Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our First WinCo Experience

It's been big news in the Salt Lake Valley - WinCo was coming to town! Granted I'd never heard of the store myself, but everyone seemed to be aglow! "Prices better than Walmart" they exclaimed!

That was hard for me to wrap my mind around, as I've been shopping at Walmart for several years now (yes, traiter that I am). Yet the idea intrigued me. What would this enigmatic WinCo be like?

Turns out, it wasn't the fun family experience we were all hoping for :(

Mistake number one. We decided to try going opening week. I mean, come on. How dumb could we have been?!

Mistake number two. We went on a Friday.

Mistake number three. We went on a Friday NIGHT!

I know, I know, but it's nothing compared to:

Mistake number four. We took the whole family.

Perhaps we should have known what to expect when we had to go in one door and could only come out the other, followed by the part where we're all fighting just to get through the door. The point where I knew we were in trouble occurred not ten yards in.

M had attached herself to my arm, visibly closing into herself as she felt more and more crowded. B and J were having a good time running back and forth between me - who had A in a shopping cart as we attempted to maneuver through the throng - and Daddy - who had made it quite a distance ahead of us! Every ten to fifteen seconds we did a quick head check to make certain no one (meaning the boys) got lost.

The good news is as we wandered through the maze like good little mice WinCo had posted signs big enough to advertise their huge deals. This turned out to be helpful since it was too hard to get close enough to see the actual products.

I did get awfully excited to see all the big bins of candy and granola and flour and candy and spices and candy and cereal. OH, and they have candy :)

Still, by the time we found ourselves approaching the front of the store M had obviously had it. She was miserable. Even the treat we got her didn't seem to brighten the morose look covering her lovely features. As we finally made it to the eternally long lines at the front, my hubby made a run for it with 3 out of 4 kids. Good thing the fourth decided to hang around...I didn't realize we had to bag what we bought. That kid sure turned out useful!

Regardless of the rather frightening introduction to the world of WinCo, I'm willing to give it another try (especially when we finally run out of all the cereal we bought at such great prices!). I'll just go on a weekday. In the morning. And I'll pray first.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Learning Experience

Little did I know only a few hours after I put up my Sunday Inspiration post I'd be trying so hard to practice what I'd just preached. There's nothing like being given the choice to show the things I put in here aren't just ideas, but a blessing handed down from up above to help give me a happier life.

After completing Sunday's post, I made certain the kids had their lunch and I went in to lay down. I was "sorely afflicted" with a nasty cold and my body ached from head to toe. I read for a few minutes before succombing to a fidgety and rather restless sleep. Regardless, I stayed in bed so long my sweet hubby, who didn't make it home from his church duties until about five in the evening, awoke me to ask, "Do you want some dinner?" I shook my head, looked at the time, and moaned. I'd been in and out of sleep for close to two and a half hours. It took another fifteen minutes, but I finally dragged myself out of bed.

I tell you all this to give you an idea of my mindset: I was drowsy, foggy in the head, still under the weather, and likely to choose the glass-half-empty attitude towards life. When at last dinner was over my honey and I had some time to talk. He'd had quite a rough day dealing with hoards of problems and ornery people. One in particular had to do with a friend of a ward member who'd called earlier last week, looking for help from our employment specialist. I had no idea who our employment specialist was (turns out there is none). At the time she'd called I was counselling with a struggling mom online, my oldest was begging to do something together, my youngest wanted Mom to take her to the potty, and I was babysitting for another ward member. To explain my mindset when this woman called, I can only say overwhelmed!

So yes, when the caller refused to take "I don't know" for an answer, I got terse. I couldn't stop it from coming out sounding mean. I had no idea when my husband would be home to talk with her as he had meetings and responsibilities for several days. Still, as I looked back on the conversation later that day, I felt bad.

Little did I realize word would be brought back to my husband. Little did I realize that instead of coming to me and asking what had happened to make me behave so uncharacteristically, this friend of the woman would rather believe the worst in me. I admitted to my husband I was terse with her, but he knew me well enough to realize I'm not rude to people unless something is very wrong.

Too bad it didn't stop there. Due to another set of circumstances someone who was very angry with my husband dragged both of us into the dirt. When he was told I would no longer babysit for him, he basically said I did absolutely nothing all day long and should have no problem to watch his kids whenever he asked. Never mind I'd set aside many an outing with my children so I could be there for him and his wife countless times before. Never mind I was often overwhelmed and suffering from depression, yet still agreed to watch his kids so he or his wife could get to doctor appts. It was this one that hurt me more deeply than anything else. He had such a low opinion of me, yet had no problem using me when the purpose suited him.

