Saturday, May 31, 2014

Family First Friday (on Saturday) Busy, Busy, Busy #20

Life has just been very, very busy.  But here are a few of the things we have been doing.

Sport's Graduations (college and high school):

Now that those are out of the way :-)

Sun has her Spring Review Show tonight.  Because she is singing a solo, she gets to wear whatever she wants for her solo.  She had nothing that she felt comfortable wearing.  So we dug through the fabric piles and found some materials that would work.  I have been busily sewing for the past week and would have been finished a while ago, except my sweetest little son spilled yellow nail polish all over the skirt I was sewing, so we had to start over.  Since then, I have been pumping out the next skirt and shirt especially the past three days.  But!!!  Last night at 11:30, I finished the outfit.  Hopefully, I'll get to video her performance tonight and then put it up here on the blog.  Then you can see my magnificent sewing skills (NOT).  But you can see what I did and hopefully hear my beautiful daughter.  If it doesn't work, then Oh well!

And, my dear friend called me yesterday in my mad sewing place and said, "Do you want to pick my raspberries? They are falling off of the plants and I don't have time to do it or do anything with them."  So I sent the boys over yesterday to pick.  And pick they did!  Now I have tons of raspberries to do something with.  Luckily they freeze pretty well and fairly easily, so they can wait until next week.

Also, next week, Slim arrives home.  Currently he is traveling across the country visiting a few peoples here and there.  Next weekend I have to go and pick him up. 

With all the extra men, there has been a lot of extra cooking, and we had a death in the ward, so there is that business also.  The funeral is on Monday and the death was expected.  Also, on Thursday, we got a phone call that one of the ward members was in the emergency room, a home teachee of my sweetheart.  When we arrived there, the missionaries were there.  One of their companions fell off his bicycle and broke his arm.  One of our other ward members was there.  He had just brought his mother-in-law in because they thought she had experienced a stroke.  And we had another ward member there who had had two surgeries earlier in the week.  So there has also been lots of visiting others and doing what we can to help them.

You can see, things are a little chaotic.  But things are happening.  Life is moving forward.  Now we just have to really focus and get Sun's class finished off completely.  That will be the focus for the next week.  Wish us luck!

Monday, May 26, 2014

I have a scanner!!!

(I missed Family First Friday, I  know!!)

Woohoo!!!  I have wanted a scanner for quite a while, just because we have photos that I have no other copies of other than the original print.  Like this one:
This is the only photo I have of my father's parents, Melvin Cleo (Bill) and Dorothy Rosella Bryant.   (The little people are my brother David [baby] and me.)  Don't you just love the green paper on the ends??!!  And the tapestry on the wall---I think my mother still has that.

But I am so excited to upload some of these photos on Family Tree!!!

In fact, in researching some of my ancestry and evaluating some genealogy my mother sent me, I learned that her side of the family, in fact, is descended from the Chief of the Wampanoag Federation of Indians, Massassoit.  He is THE Indian who had the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims.  Oh!  Ya!  That Indian!  There is a statue of him:
See the resemblance?!!

Nope?  Me either!  Oh well!

I think he is actually the Indian on BYU's campus!  Maybe?  Maybe next time I am there I am going to have to have a photo with that statue!!  So cool!  Anyway, even cooler than that, one of the women who just moved into my ward is also a descendant of Massassoit!  We can trace both of our lines back to him and we can see where our families branched off!  I have to say that I was just a wee bit jealous knowing that her relatives actually went to Kirtland and helped to build the temple there and my ancestors didn't have the gospel until my grandmother Dorothy (above) accepted the gospel when my father was baptized and married my mother.

But I was also able to scan in this little gem:
These are my great grandparents, Dorothy's parents.  I knew them for such a short while.  My great grandmother died when I was 11, and my great grandfather was killed in an automobile accident when I was 13.  Don't you just LOVE his hair???!!  And the bow tie, so sheik!

