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