Thursday, October 6, 2011


just in case you are wondering...  I am COLD today!

We have been having beautiful (almost too hot) fall weather up until just a few days ago... even yesterday was ok until about noon, then it started raining and the cold front moved in.  Right now it is 38* and when there is a slight break in the cloud cover, I see snow on the mountains not too far above my house!

... and I am COLD!

Katrina's baptism is this weekend, and we will be having a light luncheon afterwards, so I am thinking today is a great day to do some BAKING.  Nice WARM, yummy smelling, heat up the house, BAKING.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

General Conference & Cascade Springs

So yesterday between conference sessions we drove up to Cascade Springs.   I knew the leaves had begun turning and I wanted to see them before they all  fell off.  We watched most of the morning session before leaving, and listened to the last talk while we drove.   We had a picnic lunch and hiked around the springs  and pools  until 2:00, then we listened to the first half of the afternoon session  while  we drove home.  (well,  some of us listened -  some  fell asleep.
Promptings FOR ME from Saturday's talks were:
*  Increase my diligence and efforts in Scripture study -  particularly the Book of Mormon,
*  "Have you  inquired of the Lord?" -  seeking answers  from the Lord  to my questions or problems,  instead of other sources. 
*  That happiness comes by living a Christ-like life
*  Encourage my YW to learn about and participate in Family History
*  Look  up - look to God to lift  us.   (look up, cheer up,  God want  me to be  happy)
*** Learn to  master  my TIME.  Set goals, then master the skills to achieve the goal)  Reminder that some distractions need to be turned to  dust (as the seer-stone)

Although I had  mixed  feeling about the outing, since it is harder to focus and listen to the talks while driving, (Tim is the only one who can read/take notes, etc...  while in a moving car.  The rest of us get motion sick.)  it was beautiful and a nice break from the routine.    (and I rationalized that I can always re-listen & re-read)

Here are some pictures:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Love this thought

I wish every teacher had this posted in their classroom, and every parent had it posted in their home...  I know I need to be better at remembering it...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

4th quarter come back - (taken from middle-aged mormon man)

a friend of mine posted a link on facebook to a blog post that I LOVED.  (in fact, I ended up reading lots of this guy's posts and really liked every one I read, so even though I have no clue who he is, I added him to my google reader and I already plan to use a few things I read in my YW lessons.   ("the Tarzan principle" for one...)  Here is the link to his blog:

and here is the text from his today's post - just in case you aren't going to pop over and read it yourself on HIS site...

"There's nothing more exciting in sports than when a team that has been written off pulls together and makes a big push to come from behind and win an important game. Many iconic football and basketball stars have had this knack  Guys like Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and John Elway have become legendary - partly from their ability to pull off the 4th Quarter Comeback. How about LeBron James. (Kidding - Just checking to see if sports fans are paying attention.)

Now, I don't want to frighten anyone, but take a look at your calendar.  See Saturday?  Yes, it is General Conference.

What? You're telling me that they have Conference on Saturday too?  Who knew?!

Yes, there has always been Conference on Saturday, and, just to  reward the faithful, Saturday sessions are usually better than Sunday sessions. Give it a try.

Where was I...

Oh, this Saturday is not only conference, but it is Q4. The first day of the 4th quarter. Yes, 'tis true - the year is 75% over. We are due for a flurry of holidays, and then 2011 will be gone. Over. Irretrievable. Before you know it, we will find ourselves waking up, laying on our backs, staring at the ceiling saying to ourselves:

"Argh! It is New Years and I didn't get the things done that I had hoped for this year. And now it's time to make the same stupid resolutions again - and most of my new resolutions will be the same stuff that I resolved to fix last year."

Yes, the dreaded New Year's self-assessment. So often it ends in failure.

2011: The year I stopped drinking the ambrosia that is Mt. Dew. (Then started again in June)
2011: The year we struggled with Family Scripture study the most in 15 years.
2011: Can you say "yo-yo dieting"?
2011: The year I did not meet my temple goals.
2011: The year my gym membership worked out to $60 per visit.
2011: The year I did not meet my financial goals.
Etc. (your mileage may vary)

(Just a note: Now is not the time to go all "forget-me-not patient and charitable with myself" - This is leading somewhere)

2011 has not been a particularly "kind" year to many of us. In fact, I know many who have struggled this year. If 2011 were to end this Saturday, I would gladly throw it on the trash heap, dust of my hands, gird up my loins, and start over.

Nope. Not this year. This year I am going to do something different. I am going to stage a late rally. Starting Saturday, I am going to make a 4th Quarter Comeback. You see, this year is not over yet. I have not yet heard the viking-clad woman singing. There is still time to get things done. There is still time to make changes. There is still time to improve.

I want to wake up on New Year's morning, stare at the ceiling, and say "Hah. I kicked 2011's butt." And then go back to sleep. Later in the day, I want to make a whole new set of goals that build on what I accomplished in 2011, instead of the same old stuff.

Yes. I am shifting uncomfortably in my seat as I type this...  How am I going to do this? Here is the plan:

1) Between now and Saturday, I'm going to review my year, and what I had hoped to accomplish.
2) This weekend I am going to sit at the feet of the prophets and learn what the Lord wants me to focus on.
3) Discuss these things with my EC and come up with a game plan.
4) Clear it with the Lord.
5) Spend the next 13 weeks - 92 days - getting it done. (I can do most anything for 90 days)
6) Look back at 2011 fondly, as a time where I flexed my soggy self-mastery muscles.

