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Sunday, May 26, 2013

While the Troops are Away

Head's spinning with thoughts and ideas. Forgive me while I let them out....gotta relieve some pressure.

image: advantagerealestate.com
Originally, the plan was that we were all going to go to the beach for Memorial Day weekend, but as things started to come together, it ended up that our three oldest each had commitments here in town. The plan became that the Warden would take the youngest kids to the beach, and I would stay behind with #s 1, 2, and 3.

As it turned out, I have accomplished SO much that I wouldn't have otherwise. It's astounding how much I use my children as an excuse not to do things. Sad, I know.

Yesterday, I was able to finish almost all of the laundry (and it was a HUGE amount), go through #7's clothes and organize them into her drawers, clean a portion of the garage, clean out the bookshelves, clean out all of the bathroom drawers in the kids' bathroom, make huge progress on painting #6's bedroom, and got through an ENORMOUS amount of paper.

If I ever become a hoarder, it will be because the paper will eventually overcome and win the battle that I attempt to fight every day. Man, oh man!

We sat and watched a couple movies last night. While we watched, I sorted paper.  Most of it got recycled, but there was still a lot to file. Wow! I seriously have a paper fear.

I figure I have one more day. I'm going to finish filing papers, clean out the fridge, clean out the other bathrooms' storage areas, help the girls go through their stuff, finish the laundry and fold it and put it away, go grocery shopping, and treat #3 and myself to a mini shopping trip.

image: dressingyourtruth.com
I pulled #3 into the Dressing Your Truth thing. She's super excited about it, so as a treat, we're going to
buy ourselves one item that fits our type. I'm a 1; she's a 3.

image: thechicfashionista.com
There are secondary types too, but I haven't figured those out yet. I remember when I was a teenager, there was a similar kind of typing. They'd take different colors and hold them just under your face. If they looked good on you, they could figure out which "season" you were. I was a spring but was considered a "cool spring" because I could wear winter colors too. Today, I read something that said these can be compared with the season system.

Type 1s are springs, so that fit perfectly. I thought I was a secondary type 2, but that I have so many strong opinions and am constantly fighting myself about whether to write them or not, I figure I might just be a secondary 4, which would be a winter. That fits also.

image: mindtools.com
So looking forward to tomorrow and getting more done around here before the troops return. NEVER again will I let the paper overtake me like it has up to this point. Filing that stuff is going to be a huge priority tomorrow. While I'm working on that and the other things I listed, the kids'll be finishing the touching up and trim for #6's room. It's going to feel so good to get these big projects done!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Awesome Experience for My Kids

I drove up to the high school, dropped my big kids off in the usual place, found a parking spot, and climbed out with my little kids to head to the preschool this morning.

I could hear country music playing. Standing in front of the main doors to the school was a color guard of high school students in their everyday clothes. Each had a flag. There was also an enormous flag hanging down from the front of the school.

It was clear that the music I was hearing was patriotic, but it was a song I hadn't heard before.

image: wikipedia.com
I saw an old man backing his car in as we walked across the parking lot and headed toward the wing where the preschool is situated. About this time, I also heard the words: "Color guard, attention!" I didn't watch what happened at this point as I was trying to get my little ones across the parking lot safely, but shortly thereafter, I looked and saw an older woman heading toward the stairs.

It was clear that something very special was happening today.

Then I remembered #2 telling me he was going to what I think he referred to as "Living History Day." Once I recalled this, I realized what was happening.....Veterans from past wars were arriving and they were being honored as they entered the school.

What an awesome thing!

image: oregonlive.com
I have to admit I got a bit teary as I walked past all of this this morning. Wars continue and people continue to serve us selflessly. How great for my kids to get to hear the first-hand accounts of history from people such as these.

How wonderful that they are honored in such ways, and we become blessed by their efforts.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tantrum to Tranquility

image: flickr.com
I've shared the fact that one of my children has some anger management issues, right? Well....I believe we're finally on the right track. I thought maybe I wasn't giving him enough attention and in order to deal with his anger, I needed to give him more affection and love and patience. I did. All I got was a lot more anger from him. My heart was getting softer, his was getting harder. I didn't get it.

