Friday, May 31, 2013

Five for Friday--Temple Edition!!!

1.  Tammy and Scuff received their endowments on Saturday!  It was such a wonderful, but very long day.  The closest temple to our house is in Medford, Oregon.  It was a long drive to the temple.  Our day started very early, leaving at 6 a.m. and Tammy's endowment was late in the afternoon, so we didn't arrive home until 11:30 p.m.

The drive to the temple is absolutely beautiful and it was a spiritual feast.  Drew and I had some names from our ancestors ready to do the temple work for, one of whom was my grandmother's sister.  It was a very sweet experience to do the work for her.  One I will remember for a long time.

 2.  On Tuesday, Scuff left for his mission.  There was quite a bit of drama concerning his departure.  He was scheduled to go straight to the Brazil MTC (Missionary Training Center), but his visa had not arrived yet.  About a week before he left, we still did not know what his travel plans would be.  He called Missionary Travel, who let him know he would be heading to the Provo, UT MTC.  There was some discussion about airports and travel plans.  They said they would make the arrangements and email them to him.  On Friday, last week, he finally looked at his plans and they had scheduled him to arrive in Provo at 7 p.m. the day he was to report to the MTC at 2 p.m.  On that schedule, he was suppose to leave here at 1:30 p.m.  When they realized he needed to arrive before 2 p.m. on the day they scheduled him to fly, they changed his reservations to the day before and his departure time was now 10:30 a.m.

We did get everything together and get him to the airport by 9:30 a.m.  That might seem like a problem, but the planes were delayed 2 hours so he was going to miss his connecting flight.  They rescheduled him again and gave him a direct flight to Salt Lake City arriving about the same time as he was originally scheduled to arrive, but it included a three hour layover.  I'm sure he is doing fine, because we have not heard from him since he left, which means he arrived.  So we will wait until his first P-day to hear how things went on his end.

I cannot believe we have sent out our third missionary.  Sport is not that far behind him.  They are only 19 months apart, so more than likely, they will also miss each other.  Our second missionary is scheduled to come home at the end of July.  All of these comings and goings keep the house really hopping!

3.  The bathroom remodel is coming right along.  Today marks the end of three weeks since they began the work.  So this is what the old bathroom looked like:

 Then it looked like this:
Now it looks like this:
That's the same window in each photo.  The sink used to be under the window, now we have put a bath/tub shower unit there.  They will seal in the window so it is water tight.  The new sink and vanity will go where the old shower unit was.  That is still being made, so I don't have any photos of it yet.  We are suppose to finish the texture of the walls today, paint on Monday, and then work on the flooring, while the cabinet is being built.

#4.  Slim is home from college, which means my house is much louder and busier and sometimes the rooms are in commotion.  Today, he rearranged their bedroom.  I totally appreciate his willingness and ability to do these things.  He usually just initiates these things on his own.  I just have to manage his high maintenance while he is cleaning.

#5.  The family room is almost finished :-)  You probably won't be able to see it very well in these photos, but here is it:

The shelving units....


Friday, May 24, 2013


 This has been a crazy week of preparations.  Speedy is busy illustrating what his preparations have done for him by taking finals in all of his classes, but Scuff has just a few days to finish preparing for his missionary service, and tomorrow he will be receiving his endowment.  Because of all of the things going on, life at our house has been just crazy and emotions for everyone are running high.

It is very interesting how each and every person manages the stress they are feeling.  I bury my head and emotions, work like crazy and eat (already established....), especially things that cause me problems with weight, like milk, chocolate, and carbs.  One of my boys needs to play and exhibits significant annoyance and irritation that the rest of us do not feel like we can play because of the things we are trying to accomplish and his play time is not the way he thinks it should be, or that he doesn't really have any time to play.  Another son procrastinates everything and does nothing.  He sits around reading a book or playing games on the computer just completely avoiding the responsibilities that are quickly crowding in upon him.  Another son wants to be entertained and participate with his brothers, feels pulled between his desire to play and need for work and then is just pretty much an emotional basket case because he doesn't want to be responsible for doing what he wants to do and not finishing what he needs to do.  And then there is the baby...he must have had a bad dream about me leaving.  He woke up this morning hitting me and being so very angry with me, screaming and yelling and kept telling me that I was home!  It took a full 15 minutes of that before he was in an emotional place to be reasonable.  It is amazing to me how even at such an early age, we have feelings because of the things we think about and are important to us.  My little people are very intense emotional beings.....always.

