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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Notes - Saturday Conference

I grabbed a spiral notebook today as I sat down for General Conference.  Usually, I write down catch phrases or things that they say that grab my attention.  Today, I decided that instead of writing these kinds of things, I would jot down impressions in my heart as I heard people speak.

One of the most wonderful thing about this morning for our family is that we now have a table in our formal dining room that is attached to our front room where we watch Conference, so we were able to eat our breakfast while we watched the morning session.  Pretty darned delightful!

We ate scones with cinnamon and sugar or jam (Sweetie has unsweetened, fruit only jam.  Nice to not have Sweetie left out on this tradition).  We also had a smoothie and sausages.  We now have a new Conference lunch food.  It cooks in the crockpot for two hours--perfect!  It's found on the Madhouse cookbook on page 22.  It's the third recipe down on the page.

It was interesting, as I watched and as my family did various things during the sessions, how I felt impressed about individuals in my family and how we are doing things as a family and how I'm doing things as an individual.

The following review is backward--from the last speaker to the first.  This includes both of today's sessions.  A few of the things that touched my heart were the following:

Elder Richard G. Scott said something along the lines of those who have been faithful and live beyond the veil live among us.  They can see us better than we can see them, and they live among us.

Elder Scott's talk was one that I think I'm going to have to really go back and reread.  There was so much too it that was deep and meaningful, but I just couldn't focus well at that point in the game.  The men in the family were running out the door to go set up chairs at the church for the priesthood session, so there was a lot going on.  I'm glad there's the chance to read and watch later on.

Elder Quentin L. Cook said that praying with our children may be more important than anything else we can do as parents.

He also quoted President Spencer W. Kimball and said that when "I am casual in my relationship with diety," if I will immerse myself in the study of the scriptures, the gap closes.

Elder Ulisses Soares quoted President Monson (I believe) when he said, "You can't be right by doing wrong; you can't be wrong by doing right."

He also shared that there is a line well-defined between the devil's territory and the Lord's.  This made me wonder why, if it's so well defined, a good part of the world doesn't see it.

As Elder David S. Baxter spoke, he said something that triggered the reality that life is MEANT to be a place of proving and testing.

He also shared that "there is no such thing as a second-class citizen in the kingdom of God."  When he said this, I felt that that's the way it should be NOW.  We, as members of the Church, should NEVER treat anyone as if they were less than us. 

Elder Robert D. Hales said the words "Come to ourselves."  Basically meaning that we should be true to ourselves and return to the correct path meant for us by our Heavenly Father.

While Elder Hales was speaking, three of the kids jumped up and found that the hard-boiled eggs were done and ready to eat.  One jumped up announcing that he was going to make an egg salad sandwich.  I told him that was fine.  Then another jumped up and then another asked the second child if that child would make a sandwich for him.  The child declined the opportunity.

I was frustrated that I had three children in the kitchen each making the same thing.  It wasn't that so many dishes were being dirtied.  It wasn't that there were so many bodies in the kitchen.  It was the fact that one of those children could have made sandwiches for the other two and served his/her siblings, but each of those children were denying themselves the blessings of serving.  Ugh!  Why are we so casual in this?  Why do we let these great opportunities pass?

I mentioned my disappointment, but as I did so, I realized that we, as a family, frequently let great opportunities to have blessings pass.  Why don't we make the sacrifices necessary to have God bless our lives?

One child, after the mini-lecture, sent the other two children back to the front room to watch Conference while the sandwiches were made.  I guess a delayed or half blessing is better than none at all.

While this child was making the sandwiches, Elder Hales said that we should teach our children to be self-reliant and that we should teach them to work.  Well, there you go.  Timing is everything.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke about our need to not compare ourselves to others and to not be jealous when someone else receives a blessing.  We should be happy for everyone and trust that our blessings will come in the end.  We just need to "work on" trusting that we will receive our pay.

As President Henry B. Eyring spoke about trials, I realized that whether my afflictions are a result of something I've done or not done or because they're an opportunity to prove myself, it doesn't matter.  In either case, I need to lean on the Atonement and the Savior to see them through.

I've been facing some things from my childhood lately.  President Eyring's words were very appropriate and fit well into what's being reintroduced into my life.  He shared the story of someone who needed to forgive some very difficult things that had happened years before.  When asked why that person had been able to forgive, the person replied, "I just knew I had to forgive, so I did."


I have been given an opportunity to reopen some old wounds and revisit something that I believe I have completely forgiven.  I believe President Eyring has given me my answer on this topic.  There is no need to rehash the past.  It isn't hurting me now.  It can be let go.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke about Christ being the last great sacrifice--infinite and eternal and how we, each, should be sacrificing in serving others.  That our sacrifices should be small, imitations of Christ's sacrifice.  Serving shouldn't always be easy and comfortable.  It should be a sacrifice.

