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Copyright © 2008 Happy Clean Living

Monday, August 31, 2009

Motivational Monday - "Cleaning Your Home"

I have been asked to present a "cleaning class" for our Relief Society Enrichment Night this week. I've been trying to organize my thoughts and prepare to teach this class. While I have my own way of cleaning .... others have their way and it doesn't mean that their way is wrong. I hope to be able to present cleaning tips in a motivational way.

DE-CLUTTER YOUR HOME

“When your environment is pleasant, you’re more likely to be” – Emilie Tolley

1. GET RID OF IT!
-Ask yourself if it is really worth my time and the space it is taking up in my home. “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” – Henry David Thoreau

HOW:
• Attack one closet a day
• Set timer for 15 minutes and work until it goes off
• Set up 3 large bags – garbage, D.I., and storage – get rid of bags quickly before family members start going through them or you change your mind.
2. EVERYTHING NEEDS A SPACE
-A place for everything and everything in its place helps cleaning up become a simple task. (It should be easy enough for children or husbands!)

HOW:
• Plastic bins and inexpensive banker’s boxes are beautiful things. Assign one category of toy, game, (those flimsy cardboard boxes are worthless) food item, craft item, etc. to each box. Use these in my toy closet, pantry, linen closet. Use inexpensive disposable Tupperware containers to organize bobby pins, elastics, and hair bows in the bathroom; batteries, screwdrivers and nails in the miscellaneous drawer. They come in any size and you can get them to fit snug in your drawers.

• Label each box. The labeler is my favorite toy, but of course a marker works just as well.

• After throwing away all those unnecessary items in step 1, there should be plenty of room in your closets and cupboards. If you are still cramped on space, use creative solutions like under-bed boxes, space bas, or hand closet organizers.
3. START AT GROUND ZERO EACH MORNING
-Don’t get depressed and overwhelmed first thing in the morning by waking to a messy home.

HOW:
• Enlist help from your family and spend 15 minutes getting everything back in its place before bed.

• Do not deep clean each night – save that for once a week. Concentrate on each member of the family putting his or her stuff away.

• Assign each member of the family a “zone” (a room or area of the home). Each night remind about checking to make sure their zone is clean before bed until it becomes a habit like brushing teeth and saying prayers. We like to choose new zones each week at family night to mix things up. If zones are not done each night, the full allowance is not paid.

4. MAKE HOUSE CLEANING AS EASY AS POSSIBLE

HOW:
Put a wastebasket in each room including bedrooms.
Have window cleaner and disinfecting wipes in each bathroom for quick clean-ups. Teach boys to use the disinfecting wipes if they miss.
Have a vacuum on each floor of the home. If you have to go all the way to the basement to retrieve the vacuum, you are less likely to clean up little messes before they get big.

Restrict deep cleaning to once a week. Knowing that I don’t have to scrub the toilet each day gives me freedom to play and do the things I want instead of feeling guilty for not cleaning. That does not mean you have to live in a mess. Use your wipes and spend 30 seconds cleaning down the counter and then be off.

Have set jobs for each member of the family. Small children are great with little jobs. Give your four year old the responsibility for using the rechargeable hand vacuum under the table after dinner. Give kids a sock and let them put it on their hand and dust in small areas that you can’t reach . Every one is responsible for cleaning their place setting off the table after dinner and put in dishwasher. Husbands and teenagers can empty the trash or do dishes. The key is to make it clear what you expect from them. Example: let your teenager know they are in charge of the trash. It has to be emptied on Wed. and Sat. and taken to the road on Thurs. Turn the responsibility over to them and let them suffer the consequences.

DE-CLUTTER YOUR FAMILY
“The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduced yourself to , had life not done it for you” – Kendall Hailey

EVERYONE NEEDS A PLACE
-Let each member of the family have a designated spot for their belongings.

HOW:
• Keep a separate container for school or paper work. Go through it once a week and keep only the best of the best. Put these items in their designated file or scan into the computer. Scanning is a great alternative to saving every scrap of paper. If it is in your computer it is probably a lot safer than in a box hidden in the attic.
• Let family members keep an under-bed box with anything they want. They get to keep what they want – you get a tidy home.

• Lockers or designated hooks for coats, back packs and shoes. Give them the responsibility of keeping their locker/hooks in order.

• Over the door shoe holders work great for small items. Put these organizers on the inside of coat closet for mittens, earmuffs, sunglasses and keys, or on the inside of bedroom doors for markers, crayons, card games and other small treasures.

