevered and were down to the last envelope...and then the time ran out.

Surely, we thought, she wouldn’t really take our rank, would she? After all, it was just a game and this was just a class...but no, we had to hand in our ranks along with the ribbon from our keys. All that hard work flashed before my eyes. And not only my work, but the work of my girls. They had been so excited about this class and about earning those awards. I had let them down. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I was embarrassed to be crying, but I couldn’t help myself.

Then our instructor started talking about the founders of our country. She picked up a handful of our ribbons and as she dropped them one by one, she started naming off things that were taken away from those who had signed the Declaration and those who had fought for our freedom: homes, family, friends, health, wealth. She asked us what we were willing to give for our freedom. Would we be willing to give up the comforts we have? Would we be willing to watch our husbands and sons march off to war? These ranks we just handed in were just pieces of paper after all, just colorful pieces of fabric. They were nothing compared to what others had given up.

Class ended. We didn’t get our ranks back and I drove home devastated. I tried to make sense of what had happened. I thought about all the time and effort I had put into it. I tried to relate it to my country. I could see what she was trying to help us understand, and it was very effective; I was grateful for the sacrifices of the founders of our country, but still, this was just a class. Did I really have to earn my rank back? I wouldn’t be able to read all the books again and write all the papers again before the end of the semester. It was too much for me to comprehend. I went through a variety of emotions, from frustration, to anger, to self-pity.

Then I started to contemplate the game. Why did we lose? I pondered on it for a few minutes, thinking about the document that we had been striving to put together, and then suddenly it dawned on me...we lost because of knowledge, or rather, a lack thereof. We didn’t know the Declaration of Independence well enough to win. If we had memorized the Declaration of Independence we wouldn’t have lost. We wouldn’t be in the position we were in. We would have emerged victorious, with our rank intact and the grateful praises of our fellow students.

After that realization my thoughts wandered elsewhere. I thought about Proposition 8. It is a measure on the ballot in California that if passed will be a constitutional amendment that will restore the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. A few weeks ago I was out campaigning door to door for Proposition 8, and out of the hundreds of doors that we knocked on, not one person knew what the proposition was about. Not one. The problem doesn’t stop there though, when people do find out about it, they think it's just about giving same sex couples the right to marry. But it’s about so much more. It’s about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and parental rights. It’s about fighting against tyranny by not allowing activist judges the power to go against the will of the people. There is so much at stake if this is voted down. But they don’t know this. Why? Because the educational system in our country has failed. They had not been taught the fundamental principles that are the foundation of our freedom and liberty. They lack the knowledge required for liberty.

Fifty years ago children had to memorize the Declaration of Independence in order to graduate from school. It was considered one of the most important documents ever. Today, I would venture to say that most people don’t even know what’s in it, aside from a few phrases. I stand guilty of that. As I have been memorizing it I have been awed by the timeless treasure of knowledge contained within that document. My mind is opening and expanding as to what liberty truly is. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America are an accumulation of the wisdom of the ages garnered through hours and hours of study by men and women who knew what true liberty was and who were willing to do whatever it required to obtain it and to secure it for their posterity. They had families to care for, church duties to fulfill, children to educate, houses to clean, farms to run, and businesses to operate. Many men were gone from their families for long periods of time leaving their wives to care for the farm and educate the children. But they were willing to sacrifice all this for liberty. And in doing so, they changed the course of history.

I thought of how I spend my time. I’m not really a TV watcher, but lately I’ve been tuned into the news a little too long. I’ve watched a few more movies than I should have. And, I’m on the computer way longer than I need to be. Just the other day I was looking at my bookshelf and lamenting that I hadn’t read many of the books there. I don’t read near as much as I used to because I have allowed other things to take precedence in my life. I used to study my scriptures on a regular basis, but now it is spotty at best. While I acknowledge that I am a busy person; like my predecessors, I have a family to care for, heavy church calling to fulfill, children to educate and a house to clean; still, I know that I don’t use my time wisely. What if, instead of watching a movie last night, I had spent that time working on memorizing the Declaration of Independence? Perhaps I wouldn’t be writing this post right now!

So, to my dear teacher - THANK YOU for the simulation. While the lesson you were striving to teach, that we would have a deeper appreciation of our country's founders, was ingrained in me, the larger lesson that I learned was that knowledge is the key that will save our country. It is the key that will preserve our liberty. If we “seek…out of the best books words of wisdom; [if we] seek learning, even by study and also by faith” we can do what those who fought so valiantly for our liberties did. By sacrificing of our time to learn and understand what our fundamental, God-given rights are, we too, can change the course of history.

And I’ll do everything else over again, but please, please, please don’t make me read the books and write the papers again!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Superman in training






I didn't take these, by the way. My boys like to use my camera when I'm not around and it's become routine for me to find random shots like these when I download pictures!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Under Pressure

So today my 16 year old son comes in and asks if he can please take an institute class. You see, he's still in high school, but he's taking a couple of classes at the local junior college and he found out some of his friends are taking an institute class and they told him he ought to take it with them...

Well of course I said yes. I love that positive peer pressure!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Time to Sew...

I feel like I’ve been very absent from here lately. Yes, I’ve put a post one here and there, but nothing of much substance. I’ve been trying to write something meaningful, but my brain has not been responding. I could say I’ve been in a slump, but truth be told, I’m not really a writer. I’ve never been good at keeping a journal (well, except when I was in Junior High, and I’m not sure a page with “I Love ______” all over it constitutes a journal entry).

That said, I still love blogging. And I still love reading blogs. I’ve not commented much lately because my life has been hectic with the beginning of school. That, coupled with my much unorganized, slow nature has hindered me from doing a lot of things I love.