Like happens so often, a couple weeks ago, I had an a-ha moment. Clearly, what I was doing just wasn't helping. Again, we go back to this:

Thanks, Al!

What I was doing was showing forth a whole lotta love, but the logic was sorely missing. It just didn't
image: tumbler.com
make sense. I was being a doormat...a marshmallow. What I was teaching my son was that he was in charge.

What it all boiled down to was the fact that while I was stressing over him, I was getting nothing done. Things were falling into more and more disorganization. This just wasn't fair. He was sucking away my time AND my energy.

Enough was ENOUGH!

Confession, this morning was so tough that I went up to my room, threw myself onto my knees by my bed and told God that I was DONE. I had my little temper tantrum before the Lord and got back up. I will be honest, though, I was truly wondering how I was going to handle it all. 

As I walked back downstairs, I remembered something I'd used with kids in that past. Suddenly, I had a little trick up my sleeve (a strategy, if you will). I was in charge of the situation and that helped me to regather the peace required. I went at it all surprisingly calmly. 

I realized that I needed to return to the "energy suck" mentality because literally, that's what he was doing. I hadn't had to pull this card on any of my children in so long, I'd forgotten all about it. You know, the old "You're sucking away my energy, and the only way to refill it is to do some of the work I would be doing if I had more energy?" Yah, that one.

In other words, when this child freaks out, a job is required. You'd think this would make the anger worse, but as the jobs pile up, all I have to do is hold up fingers for how many jobs, and he cools right down. What I've really learned, though, is to never let him see me sweat. I have to be as calm and cool as can be, and sometimes, that's SUPER hard. 

The other thing I have discovered, though, is that I have to have some kind of goal to work toward--"These must be done before you can go to bed," "I'm making cookies this afternoon. If you'd like to join in, your jobs will have to be done," etc.

So far, so good. I think the added perk is that when he successfully finishes a job, he truly feels good about himself; thus reducing the anger even more.

It's been a rough morning this morning. We got all the way up to ten jobs, but I guess I should clarify....
It's been a rough morning...for him. For me, once I got off my knees, it's been pretty darned blissful.

Never did I think I'd thank my son for his anger issues, but man, they're really paying off. Life around here is quite a bit more peaceful and things are starting to really shape up.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shout Out: Julia Shinkle

This is one of those posts that has sat in the background WAY too long. As I attached the new family photo at the top of this blog this evening, I remembered writing this unfinished post and decided that I'd better get it done. So, here you go....

Two mission buddies (who ended up marrying) sent their oldest son to the Missionary Training Center today. Wow! It's just blowing my mind that I met them both when we weren't much older than our oldest children are now.

They have a beautiful family. It's so fun to see where life has taken them in the past number of years. I got to looking at the photos they recently had taken before their son left for the MTC and got to thinking about how before #1 leaves, we HAVE to have some family pictures taken, which is the cause for today's shout out.

When I think of family pictures, I automatically think of my friend Julia. She does AMAZING work. She's creative and fun. She takes the simple things and turns them into works of art.  I have to share a couple of our experiences with Julia....

The first time she ever photographed our family, #7 had just been born. Julia called me and asked if she could come take photos of #7 for her portfolio (she was just starting her business). When she came, things were easy and relaxed. She used items we had around the house--baby blankets, a drawer, wooden blocks, etc. It was clear that Julia wasn't just a photographer. She was an artist. Her approach was beyond creative.

In 2011, after receiving my nomination as Oregon's Young Mother of the Year, which later turned into a Mother of the Year nomination (long story having everything to do with the age of my oldest child and nothing to do with my expertness of being a mother--as if I even had to explain that to you), I was informed that one thing I would have to do is turn in some family photos and photos of myself. I immediately thought of Julia, but going from one child to photograph, who pretty much slept the entire time, to a big ol' family of nine? Ugh! How would that go? Would she even be able to get one click with all of us behaving ourselves?....Yah, good luck on that one.

Here are some of the images from that session.....

I love this spontaneous, unstaged catch.
One child climbed on and Julia told everyone else to gather 'round. This was the result.

