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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Future

Family pictures tomorrow! I've been planning and plotting just what color combinations we're going to wear. It's funny. I used to dread this, but I think I have it kind of figured out now to the point that it's fun. We'll see how it turns out once we're all dressed in the morning.

#1 spoke along with 13 other waiting missionaries at our stake conference today. She was asked to share her testimony and what helped her prepare for her mission. She did a good job. They all did. It was so fun to see them all up there. I think there were an equal number of women and men. Some were staying in the states and others were leaving the country. I think that was an equal division as well.

I've got a fun post sitting on the back burner just waiting to be finished and posted, so look forward to that one--hopefully tomorrow.

image: continuumseniors.com
Summer's getting closer, and my time at the preschool is coming to a close. It's been SO fun! I've loved being around the preschoolers, but the high schoolers have been fabulous! You know, people give "the youth of today" such a bad time. Now that I think about it, they did for my generation too, but these young adults give me hope in the future. They're just caring, responsible, great people. It's been a true pleasure to work with them. So, that will go on through May, and then when graduation hits--first week of June (I think), we'll be done.

Next school year looks like it's going to hold some changes for our family--more on that in a future post. There have been some challenges that have brought about a need to think outside my usually comfortable box.

As far as #1's mission goes, she's ready. She has immunizations to get still, but we're kind of in a
holding pattern.

See the resemblance?
Another thing she's been asked to do in preparation for her mission is to investigate her roots and come up with four generations of her family tree. She's also supposed to have some stories about her ancestors to share. That's what we're working on now. We've pulled all the older kids on board to find out what they can about these family members. It's kind of fun. #1's researching my maternal grandfather's line--the Stegner's, #2's doing my paternal grandfather's line--the Hamm's, #3 has my maternal grandmother's family--the Holz's, and #4 has my paternal grandmother's ancestry--the Dye's. When we're done a bit here, we'll work over to the Warden's family--the Hess, Tolman, Anderson, and Abrams families. I started with mine just because they're more familiar to me, and I'm the one running the show. Once we get to the Warden's side, it'll all be pretty new, but it will probably also be easier because the kids can talk to their grandparents about their families. That'll be fun.

So, first thing in the morning, I'm off to buy a few items for pictures, and the Warden's going to take #2 to the DMV. It's a furlough day, so it'll be nice to have the whole family together.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ladder of Inference

Great day! Today was the Oregon American Mother's conference. It was FABULOUS! There were some profound things shared. The theme was "A Call to Action." I definitely felt the urgency to be active as a mother and just as a person. I think the thing that hit me the most was a presentation on "Being."

In our society we seem to have things backwards--have, then do, then be. Today, I learned that that all has to be turned around. We must be, then do, and only then can we have what we really want in our lives.

The presenter shared the "ladder of inference" with us. I'd never heard of that before. I think it's rather ironic that it's a ladder as it seems to be an additional step up on the pattern my thoughts have been taking lately. Here it is for your review.

This was just a small portion of her presentation, and I wish I could have just sat and listened to her for hours. There was just a wealth of information.

She spoke of competition and comparing and how that stops us on our way to being, doing and having, and she shared the concept that if we will continue consistently doing the right things, we will be brought to the right place eventually.

It was just a wonderful experience. I have so much that I want to write about it. I'm hoping tomorrow will give me a few more minutes than today has so I can do that.

Here it is 9:45pm, and I still haven't been to the grocery store today, so I'm off. Wish me luck.

General Conference (Sunday Afternoon): My Notes

These notes have been sitting here waiting to be published. I planned on putting all kinds of pictures in place, but considering it's been as long as it has, and I still haven't done it, I'm thinking it's just not going to happen. So, finally, here are my notes from the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference....

I really took scads of notes on Sunday afternoon. There was just so much to be learned. I have thought I'd edit it down so it was in a more readable/understandable form, but I'm just not sure where to begin. I'll give it a shot, but what lies below is what you get. Enjoy!

