Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spiritual Sunday: Belief

Belief in God--a Heavenly Father who loves us and watches over us is a funny thing when you think about it. Belief in God and attending church for three hours every Sunday and then devoting significant amounts of time to serve within one's community can also be strange to consider. Belief in church doctrines that seemingly restrict one's choices and actions is often perceived as not only strange, but radical.

There have been times when I have wondered why I have placed myself so firmly in the camp of belief. Would I have voluntarily chosen the life I'm living if I hadn't been born into a Mormon family? Truthfully, I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that choosing to move forward with my life in belief has been a conscious choice, even when I've struggled with doubt and questions.

I believe in God because I have had personal experiences with Him. I believe in a Prophet because I have seen what my life is like when I heed his counsel. I believe and act upon commandments, because I see the strength I gain from them, and because I have witnessed the devastation that trails through people's lives when they discard those commandments. I choose to raise my children in a paradigm of belief and faith because I want my children to have a strong foundation of faith. I align myself with my church community, because I have been able to move around the world encircled in the safety of that community. I choose faith because I have experience miracles that I cannot doubt.

Belief in God is a funny thing because it is so personal and can't be measured by quantifiable scientific standards.

Do you believe in God? Do you feel challenged by your faith or beliefs? 


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scrapbook Saturday: Goals and Projects

Nothing profound here today; just a big ol' list of projects and tasks I need to work on.

1) I want to create a mini-album explaining the moves I have made. At first I was going to try and put it in one 12x12 layout, but as I considered how much I needed to share, I realized a mini-album makes more sense. I am in love with the colors and patterns of Shimelle's Starshine collection. I like the happy vibe and how the globe motif is incorporated into the collection.
       a) collect the pictures
       b) decide on the format
       c) purchase the product
       d) outline the stories I want to tell
       e) make the album

2) Finish scrapbooking 2015.
       a) review photos
       b) find the gaps in the stories
       c) print the pages I already made
       d) make a spreadsheet
       e) sort, edit, and print photos

3) Organize, edit, and sort photos on my phone. Upload to computer. I realized that the format I have right now, isn't working for me. I also just discovered that the way I used to upload phone photos to my computer doesn't work anymore with the Windows 10. I still need to figure that out.

4) Start scrapbooking 2016.
        a) review photos
        b) find the gaps in the stories
        c) print the pages
        d) make a spreadsheet
        e) sort, edit, and print photos

5) Create 2007 Israel album.My biggest problem is that I can't figure out the format. I have been wavering between 8x8 Project Life pages made with the app or using the printed photos I already have. If I use the photos I have, I am pretty sure I will just do Project Life pages, but I don't have a core kit that really feels right to me. I could also just do a few Shutterfly albums. I think my indecision about the format, more than anything, is why I haven't been able to finish this album. It is really bugging me.

6) Sort and organize family photos--especially the old ones.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Favorites: Flip the Script

This week I listened to a pretty darn interesting podcast from Invisiblia called, "Flip the Script". My apologies that you actually have to scroll down the page once clicking on the link.

Two things really struck me.

First, the story at the beginning of the episode about how the friends changed a dangerous situation to a peaceful one using a technique where you do the opposite of what the other person does, instead of mirroring their behavior. The two narrators challenge the idea that this experience was a miracle, despite the participants' personal feelings. I have no doubt that the woman in the story actually employed this technique, with a great result. However, I disagree that it wasn't a miracle. How did she know how to do that in such a scary situation, when our most primal emotions emerge? I think her action was miraculous--even the more so for manifesting itself in such a scary and potentially violent situation.

Second, the two narrators go to Denmark, to Aarhus, where they meet two police officers who faced the problem of a great number of young Muslim men becoming radicalized and going to Syria to fight with different Islamic factions. Their response to the plight of these young men was unique. They looked for ways to safely brings these young men back into their communities in Denmark. Their actions made a tremendous difference for the young men and for their community.