Elder Paul E. Koelliker talked about awakening and nurturing the desire in our hearts to understand the mysteries of God.  If we yield ourselves to Christ's will and pattern, He is bound to bless us.

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom raised a lot of thoughts in my mind.  He started out sharing that eternal life is the greatest of all the gifts of God.  As I listened, I realized that that's not just reserved for me.  It's His gift to everyone who has ever walked the earth.  If this is the case, and I'm privy to that gift, why am I not sharing it with others who don't have it yet?  This is the most important thing I can do, right?

Elder Hallstrom spoke about spiritual desires and the outward signs of those desires.  Does what I do show others that I have spiritual desires.  I got to wondering...what are those spiritual desires exactly?  I'm thinking I need to write those down somewhere.  I need to keep track of how I'm doing and what I'm going to do to come closer to God in my daily life as a result of my desires toward Him.

The other thing I appreciated that Elder Hallstrom spoke about was being selfless.  I wondered what I can do to become more selfless.  That's what I really feel I need to work on.  It's been a theme that's been growing since hearing our Stake President speak at the stake Relief Society fireside a few weeks ago.  President Dalton shared that you cannot work to save yourself.  It's only in working to help others be saved that we ourselves are saved.  I'm still pondering on this trying to figure out how to let myself go after so many years of selfishness.

Sister Cheryl A Esplin spoke right to me as a mother.  She reminded me that Heavenly Father knows Sweetie and all of my other children individually and He is interested in what we do here.  She said that a parent's job is to "partner with Him" to do our work.  I have known from the beginning of dealing with Sweetie's problems that this was the case, and there is no doubt that Heavenly Father has helped me through, but my job is to keep working with Him even if I think I've come to a viable solution, we're not done.

When President Boyd K. Packer spoke, I had to get up and get something from the kitchen just to hide the fact that tears were running down my face.  He spoke of serving children.  Especially children in need.  He spoke of his own parents and how they had never served in any prominent callings in the church, but they were faithful in their most important calling--that of parents.  I felt the importance of this message.

There are many, many in need in this world of ours.  I'm trying to figure out where I can be of the most good.  Of course, right here in my own home is the place I must start, but from there, I can reach out to others.  I just feel that there's something that the future holds in this area.  It's just a matter of figuring it out.

What a wonderful day!  The kids were well-behaved during the morning session, and the little ones slept during the afternoon session, so I was really able to focus.  I think this was the first time I've been able to do this.  YAY!  Hoping tomorrow will go as smoothly.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bubbles and Butter

I have a couple of new tricks for you....

If a child doesn't want to take a bath, get out the bubbles. Blow bubbles while the child's in the tub.  After the child is washed, let him/her blow them.

A friend turned me on to what I believe are some of the best bubbles out there...

Gymboree Oodles of Bubbles

The other tip is amazing.  A friend told me about it when I had my black eye, but by then I was too late.  I had to try it out to be sure it worked before I shared it with you.  Well, it didn't take long for me to have that chance.

The other day, one of my children bumped his head on the corner of the piano.  It lumped up immediately.  I followed this friend's tip, and it worked....As soon as you possibly can, put butter on it.  Yup.  That's right....butter.  Not margarine, but butter.  Rub some on the potential bruise and for some reason, it takes most if not all of it away.

It TOTALLY worked.  You'd never know the bump on the piano ever happened.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Madhouse Munchings: Easy Mac and Cheese

#1 LOVES mac and cheese. We've teased her growing up that the day would come that she'd go to a fancy restaurant--for prom or something--and would order mac and cheese.

It's spring break here, and yesterday, #1 scanned the pantry for the blue box but found none. UGH! So, I taught her how to make it.

In the end, she realized that what she was eating was healthier (none of the added colorings, etc.), more delicious and just as easy to make. So, for her future reference and for anyone else who wants to try it, here's how it goes....

Boil some water for the pasta. Once it's boiling, pour in the pasta and let it cook according to the package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, put some butter in a saucepan. It will really depend on how much you want to make, but for her portion, which ended up being about three average-sized portions, she put 2 Tbsp. of butter in the pan. Melt the butter.

After the butter is melted, pour in an equal amount of flour--2 Tbsp. in this case. Stir until it is well blended and smooth.

Pour in either milk or chicken broth. I would start with about 1/2 C. Stir until it's thick, and add more if it's too thick. If you go with milk, add some boullion--just a bit to flavor it.

Add grated cheese. This is one of those add it and taste it, add it and taste it kind of things. Add as much as you need to achieve the flavor you like.

Add salt and pepper, and pour it over the pasta and stir them together. If you end up with too much pasta, save it for a pasta salad (see the last paragraph of the link). If you end up with too much sauce, cook up some broccoli later and pour it over that.

