Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy, happy Birthday!!

Sport turns 17 today!!!!  Yea!!!

Here are a few Sport stories to remember.

When I found out we were expecting Sport, I cried and cried---probably because I had a 4 and 1/2 year-old, a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old.  I was still in school.  I think Drew had recently started working full-time.  I was overwhelmed and just didn't think I could manage having another baby.  Our first baby had four major surgeries and 7 minor ones within the first 3 years of his life, and had an anaphylactic allergy to nuts, the second one had a heart murmur and allergies, the third was allergic to corn--all corn, which was a major deal because he wouldn't sleep if he had any.  I really thought my plate was a full as it could be.  So when I found out another little soul was on his way, I cried.  I poured my heart out to Heavenly Father and told Him that if he was serious about sending this baby, I needed some things.  I needed a baby who was happy, who made me laugh, who brought peace to my soul, who didn't have a ton of allergies and who would sleep!!  He sent Sport.  He has been making us laugh ever since and has never given us a moment's grief as parents, other than he would never take a bottle EVER and for about three years he lived on peanut butter and jelly...... not so difficult.

When Sport was 1 and 1/2, we lived in a two-bedroom basement apartment.  All of the boys slept in one room.  After I put them down for the night, I heard boisterous laughter and wondered what the heck they were doing in there.  I opened the door to find Sport standing on his head in the crib with both of his feet holding onto the rails.  His brothers were in hysterics.

Sport has the best one-liners in the family.  One night (he was probably 12) we were having a family home evening discussion about choices in mortality, the consequences, and the different kingdoms of glory.  When it came out that those who make and keep all of their covenants will be the only ones admitted to the highest degree of glory and the rest would be angels.  Sport then turned to another brother who had not been making such fabulous choices and said, "Then you're going to be my ministering angel."  The whole family roared, thankfully, including the brother singled out.

Sport is very sweet and sensitive.  He is concerned for others.  He bears a stirring testimony which carries an abundance of the Spirit.  He is pure in heart.  He loves God and His son, Jesus Christ.

We love you Sport!  Happy Birthday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

And the Assignment Is:

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro!
Scuff is sooooo excited.  He is definitely reeling.  I think Slim is more excited than Scuff.  Slim is already making plans to pick Scuff up from Brazil when the mission is over.
Anyway, have a great week!!
We will as we think about and prepare Scuff to serve in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 
He reports to the Brazil MTC on May 29th 
Congratulations Scuff!!  We are so proud of you!

Friday, January 25, 2013

5 for Friday!! (maybe I should start numbering these edition?)

#1.  Still waiting.  Scuff is still waiting to receive the magical white envelope!  He expected it on Wednesday, Thursday at the latest.  We think it will arrive today.  We are all hopeful!

#2.  Laundry Soap.....I make my own.  We learned how one day in our ward.  Some of my friends love it, others hate it.  Personally, I love it.  It is so much cheaper and does the job.  At first it didn't take care of many of our big boy odors, but I doubled the strength of it, made sure I added bleach for colors and that seems to manage all of it!  It costs me about $4.00 to make 5 gallons of detergent and lasts for about 2 months.

Here is the recipe:
6 Cups of water
1 bar of soap, grated (like cheese) [I use Fels Naptha because I like the scent and it is made for the laundry]
2 Cups of Borax
2 Cups of Washing Soda (not baking soda, washing soda--found in the laundry isle)

Bring the water to a boil, add the bar of soap, dissolve.  Then add the borax and washing soda, cook and stir until dissolved (5-10 minutes).

Add hot water until you have 5 gallons.  Let sit overnight.  Now it will look like a jello.  Use a whisk and stir it, pour it into containers.  Viola!  Laundry soap.

I use a capful (about 1/2 C.) per load.  Love it!

Today is soap making day :-)

#3.  Table cloths.
Yesterday I read Cocoa's blog about using table cloths.  I hadn't ever really thought about it before.  We didn't use them growing up.  But we are horrible table washers, here!  So after reading her blog and the comments from all of her readers, I thought, hey, let's give it a go!  I have plenty of sheets and for what ever reason, we don't use the top sheets at our house.  I was just keeping them so I could make them into fitted sheets.  (I can teach you how to do that later.)