ENJOY THE PEACE
“…A true Mormon home is one in which if Christ should chance to enter, he would be pleased to linger and to rest.” David O McKay

“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” D&C 88:119

The Lord gave man instructions in the Garden of Eden “to dress it, and it keep it” Moses 3:15. The Lord requires this of us today as He did then. We are expected and required to care for and beautify whatever space we occupy on this earth.

President Kimball often reminded members of the Church of the need to clean, repair, and beautify their homes. “Now we ask you to clean up your homes…. We urge each of you to dress and keep in a beautiful state the property that is in your hands” “Whatever your circumstance, let your premises reflect orderliness, beauty, and happiness”.

Doctrine & Covenants 132: 8 “Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

As you can see, there are many things that can be done randomly to help end clutter and save time. You will have a few of your own items that you can add to this list. It is always best when everything has a proper place and then is kept there. One cupboard, drawer, or shelf at a time and you will be humming before you know it. When it comes to clutter, and ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure! It’s a constant chore, but always easier when you are on the upside of this task instead of on the downside. You need much less than what you think. The important thing is that you keep trying and have confidence in your progress! If we allow it, the world can dull our senses and drown out the peace in our lives. Joy is created, not found.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Life Twists and Turns

Over the past couple of weeks, Brady and I have been playing Life Twists and Turns. I don't know why we don't pull out the games more often, because it's always the best time. The TV's off, we are off the computer and I have Brady's undivided attention.

We tease each other, laugh, talk and enjoy being together.

I love this game and not having to worry about taking care of the money - because you have a credit card that does all of the work. Probably not a realistic way to think of life... but it's easier. I love paying with my debit card and not writing a check, I love paying bills on-line (no check, no stamp and always on time).

I think it's important that when I go grocery shopping with Brady that I pay in cash, so that he gets a picture of what things really cost.

I know that we are suppose to teach our children how to budget. It's something I really should do. We're suppose to get cash or you can use fake money (but I think it is more of a lesson with real money). Then we get our children together with all of the bills and budget it out with a pile of money per all the bill. I've even heard of families who have their children write the check, pay the bills and balance the check book each month.

As my children get older, it's something I hope they will be able to grasp in their lives. Not to get into debt and keep the freedom in your life. Being debt free is freedom! I've made mistakes in life with money because it's been hard as a single mom.... but I am hoping to be debt free (except my house) within the year.

I also hope they find the value of having food storage - because it's like having a raise to purchase things only on sale and having them around as prices rise.

Have you taught your children to budget and be wise with money?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Motivational Monday - Having Fun As A Family

Families Need to Have Fun Together

“One day I asked my son to bring his toys inside the house. I was astonished when he said he was ‘too tired.’ … Then a scene flashed into mind of the previous day, when my son had asked me to wrestle with him. What was my answer? I was ‘too tired.’ Or the time he wanted me to play catch [ball]—again I was ‘too tired.’

“… Days later, I asked my son to pick up his clothes and put them away. This time he was ‘too busy.’ I remembered the time he wanted a bedtime story. … I had been ‘too busy.’

“… I vowed to spend more time with my sons. Only hugging them, kissing them, and telling them I loved them didn’t fool them. They needed to jump, wrestle, and play with me too.

“Now I participate in more of their activities. …

“I’ve built tunnels and castles in sand piles and played with trucks. Praying and playing with them have helped me develop a wonderful relationship with them.

“With anything that takes effort, a reward comes. My reward came after an especially good half hour with my son. He wrapped his arms around my neck, gave me an affectionate kiss on the cheek, and said, ‘I love you, Dad’ ” (Dan L. Johnston, “Daddy, I’m Talking to You,” Ensign, Sept. 1978, 71).
Family Fun Brings Love and Unity
Some of us can recall from our childhood the great joy we experienced with our families when we did things together. One mother made this observation:

“When I think back on my childhood and my teenage years I recall with an almost reverent attitude those pleasant memories of the things we children and mother and father did as a family. … I wouldn’t trade the memories of our family parties and other family recreation for all of today’s theatres, bowling alleys, and restaurants. …

“I am determined to do all I can to plan activities for my family that will bring the Lord’s Spirit into our home the way the Spirit filled the home of my parents. I want my children to have the great blessing of having the memories that are so dear to me” (Family Home Evening Manual 1968, 184–85).

Like this mother, we should try to provide positive experiences for our families. Sometimes activities available to us outside the home are not acceptable, because they do not help us build love and unity in our home and a closeness to our Heavenly Father. Our Church leaders recognize a growing need for family members to have fun doing things with one another, and we should follow their counsel to plan activities to keep our families together.

Elder Ezra Taft Benson said: “Thank God for the joys of family life. I have often said there can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from a good home. The sweetest influences and associations of life are there” (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [1974], 178).

