Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Musings

Sometimes Christmas can be pretty disappointing for moms. You work to make sure everybody has the perfect present, and boxes and packages of wonderful, charming magical things, and you get...a vacuum.

This can be difficult for those of us whose "love language" is gift giving.

One year, my sweet littles asked what I wanted for Christmas. All I really wanted was a card of small, sparkly earrings, that I could wear everyday. They were very sneaky, and went shopping with dear Miss K, who helped them wrap the gift. They sneakily told me that they put my gift in a big box, so I would never guess what it was! And I didn't! Because when I unwrapped it, it was a frying pan.

However, as they have gotten older the gifts have improved, and this year was pretty excellent. My Favorite Gentleman, who knows me well got me really good lotion (in a food scent--Mango Melon--not a flowery scent--urg!)and two pairs of the best socks in the world (which I LOVE and can NOT buy for myself because A) I really hate shopping, B) I really, REALLY hate shopping for socks, and C)I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hate shopping for myself--and I always have cold feet, so they truly are the gift that keeps on giving, and that make me feel loved and cared for all year long.) SmallDaughter went on a shopping field trip with her class that netted me a candle and a box of thin mints. I got other lovely stuff, and got to watch a movie with MFG (Sergeant York, which I really recommend, even though it is hard to find!).

In the "do I laugh or do I cry" category: While we were upstairs watching the movie, SmallDaughter poured the whole bottle of lotion onto the carpet, and opened up the thin mints, and fed them to the WonderDog, who (luckily) barfed them up on the carpet, too.

I spent the last half of the afternoon with my carpet shampooer. Boy am I grateful for the carpet cleaner! It has gotten a workout this week! Chocolate syrup (again--she just LOVES it!) and eggs, milk and flour at different times.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quiet Men

Standing at the front of the front of the congregation, singing in the choir on Sunday, I saw something so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. In the back of the chapel, I saw a Sister sitting with a Handsome Young Man, who had his arm around her as they listened to Christmas Carols.

Now, this sister, to paraphrase the Bible "hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see (her), there is no beauty that we should desire (her)". Certainly Abercrombie & Fitch and The Gap aren't pounding down her door with modeling contracts. Physically she is small, and has obviously had a hard life--physically and emotionally. She has been a widow for 25 years, and struggled as a single mother to raise her two children. She succeeded--amazingly well. They are now strong, intelligent, caring adults who benefit their communities and the world. But, she is home alone.

She is never at the front, in the spotlight or looking for attention. While others perform at the Ward Talent Show--she is in the kitchen, making sure the desserts are sliced, that every casserole has a serving spoon and that all the dishes get washed up and put away afterwards. She is easy to miss, if you aren't looking for her.

So, when I saw her in the loving embrace of a good man, 30 years younger than she is--my heart melted. Because he is the fiance of her daughter, who was singing in the choir. And he loves her. Because he recognizes that most of the wonderful traits in the fabulous woman that he will marry in two months, were given, taught and trained by this quiet, humble lady, and he loves her for those gifts.

Our society, which adores the loud and self promoting, overlooks men who are quiet. My dad is a quiet man. He hates confrontation, he hates raised voices. A lot of people who saw my parents together assumed that my mom "wore the pants" in the family, because she was much louder and outgoing than my dad. They were wrong. In a quiet, loving way, he led us by example.

I hear women talk about how "all men are jerks" or "all the good men have been taken". Well, girls there are several reasons for that: The good men are busy doing good things--quietly. They aren't tooting their own horns and talking about how great they are. They just roll up their sleeves and get the job done. AND if you are looking for a good man--don't look at the singles bar--because the guys who are there are not the ones you want. Also, men live up to what we tell them. Once, my wise mother told me that small children obey everything you tell them--so if you tell them they are brats, or little terrors, or "Just like your lazy father"...they will be. Men, too live up to the messages they hear from us.

There are LOTS of good men out there. I am privileged to know some of them. And I want to tell them thanks. Thanks for quietly being "real men"--who take care of their responsibilities, their families, their friends, and our world. Who stand up for what is good and important in our culture, and--if it was required, would lay down their lives for it.

I have no words to express how grateful I am.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Busy Times

I have triumphantly finished last week! That in itself is a major cause for celebration, since every day had multiple back-to-back (or, sometimes, OVERLAPPING) activities. Also, My Favorite Gentleman is laid off, and is home--all the time. The readjustment continues.

The Ward Christmas Party (that I was in charge of, in my position as Activities Chairman) came off mostly smoothly, and was pretty much a success. We got our Christmas Tree before the storm hit--when we went to the tree farm on Saturday, it was so warm all the snow had melted off--and we were all seriously overdressed! The snow rolled in overnight. The Bishop canceled the last hour of church and sent us home early.

MFG has delivered one of his favorite rants (and I totally agree with him) about how the news coverage of winter weather creates and stirs up panic. What was built up as "THE STORM OF THE CENTURY!!" gave us about 1 1/2 inches of snow. Really? I thought that was just what happened if you live in the North and it is Winter. North+Winter=Snow. Not panic every time a snowflake falls. Just Winter--it happens every year, people!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Men aren't the only Wise Ones!

Seven or eight years ago, I was talking to a friend about Christmas traditions. We weren't close friends yet--she had only moved in a few months before, but we were on our way. She said something that shocked me. She told me that in their family, each person only got 3 gifts, since the original tradition of gift giving came from the three gifts that the wise men brought.

At first, the idea seemed terrible to me. I couldn't believe they would deprive their children like that. I love gift giving, and finding the perfect gift for each person. I love the piles of gifts under the tree, growing day by day throughout the Christmas Season.

However, I pondered on the idea for several years, and I came to see many advantages. We implemented it as a family about 3 years ago, and I am a firm convert now!

I realized that since SmallDaughter believes that all wrapped gifts are for her, nothing gets put out until Christmas Eve, anyway. Also, with 5 people and the WonderDog (yes, he gets gifts too--he's getting a brand new collar this year--shhh! Don't tell!) we have 18+ gifts under the tree. And there are always other gifts from other people, so it is still a nice sized pile.

Far from of depriving our children, it has forced us to focus on the things that are really important to each of them, and it has actually enriched them. Instead of getting more "stuff", just to have more, we have focused on quality instead of quantity.

It has reduced greed, materialism and the "gimme-gimme's" (not just in the children, either!). It is much easier to plan now, too! Before, there was always the panicked realization that one child was getting WAY more (or WAY less!) than the others. Not an issue anymore.

Since we have had a tradition that one gift (for every gift giving occasion, not just Christmas) is a book, and since I love for another to be something that encourages their creativity, shopping is a breeze! It makes budgeting and staying in the budget much simpler--if we can afford a big gift--great! And if we can't--I can spend my time and energy getting something that costs less and means more.

To make my life easier, in November we start Wish Lists. We have three categories, and each person can put down 4 items in each category. The first is "If Money Were No Object"--this tends to be electronics, but isn't always. (I believe this the first year that a chocolate lab puppy hasn't made it onto BigGirl's list!) The second category is "Under $20", and the third is "Books I Want". That gives a nice range of ideas for parents, siblings and anyone else who needs to know!

We don't even really have Santa at our house anymore, since BigGirl and LargeBoy are too big, and SmallDaughter doesn't understand/care.

