Today…

Today …

Outside my window… Bright Texas Sunshine. 62 degrees which is perfect! Falling Leaves.

I am thinking… about how to help our family be more peaceful and happy together. We’ve had so much arguing and nit-picking lately with all the kids. It seems someone is always crying, or arguing, or fussing or having to do push-ups as a consequence. We need each other. Our family is all we have for eternity (well, and God!). I really am praying we can figure out how to have a better spirit in our home and help those children with mega issues to be more peaceable.

I am wondering… how in the world I’ll go a month without sugar. I decided to do it on Monday. And yesterday I didn’t have any treats or sweets or chocolate. That is huge! I have to improve my health on 2-3 points or my insurance is kicking me out of the ‘wellness health discount” or whatever it is. $150 more each month is way too much on insurance premiums so I’m kicking it into high gear. Plus, who decides to potty train a Scotty and go without sugar on the same week. Crazy mom!

I am Praying: for the way to a new treadmill. So silly. But i keep hoping I’ll either win one on a give-a-way… or more eternally beneficial and principled to find the pennies to save (on top of my idaho vacation fund) to buy one. We had one for 12 years that I tried to use but was never very consistent … but it died last year. But I’ve just got to commit to exercising 6 days a week and in Texas heat and humidity, indoor exercise is how it has to be, unfortunately. But I know if I exercise, it will encourage me to eat healthy… And vice-versa. Anyhoo… so tricky to balance health and exercise as a mom of many.

I am thankful for…
Jimmy… He works tirelessly for our family. At work and at home.
Scotty… He is quite the character that keeps us laughing when he’s feeling jolly.
Eiza… Lately she’s been a good friend to me. She’ll rub my back and enjoy talking with me.
Truman… So grateful on days when Truman gets up and gets going off to school with a happy heart.
Max… has so much faith! Grateful for his natural testimony.
Abe… working hard and accomplishing good things in honors band trumpet. He came in 3rd chair for district trumpet out of all the middle schools.
Hannah…. this girlie gets up early for seminary and is mastering the “I can do hard things” life with so much going on with homework, friends, driver’s ed. And she is a dear heart at home for all.

I am lovin’: SLEEP! seriously love a good’s night’s sleep. Love my cozy blanket on my bed right now. Love taking a respite from the stress of life. Sleep … it does a mama’s emotions good!

From the learning rooms…
Hannah: Christmas Music. Playing the Organ. Patience with friends and life circumstances.
Abraham: How to build a boomerang out of paint sticks in Engineering.
Maxwell: Spelling Bee on Monday! Go Max!
Truman: a need for fidget toys to help with focus. Learned to whistle.
Eliza: Just learned to ride a bike without training wheels.
Scotty: Learning to go potty. Wahoo!

From the kitchen… another batch of Fire Cider. Hannah made sweet potato, black bean, corn Flautas. Pretty yummy & healthy. Little kids didn’t agree and there were tears all over the place.

I am wearing… my favorite t-shirt cardigan (hand-me-down from Mary), Old Navy California bear shirt, Jeans (with a new hole in the knee. arg!), Pink nike shoes that are not comfortable. And since I actually got ready today I’m going to comment that I’m wearing mascara and lipstick. bonus!

I am remembering… days when I was just mostly exhausted physically for carrying and helping little ones. Now it’s more emotionally exhausting than physically. Love my kids so much! But wow… balancing life is a tricky business.

I am creating… a few scrapbooks for Christmas. I’m not sure how and when I’ll get them done, but I have oodles of free $ to shutterfly that expire in December. Eliza has been begging for a photo album. And Max appreciates them as well.

I am going… to the temple tomorrow. Wahoo! So excited! #templelight

I am reading… I just read the entire Jonquil Brothers books by Sarah Eden. It was so silly to read them all but it was so fun to have my twice-a-year-read-a-thon.

I am hoping… for happy family days ahead. Hoping to accomplish this by having our family memorize the Living Christ. At least start it this month… and hopefully finish by Easter? Hoping…

I am hearing… Scotty’s tv show. I don’t remember what it’s called. But it’s so hard to watch such a toddler show so poorly made. Ugh. But Scotty likes it. I’m trying to convince him to watch Wreck it Ralph Movie. I think he’d like it. He loves fixing things with tools with Jimmy. But he won’t give it a try.