We can have fun in our homes by participating in a variety of activities and games. These activities can be simple and need not be expensive.

Family activities can become family traditions. Over the years, families establish traditions as they do special things together, many of which take place regularly. These activities might include family reunions, birthday celebrations, holiday get-togethers, vacations, visits to special places, family musical bands, and hobbies.

Families can also enjoy each other when they formally gather together for the naming of newborn babies, baptisms, ordinations to the priesthood, missionary departures and homecomings, graduations, weddings, and other occasions that are special in the lives of family members.

We should record our successful family activities in our family histories and personal journals, including appropriate photographs and special souvenirs. As we look back and remember the fun we have had together, we grow closer to each other and our love for one another is strengthened.
Family Fun Requires Planning
If we are to have successful family activities, we usually must plan and prepare well for them.

The following suggestions can be helpful in planning family activities.

In a family home evening with all family members present, discuss and make a list of the types of activities they enjoy. As each family member’s suggestions are considered, he or she will feel important. Activities should be the type in which most, if not all, family members can participate.
After all members’ suggestions have been considered, have the family choose an activity from the list. Then select a specific date for it. Write this date on the family calendar to make sure there will be no conflicts. Give everyone an opportunity to help plan the activity and to be responsible for an assignment.

One family, in following these suggestions in their family home evening, decided that each family member should suggest one idea for family service to others, one idea for improving the home and surroundings, and one idea for recreation. After each family member had made suggestions, the ideas were voted on and the following activities were selected:

Service. The family cleaned the yard of a widower. Then they baked a “welcome home” cake and took it to him on the day his son arrived home from fulfilling a mission.

Improving the home. The family improved one specified room of their home with paint, wallpaper, and other items. All family members worked together to accomplish this.

Recreation. Each family member was honored on one assigned day during the year. The days were assigned during the family home evening planning meeting. On his or her day, each member had the privilege of selecting a favorite food for the meals and choosing a recreational activity for all family members to do together. Some family members chose swimming, some a ball game, some picnicking; whatever activity was chosen, all family members were to participate together.

Another family planned their activities by writing “Family Fun Sack” on a large paper bag. Each family member wrote on a piece of paper one activity he or she wanted the family to do together. At each family home evening one piece of paper was drawn from the sack. The activity named on that piece of paper was then enjoyed by the entire family during the next week.

Our families should be the most important part of our lives. One way we can strengthen our family relationships is to plan and have fun together. Life has many serious sides, and in order to keep proper balance, we must take time to play together, doing those things appropriate for individual family members. As we have fun together, we learn to live more meaningfully with each other and are able to more effectively teach each other the principles of the gospel through our personal example as well as in words.

The scriptures tell us that “to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” which includes “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4). Our homes should be places where laughter is heard often and smiles exchanged daily. No matter how varied our ages and abilities within the family, we should find ways to relax and have fun together.

Many necessary duties performed by families with small children could be viewed as games: for example, planting a garden, cleaning the house, or washing the dishes. Turning work into a game keeps enthusiasm and interest high.

When we suit activities to our family members’ needs, interests, abilities, and circumstances, we can all enjoy a balanced life of work, rest, and play.

Our families can be together forever. If we are not currently spending enough time with family members, we should start now to share those things that will help us to become an eternal family.

Edited from Relief Society, "The Latter-Day Saint Woman" Part B.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Coupon Shopping Cart Caddy

There is a give away for a coupon caddy. It's a brilliant idea to make or possibly win one. I know lots of my family and friends are couponers... I thought I would pass this idea on.
This fun site is called Blue Cricket Design. And here is the link to the giveaway.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Price on Electric Wheat Grinder

I purchased an electric Vitalmill wheat grinder for the great price of $129.99 today...

Woot!!

Regular price $239.99 and today it is on sale for only $129.99

I've been looking at these for a long time - but didn't want to pay over $200 for one. I would continue to grind mine by hand. Now I will have an electric one and a hand one to use in emergencies. I am really excited.

Here are the details for this grinder:
Ideal for using to add healthy whole grains to your diet. With its hopper extension. wide opening access or mill lid and 20-cup capacity it can handle a lot of milling for years of use.
Durable, stainless steel milling heads and ultra-impact teeth for clog free milling
Micro-milling design and a free-flow air function so it won't overheat
Easy-to-grip handles makes it easy to move
Grinds non-oily grains including wheat, rye, spelt, millet, rice, corn, beans, and oats
Milling chamber is self-cleaning and the mill has an air filter for clean milling
The VitalMill has been recognized with the Whole Grain Council Stamp
A great appliance that allows you to get the most out of the grains in your food storage.
MSRP $239.99

You can purchase it at this link at Emergency Essentials. If you have been wanting one, today is the time to get one.

