On New Year’s Eve, I want you to kiss me.  Kiss me at 11:59 and do not finish that kiss until 12:01.  Therefore I have a perfect ending and definitely a perfect beginning.

We are brothers and sisters.  We are in this together.  We are not competing against each other, but against evil.

-John Bytheway

When you’re tempted to lose patience with someone, think how patient God has been with you all the time.

Today is my 39th birthday.  I’m not telling you this to get attention.  I am telling you this because it marks an even more important occasion.  I was married on June 19, 1992, which just happened to be my half birthday. I was 19 1/2. Today I have been married for exactly as long as I was single. 

It seems so surreal.  The first 19 1/2 years went by so slow.  The last 19 1/2 years have gone by in a flash.  And the fact that I have 4 children, including an 18 year old son, just blows my mind. 

My husband is my best friend.  We were friends first and love grew from that.  It grew quickly (we dated for 3 1/2 weeks before we were engaged), but we were friends before we started to date.  And that friendship has only deepened over the years. 

I’m not saying we haven’t had our differences.  We usually have one pretty big argument every year, and many small ones.  But we stick it out and don’t give up.  When he was out of work and depressed, there were days that I really thought we weren’t going to make it because I couldn’t stand to be around him. 

But because we have been sealed in the temple, we have added incentive to stay together.  We are together for all of eternity.  Not just ‘til death do you part, but for time and for all eternity.  It’s a wonderful thing.  We have each other forever. 

So tomorrow starts a new phase in my life.  I will have been in my husband’s house longer than I was in my parents’ house.  Weird. 

We simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another - or ourselves – so harshly. 

-Patricia Terry Holland

I love, love, love gift cards. 

I love to give them.  They are so nice when you want to get a gift for someone, but you just don’t know what they want.  It’s hard to shop for people!  Gift cards are a way to give them a gift that they want.  Some people look at them as a cop out, but not me.  And you can get gift cards to just about anywhere now! 

I love to get them too.  Cash I just end up spending.  It’s hard to keep it separate.  And when I get gift cards for restaurants and movie theaters, that guarantees me a date night, especially when money is tight and we wouldn’t be able to go out otherwise. 

Do you like gift cards?  Why or why not?

“For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Apostle Paul, Philippians 4:11

Have you ever been so tired you could sleep anywhere, in any position?  Well, The Chocoholic was last night!  We didn’t get home until 11:00 and this is how I found him when we pulled into the garage.  Yes, he is dead asleep!

Chandler

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives.  We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something.  We have to learn to be content with what we are. 

-Marjorie Pay Hinckley

The Secret Heart

by Claire Helmers (c)1997 all rights reserved

 

I wonder, if you know how much I need your love.

How much I crave a compliment, how much I want a hug.

I wonder if you share my fear of always falling short

Of thinking I’m the only one with faults and sins and warts.

Do you, like me, put on a face that says your life is swell,

But shake and tremble deep inside that fragile outer shell?

Please don’t be fooled by my facade, I’ve worn it now for years

But often, just below my smile, my throat is full of tears.

Are you convinced that others here are worthier than you?

They know the gospel, pay their tithes, and shine in Sunday School

Their kids don’t fight, their house is clean, they never raise their voice.

You’d gladly trade your life for theirs, if you just had a choice.

Well, please remember, sisters dear, that life’s not all it seems.

The lives that other women live are only in your dreams

They worry, struggle, cry and pray, and never have enough

Of love from women like yourself, of gentle female stuff.

I need your love like you need mine;  I need forgiveness too

For falling short of my ideals, and wishing I was you

So if you like me, tell me so, just tell me to my face

I need to hear that, oh so much: I need your warm embrace.

Do you like my dress, my smile, the lesson I just gave?

Well, tell me every Sunday, please; I’d love it if you rave.

You see, I’m not as smart or strong or good as you may think;

Life gets me down; you’d be surprised how low my moods can sink.

Well, who am I? I’m everyone—I’m every woman here

Who needs a friend, a confidante, a non-judgmental ear,

Who wants to feel important and to know somebody cares,

Who needs to feel she’s up to all the burdens that she bears.

So please don’t be afraid of me; draw near to me instead,

Pour out your heart and soul to me and get inside my head.

Let’s be a whole fraternity of inter linking hearts.

That’s how the Savior planned it, if we each just do our part.

My dad requested that my family write some new verses for the “Book of Mormon Stories” song in the Children’s Songbook.  This is what we came up with.

Alma heard the word of God from Abinidi.
In the waters of Mormon many were baptized.
As a father he prayed for his wayward son.
God heard him as he prayed, and salvation won.

Abish had a testimony, knew the church was true.
Served the queen but couldn't share the truths that she knew.
Ammon taught and people fought, she knew just what to do.
The Spirit spoke, the people woke knowing it was true.

Nephi was a prophet in the Book of Mormon times.
He was hunting animals, his bow of steel broke.
His brothers were mad at him, so he went and prayed.
Our Father helped him find food to eat.

Joseph Smith was a prophet and he saw a vision.
He translated the golden plates with the Urim and Thummim.
A mighty work had come forth, it was the Book of Mormon,
With a promise, if we read, we will know the truth.

After Nephi's family had left Jerusalem,
They went back to get the plates and said it would be done.
Laban tried to stop them but his efforts were in vain.
The plates of brass were saved for posterity.

Moroni was a warrior and a man of God,
war had come to the land, the people were in fear.
In memory of our God, our faith, our wives and children, too.
The Title of Liberty, over the land, flew.

Mahonri Moriancumer was faithful to the Lord,
He had to build eight barges to cross the mighty sea.
He went unto the mount to seek help from God above,
God touched the stones and they glowed brightly.

The Ammonites changed their name to Anti-Nephi-Lehites.
They buried all their weapons to make a covenant.
They would rather die than break their promise.
They never took their swords and killed after that.

Enos was a prophet who lived in Nephite times.
When he was down in both spirit and mind.
He went into the forest and prayed both day and night.
Forgiven, just because, he had faith.

I am thankful that November is over and Christmas is coming!  I love Christmas!  Have I said that before?  I love the Christmas season…everyone is kinder and more friendly.  People smile and say “Merry Christmas” to each other.  I love it!

How could I not mention my favorite color?  I am thankful for pink.  It is feminine and soft and makes me feel pretty.  I love how I look in the color pink, and I love how I feel.  I love pink!

I am thankful for the Internet.  I can find just about anything on there.  There is so much information out there, and I love finding obscure facts.  I am pretty darn good at searching, and have found things in seconds what my mom or my boss had been looking for for hours.  When The Doctor was working on his Doctorate, he stayed home and did his research on the internet, instead of having to go to college libraries and spend hours there and pay for photocopies. 