Needless to say I cried for a good long while. I imagined myself more than once bringing both of my attackers (for I did feel attacked) to their knees with my own rantings and justifications. Of course, once I calmed down, the words I'd felt inspired to include in a post I'd written just hours before came back to my mind.

When we pray for others, our hearts change. Even when it comes to those we don't plan to ever think kindly of we can see a change. For some individuals this can be a process done over years and years. For others the change can be almost immediate. Though we may never find ourselves loving with all of our souls those who have done us mountains of wrong, we can at least feel a softening of our hearts and a remembrance of who they are; that like us, they are children of our Heavenly Father.

That night I got down on my knees and I prayed. I prayed hard, and I prayed long. I first asked for forgiveness regarding my own harsh feelings. Then I prayed for understanding, both on my part and theirs. Then I simply prayed for those I felt had wronged me, that peace might find their own souls and help change their own hearts toward me, just as I desired a change of heart toward them. I ended my prayer with one last request, to help me know if any action should be taken, or if it was something I could simply let go.

The most remarkable feeling infused me the next morning. I was happier than I'd felt in days. Sure I was still sick, but my heart felt so light. I knew one incident should simply be left alone, as I had no desire to give any sort of energy to it, but the other I could easily do something about. I wrote the first individual a quick letter, explaining my mindset the day his friend called, and asked him to let the woman know how sorry I was, as well as requesting if it were to ever happen again for him to come to me. It was easily written, and came out sweetly, rather than sounding accusing.

Another day later and I feel as though things are right with the world. I was able to live precisely what I preached, and now I am a witness as to the truthfulness of those words! What a wonderful Father and Brother I have, to allow me the chance to see their words working in my own life.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Inspirations October 25, 2009

I wish to dedicate today's post to my brothers. There are two of them, one older, one younger. While we didn't exactly get along the greatest during our growing up years, they have been and will always be among those I love with all my heart. Perhaps even they cannot comprehend exactly how much I love them.

Over the last few weeks my younger brother has been desperately ill. Let me type the words "kidney stones" and you can spend a minute writhing in agony just as he's done for weeks. He began to lose weight, according to his sweet wife, and was, in a word, miserable. And no one is allowed to say he shouldn't be. During this time our family rallied together. My children, my husband, and I all prayed for Uncle T, in the hopes things would work out quickly. Several times a day my youngest would ask if "Ucwe has a stone? Ohhh." He ended up going in for surgery, which turned out to be the best choice as the stone had stuck and was simply spinning in place. My kids were all overjoyed to find out the stone was gone! I truly hope uncle T knows how much our family loves him.

This is a celebration month for my older brother. Not only do we celebrate his birth (Happy Birthday!!!), but five years ago he was given the gift of life. It was on a Sunday, like today, that a certain buzzer went off during church, signalling a miracle was about to occur: a kidney was ready for him. He'd suffered for many years from a kidney disease, had been on dialysis for so long, and barely able to function doing the most basic things. Our whole family aches to know someone died in order to help him live, but oh how grateful we are for the individual who marked "donor" on his driver's license. Because of this anonymous person, my brother had been given several more years of healthy life.

I'm thoroughly convinced our loved ones are given times of trial to allow others in the family to draw closer to them. When we pray for others, our hearts change. Even when it comes to those we don't plan to ever think kindly of we can see a change. For some individuals this can be a process done over years and years. For others the change can be almost immediate. Though we may never find ourselves loving with all of our souls those who have done us mountains of wrong, we can at least feel a softening of our hearts and a remembrance of who they are; that like us, they are children of our Heavenly Father.

Another blessing is simply the ability to feel close to those we are praying for, even if it's only in spirit. My younger brother is not just a short drive away, while my older brother lives several states to the east. I don't get to see either of them very often. We don't spend hours chatting on the phone or writing long, newsy e-mails back and forth. This does not, however, keep me from feeling distant from them, for they are as close as a prayer.

Yep, I love my brothers, even on days like the one in this picture, where they're both pulling on the back of my wedding dress just to be funny ♥

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Boutique

Hello one and all. I'm participating in another boutique Saturday the 24th from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. I want to encourage anyone who lives within (decent) driving distance to come and take a look. There will be handmade soaps/foam soaps, homemade breads and jams, scented candles, and the huge variety of things I like to dip my fingers in. I'm hoping to take a bunch of pictures tomorrow so you can all finally see what I've been doing with my so-called spare time, lol.