Put the word "Social" in the coupon box at the check out!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School and Crash

This morning we registered Brady for High School as a sophomore this year. 10th grade... Wow - it seems like he was just in grade school. It goes by so fast.

He received his class schedule, his locker, they took their school picture, and he received his activity card all for the price of $117... oh and the pictures were $37. Ouch!

I shouldn't complain..... because that will be hardly any price compared to when he goes to college. The summer has gone and now it's time for school.

His schedule for first semester is: (they have "A" days and "B" Days - 4 periods per day)
1A. Seminary (Yeah! First period again this year!I can't wait for Devotionals!)
1B. English
2A. Biology
2B. Honors Algebra II
3A. US History
3B. Horticulture 1 - Botany
4A. Newspaper
4B. Foods / Nutrition

Second semester is:
1A. Seminary
1B. Honors Algebra II
2A. Speech
2B. English
3A. Horticulture II - Plant Growth and Development
3B. US History
4A. Biology
4B. Nothing... Hmmmmm I didn't realize until right now that he doesn't have a 4B class. I guess I will have to call the school tomorrow. WoW! An error.

One great thing today was that while I was registering Brady for school - my cell phone rang. Who could it be???? My only customer for the day let me have the day off... Woo Hoo! No work for today!! Of course I shopped *wink!!

Every day Brady has 2 cross country practises. Yes, TWO!!!! One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Brady's poor little body sure does feel every muscle - LOL! The coach is working them pretty hard!

He has to get up at 7am now to be at practise by 8am. The afternoon practise starts at 3:30 and lasts until 5:30.... Which is horrible to be in the midst of work busy traffic.

Today practise was in Eagle, right off the river on the green belt. I decided to hang out instead of driving home.

On the way home we were stopped at Chinden and Eagle - at the light. The light happens to be at the top of a hill which you can't see from the bottom of the hill. It's not to far from where we practised.

We were stopped at the light and there was a white truck behind us. CRASH! A student from the team (who had 2 other boys - total of 3 in the car) ran right into the truck behind me. The speed limit on Eagle Road is 55 MPH. The boys were going pretty fast and probably not paying attention - goofing off and crashed at a pretty fast speed.

The whole front in of the students car was crashed in - totalled. (this is not the real car - clip art).
It was traumatic. All three boys quickly exited the car and were OK. We didn't stop because I didn't see what happened - I just guessed. I knew the coaches where behind us and would stop and help out.

It was quite a learning lesson for Brady, Taylor and Kara, who were in my car (car pooling)..... It was scary and sad. We discussed the importance of paying attention and why the law existed that they can't drive with more then one other teenager in the car. I really made an impact on Brady and Kara who just finished drivers training. I think it scared Brady to death..

Driving is a serious thing! It is dangerous and you have to be cautious all the time - especially in work traffic and going fast.

I was blessed that the truck was behind me and the student didn't run into my car. It is a blessing for these new drivers to see something like that and realise that you have to be aware of your surroundings all the time. I hope this is the only wreck Brady experiences.... I hope he always remains wreck free - isn't that every parents dream??

Too bad for those boys .... thank goodness they were not injured. Too bad his car is totalled. It was a sad, sad thing to have happened.

Mock Emergency Success

Yesterday we finished our 2 week long "mock emergency". We finished successful! We didn't even feel any difference in our life. I feel very prepared!

It is probably a lot easier when there are only 2 people in our family. Food last a lot longer then if there were more members in this household.

Here is a look at our fridge after 2 weeks of NO SHOPPING. Plus, please remember that I did not prepare in advance (ie: go to the store before I started). I did our regular shopping on Saturday before seeing the challenge on Monday. But I did not shop on Saturday any differently then I normally do.
We still had milk left after 2 weeks (plus my pitcher of powdered milk) on the top shelf. I had 8 eggs left. (side note... yes I drink diet coke YIKES and drink bottled water DOUBLE YIKES)
I decided to taste my powdered milk. First I used it in a bowl of cereal and could not taste any differently. Then I challenged Brady to taste it with me. We filled our glasses, cheered them with a clink and drank the milk. Verdict..... it tastes like milk. I would never know it was powdered milk. We could live off of this milk. It's good to know.

