Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

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What a wonderful Thanksgiving we had! Our family went to Mom and Dad's. Mike and his kids were there. Suzann and Eberly couldn't make it because Eb was sick, bless her heart! Mom made it up to her by sending home a cheesecake.

The decor was excellent. Mom has such a flair for that sort of thing! It always makes us feel special that she would set the tables so pretty just for us -- even the kids! Nobody broke any dishes, either.

The food was absolutely perfect! Dad's turkey was moist and delicious, as always. He cooks the best turkey, and he doesn't have to fry it to keep it from drying out. Mom's rolls were spectacular, as you can see. The boys loved the pistachio salad. All the side dishes were tasty. I didn't overeat during dinner, so I splurged on the pie. I had a piece each of the cheesecake and the pumpkin pie. Both were fantastic! Be jealous. Be very, very jealous.

I love the conversations we have as a family. We talked about everything from the prophets and temples to sex change operations. Mike had some hairy stories about his cop adventures. We learned what happens when the Relief Society president uses a bad word at a church function. As usual, Mom and Dad filled us in on how all my other siblings and their families are doing -- loaded with bragging and pride, of course! And there was lots of laughing, too.

My girls and husband did most of the clean up afterwards. I appreciate that so much, and I know Mom does, too. Rom loves doing it -- it's his way of saying "thank you" for all my parents do.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a wonderful day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pursuit of Excellence

OK, I've read "Welcome to Conference," "Let Him Do It with Simplicity," "Come What May, and Love It," "The Way," "Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time," and "Finding Joy in the Journey." If it seems like I've been drawn to talks that talk about comfort and peace during times of trial, it's because I have been! Definitely a pattern here -- and if this theme was repeated so often this last conference, it appears I'm not the only one needing to hear these words.

I taught my lesson yesterday on "Finding Joy in the Journey," by President Thomas S. Monson. I thought it was the perfect lesson to draw our attention towards gratitude as we approach the Thanksgiving season.

"This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by. Instead, find joy in the journey—now."

“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend . . . when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth."

The key to finding joy in the journey is to be grateful -- “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God.” Not just the easy things, or the happy things, or the pleasant things. In every thing give thanks.

I especially appreciated the words of the prophet at the end of the talk, where he focused our gratitude on our savior. Amber had pointed out that sometimes, when something becomes too familiar, we stop seeing the beauty in it. I think that is true of me and my relationship with Christ, sometimes. But, Pres. Monson simply and beautifully refocused my attention on just why I love Jesus Christ.

"In closing, I pray that all of us will reflect gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where does my spirit go when I die?

"He taught us how to pray. He taught us how to serve. He taught us how to live. His life is a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved.

"The time came when He stood alone. Some Apostles doubted; one betrayed Him. The Roman soldiers pierced His side. The angry mob took His life. There yet rings from Golgotha’s hill His compassionate words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”11

"Earlier, perhaps perceiving the culmination of His earthly mission, He spoke the lament, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”12 “No room in the inn”13 was not a singular expression of rejection—just the first. Yet He invites you and me to receive Him. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”14

"Who was this Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief? Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of our Salvation. He beckons, “Follow me.”15 He instructs, “Go, and do thou likewise.”16 He pleads, “Keep my commandments.”17

"Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude."

FAIL Blog -- My New Funny Place!

I found a new blog that is just too funny! I've got it linked on the side bar, but here's a little taste of it.

fail owned pwned pictures
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stuffing? Hello?

You Are The Stuffing

You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.

People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

Why We Started Our Own Business

The boys were just sitting on the bed, chatting with Dad. Then, when I went to take a picture, of course, they moved! And I suck at photography, so I have that terrible back light. They were still too cute!

52 Weeks Blessing

This week, I am grateful for -- PMS! OK, at least, I'm grateful for the realization that I'm in the middle of PMS when I haven't been following the calendar very well. My husband is not an inconsiderate beast, my marriage is not on the verge of divorce, my children are not the most lazy and ungrateful children on the planet, and I am not a universal failure! Thank you, PMS, for perspective.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pursuit of Excellence Reading Challenge

The Hen House is hosting a Pursuit of Excellence Reading Challenge. It sounds really simple -- you read every talk in the current conference issue of the Ensign between now and the next conference in April 2009, posting about some of the talks that impressed you or touched you some way. Then, the Hen House will be giving away monthly prizes to participants! Sounds like a win-win to me.