If anyone's interested in stopping by give me a hollar and I'll give you the address :) Believe it or not, people, it's time to start thinking Christmas!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


My kids are off-track at school, which translates into, "Mom gets to sleep in." This has been a really good thing lately as none of my kids seem to believe getting a full night of sleep is important, however they've plotted and planned to make certain none of them are up at the same time so they can get individual attention from me. At night. All hours.

Last night was another one of those nights. When I looked at my clock and it read 8:45, I didn't hesitate to simply stay in bed, relishing the alone-ness for as long as it might last!

I did notice how very warm it felt in the house, but it took a good hour before I actually looked at the thermostat. For some odd reason it was set to 80 degrees. 80 degrees!!! I don't even like 80 degrees outside of the house, let alone inside. So now we have the front and back doors open, letting in some cool autumn air. Naturally I've started sneezing with the fresh air, but I'll take it.

We'll be doing another boutique this Saturday. I'll post more info about it in a day or so. I hope lots of you will consider coming. I plan to have lots more bookmarks ready, some fun Halloween bracelets, necklaces, and ribbon scrunchies. I have some gorgeous pendants to put towards Christmas necklaces, but don't have enough materials to get them made before Saturday.

I went to the doctor last Friday. He's decided to increase the dose on my depression meds - still waiting for those to be mailed, and hopefully that'll happen before my latest prescription runs out. I asked him if hair loss was a side effect of the meds, but he shook his head no. As I talked to him about my increased fatigue, lack of motivation lately, and other things he began to wonder if I might not be having troubles with my thyroid. So they took some blood, but the results came back as "normal." Lately though I'm wondering if their idea of "normal" is not the same as my body's. My mom's encouraging me to go see an endocrynologist (sp?) who specializes in this sort of thing.

I need to empty my camera of pictures. The memory card is full. This unfortunately means a LOT of pictures, and no way can I afford to get copies of them all. I need to go see if it's possible to just put everything on disk without getting any actual pictures developed.

So there you go. A bunch of ramblings from Laurie. Kuddos to all of you who actually stuck with me and read through to the end!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Inspirations October 18, 2009

I've had loads of ideas running through my head of possible inspiration posts for today, and had even thought to sit down last night to put some of my thoughts down, but could not as I felt it was necessary to wait. Wait until after church.

Now here I am...and I'm not sure what to write about! It's certainly not for a lack of subject matter. I had a wonderful time leading the children in song today in Primary, and getting ideas of what they'd all like to sing as well as games we can play to help them learn. I was officially released as Achievement Days leader, which I'm really quite a bit sad about as I loved doing activities with the young girls.

We listened to some incredible talks during our main church meeting, and I even heard snippets here and there while keeping my kids entertained and...kinda sorta quiet. Yet the one thing continually coming to my mind is something I didn't have any part of yesterday.

There's a man in our ward, in his early 40's, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Dave's been in and out of the hospital for several months now undergoing an intense regiment of chemotherapy. Something in his chromosonal makeup has him just a bit different, a little more childlike in his way of thinking and responding to the varied experiences of life. Just as he is hurt easily, little things can make him feel incredibly loved.

Yesterday my husband spent several hours with Dave, taking him on a little trip to do something special together. Dave loves to shoot, and has several guns of his own, so my hubby and he went to a shooting range together. It certainly made a long Saturday for me, but knowing what a gift such an adventure meant to Dave made any inconvenience worth it a billion times over.

This entire week has contained many moments of offering time to those in need. Whether to our children, to family, to friends, or ward members, we've had a lot asked of us. While I can't speak for my husband (though I know without a doubt he'd agree), for me it has been immensely fulfilling. And it won't stop with just this week. The next four days will be spent helping out those I love, and I'm eager to see how it all comes to pass.

I thoroughly believe we get the most out of our simple acts of love when we do so willingly - perhaps this is how Christ felt every time a precious child of God came to Him in need. Whether it was an arm to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen, He was there. Not due to a sense of duty. Not because He felt like it was the right thing to do. He did everything for everyone for one simple reason: love. He loved us. He loved His Heavenly Father. He told us to help those in need to show our love for Him.

As we put into practice the idea of giving of ourselves to others because of love, we will find in ourselves great stores of energy, of increased abilities, not to mention a greater desire to serve those we love. More than this, our capability to love even those we may not know, or even those we might not get along with, will increase by droves.