There you go! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For Me

I thought I'd pull from the topics my friends gave me for today's post:  How often I plan something for myself, and how I pull it off.

It seems, when we have little children, we tend to spend so much time with them and doing for them that we forget who we are.  We put ourselves way down on our own priority lists.  We think we're making sacrifices for them that will someday pay off, but I don't agree with this viewpoint.  I believe in the old saying about the pitcher.  We all have a pitcher and all day long, everyday, that pitcher is used to fill others' pitchers, but if we let our own pitchers become empty, with what will fill the pitchers of others?  Along with that, what are we teaching our children?  What example are we setting?  I believe that we're basically teaching them that we're not important.

I've decided that much of what is considered "something for myself" is a matter of how I view the things that I do.  Since this is the case, I do something for myself everyday.  It's important to know what makes us feel happy and fulfilled.  Some of the things I do are take a bath, read, blog, take a nap, play sudoku, scrapbook, take a long walk or drive, and crochet.  Some of these things are easier to do than others.

One thing I need to do better is spend time with friends.  I love that I have friends who plan girls nights.

I think the key to doing these kinds of things is to either have a very supportive husband or a very close friend who's willing to watch kids so you can get away once in awhile.  In either case, a huge part of the deal is that you'll be willing to watch that friend's children so she can get away once in awhile too.

Another thought is to find a class for your child(ren) at your local parks and rec and have a little time to yourself during that time.  Even just to sit and sip something without children underfoot is fairly heavenly.

I feel strongly that a weekly date with my husband is vital.  One year, I made up a list of 52 dates and then scheduled them into the calendar.  I found many of the ideas online. That was such a fun year.  Each week I'd look forward to what was on the calendar and would surprise the Warden with what I'd planned.  We didn't sit around staring at each other on Friday nights and then just decide to go out and eat.  We tried out different sites in the area and got to act like kids again.

I also believe in getting away with him a couple times a year even if just for an overnighter.  Having older kids is great for this, but again, supportive friends were wonderful when we had little ones.

Someday, the kids'll be gone.  I'm grateful for wise women who have shared the truth that it's important to nurture oneself and one's relationship with one's husband.  I know that someday the only people left in this house will be me and him.  It's good now to keep our relationships with ourselves and our spouses alive and vital so that we don't have to start all over again after so many years.  In doing so, we also teach our children to do the same for themselves.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


With the Sweetie thing, #5's asthma issues, and the purse thing, life's been a bit different lately.  There have been new challenges that have landed in our laps.  Thank you to all who have prayed for us and our situations.  We are in a good place now.  Things aren't 100% resolved, but we're on our way, and that's a good feeling.  I feel strongly that much of that progress is thanks to those prayers.  Thank you!

Today, I asked for topics to blog about from my friends on Facebook.  There are a few that I've asked for clarification on, but here's what I've got so far....

  • Coloring pictures
  • My last Easter with my mom
  • Competitive mommy-ing
  • How to quiet children without electronics
  • How often I plan something for myself, and how I pull it off
  • How to motivate children to work/complete their chores
  • Random acts of kindness
So, I will get to work on these.  Funny.  I don't feel like I'm good at any of these.  I'm kind of a trudger, but I take these topics to be a challenge for myself.  Maybe it's time to create a plan and share how I'm going to implement them in my life.  Thanks for the ideas.  I'm going to be better because of you.

Anyone else want to add a topic?

Conference Countdown

Back at the beginning of the month, I wrote about this challenge.  So...are you doing it too?

I wish I could say that I was completely diligent and doing it everyday, but I'm a bit behind.  I'm just about to watch this one:

Who doesn't love President Uchtdorf? I'm looking forward to watching, and now, hopefully, you're watching with me.

Today in Relief Society, we heard the talk by Elder Hales. This was such a great one. So perfect in timing to hear it today after having such a crazy couple of weeks. Plus they gave me a step up. I'm now one talk closer to being up to where I should be on the schedule. Thought I'd share this one with you too:

The teacher today handed us out pieces of paper to take notes on as we listened and wrote thought provoking questions on the board in front of the room.  This was so helpful in fully understanding how this talk pertained to my life.  I think from here on out, as I listen, I'm going to jot down my feelings as I do so.

So looking forward to next weekend!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Commandment #8: Don't Complain; Do Something

Not sure I really need to write much about this one. It's pretty self-explanatory.

When I remember that I'm not really the one in charge here, it helps me to just keep trudging without complaining. I have to continually remind myself that after something bad happens, if I work to be obedient to God, something equally good follows. At least this has been the rule thus far in my life.

