Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Best From 2009

I don't know if these are really my best posts, but they are the ones that generated the most commentary.

#1 Run It's Course? As I questioned the educational choices we had made for our children, I came to you seeking feedback. You came through in a big way and our school now looks a lot different because of it.

#2 Things I Enjoy Cleaning You all know how I adore housework. This post outlines my very favorite chores. (Make sure you check the comments to read about your favorite things to clean!)

#3 Mad, Mad, Mad! outlines my fury at the government handouts that began at the beginning of this year. Just a note, here. The CEO of AIG (which the government (I mean, We the People) bought out for $85 Billion) has opted to leave the company (with a multi-million dollar compensation package) rather than abide by the government imposed salary cap. Also, GM is getting a few Billion more to get them out of their "slump." Most of my news comes from NPR (notoriously liberal)--none of this is from Glenn or Rush. Just to validate my info.

#4 Friends was during a particularly hard moment in time. One commenter threw my own quote back at me, "Yes, just one suggestion: give yourself a break! We love you. And, good grief, we all have crap we need to change. It takes a life-time."

#5 Great to be Gross My son's 10th birthday. It was really gross.

#6 Thirty-two Years Ago, Today My mother's cameo appearance in which she describes my birth. We were in the paper.

#7 Thoughts on Shots I dared broach the subject.

#8 Wise Choice in which I philosophize about the importance of healthy friendships and highlight one particularly valuable friend.

#9 Danny Boy My Down Syndrome brother came to our home when he was still a toddler. My parents have adopted him and Zach, another Down's boy. These are a few thoughts about growing up with retarded siblings (and why I still use the word retarded).

#10 To the Busy Bodies where I gripe and complain.

#11 Newsy You get to read about the randomness in my life--and see my huge laundry pile.

Thank you for making 2009 fun to report. It makes me excited for next year.

Actually, I'm already excited for next year 'cause I like saying twenty-ten. Isn't it, like, waaay, more fun?

Happy New Year!!

Love,
The Mothership

A Bench

I needed more efficient seating around the kitchen table. Now that the baby is sitting at the table for dinner, there are seven for a regular meal--not to mention those times when friends stay for dinner or we invite company. I found this antique bench online and wanted to mimic it. It is something like 150 years old and used to be in a school house. It was on the East Coast, like all good American antiques, and I'm not.


I made this this morning.



Pretty close, I think. The kids all helped distress it (and will surely continue to do so). It will need paint and a coat of pod-tough polyurethane. But, it seats six children or four adults.

Hurrah for necessity!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009



We had a wonderful Christmas; a day filled with giving and food and games and laughter and together. What a joy.
*****
And, Happy 300th post to me. Thank you for being a part of my life. This blog has certainly been enriching.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Man

The handle on my vacuum cleaner broke off a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't an ideal solution, but I had been pushing the vacuum by the hook that you wind the cord around. I tossed the handle in the garbage can.
A few minutes later, my son happened to glance into the garbage and saw the said handle. "Why are you throwing this away?" he asked.
I explained that I could still vacuum just fine and didn't want to take the time or make the effort to fix the handle. "This is why men were invented!" he proclaimed.
Um. Okay. That's weird. And I went back to washing the dishes.
Ten minutes later, he calls me in to the living room. . . to show me this:
Apparently women can't wield the duct tape with the skill or finesse of a man.
His sister tried to take credit (by being in the picture with him).

I just think it's funny any time she picks on him--she does it so rarely.

So, now, thanks to my Man, my vacuum cleaner has a handle again.
With duct tape all over it.
Yahoo.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Great Wish

I grew up in a card playing family--specifically a Pinochle playing family. (I wrote more about it here.) My husband has never learned and my children are just beginning to learn the game. It is fairly difficult, but SO fun. So fun.

It's an old person game and I love old people. I love their papery skin, their watery eyes, their shaky hands. I love when they jest with one another (especially a couple that has been married more than forty years), when they sing songs they sang in elementary school, and when they become exasperated with modern changes. I love their movies, their stars, their clothes, and their goodness. Mostly, though, I love their stories. I can sit at my grandmother's feet for hours as she talks about her life. It isn't too hard to get them going. They are just as sick of talking about their bunions and diabetes as you are sick of hearing about it. Sometimes the elderly get lost in their ailments, but ask about their first house or their first child or their older sister and they become a completely different person. Their eyes light up, they smile, they wave arthritic hands in the air and scoot to the edge of the seat on their walker. Sometimes tears will come and you'll get the chance to feel with them the loss of their livelihood or sweetheart or baby. Your heart may break as they describe their loneliness or feelings of depression because of their whole spirits stuck in broken bodies. Our grandparents are so full of good information and helpful advice. I rarely leave a conversation without payment of one kind or another. I just love old people.
When my children were small, I had a stroke of genius. I decided that during the day, when my children were all in school, I would go play Pinochle with the old people. Once a week, say, I'd go and play for a hour and a half. I'd get my fix of stories, advice, and love and maybe I could help them think about something besides their pain. Maybe we'd even laugh a bit.
Then I decided to home school. There will never be a "when my children are all in school."
The other night, my son's scout pack delivered gifts that they had purchased with extra fund-raiser money to the Veteran's Home in our town.
The boys sang a few carols and then handed out packages filled with cologne, sugar-free candy, socks, and so on. I found a seat and started chatting with a fella about the Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn movie that was on. We had a right jolly ol' time. In that twenty minute conversation, he expressed how depressing the nursing home was. He had lived a vivacious life for ninety years and here he was stuck in this stinky, lonely place. We shook our heads and smiled as he told me about his daughter making him hire someone to do his lawn and then, after he quite working in his yard, he had his first heart attack. He told me about his wife's death twelve years ago. With tears in his eyes, "Damn, I loved that lady." You get awfully used to a person after forty-nine years, I suppose. Then, when he opened his gift and found cologne, tears came to our eyes for a different reason. With riotous laughter, we read the label: For the rugged adventurer. The fragrance of seduction, blah, blah, blah. The dude was nearly one hundred years old. He weren't lookin' for no "rugged adventure!"
I came home resolved to find a way. I need them. They need me. We all love Pinochle.
For the New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Recital Time


(This was her pose--and her own ruby cheeks. She's always had them. When she was a baby, people used to ask if I had put blush on her. I didn't . . . and don't.)