Check it out if you want to participate! The deadline to sign up to be eligible for this month's giveaway is Wednesday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Surviving on the Mercies of Motherhood

Surviving on the Mercies of Motherhood

People think I’m crazy when I tell them I love childbirth. It’s not that I like pain—I don’t. But there is just something about working really hard to get something really good. My husband and I have the routine down: we do whatever it takes to get through a contraction, then I slump back on the bed, as limp and peaceful as a noodle (as peaceful as a noodle can be) and rest before the next one hits. It’s hard work, but when the baby is finally born, the pain doesn’t matter anymore—and I experience joy beyond description. (Then I swear I’ll never do it again.)

It has recently occurred to me that childbirth can be one huge metaphor for motherhood. We “labor” day in and day out, moment by moment—scrubbing, brushing, wiping, flushing, buckling, holding, washing, folding—it’s a wonder more mothers don’t drop dead from pure exhaustion!
So here’s my theory: Heavenly Father knew how challenging motherhood would be for each of us—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. So He sends us “mother mercies.” You know the moments—the ones that sneak up on you and make you smile or laugh—or teary-eyed. It’s like the time I caught a whiff of my five-year-old and realized he’d put on his daddy’s deodorant that morning. Or when he used to pray nightly, “Please bless that morning will come in five minutes.” It’s the time I found a bar of soap in my bathroom with one (and only one) set of teeth marks in it. Or when my preschooler asked me, “Why did Jesus cover our bones with skin?”
Perhaps these little mercies are like the pauses between our contractions of motherhood—the moments that make us say, “Oh yeah. I really love this mothering stuff.”

Contraction: Baby spits up.
Mother Mercy: Three-year-old cries in alarm, “Mom! She’s spilling!”
Contraction: Five-year-old climbs on counter to find sweets.
Mother Mercy: He explains he was simply finding desert for “Family Home Ming-Ming.”
Contraction: Patting your squishy tummy left over from pregnancy.
Mother Mercy: Patting your baby’s squishy tummy that you got in return.
Contraction: Feeling overwhelmed and grumpy.
Mother Mercy: Oldest child says sweetly, “Mommy, if you say a prayer, Heavenly Father will help you feel better.”

Think about it—what an interesting phenomenon—in our very hardest moments of mothering, Heavenly Father sends us these little flashes of reprieve to help us keep going with a smile. True, we have diapers and back-talking and tantrums and spills, but we also get kisses and first steps and stick-figure drawings and hand-pulled bouquets.

Look for the Mother Mercies in your own life. I promise they will pop up everywhere—when your toddler trips the alarm at the library (like mine did) or when he pours pop down the bowling alley lane (yes, mine) or when you find your envious child stripped down to his nothings at the park, staring longingly through the fence into the city pool (Whose kid is that? Oh, it’s mine). The Mother Mercies are always there. Don’t miss them!

One Sunday while I was juggling my three little ones, an older sister in my ward leaned over and said, “This will all end someday, believe me.” To which I replied, “Oh don’t tell me that! I’m having so much fun.” Who knew that doing something so hard could bring me so much happiness? And just like the finale of childbirth, I’m hopeful that this mothering thing—this exhausting labor of love—will someday bring us joy we could never comprehend was possible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Perfect Gift!

OK, everyone, I have the perfect gift for you for Christmas! I'm thinking of doing these for every girl in the family. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Excitement Prevailed This Morning!

Yes, the most exciting thing happened at our house -- I finally made Shandee's Famous Overnight Bubble Bread for breakfast! There were excited giggles as I came downstairs and put it in the oven. Several times, the kids turned on the oven light to peek at the progress. The worst torture was after the bread was finished, but it still had to cool. Finally, the moment arrived! Everyone was able to have not one, but two pieces each! Happy satisfaction abounded as a hushed quiet fell over six eating children. The verdict? Six thumbs up, I believe! It was so easy to do, I may just have to make this our Christmas morning tradition.

Now, my gift to all of you readers -- I've included the recipe on my recipe blog, The Flagging Chef (see sidebar)! Enjoy!

12 Days of Junkie Giveaway

Tip Junkie is hosting a 12 day giveaway. Tip Junkie is doing an awesome giveaway for the next few days!!! As always everything is completely adorable and made from Mom-preneurs. This is a great way to look and support women, who sell there beautiful products. Her blog is

Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Club Update

So, we met for our book club last week. Surprisingly, everyone felt pretty much the same about our book, My Sister's Keeper. We all hated the mom. We pretty much thought the ending was appropriate, but the epilogue was completely untrue to the story line. Danya enjoyed the Julia character -- she found the objective point of view helpful in developing the story. However, she agreed that the court scene, where Julia is unable to give an opinion, was a let down. We agreed that the Dad was also a let down in court, when he should have stood up for Anna, and he didn't.