All things are possible to him who believeth. "Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief."
I need to admit where I'm weak and lean on the Lord in those times.
Let this desire work in me until I believe.
If thou canst believe.
The Lord helped him "straight way." It was not a slow process.
In moments of doubt or in troubling times:
1. Exert strength first.
hold to the ground I've already won. Hold fast to what I already know and hold strong.
Nothing is impossible if I believe. I think it's interesting that sometimes we hear "If you WILL believe." Belief is a choice--one I need to choose more often.
The degree of my knowledge is not the issue. It's the integrity I have with what I already know.
 2. Do not start my quest for faith by saying how much I do not have. Don't leap with my unbelief. Do not pretend to faith I do not have. Be true to the faith I do have.
I need to be as candid about my questions as I can be, but if me and my family want to be healed, I need to be careful not to be my own obstacle.
I have more faith than I think you do.
I have seen miracles. That cannot be denied.
This is a divine work in process. Manifestations are abounding. I need to not hyperventilate when issues arise. They do and they will. What I know will always trump what I do not know.
Walk by faith.
Be kind regarding human frailty.
Imperfect people is all God has ever had to work with. (I feel like I should have a shirt or button or something with this on it when I go to church and do my calling).
 3. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
God will send help from both sides of the veil (I have experienced this. It is true).
Belief is a precious work and an even more precious act.
Be not be afraid, only believe. Belief is always the first step toward conviction.
Be honest about where I stand.
What do I know, and what do I merely believe?
What is a tiny seed of belief can grow into the tree of life.
When I am weak, it's okay to lean on Elder Holland's testimony.
Fan the flame of my faith. All things are possible to me if I will believe. (There's that word again "will.")

Leave that which is highly esteemed among men; the traditions of men must be left behind to accept Christ. -- Yah, no problem there. I think what people highly esteem these days are getting to be pretty odd.
The world will hate us. -- I need to prepare myself more for this.
The followers of Jesus are to be a peculiar people.
We are to separate ourselves from the world and its traditions.
Hear and DO. Be doing when He comes. --That's sure a theme of this Conference!
"Savior may I learn to love thee. Walk the path that thou has shown....Lord, I would follow thee."
>>>Daily KNEELING prayers as a family.
Frequent personal prayers.
Don't put your hand to your plow and look back. Keep going forward.
Go out of my way to seek for those who have strayed as Christ did.
Rescue and serve.
Love my neighbor as myself. Love my enemies. Love others as Christ loves me--hmm...that's pretty straightforward. That leaves very little room for hatred, grudges, etc.
Draw upon my faith in Jesus Christ in order to forgive others.
"As a disciple of Christ, I [have] no other choice."
Child of God = heir of God
Inherit ALL things if I come to Him. Only possible if I follow my Savior. No man cometh unto the Father but by Him.
Is it enough to know that we must follow Him below?....ALL of God's blessings can be ours if we follow Jesus Christ.
Most of society's ideas of God and Jesus Christ is in conflict with the holy scriptures.
Joseph Smith's vision reveals this.
The apostle John saw them also.
Man does not dictate God's rules - Nicean Council.
Christ mentions His father 160 times while visiting the Nephites for three days (I figure, since His time was limited, the things in these chapters are THE most important things Christ had to teach anyone).
The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do.
"Father into thy hands I commend my Spirit."
They desire the same oneness for everyone.
The Holy Ghost will teach all things. The Holy Ghost witnesses of the Father AND the Son.
It can be felt by anyone no matter who, but the fullness comes with baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
The doctrine of the Father and the Son is the doctrine of the family. We are the children of our Heavenly Father.
"Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father in Heaven and how familiar His face is to us" (Ezra Taft Benson).

We learn from happy and sad experiences.
1. The temple is the place.
No expiration date on temple marriage. Unlike "until death do you part."
2. In order to contend, you need two people, and I will never be one of them.
Persuasion, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned.
Eliminate emotional abuse. It wounds our personality. It lowers our self-esteem.
Live a celestial life.
3. A child who sings is a happy child.
Importance of sacred music.
Songs shall be answered with a blessing upon their head.
4. "I love you," "thank you very much," and "forgive me"
Provide comfort. Confirm tender feelings of our heart.
Send messages of love and gratitude.
Continue these after our home is established.
In whom I am well pleased
Texting is good--if uplifting.
5. I love the Book of Mormon and my Savior Jesus Christ.
Challenge children to read the Book of Mormon.
Needs to be read with the spirit of prayer and meditation.
6. It is not enough to know the scriptures, we have to live them.
He who doeth them, will be likened to a wise man who buildeth on a rock.
They give direction and peace to those who seek.
Sure direction.