My other scanning treasure, also a family history jewel.  I guess on my mother's side, there is a coat of arms.  No kidding!  Kind of strange, I know.  But here it is:
I scanned it in straight, but when I color corrected it, for some reason, it slanted it.  So weird.  It didn't seem to matter even if I tried to scan it in crooked.  That just made it worse.  My girl friend who is also apparently my cousin many, many times removed, said that each of those symbols on the coat of arms have a meaning.  So I started doing a little research.  Not everyone agrees on what the symbols mean, but I did find out that those little birds are called 'Martlets'--footless sparrows, which are a symbol of the fourth son (mark of difference) that may signify one who has to subsist by virtue or merit, not inheritance.  Well, that's nice to know, and still very, very true today.  Yep, that part fits.  The belt across the front is called a Fess.  It is a military belt or girdle of honor, representing readiness to serve the public.  That fits me too.

As far as the scrolly plant stuff??  No clue.  Don't know about the helmet thingy either.  Or the three rings, or why there are three swallows.....

Any thoughts on your end?

Well, anyway, it is a cool thing. I am enjoying it and I can upload these things to Family Tree (as soon as I figure out that) and then someone who is related to me will have more information to work with.

Those are my ramblings about how fun Family History can be.  I really do enjoy it and I like finding things out about my family and the people who came before me and paved the way that I can enjoy the life I have.  I find it a particular and sacred honor to be able to go to the temple and perform eternal ordinances for them so they may have the blessings of the gospel, if they so wish.

That is the wonderful thing that I think some people do not understand.  Yes, we do perform ordinances for and in behalf of people who have left mortality.  However, we do not believe that because we have done that that the people whose work has been completed are now members of our church or our religion.  We believe that these ordinances are necessary for each and every person ever born.  However, we also believe each person has their agency.  If they do not want to accept the work that has been done for them, they do not have to accept it.  It is their choice.  On this side of mortality, we do not usually know if they accept it or not.  But we do the work, so it is available if they want it and are worthy of it.

So that's a little bit different.  Anyway, now that I have rambled on and on, I may go scan some more stuff!  Have a great Memorial Day as we remember those who have gone before us and paved the way for us to enjoy the lives we do!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Lord is in the Details

I wish I was an amazingly consistent blogger who you could always count on to post something inspirational every day, that my posts would go viral and my readership would just soar through the roof.  But alas, I do sin in my wish.  I'm just an average, ordinary person with a life and a family and oh, did I tell you I have nine children?
This is what I want the world to think it looks like. 
is more often

the reality of

how it is.

I would like to think that as they have left the house and grown up that my mothering job is done.  Not so.  On occasion, I am more needed, and usually more urgently.  When the big boys (because my only daughter is not there yet) call and need me, it is usually because they have exhausted all of their other resources and their time is critical, and it usually involves money.  But that's OK, because we have all been there right?

Have you ever noticed that the Lord does that for us too?

Just today I was stressing because with extra boys at home, there are no leftovers.  The things I plan for meals just do not seem to stretch as far and I am functionally feeding four and a half men three meals every day.  In another month, it will be five men (for a week, then two will leave).  But the point is, I do my grocery shopping on Thursdays and it is Tuesday afternoon and the fruit basket is empty, the eggs are gone, some of the condiments are out, the refrigerator is looking like bachelors live here, you know what I mean.  (I can see how badly the fridge needs to be cleaned.  It is that empty!)

As I put on the beans to cook for dinner tonight and realized that I didn't have enough left in the bucket to feed everyone tonight, I didn't think it would be such a big deal because I always have a bucket of beans somewhere.  So I searched through the food storage cupboards.  Nothing.  I looked in all of my buckets.  Couldn't find any more.  As I was starting to panic, I had the thought, just keep looking in the food storage.  OK.  I have checked my cupboards.  The only place left is the garage.  I think I only have 30 year old wheat out there.  But, true to the prompting, I went out.

I looked in my pile of wheat bags, not yet put into buckets.  No beans.  I stared at the shelves and shelves of someone's weathered and aged #10 cans that came to our house because someone couldn't bear to throw out their 30 year old food storage and neither could my spouse (we might need that someday you know?  We are still working on his ability not only to declutter, but not to bring it home in the first place.  I throw out more things that way........SSSSSHHHHHH!!  Did I say that out loud?)

What did I see?  Some shiny #10 cans mixed in with the weathered ones.  I got closer so that I could read the label.   BEANS!!!  Sweet!  6 cans of beans!!  I recognized that they were older, not 30 years old, though.  When I opened them the seal broke.  That's good, I thought.  Inside were red, black and pinto beans, our favorites!  Hip hip hooray!!  I didn't even know they were in our house, but the Lord knew.  Kind of like that feeling I get when I know one of those big boys is going to call and ask us to transfer money to help them cover something (not like toys, or entertainment, I'm talking food, rent, getting home, you know, the important stuff).