On Christmas morning, we unwrap the gifts one at a time, so everyone can appreciate each present and it is wonderful! I am very grateful for a stray comment from a friend that has given us a a tradition that has deepened the meaning of Christmas and reduced stress at the same time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Triumph

I just got back from teaching another felting class at the library. It was SO fun! Imagine--they actually pay me* to talk about felting and fibers, and to show other people how fun it is to create something for themselves.


My class was filled with fun, creative, talented, positive people. I really do think fiber arts attract that kind of person. No grouches allowed. I really love to teach, also--I would just hate to be what our culture has defined "a teacher" as (in an elementary school, particularly. I love children, but I hate to see them stifled by a system that is broken. I don't think it has much to do with the individual teachers (or at least the vast majority of them!). I think it is just a crazy, broken, dysfunctional system.

PLUS--Felting gives you super clean hands (there is nothing quite like playing with wet, soapy wool for 2 hours to get them deep down clean!).

Now, on this lovely high note--I am off to bed!

*OK, they don't pay a lot--which is actually fine by me, since I think library budgets should got mainly toward books, but the educational things they offer do astound me. Libraries are one of the few governmental institutions that should have their budgets increased drastically (unlike say, congressional retirements).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fundraising VS Guilt

When BigGirl and LargeBoy were in public school, it seemed like every other week they had some kind of fundraiser going on. I am not a fan of most of the stuff that they carried home in their bulging backpacks--more overpriced stuff to dust, more guilt for me--and everybody they showed the catalogs to--and then, when all of the stuff came in, I had to sort and distribute it. URGH.

That is definitely one of the perks of homeschooling. If they decide to sell candy bars to make money, they go to Sam's Club and buy a carton, and sell them. No guilt (except when I am the one who buys and eats the candy--but that is another post!).
I thought that we had it down to only one fundraiser a year--our 4-H club has a cheese fundraiser in the spring, but I don't object to that on nearly as many levels (cheese is something most people buy anyway, our price is very competitive and it is actually a useful product--not just more crap to sit around needing dusted---But I still have to sort and distribute it--sigh.)

So, this year SmallDaughter changed to a different class at school, and she just brought home her fundraiser info. At least she is selling chocolate. And it is good chocolate (Malley's, from Cleveland, for those who care about such things). And it is a pretty good deal for a fundraiser. And it is not going for anything abstract like "the booster club" (like I know or care what that is--they never "boosted" anything I was involved in!) The money they earn will go to help their class go on field trips--which is something their teacher, Mrs. K is really good about.

So, I suppose I will go along with the herd and be a "good mom" and press gang everyone I know into looking at the catalog.

But I still feel guilty.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A little smackerel of something

So, I just went downstairs and as I came to the living room I could hear some very happy lip-smacking and sipping sounds from the direction of SmallDaughter--who was kneeling on the floor, obscuring whatever it was she was eating (it is usually a raw egg or something of that ilk). However, when I went around to investigate, it turned out she had poured herself a nice full glass of Hershey's Syrup. Full and overflowing--and was happily drinking it up.

Seriously, it has it's moments of completely surreal Winnie-the-Poohness. (I know he never mentions the Hershey's Syrup, but it is only because he is deprived--we all know he would LOVE THAT STUFF!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Kingdom of Heaven

Each fall in church we have the Primary Sacrament Meeting Program. The primary children sing the songs they have worked on throughout the year, and give little mini-talks about what they have learned.

AND each year, for the few weeks of practice beforehand, their teachers and leaders get gray hairs and freak out that nobody can hear the singing, that they mumble all the words to every song, they are so close to the microphone that their tonsils may be in danger and nobody does their part right. And, every year, it comes together so beautifully that there must be angels involved--and it proves that miracles do really happen in real life.

Today was our Ward's program. I was heavily involved in the planning and preparation stages. Serious Doubts occurred.

It was so beautiful I cried. And, as always, I remembered my friend Scott Ellsworth's poem:

xxv. Of Such
Carly spills the salt of the earth all over the pulpit.
Little Josh tells us we ought to have “face.”
The microphone hits Mary on the head,
After she mutters the main theme
Into the unhearing wood of the podium.
The eleven-year-old boys stand tight-lipped
And glowering, their hands in their pockets,
Desperate to hide behind one another,
While the four- and five-year-olds
Push their way forward to wave
Frantically at their moms and dads.
Little Hunter Boyd sniffles loudly as he speaks,
Informing us solemnly that we believe in being
Chased by an elephant and in
Hauling the ammunition of Paul.
When the chuckling fades,
Little Sister Jennifer shouts her solo,
The chorister having asked her
To sing a little louder.
The children’s hands, tall grass for pioneer prairies,
“Waving gently,” whips instead like a hurricane
Blowing six different directions at once.
Emily, whose mother emphasizes enunciation,
Opens her mouth too wide and bites the microphone.
The fidgeting children rise at the chorister’s prompting,
But all at different times,
To follow with clear but untrained voices
Their leader’s guiding hands:
Every other gesture, though, a heartfelt plea
For quiet from the smaller,
For volume from the taller.
Natalie shrilly begins her talk for the third time,
Followed by Taylor, who tearfully mumbles
A tale of which only the word “prayer”
Can be distinguished by his proud parents’ straining ears
Sister Ochoa’s class somehow gets mixed up with Brother Mitchell’s,
So we learn about baptism before we hear about faith.
The nine-year-olds laugh their way through
Their one-line explanations of the steps of repentance.
And little Max Beamish throws his sign—“Forgiveness”—
At little Sister Smith, who loudly demands that he be spanked.
Three of the Ten Commandments are apparently
“Thou shalt not kill,”
And the four-year-olds—still and small,
And all but silent—merely whisper, all unheard,
Into a microphone too high to catch a word.

And the Spirit rolls forth like a flame of fire
From the podium to the farthest row,
Filling the chapel with the mighty rushing
Wind that is the Voice of God.

Scott Ellsworth —1997

This is my version of William Blake’s “Holy Thursday” from Songs of Innocence and Experience. It’s gone through about six revisions since its first incarnation long ago.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food for thought




My cousin Dedra posted this picture with the title "Have you been to the temple lately?"

Response

My dear cousin Vanessa tagged me, so I am responding!


1. What is your coolest scar and how did you get it?
I don't know if it is cool or not, but I have one about 2 inches long on my forehead (in my bangs) from an incident with a sharp edged cupboard when I was two. So, for my whole life, every time somebody did my hair, they tried to use it as my natural part line, which makes my part come out somewhere near my right ear.

2.What do you want to do before you die?
TRAVEL. A lot.*
Also knit a cream colored woolAran sweater --which means I have to learn to knit. Again.
There are a lot of other things, but I forget them quite often (like right at this moment I can't recall any of them--but it is always exciting and amusing when I do get a brainstorm and think "Oh, yes, that is definitely on my list!).

3. What is the best book you have ever read?
Is this a trick question?
Which kind of best book?
Best ever?
The scriptures. The Old Testament has the greatest hero stories ever. The New Testament helps me know the Savior in a personal way. The Book of Mormon contains all the answers to life's big questions. The Doctrine and Covenants helps me know and recognize the voice of God the way I can read the words of a dear friend and hear their voice.

I can't even pick which one out of those is my favorite. My children and my seminary students always mock me, because I frequently declare "this is my very favorite!" and they chorus "you always say that, about every one!" It is true, I do.

The list of non-scriptural books is MUCH too long--even for categories (favorite board book, favorite books in a series with more than 5 books, books with over 1000 pages, books with no words...see the list gets LONG in a hurry!)