Seeking for self-worth.
Many do questionable things to feel like they belong.
Defining worth. How do I define my worth?
Don't seek acceptance in the wrong sources. This puts us on a dangerous path.
We will eventually feel abandoned and inferior.
Look to God and live. God is the source of ultimate acceptance. They look at our hearts. They accept us for what we are and what we can become. They treat us better than what we are. They know our potential.
Willing to observe covenants through sacrifice.
1. Know that our hearts are honest and broken.
Engage in sincere self-reflection. Heart is the center. Look into your heart. We know our motives and desires. No rationalization. Pure honesty with self. A broken heart is soft and open. Open to the invitations of the Spirit. Accept His will. We can be taught by the Holy Ghost. We are invited to act.
2. Know that our spirits are contrite.
Contrite = feeling or expressing remorse that I have done wrong.
Teachable. See my own short-comings. Willing to repent. Willing to listen to the Spirit. Willingness and determined to act. Willing to change. Seek His will.
3. Conscious decision to observe our covenants through sacrifice.
Sacrifice isn't necessarily big or hard It mostly refers to day to day living as a disciple of Christ.
Worthily partake of the sacrament each week. Prepare for it. Renew promises. Feel His acceptance.
Having the Holy Ghost as our companion is a sure sign that our sacrifices are being accepted by God.
Reach out to others, give service, simply strive for righteousness, stand firmly and faithfully when storms of life are raging, etc. - these are ways we sacrifice.
Be personally in tune with the Lord. Seek the Lord's acceptance. His tender mercies will become evident in our lives. Enjoy His promised blessings.
We need not fear, we are His. We are of those His Father has given to Him.
He's got our backs.

Be of good cheer. He, through His atonement, has overcome the world.
Tribulation lies ahead, but we have cause for good cheer.
We live in the time when His Church has been restored in preparation for Christ's return.
We will see many events transpire. Many of these will tax my faith, but I must seek for help and I will be helped to rise above. The world will spiral downward at an ever increasing pace.
Don't fear the future. Don't falter in hope and good cheer.
There will be peace in Zion. A refuge from the storm.
The Church is a bulwark of safety. We will find sanctuary in the stakes of Zion.
No human power can stay the course of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will be armed with the power of God as a defense in great glory. Stay true to the Church and let the Spirit be my guide.
We may not understand it all, but humbly, quietly trust in the Lord. Make my only desire to please Him, and I will be blessed with great peace.
Serve others with joy and good humor no matter what my circumstances might become.
Trusting the Lord completely will help me be an optimistic person.
Sing with joy even in a dark world. Trust. God is in charge. He knows EVERYTHING.

Redemptioners - pay off an obligation; to free someone.
Teach my kids to repent. Expect mistakes, but teach them how to be freed from guilt. We can be healed.
We CAN have peace  and joy NOW.
Teach a more excellent way--Christ's way.
Go about doing good. Help others with problems, defend the truth, create happiness at home, etc.
Jean Valjean's life is changed by charitable acts by Bishop Bienvenu. Forget not, never forget that you will use this silver to become an honest man. Jean Valjean you belong no longer to evil but to good.
We can bring these kinds of merciful acts to others and help them change their lives.
Help redeem the needs of others.
My children are more important than the house.
Lead others to Christ. That is the most important thing I can do. Otherwise this gospel is just about social rules.

Be a good citizen and neighbor. Be tolerant, kind, and loving to those who don't share our beliefs or standards.
Be aware of the needs of those around me. Be concerned for others. Be ready to give others a helping hand and a loving heart.
Put my trust in the Lord and He will help me no matter what my challenge may be.
Joy cometh in the morning.
The gospel is the key to our happiness.
He stands at the door and knocks. It's up to me to open the door so He can come in to me. I need to take advantage of this promise.

You can tell by the last couple talks that I was pretty heavily distracted by kids at that point in the game. Sorry. If there's anything you'd like to hear more of, you can check it out on your own.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Oh, the Insanity!

It's one of THOSE days, but there have been a lot of THOSE days lately....working so hard to get caught up but turning around to find that someone has thwarted my efforts and the work begins again.

I find myself wishing away this stage of my life. I wish for the next one...kids all in school, time to myself. A little bit of breather so I can have some kind of semblance of hope that my house'll be clean for a whole hour on any given day. That would be SO nice. I really miss having a social life.

This is how life is now...

image: mylifeandkids.com

Yet, each day, I get up and go again.....

image: lnt.com 
Yes, this is why I live in a Madhouse, and this is why I am the Chief Inmate.