I am thankful for scents.  There are so many scents that I love, and the memories that they invoke:

  • Baby powder and rubbing alcohol – this reminds me of my children when they were babies.
  • Sawdust – this reminds me of my dad getting wood in the summer for our fireplace.
  • Rain on the cement on a hot summer day – this reminds me of playing in the rain.
  • Cinnamon pinecones at Christmas time – this reminds me of Christmas!
  • Polo cologne – this reminds me of my hubby.

There are more, so many more!  I am thankful I can smell!

When you do the best you can, you can be at peace, and with the Lord’s spirit, you can feel content.

-John Bytheway.

I am thankful for Christmas decorations.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can put up my Christmas decorations.  I love the lights and figurines and symbols.  They make me feel so happy, and I love the spirit I feel in my home!

I am thankful that my children are involved in dance and musical theater (which is similar to show choir).  They have amazing teachers and they are loving it.  I am thankful to their teacher, who is willing to trade with me so I don’t have to pay $250/month for their tuition!  She is amazing!

I am thankful for Thanksgiving.  What a wonderful day to spend time with family and express our thanks out loud.  And I am thankful that we have enough food to eat, and more to spare.  Hope you had a wonderful day!

I am thankful for humor.  I love to laugh, and I love a good joke.  For instance:

How many Mormons does it take to change a light bulb? It depends!

If it is the Bishopric, forget it, they don't do light bulbs. They call a Priesthood Executive Council and delegate it to the Elders.

If it is the Elders, it takes four. Three that don't show up, and one to change the bulb.

If it is the High Priests, it takes four. Two to push the wheel chairs, one to handle the oxygen tank, and one to screw in the light bulb.

If it is the Relief Society it takes four. One to fix refreshments, one to bring the tablecloth, one to design the Center Piece, and one to screw in the light bulb.

If it is the Home Teachers, it only takes two, but you have to wait until the end of the month.

If it is the Primary, it takes twelve. Four Cub Scouts to do the job and pass off a requirement, one Den Leader to sign their books, three children to hold up pictures, one chorister to lead everyone in a song, two Primary Teachers to assist, and one Member of the Presidency to oversee the activity.

If it is the Young Men and Young Women, it only takes one. He/She holds the light bulb in the socket and the whole world revolves around him.

I am thankful for my parents.  Today is their 42 anniversary!  They have set such great examples for me and my children.  I can only hope my testimony is as strong as theirs someday.  I love you Mom and Dad!

I am thankful for blankets.  When I get chilled, all I have to do is pull a blanket over me.  And I have a lot of blankets.  In fact, we gave about 12 to Deseret Industries (D.I.) a few months ago, and every bedroom still has at least 2 on the bed and 2 in the closet.  I am so thankful that I don’t have to worry about being cold.

I am thankful for indoor plumbing.  Just think about for how many thousands of years, if you had to go to the bathroom, you had to go outside and go into a hole.  Or the rich people that had chamber pots (the stench!).  I was thinking about that the other day when I was sitting on the toilet and the wind was blowing and it was raining and pelting against the window.  I love indoor plumbing!

The stronger the wind, the stronger the tree.

I am thankful for our cars.  We have had some pretty crappy cars in the past, and I am thankful that we finally have reliable ones. Our cars get us where we need to go, and quite comfortably, thanks to air conditioning and heating.  I am thankful that I don’t have to depend on an animal to get me around. 

I am thankful for crafts.  I love making things to decorate my house, or to give away, or for scrapbooks.  It makes me feel good about myself, and when I walk by, I can say, “I made that!”  I am thankful that my husband supports my crafting and encourages it, even when I am spray painting real pumpkins!

I am thankful for my washer and dryer.  Think of how many years women had to do all their laundry by hand, scrubbing and wringing and hanging it to dry and ironing.  It was an all day event.  I can just throw a load in the washer and walk away, then come back 40 minutes later and throw it in the dryer and walk away, and it is done.  I am so thankful for that.  I am also thankful that I don’t have to go a laundromat to do the laundry!

I am thankful for medicine.  How would I get through sore backs and knees without acetaminophen and ibuprofen?  I would have never survived my shoulder pain this past summer without Percocet.  And let’s not forget the ever important Beconase and Flonase and Zyrtec.  I would be so miserable without them!

I am thankful for the country that I live in.  We are so blessed, and we don’t even realize how much.  I am thankful for all those who have served in the military, including my brother and my grandfather, fighting to keep our country free, and helping to bring freedom to others.  We are an amazing nation!

I am thankful for computers.  They are a huge blessing.  Especially in my work.  When I first started working, we were filing the majority of taxes by paper.  It was a time consuming process, not to mention all the paper we went through.  Now, it is all electronic.  I click a few buttons, send an email, and I’m done.  I don’t dread taxes like I used to. 

I am thankful for my family.  We are a pretty unique family.  We have always been close, and still are as adults.  We all live in this valley, and we get together every Fast Sunday for ice cream and good conversation.  We are sarcastic and snarky, but it’s all done in fun.  I love being around them. 

“Happily ever after” isn’t something that just happens … it is something that’s decided.

I am thankful for books.  I love to read.  It’s an escape.  When I am reading, I can shut the rest of the world out, including my children.  I am taken to worlds and lives other than mine.  And I can read the same books over and over, mainly because I read so fast, I miss information the first time around!  My mom worked hard to instill the love of reading in her children, and I have instilled in my children.  We all love to read.  When The Teenager goes on his mission, we are already planning on making his room the library, so I can get all my books out of the boxes in the garage and onto shelves!

I am thankful for music.  I love how music can affect my mood.  It can make me happy, sad, angry, excited, melancholy, reverent, joyful, etc.  Music can lift me up and heal me. 

I play music on Sunday’s to bring the Spirit into our house.  I play music at work to keep me awake.  I play music in the car to sing to.  I play music at Christmas to feel the joy of the season.

I LOVE music!

I am thankful for my digital camera.  When my boys were little, I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked, because film and developing cost a lot of money!  Now, I take tons of pictures (our one week vacation to California in 2010 resulted in 1,354 pictures!).  I even let my kids take the camera and have fun taking pictures, and they have taken some really cool ones.  Not to mention that I have the inside of my house documented well!

I am thankful for the seasons.

Spring is a renewal.  It brings hope that life goes on and things will grow again. 

Summer is fun.  Kids playing outside, popsicles, swimming pools, and late nights and late mornings.

Fall smells good.  It brings new school years and the start of fun holidays.

Winter brings calmness.  No outside work, just enjoying being inside.  And of course Christmas!

I am thankful for my job.  I only have to work at the office two days a week, and the rest of the time I get to work at home.  I have a wonderful boss who is flexible and understanding.  She has let me bring kids with me to work, and she has let me drive in and pick up work and bring it home when I had sick kids.  I am very fortunate!

