Monday, January 31, 2011

Corner on His Love

It is ALREADY the LAST day of January!!

31 days in the New Year has already come and gone. And in that time I have read some incredible stories of remarkable people who love God and recognize His hand in their lives (see my Book List on the side bar.)

Over the years I have had to break myself from the terrible misconception that God only loved a certain people.

What is unfolding, as I read these stories of hope and faith, is that while members of the Church of Jesus Christ do have a corner on the fullness of gospel truths, principles and saving ordinances, no one - NO ONE has a corner on God’s love.

His love is given freely, openly, fully to anyone and to everyone.

I remember starting to understand that incredible concept just a few short days in Spain as a new missionary.

I had a great trainer who, American as she was, spoke Spanish to me e.v.e.r.y. walking moment on those terraced streets.

Don’t ask me what I remember from any of those conversations because I was just a little bit more literate than I was in understanding the spoken word (which doesn’t say very much).

But I do remember something that was placed in the depths of my heart those first few days I was getting used to new sights, new sounds, new smells, new tastes.

As we walked those streets and as my companion spoke to me in a language that I would come to learn and love, I became acutely conscious that the Lord loved these people – all these people.

As I gazed up at cement apartment six and seven stories high, filled with windows and people and hanging laundry, the Spirit whispered to mine that these people were loved by Him: that He knew their names, He was aware of their desires, He listened to their prayers, He was their Savior.

So the books I have read this month is yet another witness to me that God loves all His children.

I am still learning why He is no respecter of persons and why those who will listen to His voice and follow His teachings become favored of Him.

So I am grateful to read of others, not of our faith, who love God.

Who trust God.

Who follow God’s teachings.

And who exemplify Christlike attributes.

And share with joy their testimony of God’s hand in their lives!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Atom and Eve

Earlier this week I was reviewing class notes with my fifth grade son for his upcoming science test. It was on atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons and electricity.

Me: What is an atom?

Son: One or more electron surrounding a nucleus

Me: What is an electron?

Son: A negative charge

Me: What is a proton?

Son: A positive charge

Me: What is a neutron?

Son: A neutral charge

Me: What happens when an atom loses an electron.

Son: It becomes positive.

Husband (who happened to be listening and jumped right in): Okay, so when an Adam becomes positive what is an Eve?

Son (without hesitation): A negative.

Friday, January 28, 2011


This afternoon my children posed some really great questions about the resurrection. For instance:

        Will we need to eat after we are resurrected? And what can we eat?
        Will we make mistakes after we are resurrected?
        If we don’t have blood in our bodies, what will we have?

Anyway, the list went on and on.

Some of the questions I was able to answer (such as where did Jesus go when His body was in the tomb).

And other questions I could only answer with a “Wow! I’ve never thought of that before. I don’t know the answer!”

The funniest, however, was when my six year old daughter asked, “Mom, what is Zion?”

To which I responded, “Well, Zion is God’s kingdom on earth.”

She gave me a scrunched up face on that one. So I attempted another explanation. “Zion can also be a place where people live who are of one heart and one mind, and there is no poor among them.”

After a few moments of thought, she looked at me and said, “So what you're saying is that the people have a heart and a mind, but no brains?”

Oh my heavens I laughed so hard.

Umm, I think I need more practice defining the gospel for my younger children!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Fill in the Blank

If God has such great power,
how is it that He cannot instruct me that I should __________________________ ?
                                  (fill in the blank with something that's difficult for you to do)

(see  1 Nephi 17:51)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Family Home Evening - White As Snow

For Family Home Evening tonight, I wanted to incorporate one of my favorite childhood desserts into our lesson.

Of course, more important than that, I needed to find a General Conference talk!

And I found the perfect talk: “I Am Clean” by President Gordon B. Hinckley, April 2007

The talk wasn’t available in audio or video . . . but, better yet, I was able to print out selected parts of the text and distribute it among our children so we could read and discuss it together.

They loved the story of Joseph F. Smith and it was after reading this did we discuss what it meant to be clean. One of our children said, “Baptism Clean.”

But, as we all know, we are only “Baptism Clean” for a very, very short time.

And this is where the Atonement, the sacrament and repentance comes in.