 I think this will have to be a very short post so that I can keep on working with my emotional people and helping them learn to manage their stress in positive ways.  What positive ways have you found to manage stress and still accomplish those things that are stressful to you??

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I loved this short video about President Uchtdorf.  And here is the text it comes from:
The Infinite Power of Hope

So often we have difficult things in our lives that makes it hard for us to believe and continue to move forward.  Like President Uchtdorf, I have learned that I can put my faith and hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Those principles give me hope too.  And in that hope, I can keep moving forward through the darkness, until my path is again illuminated with light.

President Uchtdorf:

We learn to cultivate hope the same way we learn to walk, one step at a time. As we study the scriptures, speak with our Heavenly Father daily, commit to keep the commandments of God, like the Word of Wisdom, and to pay a full tithing, we attain hope. 28 We grow in our ability to “abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost,” 29 as we more perfectly live the gospel.

There may be times when we must make a courageous decision to hope even when everything around us contradicts this hope. Like Father Abraham, we will “against hope [believe] in hope.” 30 Or, as one writer expressed, “in the depth of winter, [we find] within [us] an invincible summer.” 31

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hug a Convert, the Book of Mormon, and Ask the Missionaries!

Along with Middle-aged Mormon Man's  Hug a Convert Day..... (Go over there and check it out and send him your conversion stories!)

I would like to announce that here on Building Eternity, I am offering those of you who are interested a free Book of Mormon.  I'll even write my testimony in it for you! 

If you are interested, head over to my 'About Me and Contact' page (look up, link at the top, its new so let me know what you think), and send me an email.  If you prefer a language other than English, please make a note of that in the email.  Hopefully in the next couple of days, I'll figure out a way to put that link into my side-bar.....

Also, you need not fret.  Article of Faith #8, (recite it with me.....) We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.  We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. 

We believe that the Bible is the first witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we believe the Book of Mormon to be a second witness of Jesus Christ.  He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  These are His books and this is His gospel.

In another week, our third son will be heading out to spread the good news about our Savior:  that we can repent and return to live with Him, that families can be together forever, that we have living prophets upon the earth to guide us and help us know what we must do to return to live with Him, and that we can each receive that knowledge for ourselves, personal revelation, to guide our lives today.  So if you need answers to life's questions, Elder Nelson would say:  Ask the Missionaries! They can help you!

Friday, May 17, 2013

World Congress of the Family

Over at Chocolate on My Cranium and We Talk of Christ We Rejoice in Christ they are reporting on Angela Fallentine's experiences attending the World Congress of the Family, held in Sydney, Australia this year.  I am so excited from reading her report about the messages the presenters are speaking to.  It is inspiring and hopeful to me to know that there are so many of us around the world who feel the need to speak boldly about the future of the family.

One of the comments made by one of the presenters spoke to me.  He said that we should be willing to share our stories of how divorce and marriage have affected you.  Well, I have both.  I am a child from a divorced family and I have built a strong marriage and family as an adult.  I have experienced both.  I feel that I speak a lot about my family...that is what this blog is about.  But I do not feel like I have spent an adequate amount of time speaking about the consequences of divorce for me or my family of origin.  Also, I am a social scientist.  Growing up in the family I did taught me some very stark examples of things I did not want to have in the family I created, and my education and my religious beliefs helped me to know things I did want to have.  This is a deep and intense topic and certainly cannot be covered in only one post.  But I will start the dialogue and hopefully keep it going.  Feel free to join in with your own experiences.  The more of us who can 'stand as a witness' to the negative affects of disintegration the family and the blessings of strong and stable families, the more we can help to influence the rising generation and give them tools to stand for the family.