I am thankful for the Gospel.  I cannot even imagine where my life would be without it. 

I am thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to be patient with me.  He guides me and helps me through trials.  He gave me His Son to atone for my sins.

I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  He gave His life so I can return to my Heavenly Father. 

I am thankful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation, and the comfort it gives me. 

I am thankful for The Princess.

After 3 boys, it has been so much fun to have a girl.  She is all girl and loves to dress up and look pretty.  But she also loves to play in the dirt.  Her favorite thing in the spring when we are doing the garden is to find worms and name them and carry them around!

She loves to read.  She reads to me while I am doing her hair in the mornings.  It is so much fun. 

Choose to cope or choose to fall.

I am thankful for The Chocoholic. 

He is full of energy and loves to play games.  Even when he was little, he wanted to play board games all the time.  I am grateful that his little sister will play with him.  And it’s always fun when his aunt will come and play too.

When he was 3 years old, he came up to me and said he needed chocolate.  And he has loved chocolate/candy since then.  He loves Halloween and was very sad that this is his last year trick or treating.

I am thankful for The Artist.  He is his own person, and always has been.  He doesn’t care what people think of him.  He is who he is. 

He has many interests.  He loves art, Legos, playing the drums, science, piano, and doing flight simulators on the computer. 

For years, all he wanted to be when he grew up was an artist.  But in the last year, he has changed it on me.  He now wants to be an engineer for NASA.  He has discovered that he loves science!  He is so excited about it!

I am thankful for The Teenager.  He is an amazing young man.  He has struggled with a lot of things over the last 3 years and he has come out of it stronger and more mature.  He has learned, and is still learning, to recognize his weaknesses and when he is most vulnerable.  For instance:

Halloween night he was going to have a party.  He had invited his girlfriend, who was going to invite some of her friends.  He had also invited several (many) people from school.  We were a little perturbed at him because we had no idea how many people were coming.  Long story short, only 1 person showed up. 

Later on, he came downstairs and told us that he was really discouraged, and he knew that he needed to not be alone.  We turned on a funny show and had a great time with him.  I told him how proud I was of him for recognizing that and doing something about it. 

I am so excited to see what the rest of his life has in store for him.

I am thankful for my husband, who is working so hard for us.  There are many days that I am alone in the evenings, and this is why:

He teaches high school at 2 different schools two counties away from us, which means an hour commute each way. 

He also teaches online for BYU-Idaho, teaching 2 classes and being a teaching group leader.  So when he gets home from teaching high school all day, he sits down and grades all night. 

He also teaches occasionally for Argosy University, which is one night a week. 

And now he has started teaching drivers ed, which involves teaching after school and taking the students on drives. 

He does all this to take care of us and pay for the tings we need. He started the drivers ed to pay for The Teenager’s mission, which is coming up in less than a year.

I am so lucky to have him. 

A friend of mine made this and showed it off at a Pinterest party.  (If you don’t know what Pinterest is, have you been living under a rock?)  I thought it was a great idea!  Halloween night, while my boys were watching “Arachnophobia,” I decided to make one.  I already had a picture frame ready, I just used some cute ribbon I had lying around and used a staple gun to attach it.  I absolutely love how it turned out!

earring holder

I have read several blogs where they are going to list something they are thankful for everyday in November.  What a great idea!  I have done NaBloPoMo for several years.  It’s fun, but exhausting to blog every single day.  But telling you all what I am thankful for?  I can do that!

November 1 – I am thankful for Pinterest.  It is an amazing website, and I have gleaned many great ideas from it, including the earring holder and the painted pumpkins that I already blogged about.  I am thankful for the people who pin clean, uplifting, helpful, funny, and interesting things that have improved my life.

If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.

You can count how many seeds are in an apple, but you can’t count how many apples are in a seed.

Over the last 3 years, The Teenager has been going through a lot of struggles and trials.  I have mentioned it in some degrees, but it was hard.  Harder than anyone knew.  I felt so alone through it all, and Sunday, I realized why.

When my children were little and I was struggling with them, I knew there were many other mothers I could go to for advice.  Not sleeping through the night?  Potty training struggles?  Biting?  Diarrhea and vomiting?  I knew all I had to do was ask and there would be plenty of other women who could help me.  I even became part of an email loop of other SAHM moms, and we would whine and complain to each other and we would feel so much better.

But when I was struggling with The Teenager, I couldn’t go to anyone.  His trials were personal to him, and it’s not something that you broadcast publicly.  I talked to my mom some, but I kept a lot from her as well.  I could talk to my husband, but but he didn’t have the answers, and he was gone all day (and most nights).  I couldn’t talk to my email loop moms because none of them are LDS and don’t have the same standards as us, so they wouldn’t understand what the big deal was.

I was very isolated.  And I made it worse because I withdrew.  I quit going to Relief Society activities, mainly because it was too hard to put on a happy face and pretend that everything was fine.  It was a very lonely period in my life. I would cry during the day and then put on a happy face when I was around others.  I prayed a lot, and that definitely helped, but it’s not the same. I desperately wanted someone to talk to, to cry with, to comfort me. 

But there wasn’t anyone. 

A missionary is someone who spends time away from his loved ones so someone else can spend eternity with theirs.

The word pink dates back to the 1570s, when to pink was to create a small cut or perforation, such as on a decorated edge (think pinking shears).

The story of pink’s link to color is an incredible story of linguistic conversion. That’s the concise way to say the word started out as a verb, became a noun, and, after that, an adjective.

The Dutch associated pinck oogen, “small eyes,” with the small, delicate flowers of the carnation, whose petals look distinctly perforated or crimped. This lead to pink’s association with two more ideas: the color of the flower and the idea of the flower as perfection. Perfection is what Shakespeare’s Mercutio is referring to in Romeo and Juliet when he says, “Nay, I am the very pink of curtesie."

At the point where scholars pinpoint the first attribution of pink as a color, around 1681, people could not stop talking about it. In Elizabethan England, pink hose were all the fashion for men. Fortunately, Sumptuary Laws which determined the color of clothing people wore by their social status, made pink available to both the upper and lower classes.

In the 1920s pink started to be used for the marketing of products for boys. The color association was considered appropriate for boys, full of energy, not yet mature enough for the full heat of the color red. Conversely, baby blue was associated with girls as a soft, mild color, and one strongly associated with the Virgin Mary. Post-WWII these associations switched, with pink directed at products for girls and blue for boys

tumblr_lsx6qc41K41qg4713o1_500

I have fallen in love with Pinterest!  And I love decorating for Halloween.  When I saw these cute pumpkins, I knew I couldn’t resist.  So I bought pumpkins, spray paint, and ribbons and went to town.  Tom thought I was insane, but I absolutely love how they turned out!

100_2500100_2501100_2502100_2503100_2506100_2507

Speak only if it improves the silence.