If I could offer a challenge to you this week, I would ask that you look to those around you, really look to see if there is someone in need. But do not stop there. Instead of praying for someone else to help out those in need, be that someone! Yes at times it might seem scary, or inconvenient, or more than we can bear, but when we do the Lord's work, miracles happen. Doors are opened, time is found, and faith drives out any fear. Keep a prayer continually in your heart, and the path to helping out a precious child of God will be cleared.

I can testify to you of the truthfulness of this, as the way was cleared for me earlier this week. I am beyond grateful to my loving Father and Brother for allowing me to be an arm to lean on, a shoulder to cry on, and an ear to listen.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Intriging Things We Don't Know About Ourselves

I discovered something new about myself today. Where to start, where to start?

I fell down Thursday morning as the kids and I headed out to the car. I hurt like the dickens - wrenched my ankle, scraped my knee, and ended up with a good goose-egg on my arm. This morning I was doing okay, except for my arm. There was no problem where I'd hit it, but rather up around the shoulder.

I've had problems with this area before. The first time I remember really hurting it was my senior year in high school. Believe it or not, when I say I have an old badmitton injury, I'm not kidding! Badmitton was one of the games in a semester's Lifetime Activities class. My teammate Mimi and I were having a good old time batting the birdie back and forth at each other when something so very painful happened: I reached up and back in preparation to do a bit of whacking when something moved in my shoulder, causing intense pain to move down my arm. I couldn't move it for several minutes, and even then it was only done with great pain. Needless to say I didn't finish playing that day.

Yet neither did I really tell anyone what had happened. The pain eventually left, as did the numbness, leaving me with the pesky problem of feeling like something was continually pressing against the muscles - from the inside - whenever I moved my arm the wrong way. I began to hold my arm in place with my other hand, as this didn't stop for about two weeks. Though I can't be sure what did it, everything eventually moved back into place and the pain went away.

Since that time I occasionally have a hard time with the same arm. I took a weightlifting class once, but couldn't do certain machines as it would cause great pain. Even in the last year I've found myself having problems with this arm once again. My fall the other morning really hurt things again. I had a doctor's appt this morning and had him take a look. He ended up giving me some strength training maneuvers to help things out.

Here's where the intriging part comes in to play. I spoke with my mom earlier and began telling her about this when she interrupted me to tell me when I was very little my right arm used to pop out of the socket all the time! In fact, she got pretty good at figuring out how to twist things just right to get it to pop back in to place. I had no idea!

So (muffle) years later I find out my badmitton injury had NOT in fact been the first time I'd really hurt that arm. Who knew my old bones had been struggling for years to stay in place?


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Marbles are HUGE at my kids' school this year. I'd never really thought about how important it was to have the marbles until two separate incidents really brought it to my attention.
The first was upon M's first visit with the school counselor, who was trying to assess the various ways M was handling school. One of these had to do with her social interactions. She discovered M would play with her friends until they decided to play marbles. When questioned why she didn't join in M said, "I don't have any marbles except what my friends give me." And that wasn't a lot!
I knew M had more than earned the right to have the marbles, and figured I would see how much they were before talking to Daddy. That's when incident number 2 happened. Last Sunday B asked Daddy to play marbles with him. It didn't occur to either of us how much fun and joy they were finding in such a simple thing until that moment. Several minutes later Daddy pulled me aside and whispered, "Let's get the kids some marbles." I wholeheartedly agreed.
FF to Monday. I went out to Walmart for various things, and found these fantastic packages of marbles. Each one was only $5 and held 151 marbles a piece! I could hardly wait for the kids to come home. Neither could Daddy. When it was time for them to arrive he went in to get the bag of marbles and excitedly handed each package over. The kids were OVER THE MOON!!! In J's own words:
The most amazing thing to me was the little booklet claiming there was more than one way to play marbles: Archboard, Bounce About, Dobblers and Eggs in the Bush. Nineteen different games in all are enclosed in this tiny little book.
Two days hence and my kiddies are still in love with their marbles. Those round gems even managed to get my boys off the computer...for a few minutes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Inspirations October 11, 2009

Such goofy kids. Such precious children of God.

Once a year the children ages 3-11 (known as the Primary) put on a special program in our main Sunday meeting. In this program the parents, leaders, and fellow members are given the chance to find out what the children have been learning about throughout the year.

This year the theme centered around how families can be together forever, they are eternal. Since January the children have been learning special songs and being taught in special themes for the months to be included in the program.

Today was our Primary program. It felt more than just a bit unnerving for many of us due the fact the presidency over the Primary was switched out just two Sundays ago, and I was placed in charge of leading the music. SERIOUSLY! It was terribly difficult for those remarkable ladies who've worked so hard all this time to get the kids prepared as well. Yet the Lord has been with us throughout it all, and we had an amazing program today.