Like sewing, for instance. Tonight I took my girls shopping to get a few school supplies and sundry items for classes. Our first stop was the fabric store….oh, how I love the fabric store. I love to sew and quilt and it’s been ever so long since I’ve sat down to do a project. I wandered over to the quilting section and perused the quilting books and as I browsed through a few of them I began to feel this lonely, sad feeling in my heart. It took me a few minutes to understand why and then I realized it was because I miss sewing. I miss quilting. I miss my Best Friend. Just recently I rearranged some cupboards and bookshelves and the extra items that I wasn’t sure what to do with got plopped in the office/sewing room. I haven’t had a chance to go in and assess the damage (all I know is that I can’t even walk in there) so consequently I haven’t been able to even consider sewing.

Several years ago I read a book, and I can’t even remember the name of it, but it was at another time in my life when I felt like I had no time to do anything I loved. I felt guilty for even thinking of sewing, but if I wasn’t sewing I was miserable. This book helped me to understand something very important. The author reminded me that God wants us to be creative. He loves beauty, and to prove that we need only take a look around us. Psalm 19 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork."

I can’t walk by a rosebush without stopping. I have to examine the intricate petals, and of course I have to bury my nose in their blossoms. Gardenias are heavenly to me also, with their waxy petals and intoxicating scent. Another flower that has no scent, but which I absolutely love is the hydrangea. I love all the little flowers that make up one big snowball like blossom. They are so easy to grow and I love how they last several weeks after being cut. When they are in bloom I always have a vase of them on my table. Flowers make me so happy and I can’t imagine what the world would be like if God had been too busy (or too unorganized) to make flowers.

Tomorrow (or today rather) I have to work my last shift at Sunsplash, so alas, I won’t have a chance to do anything with the room until next week. But after looking wistfully at the quilting books today, I am not going to put it off any longer. Come hell or high water, next week I’m cleaning out my sewing room and then, by golly, I’m going to create.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lessons from Elder Busche

A couple of years ago I read Yearning for the Living God, by F. Enzio Busche, which was one of the most inspiring books I had ever read. So imagine my delight when my sister-in-law sent me the following video:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Color Me Happy

Before:


After:
Where were these when my kids were smaller?!? I bought some yesterday just to see how they worked and I LOVE them! They glide on smoothly, they don't break, the paper doesn't peel away. And...they come in these cool colors too:



I'm sold.


I still have smallish boys, so to go along with the crayons I bought this giant sized coloring book for them:

Imagine if you will a 2' x 4' Sponge Bob. (help!)

I also broke down and bought these:

I outlawed markers several years ago after finding intricate pictures drawn on the walls, cabinets and carpet, but now that my youngest is 7, I'm feeling brave.

We've spent the better part of the last two days coloring, but we seem to be running out of yellow.

Hmmm, can't figure that one out...

Off the top of my head...

*Don't you hte it when you re typing nd one of your keys is sticky so tht everytime you hit tht key it doesn't work. I find it very nnoying. Cn you guess which one it is? I've been around the blogosphere commenting nd I kept having to go back nd hit that key extr hard. I'm tired of doing it so you will just have to suffer through ll the typos...

*Thnk you for letting me whine yesterdy. I feel much better tody. I ws ctully in the midst of rerrnging my fmily room nd it ws mess for a week. I don't function well in a mess, which is a problem since I am not a tidy person!

*It's shaping up to be an interesting rce for the White House. I like McCain's pick. I liked her speech. I've never relly identified with politician before, but I did with her. She's close to my age, has one less child thn me. I'm looking forward to seeing her face off with Biden.

*I mde it to bed by 10:00 every night this week... a record for me! AND...we had family scripture study every night too! We're trying a new schedule. We clean up the dinner dishes and then immediately sit down at the table for our study. It feels so good to hve it done nd the discussion is much more lively since we are not too tired!

*Did you know that the ncient Romans had flush toilets? I was just watching a show about how they did all the plumbing for it. Very fascinating...except that the bathroom was a very large room with rows of benches with holes...no individual stalls there. It reminded me of some of my weirder dreams where I have to go to the bathroom really bad and I keep looking for a private spot, but all the toilets seemed to be lined up outside...then I finally wake up...whew!

*You really wanted to know that about my dream, huh!

*Did you notice that the "a" is working now? Figures, just as I am about to wind up!

Good night!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Excuse me while I whine.


I'm having an off day. I'm so tired of making decisions about my children's education. I'm so tired of trying to organize my house because I don't have the shelf space I need for all the books that I use for said children's education. I'm so tired of trying to come up with a schedule that I will actually be able to follow for the new school year. I'm so tired of cleaning the house because even if it's clean I still hate it because nothing is my style and the sofas are threadbare and sagging. Besides, it never stays clean with said children home all day.

Waa, waa, waa.

I was complaining to my husband because our lot hasn't sold yet so we haven't been able to build our new home which will sport a library where I can house all my books and school supplies. I'm having serious doubts it will ever get built.

Waa, waa, waa.

My husband said, "Well you know that old saying, 'when life gives you lemons...'"

My answer to that?

I'm all out of sugar.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And the #1 song is...

I found this on Michal's blog so I thought I'd copy her. She's such a trend setter! Well, she did "borrow" it from someone else so I don't feel so bad!

Go to this blog and find out which song was #1 on the day you were born.

For me it was:

"These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra

Kind of fun! Let me know what you come up with.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Let's face it...

with the invention of texting, the English language is deteriorating.

So... my 13 year old daughter was using my cell phone today and this is what I found in my text messages when I got it back from her. She was having a 'conversation' with my 17 year old daughter.......

Yup.

No. Way.

Your face.

No your face.

Your face doesn't have a freakin kidney.

Well ur face is a dried up racoon with one eye walking down a alley with a flower singing "think of me".

Well your face is a dead snake on a trycicle and the trycicle is in the middle of kuntucky...

Your face has a purple banana growing out the side of it.

And ur face is a dead owl...

Your face has the chicken pox.

Your face has the meesles.

Your face can't spell.

Your face can't sing.

Your face can't dance.


Ah, yes. These is my girls! I actually edited some of the insults as they got to be a little morbid. It was all in good natured fun, and I laughed my head off while I was reading them, but I couldn't help thinking that perhaps they could have done better, after all they have both taken a couple of years of Shakespeare and if your going to insult, you need only look to the master of insults for inspiration. Perhaps the 'conversation' might have gone something like this:

And in thy brain which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, thou hath strange places.