This was my absolute favorite:

Julia asked me if I'd brought any kinds of snacks. I told her that I had a bag of Cheerios in a bag in my purse. She asked if I would get them. I did. Next thing I knew, she had us all standing shoulder to shoulder in a random, however we placed ourselves, order and sat #7 in front of us on the ground. You can't see them, but there are Cheerios all around her. That's why her hand is to her mouth--she's eating a Cheerio.

In the meantime, there's Julia laying on the ground across from us snapping pictures of our legs and little Cheerio-munching #7. Love it!

Next, it came time for #1's senior portraits. For this one, we went out to Julia's property. Again, easy, relaxed. Here are some of my favorites:

I'm looking forward to #2 having this experience this coming year.

I decided that with #1 leaving for college, we needed to have a family session to capture us all as we were before our first flew the nest.

I have often posted the photo on the right, but I haven't shared how that photo came to be. It actually started out with the experience on the left. I was just sitting there. Actually, I think Julia was taking my photo. I was sitting alone. Along came two children. They started hugging on me and then Julia, observing this, called the whole crew over. Thus, the photo on the right.

I love that Julia can take a random event and turn it into something worth keeping and cherishing. I love that she can take a squirrely family like ours and find those moments when we all look just a little bit sane....

but then, there are those moments when we don't all get that memo.....

Thank you, Julia! I simply ADORE you!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Eyes Have Been Opened

I haven't revamped too much around here. Not as much as I would like to, but those changes will come in the future. For now, I've added two tabs at the top (more are to come)--"What's for Dinner" and "This Week's Date"--check them out when you get a moment.

This past week has been very interesting...eye opening, even.

There is a Facebook group that I'm part of where I go to connect with other moms who have lots of kids. There is such a meeting of the minds there.

image: thelightsomelife.com
Well, a few days ago, I went there to vent about something that's been happening here and how I feel about it. In response, two women both commented about "Dressing Your Truth." They claimed that after they'd become aware of their "types," they came to understand and appreciate their children better.

Hmm...intriguing. I went to look it up. When I googled it, all I ended up with was a site that talked about what clothes are best for you....Nah, that couldn't be it. What does what you wear have to do with how you interact with your children. This just couldn't be it.

image: dressingyourtruth.com
I returned to the group to ask for clarification and was directed back to that clothing site. Really?...Okay. Maybe this was worth investigation.

Here's the deal...Actually, maybe I should let you look it over for yourself. It ended up being quite fascinating.

image: ctliveyourtruth.com
I just received the accompanying book in the mail today. I haven't read anything more than the introduction yet, but I can't wait to dive in.

By the way....Just in case you cared, I'm a type 1. Very obviously. All I had to do was see the word "disconnected," and I knew exactly where I fit.

image: 40plusstyle.com
Take a look. I'd love to know what you think. What type are you?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Little Ugliness and a Whole Lotta Questions

image: momspark.net
Y'know, kids whose moms blog have a real disadvantage. Mom always has the last word, or...almost always. In my case, thankfully, my kids don't mind. I think it helps that in difficult circumstances, I don't use their names, just their situations.

My hope in sharing these things is that I can look back and see how far we've come. I also hope that other moms might learn to avoid some of the mistakes I make. I do need to state, however, that when things do finally go right, it's only because they've gone wrong in the past, and I've learned from that mistake. So thankful for do-overs.

image: shimanuts.blogspot.com
So, this takes us to this morning. For some reason, everybody was out of sorts this morning. Maybe it's because we've had some really amazingly beautiful weather for a couple weeks. We've gotten used to it. Then, at some point last week, as I looked at the cloudless blue, I verbally announced that I would be okay with a couple weeks of sun and then a day or two of rain, and what do you know? Voila! Rain. I'm not asserting here that I control the weather in any way, shape, or form, but just the fact that I was the one to say it, makes it that much easier to blame me for it. Yup. We're on day two now, and sadly, with the clouds, come the cloudy temperaments around here.

image: comicvine.com
Well, one of the older kids, sitting with one leg draped over a corner of the kitchen table, started out looking a bit bleary-eyed this morning as the rest of us prepared lunches and breakfasts. It was like it was just really difficult to wake up and get going, but as this child got going, the downward spiral began, and the more we spoke, the deeper the spiral became.