It is time for my 4th Quarter Comeback.

Who's with me?"

It's ME again.  Wasn't that great!?!?!?  I am totally in.  Don't know if I'll do any better as a 4th quarter come back kid than I have in the first 3 quarters of the year, but at least I'll feel better about trying to be a FINISHER!  I hate games when my team just seems to have given up.  it's like they just accept that they have lost and they don't even bother playing the rest of the game. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

new look

for those of you who only read in your "google reader" feed, and don't usually pop over to the actual site (which is what I do unless I am leaving a comment) I decided that I needed a new "fall" look for my blog.  in case you are wondering... I am liking it.  if I had some "skills" I would tweak a few things - but as it is, I like it and am thankful for the skills of others :)

Now i have to turn off this computer and get to work!  it's a new week and I have plenty to do! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Just like everyone else I know who heard this talk - I LOVED President Uchtdorf's address in the Saturday evening General Relief Society Conference.  His words were a balm to my soul and a blessing to my spirit. 

He spoke of the Forget-me-not flower, small and easily overlooked, yet one of his favorite flowers and a source of great beauty.  He said like the flower has five petals, he had 5 things he wanted us to "forget not."

1 - Forget not to be patient with yourself.  So many quotable things throughout this talk, but under this one I loved when he said, "none of you are perfect.  And those people that you think are perfect?  They're not."  He talked of how we compare ourselves with others, typically comparing our weaknesses to their strengths.  He spoke of how we can be endlessly loving and compassionate to others, but we fail to extend that same love and compassion to ourselves.  That God sees all the SMALL and seemingly insignificant (to us) things we do, and he is pleased.

2 - Forget not that some sacrifices are better than others.  While making sacrifices are a part of life, sometimes we make sacrifices for things that are NOT of the greatest value or worth.    We need to consider if what we are doing is the best sacrifice for us to make.

3 - Forget not to be happy NOW.  He reminded us of the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which people become so obsessed with finding the "golden ticket" that they lose the ability to enjoy the candy bar.  Yes, we should continue to seek for our dreams, but we must enjoy the here and now until that dream is realized.  We must look for and find joy in the "little things" everyday.

4 - Forget not the "WHY" of the gospel.   (This one a was harder for me to summarize/verbalize, and since one of my other friends already posted this awesome quote, I'm just using it too) "While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet.

Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us... seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
5 - Forget Not that God loves you and has NOT forgotten you.  Pretty self explanatory and POWERFUL.  I loved how he declared it - "as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ,"...
It was an amazing talk and certainly one that I needed to hear. (and need to LIVE)  My thought last night was "I wish I could just carry President Uchtdorf around with me in my pocket and pull him out every time I need a little pep talk."  Then I thought, Hey, I guess I kind of can.  I can buy the recording of the conference and play it in my car when I need a lift.  I can keep a copy of the talk nearby to refer to when I am feeling inadequate or discouraged. And absolutely, I will be planting some FORGET-ME-NOTS.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


So tonight I was watching TV when I heard the DUMBEST commercial!  It made my head snap up and I thought - did they really just say that???   They need a new ad campaign writer, because that was a ridiculous thing to say!

I don't know the company, but the ad was for some luxury car, (I think) and it started out with the announcer saying:

"if no one ever challenged the status quo, the world would still be flat."

Um... NO - it wouldn't!  because it never WAS flat!!!  Regardless of whether anyone "challenged the status quo" and sailed around the world, it would still BE round.

There is such thing as TRUTH.  We live in a world that so often thinks that whatever the general populous "thinks" is correct and real.  That is simply not true.  There are some things that, regardless of what people think, are eternal truths; and you believing or not believing doesn't change them.

Go ahead, challenge the status quo.  When designing cars, inventing new gadgets, finding better ways to teach children, whatever... but remember this - when it comes to eternal truths, all of the challenges in the world aren't going to change what IS.

Monday, September 19, 2011

YW Scripture Challenge

Two weeks ago I taught the combined young women's lesson.  The lesson subject was a great one, all about scripture study and making it more meaningful.  I knew that many of our girls have little to no idea of how to use the many resources that we have in our scriptures.  Things like the Topical Guide, The Bible Dictionary, and the footnotes.  I was frustrated with how the lesson went because I had SO much I wanted to do with them - getting them INTO their scriptures, but when all was said and done, I only got about 20 minutes of lesson time.  You know me - - I can barely say HELLO in 20 minutes, let alone teach a lesson! 

Oh well, I did my best and sent them all home with a four page worksheet designed to help them USE the resources in the scriptures.  It was a worksheet I created by taking and exercise out of my trusty missionary guide.  It offers 4 great keys to making scripture study more meaningful, plus exercises to help you practice each skill.  In case you are wondering, the four skills are:

1) Identify who or what the passage refers to.  (who is speaking, to whom, and about what)
2)  Define words and phrases
3)  Recognize lists
4) Put your own name into the scriptures

I gave out the handouts and a new spiral bound notebook to use as their scripture journal, and challenged them to 1) complete the handout and 2) read their scriptures DAILY for 2 full weeks, recording in the journals what they read, learned, felt, etc... The promised reward for everyone who completed the challenge is a full size candy bar (or like-priced treat) of their choice.  (in addition to the increased testimony and peace that is promised to those who daily read the scriptures)

Of course, being the one who issued the challenge, I HAD to complete it myself.  Daily scriptures is a hard things for me, I just find I push it off and push it off, until it is LATE and then I am TOO TIRED, and I do the "I'll do it tomorrow" thing...