Well, you are the must chaff, and you are smelt above the moon.

Ha! I was seeking for a fool when I found you.

Yeah, well, four of thy five wits went halting off, and now is thy whole person governed with one.

Well, you lisp and wear strange suits.

And you are a most pathetical nit.

Watch out, thou art winding the watch of thy wit, by and by it will strike.



Well, "More of [this] conversation would infect my brain" so I think I'll sign off for now. And you might want to "Weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain"!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Bean Trees

You know that gift from Motherboard I wrote about a couple of posts ago? Well one of the things in there was this book. I started reading it yesterday at 7:00 pm. It's now 1:45 am. I just finished it. I couldn't put it down. It's a very sweet, sad, heartbreaking, touching story. I loved the characters, the friendships, the relationships. The characters were very different from me, but I could identify with them on so many levels. Thanks, Motherboard, for the great read!

I love a story that captivates and takes you away from your life for awhile. But reality calls...it calls at 5:30 am when I have to be up to make breakfast for my 3 cemetary...errr...seminary goers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School?

So... today was the first day of public school in our area. Since we homeschool we decided that a field trip was in order for our first day...



OK, well, these are not my kids...but you get the idea.

The place is normally so crowded that you have to stand in line for 1/2 hour or more sometimes. But today? We rode the Master Blaster twice in five minutes! It's days like these that I love being a homeschooler!

We'll be taking a teacher break for the next two weeks and then...sigh...back to the daily grind.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A long overdue Thank You!

Guess what I just opened...finally! The bloggy gift I won at Motherboard's site, oh so many weeks ago! We had just "met" and I entered her birthday giveaway and won! (Yes, she gives things away on her birthday...how cool is that! I like the idea so much I just might do it next year.) However, it hadn't come before I left for my vacation, so tonight at dinner all of a sudden it hit me that I hadn't seen the package yet and I asked my husband what he had done with it. He had put it in the sewing room (which was a mess, so I hadn't even looked in there after I got home). I rescued it before it got swallowed up with all the other missing things that have gotten thrown in there over the last few months and quickly tore into it! My kids all crowded around and ooo'd and aaa'd over all the goodies, especially the Swedish Fish! I'm excited about the book, I've been needing a book to get lost in, and my son is extremely excited about the flower seeds. He even offered to keep them in a safe place for me!

Thank you Motherboard! It was a fun treat to come home to after an eventful vacation!

Monday, August 11, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Yesterday, after being gone nearly 6 weeks, we arrived home! And while I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my family and other kin, I am happy to be home. And let me just interject here that I have the most fabulous Mother-in-law in the whole world? Yes, I came home to a spotless house. The table was set with a pretty white tablecloth and a vase of beautiful flowers on it and she had some tasty croissant sandwiches and fruit awaiting our starving selves with Bostom Cream Pie to finish off the meal...She had even had the carpets cleaned and closet doors and lightswitches that had been broken fixed! Oh, I just don't deserve her!

Today I had every intention of getting busy unpacking and cleaning out the car, but what did I do instead? I sat around in my jammies reading the Fablehaven series that my cute 11 year old daughter (E) has been pestering me to read. I couldn't put it down, and you know what? I only felt a little tinge of guilt that I should be unpacking, but quickly squashed that notion and finished book 3. Now I am anxiously awaiting the 4th book to be released. Who will get to it first, me or E?

I've missed all my bloggy friends. I've been reading your posts, but give me a week to get settled and I'll start start commenting again!



P.S. Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts on behalf of my brother. While he is out of immediate danger and has some complications from the infection that may be life altering, we are all just thankful that he is still with us.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Don't you hate it when...


you forget your eyebrow tweezers when you go on vacation and you're gone for a month...



Friday, July 25, 2008

Windows to the Soul

Yesterday my brother opened his eyes! He has been on two sedation medications since he's been in, but yesterday they took him off of one of them. His eyes had been open for several hours, but he had not responded to any of the nurses stimulation. That is, until he heard my sisters voice, then he looked directly at her. What a thrill! She called me and I'm sure I broke speed records getting up there! Most of the time he was not focusing on anything in particular, but several times while we were talking to him there was a flicker of recognition. Or his brows would furrow in annoyance when one of the many machines he is hooked up to would start beeping. Or when we were talking to him about his kids, he would get a concerned look on his face. Once he looked like he was trying to smile, and another time he looked like he wanted to say something, but it's hard to talk with a huge tube in your throat! I swear we even saw his eyes tear up when we were talking to him. I was giddy with emotion. As I sat and stared into his beautiful, brown eyes this scripture came to mind,

"The light of the body is the eye."

The eyes truly are the windows to the soul, and it was a beautiful experience to peek in and see that his soul is still there.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Death is all around us...

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog you know that this past week has been very interesting for me. But you don’t know the half of it. Another event that has occurred this week is why I have given this post the title it has. Let me explain.

Five years ago on July 15, my mother passed away. Four years ago on July 17, my father-in-law passed away. This week on July 15 my brother was admitted to the hospital and was hardly expected to make it through the day. And just this past Saturday, on July 19 my grandfather passed away.

So you see, I have been contemplating death a lot lately. And I have also been contemplating why the Lord does things like this. It just seems so uncanny that it all happened this week. Another interesting “coincidence” is that on Sunday in Relief Society the lesson was on death...

One of the questions asked was, “As you think of loved ones who have died or who may soon die, what gospel truths bring you comfort?” As I contemplated that I thought of my mother. I thought of my brother. As my sister and I stood by my brother's bedside on that first frightening day we wondered aloud where my mother was, and even as we wondered we knew the answer. She was right there of course. This was her son, her firstborn. Where else would she be? My answer to the question is that I am grateful for the gospel truth of the sealing power that binds families together forever. Even though she is gone from this life, my mother is still my mother and will always be my mother and no one can take her away. My mother has accomplished more through her death in bringing about a better life for her children. Her presence has been felt many times by different members of our family in their times of need. She is still living and so is my father-in-law and so is my grandpa. And I am eternally grateful for that comforting truth.