I was just so very, very grateful that the Lord knows us, loves us, and will do what He can (and what we will let Him) to help us.  And as we help one another, like Drew and I do for the boys and Tams, and the other kiddos, we answer each others' prayers and we become angels employed in the service of our God.  "As ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  And King Benjamin's amazing address:  "...I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."
copyright:  Karen Larsen photography
(Even when it rains, there is beauty)
So even, no especially, when our service may be limited to feeding, clothing, bathing, wiping noses, and bottoms and soothing hurt feelings, for little people or big people or one person, we are making a contribution to the work of the kingdom.  Some day those little people are going to grow into big people, (who need money) and love and attention, and sometimes advice, but sometimes just a listening and sympathetic ear.

Yea to the Lord for putting us into the service of one another, through families, or church, or neighborhoods, or work or whatever.  We are truly brothers and sisters of the same Father, who even cares about beans for dinner tonight!

Friday, May 16, 2014

In the Trenches!--Family First Friday #19

While I was at Slim's graduation, I had plenty of time to contemplate life and the cosmos.  As I relished in the quiet and the lack of people demanding my attention and time, enjoyed having all of my meals prepared for me, someone else cleaning the bathroom and cleaning up after dinner, not worrying about laundry or housework or children or service to those who live by me or homework, I just soaked in the solitude.  I drank deeply of the peace that surrounded me.
this is where I had breakfast every morning!

Don't get me wrong, I love people!  But the older I get, the more I enjoy solitude.  Maybe it is because I have so little of it.  I love sitting in the morning sun, watching nature around me as the world wakes up.  The warmth of early morning sunrise, the smell of the new day----time to be alone with my thoughts, time to commune with God, my Father in Heaven.  Oh Solitude!  Thy name is Peace! Envelop me in tranquility!

And yet, even though that joy fills my heart, where is the service?  Where is the growth?  Where is the assistance to my fellow man?

There is a lot to be said for helping one another to claw and scrape through daily mortal mire, to hear the lament and tales of another, to problem solve, and to comfort and assist, to bear another's burden, or at least assist in the process.  That brings us humanity, charity, closer to our eternal goals and becoming of the Christ-like character we hope to emulate.

Those ties and demands upon us----the children, a spouse, parents, neighbors---those relationships keep us real, keep us grounded, hone our appetites, desires, and passions as we make sacrifice for one another.  Those ties that bind----that is reality.  Continued solitude is selfishness---necessary on occasion, but too much is good for neither man nor woman.

As I sat around pondering for those four days, I recognized that the life I was participating in at that moment was all fluff.  It was not a thing of eternity.   I wasn't doing anything that was going to help anyone else reach their exaltation.  In  that moment, I recognized that the true battles are won and lost in the home, doing the mundane, the things I do every single day, that is where the fight is won and lost, in the trenches of motherhood.  I was up to my eyeballs in that scenario.

It was good to get some perspective and to receive a little grounding.  For I have been exhausted and quite weary in well-doing.  I have been thinking that the grass IS greener on the other side and I have been ready for quite a while, to jump ship and go build Zion somewhere else.  The truth of the matter though, is that my 'exhausted in Zion building' syndrome would follow me, being that the magnitude of my work, I live with.  So living somewhere else with a few different people, but all of the important and significant and exhausting ones living within the walls of my home, really wasn't going to change anything, except that I would probably have more stress because these darling children of mine would be more discombobulated because of a move.  Lovely, how I would create my own drama!  Oy!

So this great morning, I was reading my Doctrine and Covenants, and came across this scripture:

Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.

As tired as I am, I am laying the foundation of a great work!  I know that.  But sometimes foundation building is just exhausting.  I mean seriously, when all you do all day is go around slapping down cement and fitting two by fours for the erection of some major house, it is hard to get excited about what the gardens are going to look like, everything is always gray!

Listening to Elder Ballard's CES address this month also helped my perspective and taught me where I can go to strengthen my perspective and how to tune my spirit into the spiritual reality and significance of what I am doing.