My temper frequently gets the better of me. I often mirror frustration and anger when dealing with others which inevitably escalates the situation. What if I worked on doing precisely the opposite? This isn't a new idea. The idea of responding in an angry situation with a soft answer can be found in the Bible. Scientific studies are starting to bear out this idea in conflict resolution. I want to put this into practice right now in my life and with my family. I like this idea because it places the person in an active situation and in control, rather than being reactive and out of control.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Back to Lund, Sweden

A friend posted the following clip about Lund, Sweden today.

Things I miss about living in Sweden:

  • Biking everywhere. I love biking and loved getting in exercise in such a practical fashion. I haven't biked in 8 years.
  • The cobblestone streets. I miss walking on those streets.
  • The way the past and present intersect. I love how Lund manages to maintain their heritage while being innovative and fun with the present.
  • I miss having my kids bike. 
  • I miss my friends.
  • I miss the simpler lifestyle there. We kept things very simple and minimal while living there. I have gotten caught up in the trap of having a lot of space and stuff in the U.S.
  • I miss paron saft and delicious pears.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: Why I Am Voting for a Third-Party Candidate

I read the following on FB today:

I heard a really interesting call-in to NPR the other day. It was from a Bernie supporter talking about why she’s having a hard time supporting Hillary. She said of course she doesn’t want Trump to win, but she’s also angry at her party for putting forward someone who she believes is clearly corrupt and doesn’t represent what she believes the party should stand for. And her concern was if she just sucks it up and votes for Hillary, then isn’t that sending a message to the party leadership that it’s okay to keep putting forward candidates like that? That sure, people will be a little upset, but in the end they’ll toe the line and vote anyway? And while she worries about four years of Trump, she’s more worried about the long-term impact to her own party of toeing the line this time and not standing up against it. I feel the same way about Trump. I’m by no means excited about the prospect of four years of Hillary, let alone the issue of SCOTUS appointees. But I also worry that the impact of toeing the line and “voting the delegate” sends a message that I’d continue to support candidates like Trump in the future if it comes down to it. I’d rather lose and it cause a serious change in the conservative movement long-term than win and continue down what I think is a dangerous road.

I have been a life-long Republican. When I was a kid, my favorite hero was Ronald Reagan. I believe in small government and letting states make the bulk of their decisions. 

I voted for Mitt Romney. I voted for George W. Bush. I have supported Republican candidates in nearly every election.

Until now. I have watched with horror as Donald Trump won state after state. I have been sickened by his screaming rhetoric filled with hatred toward immigrants. I cannot understand how any woman could vote for a man who treats women merely as sexual objects to be used for his pleasure. He has bullied person after person. I have watched him alienate world leaders (with the exception of Putin and what?????) with whom we are allies. I have heard him say intolerable things about Muslims. 

Now, my party is telling me I need to toe the party line and vote for Donald Trump because Hillary Clinton is the worst person ever on the planet. 

On the other side, Hillary Clinton has broken the law more than once, brokered backdoor deals that make me ill. She is firmly entrenched in the pockets of big corporations. I worry about who she will nominate for the Supreme Court.

Both sides keep saying to toe the party line and that voting for a third party is immoral and a wasted vote. But they are wrong. They are scared that people are fed up with the divisiveness that has ripped apart our country. They are scared they are losing power and they are. Both parties have corruption on an intolerable scale. Neither party is truly interested in the welfare of the American people or our country. 

 If I vote for Donald Trump, I am essentially voting for the United States government to completely break apart. It will usher in an era that frighteningly similar to the Hitler regime that nearly broke the world.  

If I vote for Hillary Clinton, I am voting for a person who believes she is above the law, and has the evidence to prove it. I am voting for a person who will nominate judges that have a liberal agenda that doesn't take into account all the needs and values of all members in our society. 