I always wanted to be a dancer. It wasn't it the cards for me, but you know how we mothers are: if we wanted it when we were kids, we're going to figure out a way to get it for ours. Our three oldest are in dance of some kind or other. Uh, oh. I find myself with the urgent need to leap up on my soap box. Skip it, if you want.


We have a strict not-until-you're-six rule at our house. Anything younger than that and the parents are wasting time, money, energy, and gas for lessons. This rule goes for music, dance, sports, Et cetera--any lesson for which you have to pay to play. When they do get to finally participate, they really want to. We have found that it takes only a super short time for them to catch up to the kids who have been in class since they were two. Also, it's good for children to play, undirected. Even once they start the lessons, they should be fun until they are nine or ten. Then it's okay for (I even encourage) the teacher to lay down the law and teach the kid to push for improvement. Side caveat which will result in a good deal of hate mail. I'm sorry, but there it is.

Anyway, Christmas means recitals. Am I the only boob out there? I can watch my child at every practice for months with little emotion, but once they are on stage, the flood gates open. I snivel and sob at each leap and turn. My babies are growing up! (Wah, gulp, sob!!!)

I didn't get a picture of my boy. Crap. Well, he looked good, too. He makes me cry 'cause he is a ten year old boy who is enjoys ballet--and can take the heat of being the only boy doing it. And 'cause he still gets kinda grossed out by the fact that he has to touch girls in order to lift or turn them. Ewww. He also likes basketball and running.

I hope you enjoyed all of your Christmas/Holiday/Winter concerts/recitals/shows this year.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Year's Letter

I'm taking a page out of Brandi's book and posting last year's info. I ALWAYS send out a Christmas card, but couldn't this year. Everyone is one year older; that's about the biggest difference. This picture was taken moments ago. The gingerbread house is gone. Dentist appointments are next week.

Okay, take a deep breath because Here. It. Is. The Sanders’ Family Roundup!

We are really proud of the progress Justin has made since he started drug-court two months ago. His meth scabs are healing nicely and he is getting his public profanity under control. His next challenge is to cut back on his lottery obsession. Actually, he is in his first year of Pharmacy school and is a funny dad and super husband.

Emily is working on her new goal to pour her whiskey into a glass, instead of drinking it right out of the jug. She enjoys keeping up on Brad and Angelina, Jen and John, and is continuing her You Tube campaign to STOP THE HATE toward Britany. She also reads classics, blogs, stretches dollars and raises her massive brood.

Our oldest, _____, is nine and is working on his colors and shapes in school right now. He can sing the ABC’s the whole way through and only slurs the LMNOP part–but who doesn’t, right? He reads several grades above grade level. He is learning everything he can about rockets, space, flight, and has started saving for Space Camp.

Next in our “line-up” is ____, age seven. Finally, after weeks of practice, she can go potty on the toilet! Let’s all cheer . . . only three in diapers. She loves to watch Teletubies! _____ is our smarty pants who luh, huh, huves to read. She is wonderful with our baby–rocking her like a practiced adult, not the barely-four-foot tall creature that she is.

Our five year old, _____, had silver caps put on all of her teeth this fall, so she can finally eat something other than bananas and baby oatmeal. _____ likes to watch Judge Judy with her mom and can swear just like the plaintiffs. Boy, is she funny. She loves everything fancy and loves to dress-up. She says the nicest things and likes to surprise her mom by cleaning without being asked.

____ is three and can climb the ladder and get on the roof all by herself. WOW, isn’t she something? Sometimes she jumps off, but usually lands in the manure pile. She is getting handy with knives and helps make breakfast every afternoon. ____ is still our cuddly, sweet girl. She loves people and gets along with everyone. She is not shy and has many of the elderly people in our neighborhood wrapped around her finger.

Our newest arrival is _______. I don’t have it in me to even pretend about our lovely new babe. She is the blessed event of the year. Her June 16th delivery was fast and furious and her personality in these first six months has proved her worthy of it. She is always moving and loves her brother and sisters.

And You. You are our friends because we know you will get this joke. We are grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ, for our incredibly blessed lives . We are happy and healthy and looking forward to seeing you at the next AA meeting.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Changing Outlook

(My Dad multi-tasking)

I have always loved my mother's garden,


but when I was young, I preferred a more formal garden look. The gardens I thought I liked were those with pruned hedgerows, gravelled walkways, symmetrical beds and a fountain in the center. I used to stare at magazine layouts with that design and thought that is what I wanted. I mean, it is beautiful, isn't it? As far as architecture goes, my future home was to be in the storybook style, but always big--big windows, big entry, big facade. Inside would boast dramatic color, hand-knotted rugs, tapestries, elaborate mantels and so on. Drama, drama, drama.

Now, my plans are described by three words: cottage, comfort, and rustic. The cottage refers to the simple and cozy feel of both home and garden. I like meandering walks with surprise mossy benches, the flower beds that seem to ooze out into the path, shocks of bright color mixed with variations of green, and texture, texture, texture. Inside should be filled with warm colors, natural woods and soft chairs. Rustic can be a risky description because it is easily misinterpreted. You will not find a moose shower curtain or a plaid seat cushion or a bear carving in my rustic. You will also not find cowboy boot wallpaper, wrought iron branding rods or cow hide. My interpretation of rustic is rough-hewn woods, a centerpiece of lavender in a galvanized bucket, and, generally, the outdoors, in.


I think this says something about my own growth. My thirty-third birthday is just weeks away. The drama of sixteen is long-since past (though I pull it out now and again). While I do still care what people think of me (who doesn't, I beg), I'm not going to wear clothes that are not comfortable. When people enter my home, I no longer care to impress, I just want them to feel like they don't want to leave . . . not just yet. I decorate my home with an aim for a feeling of Welcome Respite. You can leave your shoes on--or take them off if you are more comfortable barefoot. You can sit anywhere, you can take a nap on my couch, you can pick up a book and escape, if you'd like. A cottage garden allows for unexpected changes. If a large root is growing, you don't have to take out the tree in order to achieve that symmetrical flower bed, you just plant around it--you may even have to change the direction of your planned path, but who knows? Maybe you'll find a gnome door behind the trunk. Isn't that the kind of thing you learn as you grow older and live as a parent? Take the good with the bad and even the bad becomes it's own treasure.

Sometimes we talk about our "Mansion above" or the estate God is preparing for us when we return to Him. Anymore, however, I don't care for a mansion and I'm sure He knows that. I have a feeling, my "mansion" will look a little more like my home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spelling Error

Please, people! You have to tell me!