The new book for this month is a dip into the sci fi genre. We'll be reading "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus" by Orson Scott Card. Synopsis: "In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing. "

I'm a little nervous, because I'm the one who chose the book. I've really enjoyed the book, and I'm hoping others will, too -- although, that's not a prerequisite! It's more important that we get a good discussion out of the book, and I think this will fit the bill. It has an interesting take on history, religion, morality, slavery, and what greatness is.

Join us, and comment when we review!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cute For Christmas!

How cute is this idea? Can I schedule this into my busy life? Anyone else want to try it and let me know how easy it is?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Help! Recipes Needed!

I'm ready to start my all-inclusive wellness plan. That means that I need to put together a menu of healthy, really easy to prepare meals. Here's where I'm stuck! I've been throwing together frozen and prepared meals for so long, I don't have any good dinner recipes! Does anyone have any family favorites that are easy to prepare and good for you? I'm looking for chicken and fish and beans and lots of vegetables. I love to experiment, so unusual dishes are welcome.

Now, I know some of you are currently or have been dieting -- South Beach, The Zone, Weight Watchers. If you've found some favorite recipes, please share!

Either post them here as a comment, or submit them on my website "Chronic Fatigue Community." Then, I'll post them all on my recipe blog, "The Flagging Chef." Thanks for helping!!!

This Is Why They Are Called Prophets

This comment was made 30 years ago. Definitely prophetic, wasn't it? Take comfort!

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life..'

"This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

"Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened....

"Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel.

"There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself.

"Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."

From "A More Determined Discipleship" by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. An address delivered at Brigham Young University, 10 October 1978.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Moon Survival Challenge


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Sick Little Ones

Have you ever noticed how young a sick child looks while sleeping? It's like all those years of growing up washed away, and they are back to being your little one again. It's hard work, but taking care of them is one of the precious joys of motherhood.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Take a Moment to Celebrate History in the Making

I voted for McCain. I know it was a symbolic vote, but I had to vote my conscience. I am very worried about where Barack Obama will take this country. I'm worried about taxes on my fledgling business. I'm worried about the next Supreme Court justices. I'm worried about big government and wimpy foreign policy and higher taxes and an abortion free for all. What an interesting four years this will be.

BUT -- I am taking the next 77 days until Barack Obama actually takes office to celebrate this amazing moment in history! From slavery, to the civil rights movement, to this moment -- it is really breathtaking. Martin Luther King's dream -- that some day, every child in America could grow up to be whatever he or she wanted to be -- has finally come true.

I love this country!

Thank You, California!

Although officially, Prop. 8 is too close to call (they are waiting until all the mail in and provisional ballots have been counted), it looks like the amendment has passed! I can tolerate same-sex couples, but I am not being forced to condone their behavior. I don't have to worry about what kids are being taught in school. I don't have to worry about lawsuits against our church. My freedom of speech and religion will remain intact -- and it didn't cost same-sex couples one single actual right.

Congratulations to all who put in hours of work in one of the biggest grass-roots efforts ever! It has been worth it. It's amazing to be a part of history.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gavin's Lost Tooth

Well, the last of my bunch has lost his first tooth! Hooray, Gavin! He didn't even know it was loose. He was just sitting there, watching TV, and it came out in his hand. No fuss, no drama. Just wrapped it up and put it under his pillow. And here is my latest toothless wonder!

Gabe is starting to wonder about the tooth fairy. He's curious, he says, because some of his friends are getting $1-$2 a tooth, and we're only getting 50 cents. Hmmm. Should I tell him it's because he doesn't brush his teeth enough, so that's all they are worth?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm Finally Swayed to McCain

OK, I'll vote for McCain -- for this young man, and all the men and women who serve in the military.


We had a fun, busy Halloween week! Tuesday evening, we had a chili cook-off and trunk-or-treat at church. Thursday, we went to the Family Fall Festival at the boys' school. Last night, we went to Shari's annual Halloween get-together. Then, Rom took the kids out trick-or-treating while I handed out candy at the door.

Our neighborhood is "THE" spot to trick-or-treat! People arrive by the carload. I ran out of candy by 7:30 pm. I enjoyed the kids and the costumes -- although, I'm a little disturbed that so many moms let their girls out looking like that! I mean, it appeared they were looking more for tricks than for treats, if you know what I mean!

Poor Kyara, she had to work, so she missed out on all the festivities. Rom disappeared with friends until after 10:00 pm -- NOT GOOD, MISTER! But, he came home safe and happy, so I guess all's well that ends well. Johnette had her friend, Dana, come trick-or-treating with her, and then they watched Howls' Moving Castle afterwards. (An interesting Halloween choice. I would have chosen Nightmare Before Christmas, but Howls' is wierd, too.)

An overall good night, if I do say so, myself. I am now going to raid various treat bags.

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