Each and every child is given a chance to say a part, though of course shyness overtakes some of them and they're unable to talk in front of all those staring people, lol. And others you might never believe would able to get up and speak would be filled with such a vast Spirit, allowing them to touch our hearts with just a few words.

My husband and I were so incredibly pleased at the job our own children did (what parent wouldn't be!). Grandma's and Grandpa's and our own special aunt Cathy came to hear them as well. B talked about needing to be nice and loving our family members. We can do this through having family prayer, family night, reading scriptures together and keeping the Sabbath day holy. He told us when we do these things we are all made stronger.

J taught us the importance of forgiveness, citing Joseph of Egypt who was sold by his brothers into bondage, yet he forgave them years later. We know how important it is to forgive family members, and also to try hard not to hurt others. If we do - we need to ask forgiveness.

And then there is my M. This was a bittersweet program for us. My mother and I both recalled today the first Primary program she (almost) participated in. One look at the crowd and she was down with us in the congregation. No amount of cajoling, promises given, or bribes attempted from parents, grandparents, and leaders could move her from my lap. Over the years, of course, she found herself having found a bit more courage and became far more willing to speak in front of all those "scary" people out there.
Today was M's last Primary program. In less than two months she'll be old enough to move on to the next phase of her life and will join the young women of the church.
Oh my these children of ours grow up far too fast!
This not-so-little fact caught up to M today. Because it would be her last program she was asked to sing a little solo as her talk. I can't begin to tell you how if felt to hear her sweet, clear, extraordinary voice singing the words:
"I have a family here on earth, they are so good to me. I want to share my life with them through all eternity..."
I began to cry. My husband sitting on the stand behind her began to cry. Teachers in the seats with the children began to cry. I turned to invite the congregation to sing the second verse of the song, and so many of them had been brought to tears as well. What an extraordinary way to pull in a confirming testimony to the hearts of everyone there through the Holy Spirit, and bring our program to an end.
As my daughter was hugged and loved and praised by many out there, she began to cry. When I asked her why, she looked at me and said, "It feels like I'm already leaving."
And that right there is the truest testimony to what the Primary can mean to these young children, especially when they are surrounded by leaders and teachers who love and teach them with the whole of their hearts. It is here the little ones are taught of Christ, of our Heavenly Father, of the simple and remarkable truths of Christ's gospel here on earth.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm Getting Nervous!!!

Tomorrow I'm participating in a boutique. I've done only one boutique before and I sold a whole two items...and they were to family members :P But I was glad I did it as I learned an awful lot about how to display my things and what might be more of a seller.

So this time I'm going crazy! I've got everything from beaded bracelets for little girls to crocheted scarves to fuzzy knitted scarves to fuzzy hair scrunchies to ribbon scrunchies to ribbon bookmarks. Whew! And every time I think to myself, "I'm sure I've got enough," I start to panic and begin making more!

That's not what's got me nervous. I can't help wondering if all the money, time, money, effort, and money I've put into this next boutique will be worth it. Will anyone actually buy what I'm offering to sell? Am I charging enough? Am I charging too little? Will people like what they see? Or will they just give it all a cursory glance before heading off the next table?


Had to get that out. I suppose, when it all comes down to it, even if I don't sell a thing...I have Christmas presents GALORE.

One person I'm really excited to share this with is a friend by the name of Ashlee. She's the one who is putting this all together and asked me to be one of the vendors. She makes the MOST amazing soaps. Seriously. For the first time in my life there's a soap out there that doesn't dry my skin. In fact, when I'm having really bad skin days I know one little shower later my skin will feel TONS better. She's also doing lotions, which I hope to purchase.

In any case, if you're reading this before tomorrow and have any chance of coming, feel free to visit and see all there is! We've got Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Stampin' Up, greeting and holiday cards, holiday decorations, soaps and lotions, everything I made, pop-can belts and bracelets, pillowcase dresses (can't wait to see what that's all about), and loads more!

It's Saturday the 10th from 10-3 at 2577 W. Robin Road (3145 S). Come and check it all out!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Reviews: The "Emily" Trilogy

I first fell in love with Lucy Maud Montgomery's books as a tween. My mother would bring home a new book every so often, and I could hardly wait for her to finish it so I could gobble them up. Fortunately for me, my mother is a fast reader.

Most known for her Anne of Green Gables series, L.M. Montgomery has actually written over 20 books. Aside from Anne, my favorites are the Emily of New Moon trilogy.