I have always been a poor speller. (I'm pretty sure I talked about this before.) It plagues my soul comparable only to the way my terrible house-keeping skills do. The spell checker isn't even that helpful. It will often tag words that are not spelled wrong. I try to look up words before I send them out into the great throng of people-smarter-than-me, but now and then, a mistake gets through.

In a recent post, I wrote about the ridiculous things my children demand. But, instead of ridiculous (laughable, preposterous), I wrote ridicules (derision, mockery). TOTALLY DIFFERENT WORD! If I had just written it once, it could have been written off as a typo, but I wrote it twice. Twice and not one of you thought it would be prudent to save me from myself.

Next time you notice a gross error such as this, please send me a private email and tell me. I don't care if you are gentle or rude, funny or pithy, just get the information from your head to mine.

Thank you, forever.
Dunce

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Confession

I love Charles Dickens. I love his wordiness, his outrageous (and memorable) characters, and his insight into humanity. His story A Christmas Carol is wonderful. Really. Wonderful. But I have a confession to make:

it scares me. I have read the story many times, seen it on stage, watched Mickey Mouse and The Muppets interpret it. I've seen the freakily animated version and the Bill Murray version. I know that tears will spring into my eyes every time crippled Tiny Tim, full of goodness and typifying the light that Christ affords us, asks God to bless us, everyone. I know that the visiting ghosts will guide Scrooge into repentance and understanding. I know that many lives (except that of the prize turkey in the poulterer's shop window) will never again know the sadness of their lives previous to the fateful Christmas Eve night. All of this I know!

Yet, at the beginning, whether I am reading or watching or listening, I have a persistently uneasy feeling swimming around in my insides. I know that those scary ghosts are Going To come and Jacob Marley is Going To untie his head wrap, letting his jaw fall slack. The thought of all the freakyness happening in the relative safety of one's own bed is, well, unnerving.

I keep tuning in because the good in the outweighs the bad, but, I'm holding my pillow awfully tight until Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

So Far Today

I lay in bed this morning with an unquenchable desire for watermelon. My mouth felt hot and dry. I dreamed of the fresh, cool fruit; of the sweet liquid satiating my thirst. Alas, I live in the mountains of Idaho--there are no watermelons of any value in December.

Moments later, my husband and I sprang from our warm bed because we heard water . . . a lot of water . . . and it was pouring out of the ceiling. Of course, the first thought is burst pipe! After a moment of sleuthing, we discovered our son taking a shower with the curtain outside of the tub walls. His shower was draining on the bathroom floor and, thereby, through the basement ceiling.

I came upstairs to find all five of my children awake (at least an hour before they usually wake up). They were on the couch staring at the Christmas tree. I remember doing that. Christmas is full of magic, when you are six. I squished in with them and we talked quietly, enjoying the lights, the companionship and the warmth under our shared blanket.

Then one child asked for egg nog. There is about 3/4 cup left in the carton. If I let her have some, the other six of us wouldn't get any. That would be terribly unfair. I told her "no" which invited a tremendous tantrum. This effectively ended quiet time.

After showering and starting breakfast, I logged on to read the headline: I Cheated and it Saved My Marriage. Wow. What a broken, fallen world.

After a little prayer of gratitude for my good and faithful husband, I cleaned up the water spilled by the child trying to water the tree, put yet another diaper on the baby--she keeps taking them off so it went on backwards this time--and made it before she did her duty. I raced around squelching a few childhood storms. The laundry is going, my bed is made, now a blog post is written.

It's 8:30 and I'm ready for a nap.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Name is Tale of Two Cities

In the book Fehrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, it is illegal to read books. Fireman, instead of putting out fires, burn books. At one point in the story, we are introduced to a group of underground book-savers. The way they save books is by memorizing them. They refer to people as "Leviticus Five" and "Hamlet." It made me wonder: What book would I like to be?

There is a list. It's kind of like asking for a favorite Christmas carol or scripture passage or child--the answer changes depending on my mood, my station in life and whether my pants are too tight.


In no particular order:

  • Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I especially love the golden thread that the woman uses to tie everyone together. It is a lovely analogy of a gift women have. We are, generally speaking, good at knitting hearts together with love.

  • The Books of Genesis and Mosiah.

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It is chock-full of wisdom and goodness.

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien. Just a dang good story with every essential element: devotion, honor, horror, battles, suspense, bravery, fear, good, evil, greed, selflessness, humor, pain, hope . . .

  • Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. She makes me happy.

  • Little Britches by Ralph Moody. He shows how much joy can be found in life--even if you are poor and have to work hard.

  • The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. You won't believe her faith and courage. Have you read this book? YOU MUST.

  • Something by Jane Austen and something by Mark Twain.

Obviously, there are others that are greatly loved, but, today, right now, this is my top list. I think.

If you weren't (fill in your first name), what book would you be?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

To the Ad Wizards at Walmart


You need to re-think the store-wide white packaging into which you've forced all of your generic items. When they first started showing up on the shelves, I thought it looked both fresh and vintage. Now that the white labels are slathered all over the store, however, it just looks cheap and, forgive me, like it came from Walmart (a fact that no one wants to admit).


I buy generic because I gots me no money, but only if it is of the same quality as the name brand. There are some products which simply can't compare to the name brand (macaroni and cheese and toilet paper) and some where the generic is actually better than the name brand (stuffing and soda). However, I don't want to feel like I'm buying generic. I want to be tricked into thinking I am getting a product just as fancy as it's more expensive sister. I want to look at the package and think, "Wow, what a great bargain I just found," instead of "Wow, my entire cabinet is filled with knock-offs!"


Sure, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I know some people who put the jacket of another book on the book they are reading because they don't want people to judge them by the cover of their book.



Do you need to read that again?


No one wants to look poor. Thrifty, yes, but not poor. Everyone wants to look like they can afford Ralph Lauren while secretly wearing Lee. Why do you think those "Rolex" watches and "Gucci" handbags sell so well?



So, Walmart, flatter our pride and get rid of the I AM TOO POOR TO BUY NAME BRAND labels. Give me the I AM A THRIFTY BARGAIN HUNTER label instead.



Love,

The Girl Who Hates to Shop at Walmart but Can't Afford To Not

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Mother's Style

A dear friend blogged about a recent visit to her town's festival of trees. She wrote:

I want to know why EVERY woman I saw there was dressed to the nines, had the
most stylish handbags, had no hair out of place, and had faultless make-up---- including the ones with perfectly stylish babies and strollers.