I don't know yet who I will vote for. But I will be voting either third-party or writing in someone. I am not wasting my vote. I am choosing to vote for the right person, not the lesser of two evils, not to vote against someone, but to vote for someone. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Travel Tuesday: My Dream Christmas Vacation

Christmas makes me grumpy and stressed. The decorating, the gift buying, the concerts, the events, the dinners, and the parties all take time, effort, and money. Every December, I feel like I'm barely holding on getting through all of it. Most of it aren't things that I plan, but things I feel obligated to attend, like school concerts my kids are performing in. This would be a good time to shift my focus from the details, but... I'm feel pretty like Scrooge in July, so instead, I would rather tell you my Christmas fantasy.

In my Christmas fantasy, I would like to buy each kid one meaningful gift. Right after school gets out, I would like to fly south to the Caribbean to a beautiful resort. I would like to stay in a clean and comfortable bungalow with all the amenities. It would be great if the bungalow were right on the beach. Then, for a week, I would like to just wake up, get everyone breakfast, and then spend all day playing on the beach and in the ocean. Nothing else. No frantic racing about to buy gifts or go to events.

On Christmas day, I would like to wake up early with my family, exchange gifts that meant something to all of us, and then spend the day on the beach.

That's all I need--some sun, sand, and surf.

What's your Christmas fantasy?


Monday, July 25, 2016

Mothering Monday: The Pros and Cons of Being a SAHM

My oldest son was born six months after I graduated from university. My husband was still in college at the time and working part-time. I had worked part-time every summer since I turned 14. With the exception of my freshman year in college, I also worked 20 hours a week while going to school. I earned just enough money to cover my few expenses: rent, food, and gas. My husband and I attended BYU in Provo, Utah so thankfully, our tuition was very low and we were able to cover it with Pell grants, money earned from jobs, and scholarships.

After our first baby was born, we discussed what we were going to do. Could we make it on one income while Brent was still in school and would be in school for many more years to come? Would it be better for me to work to bring in additional income? As we pondered our options, it became clear that there weren't enough financial benefits to justify me going to work a low-paying job--something I would likely get, given my degree in English Literature that I wasn't certified to teach in. I decided to stay home and take care of our baby.

After making that decision, my husband was promoted at work, working the same hours but receiving a substantial pay raise. He also received scholarships. During his years as a student, we only took out a couple small student loans. Financially, things have always seemed to work out for us, often miraculously. I have been a SAHM for 17 years which has its pros and cons.

I recently read a personal essay by a woman who had also chosen to stay at home with her kids. She expressed regret that doing so gave her little say in how her life turned out as a wife to a corporate expat who has moved frequently around the world. I felt puzzled and saddened by her regret as I'm sure, given my own experiences, that she has likely led a life that many would envy. Perhaps she wrote the piece on a particularly bad day dealing with challenges or maybe she has carried her what-ifs and regret throughout the entirety of her time as a mother. I don't know. It can be easy to make up fantasies of an unrealized ideal when you are dealing with the very real challenges of being a SAHM.

I think each woman has to craft life as a mother to her circumstances, relationships, financial situation, and personal strengths and weaknesses. The way my life looks isn't going to be the same for anyone. My list of pros and cons of being a SAHM are very personal. Your list will probably look very different.

So here is my list of pros and cons of being a SAHM:


  • Being so intimately involved with my kids' lives--and every aspect of their firsts.
  • Being the stable force that grounds the family. There have been times with my husband's travel schedule that I am the one constant for my kids.
  • Having time to develop my creative pursuits and talents. I don't think I could blog as often as I do if I were working full-time and raising my kids on top of that.
  • Having time to volunteer and help with school.
  • Having time to volunteer at church.
  • Having flexibility in my schedule to deal with problems or challenges. For example, if one of my kids gets sick, I have the time and ability to take care of them.
  • Spending significant amounts of time with my children, in a group, and as individuals. 
  • Working with my kids. 
  • With my health sometimes being a challenge, I have the leeway to rest and take care of my health needs.
  • Having time to help with homework--this is also a con.
  • Lots of unstructured and fun time during the summer.
  • Time to cultivate friendships with other women. 
  • Having flexibility to move with my husband's job.
  • I get to cultivate qualities such as patience and diplomatic skills worthy of negiotiating peace in the Middle East but sadly don't seem to always work at home.

