Sin keeps man from prayer, but prayer keeps man from sin.
I am loving my church calling again. 
I have been in Primary for over 3 years now.  I was the pianist for about 14 months, and then I have been the chorister for the last 2 years. 
Last year, I was really struggling by the time the program was over.  I just was really annoyed with the children and they were bugging me a lot.  Even some of the teachers were starting to bug me. 
I had talked to our Primary President about midway through the year and told her that I was getting burned out.  I wanted to finish out the year, but after that I was done.
Well, I never heard anything in December about being released.  I finally talked to the Primary President and she told me the Bishop had no intention of releasing me. 
I’ll be honest with you.  I went home and cried.  I didn’t want to be in there anymore.  I was a little bitter for a couple of weeks.  And then I decided that I needed an attitude change.  I wasn’t getting released, so I could either have a bad attitude and be miserable, or I could change my attitude.
I chose to change my attitude, and I am so glad that I did.  I am having so much fun again!  The children are responding really well and have learned the song so good.  And have I mentioned how much I love the song we have been learning this month?  :-)
I have put my kids and husband first in so many things.  Dental work, clothes, haircuts, etc.  I have put myself on the back burner so many times.
My mom taught me that we need to take care of ourselves too.  She always took care of herself with her hair and makeup done.  She always looked nice.  When she went out shopping, even just to the grocery store, she would change her shirt to a nicer shirt. 
So where did I fall astray?  At this very moment, I need to color my hair, I need a haircut, and my clothes...well, I need some nice shirts...not just the cheap ones I buy when they are on clearance. 
I need to take of myself.  I started this by going to the dentist last week and taking care of 2 crowns that I have needed for over 1 1/2 years. 
I need to take care of me.  And if I have to use the credit card, so be it. 
Because I am important too. 
Remember when I blogged about our candy chains last year?
I know I took all the pictures down, but they weren't the important pictures. I finally remembered to take pictures this year.
Aren't they cute? I love it even better because this year, everyone got on board with doing patterns. And then I bought full size candy bars for the top. This is such a fun way for the kids to see how many days are left until Christmas.
Everyone wants to be told that they are pretty, or smart, or nice. Even more, we want to be told that we are good moms, and that we are doing a great job with our children, or with our lives.

I couldn't think of anything better for my 400th post than to tell you all that you are doing a great job, and that I love you all. Thank you for being a part of my life.

"The key to to let go of fear."

Roseanne Cash
Do you ever wonder if you are going to make it?  I mean, after you die, make it into the Celestial Kingdom and be truly happy through all eternity? 
I have struggled on a daily basis as to how I am doing with my life.  My Mom and Dad heard this talk and shared it with us, and I have to say that it gives me such hope!
This is taken from an address by Bruce R. McConkie, "The Probationary Test of Mortality."  Delivered at the University of Utah, January 10, 1982.
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We don't need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved.
You don't.
There's only been one perfect person, and that's the Lord Jesus.  But in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God and in order to pass the test of mortality, what you have to do is get on the straight and narrow path - thus charting a course leading to eternal life - and then, being on that path, pass out of this life in full fellowship.
I'm not saying that you don't have to keep the commandments. 
I'm saying you don't have to be perfect to be saved.
If you did, no one would be saved. 
The way it operates is this: You get on  the path that's named the "straight and narrow."  You do it by entering the gate of repentance and baptism.  The straight and narrow path leads from the gate of repentance and baptism, a very great distance, to a reward that's called eternal life. 
If you're on the path and pressing forward, and you die, you'll never get off the path.  There is no such thing as falling off the straight and narrow path in the life to come, and the reason is that this life is the time that is given to men to prepare for eternity.
Now is the time and the day of your salvation, so if you're working zealously in this life - though you haven't fully overcome the world and you haven't done all you hoped you might do -
You don't have to do what Jacob said, "Go beyond the mark." You don't have to live a life that's true than true.  You don't have to have an excessive zeal that becomes fanatical and becomes unbalancing. 
What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church - keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the Lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. 
If you're on that path when death comes - because this is the time and the day appointed, this is the probationary estate - you'll never fall off from it, and, for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure.
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Wow!  It doesn't get much simpler than that!  I love it!  Go read the whole talk.  It is amazing.
Have you heard about Pandora Internet Radio?  I love this site!  I can play music that I like and don't have to listen to junk. 
LDS Media Talk did an article on it yesterday.  They describe so much better than I can. 
Here are my stations:
Judy Garland Radio
David Archuleta Radio
Bette Midler Radio
Bon Jovi Radio
The Lettermen Radio
Doris Day Radio
All I Ask of You Radio
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Radio
The Bangles Radio
Teen Angel Radio
You can play music just from one station, but they also have a quick mix button, so it mixes it up.  Where else can you hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing, and then the next song is by Bon Jovi, followed by The Lettermen? 
So I thought it would be fun to compare everyone's stations.  If you have Pandora, or go over to create it for the first time, come back and tell me your stations!
So I promised I would show you what I used my picture hanging strips for.  But first you need some back story.
I love pictures of my kids.  I love looking at them and remembering what was going on in the picture.  But scrapbooks aren't enough.  I wanted pictures around my house. 
The problem with that frames are expensive, and to get frames that match every time you buy them is nearly impossible.  So I have been stuck with random frames in various shades. 
Until now. 
Last year for Christmas, my parents gave us a really cute wall hanging, and I wanted to hang pictures on my wall, but I wanted the frames to match the wall hanging.  So I painted them black, and then sanded the edges to make them look old.  Here is how it turned out.
2010-01-17 21.56.36a
No, my kids are not albinos.  I have covered the faces in order to protect the innocent!  Now this is still a work in progress.  I want to put more there, but I was so happy with how it turned out!
After I took new pictures of my kids this last fall, I moved them to a different wall and wanted them to be more unified.  So I did the same thing...I painted them black and sanded the edges.  Here is the result.
2010-01-17 21.56.53a
However, this was such a pain to get them all exactly evenly spaced apart and the same height and such. And I am too OCD to let it be "wrong."
So now I had a whole empty wall in which to put up more "random" pictures of my kids, instead of the posed yearly pictures.  The Doctor went to the local thrift store (Deseret Industries) and bought me a whole bunch of frames for $1 each.  I painted them all black and got them ready to go.  They looked so cute!
But again, to try and hang a bunch of pictures and have them all level and where I wanted them was frustrating to even think about, let alone accomplish!
Then I saw the commercial for the picture hanging strips.  I nearly cried because I was so happy!  I found them at Joann's, and quickly put them to good use.  Below is the wall.  I used them on every frame there.
2010-01-17_16.13.12 a
This whole wall only took me 1/2 hour to put up.  I put my level on the frame as I stuck it on the wall and then just pressed it on.  I am in heaven, and I can't wait to get more frames to fill up the wall! 
Okay, I am not getting paid for this review, I am just letting you know about it because I am in love with it!
I have discovered an amazing product. These are "Removable Interlocking Fasteners," or as I call them, "picture hanging strips."