I'm aware that I fell off the fashion train some time ago, but SHEESH! Where are
these women coming from? What do they do all day?

I identify with this sentiment completely. While I try to be clean and presentable, I don't check my hair or make-up multiple times daily. I have no spare change for the latest anything. It got me to thinking about a story I read years ago. It's about Marjorie Pay Hinkley, one of my Mothering Mentors. One of her daughters wrote:


When we were young, it was very uncommon to have mothers in the
classroom--or anywhere at school. I remember only one day. We were
having a program in the lunchroom. Chairs lined the room, and the children
sat in them as we waited for the mothers to arrive. I noticed with curious
interest as each mother came in and then made her way to sit with her
child. The mother who came through the door just before mine was wearing
spiked heels and a darling dress and had all of this foofy hair. Yes, she
was young and, I thought, beautiful. In fact, she looked like a teenager. As she made her way over to her tap-dancer daughter (of course, I thought), I looked up to see my mother come through the same door. With that instant juxtaposition, I will never forget the flood of security and happiness I felt when I saw her--no foofy hair or spiked heels, not very young or very beautiful, dressed in her typically tidy house-dress. There was a warm, comfortable feeling and the thought clear as neon: "Oh, I'm so glad that my mother looks like a real mother! Whatever would a person do
if her only mother wore darling dresses and had painted fingernails?"


~Pearce, Virginia H. Glimpses Into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinkley. Deseret Book Company: Salt Lake City, 1999. pg 49. Emphasis added.



While I will do the best I can, I'd rather people look at me and know that I am a mother, not a celebrity. I'll do all I can to avoid "frumpy," I won't wear sweat pants unless I'm running, and I vow to try to remember to put make-up on both eyelids, but I don't want to look like a teenager. I'm pretty sure I would just come off looking stupid.

Thoughts?

*************

PS A comment on Betsy's blog included this quote. It must be included here.

I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived
— Marjorie Pay Hinckley


Amen!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Crap in My Head

So here's the thing: I got nothin' ta say. I keep thinking I do, then I sit down to write and, it turns out, I got nothin'.

I worked out an entire diatribe about how we should pay for the wars we are fighting (Victory Gardens, collecting rubber tires and nylon stockings for the troops, war bonds, etc), but decided it was too much work. That was a topic that required thought and I don't want to think that hard.

Then I thought I would tell you all of the ridiculous demands my children place upon me ("You put the peanut butter on the waffle after the syrup and RUINED it!" and so on). After musing over that for awhile, I decided you've had enough of your own people demanding ridiculous things to ever want to read my junk.

My eight year old daughter made cookies all by herself the other day--from start to finish. I just washed the pans when she was done. I took pictures and everything, but decided that was a too close to the annoying "My Child is an Honor Student" bumper sticker and I didn't want your not-cookie-baking child to come beat up my cookie-baking one.

I wrote out an advent calendar that teaches a mini lesson about Christmas from the scriptures' perspective and thought about sharing. I didn't because (1) it may come off a little too NieNie, (2) I'd have to post twenty-four days straight and my children would never eat or wear clean underwear if I did that, and (3) you don't come to me for spiritual guidance (oh, please let that be true!!).

One day I actually started a post about how gross boys are because my husband and his brothers call each other to talk about their . . . well . . . their solid waste. You never saw that post because I couldn't bear to talk about it. It's just too disgusting.

I wanted to write about how I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. No, I'm not depressed or pregnant or suffering from any other emotionally swinging malady. I finally concluded that it's because I am shopping online instead of in the cheery stores. I'm missing the displays of huge wrapped boxes, mechanical elves hard at work in Santa's workshop, and puffs of cotton snow. (Yes, I am aware some of you would argue that this isn't the real Christmas spirit. I'd like to argue that there are two different kinds of Christmas spirit. You see? This is why I didn't write about it. Semantics would spoil that post.)

People in my part of these Great United States keep making the "s" sound like "sh." They are pronouncing "nursery" like "nur shree" and "straight" like "shtrate." It makes me nuts. If only I never said "acrost" when I mean "across" and "bage" when I mean "bag," I could be more vocally critical.

So, see? There is the proof in the pudding. I've got nothin' to say, so I'll just keep my mouth shut (or my fingers still).

Love you,
Emily

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In Gratitude

and a little prayer that I am as careful with my children as he was.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Still Won't Play

I'm singing this song in Relief Society tomorrow. It is about how there are bad things going on all over the world about which I can do nothing, but I can help in my small sphere. It is quite beautiful. As I was practicing it today, I thought it really needed pictures. I spent some time filching pictures off people's Facebook pages and blogs to put in the slide show. I carefully timed each picture to match the lyrics I would sing. At it's completion, there were a couple of small things I would have changed if I had given myself more time, but I thought it turned out lovely. I saved it to a disk. The church has TVs on carts with DVD players so I figured I would just play it on my DVD player at home to make sure it would work there.

No.

I fiddled and worked and downloaded.

Nothing.

I called my sister, my brother-in-law, my mom (who knows nothing about computers, but she would as least curse the computer with me), my dad, and even my niece in Hawaii.

No one was home.

I called a neighbor. He taught me how to convert files. I converted the file into four different formats.

Not one would play on the TV.

I went to the store in my slippers and without make-up to buy a different kind of DVD.

No beans.

"THIS IS NOT WORTH IT!" I hollered. "This was supposed to be a quick mouse click. AUGH!!" I stepped away for awhile. When I came back I decided to just play the song and practice singing. My son happened by and stopped to listen and watch the video.

"Oh, Mom. That was amazing."

I love my son.