Around the house… Messes. We still haven’t picked up sufficiently from our house guests the past week. Toys scattered about. So often I ask the kids to each put away 25 or 50 or even 100 things just to get things tidied up better. Crazy that we even have that many things. Which brings me to the discussion of getting rid of much of our stuff. Gotta sort through and figure out how to do that. BUT … we have the Christmas tree up and even though it’s not decorated yet, the #ChristmasLight is awesome!

One of my favorite things… Apple Cider Vinegar. Ewwww. Not my tastiest thing but a healthy thing. But it ought to be noted that I honestly think it has helped my immune system. The only time I’ve been really sick in the past 6 months was the week I stopped taking it. I honestly think it’s disgusting, though cayenne pepper helps cover the taste. I put a tsp or Tblsp in a glass of water and drink it as fast as I can. Then I drink another cup of plain water to help wash it down.

A few plans for the weekend: Stake Conference.

A scripture I like: Philippians 4: 8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I heard this the other day and it was a good reminder to keep thoughts positive and to focus on the good in our life. Of course there are hard things. Of course there are occasional doubts. But there is faith and hope and light and goodness to fill our hearts and minds with.

A Song I like: Aiming for Hope by David Archuleta

A picture I love:
I just really loved my hair short. Even though it made my neck look like a football player’s… and my family didn’t love it as much as I did, it was just a fun haircut for that time of my life when little Eliza was a wee babe. Plus, I remember I loved green that year. Color of the year probably! Plus, newborns! So much snuggles and baby smiles and smells.  Plus, I was skinnier then.  So funny that’s my new goal is to look like I did after baby #5.  Yikes!  Baby Steps.

North Rim Grand Canyon

It’s been forever. Life is hectic. I can’t fit in everything I’d like to do.

But… here’s a bit.

We went on a 10-day trip to Utah. It was hard. It was fun.

I was just going through pictures and was able to auto-merge these photos we took into a panoramic version. Cool, eh? You can even see the fire in the distance on the left side. If we would have gone to the south rim, that fire would have smoked the entire view (as it did in 2001-ish when we went there). So, I’m super glad we went to the North Rim.

north-rim-shrunk-panaroma

The end. For now…

The parable of the happy cat lady

Today was a long one. Started at 3 a.m. when Scotty decided he couldn’t sleep… on and off until 5.
Up at 6 to ready for our yard sale.
{first one we’ve ever hosted, btw…
a ton of work… but needful under the circumstances}
Saw a fabulous sunrise.
Sold oodles of stuff… came out ahead with $800.
Mostly we were just so glad to see the stuff goooooo…
going, going gone… more breathing room in our house!

anyhoo…
yard sale.
movie to see inside-out. {more on that later}
nice reward for kiddos helping at said yard sale.

quickie dinner of yellow rice and big chicken, made by my love, Jimmy.
and then off to the General Women’s Meeting at the Stake Center with Hannah.
Loved the messages.
This was the last message, shared by Elder Uchtdorf. His parable of faith, hope, and charity was a cheerful one… about the happy cat lady (as someone on instagram put it!).
walk through life uchtdorf

I’m hoping as we go through the challenges of the next few months of moving that we will find the bits of joy scattered… the tender mercies given to us by God… and have faith in every single footstep… and hope in Christ to lift us up… and love for others.

Choose Kindness

choose kindness
We have been practicing KINDNESS in our home. Especially during the day when Liza is home with mom and scotty.

Asking nicely the first time!
Being agreeable.
Sharing. Kindness to friends and their siblings.
Obeying even when it’s hard.

Solving problems appropriately.
step 1: ask nicely.
step 2. wait quietly until it’s a good time for mom to assist.
step 3. say thank you.

And while we’re at it… practicing optimism is always a good thing too. Definitely something we need right now as we are swiftly preparing for a move to Texas. It’s wild, people! But things will work out (as we often remind ourselves).

choose optimism

The Temple Elevates

temple elevate

Aunt JuJu came to visit

04 april 201415
Julie came to visit from Virginia! It was the first time we’ve seen her since she, Brock, and Kota moved last summer. She is about 26 weeks pregnant with a girlie and she looked so cute! It was delightful to chat with Julie. She loves the kiddos. She took Hannah for a dessert run to the Slurp. She got to see BYU Women’s Lacrosse games and visit with friends. We loved having her stay with us. Zuzu especially loved seeing JuJu so she could show her all the pretty dresses and dance moves.