Just to make the story complete, you need a little background.  When we were trying to pare down the budget, I started making more basic foods and whittled down the amount of meat and dairy we were eating.  We are allergic to dairy here even though no one will readily admit it and they all try to get away with it.  Sometimes I don't have enough backbone and I let them eat their dairy and other times I just don't buy it and I deal with the whining (what can I say, it is a work in progress.  We all have places where we are trying to make changes, right?)  The point is, I rarely buy cheese any more and I make homemade soups instead of buying them in a can.  My kids LOVE Campbell's Ham and bean soup (which really doesn't have any ham in it...just pieces of carrots--like maybe one per can--ridiculous!)  Anyway, last night, I made Campbell's bean soup and grilled cheese sandwiches because my day was crazy and I needed something easy for dinner.

I also opted for the table cloth idea above.  You would have thought we were going out to eat.  My kids were so excited!!!

"Grilled cheese and bean soup??!!  REALLY???!!!  And a Table Cloth???"  They were all in such a good mood!  (Which made up for the grumbling I got when I cracked down on the 'no privileges until AFTER chores are done'  afternoon we had.  Yes, making changes here too.)  Anyway, it was too cute to have them so excited and happy for such small things!

#4.  Trying to finish up my January to do items:
FAFSA's (Federal Financial Aid Stuff) for the college boys
The purge after Christmas
File all the paper work from 2012

#5.  Lofty personal goals:
Stick to my eating plan, easier said than done.  I am a carb addict!  I admit it!  I don't like vegetables!  I would eat bread, grain, fruit, and sugar all day, every day!!!  I have to plan my vegetable and make something I like or I will not eat them, ugh!

Stick to my exercise plan.  The other day I was so excited because I had a goal to exercise 150 minutes a week, which is only 30 minutes/5 days a week.  Should be doable right??  Well I did it and I was so excited, until I realized that 150 minutes per week is the bottom of the 'maintain your weight' category.  Ugh!  Again!  But since I haven't been doing that, I need to at least get there and then I can add time from there.  This week I'm not even close to there.  Baby steps I know.  I just want it all and I want it NOW!  I hate this slow process of weight loss!  Enough complaining.

This is the best goal and my personal favorite!  I learned last week from a fabulous family history sister that I didn't have to make a HUGE block of time available for family history.  I always put it off because I think, oh ya', I'll get to that when I have more time.  Well, I never have more time.  It is never just going to be available for me to think, hey what should I do with this free three hours??  I know, Family History!  Not!

Her suggestion was to just spend 15 minutes on it a day or every few days.  Then put it away and pull it out later for another 15 minutes. Then put it away and go about your business.  I have been doing that the last couple of weeks and it works!  It is amazing!  Also, she said to only really focus on you and the last 100 years.  Put all of that data into the computer.  I find that I am usually having so much fun that I work on it for 1/2 an hour before I HAVE to put it away and take care of the family, but I have learned some amazing things!

I come from a long line of large families!  On my dad's side, one family had 17 children!  Most of them have anywhere from 9-14!  Wow!  That made me feel better about my crew of 9.

My father's line actually goes back to 1300!!  Another Wow considering that both sets of my grandparents were first generation members. 

My father has never liked his first name and always used his middle name.  His paternal grandfather has a brother right after him who shares the same name as my father.  It would appear that my father is named after his great uncle.  So then I wonder about the relationships between my grandfather and his uncle.  He obviously had fond feelings for him.  Those are things I cannot wait to find out after this life is over.

The families who go back far enough, are from England, Ireland, and Germany...sweet!  That explains the red hair in my son's beard---a blonde, blue-eyed baby, brunette adult, with a RED beard.  Sweet!

My husband's line actually goes back into the Vikings and royalty.  Who knew??  (That might explain our tempers and attitudes!!)

Anyway, it has been very enjoyable to learn a little more about who we are and what it means to be a part of our family!!

Check out Heather's 52nd edition here!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Big, White Envelope---A Rite of Passage

photo credit:

Sorry it has been a few days since I have posted. We have a sick baby--enough said.

Today we await the arrival of the big, white envelope from Salt Lake City, UT.  The contents and instructions inside will determine Scuff's life for the next 24-30 months, depending upon the date they ask him to report to his Missionary Training Center.  He will put his academic and social endeavors on hold for two years as he immerses himself in the work of the kingdom and learns how to serve others and the Lord.

As parents, this is one of the moments we hope for and dream of.  There are others---for sure and more important ones, like the day they will take a companion of their choice to the temple to establish their eternal family, and then there are the grandchildren.................(but I am getting way ahead of myself!!)  But the mission----the mission prepares my boys to become men, righteous men who love and serve.