Yes, death is all around us, but so is life. Eternal life.

Tender Mercies

The days have all run together. It’s been a week since Roger was hospitalized and I don’t know where the time has gone. So many things have happened. So many ups and downs. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride for sure!

The official diagnosis is Tularemia, or more commonly “rabbit fever”. It was transmitted to him through a tick bite he received on the 4th of July weekend. While Tularemia is rare, only 200 cases per year, it is highly dangerous, it takes only one organism to cause the disease. If he had gone in within a few days of feeling symptoms, he would have been on antibiotics for a couple of weeks and probably would have been fine.

They have given him antibiotics for the Tularemia and have been able to contain it; however it is all the after effects that he is dealing with now. As a result of it running unchecked in his body he contracted sepsis, which is essentially blood poisoning. He has gone into respitory failure and his kidneys have stopped functioning. The Tularemia has also caused ischemia to occur in some of his fingertips, but the real danger lies in it spreading to his heart; in order to keep that from happening he may have to have the affected ones amputated. They have drawn marks on his fingers to check the progress. He also has some internal bleeding which they are not sure of the cause. He is under sedation right now and on a ventilator and is also receiving dialysis.

It all sounds very dire, but the doctors feel that since he is young (43) and relatively healthy that his chances are good for recovering. The main thing that needs to happen is for his lungs to begin working on their own. The ventilator is taking every breath for him and it is also keeping pressure in his lungs in order to keep them from collapsing. When he was first admitted they had him on 100% oxygen and the pressure level (PEEP) was 20. He is now down to 35% oxygen and the PEEP level is 16. It is the PEEP level that needs to go down to below a 6-8 before they will be able to take him off the ventilator. Most of his recovery depends upon him being able to breathe on his own. His body cannot get the oxygen he needs to his blood and certain organs until he starts to be in control of his breathing.

While his kidneys are still not functioning, there is an 85-90% chance that they will reverse themselves and he will be fine. Years down the road he may have some problems with them, but the doctors say that most of the time, in cases like this, people fully recover their kidney function. He will be kept on dialysis until he is able to begin breathing on his own and his kidneys begin to function again.

He is very bloated as they have to keep a certain amount of fluid in his body in order for his organs to receive the oxygen they need. While it is very uncomfortable, it is not dangerous to him. We were worried that it was what had caused the ischemia, but the doctor reassured us that was not the case. We are hopeful that because the Tularemia has been contained that the ischemia will stop progressing.

That is the medical side of things. On a spiritual note, the Lord has been in our midst throughout this ordeal. Yesterday as I was contemplating the events of the past few days this scripture came to mind:

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith. (1 Nephi 1:20)

On Monday our family decided to do another fast for Roger. We gathered together at the hospital so that we could talk to the doctor and get a more detailed analysis of his condition. Since both waiting rooms were full the nurse took us back to the family meeting room in the ICU. The doctor met us there and answered our questions and gave us the information we needed. He then left the room and we were able to discuss what we needed to focus on in our fasting and prayer. We then knelt in a family prayer in his behalf. After the prayer we discussed who would give him a priesthood blessing and made that decision. We were just getting ready to leave when the nurse came back and was very surprised to find us still there. The doctor was supposed to escort us out after he was done, but he had not. I was grateful for that little tender mercy that the Lord showed to us in giving us a private place to gather and plead for the life of our brother. The nurse also allowed us all to go into the room while he was given the blessing, another tender mercy, because only two people are allowed into his room at one time.

Another tender mercy is the fact that I was able to be here at this time. I have felt that the Lord wanted me here to be with my family during this time. Usually in the summer we take our annual trip to British Columbia to go fishing. This year I wanted to visit my family and also go visit the church history sites. A couple of weeks before our trip we decided to cancel the church history tour because of expenses and decided instead to just stay in Oklahoma the whole time. I had been planning on going to Indiana for a week to visit a friend and also my father who lives in Wisconsin, but I got sick so I had put off the trip for a few days. I was sick for two days. On the day that Roger went to the hospital I was feeling better so that I was able to go into his room during those first very frightening hours. Funny little circumstances that kept me here where I needed to be. There have been other, more personal experiences that I have had wherein I know that the Lord is working in this family to bring us closer and to have the opportunity to exercise our faith together on behalf of our brother.

There’s so much that I wish to express, but feel that I need to keep in my heart. My prayer is that my brother will be able to recover and to have the capacity left in his body to fulfill the mission that I know he has still on this earth. I know that the Lord is near and Roger is receiving the spiritual strength that he needs. I pray that I will be able to see him awake before I leave. Please keep him in your prayers, and thank you again for your kind and supportive words.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Good News!

Thank you for your prayers and uplifting words of support and encouragement. Roger (my brother) is improving. Since he's been in the hospital he has had to have 100% oxygen given to him on a ventilator that was also doing every breath for him. Last night he improved significantly so that today they were able to to take his oxygen input down to 80 percent! His blood pressure had been very low but has now returned to normal, so they have been able to take him off the blood pressure medication which means a reduction in the fluids they were having to give him that were bloating his body. He's still on dailysis for his kidneys, but it's only a temporary thing until his kidneys can begin to function on their own.