I swear there's some BIG secret you all know and aren't telling me. I figure everyone sits back and watches me run on my hamster wheel all day every day and just laughs because I'm not in on the secret. There is an easier way, I know it. You're just not telling me because my insanity is so entertaining to y'all, huh?

For the time being, I make myself believe this...

image: pinterest.com
Not sure if it's all that true. I figure good moms are happy moms, but how can moms be happy when things are so insane? 

I have to just keep telling myself that this MUST be true because the clean house thing? Nope. It ain't happenin'....And to be honest, I HATE it.

Will I really be happier when I get to the other side of this season and into the next? I don't know, but knowing myself as I do, I will look back and wish I'd have done better and found balance in this season, or at least tried a little bit harder.

Yep. It's one of THOSE days, and I've decided that it's a "just one more load" kind of day. No matter how much it looks like I'm trudging (and I am) up the stairs back into the laundry room, at least I'm doing it. It's getting done. Just wish I could be happier about it.

I have deluded myself into thinking that there is a magic formula. It's like playing with some sort of sick Chinese puzzle box--if you move this to this point and get this part in just the right configuration with those twelve points, it'll all fall into place, and you'll know the secret to life. I swear, seriously, that's how I figure this has got to be. There HAS to be a way. Just when I think I've got it figured out, it changes, so hand me another Oreo.

So, please....share the secret with me, will ya? I promise I'll crack or joke or something every so often, I'll even learn to tap dance to keep you entertained if you'll just let me in on it, okay?

image: activerain.com
I guess, for now, I'd better get a little more toothpaste on my brush.


Yesterday at church this brother got up and started talking about work and how his boss would assign him to do a project, and he'd start in. The wheels'd start to turn. He would write down his thoughts and things would start to take shape.

He went on in this vein until he said something that was, to me, very profound. He said that as he got to  thinking about what he was doing, he realized that he was creating that thing spiritually so that it could be created physically.

This brother went on and talked about how sometimes his thoughts start heading in a down or depressing way. Sometimes things get a bit negative. As he started to allow his thoughts to get this way, he suddenly paused and asked himself, "Is this what I want to create spiritually?"

When I was a child, I had no idea that I could control my thoughts. I honestly thought that they controlled me. As a teenager, going through puberty, I wish someone had told me that I was the master of my thoughts and feelings. I thought I was just plain crazy with all the ups and downs I experienced. Had someone told me that I could choose to change the direction my thoughts were going, I'm sure I would have tried a bit harder.

Yesterday, though, was a whole new concept to me. What I'm thinking not only affects the here and now, it sets a pattern for what I create in my life. I am spiritually creating something that will physically manifest itself.

I, personally, want only good in my life. I know that I can't control all the things that come into my life, but as far as what emanates from me? That I can control. What I think is what will become. I CAN control that....by my thoughts.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Coming Clean

This is a post I know I will regret writing, but since I've alluded to it, I feel that maybe I need to open this book. I won't link this to FB, and I will probably remove it after five minutes of posting it, but here goes.

Here's what's been raining in my life.....

NEVER has this ever happened before, but suddenly, there's a great rush of people at my door to tell me how angry they've been at me for years. Yup. Lovin' life.

Why, all of a sudden?

Why couldn't people come to me at the time of the offense, of which none were intended (yup. I'm that kind of sensitive, I guess), and asked me if I'd intended to cause the hurt? Would that have been that hard?

image: city-data.com
Now, I find myself pulling myself out from under the rock my heart wants to take me under over and
over again. I WILL NOT let this take me down. I won't!

Someone, anyone, tell me that I haven't offended you, or at least tell me that you chose not to be offended if I did. Someone out there chooses that, right?

Seriously, people. I'm up to five in a month. FIVE. Some of the hurts were up to ten years ago.

I feel so touched that people are finally comfortable enough to tell me, but sheesh! Things could have been so much easier had they just come clean way back when.

So, I have cut back on my inner circle to those I truly can trust. Those that won't become offended, or those who will tell me when they've been hurt. To those few of you, thank you! Thank you for choosing to have hard, proven armor but soft hearts. I guess that's what we need in this day and age....especially in order to deal with big, ol', mean, brutish people like me.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Monstrous Waves and Furious Winds

"Some of our struggles involve making decisions, while others are a result of the decisions we have made. Some of our struggles result from choices others make that affect our lives. We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond. Many struggles come as problems and pressures that sometimes cause pain. Others come as temptations, trials, and tribulations."   --L. Lionel Kendrick

image: fineartamerica.com
I just finished reading in Ether about Jared and his brother and their trip to the promised land. I read that no matter how monstrous the waves became and no matter how fiercely the winds blew, they were thankful.

