Thursday, October 28, 2010

Visit From Grandma

My Mother is visiting this week from North Carolina and the boys were so excited to see her.

She came bearing gifts, a book for Gabe and one for David. They've been having a great time reading the number book.

The weather has been very accomadating and Utah-esque. We had our first dusting of snow this week. Its not really cold enough for snow though (40's and 50's) so there's not much left the day after. TI was fun to play in while it lasted.

I think this is a first for me- snow on my Halloween pumpkin. I think its 70's and 80's in Raleigh right now.

Gabe used to call snow "sugar from the sky". Even though he knows what it is now he will sometimes call it that anyway and giggle at his own joke. The Sky sugar has definitely made the mountains beautiful.

Welcome to Utah Grandma. We're all glad you came to visit!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The best Picnic Ever

About 3 weeks ago our family of five DID have the best picnic ever: great weather, good company,and a beautiful picnic spot. I packed the boys up with a sack lunch and met Zach on campus at the waterfall. Its a beautiful spot they created shortly after the both of us graduated a few years ago. It was all very picturesque. Smart me though, forgot my camera.

The next week I tried to recreate the moment, but you know how that goes- just can't be done. The weather was already cooler and over cast and we were somewhat rushed since Zach had a 1:00 appointment with a student. That, AND it was parent day at BYU so we had to park a little further than Timbuktu and walk to the picnic area. I made the pilgrimage with two small boys, a lunch, a box for a missionary, a stroller, PLUS a camera in my purse this time! It was no small feat to make it there before Zach had to leave at all.

The boys had sweatshirts and shoes on minutes before taking this picture so that gives you an idea of how chilly this water was. As Gabe let out little squeals of delight he exclaimed, "Mom, I'm glad Heavenly Father made this water for us. " I didn't have the heart to burst his bubble and tell him that BYU landscaping may have helped just a little.

(In case any of you are feeling sorry for these poor creatures, these overly bold avian need the occasional chasing.They are so used to people and begging scraps from picnickers that they just waddle right up to you hoping for a dropped crust of bread or bite of cookie. )

All and all it was a lovely, howbeit somewhat short, outing. The after-outing trip to the BYU post office took just about as long as the actual outing itself. About 100 yards into the return trip David decides that he can't possibly walk another step and stops right there in the middle of the sidewalk demanding a piggy back ride. We took a short "People Watching" rest until I came up with the compromise that he could have a piece of gum if he made it back to the car. (And no, a compromise is not the same thing as a bribe. I'm not quite sure how they are different, but just take my word for it, they are.) We made it back safe and sound and by the time I drove back to Orem I had three sleeping boys in my back seat, two of which actually stayed asleep when we got into the house. ::Ahhhhhhhh.... sigh of relief from mom:: Having fun is hard work.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ten Apples Up on Top

(the salsa was being very rude and trying to get some of the glory)

Still canning season here in Utah and when in Utah do as the Utahans- make applesauce. So far I've made two gallons but there is another box of apples begging for me to do something with it like apple slices or maybe a couple of pies.

Our neighbor next door, who is also a renter, has a number of mature fruit trees and I noticed that her apples were just falling everywhere. It didn't seem like anyone was using them. What a waste! I went over and asked if we could have some and she said "pick all you want, I'm too old to do it and no one in the ward has come this year to get them yet."

I had three little helpers come with me but after picking one or two the older ones lost interest and wandered over to where the toys were.

This little man couldn't grab apples fast enough with his chubby little fists to shove into his equally chubby cheeks.

Here he's going for the two handed approach, that one in his left hand looks a little ify. He wasn't real picky.

Now to get down to business! (with all of my four teeth)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Are you ready?

Five Little Pumpkins
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, "Oh, my it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air."
The third one said, "But we don't care."
The fourth one said, "Let's run, let's run!"

The fifth one said, "Isn't Halloween fun?"
Then Woooooo went the wind

And OUT went the lights.