I have the most awesome family who have all pulled together for him. There are nine of us all together, six boys and three girls. One brother flew in from Alaska to be here and another flew from San Diego with his wife and thier 9 day old baby (she's a beauty!) to be here. We all fasted for him yesterday. I am blessed to be here with them and to witness the pulling together of our faith in his behalf. We know that our prayers are being heard.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Challenging Event

Funny how my last post was on challenging events that can take over your life. I don't have a lot of time to say what I'd really like to say because my vacation has made quite the detour. My big brother is in the hospital in critical condition. He has an infection that has caused sepsis. Last night he was touch and go and was only given a 50/50 chance of making it through the night...but he did, bless his heart. While he is still in very critical condition, the doctor said that she felt the prognosis was better today. We know the Lord is at work here as we have felt his presence many times throughout this ordeal. We believe in miracles and are fasting and praying that his life will be spared. Please think of us and pray for us at this time.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Real Living

"Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenges are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do...No matter how difficult something you or a loved one faces, it should not take over your life and be the center of all your interest. Challenges are growth experiences, temporary scenes to be played out on the background of a pleasant life." Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May 1996

Isn't this a great quote? It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. Too many times I have allowed events to take over while I am hovering somewhere over the top looking at my life being played out and not feeling like a participant.

That's all I have to say...just wanted to share the quote!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Summertime...and the livin' is easy!

Well, once we got to the destination that is.

Have you ever tried to drive across the country with 8 persons, 6 of whom are your kids, stuffed in a car for three days of 12+ hour driving? It is not for the faint of heart!

But now we are here and my kids are connecting with cousins, some of whom they have not seen for over 5 years. It's a slumber party every night! Fortunately I have lots of family here in the midwest, so we can disperse ourselves around and not make anyone too crazy!

We'll be vacationing for about a month, so my blogging life will be sporadic at best, but I'll be checking in when I can.

Hope you all are having an easy livin' summer!

Friday, June 27, 2008

For you Nancy Face!

Presenting, for your listening pleasure, dear Daughter #2 singing a rousing rendition of

"Cookie!"

Ok, well, it's midnight and I had to beg her to perform, so maybe it's not so rousing, but ain't she a cutie!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's a CRAZY world!

I won a bloggy giveaway! I've only ever entered two and boy howdy was I shocked to win. It was about a week ago that I found out, but I was gone to Girls Camp so could not post about it until now. Here's the CRAZY place where I won. Just look at all the loot I will be getting! It was The Motherboard's birthday giveaway. What a fun idea to give away a gift for your birthday. (Must remember that for next year.) The fun thing is that I just met The Motherboard about a week before her giveaway. She left a very nice comment on one of my posts. Thank you Motherboard, I'm looking forward to the treats!

Another CRAZY person commented around the same time and I kept getting them mixed up because of the names of their blogs, and the funny thing is, I don't think they knew each other when they named their blogs, but they have a cool connection that you will just have to read about. Take a gander over to their blogs, it's definately worth your time!

I love the blogosphere. You just never know who you are going to bump into!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Campy Debriefing

I loved going to girls camp as a youth. When I was first married I was the Beehive advisor, so I got to go that one year, but then was never involved with the youth after that...always in Primary. This year was my oldest daughter's last year though, so I called the stake camp director and begged her to let me go! Which they did--I worked in the kitchen all week. It was busy and tiring and my feet were killing me by the end, but it was invigorating to be around all those girls, the energy was astonishing! Oh, and I lost three pounds which was an added bonus!
A fun thing about being in the kitchen is the cute song the girls sing for you,

"Cookie, Cookie
Listen while we sing to you!
Cookie, Cookie
Listen while we sing, please do!
Anyone can make a bed,
Anyone can sweep.
But it takes our Cookie to make the things we eat, so
Cookie, Cookie!
Listen while we sing to you."

I didn't think about it until later, but my mom (who died about 5 years ago) was called Cookie by her family, so that was kind of a fun connection to be called her name, if only during camp time.

I missed out on repelling off a 65 foot cliff in the dark (I really did want to go, I was bummed!) because I was busy in the kitchen and the group left before I could get to the meeting place. Part of the reason I was so bummed was because it was my oldest daughter's group who was doing it and I wanted to be there with her. Instead I went back to my tent and cried... but I did get to do some archery and riflery which was a lot of fun. I'm really good at riflery, but archery, well, that's another matter. I have a really nice bruise on my left upper forearm to show for it! I also got to go on a 5 mile hike with my other daughter. It was not the prettiest hike I had ever been on (I was spoiled by going to Yosemite last month), but it was definately good exercise.

The highlight of my week was at the campfire Testimony meeting with our ward and the bishopric. It brought back memories of when I was a fresh new Beehive. That first campfire testimony meeting marked the beginning of my testimony. I clearly remember a feeling enveloping me that I had never felt before and I wondered how I could be crying and feeling good all the way down to my toes all at the same time! I loved watching the girls each take a turn to stand and bear witness to the truthfulness of the things they had been taught, but the very best part was when my 17 year old daughter stood and bore her testimony for the very first time ever. My motherly heart just melted in a pool of tears after that!

I love camp...

Cookie, cookie....

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hot, Sweaty, Tired

Two words will describe my title...


Girls Camp!

I worked in the kitchen.

I had a blast.

I can't wait to take a shower, use my own bathroom and sleep in my own bed.

And I can't wait to catch up on all my favorite blogs!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I've always wondered what it would be like to speak on one of the revered holidays of mothers and fathers. Today I found out. Here's my talk (it's long, so if you make it to the end, you have my undying admiration!):

Today being Father’s Day I was asked to speak on the topic of fathers. I wasn’t given any particular aspect of fatherhood, so as I contemplated on what to focus on my thoughts turned to some of the problems that plague our country and world today. The roles of parents have changed dramatically in the world. With the recent California Supreme Court ruling regarding same sex marriage, groundwork has been laid for the further erosion of the family. The sacred institute of marriage is in jeopardy. The idea of mom’s staying home with their children has long been ridiculed and single parent homes have been on the rise for the last 20-30 years. In a talk given by President James E. Faust in August of 2004 he says:

“Modern sociological studies powerfully reaffirm the essential influence of a caring father in the life of a child—boy or girl. In the past twenty years, as homes and families have struggled to stay intact, sociological studies reveal this alarming fact: much of the crime and many of the behavioral disorders in the United States come from homes where the father has abandoned the children. In many societies the world over, child poverty, crime, drug abuse, and family decay can be traced to conditions where the father gives no male nurturing. Sociologically, it is now painfully apparent that fathers are not optional family baggage.”