Think about it---most young adults between the ages of 18-22 are finally old enough to be recognized by the law as adults.  They are capable and encouraged to move out, go to college, get a job, drive/own a car, manage their own finances, medical, food, living quarters, laundry, and relationships.  But how many of them are actually mature enough to really handle all of that well???  (Now I am not speaking of the sisters, just the men.)  If a young adult male is going to get into some serious trouble and make mistakes that could be life-altering, he will usually do it during this time period.

So what does the Lord do??

He sends them on missions---where they have a constant companion 24/7 for two years, have weekly check-ins with their mission presidents, are given a monthly allotment to manage finances, have periodic apartment checks, may drive a car but aren't responsible for maintenance or insurance, do their own laundry, and write to their families weekly........ those are just some of the temporal perks.  Spiritually, they have personal and companion scripture study and prayer, go out to find people who would like to know more about Jesus Christ and His gospel, teach them true principles, ask for their commitments to live the principles, encourage them and serve them, pretty much on a daily basis....and then there's a dress code....but we won't go into that. 

They are so busy, if they are trying to be obedient, they would have to go looking for trouble before they could get into any.  (Now, I know there are those few who get into trouble and do dumb things....but those young adult who are trying to do what they were sent out to do learn responsibility, service, and love!) 

My boys who are serving or who have served say, "It is the hardest and best two years of my life!"  Isn't that great??  The Lord takes boys who might otherwise have enough freedom and resources to get into trouble and turns them into men who love and serve God and others, who can learn to let go of self---an amazing process for sure!

So, tonight we wait, as one more of our sons approaches his rite of passage into manhood----the opening of the Big, White Envelope!

Wish him luck!

Friday, January 18, 2013



I was reading in Jacob yesterday and I got side-tracked by this verse 1:8  :
"Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross, and bear the shame of the world...."

I started thinking.....

Believe in Christ:  Yep.  I do that.  I know He is my Savior and the Redeemer of the world.  I know (2nd Nephi 31:21) "....this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God."

View his death:  Since there are no footnotes, I have to use my intellect.  I think maybe this refers to the Atonement.  Yes, I believe in it!  I use it! I teach it!  I try to remember it every day---what He did and what I am to do about it.

Suffer his cross:  I was not sure, so I looked up the footnotes.  Footnote c takes you to Luke 14:27 and with the JST (Joseph Smith Translation) sheds significant light:
27. And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Wherefore, that ye will do the things which I shall teach and command you.) JST
Ahhhhh......light and knowledge......we are to do the things which He commands us to, which if we do those things will surely put us in a place to

Bear the shame of the world:  When we are obedient to His commandments and instructions, we receive (eventually) the mocking and scorn of the world.  We are to bear it, to stand tall, to continue forward in faith.  Not to shrink, as those partaking of the fruit of the tree of life (in Lehi's dream 1st Nephi 8:28) did when they received the shame of the world from those within the great and spacious building.

Then I was drawn to this scripture:
"Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest....." (Jacob 1:7)

Labor:  expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory (Webster's definition #1) (Topical guide see also: industry, toil, work, value of work, wages)

So, Jacob worked, diligently (characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort) among his people to encourage them to do these four things:
Believe in Christ
View his death
Suffer his cross
Bear the shame of the world.

Then in Chapter 2:5, Jacob tells the righteous, temple-going church members (see Jacob 1:17-18) they are beginning to labor in sin.....(So you can labor in righteous things and you can labor in wicked things, or sin.  Hmmm)

Now this labor in sin that he is referring to is in the thoughts and intents of their hearts.
v. 6 "I must testify unto you concerning the wickedness of your hearts..."
v. 13 "...lifted up in the pride of your hearts....and persecute your brethren" (OK that is more of an act, but the attitude begins in their thoughts and hearts)..... 
v. 23 "...they (the people) seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms" (basically desiring many wives and concubines), which
v. 24 the Lord says is abominable before me  

Laboring in sin begins in the things we think about.

Then I wondered, 'What other things do we labor in?'

Thes 1:3 refers to a .....labor of love (motherhood, for sure!)

Heb. 4:11 Let us labor to enter into that rest....(Oh you mean I have to WORK before I get to heaven?)

1st Nephi 17:41 the labor which they had to perform was to look (Seriously??!  Looking is labor??  I guess  it is when it requires FAITH.)

Jacob 1:19  by labor their blood might not come upon our hands  (So when the prophets give us counsel     and direction through their work, we then become responsible for our actions---we have been sufficiently instructed, even if we choose to only attend the Sunday morning sessions of General Conference, right?)

