"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

progressing personally

Currently, I have the best job there is at our church in teaching these beautiful young women (among some others that I also adore!).

I was their age just a minute ago and I remember what it was like. 

The Latter-day Saint young women's program has a pretty intensive award that takes hours upon hours … and maybe a few years in there, too :) …. to complete. 

These girls I love, right along with our own little Annie, were honored by receiving theirs recently.

She stood there sharing her testimony of her knowledge and I was just flooded with appreciation for great leaders who fill the gaps I lack.

Through that "Personal Progress" program, she has truly bloomed.

I've watched her internalize scriptures, pray more effectively, master self confidence and see a bigger picture of herself. She and I have had long discussions about how we can't change circumstances or those around us, only ourselves.

She's a beautiful example of that.

Celia also received an "honor bee" that night, for mentoring and hours of service.

I hope these girls of mine can see that the great choices that they make daily are what help them progress in a spiritually personal way.  Not by assignment, but by choice.

And I just love to see all that they can "become".

Pin It

Monday, November 17, 2014

gratitude rooted in happiness - a family night

We've begun our month of gratitude with our annual family night of happiness.

This girl here was pleased as punch to be conducting our meeting and making assignments that night.

A good friend of mine sent me such a super article about "happiness" and I loved it so much I drew the lesson from it's teachings.

We wrote out the characteristics of happy people so we could look at it every day this month and maybe find a couple of areas that we could personally work on.

And then those notes of absolutely favorite things in this world that make us happy from the bottoms of our toes, just flowed.

Our happiness wall has begun to grow.

That one in the middle says "helping sisters". Love that. I should put one beside it about how much I love that early writing development :)

We've had some pretty cold days lately so this one is agreed on by all.

But as I stand there reading the new ones added every morning, I can feel my own self well up with gratitude that comes from all these happiest of things that make me glad to meet each day.

More about our tradition in this month of thanksgiving HERE.

Pin It

Thursday, November 13, 2014

sixteen years ago

I fell head over heels for a 7 lb. red head.

I remember looking him over and thinking he was the most perfect little thing I'd ever seen. It nearly made my heart hurt that he would not be as little tomorrow as he was at that moment.

Now it makes my heart nearly burst at all that he is growing into.

Sixteen reasons, he's one of the joys of my life:

1. He includes his little brother like he's his right hand man. The minute those two are home from school, they are off on an adventure. If there are other teenage friends along, Grant is right at Christian's side and those friends take a back seat and Grant is never made to feel like the little brother. Ever.

2. He's got really good tastes in friends. They are a fun bunch to watch learn and grow together.

3. Though he makes me hopping mad sometimes, he knows how to turn my frustrations into laughter.

4. He will carry a conversation with me to the moon and back.

5. He has no fear of adventure nor new things. Oh, how I've loved watching him tackle learning to lead the music at church and his disregard of his own mistakes in the learning. He will try anything with me … rock climbing, mountain biking, crazy new dinners experiments. No fear.

6. He'll own up to a mistake and do everything in his power to make it right.

7. There's just enough adventure in him to push the limits and though that sometimes gets him in trouble, it makes us kindred spirits.

8. His heart is made of gold. He does his best to forget no one.

9. No questions asked … he'll dispose of any dead animal. Even though I know it's not his favorite thing on earth to do.

10. Fun is his middle name. He hasn't stopped moving since the day he was born so there has never been a dull moment. Ever.

11. His testimony runs deep. He often teaches me a thing or two and man, don't I feel humbled.

12. He's not afraid to hug his mother.

13. He is an idea man. And I just love his ideas.

14. He will work for food. Any food. And every meal I make for him is better than the last even when it's not.

15. Some days he's home before the other kids and we enjoy downtime watching Leave It To Beaver together. I think we both feel a little like we were born in the wrong era.

16. I love watching him Become. He learns through each mistake. He tries a little harder always. He reads to learn. Prays to grow. And everyday I see him become just a little bit more, everything he was always meant to be.

Happy 16 years, Christian!


Pin It

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

veteran's day

I'm so very grateful for this man who taught us love of country and for all it stands, one nation, under God.

I love you, Dad.
Pin It

Friday, November 7, 2014

never said it would be easy, only said it would be worth it

Amidst the smiling faces of a typical blog page, impressions can gather that another's life seems to hold so much more. More fun. More laughter. More excitement. More everything.

I've a mother who comes with a deep well of experience in the raising of nine children and my tendencies turn to drawing eagerly from those depths. She understands. Her past has seen her overstep the very obstacles I now face. Sometimes there's a solution. Sometimes one is yet to be found. Either way there's comfort in the words she will impart.

She tells a story of a time when a sibling hung in the balance. A phone call for help in the night had her jump to the rescue with a plea sent heaven's way. Every mother's cry, "Why couldn't this be easy?" and car keys in hand, a mad dash made.