As I dropped this child off to school, I asked what I had done to deserve such ugly words, and it was announced, "I hate school." That was how we parted this morning.

image: leadingtheweigh.com
As I drove away from the school, my stomach was in knots, and I said a silent prayer that I'd just be able to keep going. That I'd get home and still be able to get something done....That I wouldn't allow the grumpy children in my home to take the wind out of my sails.

I got to moving, and I have to admit, I didn't have such a skip in my step as I've had for the past few days. It was tough to keep going. Soon, though, the chime rang as a text came in. I read it: "Mom, can we talk after school today?"

image: drsharma.com
This, in my mind, was a cry for help. I wasn't just going to let it go. I couldn't, so I started asking questions--first a yes/no question, then a multiple choice question, followed by an open-ended question.  Each time an answer was texted, the closer I got to the answer. I don't think this child wanted to answer some of my questions as the truth became more evident, but the answers were all greeted with yet another question--no accusing, no criticizing, no side-taking--just opportunities to reveal more of what the exact problem was.

I know well enough that putting my children into corners doesn't solve anything. It only puts us on opposite sides of an issue. When all is said and done, my job is to help them face the truth and then help them create solutions.

When all came to light, this child knew that I was on his/her side. The child knew that the answers had all been created by him/herself.

image: createsolutions.blogspot.com
On top of that, when all was finally revealed as much as it could be and decisions to improve were made, I was able to boldly ask for an apology, which I received. I also shared this little tidbit: "In the future, is it possible that all of that wasted energy could be used to create solutions?" It was agreed that this would be the focus in the future.

I was so glad or that first text and glad to know that I really wasn't the problem. As this child has returned home, things are much improved and the solutions are starting to take shape. There is a good chance that it is too late to completely solve this particular problem, but the great thing, as I look it, is the fact that this child faced his/her own problem by his/herself, created feasible options as solutions and is now taking charge and responsibility to past mistakes. All it took on my part was putting up with some rudeness and asking a lot of questions. Heck, if it was always this easy, I think I might be able to undertake this kind of thing every day.

image: blog.taxact.com
Even if it's not solved, as least the situation leads to learning that I'm hoping will last for a long time. I'm pretty sure this child never wants to go through this again. Grateful for life lessons learned and once again, so thankful for do-overs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thoughts from Today - Three Days in a Row, People!

Look at me!...Three days in a row.

Proctored the A.P. European history test today. Four hours on my feet. I'm beat (and a poet). So dragging, so I'm off to bed.

#1 caught the Warden and me up in searching for a waterproof satchel for her. Up until now, we thought she could just wait until she got to the Philippines, so she could get one there, but it seems that she's feeling that she'll need one for the MTC. No luck yet, but we're still looking.

That's the only thing keeping me up at this point. Well...that, and my desire to be on a three-day blogging streak.

Finished Ether this morning. That means I should be done with the Book of Mormon within the next couple days. Moroni goes by so fast.

Just a couple thoughts....
image: tampagov.net
So, so sad to watch a civilization die. Clearly revenge is not a good motive. We often hear "revenge is sweet." This is such a farce! It's a HUGE lie! Doesn't anyone really believe in Romans 12:19? Is it because we don't trust? Well, I think I've decided that I'm going to trust that. Holding grudges does nothing but hurt the individual who holds it. Here we are back to drinking poison and hoping another person will die. Grudges only hurt the holder of them. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is freeing.
sweet." What a farce that is! What a lie! Revenge is STUPID! Doesn't anyone believe

As I read I got to thinking about the Castro brothers. Just watched an interview about them yesterday. It's left some pretty strong impressions. That was an AWFUL situation, no question. It sickens me, but reading Ether has brought some even stronger impressions.

I also think it must have been a HUGE tender mercy for Moroni to have abridged that record and particularly that portion of the record as he watched his own people die out. BRUTAL! I feel for Moroni, but surely, seeing things through Ether's eyes and knowing that he isn't the only record keeper to have watched to the very end must have made him feel not so alone. Would that have held some amount of comfort for him? I like to think so.