There are two scriptures that I've read recently that have added to my feelings on this subject:

1 Nephi 2:12
"And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them."

So, if I'm reading this correctly, if I can remember how God deals with His children, I will have the correct perspective and there will be no need to complain. It kind of goes along with Commandment #7. If I'm trusting Him, I won't complain because my priorities will be right, and I will remember that He's in control and that He's looking out for my best interest even if it's painful. The pain will make me stronger.

I think when my purse got stolen, there was peace because I remembered that God was aware of me. The deputy that helped us out that day called later that evening. I shared a few more details with her, and she said something that I thought was very kind, "Well, you guys have such a great attitude about this."

Although something bad had just happened, we were still standing there joking with her and having a good time. I'm sure she doesn't get that very often in her line of work. Of course, I wasn't completely my usual happy self, I was feeling the burden of it for sure, but I tried to keep my chin up even though my stomach was in complete knots. Giving the deputy a hard time when things weren't her fault would have been so useless. We just knew no matter what happened, that we'd all be okay. We had what was most important--our family was safe. The stuff can all just fade away that's perfectly okay. What good would complaining have done for us?

The other scripture is 1 Nephi 3:6:

"Therefore go, my son, and thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured."

If you're not familiar with the Book of Mormon, this scripture is about a man named Nephi. He was such a great man. He had brothers who were continually complaining. Nephi is a wonderful example of someone who has faith and is proactive. He doesn't waste time standing around complaining, he gets with it, prays about things and moves forward in the direction he feels God wants him to go.

This is how I want to be. I think being known as someone who is "favored of the Lord" would be pretty darned sweet.

Commandment #7: Trust

Do I dare admit that this is my toughest commandment?  I tend to be one of those people who thinks she can do it all by herself.  I know, because of experiences in my life, that God's got my back.  I have no doubt of that--case in point.  My problem is putting myself in the position where I willingly give it and ask for help. I tend to stay on the safer side of things.

When I truly trust in God, though, I know that that requires me to step into the darkness (the unknown) sometimes. The trip to Japan was the perfect example of this. That was a HUGE trial of my faith. I was so happy to see that Heavenly Father had my back the entire way.

I view that trip as such a miracle that there is no way I can deny there is a God.

When I look at that, I realize that that's not the only example of that. For those who truly know me, it should be clear that my entire life (day to day) is a miracle. The fact that someone as weak as me can raise this family is a miracle in and of itself. It's just not possible without a loving God to strengthen and guide me.

If I don't trust Him, I will fall apart. Along with this, though, I know that I have a long way to go in this area as well. The more I trust and am willing to take those steps in following Him, the more I am able to do and the more capable I become.

To be honest, it's kind of scary, but I know I can do better.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Contents of a Life

I received my purse back in the mail today.  This was both good and bad.  I won't go into much detail.

When I opened my billfold, the only thing that remained was my temple recommend.  Other items that were originally in there were scattered in other places in the purse itself and a few were missing.  The recommend looked so lonely but so triumphant there with all of those empty pockets.  Really somewhat symbolic.  I mean, really, what matters in life?  Not all the stuff, I can tell you that, but it's the place I'm working on getting that matters.  It's the things that are helping me get there.

At a party once, we played a game where we each dumped out our purses and shared what we had.  It was extremely eye opening.  One woman had breath mints and gum of all sorts and varieties.  Another had receipts in envelopes.  Yet another had swatches of material and paint samples.  It was fascinating to see how each of these things somehow symbolized the woman's life at that point in time and what was important to her.

I have wondered how the stranger that had my purse conceptualized me as he/she emptied the contents.  What did he/she think when eight medical insurance cards, an inhaler and an LDS temple recommend were unearthed?

Just wondering if you've ever thought about that.  What does your purse/wallet say about you?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Sadly, many individuals don't know where to find God, and exclude him from their lives. When spiritual needs arise, they may look to the left, the right, or round about. But looking to other people on the same level cannot satisfy spiritual shortages. When the immortal spirit is starved, hunger persists for something more filling. Even when material success comes, there is a hollow ache--if living well falls short of living worthily. Inner peace cannot be found in affluence accompanied by spiritual privation."
--Elder Russell M. Nelson

Six More Weeks, Really?!

The second week of the eight week challenge has now passed.  I really am in it for the health part of it, but you wouldn't know it by my behaviors this past week--especially since yesterday.

I have now lost five pounds.  That wasn't my goal (to lose weight), but I'll take it.  I could probably lose about ten more before I start looking sickly.  At least that's how it was with Weight Watchers those years ago. I got to that point and people started asking me if I was sick.  That was pretty sad.  Then we had our family portrait taken, and I could see what they were talking about.  That portrait will never be put up on any wall.

The thing that's killing me is that between Sweetie's issues and the car being broken into, I can now really see the true value of chocolate.  Just a little bit would make life so much more bearable.  Let's just call it...medicinal.  Yes, that's what it is.