I always try to keep a quart of milk in my fridge at all time. Here is a blog I did about rotating powdered milk.
This is the drawer to my fruits and vegetables. I pulled out the lettuce. I had two really used heads of lettuce. Tupperware of baby carrots. One broccoli head partially used. A few limp pieces of celery and 2 onions. 3 apples and the end of a watermelon we've been carefully cutting one slice per day to eat with dinner. Overall..... we had enough fruits and vegetables..... but is was nice to know I can go to the store and replace it with fresh veggies. The other thing is my potatoes.... I only have enough left for this week and then I'll be out.

If it was a "real" emergency I would be really sad without lettuce and potatoes. I need to get sprouting supplies in my storage to replace the lettuce. I do have potato flakes .... but prefer "real" potatoes. I have canned fruit and would be fine with that.
My cheese drawer is fine. I still have 3 full blocks of cheese. I always purchase a lot when it is on sale. This will last me for a month or so... It doesn't get moldy or bad in that time. I like how they wrap this cheese - it stays fresh a long, long time. I also still had tortilla's left - but I could make them from scratch if we ran out. This was my last package left in my food storage, I try to have a couple of extra packages on hand all the time we love burritos.
I still have 4 cubes of butter with another 4 cubes still in the freezer. I have 1 1/2 containers of sour cream too. I feel prepared all the time and shop to prepare just in case there is an emergency.

This TEST was good to know that we are doing great..... I am maybe on the side of "a freak" in being over prepared. I think I can relax a bit...... I am prepared .... No worries.

During the two weeks of my "Mock Emergency" it wasn't the worry about not having food.... it was a withdrawal of not going to the store.

I am addicted to getting prepared. Addicted to looking at sales ad's and great deals. Addicted to going to the store to look around. It's almost like a social need to go to the store and buy something. This was the most difficult thing for me to not go to the store and purchase something on sale that I saw in the ad. It was an eye opener that I need to discipline myself to quit shopping so much and saving more.

Relax Sondra...... you are prepared... Good job..... You don't need to shop *wink...
One of the items I really wanted to purchase was corn on the cob. I kept seeing it on the street corners in the store advertisements. I wanted some.

Luckily, our home teacher Brother Newby brought me over 6 ears of the most yummiest corn from his garden. That was certainly a fun thing to have during our emergency.
Over all a success!!!

My reflection is I am addicted to shopping and need to curb that problem in my life... giggle!

Can you refrain from going to the store for 2 whole weeks... Not spend money for two whole weeks? Can you survive on your food storage for two whole weeks?

I think I could really save a ton of money if I disciplined myself to shopping once every two weeks. I can do it... Can you?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Motivational Monday - “Because She Is a Mother”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “‘Because She Is a Mother’,” Ensign, May 1997, 35

If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.
There are some lines attributed to Victor Hugo which read:

“She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. ‘She hath kept none for herself,’ grumbled the sergeant.

“ ‘Because she is not hungry,’ said a soldier.

“ ‘No,’ said the sergeant, ‘because she is a mother.’ ”

To the women within the sound of my voice who dearly want to be mothers and are not, I say through your tears and ours on that subject, God will yet, in days that lie somewhere ahead, bring “hope to [the] desolate heart.”

As prophets have repeatedly taught from this pulpit, ultimately “no blessing shall be withheld” from the faithful, even if those blessings do not come immediately. In the meantime we rejoice that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood.

In speaking of mothers I do not neglect the crucial, urgent role of fathers, particularly as fatherlessness in contemporary homes is considered by some to be “the central social problem of our time.” Indeed, fatherlessness can be a problem even in a home where the father is present—eating and sleeping, so to speak, “by remote.” But that is a priesthood message for another day.

Today I wish to praise those motherly hands that have rocked the infant’s cradle and, through the righteousness taught to their children there, are at the very center of the Lord’s purposes for us in mortality.

In speaking of mothers generally, I especially wish to praise and encourage young mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work.

The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank.

But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island.

Of course the irony is that this is often the sister we want to call—or need to call—to service in the ward and stake auxiliaries. That’s understandable. Who wouldn’t want the exemplary influence of these young Loises- and Eunices-in-the-making? Everyone, be wise. Remember that families are the highest priority of all, especially in those formative years. Even so, young mothers will still find magnificent ways to serve faithfully in the Church, even as others serve and strengthen them and their families in like manner.

Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones. Husbands—especially husbands—as well as Church leaders and friends in every direction, be helpful and sensitive and wise. Remember, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Mothers, we acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever. And if, for whatever reason, you are making this courageous effort alone, without your husband at your side, then our prayers will be all the greater for you, and our determination to lend a helping hand even more resolute.

One young mother wrote to me recently that her anxiety tended to come on three fronts.

One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task.

Secondly, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.”

Thirdly, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.

But one thing, she said, keeps her going: “Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.