And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

One for each of our boys- Gabe and David got to pick out their own lop sided gourds for the occasion. Can you tell which one is Mac's?

Its nothing compared to our neighbors though. They must collect pumpkins or know a pumpkin farmer in the area. From the picture I count 15 but I know there are a few more you can't see, and two of them are already carved! We have come catching up to do before the big day.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I am a woman of Faith

(Zach and I were asked to speak on Faith today in sacrament meeting. I gave a short intro to our family which I've cut out because if you are reading this blog, I'm assuming you already know us.)

I am a woman of faith. I partook of the fruit knowing that I would be cast out of the Lord’s presence and his beautiful garden to begin a life of toil and tears. I trusted in His plan and began a family in that desolate lonely world. I am a woman of faith.

I am like Rachel, Hannah, Sariah, and Elizabeth of old and cannot bear children. It breaks my heart. It is my greatest sorrow. I do everything that I can but I do not despair. I wait on the Lord and trust in his timing. I know he has not misplaced my blessings and that the Lord’s promises are sure. I am a woman of faith.

I followed my husband from my comforting home and family in New York to go to the Ohio. I donated my best china to be used in the construction of a temple for our God. I followed the prophet’s word as we left that beautiful temple for Missouri where we were cast out like those having a plague. My faith did not waver. I followed the word of the Lord to Navuoo and I will yet follow My God again across the plains to an unknown spot in the west. When I get there I will pick up the broken pieces of my heart and family and start again. I am a woman of faith.

Like King Mosiah I sent my precious sons off on missions to the Lamanites, trusting that the Lord will keep them in the hallow of His Hand. If they come not back to me I count it a blessing, like Paul, to suffer for Christ’s sake. I am a woman of faith.

I pay my tithing even before I buy bread for my young ones. I am a single mother of three small children and I have nothing but a little bit of beans and rice on my shelves to feed them. I know the Lord will provide. I am a woman of faith.

My 35 year old husband , protector, provider and best friend was just diagnosed with cancer. I pray to the Lord with hope that he will be cured, but I always end my plea with, “Thy will be done,” and I am at peace. I am a woman of faith- without faith I am nothing.

There are a thousand ways to define faith for it has dimensions that touch all aspects of this life and the life beyond. A good woman of faith I admire defined it as, “Giving up a known good (or comfort), for a greater unknown good.”

"Faith is putting all your eggs in God's basket and counting your blessings before they've hatched."

I am obviously not the kaleidoscope woman of faith described in the short essay above, but I am a woman of faith. It is the barometer I measure my life’s choices by. When I was debating whether or not to marry my sweet husband I had doubts and took it to the Lord. He assured me that if I married Zach that I would be happy. I had faith and acted on that prompting. Six and a half years later we are still happily married.

I have faith that the Lord will help us raise our three beautiful boys and often go to Him in prayer about how to handle a certain problem we are having. The Lord is quick to answer this sort of plea because these Spirits are so precious and youth is so fleeting. When I follow the prompting not to force story time, to immediately check on what they are doing, or to follow through with discipline then our home is happier, safer, and more at peace for it.

Everyone has some sort of faith or trust that they base their actions on. Actions are always founded in faith. This is why James says, “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” You can have faith in the weather man, government, talk radio, friends, family, personal electronic devises, media messages, or in yourself. You have faith that your employer will pay you so you get up in the morning and go to work. You have faith that the winter is cold so you put on a sweater. You have faith that seeds will yield fruit so you plant a garden. You have faith; the choice is not whether to have faith but where you will place it. The only difference between faith in God and faith in the arm of flesh, is that God will never let you down. He may not always give you what you want or when you want it, but He always sends what you need. This faith not only motivates us to do, but to do good. If you would like to take a litmus test of your own level of faith in Jesus Christ just think, “Would a stranger be able to tell where my faith is placed if they took a look at my expenditures, looked at a log of how I spend my time, reviewed a list of what I consumed on a screen or in print? Would there be overwhelming evidence to convict me of being a Christian? Would there even be sufficient proof of minimal faith?”