It was a good day today. A busy, crazy day, but a good day, nonetheless. Tomorrow will be a day at home to get laundry done and get the menu set for next week and the grocery list ready. I've had a few friends tell me that they like the menus, so I'm going to attempt to get things up and running in that way. The Disneyland trip kind of threw me off. I'm trying to get a year's worth of crockpot dinners set up. I'm about halfway there. I'll post next week once I get that done.

Oh yah, #1 and I spent some time at the Family History Center today too. We found some pretty cool things about the Warden's third great grandfather--Lot Smith.

Yup. It was a good day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Maybe Not as Bad as You've Been Led to Believe

I just want to write something....anything today. Just so I can say I wrote for two days in a row. Wow, how things change. It used to be that I'd have to stop myself from writing a third or fourth time in one day.

So, here's what's been on my mind today....

You know, I'm always good for an analogy. Funny things come together in one place in my mind, and I find the tie between them. Today, I had such an experience.

I've sat in on two different missionary discussions in the last two days. It's been a VERY sweet experience. Brings back such great memories and has connected me in a very deep, spiritual way to four wonderful women.

With the influx of young missionaries, those who have are out just prior to now have really had to step it up and take leadership roles much earlier.

Let me explain this a bit better. I think I shared that we have Sisters in our ward now--as of about two or three months ago. One of the Sisters was brand new. Well, transfers just happened and that brand new missionary is now training a brand new missionary. Amazing! But if anyone can handle it, she can.

These are young women the same age as #1. But, when I'm with them, I forget the because although these are regular, normal, everyday young women, for this 18 months of their lives, they are doing something remarkable.

Now, where my randomness comes into play....

#1 made the most wonderful cookie dough today. I told her I'd make them into cookies if she'd just make the dough, but of course, before I could cook them, I had to have a bit of dough (yes, "bit" is a very relative term. Some people might refer to my "bit" as a bowl-full, but I'll leave that up to your imagination).

While I was eating it and enjoying it to its fullest, I posted something on Facebook. Rumor has it that eating cookie dough, because of the raw eggs will give you salmonella or some such. To be honest, as I wrote it, I thought I'd have a hundred comments about how terrible I was to eat it and how bad it is for me, but to my surprise, there was not even one. As people commented, I got to laughing about how not one soul made a comment about how sick they'd become by eating cookie dough. On the contrary, every comment was about how much people agreed with me.

Another thing that came to my mind, as I'm in the thick of being with the missionaries at times, was how some people think that meeting with the LDS missionaries is like eating cookie dough. If you do it, it's bad for you.

Clearly, those who feel that way, haven't ever sat in on a missionary discussion.

I feel like the guy who originally told people not to eat cookie dough really just wanted it all to himself. This is exactly the kind of thing one of my brothers would have said to me as a kid just so he could sneak it away and eat it all himself.

Having been a missionary myself and now having the joy of going with these sisters, I think everyone should give it a shot at least once. Not really sure why someone would turn others away from such a great experience. Is it maybe because they haven't tried it themselves?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Just a Piece of My Insanity - A Starting Point

The Warden often uses the quote, and I think this is quite fitting for the "Madhouse:"

Did Einstein really say this? See what a skeptic I've become? It's kind of like how #2 credits every possible quote to Mahatma Ghandi. We have a white board in our kitchen; something like this shows up almost daily: 

"Eat your vegetables."
         ~Mahama Ghandi

I guess that's why I've become so cynical about who originally said what. Ahh, the scars of motherhood.

Anyway, back to that quote by some 17-year-old boy who, on his mother's white board, gives all credit to Albert Einstein.....

The Warden has used this quote in various situations for years and years. It's only lately that I've really been pondering on it and its place in my life. 

Clearly, because my home is referred to as a "Madhouse," I am a creature of habit--not all of those habits, as you can imagine, are good....Actually, now that I think of it....very few of them are. I just keep doing things the same way over and over again, hoping for better results each time around. Well...Do I even need to say it? They're not working.

So, I'm thinking, maybe it's time to switch things up a bit. The big question, though: Where to begin?