4. What is your all time favorite dessert?
See, this picking just one thing is not good for me. I am very fond of good cheesecake, creme brulee, chocolate truffles, brownies...I really like food!

5. The food you wish would be blown from the face of the earth?
I am not a fan of watermelon. Or any other melon, for that matter.

6. Coolest person you have ever met?
Also, a very long list! I know lots of people who have enriched my life in MANY different ways.

7. Person you miss most?
My mom. She is definitely in the running for #6. She was wise, and loving, and a great mother. Also, crazy, spontaneous, creative and a catalyst for change.
And I have never known anyone else who was so good at "enjoying the journey"--both literally and figuratively.

8. Favorite childhood game?
Most people probably answer something normal about "Clue" or "Candyland" or "Monopoly"--but my sibs and I NEVER played normal games. My favorites almost always involved me being in charge and bossing everybody else around.

*There are very few places on the earth that I wouldn't go if given a chance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trick AND Treat

I sewed SmallDaughter's halloween costume today--and, may I humbly state that I am a costume genius! It really turned out super cute! It's Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. which is her favorite movie (Mike is her second favorite character, but I can't figure out how to sew Roz!).


In early September, I was called in for a meeting at her school, because, basically the fact that she is taped into all of her clothes was freaking them out. Now, I have been trying to deal with "CSP" (Compulsive Skin Picking) for years now. When I say I have tried everything, I am very serious--everything. Trust me when I say gloves and tape are the most livable solution. Anyway. I told them that they could untape her during school--sometimes she doesn't pick when she is busy and having fun. However, when she is bored or frustrated--oh my!

Last Friday, I got a note home from her teacher. She has informed the nurse that the tape is truly important to SmallGirl's health and safety. They have tried velcro. They have tried sweat bands. They have tried other stuff. They give up.

Huh. Told you so!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Calendar

I now have something exciting to check every single day of the week!

Monday--a new episode of Girl Genius
Tuesday--we get BOTH a new episode of "The Guild"
and "Castle" comes out on Hulu (I can't stay up late enough to watch it on ABC--it doesn't start until 10:00 here--way past my bedtime!).
Wednesday--new episode of Girl Genius
Thursday--the new edition of the Greensboro NC Rhino Times comes out with "Uncle Orson Reviews Everything"--by Orson Scott Card (It's my favorite form of gambling--sometimes it is just local stuff, that I live too far away to enjoy, BUT SOMETIMES it has great information on books, movies, music, etc. that I almost always enjoy--some of my very favorites have come on his recommendation.)
Friday--new episode of Girl Genius
Sometimes, I catch up with
Darths and Droids

And I also check Cake Wrecks
and Epbot most days.


Yes, pitiful, I KNOW. (I think I just figured out why my house looks the way it does! I mean, other than the stuff SmallDaughter just dumped/poured/scribbled/chopped up!).

Two Things

First Thing: I posted a couple of pix of the Blueness, if you check out the older post.

Second Thing: My dear friend brought me a cool old book of Romance and Beauty, which has a poem that I LOVED in high school, but forgot in the intervening years. I really love poetry, especially older poetry, written by people who knew what they were doing* (first clue--it actually rhymes--and makes sense, and isn't stupid. OK--three clues!)

ANYWAY

I wanted to share this (in my humble opinion) sock meltingly romantic poem with you.


The Look

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
Robin's lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin's eyes
Haunts me night and day.

Sarah Teasdale


Ahhh, sigh.

I am simply an unabashed romantic. I can't help it.

I really like Sarah Teasdale's poetry, even the stuff that is not romantic--but she is VERY good at romance (especially the rather wistful, melancholic stuff).


* "Modern" poetry, and "Modern Art" are both subjects that make me FROTH at the mouth. It is NOT bold or clever to try to find new ways to offend people--trust me, 4 year old children have been doing it ever since potty words were invented. AND you aren't modern if you are copying the same things people have been doing for 120 years.

There are some FABULOUS new artists--but the !@#$%^&* "modernists" have gotten people so fed up with the whole idea, that nobody is paying attention anymore.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feeling BLUE

For those of you who had a hard day, and are feeling down in the dumps, and wondering "how could this day even get any worse?" I have two words for you:

Methylene Blue

Now, for those of you who aren't current on their dyes and stains, Methylene Blue is "a heterocyclic aromatic chemical compound with the molecular formula C16H18N3SCl. It has many uses in a range of different fields, such as biology and chemistry." (Thanks, Wikipedia!")

Two of it's common uses are in microbiology as a culture stain (it is similar in its multiple levels of usefulness and and it's potency to Gentian Violet), and for aquarium owners to cure certain fish diseases (much like Gentian Violet kills yeast infections).

Both Methylene Blue and Gentian Violet are beautiful shades of their respective colors, and both of them stain like the dickens!

Enter SmallDaughter.

We had (for undisclosed reasons) a large (6 oz.) bottle of Methylene Blue stored high up in a kitchen cupboard (the cupboard that used to be over a refrigerator in a former kitchen arrangement) to keep it safe.

We don't anymore.

HOWEVER--on the bright side, my ugly kitchen linoleum tiles (and some cupboards) are infinitely more exciting, and my bathtub has an exciting "denim and indigo tie-dye with toeprints" motif. It also produces the most beautiful Caribbean blue bathwater imaginable.



PS--for those who are wondering, Methylene Blue IS NOT the same thing as Methyl Blue, and is not effective for certain dramatic scientific experiments. So, save your money. Darn, darn, darn.Just sayin'.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

CONTEST!!!

So, I woke up this morning firmly decided to have a contest! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment, although if you happened to write about your favorite post(s) that would be great! I will randomly pick one to win a prize of such awesome fabulosity that you will be stunned! And no, I didn't come up with it on my own, my best friend taught me how to make them. Anyway, SUPER AWESOME! The contest closes one week from today (25 Sep 2010) and I will send more details to the winner--Good Luck!

In other news, my computer is still in the shop, Cat-Cat got fixed and is walking VERY slowly, the kittens are as hilarious as always and the chooks are doing fine, as are the children. Life is very good.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

So Sorry

I have lots of blog entries composed in my head, but my computer is in the shop AGAIN. Our computer guy is checking out all of the hardware this time, as well as looking for viruses. It seems to crash every week--with exactly the same symptoms, so I think it is something beyond just getting viruses.

We are very busy, but it is in a nice, "getting back into a rythm" way. SmallDaughter has started school in a different school, with a different teacher. I was not happy about the way the administration handled the change, but the new situation seems to be working well.

I have started teaching early morning Seminary again--after a slow start. Last Monday, I set my alarm for 5 pm, so I completely slept through class! Ah, well!

BigGirl and LargeBoy are both doing an online school this year--their choice. Best Friend K is far, far away, helping out her mom (lucky thing to have a mom to help!). So things are pretty quiet. I have LOTS of computer things I want to be doing--working on my new blog and radio show, working on the business plan for the business I am thinking about starting, finishing my novel(s). However, in a house with oodles of computers around, I can't really use any of them, so all of those projects, as well as the lovely entries I have planned for this blog, will just have to wait.


HOWEVER--just so you have something to wish for:

I absolutely ADORE Georgette Heyer's wonderful novels. What could be better? Well, reading them while eating good chocolate! What could be better than that? Listening to the delicious Richard Armitage read them in Audiobook form, while eating good chocolate!!! You doubt me? Give it a try!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fair Time!