I hate computers.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mom's Bed

This morning, I woke up next to two small girls. Babies are so soft in the morning. I pull them in close and kiss the cheeks, the noses and the chubby little hands. I stare in awe at the perfection of their features and at the reminder that they are mine. Soon they begin to stir (I'm sure it has nothing to do with my tickling their noses with my hair or my stroking their feathery eyelashes). They smile up at me with puffy good morning eyes; the four year old pats my cheeks. As they slowly wake up, we begin to giggle and play. Another girl crawls under the blankets and we work together to teach the baby animal sounds and body parts. It is the beginning of her home schooling, a school where siblings instruct and encourage siblings. Soon, another child comes in to Mom's bed. She joins in the merriment. Our boy slips in next to me and tells me all about his dream. I'm not really listening--I am too distracted by his face. He is changing. He isn't soft in the morning anymore. He talks about real things and can be so gentle with his sisters. He finishes his dream and begins telling stories to the girls. The plot is typical for my nearly eleven year old boy: Through a sad, blind-sided swipe, we learn that butterflies are evil. The only way to kill them is by shooting them, but, have you ever tried to shoot a butterfly? It is very difficult. The next ten minutes are consumed by animated instructions on how to shoot a butterfly. Seriously, son. Gonna go after unicorns and rainbows next? But, it's okay. We are all laughing hysterically at his training video. Eventually it is time to get out of the warm, soft bed. Bladders are full and stomachs are growling, but we linger a bit longer. We don't get to do this kind of thing every day. Speculation about Christmas begins. What will you ask for, what will you give? How old is Santa? Mom, tell us about your favorite Christmas. Do you remember the snow last year? and there is always a renegade question, Mom, were you born with freckles?

I know these days will be gone before I know it. I try to treasure them and I think I do. There is a line in the movie Finding Neverland, about J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. He said,
Young boys should never be sent to bed... they always wake up a day older.
Just another thing I want to always remember: Mom's bed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some Things


  1. My baby is officially weaned--and my breasts hurt.

  2. I look forward to one day hiking without a child in the backpack.

  3. I think it's weird when Jews put out Christmas CD's.

  4. My great-grandma's direction to roast a turkey in an oiled paper bag delivers THE BEST turkey. Every Time.

  5. The pods and I can now sing about six rounds. We have begun working on harmony.

  6. I miss singing with my siblings in the car.

  7. I dislike drinking out of plastic cups.

  8. The little holes in my shower head are plugged by calcium or lime or something. The water pressure that screams through the three unplugged holes can rip your skin off.

  9. It gets to this point at least twice a year.

  10. My family sang "Happy Anniversary to You" on our machine. Who does that? I adore them.

  11. I think about baby names all the time.

  12. I love my small house.

  13. Our children are loud and high energy. So am I.

  14. A friend has his children step on baby wipes to wash the floor. They play "Pippi Longstocking" as they push the wet wipes all over. I'm totally stealing his idea.

  15. Use your pizza cutter to cut the pancakes or waffles for your seventeen children to drastically reduce the time taken to prepare breakfast.

  16. When I was a Senior in high school, the only vehicle available to me was a 15 year old twelve seater van. A gallon of milk had been forgotten under a seat in the middle of July. It exploded. The van never relinquished the smell. Also, a can of gasoline had tipped and spilled. That van reeked.

  17. I never thought I would want a twelve seater van. Oh, how far I've come.

  18. I'm a terrible speller and it causes me a great deal of grief when my spell checker tags correctly spelled words.

  19. I'll write a real post tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Got the Climbers

Yes. Yes I did. (Please notice the book on the back of the toilet is forcing her to stand right on the edge.)Wish I could say this was an unusual occurrence, but finding a baby on top of something precarious is all too common around here.

No. It is not a boring house. If you are in need of entertainment, you are welcome any time. Also, it will make you feel better about the job you are doing because you are surely doing it better than me. Oh, well.
We are happy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mourning

I am typing this standing up. I cannot sit down. It's not because of a bad back or other physical complaint, no, it's because I am weaning my baby. If I sit, she comes crying with a panicked, "I'm STARVING here, mother!!" cry. I watched the entire season finale of Project Runway standing up. I leaned against the door to write my grocery list.

This is my fifth time through the weaning process. You'd think I knew what I was doing. Turns out, each one of these creatures comes with a complimentary Confusion Packet downloaded in the factory. It is meant to knock us more experienced parents to our knees--just when we think we've got it all figured out.

(Incidentally, the longer I parent, the more I see of the evidence of this Confusion Packet. The designer of the software made sure to have irregular incidents of confusing occurrences spring up over a matter of years. They sometime come in bursts and other times lull you into thinking that you've beat the program. Do Not Be Deceived. There is more trickery to come.)

This beautiful child is not taking to any pattern that any other of my previously weaned children took. She seems to be an all or nothing kind of gal. I don't want to cause myself pain, though, so I am taking four days to reduce my milk supply slowly before cutting her off completely. We are down to two, maybe three more feedings. She's kinda mad.

At least I didn't use pepper or Tabasco sauce. I could have been much meaner!

I love nursing. I love holding my soft baby close to me, skin to skin, heart to heart. As I nourish her, I am also nourishing us. The warm milk combined with the gentle hold of her nursing mother soothes away any sadness or hurt. It is something only I can do, and despite my desire to be humble and selfless, I have a hard time chiding myself for this act of selfishness.

So even though I am ready to stop constantly whipping off my shirt (I know--thought I'd never get sick of that!), I am grieving the end of this phase. It's the beginning of not being able to solve every problem that creeps into her life. It is giving up some of my Motherly Powers. It is the first step in a long line that takes a person from complete dependence to complete independence. Monday morning, she will no longer need me for sustenance. I'm GLAD, but I am still so very sad.

Here's to sleeping full nights, wearing clothes that don't require access to my breasts and

sitting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting Things Done

A dear friend stopped by the other day with her cassette player. The world gave a great shove-off and began spinning again. I finished listening to my book today.

I dearly love books on tape. Not only do I "read" a book while doing other things, I often find more things to do, just so I can keep listening. Take today, for instance. I folded six loads of laundry, made angel costumes for seven small ballerinas, cleaned out my desk (no small job), did the dishes, made spaghetti with meatballs (rolling all the meat into small balls, rather than just browning the hamburger), swept the floors and so on. I found myself looking for jobs that kept me in the same room so I could continue to listen.

Now that it's over, I found I need to get another book on tape. You see, the fish tank needs to be cleaned out . . . the kitchen table needs benches built . . . the closets need organizing . . . Christmas gifts need to be made . . . . . . . .

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cassettes



I am on tape eight of twelve. Over the past few years, I have purchased several super cheap cassette players so I could listen to books on tape. Our library is converting over to CD, but they still have tons of books on cassette only. Also, I own several on tape. Last year I bought a cassette player like they have in schools and libraries. It was fairly expensive and I thought, based on it's hardy look, This one will last!




Nope. It is eating tapes.




My only tape player is in the van and I just don't drive that much in my small town.




I feel stranded in the middle of this book. If I sit down to fold clothes, I can't help thinking, I should be listening right now! There are yards and yards on chiffon waiting to be made into angel costumes for the Christmas dance recital. I can't sew in peace knowing I could be finding out what will happen next! I'm telling you, my soul is suffering under a terrible torment.