In the desire not to throw the baby out with the bath water, there is need to analyze just what is working. 

The other day I started in the laundry room. There are a lot of things I can see that are working for our family. We aren't nearly as laundromatically dysfunctional as we used to be. Here's a short list of a few things that work for us:

  • Each person middle school age and up has his/her own laundry day.
  • Three laundry baskets reside in the laundry room to hold sorted whites, blacks, and colors.
  • The ironing tools have a place in the laundry room and our out of the way.
  • Extra shampoo, soap, toilet paper, and other toiletries are stored there.
  • The washer and dryer are good sizes for our family.
  • There is plenty of extra laundry detergent for now.

Here are the things I need to rethink:

Without fail, the laundry ends up in my bedroom to fold. Once it's folded, it ends up staying on my bedroom floor until someone puts it away. In other words, it gets kicked around my bedroom until I fold laundry again.

Here's what I'm thinking will solve these problems:

image: homebunch.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

A counter that runs over the top of the washer, dryer and utility sink, so that there is a surface to fold on without worry of items falling behind or between.

image: delightfulorder.blogspot.com via Kristina on Pinterest
Individualized cubbies so things can be folded and put directly into each person's shelves. The bottom basket is for socks and underwear.

I need to put the hamper or hampers--wouldn't it be great if, when people put their dirty clothes into the laundry room the clothes made it directly into the basket AND, this may be asking WAY too much, but wouldn't it be just fabulous if those clothes were sorted? So, I'm thinking I'm going to put the hampers just inside the laundry room and have them color coded so there is no question where the darks, whites, and colors go.

The only thing yet to be figured out is a place to hang items that need to be hung up. Here's an idea for that, but in order to do this, I'd have to revamp some other things. Not sure if I'm willing to do that. It's a pretty small room I'm working with....

image: en.paperblog.com via angela on Pinterest

This is only one small area of the insanity of this Madhouse. I figure I've got to pick away at these things a little at a time. I didn't want to take something huge and start off with something completely overwhelming.

At this point, the room's stripped down and all of the items that are normally stored there are in boxes. I think we'll start with the counter and move to the cubbies.

I'm so looking forward to having my bedroom floor back and not continually cluttered with unfolded and formerly folded clothes.

So hoping this will bring a bit of sanity. Then I can move on to some of the other things that I do over and over again.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Update on Mission Prep

It's been awhile since I've given an update on #1 and her mission preparation. I'm sure, if you spoke
with her, she'd give you the exact number of days until her departure. Then she'd assure you that it's not because she's thrilled to leave her home and family (heh heh, yah right) that she knows the exact number, but it's because whenever she signs into the website that lists what she needs to do to be prepared, the first thing listed, under her name and mission she's been assigned to, is a countdown of days until she leaves in big numbers, and believe it or not, like it or not, that number gets smaller everyday.

image: halfempty4now.com
We're, at this point, waiting for immunizations. The doctor's office gave her a hard time about needing an additional dtap booster, but she will get one when she goes in to get her typhoid pills. These have to be taken one pill every other day for two weeks. I've read of missionaries who've timed it wrong and have been sick as they've entered the MTC. That would be miserable, but the clinic is saying she can pick them up on June 1st. I'm figuring this should give her four days to feel any effects before she leaves. I hope this is the case.

Her friends that have had to take the typhoid pills have had no ill effects. I'm hoping that for her as well. We shall see.

image: sweenyfiles.com
In the meantime, the only other thing she has been assigned to do before she leaves is obtain a four-generation pedigree chart and stories of her ancestors.

I thought this was a very interesting assignment. This was not something I was assigned way back in my day, and it makes me wonder if this is something all missionaries are asked to do. Then you wonder why.

There is no doubt that the LDS faith believes strongly in family. We believe that unlike the typical "until death do you part," marriage should last throughout eternity. As someone coined in General Conference, marriage shouldn't start out with an "expiration date." We believe that families should be joined together throughout eternity through ordinances performed in our temples.

Side note: For anyone in the Portland area, we now have a visitor's center at our temple. It teaches what a temple is for. Anyone can go. It's open every day of the year. For any of my friends, if you want to go but don't want to go alone, let me know. I'll take you.