I really love county fairs. I LOVE the smell of frying foods and hot sugar (even though fried foods try to kill me and sugar doesn't do me any favors, either!). I enjoy the booths and the displays of farm equipment. But mostly I love the people.



I love people watching. I always have. I love watching the old couple who arrived on their bike, wearing their well worn Harley-Davidson outfits holding hands as they wander down the midway, discussing and debating all of the offerings of good things to eat. I love watching the boy and girl combos where the relationship isn't quite at boyfriend/girlfriend stage (unlike that couple who appear to be stuck together with velcro!), but whose flirtacious body language is hovering very near the edge! I love watching testosterone charged guys showing off at the game booths and observing everybody debating over what ride to go on next. I love the little kids, riding around and around, and loving every second of their grand adventure!



I love watching the 4-H and FFA kids with the animals that they have poured so much time and attention into--leading them around before and after their judging, washing, trimming, grooming and talking to them. I love looking at the animals, too.


And it is a good thing I love it, because I am EXHAUSTED and the week isn't over yet. I have checked out of (or am giving desperately short shrift) to every other aspect of life and demand on my time. I apologize now, sincerely.

But, it is time for me to leave and go back to the fair.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back Home

I had such a great summer adventure, I didn't have time to post anything! I am home now, and attempting to settle into real life--but have found myself with several new projects on top of what I already had going on!

This week I set the humane trap for the !@#$%^& raccoons. They look cute, but they are horrible pests--they have eaten (or just killed for fun) a third of my chickens--I had 50 when I left, now I have around 33.

Anyway--the first night I baited the trap with fresh corn on the cob. They spurned it, and left a mangled chicken corpse next to the trap. So, I used all the bones and leftovers from our dinner porkchops. HOWEVER, I had to move it outside the chicken yard, cause the dumb chickens kept trying to steal the meat!

In the morning (before the glasses were on!), I looked out of the window, and could see movement in the trap, so I called handy neighbor guy and asked if he could take care of it for me--he nicely agreed. THEN I went out to feed the chooks, and found--it was one of the kittens, mewing piteously! I could take care of that by myself, and had to call neighbor guy and cancel the marines!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I am in the West!

After many days of travel--boring, boring travel (Welcome to Nebraska, the Never Ending State!) we have arrived in the West. I was discussing with my aunt--we both love where we live now, and don't particularly want to move back--but even so, getting out of the van to refuel at sunset, we both noticed how RIGHT it felt. The lighting was right, the temperature was right, the big, spacious sky was right---but mostly the lack of humidity was totally right!

I had a great time with cousins that I haven't seen for a long time--including one who fixed my problem bangs (the ones that look like someone has stapled a hedgehog to my forehead) so that they actually look cute!

I have limited computer access, so I probably won't be posting a lot, but at least you know I am still alive!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fair Warning

My computer has crashed with a nasty virus (again), and Yes--I do have Anti virus software. It needs a complete wipe and reinstall. Big Sigh.

Also, I am preparing (i.e. excavating) my house to have a huge, awesome party on Saturday. Also, we have normal busy week stuff going on everyday.

And the Boringmobile died the death on Sunday morning as we got ready to leave for church. I was deeply grateful that it didn't happen until My Favorite Gentleman got home from a VERY long week working out of town, and it didn't strand me on the side of the road with a car full of hot, whiny children (as it very well could have.) So, we are getting a new (to us) car this week, too.

AND I am trying to get everything ready to leave my home, chickens, kittens and older children in the extremely capable hands of some of my favorite people for weeks and weeks, and drive across the country having (hopefully VERY tame!) adventures.

All this to explain that I may not be posting much for a while.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Woohoo!

The Public Library just called me and asked me to teach TWO more felting classes for them! I really had fun teaching a class in March (which I was too busy to blog about!), and apparently is was as good for them as it was for me! Yay, Yay! Happy Dance! And, I suppose I can say I am now "A Professional" since I have been paid for my work! Yet another weird item on the "Resume` of Strangeness".

We finished the last Mistborn book over the weekend. I have found some fabulous fonts to download that just give me warm fuzzies all over! The kittens are getting bigger and have started to play with each other. I have two twelve year old boys and three 12 and 13 year old girls having a "sleepover"--not a lot of actual sleep will happen tonight! They are so good, it is actually fun for me, too! The passel of babies is proceeding nicely--I am so happy that such pretty girls have joined the world (Anna, Zuzu and Bella)! The world is green and my hollyhocks and delphiniums and lillies are blooming.

Life is very good.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Big Project!

Two weeks ago, our Bishopric asked me if the Activities Committee could put together a Summer Book of Mormon Reading Challenge for the ward. The answer, of course, was yes, but there were a few little snags.

Currently, the Activities Committee consists of, well, me. Also, the Activities Budget is at approximately nada. And, I am going to be gone all summer. Which means that the Summer Reading Program needed to be put together quickly, cheaply, in a manner that could function without me, and it should be fun, too.

Returning to my mom's old saying "you can spend time or you can spend money, but you have to spend something!", I decided to spend time. So, this project has used up most of my time for the last two weeks. HOWEVER--We had our official kick-off brunch on Sunday, and I, for one, am really excited!

We are doing a 60 day program, which is about 4 chapters a day. Each week, if you read your whole scripture block, you get a cool "Book of Mormon Hero" Collectible Bookmark, with a color picture of, and a quote from the hero, PLUS a quote from a modern prophet about the blessings of the Book of Mormon in our lives.
You also get an adorable Hershey Miniature Chocolate in a custom wrapper that says "Good Job! Mansfield Ward Summer Reading Challenge 2010 I follow the prophet “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Ps. 119: 103, when you finish reading 2 Nephi.

At the end of the summer, we will have a "Winding-Up Potluck", where awards will be given, which will include:

o Organization with the highest percentage of members to finish
o First person to finish
o Youngest person to finish
o Most copies of the Book of Mormon Shared
o Most Pass-Along Cards Shared
o Most Chapters in the Shortest Time
o First Family to Finish
o Best Comeback (for getting behind, but not staying behind!)

In addition, each person who completes the Challenge will receive:
o A Certificate of Completion,
o A picture of the Savior
and
o A Keychain that says:
“I completed THE BOOK OF MORMON: ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST Mansfield Ward Summer Reading Challenge 2010”

Each Person who read will get a certificate of Participation, even if they didn’t complete the entire Book of Mormon.

Pretty Cool, huh?

Anyway, it has kept me plenty busy!

If you would like to participate, I would be happy to send you rewards, too! Just drop me an email.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I am not dead

But I am very swamped with a MEGA HUGE project. I decorated a wedding last weekend, and got the kiddos off to 4-H camp. I have also moved out of my comfy, sedentary groove and started a REAL exercise program (real means not counting mosying the 9 houses down to the library as a workout!). I will post details soon--I promise.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Arrivals

Last night, Cat-cat FINALLY had her kittens. She looked like she might explode! She has 4 sweet little gray and white babies. So far, everything is great, except she took a swipe at the WonderDog's nose when he got to close!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Graduation Time

I am SUPER PROUD of the graduates in my life! They have survived (and done well) in a hostile atmosphere that does not help or support the true love of learning--e.g. The Public School System. So, as my gift to them, I am rerunning most of my graduation blog from last year!