Bishop Richard C. Edgley, first counselor in the presiding bishopric, gave a talk in conference entitled “Faith- the choice is yours.” He states that when our sacred doctrine and beliefs are challenged this is our opportunity to become acquainted with God in a most private and intimate manner. This is our opportunity to choose. Faith in God is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed. Thus we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours.”

This talk reminded me of a similar talk that I enjoyed by Elder Anderson of the Q12. He remembers,

“While there are many experiences like the one we are having today, full of spiritual power and confirmation, there are also days when we feel inadequate and unprepared, when doubt and confusion enter our spirits, when we have difficulty finding our spiritual footing. Part of our victory as Disciples of Christ is what we do when these feelings come.

Nearly 40 years ago as I contemplated the challenge of a mission, I felt very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying, “Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?” I believed in the Church, but I felt my spiritual knowledge was very limited. As I prayed, the feeling came: “You don’t know everything, but you know enough!” That reassurance gave me the courage to take the next step into the mission field.

Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We then remain steady and patient as we progress through mortality. At times, the Lord’s answer will be, “You don’t know everything, but you know enough”—enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right. Remember Nephi’s words: “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”2

Through the years we take these important spiritual steps over and over again. We begin to see that “he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”5 Our questions and doubts are resolved or become less concerning to us. Our faith becomes simple and pure. We come to know what we already knew. D&C 50:24"

Faith is not only a feeling it is a decision.

In Mark 9:24 it states, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief.” This seemingly contradictory statement is uttered by a man who had a son possessed by an evil spirit who was in need of healing. The Lord said unto him, “If thou canst believe, all tings are possible to him that believeth.” Christ healed the boy according to the faith of the father. The man did not have a full understanding of the mysteries of God but he knew enough to know that the Lord could heal his afflicted son.

In Ephesians 6:16 it states, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

Faith is the part of the armor that is aptly represented by the shield. I think it no coincidence that the original CTR rings are in the form of a shield. It is not an offensive tool, but one of the defenses the Lord has given and can be moved around to cover any chinks in your armor. Any weaknesses or doubts you may have can be protected by faith. If we have not yet a perfect knowledge of tithing, or starting a family, or getting out of debt, or turning off unsavory media we can move our shield of faith there and proceed anyway. In time we will acquire that piece of armor, a sure testimony of that principle, and our shield of faith can be moved to protect another spot of weakness. As Alma puts it, “And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant.” (Alma 32:34)

(I ended with the same poem I've already posted- here it is if you haven't read it.)

My life is but a weaving

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me
I let Him choose the colours
He worketh subtlety.

Oft times He worketh sorrow
and I within my heart
Forget He sees the pattern
While I only see the part.

The dark threads were as needful
In the weaver's skilful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver,
In the pattern He had planned.

Not till the loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas,
And explain the reason why.

Like Nephi I know that God loves me; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” and that is ok. I know enough. I know enough to act in faith. I know in my heart that he loves me because I feel that love. I have faith that if I do my part He will take care of the rest. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Life is but a Weaving

Align Center

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me
I let Him choose the colours
He worketh subtlety.

Oft times He worketh sorrow
and I within my heart
Forget He sees the pattern
While I see only the part.

The dark threads were as needful
In the weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver,
In the pattern He had planned.

Not till the room is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas,
And explain the reason why.

~Author Unknown

This is one of my favorite poems that I was introduced to in seminary some years ago. Zach and I were asked to speak about faith tomorrow and I've included it in my talk.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Almighty Dime

This summer, as I was staying with various family members, I noticed that various families had chore charts. I had a mother-guilt ,thinking to myself, "We have no chore chart; my kids don't even know what a chore is!" Well that has since been rectified. Nothing big, but each morning Gabe and David have their "Morning chores." They have to get themselves dressed, do something with their pajamas and make their bed. Mom assists PRN (as needed). Their payment is 10 cents either in the form of a dime or two nickles.