He said as he was sharing part of the dedicatory prayer of the new Arizona temple, in effect:

[All temples] are a "a sanctuary of serenity, a refuge from the storms of life, and the noise of the world.  May [the temple] be a house of quiet contemplation, concerning the eternal nature of life and Thy divine plan for us."

Then he continued his personal remarks (speaking to the young adults):

"Satan is working overtime to confuse God's sons and daughters and divert the very elect from fulfilling their duty and receiving a fulness of the Lord's blessings.  Satan wants you to stop practicing good habits you learned on your missions, such as having daily scripture study, praying daily, worthily partaking of the sacrament weekly and giving genuine heartfelt service.  He also wants you to stand on the sidelines in today's important crucial battles.

Remember my dear young people, we at at war!  But not a war of guns and bullets.  Nevertheless, the war is real, with countless human casualties.  The war is in fact a continuation of the one that began in the premortal world existence.

Paul invited us to put on the whole armor of God, he said, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

As an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I invite all of you within the sound of my voice in the vast world that we now live in to put on the whole armor of God and join the battle today, like the sons of Helaman did so many years ago.  Don't wait until you get married, or start your life long career or get older.  The church needs our youth now!  The Lord needs you now!....

You will recall 2000 stripling warriors entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites.  The church needs modern stripling warriors who have made a covenant to stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things and in all places...

You young men and women are the modern sons and daughters of Helaman.  May it be said of you as it was said of them, they became now at this period of time, a great support....."

And guess what?  You and I are their parents, those who were so strong in the conviction of their repentance and love for the Savior, that they buried the weapons of their rebellion, never to pick them up again, but to lose their lives first.

We need to set that kind of example for our modern stripling warriors.  We need to remind them every day of who they are, what they are to do, and why they are to do it.  This is our battle as much as it is theirs.  We are at war.  And we are in the trenches of mortality, where the battles for the souls of men are won and lost.  May we be true to our stewardship and not diverted from our duty!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day!

Yes, I know it's a little late, but whatever!  Things are just busy here and I cannot always keep up.  (Just ask the kids or Drew about the laundry......................)

So my sweet little ones, and the not so little ones, showered me with gifts on Mother's day.  I received personally made stationery and pens, notes of appreciation, stuffed animals, silhouette necklaces, breakfast, cards, and phone calls.

It was kind of interesting trying to speak with our missionaries, as both phone calls/skype came in during church.  The one in Brazil, we couldn't manage making changes to mostly because the scheduling is a little tighter in the MTC on Mother's Day.  For us, church starts at 1.  The phone call was suppose to come in at 2.  So after the intermediate hymn, the counselor conducting made the announcement that he would be the concluding speaker, but that wasn't the reason the Bishop and all of his family were leaving.  He explained our circumstances to the congregation, and we left.  I was already in the foyer with Spike, because during the sacrament, he kept yelling "NO!" at the top of his lungs.

We tried to skype with our missionaries.   After 15 minutes of trying to get skype to work from Brazil, we finally gave up and used the cell phone.  Scuff only got to talk to us for 10 minutes before they were telling him he needed to go or be late for the devotional.  We were only expecting 15 minutes anyway, as there are plenty of missionaries in the MTC or the CTM as they say in Brazil, who want to speak to their mothers.

We then made our way back to the chapel.  If we lived farther away, that would have never worked.  I got there just in time to do my sharing time in primary, and made my presentation to the junior primary.  Then I did it again for the senior primary and left again about 20 until 4, grabbed Spike out of nursery, and Sun out of young women's, and let the Bishop know we were on our way home for the 4 o'clock skype with Tammy.  Her call came in a little late.  If we had known that, we could have stayed for the rest of our block.  We had a great conversation!  We love her!  She is doing so well and looks so good and so happy!

We finished off with Tams, and then Drew and I headed back to the chapel to take in the Spanish sacrament meeting.  That has been kind of funny.  It is just a small, small group, but the entire meeting is in Spanish.  I had a whopping one year of high school Spanish and my husband is fluent in German.  So we are there mostly to support the other bishop, who speaks Spanish fluently, conducts the entire meeting, blesses the sacrament, and is usually the speaker.  It reminds me of the year we spent in Oklahoma where we attended a branch of the church.  I felt like the same people spoke all the time.  Oh wait!  That's because they did!  Those of us who only have to speak every few years, really have nothing to complain about!