This is where the great invitation we read in Isaiah comes in:

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; … Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:16–18).
One of my favorite things about winter (because I am not a cold-weather friend) is the day after a fresh snowfall. When all the world around me is covered in fresh, white, glistening snow. It is a reminder to me of how beautiful repentance is and how I want to return to my Father in Heaven. It is a testimony of the Atonement of the Savior and how He will cover my sins if I repent.

We also talked about different way to avoid repenting, because of better choices. We continued from the counsel given by President Hinckley on being clean—in language, in thought, in body, in dress.

Then it was time for the long-awaited dessert. I had made SNOW PUDDING. The ingredients are very simple: lemons, sugar, gelatin and egg whites with a custard topping.

So to begin, we had our children each lick a small piece of a lemon. We related a lemon to the sourness/bitterness of sin. And that without a Savior it would never change. But, because of the Atonement, coupled with our repentance, those lemons could change and we could be “white as snow.”  Then we served them the Snow Pudding.

It was fun for them to try something I loved as a child and tasted so “snowy” to them. And also a reminder of Isaiah 1:16-18.

3/4 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup COLD water
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup COLD water
2 egg whites

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, gelatin, salt and ½ cup COLD water. Stir ingredients over low heat until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add ¾ cup COLD water, lemon peel and juice. Place in refrigerator and chill until partially set. Turn into large mixing bowl. Add egg whites. Beat with electric mixer until mixture begins to hold its shape and turns very white. Pour into individual pudding cups or in a 9x13 baking dish. Chill. Serve with Custard Sauce.

In heavy saucepan mix 4 beaten egg yolks. 1/8 teaspoon salt and ¼ cup sugar. Gradually stir in 2 cups milk that has been scaled and slightly cooled. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats spoon.

Remove from heat. Cook saucepan at once in cold water. Stir a minute or two. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Chill.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My 5 year-old daughter made me a beautiful necklace with the beads she received for Christmas. 

Four times on the necklace she had carefully placed the word MOM.

Apparently I ws wearing it upside down because when I was looking in the mirror this afternoon, I misread the words to read WOW.


This MOM is an upside down WOW?!

I just hope that one day I can WOW these kids of mine!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Date Nights with Eight

"You, you turned my inside out and you showed me,
what life was about
only you
The only one who stole me heart away.”
The Only One - David Foster, Lionel Richie

Last August our Stake President issued an invitation to all the couples of our stake: “Have a weekly date night together.”

This same counsel was given to my husband and me many, many years ago by our dear Stake President, when my hubby was serving as Bishop. At the time we had six children under the age of six! It was difficult counsel to follow.

Not because we didn’t want to, but because it was tricky find a babysitter!

Where other couples could trade off with their two or three our four, we had six!

Plus, we had a young ward with very few young women who could handle six little young 'uns.

So most date night Fridays we would put our children to bed and watch a movie, or talk, or get some inexpensive fast food take out and enjoy each other’s company.

As many parents who had teenagers promised us those many years ago, our older children have indeed grown up enough that my husband and I can sneak away more regularly. (It really is amazing to even think we are at this point) . . .

So with the counsel and invitation of our Stake President last summer, we have tried to be obedient in doing all we can to regularly set aside a weekly date night for just the two of us.

Last week, for example, we sneaked away for 45 minutes to use a Target gift card to buy birthday presents for three of our children who have birthdays this month.

A few weeks ago, we attended an early morning temple session knowing that our youngest would just be waking up when we arrived home.

Tonight, however, my husband and I were too tired to get away! We had just spent two hours playing at the pool with our children.

Our objective was to Wear. Them. Out.

And while we did just that, we were worn out, too.

So, instead of leaving the house for our weekly date night, he and I spent time in the kitchen making meatballs for tomorrow’s Sunday dinner and singing Lionel Richie love songs with and to each other.

All I can say is, it really doesn’t get any better than that! (Especially if you heard us sing!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tweeners, Teenagers and Me

Time has definitely eroded this old, parent brain of mine.

Because I am beginning to think that maybe – just maybe - I wasn’t such a pleasant teenager after all.

My mother warned me when I was a teenager, “You’re going to have teenagers Just. Like. You.”