We're introduced to our heroine in book 1, Emily of New Moon. At the tender age of eleven Emily - who's all ready lost a mother she can barely remember - experiences the death of a most loved father, which rips her world apart. Suddenly she's faced with leaving the home she loves and being forced to go live with family members she never knew existed. Yet her new life offers more friendship, love and opportunities to love and grow than she'd ever had before. Her greatest success comes from helping her best friend Ilse, and Ilse's father, discover one another in a most unusual way. Add to their friendship those of artistic Teddy Kent of the Tansy Patch, and Perry Miller of the "lowborn Stovepipe Town" who has high hopes and ambitions (one including Emily), and a better and more lively group of friends you could rarely meet. Little Emily also begins to realize her love of writing could turn out to be something more than just a hobby, even if Aunt Elizabeth doesn't truly understand.

In book 2, Emily Climbs, Emily dearly wants to go to high school in Shrewsberry, but Aunt Elizabeth doesn't approve. What need does a girl of New Moon have of furthering an education when her real goal should be to improve herself enough to catch a husband? Fortune favors young Emily, however, and off to Shrewsberry she goes - but not without a few thorns. There she is to board with her detested Aunt Ruth, a most formidable woman who feels it is merely her "duty" to allow Emily to stay there for the next three years.

Emily's life is certainly not dull during these three years. She meets a girl with whom she feels immediate enmity - reciprocated, of course. Then come the many rejections, and acceptances, of her writing in various magazines, which leads her aunts and uncles to wonder if this "writing nonsense" might not be such a bad thing after all. During her escapades she and Ilse meet the woman who spanked the king, not to mention Emily's peculiar gift helps saves the life of a little boy. Of course no book about a teenage heroine is complete without just a little romance. Emily finds herself trying to keep off the attentions of one boy (the very one who Aunt Ruth catches trying to kiss her niece in the living room in the middle of the night!), while glowing under the attentions of another (what 14 year-old girl doesn't want to be told she's the sweetest girl in the world?). But none of this compares to meeting an idol who offers Emily the chance of a lifetime.

At last we come to book 3, Emily's Quest, where we watch Emily go through the high's and low's of professional writing, friendship, and love. Emily has chosen to stay home at New Moon where she determines her writing will not grow stagnant. Her aunts and uncles finally begin recognizing her gift as being worthy of the time Emily puts in to her scribbling. All the writing in the world doesn't help dull the pang of watching as her three best friends go haring off around the world, furthering their own work and educations. Just when Emily begins to think she might have a chance to gain her heart's desire, tragedy strikes, taking more than just her ability to walk (for a while), but her gift for writing. During this darkest time Emily matures more than her mere 18 years, and someone who has been waiting in the wings suddenly finds Emily might not be so against their huge age difference. Has he at last gained his greatest dream? Will the true love of Emily's heart ever be hers? Will true happiness come to these four friends? In this last book we come to a fulfilling ending, even in seeing Emily's first book published and a few mysteries solved.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And Last But Not Least, Day 7 of Femininity

Today was a day I felt least like trying to be feminine...and yet it was the day I think helped me the most to appreciate being feminine. We had a rough night as a family emergency had us up at about 2 - after both of us went to bed a bit late. When my alarm went off this morning I felt like chucking it across the room! Yet I restrained the impulse and instead got everyone up and ready for school.

I didn't get my pictures taken until tonight, but I wanted to end the week with some of my absolute favorites. This skirt (I have no idea where I got it from, it was too long ago) is my "flirty" skirt. I call it that because of the flirty bottom, which makes me feel extra...pretty isn't the word, but I think you know what I mean.

The shirt is a peacock blue I got from Walmart, and the jacket is a brown leather I got from the Dress Barn (on a SERIOUSLY good sale last Christmas!). It's so soft and warm, and I can't get enough of the smell ♥

Here's a closeup of me in my blue shirt. Don't you think the little "ruffles" are adorable? Can you tell I do? I love the color - finding colors that look good with both my hair and my skin tone is NOT easy. But I think I struck gold here.