  • The housework seriously never ends.
  • The mess never seems to end and I haven't been very successful at training my children to really pitch in and help.
  • At times the budget is tight without a second income. We mostly meet our needs, but there are many wants that often go unfulfilled such as dance and music classes.
  • You are never, ever done with your job. Breaks are minimal and the work is really hard.
  • A lot of the work I do often gets messed up and that makes me feel very frustrated.
  • Because of the flexibility of my schedule, often important things fall through the cracks.
  • Getting distracted from jobs because you tend to have to put out fires with everyone.
  • Being a chauffeur.
  • Cooking over and over again. Every. Single. Day.
  • Staying up all night with a cranky or sick child and then having to function the next day with your kids.
  • Feel guilt all the time about what you are doing or not doing. 
  • Criticism from society about everything you are doing wrong as a parent.
  • Dealing with assumptions that you aren't a productive or intelligent member of society as a SAHM.
  • Being so tired you can't even read a book. 

What pros and cons of being a SAHM would make your list?


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Spiritual Sunday: Asking to See the Lord's Hand in Your Life

Sometimes, when life gets hard, it can be really hard to see the Lord's hand in your life. I have been there, where I felt so overwhelmed by my trial that I felt buffeted by difficulty and alone. I couldn't see one step ahead of me, let alone see what how the Lord was helping me. There have been rare moments where I did see the blessings in the midst of the stormy trial.

The other day, I was praying and asked to see the Lord's hand in my life. I was surprised at the experience that flashed in my mind but as I reflected on what had happened, I realized that it really was evidence of the Lord's hand in my life.

In my work as Relief Society president, I do encounter women who feel so alone and abandoned. They struggle to see the Lord working on their behalf. Maybe you are wondering the same thing. If you are in that boat, take some time to be quiet and say a prayer. Ask for wisdom and vision in seeing the Lord's hand in your life. You may be very surprised in what you learn.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Scrapbook Saturday: An Evolution in Style

Recently on a Scrapbook Facebook group I am a part of called The Scrap Gals, a newer scrapbooker asked a question about redoing old pages. She had started scrapbooking a year ago and disliked many of the first pages she made especially now that her style is completely different. She wondered what she should do about those pages and if she should redo them to fit her current style.

Before I respond to her question with thoughts of my own, I want to say, first and foremost, "You are the boss of your own scrapbooking. There are no rules. You can do what you want, how you want, and when you want when it comes to scrapbooking." My thoughts, comments, and opinions relate to me personally and if you disagree with me, that is ok. You can do whatever you want with your crafting.

Now that we got that out of the way....

I have been scrapbooking now for 17 years. I am not a designer and will never be a professional. I scrap for the pleasure of creating and the importance of recording my story and my family's history. I have made lots of really ugly pages over the years. I'm not a natural designer because I am not a visual person. I often break all the design rules because I don't even know what they are.

I don't have any intentions of redoing old pages because my style has changed so many times, and will likely change in the future. What has remained the same is that I always try to include photos and I always journal about the story.

When I look at my old pages, I don't cringe (much) because instead of focusing on the hokey sticker placement, the boring paper, and the cutout photo shapes (why did we do that?), I am so glad that my memories were recorded so soon and that I get to revisit the past in my albums. Back then, I created albums just as I saw they were being done. I was so proud of myself for recording my experiences and thoughts. So much has happened to me in the past 17 years and I'm grateful that I took the time to make these (not-so-great) pages so that I would remember my years as a first-time mother and the early days of my marriage.