I'm sure I'd be handling all that's happening so much better if only....if only.......

Saturday is sugar day--two days away.  So far, there are snickerdoodles and a candy bar in there waiting for me.  On the agenda will also be a brownie in a mug, and I may just keep a never ending mug of hot chocolate in my hand.  Other than that, I have no plans, but I'm definitely open to suggestions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Broken Into

I wrote an entire post this evening about my car being broken into late this afternoon.

Just as I finished and was about to post it, I received a warning from a friend on Facebook.  I'm choosing, because of her warning, not to post what I wrote, but when all is said and done, I may release it at that point.

For now, I will tell you one thing.  When things should have been the most stressful this afternoon, while I waited for the deputy and the Warden to arrive, and while I was on hold with the credit union and the insurance guy, when I should have been freaking out more than anything, an interesting feeling of calm came over me and the impression that things would turn out all right and that there would be a positive outcome from this entered my heart and my mind.  At this point, I don't know what the outcome will be, but I recalled that sometimes blessings come in strange and unexpected ways.

We'll see where all of this leads, but I have little doubt that we're being watched over.  Things will be okay.

Wordless Wednesday: Happy 20 Years!

LDS Scriptures - Quote

I read this this morning. I'm trying very hard not to be anemic. I'm hoping it will make a difference in my life to put these things first.

Click the words below to go to the quote:
LDS Scriptures - Quote

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Liebster Award

I was so surprised to find that my dear, dear friend (he..hem...and author) Lia London Gubelin (Yes, this woman I'm strangling right here)....

...has nominated me for an award!

The idea of the Liebster Award is to promote the “best kept secret” blogs out there on the web–those with fewer than 200 followers.

Lia is the author of  The Circle of Law.  I haven't read it yet, but it's going to be one of our spring break reads.  I always read a book to my kids over the break--usually on the way to the beach and back.

Needless to say, I think Lia is fabulous and to be recognized with an award from her....now, that's a huge honor!  Thank you, Lia!

Part of receiving this award is that I get to nominate five other blogs that I feel are worthy of your time and attention.  And away we go.....

On the Literary Rebound - This is a new blog written by two wonderful friends of mine.  They are both authors waiting to be published.  They're encouraging and sweet and funny.   When you get a minute, go by and see what they've got to say.

It's Good to Be Gold - I HAVE to have Tonya on my list.  She's the one that really got me interested in blogging, and I just LOVE her to pieces.  If you know her, I'm sure you do too.  If you don't know her, you should, so drop by her blog.  You'll love it!

Silver Lining - Brooke doesn't know this, but I go to her blog whenever I want an uplift or whenever I have run out of things to blog about.  Just her manner, her way of writing, inspires.  I think she's a remarkable young woman.  I want to be like her when I grow up.

The Unmistakeable Allens - Sara, like Brooke, doesn't know that I lurk.  From time to time I'll leave a comment, but honestly, not as often as I should.  Just love this girl's zest for life.  So much fun to be learned from the young.

Stay Beautiful - This nomination is out of pure nepotism.  Yes, she's my daughter, and yes, I think she's one of the seven most fabulous things out there.  I'm giving her this award in hopes that she'll feel encouraged to write more.  She started this blog for her sisters, but I have learned something every time I've read it.  Hope you do too.

The other part of the deal with all of this is that, in order to receive the Liebster Award, one must do a few simple things (designed to further the cause of bringing great blogs out of anonymity).

  1. On your own blog, thank the person nominating you and link back to his/her blog.
  2. Nominate up to five more great blogs that should have more followers.
  3. Notify those people on their blog.
  4. Post the Award (that little graphic at the top) on your page.

Yes, it feels a little like a chain letter…except that there is a very real chance you’ll find a new-to-you blog that you absolutely love.

If you know of another blog that you think deserves more attention than it’s getting, please nominate them by following the steps above (even if you haven’t received the award yourself…just skip step 1).


"Strong Like Unto Moses"

Given a challenge, to return and get the plates from the family record keeper, Laban, way back in Jerusalem--a journey that will require days there and days back--Nephi, as he works to encourage and motivate his brothers, says, "Let us be strong like unto Moses."

This hit me as such an interesting phrase this morning.

I'm having an awful time getting myself going in the mornings. I'm completely unmotivated, and to be honest, quite overwhelmed. I would love to see someone not be in my situation. Not that my situation is the worst there is. It's not, but day after day, it's the same thing only things pile up. Maybe everybody feels this way at times. The reason I say I'd like to see someone not be is because I'd like to watch that person to see what his/her tricks are to keep going and conquer what lies ahead each day.

So, when I read Nephi's words this morning, it struck a chord with me...."Strong like unto Moses...." Interesting.