There are specific instructions given regarding my mother's death that relates to this topic of being stopped in the middle of a book. We don't know exactly what happens on the other side, so, just to be safe, my sister and I promised we would sit in such a way that Mom's angelic self could peer over our shoulder. We are to then slowly turn the pages in order for her to finish whichever book she died while reading.


This isn't quite the same, but the pain caused by suspense is just as real. Does anyone own a cassette player that I could borrow for the next couple of weeks. It may be as serious as life and death--or at least sanity and it's antithesis.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Believe in People

Many years ago, I witnessed an event. Tears still spring to my eyes when I recall what happened.

I was the second or third car in line at a red light. The intersection was a very busy one with four lanes of through traffic, turning lanes, freeway on and off ramps and a often used railroad track. Traffic was particularly heavy and lines stretched long behind the changing lights. The light in my lane turned green; and this is when tragedy decided to strike.

A man was driving an old, rusty, yellow station wagon. There were four small children in the back seats. He looked a respectable man, but obviously poor. He pressed on the gas at the change of lights and his car bolted, then sputtered, then jerked to a stop. Having driven old cars, I could feel his frustration and his embarrassment. Oh, somebody please help him, I pleaded silently.

Then a most beautiful thing happened. At the head of four of the stopped lanes of traffic sat shiny, new trucks. How they synchronized to be there at the same moment, paint waxed and chrome lug nuts shining, I'll never know. But there they were. At the wheel of each gleaming truck sat a man--a good man. I know they were good men because before the dad behind the wheel of the broken-down vehicle could even get out of his car, these four men jumped out of their cars. It wasn't that one guy got out and the others thought, Well, I guess I should go help, too. No, it was more instinctive than that. It was automatic. Over they ran, dodging traffic, and helped the disable car to the side of the road.

As I drove past, I wondered if each of the Good Samaritans had once been the poor dad in the crappy car just trying to get by. How many years of hard work did it take to finally be seated behind the wheel of their fancy truck? Had they experienced downsizing or did they work full time while struggling to earn a degree? Did their health insurance company go bankrupt in time for them to get sick? Maybe they got a new truck on their 16th birthday and updated every year. Maybe, but I doubt it.

I was reminded of this experience today as I watched a dance team performing at competition.

Everything started out okay for this group of high school aged girls, but about a third of the way through their routine, tragedy struck. Their CD began to skip. It wasn't a quick skip then get back to the song, it was a stuttering, repetitive, persistent skip. The girls shied a moment and looked at each other quickly, but tried to soldier on.

Then a most beautiful thing happened. The crowd began to cheer. A few whooped, someone whistled. The momentum picked up as the audience shouted, clapped, and otherwise encouraged the girls. They kept going while the music was playing it's own happy game. The dancers beamed as they danced the routine they knew by heart--with or without Aretha's voice paving the way.

The song ended and they jumped into each other's arms. The crowd had bolstered the courage of the feeble hearted and they did it.

The world is full of nasty, wicked people. They do horrible and ugly things, but I believe that there is still more good. People are kind, they are generous, they are selfless, and they are loving. I am sometimes criticised for my belief in people (I believed Bill Clinton and the balloon boy's family, for instance), but I would rather be caught believing in the good in people than finding myself doubtful and distrustful. There is so much joy found in hope!

Doing good is a pleasure,
a joy beyond measure,
a blessing of duty and love.

~ Will L. Thompson


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Despite Demon Mommy

I will not go into the minute to hour ratio of trashing their rooms (minutes) to cleaning them up (hours). They can work so fast in one direction and painfully slow in the other. I will spare you the tactics, the rewards offered, the threats levied, the begging that commenced to get the rooms cleaned. I will leap right to the part where Demon Mommy came roaring onto the scene. Actually, we'll skip that part, too. I'll just tell you that Demon Mommy found the most effective way to get a room clean is to eliminate all toys and most clothes. Each child now has three basic outfits and no toys. She didn't go so far as to bring the bags to the Goodwill, but she did make the stipulation that all must be earned back.



Somehow, Demon Mommy missed a few random toy parts. This is what her children were playing with today.


It would be pitiful, if it weren't so tragic.



Work, slaves, work! And you will have actual dolls to put in those molded dresses.



Though, I have to say, I think Demon Mommy has been foiled.

Hot Drinks for Winter

The cold weather is here. My children just went to play at the park. It took twelve minutes to get the layers on them and they were home seven minutes later. Their hands are red, noses dripping and cheeks crimson. The wind and cold have one remedy: hot drinks.

Hot Chocolate is vital, essential, necessary (are those all the same word?), but if you want something different, here are two recipes you'll need to keep your families warm over the next few months.

Wassail
(Have you always wondered what they were talking about in that Christmas carol? Here it is!)

3 c Apple Juice
2 c Pineapple Juice
1/4 c Lemon Juice
3 c Water
1 c Sugar
6 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick

Combine all in a large pot. Simmer as long as possible to get the full flavor out of the spices. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves and serve hot.

Spiced Citrus

46oz Pineapple Juice
12oz Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
12oz Frozen Lemonade
5 quarts Water
2 1/2 c Sugar
1 t Whole Cloves
3 Cinnamon Sticks

Combine all in a large pot. Simmer as long as possible to get the full flavor out of the spices. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves and serve hot.

Oh, baby. Enjoy! (As an added bonus, these make your house smell sooo good.)

*****************
New Post today on The MotherShip Home Schools: Writing Inspired by Aesop

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Day at Public School

My dad teaches fifth grade. My son is in the fifth grade. My home schooled son attended Papa's classroom for the day. It was his first time attending public school.

I was slightly anxious for him, and not because I was afraid of the social aspect or the academic aspect; I was anxious because of the complete newness of it all. He wanted to go mostly because his father and I both attended public school. "I want to know what you are always talking about," he said. Good reason.

When he walked in the door, I asked him about his day. "Long," he said as he slooped his way across the floor, landing in an exhausted heap on the couch. Hmmm, yes, I suppose, for a kid who is used to school consuming only four hours a day, four days a week.