I am VERY HAPPY to report that I DID IT!!!  Yesterday was day 15, and I did it!  Now I'm going for a full 30 days!!!

I know a few girls started the challenge a week late, and others were planning to do it, but I haven't heard yet who has completed it...  I know Heather (the 2nd counselor in the YW presidency, and my "partner is crime" for Beehive related stuff) did it! - (Way to go, you awesome woman you!) and we both have really had a positive experience.  I am off this week to buy a few candy bars!  HOORAY!

Friday, September 16, 2011

they do listen....

(or.... a Bryan's FHE follow up)

I had a "hey, kids really do sometimes listen during family home evening" moment today.

We had dropped Bryan off at Kindergarten and were out running some errands when out of the blue,
 Caleb said to me, "mom, rocks can be bad AND good."

Oh Yeah?  (trying not to laugh)

"yep,  they are bad if you throw them at people, but you can build walls and good stuff with them too, so they are bad AND good."

nice to know that he heard something, kinda wish it had been the part about "quickly obeying when mom asks you to do something," or the "be reverent during family scripture study" part, or the "don't fight with your brother."

but hey... something is better than nothing, right???  

Monday, September 12, 2011

a "boring" lesson... by Bryan

For Family Home Evening tonight, it was Bryan's turn to teach the lesson.  Tim was helping him put something together and was trying to get him to break away from the "pick a picture from the gospel art kit and tell the scripture story" type of lesson that is becoming the all too familiar fall back around here when it is a kids week to teach.  (which is 4 out of 6 times in this house). 

As they were throwing around ideas - of which Bryan's were pretty random and all over the spectrum, not really connected in any sort of rhyme or reason, and Tim was trying to help him think of a SINGLE topic that our family could actually BENEFIT from, or apply/relate to this week.  Tim reminded Bryan that he and I will be going to the temple this week for ward temple night and that the lesson could be about temples. 

Imagine in your mind, in the most monotone, boring voice EVER, Bryan's reply:

"Mom and dad are going to the temple this week.  THE END.  - That would be a boring lesson!" 

He's right, that would be a pretty boring lesson.  He ended up going with "how to build a stronger family," with some random "stepping stones to get to Jesus," "rocks can be good or bad," ("because you can use them to throw at people which is bad, or you can use them to build walls, which is good, so they are half good half bad.") and having someone read out loud his list of goals from his last father/son interview.

Throw in the other kids with their various attention spans - or lack there-of, their attitudes, some more pleasant than others, and a few dogs who were trying desperately to get us to play fetch and tug of war with the squeaky toy.... and  ONE thing I know for certain, FHE at our house is NOT boring!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Whew!!! what a week!

Betcha all thought that I'd just give up on my new facebook goals and just log in regardless of if I blogged or not - right???  NOPE, just been so totally CRAZY around here that I pretty much haven't been online for a few days.  It's been an eventful few days -

Brief background:  We have a rental property up in West Valley and the tenants moved out unexpectedly.  We were lucky to find some new tenants the first week we had the home listed, and they wanted to move in ASAP.  Tuesday night, Tim and Brian (our handyman) went out to the property to get an idea of needed repairs.  The carpet was really bad and needed to be replaced in addition to other repairs needed.  Brian was able to get his team of carpet guys to come in the following day to lay carpet. 

So Wednesday morning, around 11'ish I got a call from Tim.  We have been thinking about replacing our carpets for a while now, and have talked about it a few times with Brian.  The carpet guys told Brian that if we went ahead with the same carpet they were putting into the rental, and did it at the same time, we could get a good deal on it.  We decided to jump in head first and agreed to be ready the next day for installers to be here.  I spent the remainder of Wednesday clearing everything out of the front room and 3 upstairs bedrooms.  Then we painted Bryan & Caleb's room.  (it was the WORST in the house.  Would have loved to have a few more days to paint the other rooms, but there just wasn't time - I did get the baseboards in the front room done as well.)  They arrived on Thursday around 1:30 and I was ready!  (I had just barely finished, but was ready) 

They ripped out all the old carpet (it was the original carpet that was installed when we built the house in 1998) then while they went to pick up the carpet and take a lunch break, I re-vacuumed all the edges and the carpet pads so it was ready to put the carpet down.  They got back around 5 and once they were all settled again, I headed out with the kids to met Tim for dinner.  (my kitchen was full of bookshelves, books, computers, tvs, mattresses, etc... and I was WAY too tired to try to actually prepare something.  We got home just before 8 to find brand new carpet in four rooms and the stairs!  (well, actually, they were still finishing up the stairs and a few places.)

I spent all day Friday moving things back into the rooms.  My neighbor and friend Paula came over that morning and helped.  It was a good thing, because I was totally spent and wouldn't have been able to get much done on my own.  Sometimes it takes having another person there to keep you moving....

I didn't have it in me to totally finish, so I took all that "end stuff"  (all those things that don't have a home and you should probably just throw away but you just can't...) and shoved it in a tote.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to tackle it next week with a fresh outlook.  Spent the day today doing some finishing cleaning, emptying a couple of "catch all baskets" and right now, at THIS MOMENT, the house is pretty good. 