Alma 34:32 this life is the time for men to perform their labor (Our work, the work of change and repentance, needs to be done in mortality.)

D and C 18:15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days crying repentance unto this people (Wow--that seems like a long time to encourage people to come unto Christ, no vacations, holidays  or weekends...)

And then I had this thought:

The work of child birth is referred to as LABOR!

It would seem to me then, our ability to:
Believe in Christ
View his death
Suffer his cross
and Bear the shame of the world
is a life-long labor of love that we do by exercising our faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, being willing to do the things He will teach and command us through the mouths of His holy prophets, and encourage others to do the same.

Any questions??

Then let's get to work!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My testimony......

photocredit:  Del Parsons studio

 **The following is a talk I gave in Sacrament meeting on Easter in 2009.

          Over two millennia ago, the Savior met in an upper room with his disciples to participate in what would be his last supper.  Here He instituted the sacrament and taught his disciples how to perform the ordinance to commemorate the coming event of his atonement.
            We know from the account in Matthew that the Savior and his disciples go from dinner to the Garden of Gethsemane, where he instructs most of them to ‘Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder.’
            Then he takes Peter, James, and John and says unto them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved even unto death; tarry ye here and watch with me,’ in other words, ‘stay awake.’  And he went a little further, and fell on his face and prayed saying, ‘Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt.’
            He returns to the disciples and finds them asleep.  He wakes them and says to Peter, ‘What, could ye not watch with me one hour?’  Are you so powerless that you could not stay awake with me?
            He went a second time and prayed, returned and found them asleep again.  He went away a third time and prayed.  Somewhere in the process, as He took upon himself all of my sins, sorrows, and sicknesses, and all of yours, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
            Being in agony, he prayed more earnestly: and he sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  As he rose up, he returned to his disciples who were asleep again.
            And while he yet spake to them, behold a multitude, and Judas drew near unto Jesus and kissed him.
            Judas, one of his disciples betrays him with a kiss, for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave.
            Publicly arrested in the middle of the night, they took him, bound, to Annas’ house, father-in-law to the chief priest, where he was interrogated.  Annas then sent him to Ciaphus, the high priest, with whom were assembled the chief priests, elders and scribes.  Through the entirety of the night, they held an illegal trial where the accused did not have any advocate to plead his case.  Though they convened to dispute the accusation of sedition, the verdict they rendered was that of blasphemy----the one sin the Savior was not even capable of, because he truly was the son of God, with divine attributes and powers.
            Straightway in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes.  The whole council condemned him, bound him, and delivered him to Pilate. (Mark 15: 1-2)
            Pilate examined him.  The Jewish leaders change their accusation from blasphemy to high treason.  Blasphemy carries no death sentence under Roman law.  Pilate finds no fault in him, doesn’t want to insight the crowd, and sends him to Herod, hoping to make Herod deal with the matter as a case of jurisdiction.
            Herod is excited.  He has wanted to see Jesus perform a miracle for a long time.  In Herod’s examination, Jesus speaks not a word.  Not an utterance comes from his lips.  Herod has his men set the Savior at naught, mock him and array him in a gorgeous robe—mocking his claim of royalty, and sends him back to Pilate.
            Pilate desires to release Jesus.  He tells the crowd that he finds no fault in him and that Herod concurs with his findings.  He offers to subdue the crowd by scourging the Savior and then releasing him, as is their Passover custom.
            The Jewish leaders will have no part in that!  They sway the crowd to cry, ‘Crucify Jesus of Nazareth and release unto us Barabas’—one who the scriptures label an insurrectionist, a thief, and a murderer.
            Pilate then orders for Jesus to be scourged, a process Elder McConkie says “consists of stripping the victim’s clothes, strapping him to a pillar or frame, and beating him with a scourge made of leather straps weighted with sharp pieces of lead and bone.  It left the tortured sufferer bleeding, weak, and sometimes dead.”
            They stripped him and placed a scarlet robe around him.  And when they had [plaited] a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head and put a reed in his right hand, and they bowed the knee before him and mocked him saying, ‘Hail King of the Jews!’  (Matt. 27:28-30.
            About the sixth hour, Pilate presents a beaten and scourged Jesus to the Jewish mob.  They cry ‘Crucify him!’  Pilate says, ‘Do it yourself.  I find no fault in him.’  The Jews answered, ‘By our law he ought to die, because he made himself the son of God.’
            Pilate, now more afraid that he is sentencing an innocent man to die, seeks for Jesus’ release.  The Jews cry, ‘If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend.’  Pilate tries again, ‘Behold your King.’  The mob again responds, ‘Crucify him!’
            “Shall I crucify your king?” asks Pilate.
            To which the Jewish leaders respond, “We have no king but Caesar!”
            They turned their backs on God---their God.  The God they supposedly worshipped.  The God they had been looking for, waiting for, praying for.  He is there in front of them.  But he is not what they expect, nor what they want and as such they cry ‘Crucify him…We have no king but Caesar!’
            And when Pilate saw that he could not prevail, he crumbled and let the Jewish leaders have their way.  He had the power to release the Savior, to let him go.  He knew Christ was innocent.  Yet rather than having built up his moral courage for such a time as this, he symbolically washes his hands and claims he is innocent of the blood of this man.
            To which the mob cries, His blood come upon us and our children---which it has for generations of time.
            The Savior is then taken to Golgotha where huge iron nails secure him through the palms of his hands and his feet to the cross.
            A sign is placed above his head reading ‘Jesus of Nazareth—The King of the Jews’ written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.  He is given vinegar to drink.  He is mocked, scorned, and derided as he hangs there in agony, with his mother, his friends, and his disciples at his feet.
            Elder McConkie says that Jesus was crucified at about 9:00 a.m.  Matthew records from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour, when Jesus cries with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  Which is to say, My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?