So what have I learned this week? To be perfectly honest it has nothing to do with others and their reactions to me in what I wear. Instead it had everything to do with how I felt about myself, and the changes in my own attitude. I became gentler in many ways, in all respects: with my children, in the way I took care of my home, in my tone, and in the way I treated myself.
I thoroughly believe being feminine has nothing to do with what we wear, but everything to do with how we represent ourselves as women, in particular as daughters of God. We were made to be the softer, gentler half of human-kind, full of mercy and open to bringing home to those around us the beautiful side of life. To diminish this is to tell our Heavenly Father we do not accept what He made us, that we reject the perfect images of loveliness He created.
So even if you don't like wearing skirts and dresses, celebrate instead being a woman of God. In doing this you can celebrate the most feminine and lovely part of yourself!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween Decorations :)

This'll be my one post of femininity today...just to say you can even climb ladders in skirts, lol. Not the funnest, but doable ;) We've been decorating for Halloween this morning. We're not done, but we've made a grand start. M put up the windsocks and fun garland. In the background you can see the cool elastic spider web we found at Walmart this year. We may have stretched it more than necessary, but it was the only way to get it up and working.
Next we have some of our little signs. I love these. My favorite has a picture of a spider web and says, "Welcome to my Web Site." Cheezy, I know, but so am I.

For the first time I found BLACK spider webs! I've never tried putting it up so high before, but M wanted to make a sort of "doorway" for people to walk through. We cut out one of the eyes on the ghost on the door so we could look out to see who was on the porch.

I love the green spider web. We've got too much light around here at night for it to be glowy, but it still makes for some great ambiance. I have to get some more things dug up before I can finish decorating right in front, and we need to find (or make) some cool spiders to hang up.

And last, but certainly not least, is our skeleton. We found a tombstone for him this year. B decided he died choking on a golf ball (which is in it's mouth in case you can't tell).
So there you go! I love decorating for Halloween. I know many out there don't, but that's okay. The kids and I have so much fun doing this together♥

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Inspirations October 4, 2009 AND Day 5 of Femininity

"I hope that my dear sisters throughout the world - grandmothers, mothers, aunt, and friends - never underestimate the power of their influence for good, especially in the lives of our precious children and youth!" ~President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Over this last week I've had my eyes opened, maybe just a smidge, or perhaps it's more I was given a series of witnesses to what the meaning of being a good and righteous daughter of God can do for those surrounding her.

The influence we as sisters in this world can hold is not something to be taken lightly, if for no other reason than we never know who is watching. In our little ward (local congregation) there are many sisters who are struggling in ways that feel as though it is too much to bear. It has more than one precious daughter of God wondering if He really cares, why He can allow such cruel things to happen, and why they are being asked to endure such heavy loads.

There are sisters who feel too overcome with the mission of motherhood. There are others who desperately wish to be blessed with just one child. There are some who fear they will be called to go through this life without a companion by their side, one who will be there for them, to love them and put an arm around their shoulders when life gets too hard. There are those who's family is all grown, who's beloved companion have passed on, and are feeling more alone than they ever thought possible. And there are those who are called upon to watch and care for desperately sick children or husbands.

Too often we might find ourselves overwhelmed by all that is asked of us, by the paths our lives take, or through promises that seem to go unfulfilled. I myself have had promises given to me through blessings given by worthy priesthood holders that are still unfulfilled many years later. At times I get frustrated, but more often I find myself needing to exercise faith. My Father promised me, and He will fulfill the promise, in HIS time.

More than anyone else the sisters, wives, and mothers of the world hold the greatest power of influence over the children and youth we come in contact with. Whether those children/youth are in our home, in our classrooms, or simply in our neighborhood, you never know who might be blessed by your choices in life. The spirit of our homes is determined by the women who reside there.

These last few days I've been stressing (more than usual) modest dress in our home (as is SO obvious from my billions of pictures). More than one morning my oldest has come out of her room in the morning wearing a skirt because she wants to look "pretty like Mom." As odd as it may seem, even my boys have become just a little more loving. All from taking a little more care of my appearance.

Twice this week I was given a special insight into how others view me. Sometimes I wonder - especially during particular Church meetings where it feels like we're more noisy than a good influence - if those around me know how hard I try. One friend said, "It's so obvious you cherish your children." Another sent me such a sweet and loving message I was in tears. In it she told me how she's watched me for years with my husband and my children.

"I'm amazed of your example on what a mother can be. Through hard times even you stayed strong... . I think it is a blessing from Heavenly Father that I have such an outstanding example of what I can be as a mother, a wife and a daughter of god. Your smile makes me happy no matter what mood I am in."

All this from simply being myself, from trying a little harder to be what I think my Heavenly Father wants me to be. Is it easy? NO! Am I consistent? Of course not! Ask my kiddies how ornery Mama gets now and again! However, no matter how bad a mood I'm in, how frustrated I get with life, nor how discouraged or distraught I may be, I never give up. I can't. I've been promised too much to let it all go just because sometimes life feels too hard to live.