The carpets, while maybe not exactly what I would have chose, are nice - and they are perfect for a house full of pets and kids who show no regard for cleanliness.  

We took the computer out of our room (wanted more space) so we are experimenting with me using a laptop instead of the desktop.  I'm finding it hard to type on this thing, my fingers keep slipping onto the wrong keys, but we'll see how it works out.

I did take some pictures, but I'll just add them to this post (or make a new one) once they are off the camera.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

face cards vs face book

*please note that my left shift key (the one I use most of the time) is broken, (works sporadically at best) and it is not likely that I will be going through to fix all of the lower case letters.  please just ignore.


several weeks ago we were having a "game night" for our young women's activity.   I just grabbed a stack of games from our game closet that could have at least 6 players at a time - easy to learn, and quick to play.  one of the games i took is called sequence.  it is played by drawing a card (basic facecards) and matching the cards to the corresponding picture on the game board.  you then place a token of your color on that space and try to get 5 in a row. it's simple, easy to learn, easy to play, and you can play with 3 teams of 2, so i figured it was a good game to take.

we get there, a group of kids pick that table and i proceed to teach them how to play and get them started.  then one of our young women came in and pretty much freaked out because we were playing with facecards - which are "forbidden in the church" and are of the devil!

Now, I knew vaguely about the recommendation given many years ago that members of the church shouldn't play with face cards.  I mostly know about it only because i remember a story told by my grandfather, about how he remembered his parents throwing their face cards into the wood burning stove when the counsel was given. I wondered if maybe I was leading these poor youth down the paths of sin, so I came home and looked up what i could about it.

the issue regarding the use of playing with face cards seems to have originated from president joseph f. smith. I liked this ensign article,written in 1984 by "Former Stake President, Idaho Falls Idaho Ammon West Stake" in response to the question "How should I feel about playing cards"

"The two most common criticisms of card playing have been, first, that it is a waste of time, and second, that it tends to end in gambling. Both criticisms are valid because, while extremes, they too often occur. Writing at a time before the advent of excessive TV viewing, which is the modern time waster, and before the coming of extensive state-sponsored lotteries, which today enhance the tendency to gamble, some of our General Authorities have spoken out against card playing. Let us consider what President Joseph F. Smith said:

“While a simple game of cards in itself may be harmless, it is a fact that by immoderate repetition it ends in an infatuation for chance schemes, in habits of excess, in waste of precious time, in dulling and stupor of the mind, and in the complete destruction of religious feeling. … There is the grave danger that lurks in persistent card playing, which begets the spirit of gambling, of speculation and that awakens the dangerous desire to get something for nothing.

“One’s character may be determined in some measure by the quality of one’s amusements. Men and women of industrious business-like, and thoughtful habits care little for frivolous pastimes, for pleasures that are sought for their own sake. It is not easy to imagine that leading men in the Church would find any pleasure that was either inspiring or helpful at the card table” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 329).

he concluded his response by saying, "While it is best to avoid the use of “playing cards,” my personal experiences indicate that our family has enjoyed many benefits from playing games with cards. At a time when amusements are generally enjoyed alone, for example TV viewing and video game playing, we in our family like to play card games together. It has been both unifying and has provided the arena for much give and take. All in all, playing card games has given us many delightful moments."

As i thought about this, I determined that the use of facebook, television, other computer distractions,  are much more likely than face cards to
1)  waste huge chunks of my time
2)  open me up to a wide variety of evils,
3)  "dull and stupor" my mind,
4)  become addictive


i shared my thoughts regarding this with those (few) girls who seemed interested and/or concerned about the first yw's adamant cries that i had brought SATAN into the church.  I told them that they are safer playing a game of sequence for 20 minutes at a youth activity, in cultural hall of the church, then they are spending hours and hours involved in social media, mind numbing and spirit dulling "music," and watching questionable television shows and movies.  (I found it hilarious that the girl who started all this chose to stay at that game table (all the while complaining about the evil of it all) since that's where the BOYS that she thinks are cute were sitting.  I guess maybe it's ok to be in the presence of Satan if the boys are cute enough??????  NOT!)

I know this is more than long enough already, but i just have to follow up with this - two weekends ago at our stake conference there were several talks that mentioned the over used of facebook, and other other social networking sites.  it was prompted that i too am going overboard and am addicted.  Elder Oak's talk on good, better, best was quoted a couple of times.

GOOD - facebook allows me to connect with friends and family and know what's going on in their lives

BETTER - blogging is a venue for me to journal - which we are supposed to be doing, and still lets me connect with family and friends (those that are willing to take the time to read more that the 150 characters (or whatever the number is) at a time.  (my "blogging" went way down hill once i got a facebook account  and now what do I have to show for it?  pretty much nothing.)