Anyway, that was our Mother's Day!  I hope you had a great one too!  See you on Friday!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Graduation Report

My trip to Virginia was amazing!  It was beautiful!  I love that area---so gorgeous!  Of course, all of the two times I have been there have been in May, so what can you expect?
Here is where I was.
It was such a rewarding experience to watch my first son graduate from college---especially this son---the one who didn't want to learn to read, and decided as a first grader that he just was never going to do it.  Oy!  That was awful!   Because Slim was my first reading student, I decided that if it was this difficult to teach kids to read, no one at my house would be reading.  It was not that difficult to teach kids to read.  It was that difficult to teach SLIM to read---very different things.  And what did the man graduate in?  English Literature, with creative writing and philosophy minors.  The man reads a......l........l...... .......t.....h.......e.............t.......i.......m......e!

The flights over I spoke with Gary from Australia, who was on his way to Indiana to visit his in-laws, has seven sons and plays the trumpet!  We had a really fun conversation about boys, the crazy things they do growing up, and then he showed me his 'traveling trumpet' that was the only carry-on luggage he had.  It was so fun and so cute!  My final flight into Virginia landed in Roanoke at 10:30 p.m.  There was a couple there who, while waiting for their carry-on luggage, were holding their sleeping sons, probably about 3 and 4, so their arms were totally full!  I decided to ask them if they needed help.  They politely told me that they didn't speak English.  I asked what language did they speak?  Portuguese!  I told them my son who was meeting me at the airport speaks Portuguese!  Then I followed them to baggage claim and took their carry-on luggage.  When I got down the stairs, there was Spanky.  I hugged him, told him I needed his brother and sent him back to the car to wait and send in Slim.  Slim came in and immediately started chatting away in Portuguese.  I offered to hold one of the boys while the father went and got their 3 giant suitcases and the stroller, all the while Slim spoke with the wife.  Then we helped them get their sleeping boys and luggage to their rental car.  And to boot, they are both lawyers.  It was sweet and they were very grateful for the help.

Wednesday I spent all day running around on campus and meeting all of Slim's friends and professors, with Drew's dad and Spanky.  It was really fun and they all adored our son.  Of course, I will not remember any of their names, but that's OK.  Wednesday evening, they held a banquet for the Seniors.  It was nice to have the Seniors recognized for their accomplishments.  The highlight of the evening however, was that we were two table away from Southern Virginia's commencement speaker for graduation, Sister Elaine S. Daulton.  She has been one of my personal heroines for as long as I can remember!  I have loved every speech I have heard her give!  She served as the General Young Women's President from 2008 to 2013.  Before that, she was the counselor to Sister Tanner from 2002 to 2008.

Typically, I do not approach the general leadership of the church when they are anywhere around.  This has been my practice mostly because I know they meet with thousands and thousands of people and I do not want to add to their weight.  But with Spanky's encouragement, I went forward.  I thanked her and her husband for their service and sacrifices to the work.  And guess what?  We even got a photo:
Sister Daulton also participated on BYU's folk dance team, which Spanky currently performs with, so there was this one:
That was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.

Thursday was graduation.  Slim was more than ready.  Graduation was held just outside of Main Hall.  Spanky was there early enough that we got really good seats, though we weren't in the shade, so I got sunburned.  It was a beautiful ceremony, a little long though.  Sister Daulton's address was amazing and once again I took notes, as tears streamed down my face, the Spirit acknowledging to me the truth of what she was saying.

Slim cried as the honor choir sung their final number, Shenandoah, with the current, graduating, and former choir members.

Don't you just love that tree?  I sat right behind it.  However, I could see the speakers as long as someone wasn't standing to the left of the tree trying to get a photo of the speaker.  After graduation, we had a little meet and greet on the back lawn with tons of yummy food.  Then we went out to lunch because Slim and Dad didn't eat at the meet and greet, but Spanky and I did.  Oy!

Thursday evening we went to Monticello, the famous home of Thomas Jefferson.  We got there too late for a tour of the house, but did manage to walk around the grounds.  It was beautiful and really neat to walk around a home built during that time period and see how they lived and worked and stored things.  As we got back into town, we were starving.  We found where we wanted to go on the GPS and headed over there.  When we arrived, the restaurant had closed.  It would have been nice if that had been on the GPS.  We walked around town and found a place to eat.  Who happened to be there?  Why, President Sybrowsky and his wife, Brother and Sister Daulton, and another couple (I'm thinking it was the Knights, who are the benefactors of the University, but I'm not sure).  We let them enjoy their meal and we didn't interrupt them.