Many of my pages that I created in those early years were just me trying to do my best with the materials and .supplies I had. At that time, I lived in Sweden and my husband and I were very poor with an extremely limited budget I was fortunate that I had a few supplies. I didn't agonize over getting the perfect patterned paper, I was just happy to have paper and adhesive.

I also didn't know about the online scrapbook communities. I never read any magazines. I just scrapped with my friends who were much in the same boat. We got together once a month and shared memories and laughter.

Over the years, my style has changed. I have improved and I have learned from magazines, books, blog articles, and instagram. What hasn't changed is that I still enjoy being creative and sharing my stories.

I prefer to look at the changes of styles within my scrapbook as an opportunity to see an evolution of style. Just as most of us have changed our hairstyles many times in the past 17 years, so have our scrapbook pages changed and evolved. We may cringe a little, but I also hope we laugh and remember how things were back then. What seems fresh and beautiful to me now, may very well look dated and ugly to me in the future.

If scrapbooking were only about the creative aspect, then perhaps it would make sense to redo older pages, but I already accomplished my goal with my older scrapbooks. I was creative and I told stories, lots of stories that wouldn't be remembered without my work. When I go through my old albums, I feel that same rush of pride of accomplishment, as well as happiness in reviewing old memories.

Have you ever redone old layouts because you disliked the old style so much? Did you feel happy about your decision? Does it bother you to have different styles of scrapbooking over the years? Do you have a different perspective than what I shared here?


Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Favorites: Pride and Prejudice

I recently reread Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have read it several times and watched practically every movie version available. I think Jane Austen is a master at her craft. She composes sentences brilliantly. I find her characters so interesting and complex. Someone, she manages to write stories that have transcended time, generations, cultures, and history. Her books can be read over and over again and torn apart in all different directions. I think her works are true classics because they have so much to offer a reader.

I was a little surprised at my reactions from this reading, which may change upon reading it again:

  • I really, really, really disliked Mr. Darcy. Even at the end, when he redeems himself, I kept wondering what was behind the change of heart. I don't know why I had this reaction, because Mr. Darcy is often the romantic ideal of practically every woman. He was horribly pompous in the beginning which felt pretty hypocritical given the company he kept with Mr. Bingley's sisters who were rude, condescending, and in the case of the one sister, practically throwing herself at him. I didn't feel like I ever got enough information to understand his change of heart. 
  • But I think that inexplicable change of behavior is Jane Austen's pattern with men. Her male characters often say and do wild things that don't make sense. Why did Wickham run away with Lydia? She had nothing to offer him in any real sense. I kept searching for clues in the text to discover why he ended up with Lydia but didn't find any satisfying answers. Perhaps she manipulated him? 
  • The relationships between the female characters fascinated me because this was a society which tended to segregate along gender lines.
  • There wasn't much difference between Lydia & Kitty, and Caroline Bingley & Mrs. Hurst.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bennett were terrible parents. Mr. Bennett was just as foolish as his wife. He was wasteful with his money, didn't plan for his daughters' future and security. Instead they kept trying to have a boy--as if a brother would actually take care of the girls. Mrs. Bennett seemed to have based her plan for the girls on their looks instead of providing education and training so they would have additional skills and gifts that would make them more viable marriage options. 
  • Jane Austen perfectly highlights how precarious life was for women without marriage opportunities and how they had to make hard choices. Charlotte married a ridiculous man for security. All five of the Bennett girls were literally at the mercy of their cousin. I think Austen really shows how difficult and scary life was for women without opportunity to gain skills for real employment if marriage wasn't an option. She also shows how often men failed in their duties to the women they had obligations to. Mr. Bennett was careless with his money so there was nothing of note to pass onto the girls. 
  • Perhaps this is why Mr. Darcy becomes so appealing to Lizzie. He is not neglectful in his duty to the women in his care. He carefully manages things for his sister so she has good prospects and ensures that she receives a good education. He is aware of the needs of the people who depend on him and provides for them fairly. 