            Elder Talmage states “What mind of man can fathom the significance of that awful cry?  It seems that in addition to the fearful suffering incident to the crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, intensified beyond human power to endure.  In that bitterest hour, the dying Christ was alone, alone in the most terrible reality.  That the supreme sacrifice of the Son might be consummated in all its fullness, the Father seems to have withdrawn the support of his immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death.”
            Jesus, when he had cried, again with a loud voice, said, Father, it is finished, thy will is done, yielded up the ghost. (Matt. 27:54)
            Why, why did the Savior do this for us?
            First and foremost, we must acknowledge his great love for us—to be willing to do this for you and me of his own free will and choice.  What great love.
            But more than his love for us, He understood the doctrine.  He knew, for instance, that no unclean thing can dwell with God. (1st Nephi 10:21)  He knew that all of us at some point in time would fall short of living a perfect and just life and as such would be eliminated from the possibility of living with God because we were now unclean.
            The Savior understood that our Father must be perfectly just, that the works of justice could not be destroyed.  He knew that from the very beginning God had given us commandments and told us that we should not do evil and that the penalty for such was a second death---a death which was everlasting as to things pertaining unto righteousness.  When we choose to do wrong, we separate ourselves from God eternally.  We have no power of ourselves to rectify this situation.  Even the smallest degree of sin would keep us from returning because of the law of justice.
            But a beautiful plan was laid, the plan of Redemption, the Plan of Happiness, the Plan of Salvation, the Great Plan of our God wherein God could remain perfectly just and adhere to that law and also be perfectly merciful.
            “For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must needs be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea all are hardened, all are fallen and are lost and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.”  (Alma 34:9)
            If someone came to earth who adhered to the law of justice perfectly, justice could not require him to pay the penalty, because he never broke the law.  By the law of justice alone, Jesus Christ would be the only one permitted to return to our Father.
            Now, if owing nothing, that individual was also willing to pay the penalty for those who would sin and would repent, then the law of mercy could also be enacted and God could be perfectly merciful also.
            “And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also….(Alma 42:15)
            “And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
            “And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice. [Which caused our Savior Jesus Christ to bleed at every pour and sweat as it were great drops of blood.]  Therefore, only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”  (Alma 34:15-16)
            “What do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice?  I say unto you, Nay; not one whit.  If so God would cease to be God.”  (Alma 42:25)
            So Brothers and Sisters, what then is our obligation?
            Nephi’s brother, Jacob, enlightens us.
            “Wherefore my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you.  And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of day, harden not your hearts.
            Yea today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die?
            For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?
            Behold will ye reject these words?  Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost and quench the Holy Spirit and make a mock of the plan of redemption which has been laid for you?.....justice cannot be denied….
            Oh then my beloved brethren, repent ye and enter in at the straight gate and continue in the way…until ye shall obtain eternal life.”  (Jacob 6:5-12)
            All the day long the Savior says, Repent and I will receive you…Come unto me and ye shall partake of the tree of life….Follow me and I will heal you….I will gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wing…If ye will repent and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy on [you] unto a remission of [your] sins and [ye] shall enter into my rest.
            THAT Brothers and Sisters is the whole point of the gospel…THAT is the good news we are to proclaim!!!   THAT is what we should teach in every lesson!!!  If we will all continuously repent, continuously seek after Jesus of Nazareth, continuously be willing to change for the better, to grow, to become and harden not our hearts…We Can ALL return to our Father!!  Oh that all people knew that doctrine and had a testimony of it!  We return through repentance and exercising our faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ!
            “For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
            “And then ye are in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life [and] ye have entered in by the gate…..
            Is that all you have to do?  NO!
            “Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, have a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and all men, feasting upon the words of Christ and endure to the end.”
            And guess what, if you make a mistake along the way, or you find there is someone that you just can’t love, or you’ve lost your hope, or you haven’t been feasting on the words of Christ only nibbling….then guess what?  You REPENT!!
            “This is the way and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby men can be saved in the kingdom of God.”
            Brothers and Sisters, we have been bought and paid for with a price, and a dear price it was.  May we always remember the price that was paid that we might not suffer even as the Savior did, that we might not be exposed to the whole law of justice.  Might we be willing to pay the price required of our discipleship even the price of repentance.  May we not be found sleeping when He needs us.  May we not sell our testimony of the Savior or our opportunities for spiritual learning for things of this world that have no eternal value.  May we not wash our hands of our ability to make a difference, or take a stand, or to help another.  And may we not ever be found crying, ‘We have no other God but Caesar, or wealth, or beauty, or work, or leisure, or anything else…’
            May we follow his pleadings—Come unto me, repent, follow me, change, work, love, press forward----that we may have eternal life.  And may we not ever forget who Jesus was, what He did, why He did it, and what we are to do about it.  May our lives ever bear record of our knowledge of, deep gratitude for, reverence and love for Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. 
            I testify of his life, that he did what he said he would do.  And if we will do what he says for us to do we will one day see him and touch him.  We will feel the prints of the nails in his hands and we will know that he has always engraven us on the palms of his hands.  ‘God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.’