“It is this realization,” she says, “that I try to recall on those inevitably difficult days when all of this can be a bit overwhelming.

Maybe it is precisely our inability and anxiousness that urge us to reach out to Him and enhance His ability to reach back to us. Maybe He secretly hopes we will be anxious,” she said, “and will plead for His help. Then, I believe, He can teach these children directly, through us, but with no resistance offered. I like that idea,” she concludes. “It gives me hope. If I can be right before my Father in Heaven, perhaps His guidance to our children can be unimpeded. Maybe then it can be His work and His glory in a very literal sense.”

In light of that kind of expression, it is clear that some of those Rhode Island–sized shadows come not just from diapers and carpooling but from at least a few sleepless nights spent searching the soul, seeking earnestly for the capacity to raise these children to be what God wants them to be. Moved by that kind of devotion and determination, may I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent.

You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient.

If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.

Sometimes the decision of a child or a grandchild will break your heart. Sometimes expectations won’t immediately be met. Every mother and father worries about that. Even that beloved and wonderfully successful parent President Joseph F. Smith pled, “Oh! God, let me not lose my own.” That is every parent’s cry, and in it is something of every parent’s fear. But no one has failed who keeps trying and keeps praying. You have every right to receive encouragement and to know in the end your children will call your name blessed, just like those generations of foremothers before you who hoped your same hopes and felt your same fears.

Yours is the grand tradition of Eve, the mother of all the human family, the one who understood that she and Adam had to fall in order that “men [and women] might be” and that there would be joy.
Yours is the grand tradition of Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel, without whom there could not have been those magnificent patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which bless us all. Yours is the grand tradition of Lois and Eunice and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors.

Yours is the grand tradition of Mary, chosen and foreordained from before this world was, to conceive, carry, and bear the Son of God Himself. We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high.

When you have come to the Lord in meekness and lowliness of heart and, as one mother said, “pounded on the doors of heaven to ask for, to plead for, to demand guidance and wisdom and help for this wondrous task,” that door is thrown open to provide you the influence and the help of all eternity. Claim the promises of the Savior of the world. Ask for the healing balm of the Atonement for whatever may be troubling you or your children. Know that in faith things will be made right in spite of you, or more correctly, because of you.

You can’t possibly do this alone, but you do have help. The Master of Heaven and Earth is there to bless you—He who resolutely goes after the lost sheep, sweeps thoroughly to find the lost coin, waits everlastingly for the return of the prodigal son. Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be.

Remember, remember all the days of your motherhood: “Ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.”

Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. And “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope.”

You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well.

He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging.

Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” And it will make your children whole as well.

In the sacred and holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Start of Cross Country Track

Today was the parent / student meeting for all athletes who will compete in the upcoming school year. Brady is in the blue from last year as a freshman, I hope he's grown some *wink* as a sophomore.

We are double excited because Cherie's son Taylor will be a freshman this year. Brady and Taylor are friends - that is how I became friends with Cherie (Bakow Babble). Yeah for our boy's friendship!

Brady has been running all week to prepare for the upcoming season. Tomorrow morning is the official start with the team. We will be up bright and early to get breakfast and be in Eagle by 8 am.
I love this part of school! I love that Brady enjoys this sport - he loves to run long distances. (He didn't get that gene from me).

It's hard to believe that summer is winding down. We register for school on Wednesday and school starts on August 25.

Only 10 more days left.... Boy, summer zoomed by fast!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

7 Things About Me

On July 1st I was tagged by Garden of Egan to tell seven things about me you probably don't know. I decided I had put it off long enough, so...... here you go.

Here are a couple of other blogs I have posted details about who I am. Here and Here. 1. I worked for computer companies as a Contract Administrator and Program Manager for about 18 years. After I divorced I decided to move to Idaho and the job I had here was pretty bad. After a downturn in the computer industry I was laid off. That was about 7 years ago. After that, I decided to work with my Mom as a house cleaner. My Mom has retired and I took over the business and work alone. I clean 10 houses and 1 business per week (plus mine).

I LOVE being a house cleaner. Seriously. No stress. No LONG hours. I have time to be a Mom. I get the satisfaction of a job well done EVERYDAY. I don't have a boss. I make enough money to live on. Life is great as a house cleaner!2. I love to work in the yard. I love to be outside enjoying the fruits of my labor. I forgot to post this pretty picture of my Hibiscus. I love beautiful flowers!3. This is the technology I love besides my computer. I love my Zune (not an iPod). As I go about my day I listen to it all the time. It is in a case that is the speaker. I don't like head phones (they give me a headache).