Have you read Pride and Prejudice? What are your thoughts about this book? What is your favorite film adaptation of the book?


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: My First Job

Cody, my hometown, is a summer tourist town, given its proximity to the East Gate entrance to Yellowstone National Park. During summer, the entire town bustles with shops, restaurants and hotels. Tourists crowd the streets looking for ugly souvenirs to take home and hide away in their attics. Hotels fill up to the seams to accommodate all the people looking to visit the Cody Nite Rodeo, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Old Trail Town, watch a gunfight or eat lunch at The Irma Hotel, or just explore a western town.

Because the work is seasonal, there are plenty of jobs for high school kids working during the summer. At the time, the legal working age for a teenager was 14. Shortly after I turned 14, I went to look for a job. If you have seen my kids, you will know that I was really small, just as they are. My son, who just turned 15, looks like he is 11. I kept trying to find a job, but no one would hire me, because I was so little. What they didn't know is that while I was little, I had been trained by a master, my mother.

My Great-Aunt Betty (my grandpa's younger sister) and Great-Uncle Joe owned a small roadside hotel called 7K's on the west part of town just past the rodeo. They had 15 or 16 rooms and then owned the RV park next door. Aunt Betty knew my mother and her excellent ways so she agreed to hire me for the summer.

Working as a hotel maid is a hard and gross job. You are cleaning up after people who leave hair in the shower, messes in the toilet, and towels everywhere. I made mistakes as I was being trained, but eventually learned how to do the work. My biggest problem (and has remained a problem as I do my own housework) is that I was so darn slow. Thorough but slow as a sloth.

The work was divided between three girls and a fourth girl would have a day off. One girl was assigned rooms 1-8, one girl worked on rooms 9-15, and the third girl would clean the RV park bathrooms, clean an additional large bedroom, and wash the towels in the laundromat. I dreaded doing rooms 9-15 because they were bigger and required more bed making.

Cleaning the bathrooms on the RV side was gross, but you got to drive the three-wheeler to bring over the towels, so that was a fun perk. I worked hard, cleaned slowly, and enjoyed my first job. My Aunt Betty and Uncle Joe were always great to talk to and always made my day. The following spring, when I received my first check from my tax return, I purchased an electronic typewriter. Yes, I have always wanted to write on a machine!

I worked there for two summers and then worked at another hotel for a couple of summers. I learned a lot from that job such as:

  • Make good decisions as a teenagers, because bad ones can haunt and follow you for decades to come. 
  • People can be really disgusting in private.
  • It's a kindness to leave a small tip for the maid.
  • It feels good to work hard and earn a paycheck.
  • It is worth working hard, getting good grades, and going to college, if it gives you more opportunities.
  • People who work these jobs to make ends meet are admirable and should be treated with dignity and respect. 
  • Anytime you do an honest job and do your best at it, you are doing something worthwhile.
What was your first job? What did you learn from that experience?