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Random thoughts....

For being such a huge basketball playing family, I don't have any photos of us actually playing basketball.  How pathetic is that??  It is probably just because I am the only photographer and I like to play, so I don't often take a camera to the game because, I don't want it damaged and I want to play as much as they are.  Anyway, this photo will have to suffice.  It was our oldest son's Eagle scout project.  My then fourth grader, drew and painted this tiger for the middle of their court.  But I digress, since I haven't even started to discuss what this post is about.....

Yesterday, we attended Shorty's community basketball game; 3rd and 4th graders playing full court.  We have some unique rules to encourage learning and allow everyone to play.  First, their quarters are only 6 minutes long.  Every 3 minutes of clock time, play is stopped to switch players, no other substitutions, unless there are injuries.  No pressing (guarding/defense in the back court--behind the half court line) is allowed, unless it is the 4th quarter and your team is not ahead by 10 or more points.

This is very much considered a learning league.  Third grade is the earliest age you can participate.  The referees are usually younger college age young adults (mostly men), so they are learning as well.  Usually play is pretty loose as the season begins and as the boys/girls learn more and become more skilled, the refereeing becomes tighter.  We are at the beginning of the season.

In Shorty's game yesterday, the referees allowed significant traveling, significant double dribbling, hardly any foul calls (even when a couple kids ended up on the floor).  I heard one of the referees telling specific players to get out of the key (there is a three second rule of being allowed to park in the key) several times.  Now, those of you who do not play, may not think too much of what I have described.  But if you understand the game of basketball, even on a learning level, you have to hold a specific standard in order for the children to properly learn how to play the game.  The calls were so easy-going (one kid even stepped out of bounds to retrieve a ball and brought it back into the court, dribbling and they just let it go), I'm not sure what they were playing was basketball.  We seemed to have a three travel rule---the whistle wasn't blown unless you had traveled three times, consecutively.  Those kinds of rules, make it difficult for the kids to learn how to play the game.  Next time, they are not as likely to get such lenient refs and then be confused as to why their level of play is a problem today when it was alright the last game.....

So I got to thinking (scary, I know, but hang with me).....

I am so grateful that, like the referees, the Lord allows us to play the game of mortality at our level.  He does not expect more of us than we are capable of.  He loves each and every one of us where we are in our current development.  He expects just enough more of us that it requires faith, diligence, work and obedience to do the next thing He wants us to.  He constantly gives us something to do that requires us to stretch and learn and grow.  Sometimes it is scary and overwhelming.  We are afraid.  We pray for guidance and assistance to do what He asks.  Sometimes we don't even realize we have grown until we have an opportunity to look back and see it.  But He would never call the game on a professional level when we are only a first, second, third, ..... or tenth year player.