The message I felt impressed to give can be told in the words of President Uchtdorf:

"May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don't reach beyond your capacity. Don't set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don't feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don't compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fulness of the gospel. Wherever you have been planted, on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to 'succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees' (D&C 81:5).

"My dear sisters, as you live your daily life with all its blessings and challenges, let me assure you that the Lord loves you. He knows you. He listens to your prayers, and He answers those prayers, wherever on this world you may be. He wants you to succeed in this life and in eternity."

To this I would only add, be aware of your choices. We choose every day how we will respond to the roadblocks placed in our ways. We can wallow in the misery these roadblocks can bring, or we can choose to climb over them, keeping our faces lifted up to the Lord.

Now, on to my day 5 of Femininity. My thoughts have been focused so much on my family these last few days, as I've been counseling with a sweet friend who is struggling with being unable to have children herself. So I decided today's pictures needed to include some of the most precious things I have been asked to watch over in this life.

I couldn't get M to smile sweetly today, silly girl.
So we all started to make faces. Here we are with "angry" faces.
And crazy faces.

Funny kids.
I put on my cardigan this morning. Doesn't it complete the outfit?

And here are those curls I talked about freeing :)

I should have my daughter take my picture more often, lol.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 4 of Femininity

I had no intention of posting on Femininity for seven whole days. Seriously. I thought, maybe a few stories here and there with a picture at the beginning and end. Here we are on day four and I'm still willingly taking pictures - patchy skin and fat rolls notwithstanding. These last few days have been wholly unusual, and yet entirely fulfilling.

Here I am in my skirt I'll be wearing this weekend. I bought it a few years ago as part of an anniversary present from my husband (he knows I love pretty skirts). It comes with a lovely baby blue cardigan, but it's too warm today to wear it.

I french braided my hair after my shower this morning. I love the look of braided hair, and have wowed many a woman when they find out I can do it to my own hair, lol.

It'll be fun to take out tomorrow and let the curls free.

It was not easy to take this last picture, and you have no idea how many were deleted before I finally settled on this one. I'm having a horrible skin day, though perhaps you can't really tell. Sometimes it's not easy to feel feminine when things we can't control - like skin rashes due to being allergic to everything - keeps us from looking our best. Yet over the years I've discovered, it's not always our appearance that makes us beautiful, it's the woman within. Some of the most beautiful women in my life are not so because their outward appearance is the classic ideal of beauty, but rather because the extraordinary spirit held within shines through.

I'm crocheting a scarf for a friend here. I love to crochet, to create, to make beautiful things. More than this I love to give away those things I've created. During this weekend it's especially fulfilling to do as I sit and listen to the general leaders of my church speak such beautiful and remarkable words of hope, love, inspiration, and rededication. Thank you so much for stopping in to celebrate today's bit of femininity♥

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 3 of Femininity

I don't believe for a moment being feminine requires one to be completely serious, sedate, and statuesque the entire day long. In fact, some of the most beautiful women I know are those who don't take themselves too seriously.

Which is why I decided.......after managing two lovely pictures...
(uh oh, she's got that look in her eyes)

It was time for a little silliness!!!

Oh work it, baby. Work it!

Now that's what I'M talkin' about!!!

Hmm. Perhaps being feminine DOES require one to keep her tongue in her mouth.

For shame! I know. My bad.

Silly me. In any case, I'm feeling lovely AND a bit on the funny side today. And yeah, that's the mess in my backyard, lol. Hope you enjoyed day 3 :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 2 of Femininity

The majority of my day was spent doing a bit of baking. You see, there's been a cluster of fruit-flies hovering over some fairly ripe bananas. They've gotten far beyond the point of being annoying, and so I finally managed to do something about it.

I let J mash all the bananas. We literally squished them out of the peel into the bowl, a process we decided was "cool" and "gross" at the same time. After all the peels had been tossed it was his job to mash them all with the back of a fork. At the same time I started cutting up the butter to let it soften and put together the dry ingredients (as can be seen in the picture below).

When the butter softened enough I began to make. Here's a picture of me baking in my nice LONG elegant emerald green skirt. I love LOVE LOVE this skirt. It's perfect when I want something that simply drapes down.
I'd actually been wearing one of my favorite sweaters earlier this morning, but it got too warm to keep it on. So I switched to a green striped shirt. I should have been wearing an apron, but it's in the laundry right now (I cut my hubby's hair this last week and have yet to wash it).

And here's the finished result! All those yucky bananas made four perfect loaves and 12 mostly eaten muffins ♥

All in all, a most satisfactory day.