They were in their boats for nearly a year, but they, that entire time, sang praises and recognized the "multitude of tender mercies" that came their way.

It was the little things, not some huge, life shattering, miraculous event that got them there. It was the little things--the little evidences of God's existence--that brought them through to a better place.

All good things come from God. They recognized that and gave thanks for every good thing that came their way.

So often, I glom onto the bad in my life. What good does that do?

The Jaredites had a huge thing going for them. They knew where good things came from, and they were grateful for them. It mentions the monster waves and the furious winds, but those things, they recognized, drove them to where they needed to be. Had those things not existed, they would have been at a standstill, but the wind and waves never ceased. Never.

image: missaday.blogspot.com
I look at the waves and winds in my life, and I sigh and groan about them. Today, I learned from these people that I'm looking at things in my life all wrong. 

The Jaredites prayed continually. Of course, they didn't know exactly where their journey was taking them. They were in ark-like boats. They couldn't see a thing. They put themselves in and pushed off. That was it. It was a complete trust thing.

Isn't that life for everyone? Does anyone really know where they're headed? Even when we're headed in a direction that we like, there are so many things we can't control and things that hold back our progression.

I am coming to understand more and more that I (and anyone) can ask for help at any given moment and receive tender mercies even for the smallest things in my life. It's vitally important to remember, though, that those things, no matter how small or how large, are still blowing me and pushing me toward where I need to be. I need to be thankful, continually, for these things, but first, I MUST recognize them.

image: sherriejohnson.blogspot.com
It's my response that matters in this journey being a happy one or a sad one. Seeking to pray for the things I don't like or don't understand and clinging to every good thing no matter how small or large (the multitude of tender mercies) that happen, recognizing where they've come from, and giving thanks for them will make this journey a joyful one. No matter what the struggles may be.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

General Conference (Sunday Morning): My Notes

image: restlesspilgrim.net
Okay, confession....During Uchtdorf's talk, I was much more Martha than Mary. I slept later than I'd hoped to and then chatted with the Warden for too long in bed.  This set everything back including food preparation for Conference.

I walked into the front room as kids were assembling and watching "Music and the Spoken Word" and was barraged with the question: "Aren't we having cinnamon rolls this time?"

image: lds.org
I retreated to the kitchen and got busy. #2 put the pork chops for lunch/dinner into the crockpot and #1 made chocolate chip cookies at the same time I was fixing the dough for the cinnamon rolls (I still think of you every time I make these, Mandy). We listened to the opening hymn, stopped for the prayer, and then listened from the kitchen as President Uchtdorf spoke in the adjoining front room.

image: lds.org
I arrived just in time for Elder Anderson. Here are my notes from this session (feeling sad my Uchtdorf notes aren't here. I'm thinking I'll have to dedicate an entire post just to him.

  • Got to find my old missionary tag. Pretty sure it's in the cedar chest at the foot of my bed.
  • Pray for areas where our influence is limited. Doors will be opened.
  • Invite others to come and see--remember yesterday: It's in the DOING that you build on the sure foundation.
  • He will open doors - ask Him.
  • By the mouth of His disciples--where was it that I read yesterday that by attempting to follow Christ, we can call ourselves His disciples. I had wondered about this, kind of along the lines of my "athlete" post.
  • All that will hear, may hear. It's all a matter of individual agency.
  • Helaman 5 - build on the Rock of our Redeemer. We MUST build.
  • "Parental benign neglect" - dimming of child's internal light. Lessening of connection between children and parents. Electronically disconnect. Every day, at some point, turn everything off.
  • Yay, Jay Hess!
  • 25 words - what would I say? Hmm....I feel a blog post coming on.
"Guide Us, O, Thou Great Jehovah" - this title alone is worthy of pondering. How much do I allow Him to guide me?