BEST - writing in my private journal

I'm not so good at writing in my private journal, but i can move it up a step by writing the more "non-personal things" in this forum.  My new "facebook rule" is that i cannot log into facebook unless I have

1) worked for at least 1 hour on my "housework"
2) written something on my blog with in two days

Saturday, April 2, 2011

General Conference, Day 1

Ok - I'm feeling like a "spiritually out of tune" slacker or something.  Typically, the Saturday morning session of conference knocks me off my feet!  Today's conference sessions were good,  and I learned things I needed to hear,  but nothing that fit into the "balm of Gilead" category for my soul - as in recent years past.  Might have had something to do with the fact that I have had most/all of the kids in the same room as me, and was helping them with their conference packets, etc...  Or maybe it could also have to do with the fact that I have had some great spiritual experiences in the past couple months, so maybe I wasn't so desperately in need this time round?  who knows?  (Could also very likely have been that I was SUPER tired and was fighting hard to stay awake! - not really conducive to divine inspiration...)

I did take notes,

From Elder Perry I was taught that I need to do better myself and in teaching my children to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy.

Sister Steven's talk just made me grateful I had so many great years with the children of the 10th ward

Elder Gonzalez reminded me how to be a "true follower of Christ." 

Elder Richard's talk was about the purpose of pain and trials in our lives, and how the Atonement is the source to overcome pain, both physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, etc...

Elder Cook gave a great talk about power of a righteous woman and how the women in the church are incredible!  It was inspiring to recognize the power and influence that woman can have and a good reminder that I need to be better at wielding that power in righteous ways.

Elder Eyring spoke of caring for the poor and the needy.  I figure I'll be pulling out this talk when the YW want to plan service activities :)

My favorite part of President Packer's talk was his story about "John, leave it alone."  Taking offense is a surefire way to hurt yourself -

My favorite two lines from Elder Nelson were "our faith NOW becomes part of our posterity's faith LATER."  and that we cannot take the "cafeteria approach to obedience."

I had some bountiful basket issues that had to be resolved in during the next two talks, so I missed both names, and I missed most of the 2nd talk...but the topics of the first talk was the doctrine of Eternal families.  He warned of three of Satan's big tools to destroy families. Selfishness, Greed, and Pornography.  I am certainly guilty of selfishness far to often and need to work on that as well. He also reassured that weekly FHE, daily prayer and scripture, difficult though it is, WILL fortify the family.

Elder Oaks gave a great talk on the power of our DESIRES.  We must lose desire to sin (this is a choice we make) and must "readjust our desires" to put eternal things first.

Finally, Elder Ballard spoke on the essential principle of CHARITY, the pure love of Christ.
#1 - charity begins at home,
#2 - Charity in our wards ("there is no place for gossip" - jumped out at me, another upcoming lesson in YW's I'm sure;)
 #3 - charity in our communities.

It was a good conference.  I was REALLY REALLY tired, having gotten to bed after midnight, then woken up at least twice that I remember by Caleb, and then up at 5:30 for BB.  I guess I'm lucky that I got as much out of it as I did.

While Tim was at Priesthood session, I met with one of my sweet Beehive girls and did my first personal Progress... uh, would it be called an interview???   Whatever you call it, it was good. I love to see the faith and hope of these beautiful young ladies.  T.  is a GREAT young lady and I look forward to getting to know her better and watching her grow.

all in all, a good day

Honor and Beasts

GREAT news on the academic front - 

For the first time EVER, Aaron made the honor roll.  (2 B's, the rest A's.)  We are super proud of him.  He set the goal and worked hard.  (plus a little extra prodding and encouragement from parents, but HE DID IT!)

Another great piece of news with Aaron is that he FINALLY found a book (series) that he likes!  He has started reading the Beast Quest Series by Adam Blade.  In the past 3 (maybe 4) weeks he has read 10 books!!!!!  You have NO idea how WONDERFUL this is to me.  Up to this point, I would be hard pressed to think of ONE book that he read, cover to cover, on his own.  Granted, these books are pretty short (under 100 pages) and simple, but that is beside the point.  The point is - that he found something that interests him and that he WANTS to read.  I am praying that this will serve as a springboard to launch him into other books, but regardless of where we go from here - he found a book, read a book, comprehended the storyline of a book, and wanted MORE...   


Friday, April 1, 2011

a quick funny...

I have so much to do today, I shouldn't be on here at all, but since i am trying to play blog catch up, I'll just share a quick FUNNY Katrina moment.

It was about a week or so ago, and I don't recall what evactly she was talking about, but Katrina was talking to Tim and said something like

"I haven't be able to do (whatever it was) for 500 hundred million days."

Tim - "you haven't even been alive for that many days."

Katrina - "I know dad, I was just abbreviating."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

a painful goodbye

Today I was released from my calling as Primary Chorister.  I have served in that capacity for a long time, over 5 years.  It is amazing to me to think that the kids in Junior primary have NEVER had anyone but me.  (except for the very few times I've gotten a sub)  The kids in Senior primary... they don't remember anyone but me.  My kids, all but Aaron, have never had any music leader but me.  Aaron was only 5 when I started in that calling.  IN other words, I AM primary music to those kids.

And I LOVE them!

When Bro. Farr called me in last Wednesday and told me they were releasing me from Primary, I couldn't help myself, I started to cry.  I couldn't speak, just nodded my head when he gave me my new calling (another post to follow).   He then said they wanted me to still do the music for Sunday to give the new person another week to "catch her breath."  That was one of THE hardest things I've ever had to do!

My kids saw me crying when I got home that night and they knew where I had gone...  Katrina sobbed herself to sleep that night, she literally cried for over an hour...  broke my heart even more.  Aaron stated that he was "never going to church ever again!" and that he was going to get all of the senior primary kids together and convince them to raise their hands when the bishopric member asked if there was anyone "opposed."  I talked to him quite a bit about it all, and SOME of it sunk in.  He didn't rally anyone else to join his rebellion - but when the "opposed" question was asked, his hand shot up, straight and sure!