Ghandi

After I got married, I was on birth control for 4 months, and then we decided that we were ready to start a family.  We tried for 4 months and then got pregnant with The Teenager.  With The Artist, I was on birth control for 9 months, and then we tried for 9 months before getting pregnant.  With The Chocoholic, I was on birth control for 12 months, and we got pregnant as soon as I went off the pill.  The very first month.  So when we decided we were ready to have baby #4, we knew it would be a piece of cake.  No big deal.  I had been on the pill for a year, so we knew we would be pregnant within a year. 

Well, 6 months came and went and we kept trying.  My cycle has never been regular, going anywhere from 3 weeks to 9 weeks between periods.  And they are very heavy.  I tried Clomid once, but at $25 for 5 pills, we couldn’t afford to do that again.  I had a D&C to make sure everything was okay, and it was.  I tried taking my temperature to see when I was ovulating.  I didn’t ovulate. 

A year came and went. Two years came and went.  3 years came and went.  Still nothing. I know that many people struggle with infertility for many more years than we did, but after 3 children, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get pregnant. 

My doctor finally had a frank talk with me.  I have PCOS – PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Basically, I don’t ovulate regularly, and because of my weight, it aggravated the problem.  He frankly told me I needed to lose weight.  He had mentioned it before, but I hadn’t really listened.  But this time I did.  I started going to Weight Watchers and in 4 months, I lost almost 40 pounds.

December 2003 came and The Doctor and I talked and decided that we were both feeling that we want to be done having children. After going with my sister to take her 2 month old baby to the doctor and remembering the stress of having a baby who isn’t sleeping and not knowing what is going on, I just didn’t want to do it anymore. The Chocoholic was 5 now, and we had really enjoyed having older children. And I really didn’t want kids 5 years apart.

So we decided to fast and ask Heavenly Father if that was the correct decision.  But neither of us got a definite answer, so we decided to wait and keep praying about it.

The day after Christmas, I was a witch.  I was mean, mean, mean.  More so than normal.  And that usually means one thing.  The Doctor bought a pregnancy test and I took it the next morning.  Yep, I was pregnant.  Which meant that the kids would be nearly 6 years apart. Six. years.  That’s a long time.

It took us 3 1/2 years to finally get pregnant.  That’s a long time.  It was a very stressful time in our marriage.  I just wanted to be pregnant, which was a righteous desire.  But I had to wait.  I didn’t know why then, and I still don’t know why now.  I can give you several reasons why it would have been easier if I had gotten pregnant sooner.  But for some reason, it wasn’t to be.  I will just put it on my list in my head of things to ask my Heavenly Father when I die!

castle

Elder Russel M. Nelson

A covenant is a sacred promise with God.

This is the time of the promised gathering of Israel.

When we are committed, we remain steadfast, even in the midst of affliction.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Focus on Christ, not the things of the world.

What think ye of Christ? Where is our ultimate loyalty?

There is no middle ground!

Elder Matthew O. Richardson

Your mission is the best two years for your life.

The Holy Ghost is the real teacher of the truth.

We have the responsibility to teach by the Spirit.

We need to align our manner of teaching after the way the Spirit teaches.

The Holy Ghost teaches in a very personal way.  He does not teach all the truth right away.  Line upon line, precept on precept.

The Holy Ghost teaches by inviting, prompting, leading, guiding.  He Will not do for us what we can do for ourselves.

How can I help my children learn for themselves?

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita

Missionaries, your attitudes and actions invite the Spirit.

Bring 3 things with you on your missions: 1. A desire to preach the gospel. 2. Develop your testimony. 3. Love others.

Elder Randall K. Bennett

Lifeguard story – the lifeguard was waiting for him to call for help, then he was right there.

Choice is a gift, decisions are a destiny.

You can’t make eternal choices without eternal consequences.

Choose to follow the Savior and choose to be with our Heavenly Father, or choose to follow the world and be separated from Him eternally.

The Savior’s arms of mercy are always open to us.

Your eternal destiny is not the result of chance, but of choice.

J. Devn Cornish

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things which are important to us become important to Him.

“I the Lord will forgive whom I choose to forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook

This life can be confusing if you don’t know the Father’s plan.

Adversity in this life does not reflect our faith.

There is no chance, no fate, no destiny, can circumvent, or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.

Regardless of the trials we face in this life, the Savior’s atonement provides lifeboats for all.

President Thomas S. Monson

Our Heavenly Father is mindful of the challenges we face.

Elder Henry B. Eyring

We need to be charitable witnesses of God.

As you serve others, He lets you feel of His love.

Be a constant and fearless witness of God.

Read the Book of Mormon, learn to love it, drink deeply and often from it’s pages.

*I need to forgive those who have hurt me.  I need to let it go and move on.

Elder Robert D. Hales

Tests and trials are given to us to see if we will use our agency to follow him.

Waiting on the Lord means to hope, to trust in the Lord, planting the seed of faith, nourishing it with prayer, stand fast, relying upon the merits of Christ, immovable upon keeping the commandments.

When He answers, it’s often answered here a little and there a little because we aren’t ready for it all at once.

When we pray for patience, we want it right now.

Don’t give up on the Lord – His blessing are eternal.

He knows your sacrifices and your sorrows.  He hears your prayers.

Sister Elaine Dalton

How can a father raise a daughter?  Love her mother.

Your example as her father is more important than leader’s words.

Be a guardian of virtue.

Be present in your daughter’s life.  Be an active part.

If she doesn’t come home on time, go get her.

Elder M. Russell Ballard

What is the importance of a name?

The members of the church are encouraged to use the full name of the church.  The name of the church tells others who we are.

I can be a Mormon, but I don’t belong to the Mormon church.  I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The use of the full name is increasingly important throughout the world.

President Thomas S. Monson

There was a moral disintegration in the 60’s.

Although the world has changed, the laws of God are constant.

Our code of conduct is not negotiable.

There is nothing that can bring more joy or peace into our lives than the Spirit which comes when we obey the commandments.

The storms wills till be at our doors, but we will be better equipped to handle them.

Communication with Heavenly Father is necessary to weather the storms of life.

God heals everything - but you have to ask Him.

Elder David A. Bednar

It is our responsibility to seek out our ancestors and do their work.

Youth can help too.  http://www.lds.org/familyhistoryyouth

Elder Neil L. Anderson

We have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth.

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling.  It is what God gave you time for. (Christian blog)

Elder Ian S. Ardern

Giving time to others brings us closer to God.

Time is never for sale, but wisely used, it’s value is immeasurable.

In family, love is spelled T-I-M-E.

The poor use of time is idleness.

Let us be as quick to kneel as we are to text.

Our greatest happiness comes as we tune into the Lord.

To have the peace the Savior speaks of, we must devote our time to things that matter most – things of God.