I asked my dad how the new kid performed. He was generally positive, of course--we are talking about his grandson. He told me about some of the work they did. Dad had his students work on some fractions as a group. My pod has been focusing a lot on fractions lately, so I thought he probably held his own. This is the report I received:

The problem they were to solve was, "There were eight kids in the car. They're all fighting because there are only seven Subway sandwiches. How can you divide the sandwiches equally?" [Son] talked it over with his group, walked to the front and said, "Give everyone 1/4 of a sandwich then just throw away the rest."

A student in his group (who knew that he was dealing with his teacher's grandson) added out of the corner of his mouth, "We didn't all agree on that answer."

I asked him about it later and he replied logically, "It was the correct answer because everyone got equal sandwiches and they stopped fighting. That was what he asked us to do."

It is hard to argue with that.

Dang home schooled kid, thinking outside the box again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Misread

First read this:
Now read this:

For years I have called this store Apostrophe. I think I never really looked at the word, I just glanced and saw apostrophe instead of aeropostale.

It certainly wasn't my fault. Let's blame it on my mind.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

The husband NEVER dresses up for Halloween. He borrowed this costume from a co-worker and came home dressed up. The kids really thought it was too good to be true!

Goldilocks in possibly the worst costume I've ever made. I tried to not procrastinate, I really did. But, in the end, the dress was made on October 31st and was never all-the-way completed.
Goldilocks thought it was pretty, though, so I guess it was successful.

The cutest Pippi around. I'm telling you, this girl is an absolute gem.


A bunny who had a riotous evening. It is a great age for Halloween because they are just flabbergasted that people would keep handing them candy, candy, candy.


Little Red Riding Hood. Her grandma frequently tells her the story over the phone. I thought she was darling until my husband told me about a terribly freaky movie with Michael Douglas and a dwarf in a Little Red Riding Hood costume. I'm glad it was near the end of the night when he divulged. If it had come earlier in the day, I would have been frantically sewing yet another last minute costume.
Facebook Jim. I'm pretty sure I'm a bad parent evidenced by the fact that my ten year old knows Jim Halpert.
We had some friends come into town for the day and had a really great holiday.
Today is November and coming up on Thanksgiving. I am so glad. This upcoming holiday is more our style.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sharing a Room

My sister and I shared a room until she got married. For part of that time we even shared a bed. Let me tell you a story.


I have never been a tidy person. Is it a part of my DNA? I don't know. I just know that it was very hard for me to remember to put the clothes in the laundry basket, hang up my coat, and to put my toys away when I was done playing with them. Mollie, on the other hand, was usually pretty neat. She made her bed, put away her folded piles of laundry (instead of my tactic: putting them on the end of the bed until they had all been worn or they fell off into the abyss that awaited on the floor below where they would be trampled until they needed to be tossed in the laundry again), and probably even dusted. I wouldn't know. I was busy throwing a fit.


It was called a tantrum, by those who saw it. It was my staple, my bread and water, my first response, my conflict resolution. Someone tried to make me eat lentils? Flail on the floor. You ate out of the bowl that I wanted to use? Screaming, hot face. I wasn't supposed to put the crayons on the baseboard heater, and I knew that, so you scold me? Stomping feet and "You are so MEAN!" But the premium tantrums were saved for, "Emily, you need to go clean your room, please."



"WHAT THE HECK? You want me to do WHAT? Have you SEEN my room? Do you KNOW who made that mess? Are you aware that I can scream like this for longer than it would take you to just do it yourself? I HATE the world! No one understands me! And (my family's favorite) I TRY SO HARD and STILL I have to clean up after myself? NEVER!! I will NEVER!!!"



Mollie quietly set to work while I lay on the bed kicking (literally) and screaming (literally). She cleaned her half of the room while I hyperventilated on the bed. Soon she decided she'd had enough of the mess and began cleaning the whole room. Yes! I thought, She's doing it for me. I knew if I just played this part long enough sooner or later I would get out of this demeaning task.


Not so.


Mollie picked up Samantha, my precious doll that lay haphazardly in the middle of the floor (where she belonged) and lobbed her onto my bed. Next came the pink teddy bear and then a shoe. Soon I was being showered with everything from "my" side of the room.


"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? WHY ARE YOU MESSING WITH MY STUFF? I LIKE IT THERE!" I screeched, as I suddenly came to the realization that she wasn't really helping me. Mollie didn't say a word, she just kept cleaning the room and putting it all on me. Okay, that's not entirely true. She would say mean stuff, like, crybaby, but so quietly that Mom couldn't hear. I tried tattling. It never worked. Dejected and exhausted from the duration of my standing up for justice, I slowly stopped crying and just lay in my mound of clothes and school papers and hair brushes, hiccuping. Mollie swept my side of the room and scooped the dirt up into the dust pan. She walked patiently over to my bed and dumped it on me. With tingly, stretched out lips, I wailed, "You'll be sorry, Mollie! I'll remember this!!"


And I always have. HA. Jokes on you!



Today, it all came back as I watched my namesake throwing the fit and my second child dutifully cleaning "her" half of the room.


This picture is true blue. It has not been retouched or photo shopped. One side of the room is being vacuumed, the other is nearly as deep as the bed.


Yep. It must be in the DNA. And our Dear Heavenly Father has a sense of humor.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Newsy


Yesterday I woke up not wanting to have school. I really wanted to get started on the fifty-two Halloween costumes I am required to assemble each October. I did eleven loads of laundry (and you think I'm exaggerating), lots of scrubbing, sweeping and vacuuming then pulled out the sewing machine. I sketched the desired designs (and it looks so NOT Project Runway that my heart crumbled just a bit at my lack of talent) and scavenged fabric scraps from my material bins. The baby was ready for her nap and I was ready to get sewing. It was not to be. My daughter found some terrible fun rainbow yardage and decided she needed a purse. Being only eight, she still needs me pretty much right there to guide her. She is thrilled with her new bag--I still haven't started on the costumes.


Knowing we have busy Tuesday afternoon/evenings, I started New Orleans Red Beans and Rice early in the day. It is a wonderful recipe that works every time.


It burned out of water while we were at dance.


After reading with the children, I started a movie for myself to watch while I folded clothes. I finally crawled in bed exhausted, though with a clean house and the last load of laundry in the machine.


This morning I didn't feel like having school. Several months ago I printed a dozen black and white snapshots of our family. I wanted to hang the random sizes in random frames in our new family room. Today I got a large part of it done. It's coming together and is looking like a fun game/movie room.