Trying to look at the kids and sing with them was nearly impossible.  How much I am going to miss those little monkeys.  They were so much FUN to be with.  I loved their off the wall comments and random thoughts.  I love their enthusiasm and energy.  I love their simple and sincere testimonies and desire to learn and do what is right.  and that was just junior primary.

Saying good-bye to the senior primary about ripped my heart out!  I know that every calling has to come to an end at some time, but it's like I told Tim (when he was mocking me for crying so long and hard about it) ...  In order to really magnify your calling, you have LOVE those you are called to serve.  That same love that helps you serve well, means that when it comes time to move onto a new learning adventure, your heart gets broken.

I LOVE MY primary kids, all of them.  (the 110 children currently in primary, plus all of the ones who have moved up into YM and YW and moved away over the past 5 +  years.)  I cherish the time I have spent with them, learning and singing testimony building songs.   I pray that they will remember the many messages and testimonies I have shared with them, and that during times of heartache or trial, the words and messages of the songs we sang together will comfort and lift them.

I am taking the liberty of copying the facebook thread about this tough day and I'm pasting them here so that I will have them in my journal.  You DO NOT need to read these - they are totally just "stroke my ego" kind of comments...  I worked really hard for many years in that calling, and hearing that I did well and that I will be missed validates me.

my original facebook post: 
Tough day. I have a headache from crying so much. After 5+ years of being the primary chorister, I was released today. It was hard. I love those children SO SO much!!! and I love the power of the primary songs in helping build their growing testimonies.
Looking forward (with mild trepidation) to the next adventure... Beehive Advise...r/ Camp Director. Ready, Set, GO!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

10 virgins presentation

For Christmas Tim gave me a copy of the musical presentation of the 10 virgins.  My next door neighbor Christie is the Relief Society President of our ward and one afternoon when she was over I said something along the lines of "if you want to borrow this to look it over, the Relief Society might want to use it for a RS activity.")  I thought I might get asked to participate in such a production, but felt relatively safe, since I am in the PRIMARY...

Christie returned my booklet and music about a week later and said, Bishop approved it, the enrichment committee thinks it sounds great, will you be in charge of putting it together for our March RS birthday activity?"  (not quite what I had in mind, but many people have told me, "duh, what did you expect?")

It was an interesting experience.  I should let you know upfront that I am NOT a "director."  I have no "drama" experience.  I had absolutely NO clue what I was doing.  That being said, it went pretty well.

I truly felt that things were guided by a power greater than myself.  From the very beginning, in selecting which sister would play which roles, all the way along.  I thought it was inspiring how so many times during the process, I would have an idea of how I was going to do something, then as I was attempting to implement the ideas, it wouldn't go well.  I would persevere, not knowing what else to do, until suddenly (usually at night as I was dropping off to sleep) an idea would pop into my mind, clear as could be.  And that new idea worked every time.

Each Sunday, for the 7 or 8 weeks leading up to the event, I went into RS to make the announcement.  I took about 5 minutes each week to introduce one of the characters.  I shared a bit about her strengths and her challenges.  I shared a bit about the song she sings, and the messages that I personally learned from each song.  Then I issued a "10 virgins challenge" for the week.  For example, right after stake conference I talked about the character Nava, who's song sings "I try so hard to remember, but it's so easy to forget."  and I reminded the sisters how powerful our Stake Conference had been and how easy it is to forget that power and just slip back into our "regular lives."  The challenge for the week was to fight that tendency to slip back into the routine and to fight to REMEMBER and not forget the promptings we had received during the conference.  Doing this helped the sisters to be excited about the activity, and to begin to prepare their hearts and minds for the messages they would hear.

Practices were a challenge.  Consider the fact that we were trying to arrange the schedules of 10 busy women; mothers, students, wives, etc (some of them all 3 of those aforementioned roles)... plus 2 young women, plus the ward building availability...  It was an adventure...  We actually only had one practice (well, 1 hour of one practice to be exact) with everyone there -  at our dress rehearsal.   At that same dress rehearsal, we still had several of the participants who didn't know their parts, and 2 sisters for whom it was their FIRST practice at all...  in other words it was a really stressful practice for me!  (The dress rehearsal also happened to fall on the same day as my little brother Eric's wedding - so it was an ultra crazy day for me!  Eric's wedding the weekend before was a HUGE blessing though, because I just hi-jacked the wedding cake from the reception and used it as props for our presentation.  It worked GREAT!) 

The night of the actual dinner and presentation, the turn out was great!  They ended up having to set out 2 more tables as more people kept coming, and they were a little short on food.  The big panic moment for me came when one of the YW was LATE!  I knew she had a soccer game and she told me she'd be there by 6:30.  We were slated to start the presentation at 7. 7PM rolls around and Jenny wasn't there yet.  I was just a smidgen panicked!  At 7 I just started to put on a costume and figured I could do her part until she got there, then she could slip into her spot.  Not the best idea, but certainly better than me trying to sing her song!  Luckily for me, she ran in before I had to do that!

The sisters did an amazing job.  The spirit was there in abundance and hearts were touched.  I'm not saying that I'd like to do it all again... but I will say that it was a great opportunity for me and I was thankful for how much I learned personally from the experience.