Satan will tempt us to miuse our time.

Elder Carl B. Cook

Heavenly Father is where we receive faith and strength to do all things.

Give your burdens to Heavenly Father and look to Him for strength.

“The Lord is my light, then why should I fear?”

Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr.

None can get to the Father’s presence without Christ’s help.

Fully repent and come back to God.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Repentance is a divine gift, it points to peace.

Invitation to repent is an expression of love.

Repentance means striving to change.  Real repentance may require repeated attempts.

Repentance means abandoning sin and committing to change.

Repentance requires willingness to change, even through pain.

Whatever the cost of repentance, it is swallowed up in the joy.

Elder L. Tom Perry

Open houses of temples, members impress people.

What can we do to advance the church? 

Be bold in our declaration of Jesus Christ.

Be righteous examples to others.

Speak up about the church.  Mormon.org – create profile.  Use the internet and social media.

Elder Richard G. Scott

A memorized scripture can be an enduring friend.

Created an audio recording of himself reading the Book of Mormon for his children.  What an amazing gift that would be!

Sister Barbara Thompson

Personal Revelation – D&C 6

If your answer comes when Primary children sing, that’s revelation!

Because we have a strong testimony doesn’t mean it will always stay that way.  We need to nourish it and keep it strong.

President Thomas S. Monson

New Temples – Provo, Star Valley, WY

General patron assistance fund

Elder Jose L. Alonso

Do the right thing at the right time without delay.

Find those who are lost and rescue them.

Elder Boyd K. Packer

Crow poem

Youth are being raised in enemy territory (evil world)

Many of the temptations you face relate to your body.

Everyone who has a body has power over Satan.

Listen for the voice that is felt rather than heard.

It is not expected that you will go through life without making mistakes, but you will be warned before making them.

Listen to the voice of the Spirit and you will not be led astray.

Dress modestly, talk reverently

Lucifer will lose!

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

To lead us astray, Satan appeals to our weaknesses.

All the money in the world cannot buy a loaf of bread in the economy of heaven.

Discouragement – Satan gets us to believe we have no worth.

It doesn’t matter where we are in life, it matters that we are doing the best we can.

Incline your heart to him, help others.

Always remember you matter to HIm.

God loves the humble and meek.

You are not invisible to Heavenly Father.

What you feel now is not forever.

So I realized that I skipped #7 on my tip list.  Here you go:

I use my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or the generic equivalent, which works just as well) to help clean the bathtub.  Now, I wouldn’t need to if I cleaned the tub on a regular basis, but I don’t.  So I get a ring around the tub and dirt in the texture on the bottom that is nearly impossible to scrub off.  But I get it wet, sprinkle Ajax on it, then use the damp Mr. Clean and scrub and it comes off so quickly!  I love it! 

In order to keep our children on the straight and narrow, we don’t allow cell phones, ipods, or cameras in their bedrooms. It is too easy for kids to mess around with texting/sexting when they are alone.  They have to check their devices in every night.  We keep them in our room.  But when there are 3 cell phones, 4 ipods, and a DSi, there were tons of cords.  Everyone was trying to find their cord, which many times had fallen behind the dresser.  It has driven me nuts for months, and I just couldn’t figure out a better way.

Until I saw this blog post.  Bingo!  The box doesn’t look the same, and I may redo it sometime in the future, but I am pleased with how it turned out.  The shelf is from Wal-Mart, in the kitchen section.  I am so thrilled that my dresser isn’t a mess anymore.  Here are the after pictures (no before…I didn’t think about it!).

IMAG0266IMAG0267

…is Christmas.  Are you getting ready?  I’m not!  The bedrooms really put me behind this year.  But The Teenager actually gave me an idea of something he wants for the first time in 3 years, so I better go and get it!

What other people think of you is none of your business.

The Princess’ bedroom is done.  She was moved to the basement into the blue room.  It took 3 coats of primer to cover the blue, then 2 coats of paint.  Ugh.  Here is before:

037039

And after:

100_2381100_2382100_2383

Her room was the biggest let down.  I think because it was pink before (when she was upstairs), so it really wasn’t that big of a change.  We added the sage green for the accent.  The room is smaller, so it feels more crowded.  And the thing over her bed?  I don’t like it, but she loves it, so I put it up.  So between all of that and being burnt out from doing them all, I just wanted it over and done with.  I really had to force myself to finish it.  But now everything is out of my front room and I can go clean it good. 

These have been 4 separate bedrooms, but because I did them one right after another, it has felt like one long, drawn-out project.  I am so tired of clutter and mess.  And that is all I have been doing since August 1st.  I am so ready to do something else!  I still need to do our master bedroom and bathroom and the kitchen and front room and family room…after Christmas!  I can’t even think about it right now!

No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

How much does it cost to get a “free” education?

                                                              The Teenager     The Artist     The Chocoholic

Required fees                                             $75                   $77                    $92

“Optional” fees (if you want your child to do anything interesting)

                                                                      $85                   $80                     $25

Yearbooks                                                   $40                   $16                    $16

Cross country camp                                 $130

Cross country shoes                                 $90

Clothes for gym                                                                                                 $30

Insurance for school iPod                        $25

Graduation announcements                 $108

Cap and gown                                            $40

Totals                                                          $593                $173                      $163

Grand total = $929

This is just what I have paid so far.  There will be more fees for the second semester, more if they want to be in the play or if they do any other sports.  They are also in 2 dance classes each. Fortunately, their dance teacher is amazing and we are cleaning her studios in exchange for tuition which would be $250/month. There will be concert fees and recital fees.  And the worst part is that I can't write any of it off! 

I miss summer. 

I miss sleeping in until 7:30, waking to the sun, not a blaring alarm clock.

I miss staying in my pajamas until 10 and not caring because no one had anywhere to go.

I miss lazy afternoons, relaxing and not worrying about homework.

I miss staying up late with my boys, playing board games until midnight and laughing at stupid jokes.

I miss summer.

I have no energy to blog.  I have been crazy painting, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  So in the meantime, enjoy this batch of blah, blah, blah.

1. It's early morning, about 2:00AM, and you're driving home. You come to a red light and sit there. There is no one in sight for miles around. Do you wait it out or run the light?

I wait it out.  I know that if I ran it, I would get caught.  Murphy’s law.

2. If you had the chance to re-do the last 24 hours, would you change anything?

I would pour out the last of the trim paint and paint all the trim and see if it lasts before I went to Home Depot and bought another can and then ran to 3 more stores looking for something and wasting 1 1/2 hours of my morning when I could have been painting.

3. When you reply to someone's comment on your blog, do you reply in your comments or go to her blog and comment? (Or email her)

I try to email, but a lot of people have a “no-reply” email address, so I reply in my comments.