You stick them on the back of your frames, and then stick the frames on the wall where you want them.  And they stay there.  They hold with a kind of velcro stuff. 
If you need to level it, you just pull it apart from the wall and adjust and stick it back.  And when you want to take it down, you just take it off the wall and pull the adhesive part off the wall and you have no nail holes and no torn paint.  It is awesome! 
They have different sizes for different weights of frames.  The big ones will hold up to 10 pounds.  Cool!
I will show you tomorrow what I did with them.
You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
Okay, I found a bunch of "Random Dozen" questions, so until I can get my brain working, you get this.  Let's all hope that it doesn't last! 
1. On an average, how often do you splurge and buy something for yourself?
Does a slushy at the gas station count?  I get one of those about once a month.  But I do try to take care of myself.  I can't spend everything on the kids!
2. Are you more like Hall or Oates? Just kidding. Real question: What is the last creative project you began/finished? Feel free to post a pic of it.  
Hmmmm, oh, I know!  I love pictures and want pictures of my kids all around the house.  But frames are expensive and to try and get them all to match is impossible.  So I have started painting them all black, then sanding the edges a little to make them look antique.  They are all different sizes and styles, but because they have the same finish, they all look good together.
3. OK, Goldie Locks, do you consider your house too big, too little or juuuust right?
Oh, way too little.  We have outgrown it.  The bedrooms are squished, the family room is small, and don't get me started on the kitchen.  I just want a couple more feet in every room. 
4. What is your favorite outdoor chore? 
Walking from the air conditioned car to the air conditioned house.  I have allergies, and even just working in the garden (which I hate) makes them flare up.
5. If you knew that cigarette smoking was not bad for your health but would be a weight loss tool, would you use it? Why or why not?
Um, so it's not bad for you and it will help you lose weight?  I don't see the dilemma here!
6. On a road trip, would you rather drive or ride?
Ride.  Or rather, sleep.  I can fall asleep in the car driving from my house to Walmart, which is like 4 minutes away.  I read somewhere that when you lay down to sleep at night, if it takes you less than 15 minutes to fall asleep, you are sleep deprived.  It takes me around 30 seconds!
7. What do you consider a trivial pursuit?
;-) A game that very few people know the answers to.  Unless you are playing "Star Wars" trivial pursuit with my husband, and then he knows EVERY SINGLE ANSWER! Not kidding.  I played with him once. 
8. How long do you watch a movie or read a book before giving up on it?
It depends on if we are watching the movie at home or at the theater.  At the theater, I give a much longer time because I paid a lot more money!  At home, if I get bored, I just get out my computer and listen to the movie.  A book is different because even if it is stupid, I have to know how it ends.  I read "Frankenstien" and I hated, hated it, but I had to finish it!  It was so annoying!
9. Is there a song that you really love but are embarrassed to admit because it's not cool or it's racy or because it's by Hall and Oates?
I love Donny Osmond.  I love most of his songs too.  I will sing them out at the top of my voice around the house.  In my dreams, I have married Donny before!
10. On a scale of 1-10 (10 = extremely) how spontaneous are you?
-5.  I like schedules.  I like knowing what is going to happen.  I even have a hard time when the kids ask to have a friend over because it was not something I was planning on!
11. Are you a food and/or beverage snob?
Nope.  I like my food bland.  Meat and potatoes.  And I drink water.  I rarely drink pop.  I never drink caffeine. 
12. Who/What are you trying to control in your life?
I try to control everything.  If everyone would just let me control how they dress and act and what they do, my life would be so much easier.  That is my biggest struggle with my teenagers...letting go and letting them make their own choices. 
Well there you go.  I would love to hear your answers to these questions.  Just copy and paste and then put the link in the comments.  This could become a regular thing!
I literally have nothing to say. I am completely blank. I have been trying for days to think of something interesting to blog about.