My cell phone is a tracfone. I don't like monthly bills or paying too much. Since I try to be really frugal a tracfone works great for me (and Brady). I pay $100 per year and it works well for us (we both have one). I don't text. Actually - I'm not much into talking on the phone much. I guess I prefer email.

4. I cannot live without these products. I have dry skin that is manageable if I lotion up good everyday with Avon Moisture Therapy. On my face I use Mary Kay. My favorite chap stick is Natural ice. I don't wear lip stick. I could never get used to the look on my face (I always felt like a prostitute if I wear it - LOL!)
5. I don't polish my finger nails or toe nails. Yikes - I know. I think I am allergic to it - my nails split and get really weak. I'm an all natural - non-prissy girl. I guess I like getting my hands dirty too much :-D.
6. I don't wear jewelry either. Well..... I only wear gold hoops in my ears all the time.
7. I'm really weird about my tooth brush and flossing. I have to get a new toothbrush every couple of weeks - maybe a month - maybe.
I LOVE new toothbrushes. I wish they were cheaper, because I would change it weekly.

Also, while I am driving around from house to house each day - I floss. *giggle. I don't text or put make up on - I floss.

I guess it's out there for the world to know how unique I am. It's great to be me- LOL! If there is anything you would like to know about me, just ask in a comment and I will do a post answering your "always wanted to know" questions.

I'm tagging anyone who would like to join in. It's a great thing to do when you can't think of anything to blog about.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Enjoying My Flowers

This year my yard has done exceptionally well. I don't know if it is due to the very wet spring we had or my new curbing, but everything is lovely.
This is my kidney shaped island off of the patio. This was when I first planted it in the spring. And now it is full of flowers.
So many flowers growing so well. I love looking out my sliding glass doors in my bedroom each day and seeing the green grass and all the beautiful flowers.
Oops, the pictures are backwards. This is the front of my house now.
And this is before. It looked great in the spring - but is sooo much fuller now.
This was the berm after I planted it in the spring.
Now it is covered in beautiful flowers. It's a great sight for everyone who drives or walks by my house. I really love flowers! Can you tell?
This was my cement pad at the beginning of spring - it is also when I had the container garden there. Since the cement pad became to hot for the container garden, it has been moved. But all of the flower still remain.

The front 3 pots really have grown. The two smaller pots on the sides of the big one are currently on each table by the chairs. Look how they have grown!
You cannot even see the tables - only the beautiful plants. I love it!
Last year while visiting my sisters yard, she had these huge petunia plants. I fell in love with them. It's one plant called the "wave petunia".
This is also one plant - a "wave petunia". This is really my favorite plant. I think next year, all of my hanging baskets will be "wave petunia". They really make a statement!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple

While Brady was visiting his Dad for his birthday, they were able to attend the open house for the new Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.
His Dad was kind enough to email me some of the pictures of their visit.

There is my handsome son at the entrance of this beautiful temple.
I am always excited that he has had the opportunity to attend temple open houses and attend the temple in general to perform baptismal ordinances. He's been to the Boise Temple, The Rexburg Temple, The Twin Falls Temple and now the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.

I'm trying to think how many I have have been in.... I've been to the Salt Lake Temple, Jordan River Temple, Boise Idaho Temple and the Logan Temple, Provo Temple. I'm pretty sure that is it... Oh... I did attend the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple open house.
If you can see, the Angle Moroni has been struck be lightning. He will be replaced before the dedication.
After he is taken off of the Oquirrh Mountain temple, he will be refinished and used on another temple. This will be the only Angle Moroni to have set on two different temples.
From the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, You can see the Jordan River Temple and the new Draper Temple.
Brady couldn't believe they built another temple in that area. He was amazed that there were three temples in a small geographical area. I told him it was a good thing. Just the fact that they need lots ot temples to be accessible to all the worthy people. So many people who attend the temple that they are over flowing. Isn't it wonderful!
A temple is such a blessing. I'm am thankful for temples, the House of God.
Holiness to the Lord!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Motivational Monday - "Sleep When the Wind Blows"

During the past week I have been in a "mock emergency" situation. While visiting Idaho Preppers last week, they issued a challenge to live on what you have (no shopping) for two weeks. The challenge came from Preparedness Pro who is also having a give away to those who join in and comment. Today we are into the challenge one full week (we started last Monday August 3rd). It's not to late to join in.

Personally I think I kind of live in preparedness/emergency mode. I always try to have two weeks of groceries in my fridge in case an emergency strikes. We won't know when the emergency strikes, there won't be time to prepare at that second and I don't want to go without or have stress during an emergency. I want to be able to have the necessities to handle the problem with low stress.