4. Your favorite Disney movie is:

The Little Mermaid.  I love, love, love that show!

5. Do you recycle?

Yes.  I do my best.

6. Games of strategy or games of chance?

Chance.  I absolutely hate games like Risk or Settlers.  I detest them!  I love Uno!

7. Do you have any recurring dreams?

When I was little, I had a nightmare.  I was at the end of my street on my bike and there was a big group of people coming towards me.  When they got close enough, I saw that they didn’t have any faces.  It was just blank.  I raced home and my dad was in the driveway working on our car.  I told him what had happened and he turned around and his face was blank too.  Then I woke up.  I have had that dream several times throughout my life.  Then a few years ago, a movie came out where the people didn’t have any faces.  I was freaked out!

8. What did you learn from your first real job?

My first real job was helping my parents clean doctors offices when I was 8.  We went every night and cleaned and my parents paid us.  I learned to save money and budget and to work for what I got.  By the time I was 12, I was buying all my own clothes and toiletries and school fees.

9. Do you buy or borrow most books?

I buy, because I like to read them over and over.  I will never regret buying books.  My mom instilled in me a love of books, and I have instilled that in my own kids.

10. What fashion trend of the past did you say you'd never wear again but did?

Nothing.  I see kids wearing leg warmers and pegging their pants and I laugh at them! 

11. When do you start Christmas shopping?

December 26th.

12. Have you ever been so happy that you literally jumped up and down for a few seconds? If so, what was the occasion?

When I got engaged and when I found out I was pregnant for the first time.

Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

This is the Chocoholic’s bedroom.  He was very patient with me.  He pulled everything out on Tuesday and I started on Wednesday.  I got it all taped and prepped and had painted 1/15th of the edge of the ceiling when I got a phone call from the elementary school, informing me that The Princess had been hurt.  Long story short, she broke her finger and I spent the day in the ER of the children’s hospital.  Fun times.  So by the time I got home, I was wiped out, so I didn’t do anything that day.  The next day I was at work.  Friday I just didn’t want to do it. 

Finally on Saturday, I forced myself to go down and start painting.  I listened to the BYU football game while I was painting (Go BYU!) which was a nice change from just music.  Monday morning I put a second coat on and then The Chocoholic was able to put his bed together and sleep down there again.  Last night I worked on the bookshelf and wall shelf.  Today I was able to get it all put together. 

I was so excited because I was going to get his room done super fast, and I still ended up taking 9 days. 

Here are the before pictures:

033034036

After:

100_2300100_2298100_2301

I absolutely hated the green on the walls until I started putting the chocolate brown on, which really calmed the green down. 

Well, onto the final bedroom!

Make peace with your past so you won't spoil the present.

One of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn’t belong.

Can you tell which thing is not like the others

By the time I finish my song?

026

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?

Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?

If you guessed this one (the pink one!)  is not like the others,

Then you're absolutely...right!

I do all my laundry in one day.  It’s a pain, but it gets it done, over with, don’t have to worry about it for another week. 

You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

9 days.  That’s all it took for The Artist’s bedroom.  And the first day I was at work while they pulled everything out into my front room.  I have to say the hardest part of all the redecorating is having the mess in my front room.  I use that room as my quiet clean room where I can go and relax.  And when it’s full of the kids’ stuff, I can’t sit or relax!

So day 1 was pulling everything out, days 2 and 3 were painting, and we got his bed put back in at the end of day 3.  The next 3 days nothing was done.  It was the weekend, and then the first day of school (Whoo Hoo!).  Then it was hanging shelves and painting picture frames and organizing. 

Here is a before picture (the only picture I could find of the room.  Ignore the crazy kid in the middle!):

100_8383 edited

And after pictures:

100_2035100_2036100_2039

As you can see, I chose NOT to strip his dresser.  It a weird sort of way, it looks good in the room.  I am sure I will change my mind later, but stripping the first dresser is too fresh in my mind right now!  The Artist uses it as a desk for his drawing, so it will never, ever be that clean again! 

My favorite project in this room was his drum stool.  The Doctor salvaged it from work and it worked fine, but it was gray and scratched up and not pretty.  I bought a can of navy blue spray paint and went to work on it.  I love how it ended up!

IMAG0196

I got this room done in 4 days less than bedroom #1.  I was quite happy with that!

Modesty is very important to me.  My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), has said this about modesty:

Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19).

Our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us.

Central to the command to be modest is an understanding of the sacred power of procreation, the ability to bring children into the world. This power is to be used only between husband and wife. Revealing and sexually suggestive clothing, which includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, and shirts that do not cover the stomach, can stimulate desires and actions that violate the Lord's law of chastity.

In addition, when we get married in the temple, we begin to wear sacred underwear, called garments.

The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in the temple. The garment should be treated with respect at all times. It should not be exposed to the view of those who do not understand its significance, and it should not be adjusted to accommodate different styles of clothing. When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.

The garment comes down to our knees and covers our shoulders.  We keep the garment covered, thus wearing shirts with sleeves and shorts that come to our knees.

I believe very strongly in modesty.  And I believe that we should start teaching our children when they are young.  This means not allowing them to wear certain clothes. 

I do not let The Princess wear tank tops. The shirts always have sleeves.  If she has an outfit that doesn’t have sleeves, we put an undershirt on with it to keep her modest.  She also doesn’t wear swim suits that don’t cover her stomach.  I know that tankini’s have become all the rage, but I have seen a lot of them that don’t keep the stomach covered, especially on kids.  So we just avoid them. The shorts she wears are longer than most.  I try to get them as long as possible. 

I also do not let my boys wear tank tops or run around without their shirts on. 

I know a lot of people think that’s silly, especially with the boys, but I’ll tell you this.  My mom had the same rules for me while I was growing up, and when it came time for me to get married in the temple and begin wearing garments, I only had to get rid of a few pairs of shorts.  All the rest of my clothes were modest enough that I could continue wearing them.  All of them. I was used to dressing modestly, so it wasn’t a shock to start wearing the garment.

I am so grateful to my mom for teaching me to dress modestly, and I will continue to teach my children the same. 

A few years ago, I treated myself to a Twinkie.  A fresh Twinkie from the grocery store. 

And I hated it!

It was too soft and spongy and I really disliked the texture.  I couldn’t figure out what was wrong because I had been eating Twinkies for years. 

And then it hit me.

I had been eating Twinkies for year…from the outlet store.  The Twinkies that were about to “expire,” or go past their freshness date.  That is where my mom always bought them, and where I always bought them.  They are so much cheaper than full retail price at the store.  So I had been eating nearly stale Twinkies. Hence, when I had a fresh one, I didn’t like it at all.  That wasn’t the way it was supposed to taste!

I still can’t eat them from the store.  They have to be from the outlet.  That’s just they way it is.