My Costco card expires at the end of October and there are a few things that I love to buy from Costco. At about 1 o'clock, we were starving so I decided it would be a good time for that Costco trip. You can't beat the hot dog deal for my fleet. We had a great time at Costco. I love my children. They are loud. Really loud. They are naughty, sometimes really naughty. But they are so fun. We teased and laughed our way through the massive warehouse, eating samples and sliding on the slippery floors. We oohed and ahhed over Christmas stuff and concurred that they should allow us to get through Halloween, at least, before putting it all out. "They just skipped Thanksgiving!" one child lamented. We purchased the items on our list and added a bag of that amazing black licorice. Skipping and singing our way to the car, we unloaded and re-buckled.


Tomorrow, we will have school. The oldest two have become accustomed to the routine--as has their mother. I am caught up on laundry, dishes, projects and have finished the book I COULDN'T put down. It has been a good mini-vacation.


Also, I had a dream that I was eating dinner with The Pioneer Woman and she wouldn't talk to me. She kept answering my questions with the shortest possible reply they looking away. I started to have my feelings hurt and kind of touched my nose with the back of my hand. I had a huge booger on the end of my nose and NO ONE told me about it. People: when I spell something wrong or have any other gross error in my posts, Please tell me! I have nightmares!


A big ol' basement spider crawled down my neck today while I was talking to my sister on the phone. I squealed and threw the phone. Spiders do not freak me out, but having one crawling on my neck did.


I just wrote an entire post and had nothing real to say. But, off to bed. School tomorrow!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rabies-like Symptoms




I have a beef I need to get out of my system. I don't know why you all read the sludge lingering in my soul, but here is some more.

My issue today is food storage. My church has taught the importance of physical preparedness for nearly 100 years. It is not doctrine, per se, but is definitely a correct governing principle. When I say physical preparedness, I'm talking about emergency 72 hour kits (for in the case of evacuation from fire, storm, chemical spill, etc) and food storage. Basically, we are instructed on the importance of being ready for any disaster. We are taught to have the survival essentials for every member of our family for one full year (water, flour, salt, oil, etc) and every day food for at least three months (Mandarin oranges, ketchup, and baking cocoa type foods).

I am an absolute believer in the importance of these teachings. New Orleans would have been a different place after Hurricane Katrina if every member of the community had a backpack full of necessary items to sustain them for 72 hours. People evacuated from the recent California wildfires would testify to the usefulness of having something ready to grab when you are told you need to leave your home NOW.

As for the long-term storage, we have been university students for four years now. There are times when we are out of money. Out. But I still have something to feed my family. My storage is severely depleted after this long stint, which I think only proves it's necessity. There are many great reasons to have food stored, few of which are apocalyptic.

One consideration when building your storage, is the cost. Few people can afford to go out and buy a whole year's worth of food. Most of us just buy an extra canister of salt, a case of beans at the case lot sale, or spaghetti noodles when they go on sale. We bottle free fruit from the neighbor's tree and freeze produce when it is in-season and cheap. When I was a newly-wed, I had a very small amount of extra food, but I was doing all I could. It takes time and work to obtain a year's supply of food.

Now we come to my complaint: There are many, inside of my church and out (Mormons do not have a monopoly on kooks), who spend a great deal of money and time building up their Year's Supply. Once obtained, I have heard many say, "I have my Year's Supply, now I need to get a gun to protect it!"

Really? Is that the Christian thing to do? Your newly-wed neighbor has about a two-week supply. There is a transportation crisis and she runs out of food. She comes to you desperate for food. Are you going to brandish your gun screaming, "Get out, thief!!"?

The family across the street has been out of work for about nine months. After a forced quarantine, they soon run out of food. You're going sit on your porch stroking your rifle as you watch their children starve because you were wise enough to prepare . . . and they weren't?

There is a hurricane which forces the evacuation of an entire city just south of you. People, many of whom have a supply of food in their now flooded basements, come only with the clothes on their back. You are not going to feed them? Is that what Jesus would do?

I even know some who refuse to gather food because they would have to share. Huh?

Okay, I know the "realists" would argue that in the case of, say, a nuclear attack, gangs would erupt over night, track down those who have food and steal from under our noses. If that were the case, would your one gun be enough to protect that food supply against a mob? Doubt it.

This is not an anti-gun rant. I firmly support our right to own firearms so don't send me hate mail. This is also not an invitation to not make an effort to store your own food. Even if all of us who have food do share, we'd run out a lot faster if others didn't do their part.

I'm just saying, you had the faith to follow the counsel of the Prophet. You sacrificed in order to do it. Now, you're going to turn your back on the teachings of Jesus Christ and not share in the time of crisis? Don't forget, He's the one who fed 5000 from five loaves and two fishes.

And if there is a disaster and you don't have food? Come to my house. I don't have much, but what I have, I'll share. . . as long as you don't complain about what is served. 'Cause, Honey? I ain't got no patience for that! Ask my pods.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Got To Be In Her Class

Charity by Frederick Morgan
You may not want to hear anything else about my near-perfect mother (not that she is a perfect person, but she is a pretty darn near perfect mother--she is a perfect grandmother), but I like writing about her. I think she is inspiring.



She teaches a weekly religion class for adults. The two hour class is based on scripture and Mom doesn't try to rush. Quite the opposite, in fact; she took an entire year to cover the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), for instance. I know from living with her that she STUDIES her lessons. She reads and searches, prays and discusses, ponders and deduces before she even sits down to write an outline for her lessons. Not only is she a correct teacher, she is also a good teacher. She is interesting and enthusiastic. When I lived near her, I went occasionally. Now, obviously, I never get to attend. She frequently tells me about their topic of study, a thought that was shared, a lesson learned, or a question introduced. The other day, she shared some of her most recent lesson with me by email. I felt bad that I couldn't be there to learn and grow under her careful tutelage.



Then I remembered: I was in her class for eighteen years.



She was my first and most dedicated teacher. Though she didn't always know the answers to my exhausting questions, I don't recall her ever answering with, "Just leave me alone." Mom studied carefully so that she was more likely to know the answers when the questions came. She prepared for the class my siblings and I attended with as much--or more--vigilance than the class she teaches now. Sometimes a school teacher would say something like, "Ask your parents about this when you get home and I'll bet they won't even know the answer." Mom always did. Of course, we sometimes brought home schoolwork that she didn't understand. She would say, tongue in check, "I could tell you the answer, but you need to find it out for yourself." And we would. Then, we'd explain it to her.



Thank you for leading the way, Mom. Thank you for letting me sit in on your class for those valuable, valuable years.