Moses had a seemingly impossible task to accomplish. To anyone anywhere, it would have seemed impossible. Not do-able. Completely out of the question. Much, much worse than what I've got lying ahead of me this morning. He had a people to free. Well, I guess I do to...myself--from whatever binds me and keeps me from doing what needs to be done around here.

Was Moses really that strong? We all know the answer to that one. No!

Moses, when commanded to go before Pharoah, claims that he's slow of speech and asks for someone to speak for him. He was given Aaron, his brother, to be the front line guy. Moses knew his limits. Could he have done it himself? Yes, I believe he could have. Who was asking him to do this? God, Himself. "Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies." Moses could have done it without Aaron, I have little doubt. He just needed that much more faith to get himself there. Did he deny himself blessings because of this weakness? I don't know, maybe.

Everyday, I deny myself blessings. I don't even ask for Aaron. I'm bound and determined to do it all myself. I don't ask God to help me get moving in the right direction. Well, to be honest and fair to myself, sometimes I do, but not always; not consistently. I feel that it's just part of life, and I should just get on it. Why would God help me with that? But of course He would....If I'd just ask.

No, I don't have a staff that I can turn into a serpent. I'm not going to ask for a plague of frogs or locusts, but if I don't get going on getting this house in order, those things may eventually come. I did have a dream about large, black, flying beetles the other night.

Being "strong like unto Moses," those words, were my tender mercy this morning. They were my push in the right direction.

Moses alone wasn't strong at all. Moses was weak. Moses had an impossible task to fulfill. Moses knew his limitataions and because of that, Moses knew where to find strength, and he used that to his advantage. Moses was a leaner, a clinger. Moses KNEW he couldn't do it on his own.

Therein lies the key....Nephi's not telling us to be "strong" like Moses, He's telling us to be weak like Moses. He's telling us, "Lean, baby. LEAN!"

Today's the day that message is finally sinking into my thick skull....

If I want to be strong, strong enough to accomplish what appears impossible to me this morning as I wake with knots in my stomach facing my own, personal impossible task, I HAVE to lean. There is no way around it. And, it's not just waking up, saying a quick ditty of a prayer and heading on my way like I try to get away with every morning, this is a deep, counsel-with-the-Lord kind of prayer along with talking to Him continually all day long in my heart and doing what I feel as I do so.

So, I'm off to conquer Egypt. Err, no, I'm off to conquer a never ending list of chores. Isn't it funny that God cares about my plight--my bondage and slavery to my house--as He cared about the bondage and slavery of the children of Israel? Well, I'm off to find out if He really does. I'm going to be "strong like unto Moses."

Monday, March 19, 2012


So many things running through the ol' noggin today.

I got the email last night that Sweetie was heading back to school this morning.  Timing was everything on this one.  I had two weeks with Sweetie undisturbed--more or less (at least as undisturbed as my life can get at this point).  During that two weeks, I was able to see that there was a problem I had to deal with, struggle through the problem, and find the solution.  Miraculous!

The age Sweetie is is key.  If this problem hadn't been dealt with now, I honestly don't know if it ever would have been handled, and our family would have always had this little piece of dysfunction to it.

Grateful for the tender mercies that have led us through this past little while.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guest Blogger: #5 is a Padawan

On friday my uncle went to my dads school I didn't even know my uncle was there.So my dad said there was a bathroom down the hall.So I start walking down the hall and something really weard happened I saw boba fett down and I'm thinking o dad you are such a good liar.then it happened I saw two lightsabers glow up a blue and a green.my uncle said "[#5] walk through the lightsabers and I said okay so I do.my uncle says "so [#5] I here you like star wars well do you want to be in the star wars galaxy I have a lightsaber and jedi robes in the bathroom." So me and my dad go to the bathroom and open the door and there it was the two awesome things the lightsaber and robes.

 the next day I got my jedi robes on and I went to the kids' museum because at the kids museum it was hero day. So I walked into the museum. I got my picture taken with Chewbacca and Darth Vader and Darth Nihilus. A bunch of kids were really excited and I was the only kid jedi.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

How'm I Doing, Mom?

2am - boy with asthma coughing and coughing and coughing downstairs; little girl with a new bump on her head and a fat lip--from falling last night--grateful her teeth didn't go through her lip--crying and crying. Two reasons to be awake, but why won't the sleep return?

Now - the coughing and crying have stopped, but this feeling nags at my heart. I can't sleep. Why am I feeling so awful?

I scan my mind for reasons. I can find a few. Oh yes, I can ALWAYS find a few (I keep a good amount of good ol' mother's guilt stored up for occasions such as these)--Are we making the right decisions for our kids? Am I spending enough quality time with them? Is their homework done?