Friday morning we packed it up, drove to the airport.  As we pulled up to the curb, Brother and Sister Daulton were just leaving their automobile to head into the airport.  I kind of felt like we were stalking them without trying to do so.  Weird.  Then as we went through security, the Daultons were right behind us, again.

The flights home were uneventful, but long. Well, with the one exception that as I was waiting to board my flight in DC, I turned around and saw Mitt Romney sitting on the chairs behind me.  I left my luggage in line, and went to thank him for running for office last year.  I was obviously bothering him, so that was all I said, and no photo.  But I shook his hand.

 I was really, really done with flying by the time I got home.  And since I got up at 6:30 a.m Eastern time, by the time I arrived home, 10:30 p.m. Pacific time, I was exhausted!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Family First Friday #18--Going home!

Well, by the time you read this post, I should be well on my way home.  It is a little crazy thinking that you can fly across the country and back again within the same week.  I am so grateful for the day and age in which we live.  As much as I enjoyed graduation and Virginia, I am a West Coast girlie.  I cannot wait to get home to the redwood trees and the beaches that I love.

Do you feel that way too?  Not so much about the land, but about people, your people.  I am glad to go home to my people.  There is nothing like being away to help you recognize how much you love and enjoy what and who you have.  My husband is amazing!  He is an amazing man!  I could not do what I do without him!!  Right before I left, he told the children, "No one is going anywhere while mother is away.  No friends, no outings, no staying late after school.  While your mother is away, we are all in survival mode, because without her we cannot survive!"

It was sweet, to be sure, and it made my heart sing to think that he feels that way.  But the truth is, he could survive without me.  It would be difficult and require a lot of growth and thinking and planning differently but they could do it.  I have faith in them!!  But I am also glad that I do not have to.  I really do love my people.  They are MY people, as much as I struggle with all of their attitudes and tantrums.  (Because we all have them right?!)

I am so very excited for Mother's Day!!!  I get two missionary phone calls!  I love seeing how much their experiences are helping them to grow (missionary, college, marriage--on the horizon-----all of it!).  Motherhood is the hardest, and best thing I have ever done with my life.  On days like Mother's Day, or this trip, where I have time to sit back and really take inventory of the gifts and the people the Lord has blessed me with, I just stand in awe that I have been allowed to be a part of it in some small way (in the case of my children and my spouse, in a large way).  I get to see them in just a few hours!

I imagine that is how our Father in Heaven feels about us, except more.  He is so excited for each of us to 'write our letter home' through that phone conversation we call prayer.  And when it is our time to cross the veil and return to see Him, I'll bet He is excited to see us, even if we aren't so excited to see Him.  He has a little the advantage, I would think, with a constant video cam into our lives and thoughts, but I'll bet the physical separation is still very real to Him and He is glad to have each and everyone of us Home!

Home is not imaginary, it is real.  Those who proclaim that all homes are the same, two mothers or two fathers doesn't matter to the child, they just have not experienced the true power that comes from one man and one woman committed to each other, their children and God.  There is safety there.  There is peace.  There is joy.  That is what each of us is trying to create, to the very best of our ability.  With the Lord's help, we can do that.  It will not be perfect, but it will be as close as we can get until we reach the other side of the veil.

If you haven't read this book---Daughter of a King,, then you should!  It is one of my very, very favorites and reminds each and every one of us of our purposes here in mortality and the feelings we will have when we return Home!

This CD is awesome too (by Jenny Phillips)!

I will try to post this week all about my trip and visits with my two oldest children (now grown men....sheesh ........they do that fast!).

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Busy, busy month of May!