So, maybe #1, through sharing her own genealogy, can inspire others to do the same thus encouraging them to bind their family together past this life.

This morning, though, I came upon another reality....

I LOVE chapter 12 in the book of Ether. It is my favorite in the whole Book of Mormon. Seriously, to the point that I honestly get excited as I get closer to it. I can't tell  you why I love it so much. It just makes me happy.

In chapter 12, Moroni (the abridger of these metal plates), interjects some of his own feelings about what is going on and what can be perceived because of what has been read so far in the Book of Mormon. He shares the importance of faith and makes things VERY clear as to what the force was in each situation that we've read about thus far.

image: ellenwhite.info
As I read this morning, something became very obvious to me. Throughout the book, we are told to remember the things God has done for our ancestors--the things that have brought us to the point where we are today. Time after time, we are drawn back to Moses freeing the children of Israel through God's power, as just one example. In the book of Ether, reminders of the brother of Jared, and his experiences come into play. Could it be that an example is being set for us to remember?

Could this be another reason why #1 has been asked to gather stories about her ancestors? Could it be for her? To give her strength? Could it be to empower her?

In this chapter, Moroni is doing just what the Book of Mormon encourages us to do--remember. It doesn't just stop at the brother of Jared or Moses. It goes on and on and on with great examples.

So, for this morning, here's something for my family to know. Something I had no clue of until about five years ago thanks to a cousin who isn't a member of the church.

image: mesenko.com
My dad's family is from Montana, the bitterroot. A cousin searched the archives of the Missoula newspaper as she and I were working scanning pictures for my mom's side of the family (she is related through my mom; yet another reason why this is so significant to me). Do you kind of see how all of the stars align so nicely here?

Here is the story she found. One I would never have known if it weren't for her:

"Most people who were not Mormons were uninterested in the missionaries' message, but occasional contacts with those who were receptive, like George and Aquilla Dye, ranchers in Corvallis, restored their enthusiasm. Having recently dreamed of two men who visited her ranch with an important message, Aquilla welcomed the two missionaries who approached her home seeking lodging and food one evening. Within a short time the Dyes had embraced Mormonism, providing the nucleus for a Sunday School in Corvallis that would eventually grow into a branch congregation. In their sermons and in reports they sent to the mission headquarters, the missionaries also related accounts of faith-promoting healings following priesthood blessings. For instance, one missionary who visited the Dyes' home in 1898 shortly after their conversion "found a house full of sickness." Aquilla requested a priesthood blessing for each member of the family, following which each claimed that they "were instantly releaved [sic] of pain." The telling and retelling of such stories nurtured a sense of identity among local Mormons as a divinely favored people caring for each other."

This is part of how my family became acquainted with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. George and Aquilla were my great, great grandparents.

Maybe a funny thing to have in a town newspaper, but back then, you probably knew that Mrs. Jones had walked her dog five times in one day or Mr. McGillicuddy got a paper cut from reading that very newspaper the day before. You know "all the news that is news."

Regardless, I am grateful that this was recorded. I am grateful for Aquilla's dream. This story helps me to know that God was aware of George and Aquilla the same as He is of me, and because He was aware of them, my life has benefitted greatly by their actions.

There are stories like this on each of the branches of my family tree (my mom, my grandfather in my dad's side, my great, great grandparents on my dad's mom's side, and my great, great, great grandparents on my dad's mom's mom's side), and that's not even bringing the Warden's family into the equation. I look forward to helping #1 find these stories and more. Maybe we'll end up with our own personalized version of Ether 12 and how our ancestors had faith enough to move on impressions they had. And, maybe those acts of faith with help us as well and give us strength to try to do as they did.

So, maybe this is why #1 needs to gather these stories. Maybe it's to encourage the friends she has yet to make in the Philippines. Maybe it's to give her courage and strength to know that she can help people draw closer to God as He reaches out to them. I get the feeling that it's all of these reasons combined.

So a couple shots and a whole lotta stories, and she'll be on a plane and outta here. Daunting.

Oh, and just to let you know....45 days.

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