We are sneaking up on graduation season again. Since I was raised in an unschooling family, I was spared a whole bunch of really boring graduation ceremonies. I have still attended more than my fair share for the MANY aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that populate my life. Out of the many, only one was really exciting and different--that was the graduation for GED students, many of whom were MUCH older and more experienced than the average callow High School Graduate, and most of whom had worked REALLY hard to get to that point. They really appreciated what they had worked for--and it showed!

But mostly graduations are the same old, same old. However, just like in almost every other area in my life, I just don't do graduations the way most people do. The very best reason, is a specific set of song lyrics.

They are a parody, set to the tune of Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance"--what is commonly referred to as "The Graduation March". I learned LOTS of parodies as a child--many to popular classical tunes. Most of them came thanks to a certain uncle and aunt of mine (and they know who they are!)

So, as a very young child, I learned words(!) to Pomp & Circumstance--

My reindeer flies sideways, he is better than yours.
My reindeer can cha-cha, he can open doors.

My reindeer’s a girl scout; he can dig a latrine,
Your reindeer likes purple, my reindeer likes green.

Your reindeer is far away, my reindeer is near.

I would love to give credit for these brilliant lyrics, but alas, I have no idea who their author is. If you start humming the Da,da,da,da,daah, da, of the graduation march, you will see how perfectly they fit.

It was a favorite song, and spent a lot of time on my, and my siblings "personal hit parade", being belted out in enthusiastic and off key tones.

One of the more humorous outcomes of this is that at different times, in different years, not one, but two of my unschooled siblings attended a friends graduation ceremony, and came home to announce in tones of shock and horror that the Graduation March they used was "My Reindeer Flies Sideways"!!!!

Now, my own brilliant children (on a long car drive) made up additional verses! So, for all of you who have a graduation or two looming on your horizon--Quick! Memorize these! You will be stunned by the difference it makes (or doesn't make) in the interminable ceremonies!

My reindeer cuts firewood; he can dance in ballet,
My reindeer is awesome, he can cook a soufflé.

My reindeer is perfect; he will look at the stars
Your reindeer is trouble; he will steal your cigars.

My reindeer flies backwards, he can knit and crochet.

My reindeer drives semi’s, he has wrestled a shark,
Your reindeer eats donuts, mine can parallel park.

My reindeer paints portraits, he can play the trombone,
My reindeer likes softball, he can dial the phone.

Your reindeer is stupid, my reindeer is smart.

Enjoy.

With SPECIAL KUDOS TO ROBBIE, JENNY, ELYSCE AND ALISSA!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Breakthrough!

SmallDaughter just dressed herself! I put on her underlayer, but she put on her long sleeved shirt (first on her legs, just to be silly!), then when I had to step into the kitchen to reset the timer for dinner, she put on her coveralls-ALL BY HERSELF! Including fastening them! And she just put on her snowboot (She has the concept! WOWEE Wow Wow!!) I am rejoicing!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday

Today involved a tow-truck, and pouring rain, and lots of jobs that needed to be done RIGHT THIS INSTANT, and a very whiny SmallDaughter. Sometimes, I really like getting to go to bed knowing that I won't ever have to do this particular day again.

There were some really nice blessings mixed in with it, but I am still tired and ready to go to bed.


Here are some movie recommendations (that I received from others, and enjoyed, so I am passing them along), for some fun quirky movie watching.

Lone Star State of Mind
Raising Arizona
My Life in Ruins

I think they are all PG-13, so you have been warned!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miracles

I have been filling out the questionnaire for my 20th high school class reunion. The question that actually made me think the most was "where have you lived since graduation?", and the answer was: Idaho, Utah (for college), California (for an 18 month Spanish Speaking Mission for my Church), Ohio (My family moved there while I was serving my mission) , Utah (again), Idaho(again), Ohio (again!).

Even with all of my notes, it is hard to compress all of the memories invoked by those words. Utah (again) was moving for my brand-new husband's new job. Idaho (again) was finding a job for him to enable us to live with my Grandma, so she could stay in her house and maintain her independence for a few more years. Ohio (again), was moving to be near our families, especially for the last few precious months at the end of my Mom's life.

There were a lot of friends and experiences compressed into those words. The births of three children, and the loss of another. The deaths of many people I loved dearly. The miracle of watching my children grow and learn.

The next question was "What is the most interesting place that you have traveled to?" The answer is "England and Wales", but that doesn't explain that my beloved brother and his awesome wife provided me with the resolution of a lifelong dream. How will I ever be able to adequately thank them for an experience that simultaneously checked off a biggie on my "bucket list" (which has only ever had 5 items on it!) AND simultaneously changed my life in a fundamental way?

LOTS of pondering.

And it also got me thinking about how beautiful all of the places I have lived are. But--they are very different types of beauty. If I had expected the green, leafy beauty that surrounds me in Ohio (where I can't plant my garden because it keeps raining on the days I am home!) while I lived in Idaho, I would have been disappointed every day.



And, if I had expected the huge 5000 acre fields of waving wheat that surrounded me in Idaho while I lived in Utah, I would still be waiting.





Now, in Ohio, I occasionally get wistful for huge bright blue skies, and mountains, but I have to remember how important it is to be able to recognize the beauty that you have around you for what it is--without expecting it to be anything else.




In other miracles, my funny, adorable nephew is completely fascinated by octopus. Which, is a tiny bit difficult since he lives thousands of miles from the ocean. But, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, he has showed us some pretty amazing miracles! We live in exciting times where we can see such awesome stuff, so easily!

Miracles indeed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Update

The IEP went well. And, it was really good that we were there. The school officials could see how truly awesome the WonderDog is in action, and we answered a lot of their questions. WHEW! They are not as scared to face a new situation, and I think that lessening their fear will make the transition smoother for everyone. YAY! So, the fightin' boots are back in the closet--until the next time!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Not the entry I planned

I was planning to write about beauty--specifically about the beautiful places I have lived and the different types of beauty this world holds.

HOWEVER, in an abrupt change of plans, I am putting on my fightin' boots, and getting ready to go help a friend at an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting for her severely disabled son--the school doesn't want to provide the services he needs, because he is expensive. I understand that we need to take care of all of the students, and that special needs are expensive--and I am going to smile sweetly, and (in much politer terms than this) tell them to "Pull up their big-girl panties and deal with it".

One of the things about being the mother of a disabled child is how it brings out the latent Valkyrie tendencies in women.



This picture is not fierce enough--but it is really hard to show the level of protectiveness we are talking about!

The songs are better if you listen to them in order--especially if you need prepare yourself to kick some tushes and take some names!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Old Friends

Technology makes life interesting--I think we have less meaningful interactions per day than we used to, but we make a lot more noise doing it (think Twitter). HOWEVER, it also makes it possible to reconnect with the people who were a significant part of our lives in the past, who (for those of us who moved a lot, and were never really good at staying in touch)--got lost.

This week I have had a lot of that. I became aware of happenings in the lives of five people who were important to me in college--three roommates, and the two most significant guys of my college career. The roomies have big life changes happening: Children arriving (Welcome Selena!), Parents hospitalized (my prayers for Sherry), Children Growing up (Me, too, Leslie!).

The guys were: A)The guy who was almost my first boyfriend, and B) the dude who was my first kiss. NO--they are not the same guy. My first kiss was a silly, unemotional fling, mostly just to get it over. The guy was a doofus in college, and guess what--all these years later--he is still a doofus. The other one, (who chickened out on getting more serious!) was a really good friend, who I was able to laugh and talk with, who broadened my horizons and who is still my friend, and still makes me laugh.