I feel badly that I never thought to take picture of each sister with her props, and I sent out my camera with someone else to take pictures of the set and everything, but the camera wasn't on the right setting, so all of those pictures were blurry.  I did get a few pictures though, and here they are.

some of the lamps... I meant to take a picture of all 12, but of course I forget...

Jenny S.,  Jessica G.,  Kristen D.,  Rebecca M.,  Paula S.,  Jenny N.,  Allison B.,  Evelyn E.,  Tenille F.,  Aubrey B.,  Brooke P.,  and Emily G.     12 AMAZING sisters!!!

not a great shot, but the basic set up.  the cake is back in that closet with the open doors.  It worked perfectly, so the 5 wise virgins could go into the wedding feast and "the great wooden doors were shut."

the cake, with the 2 narrator chairs on either side.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eric's Reception and Wedding

I remember being a jr in High school, my "little" brother Eric was born.  He has been the baby of the family for so long, that it hard for me to think of him as being old enough to be married.  be that as it may, Eric is now married.  While on his mission to Australia (Korean speaking) he met Jin Sook.  He helped to re-activate her, and then was a stellar member missionary who fellow-shipped many of the people Eric helped to teach.  A while after Eric was home, She and some other Korean friends came to America for a visit.  One thing led to another - and the next thing I heard was that he was engaged.  It took a while for all of her Visa stuff to go through, but FINALLY she got the go ahead and the wedding was set.

They had their reception on Friday the 18th and then were sealed in the Mt Timpanogos temple on Saturday morning.  Here are a few pictures from the two joyful events.

the cousins admiring the cake
the cultural hall - transformed...

a picture of the cake - is my mom amazing or what???  (she made it)

the wedding party.  (since Jin Sook's parents couldn't make it over, my mom made life size cut outs so they could (sort of) be there...  They did have a "pre-wedding" reception in Korea when Eric flew over to meet the family and all that jazz, several months ago.

cutting the cake (although they didn't really cut it - they saved it for me to use the following week, which will come up in another update post)

aren't they cute?

Here's Tim and my dad hauling the cake out to my van after the reception

 AND NOW... Saturday, March 19th

happy couple exiting the temple

Eric, Jin Sook, and my parents - (they left the cut out home, no recommends for foam board, go figure)

the family - with Mark on the phone with Subway, ordering our "wedding luncheon"  We really missed having Laura & Damon and Matt & Tammy.  Someday we'll get the whole family again!

Welcome to family Jin Sook!!  Congrats to Eric on selecting a beautiful and sweet bride, and great job on putting together a beautiful reception Mom!

PS - as with any typical family event, Yes, there was "DRAMA,"  but in the interest of only speaking well of others and not dwelling on minor offenses, I am choosing to not mention any of those silly things...  because in the end, all that really matters is that everlasting covenants were made, and a new eternal family unit was formed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

time to play catch-up... again

I pulled out my "blog book" today and had a blast reading the almost 2 years of posts printed in there.  THAT is why I have a blog.  I need to get back to that.  The past several weeks have been crazy insane busy, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to get semi-caught up.  I think I'll just post them in random order, depending on what I feel like writing about on any given day, but I will DATE them correctly, so they will be in Chronological order so that when I print out my next blog book, then events will be in the correct order.  (thus, even though this post is being written on 3/31 - I am going to date it march 18th) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

the PUSH Challenge - day 2

yesterday's assignment was to just start thinking about my life VALUES.

Day 2 - my assignment today was to work out ON PAPER my top 3 priorities and to break them down into more specific items.

I struggled with this assignment just a little, because in my MIND I know what I want my priorities to be, but my ACTIONS are often not consistent with those priorities. I suppose that I am supposed to write down what I WANT my priorities and actions to be? With that as my base assumption – my top 3 priorities are:

#1 – HOME (to be cheerfully and positively engaged with my husband & kids -and create a loving home  environment.)

#2 – GOD (daily strengthen my personal spirituality) 

#3 – Others (reach out to others in need, give help spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, etc...)

Looking at those, I recognize that I "should" switch number 1 and 2/  God is supposed to come first - then everything else after that.  guess I'll have to ponder that some more and see how the challenge helps me redefine things.

OK - I pondered.  I am going to switch them because I believe it is the right thing to do.  My top 3 priorities are:

#1 - GOD

#2 - HOME


The next part of the assignment was to answer some questions about why I placed the #1 priority where I did and what actions are (and are not) consistent with that #1 status.  Then to identify what things need to change to honor that priority.

The final step was to create a"top priority clarity statement."

My number one priority is to strengthen my personal relationship with God.  The first of the 10 commandments was "Thou shalt have no other God's before me."  In the New Testament, Jesus taught, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment."  When I have a close, personal relationship with God, He can then guide me in all other aspects of my life.  I will have peace in all that I do.  I build and strengthen my relationship with him through regular prayer, scripture study, meditation, and temple attendance.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I am READY to change MY life!

last week, one of my bloggy friends posted about a free course she had just participated in, and she is going to repeat the course in March.  It sounded like it was really helpful for her in helping identify and prioritize her priorities.  She was able to identify and streamline some of her life goals, and more importantly, she was able to make PROGRESS in many areas.  Pop on Over to Karlene's site if you want to read about her success last month.