I will just start with some statistics from my family.  I am the oldest of six children.  My parents had been married just shy of 20 years when they decided to get divorced.  I was 18, my brother 16, another brother 14, my youngest brother 13, my sister 10 and my baby sister was 9.  It has now been about 25 years since my parents made that decision.  Of the children, two of us are still married to our first spouse and have an intact family.  Four of us are divorced, one of us divorced twice and annulled once.  Of the divorces, there are eight children now growing up in divorced families, compared to the six of us originally.  Eleven children are growing up in intact families, nine of those are mine.  My father has remarried once and is still married, my mother is currently remarried to her third husband.

In all of this craziness, it is difficult for the children to know who to attach to because in their life time, those individuals keep changing.  There isn't a lot of consistency of care or if there is, it is because the other parent is uninvolved and so they have abandonment issues.

I have plenty more to say, but other things I need to accomplish just ponder on those statistics and take inventory of those within your own families and spheres of influence.  This is not a judgmental exercise, simply inventory the statistics and see for yourself.  I am sure my experience is not unique, in fact, I know it isn't.

And do what you can to build your own eternal family, drop by drop.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


photo credit:
 Do you ever feel sometimes like life is swallowing you?  Like there is so much going on in each and every direction in your life it is difficult to be yourself?

Things have been so busy at our house lately that I have been letting the more important things slide and I can feel it.

We have remodeling drama....the bathroom is being remodeled so I have extra people in and out of the house every day with extra decisions to be made about placements, colors, textures...all sorts of stuff.  (Even in the process of removing the old insulation, they found a dead creature in the attic....lovely.  At least it was dead!)  The electricity is off in the bathroom, but that switch apparently also controls the furnace, outlets in the children's room, and the outlet the cordless phone and the microwave are plugged into, and the kitchen light.  So we can either have the microwave or the phone, but not both.  It has been an interesting adjustment.  But the electrician comes tomorrow, so our time with this condition is almost over.  Plus I still have a few finishing touches to take care of in my painting of the man-cave.

We have end of school drama....Speedy is supposed to be finished with his classes and schoolwork by the 22nd of May (that is next week, folks).  We have been cranking out the schoolwork and writing essays.  We have two finals ordered, one we should be able to order later today, and one that will have to wait to be ordered hopefully on Friday before the close of business.  Then we have one class we are so behind on and hopefully will be able to finish before the finals actually arrive.  Needless to say, Speedy has not been in a very good mood and is pretty frustrated.

We have older kid drama....Slim is home from college and working but needs rides to and from work, two jobs.  Scuff is home from college and preparing for his mission and endowment.  He is leaving in two weeks, so we are trying to polish off his last minute items, clothing purchases, immunizations, driver's license, packing, etc...  Then we are trying to get things in order for the temple, clothing, recommends, mental and spiritual preparations.

We have food drama....trying to feed three extra adults on the same food left-overs ever!  I am not grocery shopping until Friday and we are already out of eggs, milk, butter, potatoes, noodles, fruit, meat, etc...  I should not complain.  We have plenty of food in the house and we will not be hungry, I just have to come up with new and exciting ways to eat it.  Oatmeal, for breakfast, some kind of vegies for lunch, and probably a meatless or vegetable chili for dinner.  I can make any breads with powdered eggs....(OK sorry, just thinking to myself...)

We also have extra emotional (unnamed to protect the innocent and guilty) drama which is causing a lot of stress.  Each day is new and heightened drama to work through, ponder through, pray through and try to be Christ-like through.

As I have thought about all of this extra emotional managing, I have realized that I am not consistently reading my scriptures.  Prayers are good.  Scriptures need work.  On the days I do it, life and drama are better, or at least my capacity to manage them is improved.  On the days when I don't....not so good.  I know part of the drama is due to the fact that we have two temple endowments coming up and one missionary to send out now, and one in two months.  Always, for us, the principle is whenever big spiritual milestones are ahead....we get extra drama to dissuade us from keeping things in spiritual order.  So sorry to the blogging world, but we are trying to keep our spiritual and emotional boats afloat and that requires balance and time.  Over the last few weeks, pretty much all of May, we have been working on keeping that balance and bringing things back into balance when we can see that the drama is out of harmony and we are all out of sorts.