He goes on to say,

“One authority states: “Studies show that fathers have a special role to play in building a child’s self-respect. They are important, too, in ways we really don’t understand, in developing internal limits and controls in children.” He continues, “Research also shows that fathers are critical in establishment of gender in children. Interestingly, fatherly involvement produces stronger sexual identity and character in both boys and girls. It is well established that the masculinity of sons and the femininity of daughters are each greater when fathers are active in family life.””

With the changing climate it is even more imperative that we as members of the Church understand our parental roles and what better place to look for a role model than to our own Heavenly Parent.

A careful study of the characteristics and the attributes of God give a person the blueprint that can be used to build their own eternal character. Through the scriptures we are able to find various passages where God has revealed himself to us.

Exodus 34:6 says, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth.”

Psalm 103:6,8 says, “The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”

In the Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith submits that the attributes of God include: knowledge, power (faith), justice, judgment, mercy, and truth. As I thought about each of these attributes, examples of different fathers who exemplified them came to mind. Some are from scripture, some from books, and some are more personally acquainted with me.

Knowledge
D&C 131:6 states, “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” Without knowledge of all things God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures. Because he is all knowing, he is able to give us understanding and enlightenment that will help us in our eternal progression.

A quote I often use with my family is, “Ignorance is not not knowing, it’s knowing what isn’t so.” True knowledge is a clear perception of fact, truth, or duty. It is enlightenment.

The Book of Mormon tells us that Nephi, “having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father.” We know that Lehi was a “visionary man”, and we know that he shared his dreams with his children, teaching them valuable principles as he expounded on them. Nephi took from the knowledge of his father and asked the Lord for more. I am grateful for that every time I read about the vision of the Tree of Life.

Most children are in awe of their fathers and think they know everything. A favorite comic strip at our house is Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is always asking his dad questions, and his dad, well, he has answers.

Calvin—Why does the sky turn red as the sun sets?
Dad—That's all the oxygen in the atmosphere catching fire.
Calvin—Where does the sun go when it sets?
Dad—The sun sets in the west. In Arizona actually, near Flagstaff. That's why the rocks there are so red.
Calvin—Don't the people get burned up?
Dad—No, the sun goes out as it sets. That's why it's dark at night.
Calvin—Doesn't the sun crush the whole state as it lands?
Dad—Ha ha, of course not. Hold a quarter up. See, the sun's just about the same size.
Calvin—I thought I read that the sun was really big.
Dad—You can't believe everything you read, I'm afraid.

Calvin—What causes the wind?
Dad—Trees sneezing.

Calvin—How come you know so much?
Dad—It's all in the book you get when you become a father.

Power
In the Lectures on Faith Joseph Smith says, “faith…is the moving cause of all action…without it both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.” “It is the principle by which Jehovah works.” Faith is power.

I never knew a person who worked harder that my Father-in-law. Before and after he retired he was constantly out in the yard working. He had a large garden and a grove of fruit trees that produced a bounty of fruits and vegetables. He worked hard all his life and while he was never rich in the ways of the world, he was able to provide for his family in more than just temporal ways by teaching his sons the value of work. Through his example he taught his sons faith. Faith that through their own hard work they would be able to determine the quality of the life they lived.

Fathers have been given the blessing of holding the priesthood which is a source of strength and power. I have been plagued with allergies since I was a young girl. I hated the beginning of school because it coincided with the onset of hayfever for me. The first couple of months of school my eyes were red and puffy and I was completely miserable. My school pictures always reflected that as they were taken usually within the first month. Before school started each year my father would give me a blessing. I remember one year I was particularly stressed about my allergies. I wanted my dad to bless me that they wouldn’t bother me, but I didn’t know if it was ok to ask for that so I didn’t say anything. However, in the blessing he did ask that my allergies not be so severe, thus stating the desires of my heart. From that blessing and others he gave me I gained a testimony of the power of the priesthood and the strength that it can bring into our lives.

Justice
Justice is the virtue which consists in giving to everyone what is his due; it is practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other.

I love the Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” The last stanza says,

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor doth he sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Laman and Lemuel were perpetually murmuring that life was not fair. Nephi, on the other hand, didn’t murmur. He turned to the Lord for answers and for help. In response the Lord says, “ Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper…and inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.” (1 Nephi 1:19-22)

That prophecy came to pass. We can see the consequences of these different approaches to fatherhood throughout the Book of Mormon. Nephi’s posterity had continual access to the light of the gospel, while Laman and Lemuel’s posterity were ignorant of the blessings withheld from them because of the choices of their fathers.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you." (H. Jackson Brown Jr.)

Judgment
The attribute of judgment gives power to the mind for the exercise of faith and confidence in God, and they are “enabled by faith to …wade through all the tribulations and afflictions to which they are subjected…believing that in due time the Lord will come out in swift judgment against their enemies.” (Lectures on Faith)

Psalm 37:28 says, “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever.”

There is nothing that gets my husband’s ire up more than the thought that one of his children may be in danger or has had their feelings hurt in some way. He would move heaven and earth to keep his children safe.

Mercy
Mercy is that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; it implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

My sister tells a story which illustrates how my father applied the principle of mercy.

“When I was a teenager, I used to ask to borrow money from him so I could go out with my friends. He'd give me ten or twenty, reluctantly, and I'd smile and leave. Once I asked to borrow money again. He took out a piece of paper from his desk, tallied up the total, and asked me if I really wanted to borrow this. "Of course," I said. "Well then," he proceeded, "when do you plan to pay this back?" I stopped for a moment to think. I didn't realize I actually had to pay it back. I was a little shocked at this question, which he quickly picked up on. He then went on to explain that if I didn't intend to pay it back, then I should ask if I could 'have' ten dollars instead of 'borrow' ten dollars. If I asked to borrow it, then he wrote it down, expecting that it would be paid back. I then said, "I don't have the money to pay all of that back, so could I just have some money tonight?" He smiled and handed over ten dollars. I liked this arrangement much better. He decided to relinquish my debt and tossed the paper in the trash. His point had been made, and this little lesson taught me that he was actually a pretty cool guy.”