However, unlike the referees in Shorty's game, the rules are still the rules.  We don't get a pass or get to bypass the consequences of smoking just because we didn't know it could hurt us.  We still have the consequences for making choices contrary to the rules.  We would still get called for traveling the first time we did it.

Isn't that amazing??  There is an inherent balance there between mercy and justice.  The eternal rules are consistent over time, space, and individuals.  But the accountability rules are more flexible, measured by understanding, heart, and intent.

Now I'm going to divert for just a minute and then bring it back together.

Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to visit with a sister who is in her late 50's and has never received her patriarchal blessing.  She knows what it is and that it has been available to her, she just hasn't ever gone through the process of receiving it.  I do not know all of her circumstances, but I believe she has been active most, if not all, of her life.

A patriarchal blessing, among other things, is an opportunity for the Lord to tell you how He feels about you, what your strengths and weaknesses are, a warning voice as to particular things that will cause you, personally, trouble.  It is personal scripture to you, about you.

As a parent, I take every opportunity my children will allow me to discuss those same things about each of them.  They are unique.  Their personalities are very different.  They have different talents, abilities, gifts, struggles, temptations.  My job as their mother is to help them navigate this life and to take the information they have and learn how to make the most of it and learn how to make proper decisions to bring about their exaltation and that of their families.

What if I never had that opportunity to speak to them, to pull them onto my lap, or into my arms, or just to look into their eyes and have them know how much I loved and valued them, or to warn them when I thought they were heading in the wrong direction.  How much more difficult would their lives be??  (I am not saying that if you have not had your patriarchal blessing that the Lord doesn't talk to you, but when you can have one of those conversations, verbatim, written down??'s a little different.)

The Lord already knows who I am and what I know and how much I should be accountable.  He knows how I learn best and He knows what circumstances and people to put into play so I can lean how to play this game of mortality and come out a winner.  He knows the rules and requirements.  He has given me mortality to be able to learn how to play at the professional level, eventually.  But He doesn't require that level today......but I know the rules and recognize on a daily basis that I am not playing at that level.

Then He constantly reminds me that is why He came to make up the difference for what I cannot do and what I cannot become today.

So I probably could continue this, but my little family just arrived home and now there is too much commotion to think :-).  That being said, I guess I am finished.  Happy pondering my random thoughts....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

23 years ago today....

We were married in the Jordan River Temple.
We just had family and a few close friends at the ceremony.
My family was not able to attend.
We were married on a Wednesday @ 1:00p.m.
I was the only bride in the temple that day.
We looked so young, and we were....
and skinny!
22 years ago
 We celebrated our first anniversary.
Our 1 month old baby was in newborn ICU.
We didn't know if he would live or die.
We spent the night at a hotel and cried for our baby.
20 years ago
You graduated from BYU. 
So much living we have done together.
16 years ago
I graduated from BYU.
A little over 14 years ago...
We moved here to California
We added a fifth son to our family.
And finally a daughter!!

Then another son,
and another one.
We finally felt complete.
We grew older,
and older,
and older.
We started sending boys on missions.
2 years ago
We got a surprise.
Another son.
22 years ago
Your mother told me that in 
20 years
I would miss the pitter-patter of little feet all over the house,
she was wrong.
I am still hearing them.
Congratulations, Sweetheart!
23 years of life together!
23 years closer to 
Building our Eternity!
Love you!
PS I updated the Meet the Family Page
Check it out!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Five Things for Friday (on Sunday)

1.  People, people, people.  We had so very much fun having our college boys and Grandma and Grandpa home for Christmas!!! What a great time!  I was so sad to send them back to college....and all of my little people were sad and emotional too.  It is so very hard on those little people.  I had no idea.

I am the oldest child at my house.  When I left, that was it---I left.  Now on this end, as the mother, with the big kids coming and going, it is so emotional for the little ones.  We have to have lots of talks about wanting our college boys to become good men and wanting them to be prepared to support a family and the spiritual growth they will have where they are instead of staying here.  We love having them home and the little ones get so excited.  Then the night before they leave or the morning of, the little people struggle.  Friday night Shorty was struggling to be nice to people and to be obedient.  (Departure time:  7:30 a.m. Saturday)  Saturday afternoon, Sun admitted to being mean to people over and over again because she was so upset that Scuff had left.  I just really had no idea how difficult it is for the little people.