I turn over and then it occurs to me. Today, March 17th was the day. The day my mom died. (While everyone else is wearing green, I have to admit, I'm much more blue).

That so totally explains the feeling. Once I make that realization, it subsides.

I've told you about her before. Lots and lots of times. But I have to be honest, I don't write about her for anybody but my kids. I'm sad they don't know her, and I'm sad she doesn't know them.

This morning, I want to paint a picture for my kids...

*My mom colored her hair. She told me that, when someone asked her hair color, she was just going to tell them "Nice and Easy [and the number of the shade she used, which I can't remember, but it was an auburn color]."

*She wore curlers....Sometimes even to the grocery store.

*At the grocery store, when I was little and there was an Albertson's on the corner of Cedar Hills Blvd. and Walker Rd. (where Office Depot now stands), they would, just as you entered the store and walked to the right, sell ice cream--like scooped and in a cone (AWESOME! Why don't they do that now? I'd find excuses to go grocery shopping if they did). Mom would stop and buy us a cone as we entered. One time, we just stopped at the store and bought a cone and then left the store to go home. As we left, the ice cream fell off my cone onto the sidewalk. She didn't even blink an eye but went back in and got me some more ice cream. I loved her for that.

*My mom had a cute laugh. Kind of a giggle. She also had a high voice--not super high, but the just-right-for-a-cute-mom voice.

*She had root beer colored eyes with a continual sparkle to them. She had smile lines; you know, the upward turning, ever-smiling wrinkles--the sign of a good and mostly happy life.

*My mom sang soprano when I heard her sing hymns sitting next to her at church, but to be honest, she should have been an alto. Some of those notes were just a bit too high for her.

*My mom was the perfect hugging height for me. She was 5'2" to my 5'4".

*She had little feet (size 6 1/2) and little hands but always long nails.

*She was low-maintenance. She was easy, breezy and oh, so easy to love.

*My mom loved people. I don't think there was anybody she didn't like, or at least she never talked about it. If she ever got mad at you, you'd never know it. She didn't say anything or fight back. She just smiled and wore red (that's what my dad told me that he learned about her when he was working with her. If someone ticked her off, the next day if she knew she was going to see that person, she'd wear red). I guess that was her don't-mess-with-me color.

*My mom learned how to drive when she was 40 and had four kids. How'd she get around before that?

*My mom LOVED my dad--deeply and enduringly. There was no doubt.

*She wasn't much of a home decorator. That kind of stuff just wasn't important to her. How things appeared just weren't her thing. She was a heart person, not a face person.

*My mom loved her family. She would do anything and everything for us. She loved not just us who were before her eyes everyday, but she loved EVERYONE in her family. She searched back generations to know her family and have them be part of her life.

*She didn't like balancing the checkbook. She often said it gave her that "deer in the headlights" kind of feeling.

*My mom was a fast typist. When I took typing in high school, people would ask me how I could type as fast as I could, I was pretty sure it was because I'd been hearing the click, click of her typewriter since I was en utero.

*I remember someone bringing a 9"x13" pan of something to our family. Before the dish could be returned, it got broken somehow, so my mom bought a new one and filled it with something yummy for the family. She didn't know the woman who the pan belonged to very well, but because the pan didn't belong to the woman, she thought it was my mom's so she returned it to my mom filled with something yummy. This went back and forth and back and forth for months, much to us kids' delight. This built a friendship between my mom and this woman.

*My mom was the kind that everybody loved, but she had a few very close friends--Delores, LaReen, Marty, Deonne....

*My mom liked maple bars.

*In the morning, she would have toast with crunchy peanut butter and boysenberry jam and a cup of hot chocolate.

*Steak and liver and onions were foods only for grown ups. Kids got mac and cheese or frozen pizza on those nights.

*Sunday always had a special meal--fried chicken and mashed potatoes and the most amazing gravy EVER, roast beef and carrots and potatoes, ham, or roast pork.

*Sunday evenings she would prepare popcorn and orange juice and we'd sit down and watch The Wonderful World of Disney after that dumb Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom would get over with. What was that all about anyway, and who cared? At least that's what I thought when I was a child.

*My mom stayed home with us kids until we were all in school then she took a job with Pakula--a jewelry company. She traveled around and took care of the jewelry inventory for stores in the Portland metropolitan area--Troutdale, Gresham, Beaverton, Tualatin....She chose where she went and when and was always back before we got home from school.

*My mom served in the Primary at church for years and years. She was the perfect "kid kind of person" with her sparkly eyes and endless smile. She also served as Relief Society president, counselor and secretery. She was secretery over and over again. She was very good at it. She would sit in sacrament meeting with a piece of paper and a pen in hand and would jot down who was there. Not in a stalker-ish way, but in a "hey, I really care about these people" kind of way.