A merciful father seeks to understand his children and shows love through mercy.

Truth
Truth implies fidelity; constancy; steadfastness; faithfulness.

In the Book of Mormon, we have the account of Alma, the son of Alma, being numbered among the rebellious and doing all manner of iniquity. Alma the father prayed with much faith that his son would come to a knowledge of the truth. If you will recall an angel came and rebuked Alma,

“Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people."

“And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.” (Alma 27:13-14)

When Alma the Younger recovered from this experience, he was a changed man. He was appointed as the first chief judge by King Mosiah and went on to rule in righteous judgment. Later in his life he gives wonderful counsel to his sons Shiblon and Corianton instructing them in the ways of truth and righteousness.

If fathers would study and strive to develop these attributes within themselves, many of the ills of the world would be rectified. One of my favorite time periods in the Book of Mormon is after Christ’s visit which is written about in 4 Nephi. It is a relatively short period of time, only 200 years and only comprises one chapter, but I imagine that it was a time during which fathers (and mothers) embodied these attributes.

“And the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land…And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them…And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people… And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings."

I am eternally grateful that I had a loving, caring, devoted father while growing up. I went through a period of struggle in my youth as most of us have. I was working and since I didn’t have my own car my parents would take me and pick me up. My dad liked to do it because it was an opportunity for us to spend time together. He wasn’t a particularly talkative man, but he was a good listener and when he did speak he instructed me in ways of truth. Those times are precious to me because he has since become inactive in the church, yet his teachings in my youth laid the foundation for the kind of person I have become and the faith that I am able to exercise in my own life.

My husband is everything I could have wished for in a father. He embodies many of the attributes that I have talked about. I think my kids would say that he is a “fun” dad. He keeps the mood light in our home through his banter and jokes. He loves his children more than anything else and shows that through his actions.

I’m also eternally grateful for my Father in Heaven and his Son, Jesus Christ. Knowing their attributes give me a feeling of total trust and confidence and also a great measure of comfort. This assurance spills over into my prayers, for I know that whatever I stand in need of, God has the power & knowledge to fulfill.

I testify of the truthfulness of these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, June 13, 2008

To die for...


Last night I had White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake for dessert from The Cheesecake Factory. A mouthful to say and a mouthful of Heaven! Sadly this isn't a picture of the Heavenly creation, this is the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle...I think I'll try that next time!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Double Trouble


Who...us?
When they were younger we referred to them as Thing 1 & Thing 2, you know, from Dr. Suess's Cat in the Hat. They were quite the pair making messes from one end of the house to the other.

They still keep me hopping, but they aren't quite so messy anymore. In fact, their room is the cleanest in the house. They make their bed every day and do their chores almost without being reminded to. They are constantly giving me kisses and hugs. They make me laugh daily.

I think I'd be blue without Thing 1 & Thing 2.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Feeling Good and Looking Better!

I got an email from my piano teacher this afternoon that made my day...or rather made my whole week...month...year?

Here's what she wrote:

"So I am having classes today, discussing the pros and cons of the kid’s recital experiences…when these 4 girls from your recital were discussing your Cristofori’s Dream they said they heard you were a mom! They couldn’t believe it because “she was so young and pretty, she didn’t look like a mom at all!” I thought they were talking about [your daughter], so I reiterated that [she] is the teenage daughter with the pretty long brown hair, but they said, “no, we’re talking about the girl who played 2 songs.” It was a crack up to me when I told them you were a mom, (& not a teenage mom), because you have 3 teenagers yourself. They couldn’t believe it. It kept me smiling through the afternoon….so I just had to share it!

Go have a YOUNG evening, will you?"

I usually get told that I look about 10 years younger than I am, but boy howdy, am I feeling good now!

Monday, June 09, 2008

What's your Guilty Pleasure?

That's rhetorical, so please don't answer!

I had an interesting conversation with my MIL the other day. She was telling me about this TV show that she loves to watch. It’s a bit of a racy program and she said, “Oh, I know there’s some stuff in it that’s, well, kind of “hmm hmm” (her way of saying a little too much of the s3x*y stuff), but the bond these ladies have is why I really love to watch it.”

Now I love my MIL dearly, so this post is nothing against her, but her comment got me to thinking about something that I had just read in Pilgrim’s Progress. Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of a man’s search for the Celestial City(salvation). Christian, the hero of the story is on a journey to find the Celestial City and on his way he meets up with many temptations, threats and dangers. He finds a companion named “Hopeful” who also wishes for the Celestial City. They are directed to the path and given a Note of Direction. They are also warned about the “Flatterers”, nevertheless when they are at a crossroad and not sure which way to go a man “black of Flesh, but covered with a very light Robe, came to them, and asked them why they stood there?” They told him they were on their way to the Celestial City, but didn’t know what road to take. He told them to follow him, so they do, and consequently are led into a net where they become entangled. It is at this point that the “White robe fell off the black man’s back” and they finally recognize that they’ve been duped. They are helpless until a Shining One comes to their rescue.

When I first read that part, I was mad at them for following. It was obvious to me that they should have questioned who he was and where he intended leading them. But as I contemplated it further I thought of how sly the adversary is. He only has to “cloak” something in an appealing attire to entice us. They did recognize that the man was of “black flesh”, but the White Robe made them feel comfortable enough to follow and it was only after they became entangled in the net that he revealed himself.

My MIL’s show is all about friendship; women falling in and out of love, helping each other through the rough spots of life, day to day situations that we can identify with, scenes played out in hilarious, touching and sentimental ways—and before you know it, these women are like your best friends. You have to keep up with them; you have to know what happens to them each week.

But beneath the cloak lies the risqué. We may feel a little squeamish through some of those scenes, but we’re grown-ups. We can handle that kind of stuff right?