I rejoice for him that he married a good woman, and that they are living a good life together--one which oddly parallels my own (three children, born at home, home schooling...weird really!) It is very sweet to me that I can re-discover and touch base with the ones who have shaped my life.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's raining, it's pouring

It's darn cold, my hubby is working out of state, my children are all playing at friend's houses, and I am going back to bed with the electric mattress pad cranked up to "nuclear". YAY!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thoughts on Mothers Day

My little sister V passed me a note during Sacrament Meeting at Church yesterday. Her brain was obviously going faster than her pen, because the note said "Have a Mothers Day". Which was startlingly accurate!

I surely DID have "A Mother's Day"! It was pretty much like all of my other days--only more so. I was more tired, more sick and stiff (had a pretty bad fall in the driveway on Friday--bruised my knees, finger and dignity!). More stuff to do for people, more whining, crying and spitting on the floor (mostly from SmallDaughter, some from me!) Just, you know--MORE.

In the middle of all of this I pondered on MOTHERS DAY. A day that is simply fraught with emotional booby traps. Directly below the frothy pink surface of sticky kisses, Hallmark cards and brunch buffets is a seething mass of difficult emotions. While most of us have pretty good (or even outstandingly fabulous!) moms, there is still a lot of pain there:

The Hearts that hurt because this is their first (or thirtieth) Mothers Day without their Mom.

The Hearts that are lonely in quiet houses or nursing homes, where children "can't be bothered" to visit those who raised them.

The Hearts that carry the burden of having parents who are not (or were not) "kind and dear"--sometimes passively, sometimes aggressively abusive or downright evil.

The Hearts that ache because they long to be mothers, but because of many circumstances (unmarried, infertility, illness, whatever) they are not able to fill their lonely arms.

The Hearts that are mourning miscarriages, stillbirths, abortions, babies placed for adoption, children that died, children who have rejected their parents teachings and are busy making heartrendingly bad choices...

The Hearts whose beautiful children are given tremendous loads to carry in this mortal life--who not only won't watch their child graduate, but will never hear that child say "I love you, Mom".

And in all of this pain that mortal life offers, the sweetest answer is that God does care, and the amazing power of the Savior's atonement can heal every broken heart, and wipe away every tear. He suffered ALL of our pains, so he could succor us perfectly. Amazingly (to me, with my limited understanding), He cares about everything that matters to me.

The best part of my Mothers Day? Watching my Handsome Husband place his hands lovingly on the head of our Handsome LargeBoy, and, using the power of God, given to men on earth (with a group of good, strong men that we love) ordain him to the office of a Deacon, and give him the Priesthood.

It is a good thing that I was in too much of a hurry to put on makeup (and I think I lost my makeup bag, too) because I cried so much I would have washed it all off, anyway!

I just reread the post on last year's mothers day --wow, most of it applies perfectly! I did have another yard sale (please kill me if I EVER say I am going to have a Yard Sale again, for ANY Reason!) The weather (which has been so nice) was gross--@#$%^&*! cold and rainy, with big wind gusts.

My garden is sitting all lonely and unplanted back there. Don't know how much I am going to do, since I am going to be traveling all summer.

Also, I have been fighting off a chest cold, but I seem to be losing. Sleep has been eluding me, because my bedroom sounds like a tuberculosis sanatorium. Who can sleep when they are coughing like this?

On a more cheerful note--The Art & Dessert Show came together beautifully. It was a great success--which comes as a great relief since my last offering as the Ward Activities Chairperson was not.

This week I will recover from the last two weeks and try to dig out from under all the projects that got put on the back burner from the big stuff going on!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food For Thought

This morning was hard.

Sometimes being SmallDaughter's Mommy feels like more work than any one person can do.

Yesterday was very long. We drove about and hour and a half to see her doctor (which went very well.) She was very good for her blood draw--although she did start signing "owie" when we walked into the lab.

She has a very good memory. She always makes her many doctors laugh--she knows exactly what to do with a stethoscope, a reflex hammer and an otoscope. She has to have a checkup and a blood test every 3 months to make sure her meds are not damaging her liver.

After that, we had a delightful time getting lost (I am not being sarcastic--the weather was lovely, we were in a beautiful part of town, we were playing fun games and when we found a place to turn around--it happened to be a McDonald's so I got SmallDaughter some apple dippers and the rest of us parfaits to keep us happy. Good thing, too--it took us another hour to find where we were supposed to be, and to locate someplace we could get some "real lunch". Fortunately we had plenty of time before our next appointment, which was:

Getting the WonderDog's eyes checked.

Seriously. I didn't even know Veterinary Ophthalmologists existed! However, the national group of Veterinary Ophthalmologists offer free eye exams for Service Dogs once a year! Very Cool! WonderDog's eyes look healthy and wise (as always) and the folks there were very nice.

However, we had a very bad night.
I had so much I had to do--(I am preparing for our Ward's "Art & Dessert Open House" this Friday--which I am in charge of, and have a TON to get done) so I was up past my bedtime--until 11:00 to be exact. Yes, I know that doesn't seem horribly late, but my alarm goes off at 4:40 am, and we all know how I am about needing my sleep, so trust me--that is late.

But as I stepped out of the bathroom from brushing my teeth, LargeBoy informed me that SmallDaughter was not only awake, but that she got out of her room and was downstairs. This is not good.

Once she is up, she is UP. There is no gently tucking her back in and having her drift back to dreamland. So, I changed her diaper (which was probably what woke her up), gave her another melatonin, and snuggled on the couch for a little while. We walked outside to look at the stars, and then we went up to my room for a snuggle.

It was now 12:30. Having her in the bed with me is like trying to snuggle a ball of eels (that smell faintly like pee). She eventually climbed out of bed, and being thwarted by my having locked the bolt on the door (too high for her to reach) and unscrewed the light bulb in the lamp (so she couldn't turn it back on), she lay down on the WonderDog, and was quite noisily angry for a long time. Sometime around 2:00am she fell asleep.

This morning, of course, she was tired and grumpy. And so was I. She was picking her skin worse than usual--it is definitely worse when she is angry, frustrated or bored. I was attempting to get bandaids taped into place before she could peel them off and lick the gaping wound ("how are they supposed to heal if you keep doing that?!!!") and she got the left hand bandaid off 4 times before I could get the tape on over it!

All this while she was screaming, wiggling, spitting and pinching me.

My frustration runneth over.

Finally I got her loaded on the school van (I could hear her shrieking until they were past my neighbors house!). Sigh. Often she has a much better day once she gets to school. I hope so. Big Sigh.

However, I came in to the computer to check my email, and found this article in Meridian Magazine that totally resonated with me.

Then I checked the blogs I follow, and found this video, which reduced me to tears, mostly in gratitude for the blessings that I have been given so abundantly.

Once, when I had been describing some of the details of living with SmallDaughter, someone asked "but what makes it worth doing, if it is that hard?"--and here is my answer:



Once again, I am reminded of how much Heavenly Father loves "even the least of these".

What do you call someone who contributes nothing material, who consumes without replacing, who cannot express their thoughts, or hopes, or fears, or what hurts them in the night?

A blessing.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Becoming the wife I really want to be

I have spent a lot of time lately pondering on several related themes. Happiness and unhappiness (in life, and specifically in marriage), selfishness/selflessness, dominance and submission (not in any kinky or sexual meaning*).