This past week was I worried at all that I could live normally? Nope! We still have a gallon of milk and I could make that stretch because I have powdered milk. I still have about 20 eggs in the fridge and I have powdered eggs too. I keep several months of butter in the freezer. For me those are the big items that I don't want to live without. Fresh vegetables and fruits are another item. It was nice that this challenge came during the summer when my garden is going strong. It would be nice to make an emergency come in the summer and having basic electricity too helps.

The mock emergency helps you see what holes you have in your preparation. So far, I'm good. I think I could go more then the 2 weeks - no problem. It's easy that there are only 2 of us, but I know in an emergency Jason and Sharon will be here too.

Also last week, Prepared LDS Family ran a poll to see what kinds of emergencies you have experienced in your life time.

Unemployment 2 months or longer
Illness/Injury 2 weeks or longer
A 24+ Hour Power Outage
A Home Fire
A 6.0+ Earthquake
A Category 3+ Hurricane
A Tornado
An Ice Storm
A Flash Flood
An Epidemic/Pandemic
A Drought

Do you feel prepared for a disaster?

I have NEVER been in an emergency. NEVER! And yet I feel the need to prepare. It's like a life insurance program. You just never know and we have been told to prepare from our prophets. If I never live through any type of emergency, I know I have the well being of preparation and the money it save when I can purchase items on sale and not at regular price because I am out. I have a "personal store" in my home that I plan to keep stocked at all time.

I found this great story at sugardoodle.net - I wonder...... Can you sleep when the wind blows? Can you join in the challenge of a mock emergency for 2 weeks and be fine?

Can you sleep while the wind blows?

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. "Are you a good farm hand?" the farmer asked him. "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work. Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows."

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm.

To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.

Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm. We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of God. We don't need to understand, we just need to hold His hand to have peace in the middle of storms. I hope you enjoy your day and you sleep well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Movie Review: "Swing Vote" and "Julie & Julia"

When I installed another digital box in my kitchen for Brady's birthday, Digital TV made a mistake in scheduling it. Their mistake caused me to stick around for 4 hours during the scheduled time and nobody came. I was pretty steamed because it was Saturday Morning and I had a ton of stuff to do. Due to their mistake I have been given 3 months of free "Stars" movie channel. I don't know if this will make up for my precious time lost - but at least they were sorry and tried to make it up.

Anyway, Swing Vote was on this past week and I was able to watch it. I never really had any desire to rent it - thinking it wouldn't appeal to me or be dumb.

I was pleasantly surprised. It was heart warming. It was a story about the bond between a father and a daughter. Also watching the father grow up. It was good. I'm glad I watched it. You should rent it for $1 at Redbox.

Today Brady and I went to see Julie & Julia. Yippee! We went to the 3:30 pm showing and it was packed. I was surprised - shoulder to shoulder seating (full auditorium).
I fell in love with Amy Adams (Julie) from the movie Enchanted. I think she is a terrific actress along with (of course) Meryl Streep.
Brady and I laughed and laughed through most of the movie. It was quite the comedy. I also loved the fact that this all started with Julie's blog about Julia Childs' cook book.
It was quite brave of Julie to cook every recipe in the book. I have NEVER been that brave. I always want tried and true recipes from friends and relatives before I actually take the risk in cooking something new.

Since I have been blogging, I have been really motivated by great recipes on blogging friends sites. It's been really fun trying new things. I really need to be braver when it comes to cooking.

The dynamics of the husband and wife relationships between Julie and her husband and Julia and her husband were wonderful and heartwarming.
Meryl Streep as Julia was right on - from what I've seen in her cooking shows. She really was a very dynamic woman and full of life. She tried new things and was fun, boisterous, friendly, loving wife and just enjoyed life to the fullest. What a great example of someone who really lives life to the fullest!
Slicing the onions was funny! I know I laughed and laughed through the movie. Meryl just was hilarious as Julia.
Julia's husband was very devoted. Since I have NEVER been in a love relationship like that - I can't even imagine a man loving and supporting you like that. I can only dream of a love and relationship like that.

After so many years of planning a cookbook with her friends - she was finally accepted to be published. Woot!
Julia was quite a tall woman and so was her sister. I loved their laughter and buoyant personalities. They were not shy women at all.
The real Julia Childs.
Doesn't Meryl Streep look the part? Wow! Spot on!
The recipes Julie made were mouth watering. Of course there were a few flops. She was a great cook. Could I be one too with Julia Childs' book? Hmmmm I might have to rent it from the library and see what the recipes are like before I actually purchase it. Can I be that brave?
It was a great movie. Great Actors! Funny! Loving! Inspiring. A must see!

Bon Appetit!

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