  • My marriage is a treasure.
  • Strive to be obedient and good. The Commandments aren't a buffet that we can pick and choose from. I must obey them ALL exactly.
  • Strengthening faith strengthens marriage.
  • Christ is where the foundation for happy marriages are built.
  • Honest self-examination and take immediate action to fix things.
  • Meekness - I think of this as being the first to apologize, etc.
  • Watch and learn - find those who have happy marriages and follow suit.
  • Correct principles and PATTERNS of BEHAVIOR - this is key.
  • Focus first on the home and shared responsibilities. Cooperation not negotiation.
  • Time together is when you put forth best efforts.
  • Both participate in putting kids to bed.
  • Read with kids every night.
  • Work side by side to do work in most important work.
  • Make financial decisions together -- full disclosure.
  • Fiercely loyal. Transparent. Respectful.
  • Turn off technology when he's around.
  • Live together in love. Serve. Keep covenants.
  • Marriage needs to be my first priority.
  • Blessed according to the promises of the Lord.
  • Our marriage is a gift from God to us; the quality of our marriage is our gift to Him.
  • The gospel brings renewed hope and faith -- it renews moment by moment as you apply yourself to it.
  • Secularism is becoming the norm--I do what I want when I want because I want. Wants are endless; there is no end to them. Watch out for selfishness.
  • Where God is in command there is law--eternal law--which has penalties and blessings. Nothing is left to question.
  • Observe God's law. Liberty is attached to the degree that we obey.
  • Sabbath observance, adultery and covetousness are those taken lightly.There are penalties for breaking these. We are creating our own rules to substitute God's.
  • Families are deteriorating as a result.
  • We break these commandments and refuse to repent and return, and our society deteriorates.
  • Our homes are what our homes will be throughout eternity - this home is the practice ground for eternity.
  • The sacred act of procreation (SEX) is only to be between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully married--Hmm...funny. That's GOD'S LAW. Sad how we've forgotten that little fact, even worse that we fight that fact. That's a fight that may be won temporarily by individuals, but in the long run, it will be lost TERRIBLY.
  • God's promised blessings DO NOT CHANGE. He is an unchanging being. We are all subject to those blessings the same as we are all subject to the cursings as well. It's all up to how we choose.
  • My VERY FAVORITE scripture: D&C 130:20-21
  • Acknowledge ALL of God's commandments.
image: lds.org
My companion and I had lunch with Elder L. Tom Perry when we were in the MTC. I also ran into him in the mall at Salt Lake City once. What a sweet, wonderful man! Because I know him to be sweet and loving and kind, when he speaks with as much power as he did today, it really stands out. LOVED his words. No mincing of words there. 

Oh, "Come, Come Ye Saints" for the closing hymn. The Mormon Tabernacle choir does it with conviction unlike most of the wards I've ever been in who do it as a funeral song. YAY! I'm looking forward to hearing it today.

  • The Spirit bears record and the record is true. If the Spirit bears record, then it IS true.
  • He has charted our course. Obedience is our guide.
  • If you've started a fire blazing, run for help.
  • Obedience is the first law of heaven -- highest priority.
  • Obey and receive the blessings attached to that act of obedience.
  • Christ set this example for us. Why wouldn't I want ALL of the blessings that Christ received. We talk about being "joint heirs" with Christ, and I always thought that was a future, after this life thing, that is a fallacy. I can be a joint heir now and receive the same blessings He did to the degree that I learn to obey God to the degree that He did.
  • This is why He implores us to follow Him. He invites us. Do we RSVP and bring our gifts of obedience?
image: handcart-trek.org
....And "Come, Come Ye Saints"..... Here we go. Starts out slow and plodding but determined. "Your hearts will swell--All is well. All is well." - as we go forward and follow, in our hearts will swell this feeling that all is well no matter what our circumstances. I know this feeling! "Our God will NEVER us forsake." And soon we'll have this tale to tell. All is well. All is well." When we obey, we have stories of faith that can be shared. These increase our feelings of well being. Song's picking up as faith increases. Strengthened. Listen to that last verse! YES! That's how it's to be done! Strongest yet! Determined. No matter what happens, we are willing. "With the just we shall dwell." "To see the saints their rest obtain" All is well. All is well. We trust the Great Creator of heaven and earth. He will be our guide no matter what our lot. All will be well because all is well when we are with Him.

Dang, I'm crying here. So strong. Thank you, Choir, for singing this, one of the greatest hymns ever written, in the way I believe Brother Clayton intended it to be sung. I seriously can't stop crying--so touched by this.

Even things in the benediction stuck in my heart --"Make the changes necessary to draw closer to [Him]." That's what this is all about. That's what I love about Conference. I learn how to improve my life and get it more in accordance with how God would want me to be, so I can do all that I was sent here to earth to do.