The quieting of her mind in the drive opened her thoughts and she heard it. A voice if ever there was one, "If I'd made it easy, would you try so hard?"

Thoughts turn to the easy things I've tried in my life. Most in the past. Half hearted efforts littering the wayside long forgotten and abandoned.

But for every cast off, there's also been a mountain to climb that I'm certain summits with a magnificent view. So I keep climbing. Building strength needed to accomplish what's hard.

These motherhood days of toddlers and teens find me in the depths of something more.

More worry. More concern. More heart ache. More time on bended knee. Imploring heaven's help for some well of knowledge. Throwing my own cry for parental assistance in the the night. "Why couldn't this be easy?"

It's impossible not to feel the sharpness of the question's reflection to my own rebellious soul.

The answer echoes, though, always the same. "If it were easy …. would you try so hard?"

So I look into the shining eyes and well meaning hearts of these children of mine. Taking the good with the bad. Climbing higher through the roughest terrain. Together. Because the easy way won't produce much strength. And a worthwhile view only comes from the hard.

Pin It

Thursday, November 6, 2014

goodbye october, see you next year

This girl is as busy as they come.

Just five minutes. That's all I needed from Curious George just so's I could load the dishes without a dishwasher door being stood on.

Just five minutes. That's all I got.

My iPhone has one hundred selfies that look like this grainy early morning shot.

No place is high enough for the safety of Lego's in this house.

But despite that busy, busy girl, we had our first rainy/slushy day and when these two curled up drowsily to listen to every book I would read to them  ...

It took sheer will power to remove myself from that soak-it-in-warm spot between them just to get some things done before the afternoon rush.

Grant. He's Christian's sidekick where ever he goes.

I love Bananagram Sundays.

It was the kind of fall that could stay forever as far as I'm concerned. Eliza had a day off from kindergarten so we toured the Denver Zoo on an incredibly beautiful day.

Freddy is a tradition.

Only I didn't expect to open my door one morning at 5:30am and find him staring me down. I pretty much woke up the house.

Kids spent the rest of the month flipping on lights at arms length and making siblings open shower curtains quickly.

I wish I'd gotten a video snippet of Celia karate chopping that thing to death one Friday night when she came in later than her curfew allowed. Couldn't have been better punishment ;)

She's had Tuesday and Thursday mornings off of school this semester. Those mornings, she sits at my kitchen table putting her brain on college applications.

Then she puts on that massive backpack and heads out the door. Those days are sweet and numbered.

We found homes for our mama cat's last litter of kittens. Man, it breaks my heart every time the way she frantically searches all over for them.

My heart was full of tender feelings over that grown-up looking gal heading out my door and I sat down to scratch that mama cat and have a good cry.

It's official … I'm a crazy cat lady.

Oh, we had the prettiest front porch and the kids were so proud of their creations! But I waited a day too long to take a picture and stepped out one morning to find three full sized deer on the porch eating everything down to a nub.

The elementary school hosted a "Muffins with Mom's" morning. You would have thought it was Christmas morning with these two.

And yes .. I midlife crisis-ed my hair to bangs.

We cashed in our free Six Flags tickets from the summer reading program. Less crowds at the end of season.

Just a little excitement about that.

We rode the train downtown to avoid traffic. Who needs amusement park rides? The train ride in and of itself was an adventure!

The big kids love how the park is decked out for Halloween with fog, spider webs and scarefest. Newel and I clung to the kiddie land drinking up all the sisterly excitement from these two.

Celia is the high school technical theater director. She was fully absorbed in the production of their Halloween play, The Crucible.  Her creative design of the staging, lighting, sound, props and such, made the play.

Newel and I took Annie's friend group to a haunted house for our date night. Cute, cute kids.

And I had a good laugh at Newel's strategy of getting us in and out of the haunted house undetected. "Stay quiet and low to the ground" kind of defeats the purpose. Oh how I love him!

Annie has been working to complete her young women's personal progress. One of her projects was to make dinners for us for a week.

You can tell they were a hit.

She's also into super cute hairstyles. Love that creative girl!

This sister needing help with her Halloween costume would agree. So nice to have a hairdresser in the family.

My days of costume suggestion are over and these guys are pretty creative with their own ideas.

Grant sported several different characters at our various activities. Dr. Who for school and church.

Something scary for the neighborhood hay ride and Halloween night. When did Halloween become a week long celebration anyway?

Elphaba sang "Because I Knew You" all week long ...

To her cat ...

Who was just pleased as punch to be included in the kindergarten festivities.

Then there was this bunch from left to right … Randy, Trisha, Kip, Napoleon, Pedro, Deb and Rex down front. That Napoleon is mine and he's legit.

And that .. in a nutshell .. was October.

Pin It