Please excuse me, I have to get back to ........HEY!  Stop pouring syrup all over the floor......oh ya...and toddler drama.....BYE!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


photo credit:

Wow!  What a weekend!  I am not really sure where to start.  On Monday, we received word that Drew's aunt had passed away.  On Thursday, we drove 15 hours to be with family (just Drew and I).  On Friday, we went to the funeral, visited with family, and hung out.  Then drove home 15 hours on Saturday.  Sunday morning we got ready and went to church, got home, relaxed and pondered about the weekend.  Today we are back to real life.

I had a few reflections from the funeral.  First, you will need a little background.  Drew's aunt was in a rehabilitation center recovering from a back surgery.  Everything seemed to go fine, she just wasn't recovering as fast as they had hoped so they had moved her from the hospital to the rehab center.  Her daughter, who had had a different surgery happened to be her roommate.  Around 3 a.m Tuesday morning, her daughter noticed that her breathing sounded funny and called for the nurse.  Her mother had vomited and aspirated.  From that point on, her mother was in a coma.

Family flew in to be with their mother.  One son is a doctor.  For the next week, the family went through many tests trying to decide what had happened and why she wasn't waking up.  They tried many different things and avenues.  After a week without much medical explanations, they felt, unanimously that it was time for their wife/mother to cross the veil and they let her go.

Listening to their experiences during the funeral, I noticed several things.  One son in particular expressed significant lessons about the atonement that he had come to know personally through this trial.  He discussed his feelings at the beginning as 'insisting/demanding' that his mother get better and return to health.  Over several days, that turned to pleading, then to recognition, and finally realizing that his will was not the Lord's will and submitting his heart to what the Lord wanted.  His testimony was sweet and personal.  His lessons were deep, significant and soul-stretching. 

I marveled at the Lord's ability to teach each one of us different life lessons through this trial of our extended family.  He knows what is best for each and everyone of us.  Though we all experience the trial, our experiences of the trial are different, unique and individually tailored through our understanding, knowledge, and willingness to submit or not submit to the Lord's will.  Each of those individuals who were personally connected with Drew's aunt were touched differently by participating in her passing through the veil.  The lessons were personally tailored.

I think that often the point the Lord is trying to get across to us is the submission of our will. 

"The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give,’ … are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!"
                                                             Elder Neal A. Maxwell
                                                             Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24

When we allow our hearts to bend and yield to what we know He wants, that is when we truly grow and are ready to see with eternal eyes.  As long as we are fighting to do what we want and the way we want to do it, we are not in a place where humility and understanding can really grow.

For myself, I had my own learning lessons.  I felt prompted to write about my feelings.  So in my journal I penned how free I felt to get away.....away from my calling, away from the demands of motherhood, away from my responsibilities.  I realized in my writing that I felt like I was always living to serve others, that I felt pressed upon by the demands and responsibilities I had.  I wondered if I always felt like that.....yep, pretty much.  I wondered where the balance is because the scriptures teach us that when we lose ourselves in the service of God, we find ourselves.  There is a balance there and how come I did not feel really happy with all of my service??!  And then it hit me......

I have been waiting to be finished with what the Lord wants of me so I can do what I want to do.  I have been trying to ride the line of obedience just enough to have a time-table for my service, a time to do what the Lord wants, so I can get it over with and then do what I want to do.  Wow!!  Really??  That is in there in my heart?  I am not waiting on the Lord.  I have an agenda and I want to finish the Lord's agenda so I can get on with my own.  Ugly!  That is not the program.  So this is the lesson I am suppose to be learning right now?? 

The Lord has his own time-table.  The lessons are uniquely tailored to me, just as yours are to you.  In case you are wondering, they will extend over my entire mortality, even until the end and I cross through the veil myself.  There will be no getting done with the Lord's agenda so I can move onto my own.  I have my own 'heart' work to do.  It is time for me to submit my will to His.  Now that I consciously know that, I have to apply it.  Application is so much more difficult than theory.  Wish me luck and just plain pray for me.....I am not really good at letting go of my agenda.

In the meantime, I am sure the Lord will find a way to help me learn to submit if I do not chose to do so on my own.  I am grateful for the time we had with my sweet husband's family even if our gathering was to mourn our loved one.  I know we will see her again, and I look forward to that reunion.