The other day I realized that May is my busiest month, ever!  It is crazy the things we have done over the past years in the month of May:

  • 2009  Slim graduated high school and jr. college
  • 2010  Spanky graduated high school and jr. college, Slim left on his mission
  • 2011  (Spanky left for his mission in August---so I think we were finding out where he was going in     May?)  Also, I was in my 6 month of pregnancy with our eighth son.  I was trying to remember why this May would have been busy??  Then I remembered that this is when I had to start doing weekly non-stress tests with the pregnancy because I was of 'advanced maternal age'-----lovely!  It was busy!
  • 2012  Slim comes home from his mission, Scuff receives his Eagle Scout, graduates from high school, and jr. college; we had to finish off Speedy's home schooling stuff.
  • 2013  Scuff leaves for his mission; finish off Speedy's home schooling stuff for 8th grade; Spanky came home in August.
  • 2014  Finish off Sun's home schooling stuff (7th grade); attend Slim's graduation (SVU--bachelor's degree!!); Sport graduates high school and jr. college and it leaving for BYU Provo in June; and now the engagement (though that doesn't require much on my part today, except anticipated stress for the future :-)
  • 2015  Scuff should be coming home from his mission and at some point between now and then, I will have a new daughter-in-law!  And Sport will probably be leaving for his mission.
Crazy, huh??  I think I had better just not plan anything extra in May
May the flowers be with you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I'm OFF!!

I am on my way to Virginia today!!  Hip, hip hooray!!!  Slim is receiving his Bachelor's Degree on Thursday!  I cannot believe I have a child old enough to be graduated from college!  I'm trying to get together my Family First Friday post so you will have it to read even though I will be flying home from Virginia!

So many crazy stories!  Wish my sweet husband luck as he tries to manage all the children, dinner, scouts, music classes, laundry, extra obnoxious things, like blowing a fuse in the house (that happened to me on Friday morning---only it wasn't a house fuse, it was the electricity coming into the house! I had to have PG&E come and fix it, after I paid the electrician!), unexpected guest (oh---he probably won't do that because they all stop by while he is at work).

Anyway, I am sure the children will have story after story to tell me when I return.  Good luck family!  I love you!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Family First Friday #17 Mixing it up!

This week we have had gorgeous weather!!  We rarely have gorgeous weather!  It was not hot but by our standards, it was a scorcher (sorry to all of you who actually experience HOT weather!).  The temperature actually reached 82 degrees!  Some people said it was 86---it was not 86, 82?  Probably.  I didn't bother to look at a thermometer.  I just took people's word for it.

Because the weather rarely, if ever reaches 80 degrees here (remember we have coastal breezes because, well, we are on the coast), when it does, I pull the kids from whatever they are doing and we go to the beach.  (Seriously, maybe one day of the entire year it gets that warm!)  We take advantage of the moment and live!  My kids love it!  Currently, our car will only seat five, so only four of them get to go.  The bigger kids have been quite put out that we go to the beach without them.  If I had more seat belts, we would all go.

A few years ago (gosh, it's been more than five now), I pulled the bigger kids out and took them to lunch and then we didn't go back to school that day.  It was a really difficult thing for Sport at that point.  He was reluctant, but he finally came along.

We had so much fun at the beach!  I debated whether or not we really could manage it, as I had a ton to do that day and Wednesdays are my busiest day!  But how can you let a day like that go to waste??  We didn't get to stay as long as we would have like to, only about an hour at the beach.  But it was glorious!  We simply missed our dear friends who used to go with us!!  (Diana, Linzy, Nena, Heidi, know who you are!)  It was so much more fun when a group of us would do it and meet up there to just play and enjoy the most beautiful place where we live!

One mother in my primary presidency told me that she would pull her out once in a while to go and see a movie.  I just think that is great!  It doesn't happen every day or once a week or once a month----maybe once a school year, where I just pull them out to do something fun that we like to do as a family, play.  I wish we could pull Drew out of work, too.  Oh well, I guess someone has to be responsible.

And some day I am going to get a new digital camera to actually take photos of our adventures instead of relying on the few I can get with my phone.  But news to you!  My little toddler has figured out how to take photos on my phone.  He walks around every day taking fabulous photos of the carpet, the table, an elbow, it is awesome!  And he knows how to use the timer for the photo (I didn't know I had a timer for photos........).  He can also change the photos from color to black and white or negative (I didn't know it could do that either).  But whatever!  I'll attach some to this blog post so you can enjoy his photo art!

Here is my point today:  Do something fun and unexpected with your kids!!  Mix it up!  Something that speaks to their souls and says, "Hey!  I love you!  I am thinking about you!  I like spending time with you!  Let's PLAY!"  You will make their day!  I promise!
This is when he is my favorite and I love him the most!