And a couple of notes from the events going on in my house, among my family during the session...

It is very clear that the talks I need to listen to the most have the most interruptions and distractions. There was one talk given during this session that I NEEDED to hear (you know, one of those "given just for me" kinds of talks), and it was then that suddenly everyone needed to talk to me. Ugh!
image: crayola.com
One child, looking for something to mark a Conference bingo page, found one of those crayons that is encased in a plastic tube and you roll it up. He rolled it all the way to the top until it was taken beyond the point of saving, and it was broken. "Why must we push everything to its limit until it's broken?" We're at that point in his development in which it seems that he breaks everything he touches. It got me to thinking about how we are when we try to live life on our own--without God's help. Without His instructions, daily, we can only progress so far until our efforts are broken. How long will I choose to twist my life on my own until I decide that enough's enough, and in order to do it the right way, I need to ask He who knows how to do it better? It is only then that I can be assured that it won't break.

Lots of emphasis on obedience in this session. Heaven knows I can work on that in SO many ways.

Harsh circumstances seem to challenge your very faith. (Just a note from the material in between Conference sessions).

As I've been writing this, I hear my kids downstairs getting water glasses ready for lunch. #2 came upstairs to report that he'd started the oven preheating the oven. I didn't even ask them to do these things. This was the gripe I woke up with and vented to the Warden just this morning. I guess General Conference betters ALL of us.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

General Conference (Saturday): My Notes

image: lds.org
Oh, how I LOVE General Conference. I have to admit that I'm seeking answers as I watch. I'm struggling with an important relationship in my life, and I'm looking for keys to resolving the issues that lie therein. I also have to admit that I view Conference through a mother's eyes. I'm always looking for ways to be better at this job I undertake again every morning and each day all day long.

image: lds.org
My favorite talk was by David A. Bednar from this afternoon's session. He hit it out of the park. After hearing him, the rest of the world should never doubt where members of the Church stand on some very sensitive topics. I wish everything was up and transcribed or viewable. I'd post it here if it was, but I'll just make it a point to do that when it is.

Here are some of the things in my notes (I didn't designate who said what because I just jotted down my impressions as they spoke)....

  • You will not always be safe from the influence of the adversary; check your nestlings.
  • There is power in the faithful prayer of a righteous mother.
  • If I build on the sure foundation, I will not fall.
  • PRAY! Council with the Lord in all my doings, and He will direct my paths.
  • STUDY! The words of Christ will tell me all things what I should do.
  • Hear and DO! The key to having a strong foundation is in the DOING.
  • I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father.
  • I am not alone.
  • Mothers have the biggest influence on their children/in their home.
  • Teach children about the power of the Atonement.
  • Teach children to step out of the world and into the Kingdom of God.
  • I must be the example of virtuous womanhood.
  • I must love and honor my kids' father. What I do, they will imitate.
  • Reinstate chastity. Be different.
  • Put off the natural man to be sanctified.
  • God wants us to overcome the world; therefore, He provides mercy. He allows for change over time.
  • Don't judge. Treat others as they could be. Treat mistakes as temporary setbacks. Never condemn anyone. Allow them to change.
  • If I draw near unto Him, He will draw near unto me. If I seek Him, I will find Him.
  • satan seeks to destroy families. There is no way I'm going to let him have mine.
  • Never give up on the goal of having peace.
  • The Savior's peace can suffuse our souls and rid us of our hate.
  • As individuals and families, we can attain peace.
  • God is not the author of confusion but of peace.
  • Be direct and stick to the basics.
  • Lean not unto my own understanding.
  • Bloom where you're planted.
  • How we raise our children is much more important than where we raise our children.
  • We are not spiritual orphans.

While we were watching, there were a number of things not related to Conference addresses that hit me briefly as well. These could very well be the first of many upcoming stepping stones on these topics.....

As we watched, two of our boys got into a bit of a tiff. The younger brother started to take off after the older brother. I stopped him with the words, "Focus here" as I pointed at the speaker. This hit me right after I said it. When other things are pulling at you that might not be for your own good, it's better to focus on those things that will improve your life. It's just a matter of self control.