And how many of the commandments our loving Heavenly Father gives us feel wrong and backwards to us (in our mortal state).

“I don’t feel loving”
Do it anyway.

“He isn’t serving me—in fact, he is completely unworthy of my love”
Love him and honor him anyway.

“Nobody will know what websites I look at”
Be pure anyway.

“They started it!”
Pray for them anyway.


We as wives have to realize that while we may be “right”—the battle is not actually worth the price we will pay to “win”. It is NOT better to be right and alone than to set aside the issue and show your love to someone else. The opposite of “being right” is NOT always “being wrong”.

A prime analogy could be my friends’ fence. My good friends “Tim” and “Jane” live in a house with a shared driveway. The people they share it with (whom we will call “Bubba Joe” and “Loretta Sue” haven’t made many wise decisions in their lives. They frequently make choices that drive Tim and Jane CRAZY. (Actually I am waiting for them to show up on Jerry Springer—that is the level of wrong choices I am talking about!) These aren’t the next door neighbors you want.

A few years ago Bubba Joe and Loretta Sue decided they wanted to put up a fence and--without discussing it with Tim and Jane--sunk the fence posts. Unfortunately, they put them up on Tim & Jane’s property.

My first thought was to “accidentally” back the big 4 wheel drive pickup into the front fencepost, then make sure a loop of fence wire was firmly “caught” around the pickups hitch, and pull forward quickly, (incidentally yanking out the whole fence). Problem Solved!

Until Bubba Joe, (in his now fully justified wrath) retaliated. Then, in a matter of weeks we could go straight to the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Fortunately for everyone, cooler heads than mine prevailed, and Tim and Jane decided it was “just a fence” and not worth the battle. It isn’t a very good fence, and I am guessing (now that a few years have gone by)—that it won’t last for much longer.

Wives especially are bad about “scorekeeping”:—“well, HE didn’t take out the trash, so I am not going to do the dishes”. What a great way to make sure everybody LOSES. She is hostile and grouchy, and he is unloved and put upon. It is a choice that we make every day—do we focus on the good or the bad?

My sweet husband leaves for work at 4:00am on Monday morning. He is usually very good about hauling the dumpster out to the road for it’s Monday morning pickup, but he isn’t around to haul the (now empty) dumpster back in. I can choose to:

A) leave it out by the curb until “he does his job”—which will be Thursday evening at the very earliest—meaning I have been without it all week.

B) Put on my best martyr attitude and haul it in, muttering the whole time about how “I have to do EVERYTHING around here” (completely ignoring the fact that he just left for work—to support ME, at 4 freakin’ o’clock in the morning—and that he will continue to work his cute little butt off FOR ME.)

C) Cheerfully bring the dumpster back in, feeling grateful that I only have to bring it in when it is empty and light, and that I HAVE a nice, rolling trash dumpster (which I actually LOVE!), and feeling his love for me that he expressed by taking it out in the first place.


In the last little while I have watched several seemingly strong marriages (of good people) dissolve into seething messes of throbbing pain, recriminations and vitriolic spite. The one thing that all of them had in common was that one (or both) of them got caught up in the “selfishness vortex”. They cannot see how each selfish choice feeds the selfishness beast, and that instead of pacifying it, they make it stronger. Each choice of “me first”,"my wants", “my needs”, “but what about ME?” blinds them to the love they have been freely given, and the pain they cause to those around them.

I have been reading “Created to Be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious” by Debi Pearl. She is a fundamentalist Christian, and, while I don't agree with all of her theology, and I really disagree with the way she phrases some of her points, I think the principles she teaches are sound, and I know for myself that they work.

This is not an easy book. It is easy to feel attacked and defensive while you read it. I think that means it is hitting home, and we need to carefully focus on doing the things we are most defensive about.

When I look around at our society, I see LOTS of unhappy people, in less than ideal relationships. Broken, dysfunctional families. Women who are hostile and nasty to their husbands, and who feel lonely and taken for granted. Men who feel disrespected and unloved. Children who don’t know the comfort of knowing that their parents love them and each other.

One of the best things my wise mother taught me about making decisions is to look at the end result. Ask yourself “ What would happen if everyone made this choice?” “ What would happen to them, to their relationships, to society as a whole?”

Maybe the things society teaches are wrong. Maybe, doing exactly the opposite of that we are told really is the way to happiness.


When my sweet LargeBoy was still a small boy, he went through a phase of not wanting to go to bed, and of waking up in the night, and not being able to go back to sleep. (He has always been a very light sleeper and easily awakened). Unfortunately, I was horrifically sleep deprived and exhausted, and having him come get me to put him back to bed did not go down well. The nightly battles escalated to included shrieking and kicking walls (him), threats and spankings (me) and crying and screaming (both of us).

When my pride finally allowed me to pray and ask for help, the simple answer was "a soft answer turneth away wrath". The more I nagged, bossed and bullied, the more stubbornly he dug in. When I finally gave up on "winning" and instead focused on talking to him about how I loved him, what he had done that day, and interesting things he had seen, sleep came quickly and he learned how to put himself back to sleep.

A true example of "surrendering to win".

Maybe, just maybe, the promises the Lord made is true and “So the last shall be first, and the first last," and that the real way to win and find true happiness is in loving surrender and putting other people’s happiness before your own.

He hasn’t lied yet.




*You DO NOT want to get me started on my rant about words that have been hijacked—besides “dominance” and “submission”, I really miss the old meaning of the word “gay”—“happy” and “cheerful” ARE NOT the same.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Precious Gift

Yesterday, I was given a special gift. A prayer shawl, made of gorgeous silk sari-yarn, which blesses the lives of the women who make it. Spun by women in Nepal from the waste silk left over from weaving the material for Saris, it is made by women's cooperatives and gives them a fair wage and a chance to change their lives and the world around them. When you look at it under indoor light it seems to be quite conservative, even drab--mostly autumn reds and browns. However, if you have a chance to see it in sunlight, it explodes into vibrant reds, greens and purples. Rather like a casual glance at the lives of the quiet women around the world, who, when you get to know them and their stories, explode into brilliance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Quote of the Day:

Every night Satan checks under his bed to make sure Elder Holland isn't hiding underneath it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Milepost!

I am really terrible at anniversaries. My hundredth posting--nothing. My one year anniversary, also Nada. However, I just noticed that sometime during my nighttime, this little blog crossed over, and has now had over a thousand visitors. Whoa! Now, I know that probably a lot of those have stumbled across it, and went on their way unchanged, but some of you stayed.

Thank You!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Whoa!

Have just been attacked by a crazy chicken. Note to self: Never let the cat follow me into the barn again.

The best way to recover self possession: Spend some time reading some really awful prose over at the Bulwer-Lytton Contest. Truly.

Here is a little sample, just to whet your funny bone (to truly mix some metaphors!)


The notes blatted skyward as the sun rose over the Canada geese, feathered rumps mooning the day, webbed appendages frantically peddling unseen bicycles in their search for sustenance, driven by Nature's maxim, "Ya wanna eat, ya gotta work," and at last I knew Pittsburgh.

--Sheila B. Richter, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1987 Winner)


The lovely woman-child Kaa was mercilessly chained to the cruel post of the warrior-chief Beast, with his barbarous tribe now stacking wood at her nubile feet, when the strong, clear voice of the poetic and heroic Handsomas roared, "Flick your Bic, crisp that chick, and you'll feel my steel through your last meal."