(don’t you dare comment on the morning hair/pjs/no make-up/ we all had on Conference morning. We enjoyed a nice Crepe and fruit/pudding breakfast with those siblings who dared get up before 8 a.m. It was fun to visit and have Paul, Jill, Michael & Shelby, & Juju there! John… where were you?)

Strengthen the Family

Alma 37:37 “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good.”

is the theme for the week. We had a lesson on obedience… on doing the Lord’s will, not ours. Our Savior was a perfect example of this principle.

I have been full-force thoughtful about CTR Camp this week. We have about 15 people signed up. I anticipate we could have had almost 30.

Saturday night as I went to bed, a thought… “All that I do, as a mother, needs to strengthen my family. Is CTR Camp really strengthening my family or is it causing more stress than benefit?”

Julie Beck: “A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. With personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.” (April 2010)

CTR Camp is awesome… it’s such a good thing. But is it the best for my family at this time?

Dallin H. Oaks: “We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.

“Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” (October 2007)

When I went to the temple on Friday the thought of ‘SIMPLIFY and SLOW DOWN’ kept going through my mind.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.

“When stress levels rise… too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow that the more rushed our pace, the better off we will be.

“My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness. They will teach us to do “all these things … in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength. [But] it is expedient that [we] should be diligent, [and] thereby … win the prize.”

“Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.” (October 2010)

So CTR Camp is cancelled for 2013. I’ve cried my eyes out about it. My heart is sad. But I know, overall, it’s much better.

I don’t necessarily have less weight on my shoulders… only a shifted weight. I feel the greater importance of being there mentally and emotionally for my children and husband.

Is CTR Camp dead? No way! It’s just going to have to hibernate for a few years.

sigh… liza is sick

This is about how happy Eliza has been this week.
Saturday = slight fever and lethargic
Saturday night = 103 fever & barf all over mom at 3 a.m. Grossest Barf EVER!
Sunday = stayed home from church with dad. fever. small barf.
Monday = fever subsides. still won’t eat or drink much. no good nap.
Tuesday = Doctor. No strep. Eyes still red. Breath still sick smelling.
Wednesday = Rash. We think it’s Roseola.
Thursday = Still fussy all morning. Won’t eat. Diarrhea. Finally try Melissa – the miracle essential oil? We’ll see if it helps. Napping in the a.m.
Friday = Let’s hope she’s doing better so mom and dad can go on their anniversary date.

sigh…

I am encouraged by every success

This was a perfectly happy moment. We had just finished dinner. The kids were watching a new Piano Guys movie on the computer. ‘Liza was just hanging out with me at the table. She is a sweet girlie. I love that she was grabbing at her toes. I felt content.And ya know… about 10 seconds later, there was trouble that erupted with the other kids. But for a moment I was encouraged by how content and happy I felt. Life is good… even with ups and downs… this I will remember.

Until we meet again

We heard today that our sweet friend, James Walker, from Tennessee, passed away. We met him when Bishop Barton asked Jimmy to teach James to read. He was 65 and never learned to read well. He made a little progress but mostly we were glad to be friends with him. He had an interesting life and interesting stories. He loved the drawings our kids gave him, as he never was married or had kids of his own. This photo was taken on Thanksgiving 2007 after enjoying a fabulous dinner at the Harmers.

James Edward “Ruff” Walker, resident of the Kirk Community in Fayette County and retired dairy farmer and manufacturing company employee died Wednesday evening, December 7, 2011 at the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Collierville. He was 69 years of age and died following an extended illness.

Mr. Walker was born April 28, 1942 in Oakland, Tennessee. He was preceded in death by his parents, Leroy Frances Walker and Katie Bell Hughes Walker. He received his education in the Fayette County Public School System and was a lifelong resident of Fayette County. He was a dairy farmer throughout his life and in earlier years was employed by the Wonder Products Company of Collierville and Harts Manufacturing Company of Collierville.

He was a member of the Collierville Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Fishing was a favorite pastime and Mr. Walker also enjoyed caring for his pet cats and raising chickens at his residence.