And honestly, I was really hoping that would be true!! Because in the corners of my memory, I was a VERY good teenager.

But my mother’s warning has never escaped me. . . and it’s looking like I’m getting what she said was coming to me.

Because Here. We. Are.

My teenager. My tweeners. My husband. And me.

Not that our coming of age children are terrible.

Because they are not.  They're just normal.

Normal for teenagers.

So normal for teenagers that I am recognizing (with eyes WIDE open) their haphazardly hormonal, extremely emotional, and downright feral behavior.

I suppose they can’t help it if their brains don’t function correctly - because I can’t help if mine isn’t functioning at all when they are in this state.

And as I take into careful consideration that this is their first time being teenagers – I realize that they are clueless that this is my first time as a their mother, too . . .but, come to think about it, this old parent brain of mine didn’t realize that when I was 13, either.

So like it or not, we are in this thing together. . .

WOW! This is going to be some exciting ride!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Gratitude

I saw this video for the first time today.

It opened the flood gates to count my many blessings.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funny Things

So here are some recent conversations I have had with my children that have made me laugh!  I thought I'd share.

A conversation with my 5 year old daughter -

Daughter: Mom, what are you going to be after you have the baby?

Me: Well, I don't know.  What do you think I should be?

Daughter: Maybe you could be a teacher. . .

Me: A teacher?

Daughter (after a moment of contemplation) : Um, no, I don't want you to be a teacher.

Me: Oh, why not?

Daughter: Because then you'll have to go to work everyday and do it for a long time.

Me: Okay. Not a teacher, then.

Daughter (after a few moments of thinking it over): I know!  You can be a HOUSEKEEPER!

Me: A housekeeper?

Daughter: Yes!  A housekeeper.  You can do all the stuff around the house Dad tells you to do and then we can be in charge of the baby!


A Conversation with my 4 year old son -

Son: Mom, I'm going to be a football player when I grow up.  What are you going to be when you grow up?

Me: What do you think I should be when I grow up.

Son: A doctor.

Me: A doctor?

Son: A girl doctor!

Me: Okay.  When I grow up I'll be a girl doctor.

Son (thinking it over for a moment): No.  I don't think you can be a girl doctor.  So what do you want to be when you grow up?

Me: How about a grandma?  Yes.  When I grow up I want to be a grandma!

Son (confused): WHAT?!  A grandma?  That means you'll be O-L-D!

Another conversation with my daughter -

Daughter: Mom, tell me what you did when you were my age.

Me:  Well, when I was your age we didn't have the same things you have today.

Daughter: Like what?

Me:  Well, we did have a TV, but we didn't have a VCR or a DVD player, so we couldn't watch movies.  We didn't have video games to play . . .

Daughter:  . . . Or cell phones?

Me: Or cellphones.  We didn't have cell phones.

Daughter: Were you too poor to have those things?

Me: Well, nobody had those things.  In fact, when I was your age, we didn't even have a computer.

Daughter (now in DEEP thought): Mom, did you have clothes?

Para Bing.  Para Bang.

What was said one night before family prayer

As we knelt for prayer, my husband asked if anyone had something that needed to be mentioned in our family prayer.  Some thoughts were given, including the remembering of certain individuals.  During the conversation my husband said something extremely funny, to which one of our twins, who is 11 years old said, "Whoever says the prayer, will you PLEASE remember to bless Dad so that the thing that is currently crushing his brain will get better."

I laughed so hard.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Seeing Ourselves Through Trials

“How do we know who we truly are? Though we may believe otherwise, we do not really know ourselves until we see ourselves. But how do we see ourselves? There is an arrangement that allows us to see ourselves. The trials of our lives expose to us the strengths or weaknesses of our character. Trials are the mirror that allows us to see ourselves, indeed, because trials, in whatever form, reveal to us how strong or weak we are. They are not always punishment for past offenses. Once we identify our weaknesses by virtue of those trials, we then have a choice to rectify them through the proper means. Trials are similar to a test. A test will not make us more intelligent, but it will reveal our standing in a subject, thus exposing which areas we need to improve.”

-John Yves Bizimana
from Escape from Rwanda p. 140

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!!

A new year means making new resolutions.
It also means ending old habits.
Here’s to a Happy 2011!!