--Steven Garman, Pensacola, Florida (1984 Winner)

2009 Dishonorable Mention (In Romance)

As she slowly drove up the long, winding driveway, Lady Alicia peeked out the window of her shiny blue Mercedes and spied Rodrigo the new gardener standing on a grassy mound with his long black hair flowing in the wind, his brown eyes piercing into her very soul, and his white shirt open to the waist, revealing his beautifully rippling muscular chest, and she thought to herself, "I must tell that lazy idiot to trim the hedges by the gate."


Kathryn Minicozzi
Bronx, NY


Enjoy Yourself!

Spring Awesomeness!

I forgot to blog about another bit of exciting news: BigGirl got her ears pierced! They look very cute, and she is quite stunningly stylish.

Last night my big children went to the annual banquet that the Kiwanis put on to honor all of the 4-H'ers who got "A" Grades on their projects. I am really proud of them.

In what seems to be a continuing theme--that of how cool my siblings are, and how they help my musical tastes be "fresh" instead of "incredibly uncool and fuddy-duddy", here is a link to my new FAV! (Don't be put off by the Dutch DJ at the beginning, watch the whole song.) Check out all of her other songs on YouTube as well. Caro Emerald is going places.

Lady Gaga either is or has a great arranger and has extremely catchy songs (and I prefer non-whiney alto voices for female singers), BUT Caro Emerald has a better voice, better clothes, more style, an EXTREMELY talented band AND Brass Instruments! WIN!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recovering

LOTS of fun has been going on at my house. For weeks now. And we have loved it ALL!

However, that also means I am even more sleep deprived than usual (which, for those who know my semi-permanent, walking zombie-ness are quite surprised to find is even possible!) and my house is even more piled up than usual.

This week I am slowly digging out of both. Baby Steps. Little bits at a time.

I am not sure what to do about the multiple places where SmallDaughter poured entire bottles of food coloring on the carpet--and a Large bottle of Methylene Blue, also. Sigh.

I promised pictures of chicks--here they are!


This year, we have Rhode Island Red chicks.





Two cute chicks!



Here are the Turkey Chicks

The chicks are growing well--the chicks have doubled in size, and the turkeys have quadrupled.

In other EXCITING NEWS!: My youngest brother R--the one who makes me feel both very old (every time he hits a !@#$%^ milestone in his life) and very young (when I hang out with him, and enjoy his random hilariosity!) just won an $8000.00 Presidential Scholarship to the local House of Higher Learning! Way to go, dude! And, I am happy to continue proof reading your essays (I particularly like the random Captain America and Aquabats references!).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Update

SmallDaughter begged and begged for me to open a package of marshmallow Peeps. When I gave her one, she refused to eat it—she just wanted to pet the little yellow chick!

LargeBoy ate the ears and top of the head off of his hollow chocolate bunny, then gave it a Cool Whip “brain” and did some disgusting zombie things. He is creative. Also, definitely a boy.


Everybody enjoyed the traditional egg hunt, where Grandma P hides the eggs—which I will be finding in the yard for the rest of the year.


I will post pictures of the chicks soon—I promise!

Monday, March 29, 2010

You can be jealous now!

I have my best friend of many years (since third grade, actually!) here AT MY HOUSE with me!!! The joy, rejoicing and laughter haven't stopped. Our kids get along wonderfully, and we are having yummy food and lots of youtube. The perfect vacation for me!

PLUS--tomorrow, we go to pick up the new baby chicks, which (NEW THIS YEAR!) will include 8 turkeys as an experiment.

We shall see.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

There it is--

A full week of random themed playlists. Hope you enjoy. It has been fun, I think I will do it again.

***

I am a firm believer in personal revelation--that God loves us, and will give us specific direction for our lives-if we ask Him. I believe that He wants FAR more for us than we do, and is much better at unlocking our full potential.

For the last several months, My Favorite Gentleman has been telling me that I should go back to school. However, unlike my good friends and siblings who are, even now, back at school (for perfect, specific things!), I had NO IDEA what I wanted to be "when I grow up"! I would go through the catalog and look at classes in exactly the same way I choose ice cream--wanting everything!

Yes, there are a few things that I could eliminate--I won't be a nurse or a teacher, and physicist or chemist is right out (they interest me, but I think it is a little late to acquire the math skills!). However, I really do want to learn to weld, learn about automotive and small engine repair, furniture building and recovery, sewing, yoga, cake decorating (don't laugh!), ASL, Latin Studies, and the list goes on!

I have been praying to know what program to go into, and when--(since a welding, sewing, history, CAD program doesn't seem to lead to a useful degree) and (once I kicked my prayers up a notch!) I have the answers*!

And, even better--it is not time yet, but it is time to start getting my ducks in a row, so when the time is right, everything will be in place!

I am going into (drumroll, wait for it...) Fashion Design & Manufacturing, with an emphasis on designing cute, modest clothes. Modesty with flair! I can't believe how excited the whole idea makes me!

When my little sister A went back to Culinary School, she was excitedly describing her course curriculum, and asked me "doesn't that just make you excited?!"
Culinary School (while I wouldn't mind it) didn't light any sparks, but reading the course list for a Bachelors Degree in design--well! "Flat Pattern/Draping I & II, Fashion Technical Drawing, Apparel Prototype Production and Analysis"--Now THAT is my language! It excites me even to read about it!

And I am glad that I don't have to do it right this minute--When dear Miss K decided to go back to school, she applied on Wed, and started on Monday! I have too many things going on at once to start right now, but I am excited for the future!

*You know it's revelation when it is an idea that never crossed your mind before, and it is perfect!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Listen to BigGirl Mix

Isn't it GREAT how God arranged families? I love having younger siblings who (after being their example for many years) are now teaching me a LOT! And, keeping me much cooler than I would be on my own! (On my own, I would be stuck listening to the oldies station, cursing about how they never play any of the "good stuff"--pathetic, really).

Specifically, they introduced my children to Ska music. I have heard about it for years, but never figured out that "Ska" was something I was already listening to!

So, here for your listening pleasure, is BigGirl's Ska mix.

Also, FYI, I am dedicating "The Phantom of the Opera" to Miss Rachael, who is both classic and funky!


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Another List

Here we come! Zooming into Monday, full of stuff to do, people to call, ...more stuff to do! I really am busy this week, I am in the final stages of getting ready for the "Community Preparedness Fair" our ward is putting on (and I am the Activities Chairperson, so I am in charge). I really hope it turns out as well as I envision!

Anyway, this list is love songs for people who have some practice at loving each other! There are lots of "first love" songs, but these are for people who know the good thing they have, and are committed to making it even better.


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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Relaxing Classical

Here is something for your Sabbath. May your week be blessed, and filled with peace, love, joy and light.

I hope mine is, too--it is shaping up to be pretty hairy, so I need to remember to focus on the little beauties around me--like breathing, and smelling how wondeful it smells outside and how good my fresh homemade bread tastes--and how loved I am.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wishing you were here songs

Sometimes, the songs you need aren't for when your heart is broken--just lonely. It makes me think of my friend Andy in college. He had a mix tape called "Depressing 1" (there was eventually a "Depressing 2", just in case you were wondering!) When I asked him why a tape of FABULOUS love songs would be called that, he said "because listening to romantic couple songs on your own sucks!" Which is true. So for when your honey is out of town (or hasn't come onto the scene yet!)-- here is the list for you!


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