I don't even have the thoughts to do a random post. Or a meme.

Hopefully I will break out of this funk and find something to write about.

I know...why do women shave/pluck their eyebrows off and then draw them back in with a pencil? And badly! I just think they look ridiculous!

Yeah, I'm going to bed.
Once obedience becomes a quest rather than an obstacle, then we begin to gain real power.
Last night for Family Home Evening, we were reading “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
We got to the point where we were talking about the duties of the father and the mother. We talked about how the duties of the father is to preside over his family and provide for them. The Princess piped up and said, “Just like that song.” She was referring to “My Eternal Family” that we learned last year in Primary.
We then talked about how a mother’s job is to nurture the children and take care of them. She piped up again and said, “That’s in the other verse!” She remembered what she had been taught and was able to pull from that. I totally started crying.
It makes me feel so good as both her mother and as her Primary chorister to know that she is listening and applying it.
So this is post #393. I am approaching 400. I feel old.

But I feel old in many other ways.

I feel old because I am married to a man who is 40. Forty! That just seems so old to me! But don't remind me of this when I turn 40 in 3 years. That would just be cruel.

I feel old because in my mind, I am only 19. But when I look in the mirror, some fat chick with wrinkles is staring back at me. Surely she is just dressed up for Halloween, but I know even costume makers would have a hard time creating that.

I feel old because I have a 16 year old son. He will be going on his mission in 3 years. I have less than 3 years to teach him how to iron, sew on a button, and cook more than just ramen or mac and cheese!

I feel old because I now have 2 teenagers. How did that happen?

I feel old because all my children are in school. For 3 glorious hours a day, I can do whatever I want (well, not really because I have to work). But I could do whatever I wanted. And no one would need me. There are some days that the house is too quiet. Not too often, but there are.

I feel old because I think a minivan is cool. I love my minivan! It has front and back heat controls, DVD player with wireless headphones, and even another power adapter in the back for charging Nintendo DS's while we are traveling! Yeah, I'm pathetic.

I feel old because I lose track of what I was saying. At least I don't drop off to sleep in the middle of a sentence yet.

I feel old becauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
"...if God had commanded me to do all things, I could do them."

2 Nephi 17:50
Tomorrow in Primary, I will be teaching a new song. "I Know That My Savior Loves Me"

I am so in love with this song. However, there is something wrong.

I have yet to be able to sing this song without crying. Falling into a blubbery mess would be more accurate. It is so beautiful and fills me with hope.

A long time ago in a beautiful place,
Children were gathered 'round Jesus.
He blessed and taught as they felt of His love.
Each saw the tears on His face.
The love that He felt for His little ones
I know He feels for me.
I did not touch Him or sit on His knee,
Yet, Jesus is real to me.

I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.

Now I am here in a beautiful place,
Learning the teachings of Jesus.
Parents and teachers will help guide the way,
Lighting my path ev'ry day.
Wrapped in the arms of my Savior's love,
I feel His gentle touch.
Living each day, I will follow His way,
Home to my Father above.

I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.
I know that my Savior loves me.

Here is a link to the music if you want to hear it. I Know That My Savior Loves Me

Isn't that beautiful? Now imagine 75 children singing that out with all their hearts. I will never make it through!
For Christmas, I got a beautiful set of square dishes. Navy and burgundy. They are so pretty! And square glasses (real glass glasses...I haven't had glass glasses for...I can't remember the last time I had glass glasses!). I am really excited to use them. But...I can't use them until Sunday.

Why, you ask?

I'll tell you why, but we have to go back 5 years.

December 2004. The Princess was 4 months old and I was feeling slightly overwhelmed. My birthday is December 19th. For my birthday, my sister gave me paper plates and bowls, plastic cups and silverware. She said she wanted me to have a break from doing dishes for a couple of weeks. My initial reaction was, "Really?" But as I used them, I discovered the beauty of the gift. I didn't have to do dishes! I didn't have to get mad at the kids for not doing them right. I didn't have to do anything. Just throw away. That Christmas break was so lovely!

This year I decided to do it again. It really didn't cost that much, and it gives both me and my children a break. I want to relax during Christmas break too. So we have 1 more day, and then Sunday, we get back to using dishes. And I am really excited because I then I get to use my new square dishes!