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: A Random, Rambling Mess

  • I'm tired.
  • I'm still disorganized after coming home from my trip to Wyoming.
  • I'm recovering from a U.T.I.
  • I just want to lay outside and read.
  • I have a ton of yard work to finish.
  • I want to walk on the Peekskill water walkway.
  • I finally got caught up on my blog. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I have too many pictures on my camera and no will to sort, delete, and organize.
  • I still need to unpack.
  • I keep running around like a crazy person taking my kids to appointments.
  • Why do we have appointments during the summer?
  • I love bullet-list journaling.
  • I haven't watched or read the news in a month. I don't want to even know what a mess our country is or what is going on in the world.
  • I know it is a like an ostrich sticking their head in the sand. I can live with it.
  • I am so tired of politics and the presidential race. I wish the election was today and we could just vote and get it over with. I don't think the next few months will make any kind of a difference in persuading voters one way or the other.
  • I'm not wasting my vote if I opt for a third-party, not when I am following my conscience. 
  • I have a lot of Relief Society work to catch up on.
  • We still need to finish our deck.
  • We are going to sell our table. We got a nice table, but it turns out we hate it. We plan to sell the table and chairs and use the money to make the exact table that we want/need.
  • I really like vegetables and missed them on my trip. 
  • Even though I haven't been up to date on the news, I'm scared with all the unrest and stuff that is happening.
  • I think Pokemon Go is awesome--my boys are playing it and enjoying it.  
  • I took my kids swimming three different times yesterday. They were exhausted when they got home. 
  • I used to take my kids to the beach in Sweden for the sole purpose of wearing them out. It worked every time.
  • I have been reading some awesome books on my kindle. 
  • I just listened to a podcast about a lady traveling in Spain and it made me miss traveling in Europe.
  • I don't want to travel right now because I am too tired. Plus, I hate packing.
  • I really, really hate packing with every fiber of my being.
  • And unpacking... oh gosh, how much do I loathe unpacking??? The pile of stuff in my room is a testament to intense hatred of the activity.
  • Sometimes I wish I was more organized like my mom. But I have other strengths.
  • I've been keeping my kids busy and they are helping out a lot this summer.

What's on your mind today?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Across the USA

Just a few pictures from our journey across the USA back to New York.

 All eight of us bundled into our car. 

 The wide prairie...

 The only time that Winter looked cute on the trip. Notice she is watching the ipad and Brooke's new doll is hanging out beside her.

 Passed a Champion Bull Rider a time or two. He was wearing his cowboy hat and I wondered why he was wearing a hat indoors and if that was comfortable on a long drive.

We always got to the hotel late, crashed, and then were up early in the morning to get back on the road.

 When Winter was tired, she would cover her face with her blanket and go to sleep.

 Doing some yoga in the bathroom after a diaper change...

 Gourmet travel food...
 Practicing funny faces while discussing a potential movie about driving across the USA the Wacaser way.
 A covered bridge in Ohio

 Finally, back in New York and it is SOOOO green, like Garden of Eden green.

 Almost home again, thank goodness.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Mothering Monday: Getting to Know Cousins

My children live hundreds, and thousands, of miles away from their cousins. It is one aspect of our lives that I wish I could change. When we are able to connect with family, I really appreciate how my kids get to interact and play with their cousins. This trip to Wyoming was very special because they were able to spend time with the majority of their cousins. Here are just a few of those special moments.

 Hunter and Jonathan

Hallie and Brooke

 Walter and Que

 Tiffany, Winter, Trey, Duffy, Jonathan

 Spencer and Jack

 Jessica and Que

 Seth, Toby, Josef, Jarrett, Jonathan, Jessica, Christopher

 Brooke, Hallie, Seth, Trisha, Trey, Duffy, Christopher, Tanner, Spencer

 Aunt Lori, Winter, Brooke

 Winter and Jarrett

 Winter and Scott

 Shealynn and Winter

 Trent, Seth, Isaac, Jonathan, Walter, Jarrett, Blake, Josef, Scott

 Morgan, Walter, Winter, Brooke, Jonathan

 Aunt Lori, Winter, and Jack

 Tiffany and Morgan



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Spiritual Sunday: Why I Do Family History

This Sunday's lesson was about Hastening Family history and Temple Work.  Here are a few reasons why I do family history and temple work.

  • I love my ancestors and want to share with them the blessings I have received from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • I want to know about my ancestors.
  • I want to understand where I came from.
  • It is interesting to study about ancestors' lives.
  • Learning stories, both the good and bad, gives me greater appreciation for my life.
  • Knowing their stories helps me be more resilient in my own challenges.
  • I feel more connected when I go to the temple for an ancestor.

Why do you do family history and temple work?