With that same younger brother, someone said something that caused a reaction. After they said it, he responded just as everyone expected. From there, things typically escalate. I said to those who were preparing to join in, "Don't feed the beast." My family knows what that means--that we're not to play on his field. We need to change our interactions so that they are different from his--counteract meanness with kindness, etc. 

image: dreamstime.com
It kind of reminds me of the Native American story of the two wolves--Two Wolves Inside Me Movie. It seems to me that sometimes, maybe even most of the time, we respond in kind (not kindness). When someone is unkind to us, we respond with meanness. There is such power in changing the pattern of response.

The other thing that hit me was during the congregational hymn. Here are the words that stuck: "We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few when compared with the opposite host in view...." ("Let Us All Press On"). It seems that many times I write things that I know are going to be controversial. I hesitate to publish them because I don't want to raise contention. It became clear, as we sung this hymn that we're supposed to be different, and it's okay to state those differences. If not, what good are those differences.

Elder Bednar's talk supported that view. Let there be no doubt where we stand. We are different. Those who try to follow God always have been.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Crockpot Menu and Shopping List - Week #8

I've taken a bit of a vacation on the crockpot menus. Time to get back into the swing of things. I've been using my crockpot nightly, but I just haven't had a formal menu made up. Here's one for this week. I've temporarily retired from doing breakfast recipes in the crockpot. It's been such a stop and go kind of thing that I've decided to give myself a break for awhile. So, here's a menu for dinners in a crockpot for this week.


Sunday            Honey mustard pork chops
                          served w/potatoes

Monday           Bacon beef and barley soup

Tuesday           Chicken pepperoni

Wednesday      Three bean soup

Thursday          Chicken tikka masala

Friday               Caribbean beef stew

Saturday           Italian chicken

Shopping List


Red potatoes
Baby carrots
Green pepper
English cucumber


Pork chops
Beef steaks
Stew meat


Parmesan cheese
Cream cheese
Heavy cream



Chicken (3)
Apple juice


Garlic powder
Garam masala
White pepper


Olive oil


Cream of mushroom soup
Beef broth (2)
Tomatoes w/basil, garlic, and oregano
Mexican style diced tomatoes
Tomatoes (4)
Tomato paste
Spaghetti sauce (2)
Garbanzos beans
Small red kidney beans
Small white beans


Honey mustard
Beef gravy
Lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce


Pearl barley
Basmati rice
Penne pasta




English muffins

Thursday, April 4, 2013

For You, Sapphire

I promised a friend I'd write tonight, so here I am. I have a headache, so I'm heading to bed. It's funny my headaches are NOTHING compared to what they used to be, but I've become a wimp with them now. I'm so glad for the medicine that keeps them at bay. I found them through Walgreens for half the price I was paying for them at my pharmacy.

Life is busy with all kinds of interesting twists and turns right now. I have decided that I will control what I can and trust that the rest will be handled and all will go well. Things have always worked out in the past, and I'm sure they will continue to.

I created a schedule for myself. It's day three of it, and it's FABULOUS! I love it! I have direction all day long, and I'm so much more productive than I was. I think if anyone else saw this schedule, they'd think I was nuts, and you know what? I probably am, but it works for me.

#5 has some newly found challenges that we're trying to get to the bottom of. I'll write more in depth on these later when I don't have pain in my noggin. I spoke with his teacher this morning--interesting on the timing of this meeting. We've been trying to work out a time that would work for both of us since the week before spring break. It wasn't until yesterday that I had some concrete proof of what was really going on.

I came home and made an appointment with our pediatrician, so on Monday, we'll go see her and begin the process of finding some answers (hopefully).

Tonight, on a total fluke, while at the high school track meet, I ran into the elementary school psychologist. We even had about ten minutes to chat. She was so kind and willing to listen and help. She warned me that they were already scheduled into next year, but she told me to move quickly, and we'd be the first on the docket for next year. That's good enough for me, but after having this encounter just when I needed it, I have little doubt that things will work out as far as timing goes. Maybe I need the summer to figure more things out and experiment a bit before we have a discussion and make plans with the school. We'll see how all of this goes.

For now, it's reassuring that there really is something going on here that is out of our control. It helps me be more patient and supportive for my boy.

So, I'm off to bed. Hoping for a well-rested brain in the morning. The beautiful thing is that I've dreamt the past two nights. I was so happy to find myself dreaming two mornings ago. Before that, I don't remember the last time I had a dream. Means I'm sleeping deeper. The sleep apnea was preventing that from happening. So glad that I'm waking rested in the morning. Things are definitely looking up.

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