(But I love them frozen now.  Just freeze them, then eat them right out of the freezer.  Yummy!)

Life is too short to waste time hating someone.

We decided that since we are sticking around here for a while, it was time to paint.  We moved all the children’s bedrooms around, which necessitated painting The Teenager’s room first, since he moved upstairs into the pink bedroom.  We knew everyone else would be okay waiting, but a 17 year old boy in a pink bedroom wouldn’t go over well. 

He has wanted black walls forever.  There was no way I was allowing that to happen. So I started looking online for ideas for teenage boys.  I saw a cute bedroom decorated with gray and black and red.  I knew he would love that, and when I showed it to him, I was right. He was thrilled.  We went to the store and found a cute pillow with the exact colors we wanted.  We bought bedding and paint and we were ready to go.

It took me 15 days to do his room.  One day to get all the rooms moved around and everything out of his room, one day to paint, and 2 days to strip and repaint his dresser. He had done it initially, and it was bad.  I mean, really bad.  It looks so much better now! And then I was burned out.  I let it go for about a week because I just couldn’t think about it.  I had school shopping and work and other things to do. 

Finally, I repainted all his picture frames black and sprayed them with a glossy finish.  I love how they turned out.  Then I was able to hang the pictures and shelves on the wall.  Done!  I was so glad to get that room done.  I am determined that then next rooms won’t take as long!

Here is a before picture:

And after pictures:

083085

We all found it amazing that his weight bench and stuffed animals even match the room!  The room is a very adult feeling room.  He has a bunch of Lego sets that he will display on the shelves, but he gets to take care of that.  He loves how it looks and feels, which makes me very happy. 

Now, off to room #2!

As you and I dig into our pockets to help people in disasters and crises, please keep these facts in mind:

The American Red Cross

  • President and CEO - Marsha J. Evans received a salary for the year 2010 of $651,957, plus all personal, medical and pension expenses.
  • Less than 10 cents of your donated dollar actually goes to the cause.

The United Way
  • President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base salary, along with numerous personal and family expense benefits.
  • Less than 12 cents of your donated dollar actually goes to the cause.

UNICEF
  • CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1.2 Million per year (100k per month) plus all living and housing expenses, including a ROLLS ROYCE.
  • Less than 15 cents of your donated dollar actually goes to the cause.

The Salvation Army
  • Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.
  • 96 cents of all donated dollars go to the cause.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • No salary paid to administrators or volunteers.
  • 100% of every dollar goes to the cause! See LDSphilanthropies.org

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

1.  I would plant corn in my garden.  We have tried it before and the wind blew it all over.  It was very frustrating.

2.  I would go on The Biggest Loser.  I want to lose weight, and I could win all the money too!

3.  I would also go on The Amazing Race.  I love that show and it looks like so much fun!

4. I would sky dive (I still plan on doing this at some point in my life, but it would be nice to absolutely know I wouldn’t die!).

5. I would do the Couch to 5K and succeed in running a 5K without stopping.  I tried before and killed my knee.  it took months for it to feel better.  I never went to the doctor, because I have too many other things wrong with me.  I don’t want to know what is wrong with it.

6. I would put all my true feelings on my blog and makes lots of money because everyone would either think I was hilarious or they would feel really sorry for me. :-)

7.  I would get 100% on my Visiting Teaching for the rest of my life.

8.  I would accompany a choir on the organ in the Conference Center.

I would love to hear your answers!

You can choose to be bitter, or you can choose to be better.

A young lady walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience.  She held a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?

She fooled them all... "How heavy is this glass of water?"  Answers called out ranged from 8-ounces to 20-ounces.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.

“That's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes
increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and
rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced.”

So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night.  Let them go and pick them up tomorrow.

The difference between school and life?

In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test.

In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.

There was a family in the store the other day.  They had a 2 year old that was whining and crying.  “I want candy! I want candy!”  And the mom kept telling her no.  I passed them in several aisles and the little girl was still crying.  Finally, the dad said, “We will get some candy when we get to the candy aisle.”  The look on the mom’s face was absolute defeat.  Her husband just undermined her authority, and the child just learned that crying and whining work.  I wanted to go up and first, shake the dad and explain to him what he just did.  And then I wanted to go to the mom and tell her to stick to her guns.

It’s okay to tell your kids no!

God does not need us to love him, but oh, how we need to love God.

For the last 4 years, I have been very bitter.  Bitter that I had to go to work when The Princess was only 2 years old.  I was able to be home with all 3 of my boys, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be home with my girl.  But over the years, I have received several revelations.  I have talked about this several times here.   But in the last month, I have come to the biggest revelation of all, which has eased the bitterness.

Heavenly Father knew I was going to have to go to back to work, and he prepared the way for me.  Back in 1998, I was prompted to go back to school.  I didn’t know why at the time.  It took me 2 years, another child, and 2 carpal tunnel surgeries, but I made it through.  I got my Bachelor’s degree. 

And then I didn’t use it.

But, when it was time that I had to go back to work, I had a degree to use.  I didn’t have to go and work at Wal-mart for minimum wage.  I didn’t have to work nights or weekends.  I was able to get a job that paid a decent wage and had decent hours.  And then I was able to negotiate and start doing some work at home. 

My Heavenly Father prepared the way, and I listened.  However, if I hadn’t listened, if I hadn’t gone back to school, I would have been much worse off.  So He did His part, and I did my part.  And I gave it time.  Just like an apple is bitter until it is ripe, I have had enough time to let the bitterness slowly grow into understanding.  And now, I feel healed.

You are free to choose, but you are not free to alter the consequences of your choice.

I learned this one years ago and it’s wonderful. 

When you are washing windows, it’s sometimes hard to tell which side a streak is on.  Well, just wipe one side horizontally, and the opposite side vertically.  You will be able to tell exactly which side contains your streak!

But don’t look at my windows.  I haven’t cleaned them in a very, very, very long time.  They don’t have any streaks, just water spots and grease marks (from foreheads on the glass!). 

Faith is not believing that God can, it is knowing that God  will.

This song is on the radio a lot, and I really like the beat.  But I never really listened to the lyrics until a few days ago.  As I was driving alone, I was able to concentrate on the words and I just started bawling.  They are so moving and hit me right in my core.  I need to listen to this every morning.  We all do. 

Kristen N., this song is for you. 

"Firework"

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
drifting through the wind
wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
like a house of cards,
one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
6 feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
'Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, Oh, Oh"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time to let it through-ough-ough

'Cause baby you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, Oh, Oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, Oh, Oh"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

Satan frees us in order to bind us. Heavenly Father binds us in order to make us free

God is easy to please but hard to satisfy.

Do you ever take your wedding ring off?  The only time I take mine off is when I am making bread or cinnamon rolls (or anything doughy where I would have to dig the dough out of the ring).  I don’t take it off to shower, and I don’t take it off to wash my hands. 