*She spent hours finding just the right sticker or picture to go on the ward Relief Society newsletter--"The Nutshell." I believe she may even be the one who came up with the name. She'd type it up on her typewriter and leave gaps where she wanted a "graphic" to go. She learned that if she used Scotch tape around the edges, the edges wouldn't show when she would photocopy it. She wanted it to be flawless.

*At least once a week, my mom'd drive out to have lunch with my dad. I LOVED to tag along. They'd usually go out to a fast food place. Now that I think back, this must have been their weekly "date." Cute. I never realized that.

*My mom loved gardenias. They reminded her of the day she got married. She didn't care for roses. They reminded her of her mother's funeral.

*She suffered from hay fever every year. She said it would suddenly end, every year, on the 4th of July.

*My mom didn't sweat the small stuff.

*I don't remember my mom sitting down to read the scriptures. My dad did, but I don't recall that of her, but if someone needed a meal, she was there. If someone needed a ride, she was their girl. She was a doer.

*I remember her taking us to Primary in the middle of the week and we would pick up kids from other families week after week. My brother said that the kids lived in "Marlene Ghetto." It wasn't a very nice neighborhood, but we'd go every single week to get those kids and take them to Primary.

*My mom was NEVER sick.

*She liked to read Erma Bombeck books.

*My mom made things like "shipwreck" and tuna noodle casserole and spaghetti and tacos for us kids to eat.

*My mom's purse was kept on top of the fridge.

*She kept an ashtray tucked way back in the cupboard that held the pots and pans for when her sister (really her step-sister, but she never called her that) came to visit.

*My mom was not into fashion. She wore polyester pants and drove a station wagon. She didn't care, and you know what, neither did the people who knew her. Her heart, her spirit, her demeanor were always fashionable.

*My mom was a lip kisser.

*I remember her taking the time to read to me as a child. There was a story about a squirrel who went home to find toy soldiers had taken over her house. I was always relieved at the end to know that the squirrel prevailed. I remember a cardboard book "I Look Through My Window" or something like that that had a hole in the middle shaped like a window, and as you turned the pages it took you through the seasons. I must have been 2 or 3 because we lived in our house on 123rd in Beaverton. I also remember a Hans Christian Anderson story that had one of those cool covers that was bumpy to the touch and as you turned the cover one way or another the scene would move and look like the people on it were moving.

*My mom had wadded up tissues, a comb and a tiny mirror in a little rubber-ish case in her purse. I remember her handing me a tissue and having to ask whether it was used or not. It was always a new tissue; it had just been in there getting tossed around.

*She always wore lipstick but that was all as far as makeup went.

*We weren't allowed to get into the compartments in my parents' headboard of their bed. The compartments had these cool sliding doors. Anyway, they were forbidden. I snuck a peek once (or twice) on her side, and all I found were these nasty cough "disc" things in a box that slid open. Never understood why that was such a big deal.

*She got mad at me when I poured the entire bottle of baby oil down the sink in the bathroom when I was four. I thought it was water, and I had refilled it, so I didn't understand the hubbub.

*My mom believed that children needed to have pets, so we always had one or two cats and a dog.

*We almost always had a "bedtime snack," and very often it was ice cream. If we were really lucky, she'd have those brightly colored ice cream cones or sometimes the cones with people's names on sides of them. Of course, I always had to have a "girl name." My brothers and I would declare who we were to everyone before we'd eat the ice cream--"I'm Jane!" or "I'm Susan!" and I'd hear "I'm Pete!" If it was a really lucky day, we'd find one with our own names on them. Of course, that cone was meant just for us.

*When I was about 3 or 4, my mom was going to pick up a babysitter (Susie Larsen--my favorite--who'd take us out to the backyard and play mother-may-I and redlight-greenlight with us) for the evening and took a few of us along. She drove onto a nearby street to show us a house that had burned down to teach us about fire safety. I remember being freaked out by the blackness of what remained of the house.  She made her point without even having to say anything.

*My mom took us kids to "Prairie Market" to grocery shop. She let us ride on the flatbed and mark things with the grease pencils they would have in a little cardboard box near the checkouts when you first came in.  The pencils were used to mark the price on your own groceries. I think there were times she tried to stop us from getting those pencils, but after a few times she just gave up knowing that at least they'd keep us busy and out of trouble.

*Most important of all, my mom loved me. There was never any doubt EVER that this was true. She took the time for me.

So, today she'll be on my mind. Just like she is at some point in almost everyday. I'm going to try not to think of this day thirteen years ago. That time of my life proved that I'm stronger than I think I am. That's one of the very few things I'm grateful for for that day.

I will spend today being grateful for a wonderful, loving, caring mom, and I'll spend this day working, like I try to do everyday, to become more like her.

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