Since her first post, she has decided - in true Karlene style - to make it a PARTY!.  I had already signed up to participate before she even announced the party, and now I am inviting YOU to join in - if you want...  no pressure here, you are welcome to just cheer me on instead!

Here's some basic info from Karlene's blog:

What: Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Challenge to Master Organization and Achieve Your Goals

When: March 1st

Where: Online; daily e-mails with links to short videos.

Cost: FREE

I'll be honest - I'm a bit nervous.  I think that is because I really do want to make some pretty significant changes in my life, but I just keep FIZZLING out, and I am afraid of trying something and feeling like I've failed AGAIN!  But as they say, if you fall, ya just gotta get back on the horse and keep trying.

So - if you happen to read this today, and you want to play with us - sign up NOW cause it starts tomorrow and I think you have to be signed up by the 1st to do it in March.  and if you want to join the Karlene party - go to her site and follow her directions.

Wish me LUCK! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

hi ho, hi ho

it's back to the calorie count I go...

SO a while ago, maybe last summer'ish, I decided it was time to get more serious about losing this extra 30 -35 lbs I've been carrying around.  I topped out at around 174.  but the trend was slowing creeping up and up, and I knew I needed to do something before it got any higher.

I had success right way and dropped 5-7 lbs.  then it got harder.  I wasn't on any specific "diet," since my observations have shown me that "diets" don't work long term because you aren't changing the lifestyles, habits, and mental/emotional processes that are the real problem.  I continued to try to eat more healthy foods and eat less junky snacks.  I finally made it down to the 160 range.  lowest weight in at 157, but I usually  bounce up and down between 159 and 163.  I figure that with those numbers in mind, I feel comfortable saying I've lost 10 lbs.  While that is good, and it is progress, I have been at this plateau for too long and I need to see success and progress again...

Tim introduced me to a free online program that helps you count calories.  I happen to really HATE counting calories, but it really does help to see exactly what I'm shoveling into my mouth and how those food choices add up calorie wise.  I tracked really well for a couple weeks, then fizzled out.  Today I have recommitted myself to start tracking and counting again.  If nothing else, it makes me think twice before I eat snacks, cause I know I have to go in and track it.

I have been reading the story of one gal's weigh loss journey on a blog that I love to read and often find very inspiring.  Amber's story of taking back control of her weight and life is inspirational.  I CAN do this... I just need to BE committed and STAY committed to the little steps.

I think an essential part of being able to accomplish this goal of mine is that I need to know WHY it is a goal.  Why is this important to me, or is it really that important???

With that in mind, here are my reasons:

** My family has a history of diabetes.  My oldest bro got diabetes when he was 7 years old.  my next bro got it in his late 20's.  my mom and dad both got in the last couple of years.  My grandma had diabetes.  My sister had gestational diabetes with one of her pregnancies.  I figure I am a ticking time bomb and that it isn't a matter of IF I'll get it, but WHEN.  Every day that I stay over my "ideal body weight" or "healthy BMI"  or whatever scale you want to look at, I shorten the time I have before that time bomb explodes and I find myself dealing with daily diabetes issues.

** I want to set good example for my children.  I want them to be healthy and to have healthy body images.  I already hear my kids saying negative things about their "fat bodies" and I am fairly confident they got that from me!  I want them to know that it is important to follow the Word of Wisdom and to take care of your body, but that it is not about being "SKINNY,"  it is about being HEALTHY and fit.

**  I want to like what I see in the mirror.  I have always struggled with low self esteem and poor  body image.  (having a couple "boys" that I "loved" and thought I would marry, tell me that I wasn't "pretty enough" didn't really help.)  I know that losing weight isn't going to be the "cure" for this.  There are lots of skinny-minnies out there who don't like what they see in the mirror, but I love what Dr. Laura says about self-esteem.  She says that you gain self-esteem by DOING things that are worthy of that esteem.  (my words, not hers)  That if you want to feel good about yourself, you have to DO things that will help you gain that self respect.  You have to set worthy goals and then accomplish them.  I want to look good in my clothes again.  Heck - I want to FIT into my size 12 pants again!!!  (the size 10's seem TOO far out of reach right now)

**  I do believe that our bodies are a gift from God and that we are charged with taking good care of them.  While I do not have any trouble with the "thous shalt nots" of the Word of Wisdom, I cannot honestly say that I live the law, when I abuse my body by taking garbage into it and consistently overindulging, including eating too much of the "good" foods.  There are many blessings promised to those who live this law.  I want to start reaping those blessings.

**  At my last physical, my cholesterol levels came back too high.  I told them that I didn't want to go on medication.  I wanted 6 months to try to lower the levels myself first.  Apparently, high cholesterol runs through my family too...  fun for me!  (I'm hoping that my levels were high because my tests were done at the end of December, and I made and ATE SO MUCH toffee and peanut brittle that month.  We are talking pretty much STRAIGHT BUTTER!  (yummy though)  SO I'm hoping that skewed my numbers a bit :)

I think that is about it.  I know that this has to be a gradual, daily, lifestyle, change, or it won't last.  The reasons are life-long reasons.  (as opposed to something like "I want to be skinny for my 20 year HS reunion"  or "I want to be skinny for my trip to Hawaii"  - I tried both of those and they didn't work.

I want to be HEALTHY for the rest of my life so that I FEEL good, LOOK good, and can DO good.