Friday, November 29, 2013


Here we are again.  It is the Blessed Christmas Season.  Today we are cleaning, washing and dusting so we can pull out the bins and begin decorating.  I can always get the kids to clean when I explain there are Christmas bins at the ready!

The Christmas music is playing and, though we don't have snow, all of the branches on each tree are frosted white from the thick freezing fog that passed through last night.

For many years, I've done a nightly advent with my family.  Some years, it has been one of the few gifts I could give.  It is a very religious advent because it seems to me that it is easy to get the Santa/lights/fudge Christmas, but we have to make a point of inviting Jesus Christ to the celebration.  I've blogged the advent before, but here is a PDF version.  It is a question or point, a scriptural verse or two and a song.  It takes less than 10 minutes every night and is customized for small people.

I noticed last year that my older children were a tad bored with the advent; they knew the answers and weren't challenged to think or work anything out on their own.  This year's task is to up the ante for the big kids.  When I've completed that, I'll post it for you as well.

Merry Christmas, friends.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gaining Strength

A friend shared the following scripture at the beginning of a meeting recently:

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.  Mosiah 4:27

My usual response to that verse is gratitude for permission to let go of a few things, to center myself on those vital priorities again.

This time, though, I sat with slumped shoulders as I wondered aloud, "Then how do I get more strength because I can't cut anything out!"  

If I want to run faster or longer, I build up my strength over time.  After a while, I CAN run faster because I have more strength.  How does that translate into my day to day life?


Sunday, November 17, 2013

No Heat, No Water, No Phone

We had our first big snow storm of the season this week.  It was a very wet and heavy snow so the trees and power lines had little hope of withstanding the wrath.  We were out of power for about 36 hours, water for a bit more than that.  We are still without a phone, though my husband's work cell is making sure that we aren't totally disconnected from the world.

We had food and some stored water so we were fine, but it did get awfully cold.  Our daughter had a birthday so instead of celebrating here (no cake was being baked in my oven!), we packed up the car and headed to the neighboring town where the grandparents and cousins live.  By the time we got home, we had a very cold house.  Remember, our trailer has four inch, barely insulated walls so there is no such thing as heat retention here!  Everyone put on their warmest pajamas and added a hat and long socks.  We doubled up kids in beds and, stripping the other beds, doubled up the blankets.  Dad and Baby Boy and I were happily cuddled in our bed, even though we could see our breath and our noses were cold.  Everyone slept warm and it was a great adventure . . .

for a short amount of time.

If it had gone on for long, I'm sure we wouldn't have enjoyed an indoor temperature of 40° with no hot shower or hot cocoa to help us warm up.  But, as it was, it was an exciting way to turn 8!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I came home from a meeting one day recently to find my four girls in the exact same place I had left them two hours earlier:  on the couch, staring blankly at the television.  The house was a mess, with dishes piled around them on the end tables and evidence of food preparation in the kitchen.  But they?  They had turned into zombies, mindlessly shoving food into their mouths as they stared at the pretty lights on the screen.

"New Rule," I bellowed.  "No TV unless it is educational!"

Wanting the definition of educational television, I explained that it meant nature shows, biography, history, documentaries, NOVA or National Geographic.  No, Arthur does not count.  No, Phineas and Ferb does not count.  No, even Disney does not count.  Those types of television will be allowed on special occasions such as family movie night or when Big Sister is babysitting.

After the general revolt, they began to warm to my new rule.  For several days, when there was down time and it felt like like a good time for a show, they learned about volcano's, sharks, whales, and tornadoes.  They came to me excited about new information they had learned.  Besides having to train my youngest daughter that just because it wasn't animation didn't make it educational, I thought the educational mandate was a huge success . . .

. . . until one day when I discovered that five year old watching this:

It was a proud moment, to be sure.  I put a kibosh on it right away, "This is NOT educational!"

"Yes, it is, Mom!  They teach you good stuff!  They teach how to put on make-up, do little dances, make pretty clothes, fix your hair and all kinds of stuff!"  

What, oh, what, am I to do with this one?!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Follow the Story

Isaac has been in Russia for nearly a month, now.  It took us a little while to get organized, but we are blogging about it here.

At first, I thought it should just be Isaac's voice, but I quickly realized that there are a lot of details that a 14 year old might miss that grown-ups would think were interesting.  I'm writing separate posts from my view of things.  It is a captivating story!  It is a bit anemic now, with only a few posts, but we'll flesh it out over the next couple of months.

Please feel free to share the link with your friends.  We still have a lot of funds to raise and the more people who know his story, the better!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Home

I just came home from a friend's house.  They had invited several families over for a luncheon after her son's baptism.  It was nice and fun and delicious, but I came home sad.

Deep breath.

I need to remind myself that even though I don't have a lovely house, I have many amazing things in my life.  I need to appreciate those things!

Last week, I came to the fairly sudden realization that I hate my house and it shows.  I've been so adamant on not spending any money on this pit because I'd rather save the money and put it toward the new house.  But I can't do that any more.  I'm not going to put in a new floor or replace the appliances, but I can spend money on some things.  I can buy and display things that will beautify our home and that will transfer well to the new house.  Even if we begin digging a foundation tomorrow, we'll still have five or six months in our trailer.

So, I bought this tablecloth:

I bought a new shower curtain that will look nice here and that can also hang in a new bathroom.  I bought hooks and lamps, pulled pictures and mirrors out of storage, repaired bookshelves and re-purposed baskets.  It is still a crappy trailer, but it is lovelier.  

I'm thankful for a home to keep us sheltered from the weather.  I'm thankful to not have a mortgage.  I'm thankful to have found a good and honest builder who is helping us navigate the building process.  I'm thankful for healthy children and a kind husband.  I'm thankful for books and movies that can help me see beyond.