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.


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.

my van is filled with… liquid gold?

I drove to Costco in the minivan with the empty light on. I had delayed this unfortunate event long enough. It had to be done. I’ve been filling the tank half full to spread the $$ out over pay periods. But since there is no end in sight for high gas prices, I sighed and filled her up. $58.55 later, I choked and drove away. The good side… Costco was 15 cents cheaper than anywhere else. And I guess today I’m grateful I don’t have a suburban to guzzle the gas.

I remember when I was at BYU and I was driving to Logan, I saw gas for $0.99/gallon in Brigham City. I almost took a photo of the price board at Chevrons. But I shrugged it off and figured it would come again. Not so people!

Can we just drill for our own oil on U.S. property instead of buying it from terrorists… already? Ok – maybe that wouldn’t solve the problem… but I think it’s a good idea.

a plug for a *giveaway*

Have you ever read Simple As That blog by Rebecca Cooper? She’s such a cute gal with a darling family. I love all of the SIMPLE ideas she has for photography, crafts, and activities with kids. Plus, her photos are so lovely. All winter I’ve seen her island photos and it reminds me that warmth exists somewhere in the world.

Anyhoo… Rebecca is hosting a fun giveaway for an Ergo Baby Carrier and since I’d LOVE to win, I’m putting in a plug here. Doesn’t hurt, eh? It’s fun to dream of awesome baby items. I’ve used slings before and I love them for when babies are little, but when they start getting heavier, the sling is awkward and hurts my back. I’d love to try this Ergo Carrier since you can carry baby on the front or back. Why do I NEED this carrier? Well… baby #5 with 3 of those under 3. I’m thinkin’ hands free at home… on hikes in the mountains with the fam … on outings with the tots… on walks on the river trail. Pretty much ~awesome!~

Go – check them out now!

… rattled … again … and again

“From the Crossroads of the West,” we’re back with more earthquake news.

Sunday: 2.8 magnitude at 2:30 a.m. woke Jimmy, Me, Hannah, and Abe. Gave us a bit of a fright. Earthquakes are a bit noisy… even these little ones. It takes about an hour for my heart to calm down.

Sunday: 2.8 magnitude at dinnertime. Jimmy’s family was over and they were startled to feel their first earthquake.

So – here we are with 3 micro earthquakes in less than 48 hours… all centered in the same spot (by Walmart and the Dollar store… what does this mean?). I’m not loving that. Jimmy said it’s nice of Heavenly Father to warn us with these little ones. I’m not sure that comforts me. But… we’ll prepare as best we can. Sometimes I don’t know how to be an adult and be responsible for little ones in times of crisis. Please no more earthquakes!!!

“Again we leave you, from within the shadows of the everlasting hills; may peace be with you, this day and always.”

p.s. I watched Music and the Spoken Word for my Sunday services while coughing in bed. What does the shadows of the everlasting hills mean?

that quaking earth!

We were just putting the tots to bed, when the whole house did shake, shake, shake. So fast, but alarming to all. It was only a 2.5… and I can’t imagine how anything stronger or longer would feel. I think my heart is still racing an hour later. It does look like it was centered exactly where our neighborhood is.

The last earthquake we felt was a 2.9 on Jan 5, 2010 in the middle of the night. It was centered in Saratoga Springs.

I guess whenever we have little warnings like this, it puts my mind in emergency-prep mode. Are we prepared enough to be able to care for 4 littles in a big disaster? Ay-ay-ay! Now, that is one of those HARD things I’m not sure I’m ready for. But… “with God, all things are possible.” Prepare we shall… as best we can… and have faith in the Lord to watch over us all.


Perhaps it’s because today was a killer, and perhaps y’all will just have to ignore me and my random thoughts… but I just was thinking about this throughout the day.

Last night I was chatting with some friends about how sometimes we assume the moms around us are Wonder Woman… with everything put together in life in their perfect little home and tidy children, etc.  BUT… in reality, most are just plugging along with individual struggles… doing their best, but not doing all the AMAZING things at the same time.  Yes, doing AMAZING here and there, but it’s not possible to do it ALL … all the time.

Today my AMAZING was getting the dishes semi-done.  That was a task, I’ll tell ya.  Another AMAZING was attempting to help Hannah clean up her barf-bowl (4 times) while keeping Tru out of the way (practically impossible).  Plus, I made dinner… AMAZING (though not very tasty).  Other days AMAZING is really… well, more AMAZING. And it’s funny how my view of AMAZING changes in different stages of life … or even week-to-week.

The NOT-SO-AMAZING was when Abe cried when I explained that even though I want to sit and listen to him read in peace and quiet for an hour, it’s not always going to happen without interruption.  The other NOT-SO-AMAZING was my attitude about the 4 completely nasty diapers I changed.  Please tell me other homes smell like poop on those blessed days.

A neighbor of 2 little ones was asking me for parenting advice for her little 2-year-old.  I honestly had no ideas.  I’m definitely not the hero of parenting.  Plus every child is so different and every parent is so different.  Anyhoo…  she commented that my kids were so good and obedient.  I chuckled.  Yes, my kids have WONDERFUL moments…. and they are overall pretty good tots.  BUT I told her to come join us for FHE or family scripture study to get the real scoop.  Half the family is either in tears, slouching, growling, or running around in chaos.  But we try… and we keep going with it.

So – what is my point of all this random blah?  I guess I just think I need to appreciate the little things I accomplish that are good each day instead of feeling bad about all that didn’t get done (a hard one for me).  I need to just be glad when Jimmy helps so much instead of feeling bad that I need help to keep afloat.  And I think I can’t always assume that I’m the only mom who struggles.  We all need each other, don’t we?  I find comfort and strength in knowing that I’m not the only mom ploughing through … and that other moms have endured well those challenging days… even if that means serving breakfast for supper. :)

Our lil' fam - 2004

A Cozy Winter

Last summer the theme was “A Colorful Summer”.
In the fall I chose, “A Joyful Autumn”.
We’re now on “A Cozy Winter.”
Even though with our drafty windows, I feel like wintertime is anything but cozy…. mostly I feel like calling it a chilly or dreary winter… but we’re aiming for positive, eh? Plus, I love this quote about how winter is a time for comfort, home… and I would add FAMILY.
I have oodles of pages to catch up on, but I’m still loving this simple format to summarize each week. When I take time on Sunday night to put it together, it helps me recognize the good in our week.
Despite all the sickness we’ve had around here this week, I can still say I love my Beautiful, Ordinary life. We are blessed.