I’m definitely a guilty party here. I have watched shows that a friend terms a “guilty pleasure”. Last year I got hooked on a series. I had to watch it every week and I also got the DVD’s from Netflix so I could catch up and understand what was going on. I watched for a few weeks, but then noticed that my home felt a little dark. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I kept feeling like I needed to send the DVD’s back without watching them. I put it off for a bit, but finally I prayed about it and the impression was pretty strong. I’ve found through experience not to ignore those impressions, so I sent them back. Immediately the feeling in my home changed. It was like something heavy left. I try not to think about what my home would be like had I ignored the impression and watched the programs.

I will admit to another "guilty pleasure". My computer. It's now 12:44 am and I should be in bed...

Goodnight!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Be Still and Know That I am God

I'm so glad today is over.

My girls and I all take piano from the most fabulous teacher. Everytime after our lesson I tell my girls, "When I grow up I want to be just like Sister____________. She is very encouraging and positive even when she is critiquing your work. And she's always smiling. I love people who always smile.

Anyway, back to why I'm glad this day is over. Today was our piano recital. I was playing two pieces, one by myself and one as a duet with my eldest daughter. I had practiced and practiced my own piece, but there were two parts that every single time I played them, I messed up. I would go back and work on just those parts over and over and over again, only to come back and mess up. The other struggle was that my daughter was at EFY all last week, so we were not able to practice our duet together until this morning! Let's talk about stress here...no, let's not!

I prayed, we prayed, my husband gave us blessings. We perservered and improved. Before the recital I said another prayer and asked that our minds would be quickened and our hands able to remember the notes, but I forgot to ask for one specific thing.............I forgot to ask that my hands not shake.

They shook.

So much so that EVERYONE noticed, and EVERYONE commented on it afterward.

I played my solo piece first and was so devastated with my shaking hands that I was unsure if I would be able to perform the duet with my daughter. So I prayed and as I was praying I remembered something I had read recently. It was from the 23 Psalm..."He leadeth me beside the still waters." I asked that my hands be made still and the words that came into my mind were, "Be still and know that I am God."

Our turn came and even though we made a few mistakes, my hands were calm.

I love it when the Lord answers right away.

But I'm still glad this day is over!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bring on Summer...I'm Ready!

I have a hot new job! Well a hot new cool job. Actually it's hot for me, cool for the kids...

Here's where I'm working for the summer...




I'm working at a water park! Cool huh? Well, like I said, cool for the kids, because they get to be there while I get to sweat my socks off serving hamburgers and pizzas! I work for the catering department. We set up and serve for the group events. My shift usually runs from 10-1:30ish, so on the days I work, my older kids come with me and play, and my MIL brings my younger two over around 1:30 and then I don my suit and we play until the park closes! I only have to work a total of 12 shifts over the summer to get the very COOL benefits--a summer pass for each member of my family! Usually we get to go only one time each summer, as a day pass costs $25.00 per person, or a summer pass is $80.00. Multiply that by 8 and, well, you see why we only get to go once per season. But not THIS year! We can go as often as we want...so often that we might even get sick of it...NOT!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The End of All Things

I love the end of May. It signifies the end of the school year, the end of seminary, the end of dance lessons, the end of baseball, the end of trapshooting, the end of piano lessons, the end of endless chauffering of kids from here to there and everywhere. Right around the middle of May I get tired...very, very tired. I start thinking about next year and trying to figure out how I can stop the endless running around. I wish I lived on a farm, way out in the country, away from all the "life enriching" activities that I think my kids need.

I've been taking an online class where we read, study and discuss great literature and inspiring documents. The first document we discussed was Your Refined Heavenly Home, by Douglass L. Callister. I love this speech. Actually, I don't love this speech. Well, I do and I don't! It's an amazing speech that has caused me to take a closer look at the environment of my home. I love it because it has caused me to really think about my home and how conducive it is to cultivating the type of refinement that he talks about. And I don't love it because taking a closer look is painful! I so desire to have a "Refined Heavenly Home", but I have a looooong way to go!

I believe the first step to having a home where refinement can grow is to have a home that is ordered. I grew up in a home without order. There was constant clutter everywhere. I craved order, but did not know how to get it. Sometimes the only place in my home that was clean was the bathroom floor. I would take my book into the bathroom and sit on the floor to read. When I grew up I determined that I would have an ordered home. However, I was not taught good habits and consequently it has taken me years to understand how to order my home. In fact, I am still trying to figure it out. My problem, well one of many, is consistency. I start something, but can never follow through to completion.

One of my favorite scriptures is from Abraham 4:18. After completing their creations on the fourth day, “...the Gods watched all these things which they had ordered until they obeyed.” First the Gods put the elements in their place, then they watched them to see that the elements stayed. This does not mean they just sat and watched the elements, it also does not mean they forced the elements to obey. They would have had to keep making corrections and fine tuning things until the elements completely understood their place. The Gods prepared a place of order before introducing flesh on the earth. They created a beautiful place that refinement could then take place in.

See, that's what I'm not good at. The fine tuning. My world would have been one of chaos because I would have gotten everything in place and then...well actually it wouldn't have even gotten to that stage. I would have planned everything, had it written up on paper with umpteen charts, graphs, and illustrations...and then stopped.

But I keep trying. I can give myself credit for that. This week I have been going through my house area by area, purging and organizing; putting everything in place. I have such a strong desire to change. Over the past year I have been changing and learning and growing...minutely, but still progressing. I will perservere!

Go read the article and then tell me what you think.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pass the tissues please

"Slowly he took out the clothes in which ten years before, Cosette had left Montfermeil...he was remembering...he arranged the little things on the bed, the scarf next to the skirt, the stockings beside the shoes, the bodice beside the dress, and he looked at them one after another...She was no taller than that...she laughed, they walked along holding hands, she had nobody but him in the world.

Then his venerable white head fell on the bed, this old stoical heart broke, his face was swallowed up, so to speak, in Cosette's clothes, and anybody who had passed along the staircase at that moment would have heard irrepressible sobbing." (Um yes, irrepressible sobbing...beginning on page 1384 and lasting until the end of the book...)