David can barely count out ten items, but it is surprising how early on kids get the idea that money has value. That it is worth something and can be exchanged for something else of value. They are collecting their little dimes in jars. These jars get taken back every day after the ritual deposit of funds so that there aren't dimes all over the floor for Mac to swallow. I think it is good for them to have a little responsibility and to be rewarded for their efforts. Gabe wanted to use his dimes to help buy a hamburger when we went to eat. Since he didn't have them with him, we told him we would cover it being the nice parents that we are.

I feel a tithing Family Home Evening coming on in the near future. Can't spend those dimes unless we give back to the Lord first.

I'm thinking of adding "brush teeth" as a fourth chore for an extra 2 cents- Now that would really make the math fuzzy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Help Mama, Help!

"Help mama, Help!" comes the cry from the boys room. I rush to the scene of the accident and this is what I see. "Oh wait right there baby, while mommy gets her camera." After a snap off a couple of shots I start an internal debate whether to , in fact, help my sassy two year old out of his predicament or try to teach him some sort of lesson. During this meager mental exercise my heroic four year old, Gabe, comes to the rescue of his younger brother and dumps out the trash can along with its adorable contents. Gabe has decided that it is HIS turn in the trash can. By all means, why don't we all take a turn in the garbage.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Visit from El Jefe y Esposa

(First of all I would like to say that it is some sort of 8th wonder of the world to get 6 people smiling at the same time in a photo, especially if three of those people are my two kids and Dad. Who was that excellent photographer?)

Mom and Dad were here last weekend for a mission reunion and they graced us with their presence on Monday night for dinner and Family Home Evening. Aunt Tina came along for the ride.

Dad showered us with house warming gifts newly purchased from Kmart. Mom says to us, "There are times when you just have to look sharp Zach." Apparently our kitchen table wasn't cutting it as the ironing board.

I spent all morning canning peaches for the first time and I had about 8 quarts to show for DANG, canning is a lot of work, especially if you have small children who are less help than one might wish. Mom came over that night and whizzed through the remaining 11 quarts in about half the time. Thanks mom! I bet they would have just gone to rot if she hadn't done them for me.That night our kids caught a stomach virus and I got what turned out to be strep throat. It was a rough 48 hours.

These were the juicy raw materials for our kitchen project, supplied by Ben and Joy. Their parents are moving into a house that has a mature peach tree in the back yard.

Thanks for the visit mom and dad, wish it could have been longer!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Keep it Simple

If I had one of those cutsie little wall decals, it would read "Keep it simple." Not because life is always simple, or that I always try to keep it simple, but if there was something that I needed a reminder of on a daily basis that isn't in the scriptures, this would be it. I've been trying though. Baby steps I've taken recently:

-Cleaning out my handbag of all unnecessary toys, recites, changes of baby clothes etc. Its about 5 lb lighter now.

-Taking all the unused keys off my key ring and putting them into a drawer

-Using left overs and NOT purchasing too much food this week

-Trying to remember that busy does not equal important

-Picking up the baby instead of finishing the chore

-And reading to to my children instead of finishing this blog

Keep it simple.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fort Hutchins

What Dad's are good for.

Excellent draw bridge mechanism

Getting a little help from the crew.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Costume Preview

Jen sent us this great pumpkin hat with Roger Jr. when he came out before going into the MTC. It has solved my costume question as to what Mac should be for his very first Halloween. I think rolly-polly babies make the best pumpkins. Plus, its just fun to dress babies up and take their picture. Thanks Jen.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

And Sew it Ends

Its finished. My first crochet project in, oh, at least 7 years. People ask me who it is for expecting it to be a gift. It is of course, but not for someone that is pregnant. Its for Mac. I'm going to give it to him when he turns 1 at the beginning of November. He's already seen it of course, but I don't think he'll mind. Thanks to Aunt Shirley for showing me how.

(Do you like how I took these pictures in such a way that you can't really tell the shape of the afghan? It turned out better than my expectations, but then again, I didn't really expect too much.)