I remember shortly after I got engaged, I overheard my roommate comment to another person about how weird it was that I never took my ring off.  I thought, “Well, I’m not concerned that it’s going to turn my finger green, so what’s the problem?”  My mom never took hers off and I had never heard of someone taking it off to do simple things around the house.  There was one girl in our apartment complex that was engaged for only a couple of days, took her ring off to shower, and lost it.  I was appalled that she would treat it so casually, knowing that it cost hundreds of dollars.

I did take it off when I was pregnant because I swelled up so bad that it didn’t fit.  But I tried every day after each birth until I was able to squeeze it on.  I like showing to everyone that I am taken! 

Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.

An experiment was conducted by Wendy Watson Nelson.  For two weeks, she asked women to do a simple exercise, and the results were stunning.  Here’s what the women who participated in the experiment reported:

  • An increased desire to de-junk their physical environments.
  • A greatly reduced desire to watch TV.
  • An increased desire to reach out to others and follow through on commitments.
  • An increased desire to be kinder, gentler, and more patient.
  • An increased desire to take care of their bodies by living the Lord’s law of health more fully.
  • An increased ability to see how they could have handled situations better.
  • An increased mental focus.
  • An increased ability and desire to really study and learn.
  • Old habits of backbiting, gossiping, and cynicalness falling away.
  • A dramatic increase in their physical energy, because energy-draining negative emotions were gone.
  • An unbelievable reduction in stress.
  • Profound changes in their conversations with others.

What would cause such dramatic results?  Something so simple.

“For five days in their morning prayers, they were to pray with concerted effort for the Holy Ghost to be with them that day.  Then, throughout the day, as they encountered any difficult, tempting, or trying situation, they were to pray for and really picture the Spirit being right there with them.”  --Wendy Watson Nelson

Anyone up to try this with me?

The height of a man's success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. There is no other limitation in either direction and this law is the expression of eternal justice. He who cannot establish a dominion over himself will have no dominion over others. He who masters himself shall be king.

(From The Miracle Of Forgiveness)

On Saturday, May 21, I woke up at 4:00 in the morning with a stabbing pain in my shoulder blade. It hurt so bad. I tried to walk it off and took some medicine, but at 4:45 I had to go to wake up The Doctor. We ended up going to emergency room.

I was in so much pain. I was crying and sobbing. When we got to the hospital they took me into the room and it ended up taking 4 doses of morphine and other pain medicine for the pain to go away. They did a chest x-ray and 2 e.k.g.'s on me, and everything looked normal. The doctor was stumped. Also my right arm was going numb, my fingers were numb, and out to my elbow was really numb. That was really freaking me out.

They sent me home with prescriptions for Lortab and Ibuprofen and a nerve pain medicine but no answers. When we got home I crawled into my chair and fell asleep from the morphine. The Doctor went to the store and filled the prescriptions. He took care of the house and the kids. I tried sleeping in the bed, but I just couldn't get comfortable, so I slept in my recliner for the next week. 

We have since figured out that I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder.  I was worried that it might be a slipped disk in my neck and would need surgery, so I am grateful it isn’t that severe.  But I have much more compassion for those who have chronic pain.  I have been going to physical therapy a couple times a week ($40 copay every time!) and my shoulder is doing much better.  It’s still very weak and I have to be careful. 

But now the nerves in my elbow are giving me pain, and nothing helps them feel better.  I just have to deal with it  the best that I can, and I don’t do a very good job of dealing with it!  My first two fingers are still tingly numb and it’s really hard to write or even hold a pencil.  Which makes doing my work such fun.

I figured out that between the cold/infections/bronchitis and my shoulder, I was sick the entire month of May.  I spent the whole month sitting in my chair and watching life go on around me.  I lost the whole month.  Not fun. 

He who cannot learn by others' mistakes is stupid. He who cannot learn by his own errors is a fool.

President Spencer W. Kimball

The man who leans heavily upon the Lord becomes the master of self and can accomplish anything he set out to do, whether it be to secure the brass plates, build a ship, overcome a habit, or conquer a deep-seated transgression.

President Spencer W. Kimball

Never complain, never explain, just do it.

1.  Barf bags in the car.  The Princess sometimes gets car sick, and we have started keeping a stash of Ziploc bags by her seat.  Then if she throws up, we can seal the bag and don’t worry about it spilling in the car.

2.  Organizing hair accessories.  I use the snack size ones to organize her clips and elastics by color.  Then it’s easy to grab the coordinating bag and let her pick what she wants in her hair.

3.  Organizing Legos.  We have a toy bin and all the Legos are organized by color in different buckets.  But there are only so many bins, so we use Ziploc bags to keep the smaller groups organized.

4.  Scrapbooking.  I use bags so much in my scrapbook room.  Mostly I use the gallon size ones to help organize photos and school papers and such for each child. 

5.  Portioning out snacks.  I buy food in bulk (goldfish crackers, trail mix, etc.) at WinCo and then we portion them out into bags that are ready to be packed into lunches.  However, for this, I usually use the fold-top bags because they are cheaper and the kids can just throw them away.

6.  Packing on trips.  I always, always pack my liquids into Ziploc bags.  Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, toothpaste, etc.  Then I never have to worry about leaking.  If they do leak, the bag will contain it and I won’t have wet clothes!  I also pack extra bags for those just in case moments.

7.  Swimming.  Especially on trips, the swimming suits never seem to dry out in time before it’s time to pack up.  I just throw them in Ziploc bags and then into the suit case. 

8.  Leftovers.  It’s so much easier to throw leftovers into a bag and then in the fridge, or even the freezer.  Especially the freezer! 

9.  Frozen fruit.  I will prepare the fruit, and then put in in Ziplock bags and into the freezer to be used for smoothies.  Fruits I have done are apricots, peaches, pears, cherries, mangos, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.  Then when it’s time for a smoothie, you just throw the bag in the microwave for 2 minutes to soften the fruit, and then into the blender with 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/4 c. sugar, and some milk.  No need for ice! 

10.  Frosting/melted chocolate.  When you need to frost something or drizzle melted chocolate, just put it in a Ziploc bag, clip the corner and squirt away.  Always clip smaller than you thing.  It’s easier to cut more off than put it back on!

Now, just to clarify, when I say Ziploc bags, I mean Ziploc bags.  I will not use generic for this.  I have tried and they just aren’t as thick, they don’t close as easily, and they come undone a lot!  I do use the generic for the fold-top bags.

And finally, wash your bags and reuse them!  A little soap on your hand, wash them out and let them dry on the side of the sink.  They are sturdy enough to be used several times before they give out on you.  When you are rinsing them out, just fill them with water and check for holes. 

I would love to hear if you have any other uses for these wonderful, amazing bags!