2.  Back to the routine.  Having the big kids home and extra relatives in town, our schedule and eating was all out of whack!  I think I didn't really do any laundry until yesterday (for three weeks....).  I started laundry on Friday and kept the washer and dryer functioning pretty much non-stop during waking hours.  I still have four loads that I know of (for myself) and Sun has two.

Drew and I have committed to our eating and exercising schedule beginning tomorrow!  Ugh!  But it will be helpful in the clothing department...I would like most of my clothes to fit again :-)  Classes begin on Monday, including seminary.  I am looking forward to putting the little ones to bed just a little early tonight so we can be awake and prepared for tomorrow.

3.  Teething.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!  I am soooooooooooooooooooo done with teething!  Poor little Spike, Spike.  He is the worst teether I have ever had!  He is super clingy.  He only wants to be held.  He won't eat anything.  He refuses, most of the time, to take medicine that would help him to feel better.

I could not figure out why I was so exhausted and frustrated with him yesterday.  Then I realized that I had prepared four breakfasts for him and he had eaten none of them, including a glass of rice milk.  He was whiny and hanging on me and crying and had been for a while.  Then I thought, oh, he is hungry and hasn't eaten anything I have given him.  What will that kid eat???  Oh!  I added chocolate to his milk (I know, bad mother....some days it is more about the nurturing than nutrition!), and fed him half an avocado.  Then he ate the other half.  Then he was happy.  Then we did the entire scenario over again at lunch.  By four pm, I forced ibuprofen down him and we had a less dramatic evening, though he still got up in the middle of the night.  Maybe once these eye teeth cut, we will finally sleep!  OK, well, maybe after the two-year molars!

4.  Putting Christmas away.....
I don't know about you, but with all of our guests and fun that we have been having, I have not bothered to try and put away the decorations.  It took me several days to be willing to put them up and now I am taking more time in putting them away.  Part of that, of course, is that I am spending my time nurturing a teething baby.  Alright, alright.....I will put them away this week.

5.  The crazy basketball schedules have begun.  So our schedule on Saturday looked like this:
5:30 a.m shower
6:00 a.m. help everyone get up and have breakfast, say goodbye
7:00 a.m leave for the airport to take the college boys to catch their plane.
9:00 a.m. leave the airport for home
9:30 a.m. arrive home, grab breakfast
9:45 a.m. leave for 8th grade basketball tryouts
10:00 a.m. basketball tryouts
11:00 a.m. arrive home
11:30 a.m leave with honey to deposit $ in the bank
12:00 arrive home and feed people lunch
12:45 p.m. leave for a baptism
1:00 p.m. attend the baptism
2:00 p.m have a conversation with someone at the baptism
2:45 p.m leave the baptism, pick up Shorty for a basketball game he was suppose to be at right now
3:00 p.m. Watch Shorty's basketball game
4:20 p.m. left the basketball game, came home, prepared dinner.
5:00 p.m. fed people, began the last 3 hours of Pride and Prejudice that I fell asleep during the night before
6:30 p.m went walking with hubby
7:00 p.m read and prayed with kiddos, turned back on Pride and Prejudice
8:00 p.m. put kiddos in bed
9:00 p.m. finished Pride and Prejudice
10:00 p.m. Headed to bed
2:00 a.m. up with the baby
3:00 a.m. back to sleep
Church in the morning (Yea!!)

Heather's Five for Friday

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Post 150!!!

What a beautiful holiday season we have had!!!  Drew's parents have been with us!!  Our college boys have been home!!  We ordained Scuff an Elder and baptized Smiley.  That day we had doughnuts for breakfast and pizza for dinner, which was GREAT on the cooking scale and not so much on the bathroom scale.  We also managed to squeeze in family photos that day.  Here are a few photos from my camera and the goofing around we did. 

Stay tuned for the more professional looking ones.  The only thing that would have made it more perfect would have been to have our missionary home for the family photos.  But the truth be told, we wouldn't want him anywhere else.  I have been trying to decide if we should try to photoshop him in.  How do you feel about such things??  I kind of think that it should be a photo of the people who are here now, the way we are.  But my mother heart wants everyone to be included.  Spanky is a part of us.  He belongs!  He just was on an errand for the Lord when we happened to take the photo.  And let's be real.  With so many boys, we will not all be home for a very, very long time.  Our family photos from here on out, will not be able to include everyone all the time.  I guess we just keep trying to include as many as possible as often as possible?

Have a great New Year!!!